Breathing Room – Creating Space Between You and Your Pain

I have been writing “morning pages” everyday for the past three weeks. This act has been so loving, comforting, and illuminating. When I was young, I used to write furiously in my journal almost every day. It was mostly complaining and general angst. I didn’t glean any insights from it at the time, it was simply just a way of expressing myself and ‘dumping’ my experiences and my woes onto the page.

Looking back at it, I see that it was a not only a way to create a space to process my thoughts, but to also make room between myself and my negative thoughts. Once they were out of my head, I could gain some relief from the weight of them.

The other day, my stream-of-conscience styled, scribbled pages were a way to process some of the physical pain I was experiencing.

“I woke up around 9am. I was planning on writing my pages right away, but my head was throbbing and my body was in shambles. I had to listen & honour my body “where it was at” (I don’t do that very often), and probably spent close to an hour doing some gentle stretching (and BREATHING). My body signaled me to  immediately go into child’s pose because it’s the most comfortable and soothing one. The name is so appropriate because it makes me feel very small and safe. It’s even more nurturing when I rock back and forth slightly with my hips and thighs. It’s like a gentle massage. When I breathe deeply into it, I can feel a deep release – my muscles soften and it feels like everything inside me is shifting and sinking through the floor. It creates space within me. Breathing room. Breathing into the pain and discomfort can create distance from it. Focusing on the breath (and the rise and fall of the body) brings some temporary ease and flexibility to some otherwise stiff joints. The space from the pain also brings some sense of clarity to the mind.”

Being in pain can be very exhausting and all consuming. Giving yourself temporary respite from it, no matter how small, can bring some peace. It can bring some energy. It can re-open the creative channels.

If I’m having a particularly achy day, I can’t focus on my writing until I create a bit of space from the discomfort.

Stretching, meditating, hot showers, simply laying on the floor in silence.

Breathing with my entire body (filling every cell and every little nook within me)

Nothing takes the pain away, but it provides a sense of centering and grounding. It brings me home to my body in a way that is more nurturing and accepting, rather than angry and resistant.

The mind and body are so connected. True healing takes gentleness.

Of course there’s a place for frustration, and screaming, and thrashing limbs around like an angry child (!) Those feelings are so real, and so valid. They NEED to be expressed.


I cry a lot more these days. Some days I feel completely helpless and weak. Some days I want to rip my head off or pound my hips with my fists. Some days I still feel guilty for complaining when there are many others in far more pain than myself – that maybe I am ‘overreacting’. Some days I just want my body to feel ‘normal’ again.



Comparing ourselves to others is so toxic. I know that I have poisoned myself with that.

We are beautiful. We all have strength. We all have so much to share with each other. With the world.

What are your pains?
What are your frustrations?
What are your vulnerabilities?
What are your strengths?
What can you teach others?
What are your stories?

I want to share my sense of curiosity and wonder.
I want to share the lens through which I view my world.
I want to encourage people to tap into their creative ‘spark’, to discover (or recover) their authentic voice. To share their stories from a place of both vulnerability and strength.
I want to create community and connect minds and hearts.

This is a call to action.

Who’s with me?


8 thoughts on “Breathing Room – Creating Space Between You and Your Pain

  1. Another 12 Novels in 12 Months says:

    This is such a powerful piece. I completely understand the restrictions you feel although I can’t pretend to understand what it’s like to live with chronic pain.

    I’ve been experiencing growing pains as my life is taking unexpected turns and the direction I’m meant to head in isn’t the one that I’ve picked for the moment. It’s certainly been source of discomfort, consternation, frustration and a healthy dose of fear and uncertainty. I feel like I’m at the most vulnerable point in my life. The worst part about it right now is that the experience has made me doubt myself and I hate it.

    I don’t know what my strengths are; perhaps it’s the ability to accept the new direction and embrace it. I’m not yet 30 and I’m going back to school for my second career. It’s scary. My friends are just establishing their careers and here I am becoming a student gain after 4 years of the professional world.

    I do know that of all the lessons I’ve learned so far, the most important has to be to follow your heart. I’ve made practical decisions all my life and they’ve served me well and I’ve been happy enough.

    No one should ever settle for “happy enough.”

    It’s your life and you work hard to enjoy it so don’t short-change yourself when the big decisions need to be made. Will you regret not buying that impractical cottage by the ocean? Does the thought of backpacking around the world keep you up at night? Does the thought of that puppy going to live with someone else send you into a panic attack? Life has a crazy way of righting our mistakes and setting us back on course. Trust that you’ll end up where you’re supposed to be so make those impractical, out-there decisions and commitments and enjoy adventure that will inevitably follow.

    • allthesoftplaces says:

      Ooh, I’m so happy to read your response and amazing insights!! Thank you so much for sharing your story as well 🙂

      Any kind of ‘growing pain’, whether physical, emotional, mental, social, or spiritual, is a terrifying thing to confront. But it’s so important that we do CONFRONT these things and make decisions that are aligned with our hearts (no matter how difficult or scary). Having these physical pains have really forced me to confront things that are happening in my life, the way I interpret and process these things, what I value (and am I living in step with these values), and how I care for myself. My pain has challenged me to make ridiculously difficult decisions to let go of things that are causing me excess stress.

      It sounds like you’re on an adventure yourself! When you say “the direction I’m meant to head in isn’t the one that I’ve picked for the moment”, do you mean that it’s not currently the direction you’re longing for, or not the direction SOCIETY and CULTURAL NORMS expects you to head in? I think it’s awesome and powerful that you’ve decided to go back to school, if that’s what your heart calls for. It *is* scary (for one, due to the financial inaccessibility of higher education, but I won’t get into that rant…haha), but trust yourself enough to know that it’s an important and worthy investment in yourself. I have so many friends in their late twenties/thirties that are going back to school, changing careers/jobs, ending relationships, moving countries/cities, traveling, taking huge leaps in search of themselves and their purpose(s). It’s so inspiring to witness! I am always in awe and have so much respect for that. Especially since I’ve spent so much of my life being so afraid of making decisions and taking risks. I’ve constantly been told that my ideas and dreams are “impractical” and “flighty”, so I know ‘doubt’ all too well.

      Again, your insights are oh-so very powerful and moving. “Trust that you’ll end up where you’re supposed to be so make those impractical, out-there decisions and commitments and enjoy adventure that will inevitably follow.” BEAUTIFUL.

      I’m looking forward to continuing to hear more about your own journey. Thanks so much for connecting and sending you so much support ❤

  2. settleandchase says:

    Lovely honest writing, and can totally relate…I am doing morning pages again too after a few years of stopping! 🙂

    • allthesoftplaces says:

      Thanks! I used to journal ALL THE TIME, but I stopped for so many years. It’s difficult to maintain a daily practice, because we usually just look at the act of writing as being something that happens only in moments of inspiration. The morning pages really challenges that. Even the ‘mundane’ and ‘banal’ are worthy of recording and exploring 😉


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