Tatcho Drom
Journeying Journals of a Jolly Journeyman

Pain Tolerance

My brothers and I have had some grueling experiences due to our pain tolerance. We didn’t look forward getting hurt at school since we were often made to wait in the sick bay for much longer than necessary because the teachers didn’t think we were badly hurt, when in reality, we were screaming and crying out inside! lol

Pain tolerance is not something that only our brothers and I have nurtured, but I believe it extends to other members of our families. For example, when my wife gave birth to our child, she never screamed out or made a sound! Allow that to sink in and realise how different we are raised to the vast majority of people in the general public.

It is important to understand that just because we don’t react to pain like everyone else, it doesn’t mean we don’t feel pain.

Our pain tolerance is something that comes from within us. Something in us tells us that it’s not for us to show our extreme pain, but it needs to be controlled. And I think that’s one of the key factors, as self control is a huge part of our cultural upbringing.

I believe that self control is so important because the opposite is also true! We can be so emotional and passionate that many of us have huge potentials to create havoc and immense change around us if we do not restraint our volatile natures.

It makes sense that if we are to live in harmony and enjoy ourselves together, we need to learn self control and master ourselves. Pain is one of the main ways that our flesh speaks to us. It was designed that way, and to not be able to control our pain is to not be able to control ourselves. Often, our appetites cause a reaction within us when it speaks to us in pain. And we are taught that if we are not in control of our appetites, we are not in control of ourselves.

It is very liberating to do what we want to do, and not do what our cravings, addictions and appetites demand of us. Being in control of ourselves brings spiritual freedom. It allows our higher selves (or spirits) to function uninhibited by the pressures and demands of our flesh, or lower selves.

Let us take a little time to reminisce my childhood. I remember how during family get-togethers children would fall down in front of the adults, and instead of the adults acting sorry for the child and drawing tears and a painful reaction from the child, they would whoop and cheer and clap for us children.

This would make us happy, because we didn’t feel ashamed about falling or for hurting, and we could laugh with everyone else and show them our cuts. We would receive smiling affection and praise for being so brave. Then we would have natural remedies placed in our wounds that stung, but we thought it was great! because we could have another opportunity to show how brave we were. These natural remedies included adding lemon, salt and cold pressed olive oil in our wounds.

Having our splinters taken out of our flesh was always an experience. One I particularly didn’t enjoy – just the thought of having something probing around inside my flesh makes me feel squirmish. lol This is when my mother would employ the technique of allowing our minds to focus on something else rather than the pain. She would tell awesome stories that allowed our imaginations to wander to another place, rather than focus on the pressure of pain.

My mother has been a huge teacher for us to control our pain. We would often have games of Mercy (handshake-squeezing or hand grappling) to see how much we could handle the pain. It was quite a day when I first beat her! lol She’s very strong physically, despite her appearance!

My mother also made us drink her “brujeria” which she jokingly called. Awful concoctions, such as blended chives, garlic and onions when we had a cold. Also concoctions of fresh beetroot juice (eww, still don’t like it!). And her favourite to make us suck it up, stinging nettle juice (barf!).

And talking about stinging nettle! Haha. How can we forget my eldest brothers getting butt naked and playing outside as they whipped each other with stinging nettle vines. lol Yes, it does have therapeutic qualities, but we wont get into that now. The point is that you need to have a very high pain tolerance to be able to enjoy that game!

One of the games my younger brother and I played when we arrived to Australia was wrestle only wearing shorts on top of green ant nests! lol The game consisted of trying to hold a brother down on top of the green ant nest for as long we could while the green ants went around stinging the hell out of us!

Indeed, most people thought us brothers were absolutely nutters, but hey, this is just us.

There are various ways to control pain, one I mentioned above, which I shall repeat and I’ll describe a couple more:

  1. Focus away from the pain. Pain grabs us by our tender bits and demands all of our attention. It’s not easy to focus away from the pain. But it can be done with the practice of using the imagination and focus. You could say that we learn to go to our “happy place”. :-)
  2. If you can’t cry, laugh about it. An itch (which kind of tickles) and pain use the same nerve endings. So, we can turn pain into an incredible itch that makes us laugh! Actually, I’m not exactly sure of how we do it, but you’ll often find us laughing (sometimes hysterically, which can make others around us respond in laughter too) when we are in extreme pain. Yes, there’s tears, there’s often some writhing, but there is also most definitely a crazy ass laugh that goes along with it. :-)
  3. Suck it up, plain and simple. People are often weak, drama and/or attention seekers, and expressing pain suits their purposes. We are taught to keep the pain to ourselves, because it’s better to shine positivity, rather than feelings that make others feel bad.

What I have shared concerns physical pain. Emotional pain… now how we deal with that is a completely different story. :-)

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