I was meditating on Monday and I inwardly asked for direction.  What do I need to learn now? What came to me was “pain.”  I need to learn to accept pain, and even to find comfort in it.

I often find myself backing down from pain, both physically and emotionally.  I avoid confrontation so as to avoid the pain of criticism or rejection.  As for physical pain, I work out and do yoga, both of which allow me to experience some degree of pain.  But what I always find is that when the pain arrives I back off.  When lifting weights instead of working through the pain, I drop the bar.  One of my favorite poses in Yoga is the Camel pose.  I like it because it is a very challenging pose that I can do with only minor modification.  The problem is I can only hold the pose for a few seconds because of the pain.  I would greatly benefit from holding it longer, but it hurts way too much.


A driving force in my life (and most people’s) is fear.  What I fear is pain.  The best way to begin to release fear is to learn to appreciate pain.  When I got this “message” during my meditation, I felt very much that it was directed toward physical pain.  I thought particularly about my experience with yoga and the poses that challenge my body.  I feel like dealing with pain begins at the physical level, then moves into the emotional level, and ultimately to the spiritual plane.

Conveniently enough, I had already scheduled an appointment with pain at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday.  I have been thinking about getting a second tattoo for a while and finally had the nerve to follow through.  The process of getting my tattoo took about an hour.  In the first phase I nearly passed out.  The artist got me a cup of water and lounged the chair back.  Kelly, who was along for moral support, went to the gas station and got me a Coke.  I reminded myself to breathe (just like Alain, the artist, had instructed me) and stayed with it.  It was difficult and required me to be present.  I am very good at visualizing all sorts of things at painful moments that only make matters much worse.  I couldn’t let my mind lead me astray.  I had to just feel the pain as it was.  It was quite a challenge for me as the tattoo is big with intricate detail.  After it was over the reward was this beautiful symbol on my leg to remind me of my spiritual journey.  Throughout the  day I could feel the twinges of pain near my ankle and strangely enough I appreciated and found comfort in them.  It was the feeling of aliveness as my body worked to repair itself.  I believe that in moments of great pain and pleasure we are made accutely aware of the divine energy within us.  It is another reminder not to run or hide from the opportunities that may bring us both….

Here is a picture of the tattoo.  Unless you are one of my tweeps, this will probably come as a complete surprise to you.  I haven’t shared my desire to get a tattoo with very many people.  It is Ganesha.  The first person who told me about Ganesha, described him as “the remover of obstacles.”  It is this attribute of God that will lead me beyond the distractions and keep me on my spiritual path.



16 thoughts on “Pain

  1. Renee October 9, 2009 / 7:10 am

    I just want to tell you that I’ve been thinking and thinking and thinking about getting a tattoo between my shoulder blades. Your description of the pain of getting it on your ankle has convinced me I can’t handle it.

    It is beautiful, though!

    • lesleehorner October 9, 2009 / 7:25 am

      Oh no, I don’t want to do that. I’m pretty whimpy remember? Another friend described it to me as feeling like a cat was scratching her over and over (you know how they do that thing with their paws) and said it wasn’t bad at all. Hers is in the spot you are thinking.

      • Renee October 9, 2009 / 7:55 am

        I’m still scared! I don’t like pain. It’s one of the things holding me back. And my mother and Chris are both against it, but I’m not sure I care. 🙂

  2. Jase October 9, 2009 / 10:08 am

    Very cool Leslee … I firmly believe that tattoos should have meaning, rather than reflect poor impulse control 😀

    To Renee, the pain depends largely on where you get it.


    That’s my first, and only, ink so far. I’d wanted it for a very long time, but I wasn’t ready to get it until earlier this year. It’s on the outside of my calf. Spent four hours in the chair but it was so worth it.

    A cat “kneeding” is a good way to describe it … some say the outlining of it is worse. I didn’t find that to be true. For me the coloring, but ONLY in certain spots, was worse.

    I’d do it again in a heartbeat … in fact, I have an idea for my next one but I’ve not fully fleshed (LOL) it out yet.

    Congrats on the ink Les!

    • lesleehorner October 9, 2009 / 10:53 am

      Thanks Jase for posting a picture of yours. I see it in your avatar, but with this I can really see the details! And you just totally won me over by calling me Les! I guess now the secret is out, but I LOVE when people shorten my name to Les and only a few people throughout my life do that (including my dear sister and 2 of my best friends).

    • Renee October 9, 2009 / 11:56 am

      I’m still not convinced. lol

      I’ve heard it depends on where, but I want mine between my shoulder blades and I’ve been told that’s one of the most painful spots.

  3. Jase October 9, 2009 / 10:09 am

    ahh… HTML tags don’t work … just cut and paste the address in your browser to see it 🙂

  4. ray October 9, 2009 / 10:47 am

    Of course you were in pain. Tattoo parlors are busiest after 11 pm when the clientel is blitzed. So you went cold turkey. I do know something about pain. Once the pain is gone, it is gone. You can remember being in pain but not the pain itself. Isn’t the human psyche and body amazing?

    • lesleehorner October 9, 2009 / 10:51 am

      We actually talked to the guy about that whole “blitzed” thing and he said he will not do tattoos on someone that has been drinking. He said it’s why his parlor closes at 7pm. He also said you bleed more if you have alcohol in your system (or if the artist goes too deep). I barely bled at all.

  5. julian October 9, 2009 / 5:20 pm

    Wow! Pretty amazing picture of Ganesha on your leg Leslee. My wife, who I call The Deistette on my blog has been wanting to get a tattoo for a long time and has been getting closer and closer to making it happen but she comes up with what I think are pretty poor choices to put on her body. So on top of her not dealing with pain very well and me telling her “no… not that for a tattoo” she still hasn’t quite done it yet.

    This line stuck out the most for me.
    “…could feel the twinges of pain near my ankle and strangely enough I appreciated and found comfort in them. It was the feeling of aliveness…”

    Reminded me of these lines from these two songs.
    I don’t want it. I just need it. To feel, to breathe, to know I’m alive. ~Tool “Stinkfist”

    Yeah, you bleed just to know you’re alive! ~ The Goo Goo Dolls “Iris”

    • lesleehorner October 9, 2009 / 6:44 pm

      My other tattoo is a strawberry, one of my sorority symbols. I regretted it briefly when I ended up quitting my sorority, but over time I came to appreciate it as a symbol for that period of my life and the friendships that I made. I have discovered that I can rejoin at anytime if I want to be active in the alumnae, I just have to pay too much $ in back dues for me to do it now. But it could have been looked at as a poor choice for a tattoo, but I never have thought of it like that.

  6. moderndaystoryteller October 9, 2009 / 8:14 pm

    Wow, cool tats – Leslee and Jase. Couldn’t do it myself. Couldn’t take the pain.

    • lesleehorner October 9, 2009 / 9:06 pm

      What I originally wanted was going to take 2 hours. I talked myself out of it b/c I knew I couldn’t handle 2 hours. With my first one I was the biggest baby. I whined about it all day long after it was over. I am still amazed that I did this one. I’m already thinking of what I want next….

  7. Charlotte October 10, 2009 / 7:56 pm

    saw you follow me on twitter, followed back, saw that you have a blog, as do I, so I subscribed, saw that you are a SITS (personally hate that title), so I am leaving a comment. I also like Yoga but still holding out on the tattoo. But it’s not the physical pain, just waiting for that perfect moment.
    Nice to meet ya,

    • lesleehorner October 10, 2009 / 8:08 pm

      Nice to meet you! Thanks for visiting and commenting. I love the name of your blogspot, I’ll have to get over there and check it out! It’s definitely good to wait for the right moment and symbol to tattoo. I got my 1st at 19 and waited 15 years for the second.

  8. Amanda October 12, 2009 / 7:45 am

    Your post reminds me of how I felt after I gave birth to my daughter. My son’s birth had been problematic – I had been one of those moms-to-be that said ‘who needs Lamaze when you have an EPIDURAL coming your way???’ 🙂 Needless to say, I didn’t pay as much attention as I should have…

    Then, my labor was a day and a half of pain, when three tries and three failed epidurals later, he was a forceps birth and I was completely miserable…

    But 3 years later, with my daughter on the way, I decided to take things into my own hands. I had gotten this book about hypno-birthing – using self-hypnosis to get through childbirth. I thought ‘anything’s worth a shot at this point!’… 18 hours after laboring at home – and taking control of the pain, riding the waves of it, embracing it, and just…relaxing through it, I went to the hospital, and gave birth naturally to a beautiful baby girl.

    If anyone had asked me about hypnosis prior to that I would have told them they had a screw loose. But it really worked, and it was all about what you are saying: embracing the pain and living in the moment. I felt like a million bucks afterward, when the endorphins kicked in, vs. how I felt the first time around: like getting hit by a Mack truck…

    That is a beautiful tattoo!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s