Walking Pain

By Catherine Viel, Golden Age of Gaia

February 22, 2021

If pain for peace prepares…~Emily Dickinson

In my opinion, I shouldn’t have pain.

Or at least, I shouldn’t have pain anymore.

I’m speaking of physical pain. The ouch kind. As in, take a step, OUCH. Repeat repeat repeat.

That walking pain gets old after a month, a year, several years.

I can’t pinpoint the exact day it started. Somewhere between 2014 and 2015. No particular injury occurred; it just got worse until I decided investigation would be prudent.

The orthopedist, a personable guy who reminds me of “young Dr. Jesse” from the 1980s show Diagnosis Murder, explained about wear and tear, arthritis, the joint deteriorates especially after age 50, blah blah blah.

Eventually I tune out. I work out at the gym a couple times a week, I take a brisk three-mile walk nearly every day. I’m not overweight, and I’m not “old.” I’m sure if I just do PT and get deep tissue massage I’ll be fine in no time. Where’s my scrip, please.

“You’ll probably need a hip replacement at some point.”

I gape at him, speechless. Is he kidding? I can’t have major surgery. Who would take care of my mom? Or me? Friends who might be willing to take on such a task live hundreds of miles away. Round-the-clock assistance for two people—for weeks—would bankrupt us.

Is he kidding?

I stagger from the clinic in a daze, horrifying visions dancing between me and the rugged Santa Ynez Mountains as they glimmer beneath the blue, blue sky. It’s hard to believe bad news when you live in paradise, and Santa Barbara is pretty close.

* * * * *

Months pass. Years. I try a laundry list of treatments and options, both Western and complementary / alternative.

Traditional PT? Rolfing? Acupuncture? Nausea-inducing pain reducer tablets derived from pineapple? Nope, nope, nope. Definitely nope.

On and on. Laundry lists are boring, I won’t continue. I was unwilling to chance hip replacement or cortisone injections. I considered, or tried, just about everything else that was suggested by trustworthy sources.

Pain is boring. It really is. After the anger and disbelief wear off, after you get tired of screaming at God or Universe or fill-in-your-deity-here, it’s just…exhausting, boring, and slightly absurd.

I learned Reiki in 2017 so I could give myself ongoing treatments. Wow! That was fun! Who knew there was all this energy stuff happening?

Thus began a multi-year journey to discover lots of esoteric topics and healing modalities I had had inklings of, but hadn’t explored in much depth. Reiki was only the beginning, as my Reiki teacher said it would be. Wise woman.

But always in the back of my mind was the spectre of a friend’s mother who committed suicide at age 68 because of unremitting, incurable, relentless physical pain.

And because we live in California, it wasn’t a tidy, love-filled suicide. It was horrific, bloody, totally unexpected by the family. Traumatizing beyond belief. No compassionate decisions to end a life that’s medically unbearable for Californians, no sirree. You gotta move to Oregon for that.

So I take pain seriously.

It’s “taught” me a lot. I’m aware that we “bring on” whatever we experience in order to have “lessons” that we’ve “asked for.” (The splattering of ironic quotes in that sentence will alert astute readers to my intermittent cynicism about “all that stuff.”)


The pain is “better” now than the first few years (more ironic quotes!). I no longer put most of my body weight on a shopping cart at the market. Or count steps as I walk through the house, calculating how far before the next chair. Or parcel out chores in 5- or 10-minute increments so as not to raise the pain-o-meter up to screaming-cursing level.

Really, it’s MUCH better. I even go for voluntary walks, “pleasant” walks, the way I used to. Certainly not for miles, and more a nursing-home shuffle than a carefree stride.

It’s not the fun, free, delighted, looking around at everything and ruminating upon how great life is jaunt that I used to take for granted. It’s more grimly determined to get out in Nature because I can’t stand not to anymore.

Oh, who am I kidding? It’s awful.

When I first had a reading with Dr. Peebles (nataliegianelli.com) in 2018, I wanted answers about this pain. And I wanted it fixed. Now, please.

And what did he tell me? “There’s nothing to fix, my dear. And if you focus on ‘fixing’ it, you just bring more energy to it and magnify it.”

Basic Law of Attraction stuff, right? Right.


The last time I asked Dr. Peebles about my “hip pain,” I did something I’d avoided doing for two and a half years. I asked him straight out, “Do I need a hip replacement?”

I paraphrase: “Perhaps, but likely not. Your pain is 95% energetic, as we see it. Not physical. So a hip replacement might be advisable at some point, but certainly not now.”


In my opinion, I shouldn’t have pain.

Or at least, I shouldn’t have pain anymore.

The trouble with attempting to follow a spiritual path, even in as lackadaisical a fashion as I have done, is that the nuggets presenting themselves as some kind of, well, truth, tend to keep rising to the surface.

I can kid myself that I could try some new PT. When the blankety-blank lockdowns we’ve endured for nearly a year finally end, I could see if the marvelous deep tissue massage therapist I was getting some excellent results from a year ago is still in business.

I’ll talk to Dr. Peebles again, see if he has any new words o’ wisdom or therapy suggestions.

Ask him again about hip replacement. That was eight months ago, maybe something has changed.

But the nugget of truth that won’t sink to the bottom of my consciousness still keeps bobbing up. (What is it made of, anyway, spiritual styrofoam??)

If it’s 95% energetic / emotional / spiritual in nature, massage work won’t help, never mind a hip replacement.

Am I willing to find out what will help it? Fix it? (I still want it fixed, despite knowing it’s not about fixing anything.) Am I willing to dig into whatever antique tarpit holds the origin of this psychic-turned-physical-pain?

Last I heard (another reading, another psychic), it’s an echo of a horrific wound from a long-ago lifetime. Stabbed by a person I’ve been entwined with nastily in this life, too.

Ginormous sigh. I don’t want to get out the deep-sea-diving suit and wade into that tarpit. Remember the sticky ending of Lt. Tasha Yar in Star Trek: The Next Generation? Not pretty.

Perhaps, for now, I could invite myself to feel gratitude. Keep in mind it is BETTER than it was. Try to lose the resentment that it’s there at all, still crippling, still infringing on any capacity for joy (movement, to me, is joy, and when it’s severely restricted, my life can’t be much fun).

Maybe I can feel a grain of gratitude because my pain-prompted spiritual meanderings led me here, to Golden Age of Gaia, and the wealth of information in the Archives and ebooks and the multiple daily blog posts.

And a larger grain of gratitude—maybe a nugget—that I am invited to contribute here, to share with you all. That’s a pretty big nugget.

And it’s not even made of styrofoam. I’d call this one golden.


One comment

  1. Reblogged this on Awaken Lifeform and commented:
    This is an excellent article, i remind so many side effects from awakening in ten years. It appeared as diffuse pains or body problems, that even doctors had no clue about. Today i would say, awakening step up the maya pyramid of consciousness and every new, is announced with symptoms for some time.


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