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Janet Rosen
12-29-2015, 10:34 PM
This month's "The Mirror" column was written by Janet Rosen 2015, all rights reserved.
"Pain don't hurt."

It was a pretty long and tiring first day back at work, and my knee and shoulder and one thumb were acting up but I suited up and bowed in. And I kept telling myself, you don't have to train the whole class. You can sit out a technique. You can bow out early. From 6:30 pm right until Sensei bowed us out at 8:30 I kept telling myself that. The mind is a funny thing.


If I go to Zumba, I won't be able to work in the garden this afternoon. If I work my hamstrings this evening, I may need to use the walking stick tomorrow. If I don't get off the couch, things will likely tighten up and hurt. If nage is late releasing when I tap, my shoulder will hurt like hell. My life takes place in the conditional and subjunctive.


Argue with a nikkyo pin and it hurts. Sink, exhale, accept the center to center connection, and the pain diminishes. Remember this outside the dojo. Mind leads body.


Many of my elderly clients enjoy puttering before their caregivers arrive. Straightening the bedlinens, getting the morning paper, attending to pets, preparing breakfast, getting breakfast together and washing up a few dishes is a regimen that includes gentle range of motion, warming the muscles and loosening the joints. Daily life is physical therapy.


If you are going to hurt regardless, you may as well get something done, so get into the studio or the kitchen and make something. If you are going to hurt regardless, you may as well enjoy yourself, so go out for a foofy coffee drink or share a laugh with a friend. Oh, look, there went an hour. Distraction is potent medicine.


Heat helps. Cold hurts. Sometimes smiling at myself in the bathroom mirror helps. Sometimes every goddamn pillow in the house hurts. Improving structure helps. Sitting quietly hurts. Making somebody laugh helps.


"Attachment is the great fabricator of illusions; reality can be attained only by someone who is detached. There is no detachment where there is no pain. And there is no pain endured without hatred or lying unless detachment is present too." -- Simone Weil
"The Mirror" is written by a roster of women who describe themselves as a disparate bunch of scientists, healers, artists, teachers, and, yes, writers. Over ten years into this collaboration we find we are a bunch of middle-aged yudansha from various parts of the world and styles of aikido. What we share is a lively curiosity about and love for both life and budo, and an inveterate tendency to write about our explorations.

12-30-2015, 04:53 PM
Very very well said.

I often tell people, the reason I just keep going when it hurts so much, is because I know that if I stop moving that will be it.

That said it is also important to know when it is okay to push through pain and when it is a good idea to rest.

Janet Rosen
12-31-2015, 12:46 PM
Thank you, Cherie.

Susan Dalton
12-31-2015, 03:24 PM
I agree, Cherie. Knowing when to stop and when to go is difficult. And I'm spending more and more time after workouts stretching.

01-03-2016, 04:28 PM
Yes agreed.
Life has suffering/pain.
Everyday training is an opportunity to learn how to deal with it.
Nicely said.

R.A. Robertson
01-22-2016, 02:39 PM
Still refining my sense of good pain and not good pain. I'd just as soon do away with all of it, leaving only pleasure for everyone.

Part of the problem is that our pain response often lies. It's tough when you can't always trust the reporting of our own body...

Janet Rosen
01-22-2016, 03:32 PM
Thank you all for adding your thoughts....certainly pain is a universal part of our experience...