No pain, no gain

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By Nina S. Custodio

Doc@XXLarge

Saturday, January 18, 2014


I HAVE had a frozen shoulder for a long time. It all started out as a discomfort on my shoulder that I got whenever I carry a heavy bag. It really did not bother me that much at first but as time passed; I realized that it was steadily becoming a concern. Through the years that I have it, I noticed that I was gradually not able to do stuff like I used to do before with my left hand like combing my hair for instance. Shampooing was an awful task because I had to do it with one hand. Let me just say that I soon found myself not really using the left arm much...it had naturally come into disuse.

I figured I needed to do something if I wanted to regain its normal range of motion. So i did. Undergoing rehab and taking medications for it. This eventually led me to taking my pilates classes which I ‘fondly’ refer to as my exercise of painstaking pushing, pulling and stretching. Pilates looks easy, especially when everything about you is normal but for me, it was really treading the thin line between training your body to be fit and, uh, torture.

I cannot count the times when I wanted to hit my instructor for the pain he was causing me. (hehe) I do not see the point why I had to suffer to be better. The stretching exercises can be brutal -- there were times when I would feel dizzy from the pain that I needed a moment to recover and collect my ‘consciousness.’ Ever had that experience when you just cannot get yourself to smile because of the pain? I’ve had those instances more than I care to mention!

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So, imagine my surprise when it dawned on me that I had less pain in my shoulders and actually had a wider range of motion! Although the discomfort had not dissipated completely, it was absolutely better and the pain more manageable than before! My pilates stretches were working! Hooray!

I used to believe that we do not need to feel pain to achieve anything but in this case, it applies. It is only but natural to have a normal aversion for painful stimuli. Who wants to feel pain? We all want to have a smooth, painless journey in life don’t we? Why consider aggravating a situation when you can aspire to be stress free? In this case it seems that pain has definitely taken an alternative implication. This time, pain is actually a good thing as it signaled that my “sacrifices” have been worth it and that I am likely to harvest exactly what I have wanted after four laborious months! This experience of submitting myself to changes in life or lifestyle, whether easy or hard, are needed in our lives. It teaches us acceptance and patience that although we can set out to be the best that we can, we cannot get everything that we want all at the same time. There is a right time for everything and although we can always push our luck, we also have to learn when to let things go or let things be. When the situation calls for it, we need to make sacrifices so that we can achieve our goals.

It does feel disconcerting at times to do things without questioning their importance and repercussions, or even trying to weigh the pros and cons of it; but there really are things in life that require blind faith. “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” Right?

Still, we cannot discount the fact that by doing so we also set ourselves up for the possibility of failure; but then again when you think about it, life is like that. It is filled with experiences that we cannot control. It is ‘enhanced’ by the unexpected and even the moments that we feel were ‘uncalled for.” Maybe I have the tendency to be too much of a Polyanna but it really does help me survive the challenges of life. To be hopeful and wishful indeed has its advantages. Faith helps me march on through unfamiliar and even scary territory. It works!

Pain is temporary but the lessons borne out of it can last forever. Isn’t it true that the most painful experiences in life that we have survived are the ones that we are particularly proud of? In light of what seems to be an impossible victory is that feeling of pride that you have stood your ground and won against negative feelings of doubt and fear. It is during these dark moments that we find strength, self-reliance and self-confidence. It proves that our instincts can be trusted and that there is definitely something good that can be gained from it. So whenever you are faced with a difficult situation and you know that acting on it will tilt in your favor despite the risks and sacrifices that you might encounter, be strong and do it. The benefits will not only be worth your effort, you can actually end up better equipped with knowledge and experience to survive in life.

Happy Sunday everyone! :)

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 19, 2014.

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