Don't Shoot The Messenger: Finding The Lessons In Pain

Updated: Jul 28

My body sent me a big billboard of a message a few weeks ago, in the form of a sty.

And it did so rather poetically – as prior to that, while working on my new course, I had been talking about how I had “healed myself” of sties as I hadn’t had one in nearly a year.

Then BAM I was humbled. Humbled by my own damn body.

I could have blamed it on the dust in the air, I could have deemed my body a failure yet again, I could have just stuck to hot compresses and homeopathic remedies and hoped it never return. But in the midst of a pandemic, I knew this had to do with something more than just physical imbalances, so I asked myself a few questions.

Your body is not broken.

We are told that the symptoms our body produces are signs of dysfunction, indicative of disease, out of balance, broken. Symptoms mean we need to be fixed, by someone else.

Sure, something's off kilter - but it probably isn't just your body.


We have been taught to separate physical disease from mental: a sty is an infection of the eye and should be treated locally.


If I use warm compresses and keep it clean it will go away.


If it comes back, we'll maybe I just have chronic blepharitis and my body isn't so good at healing.


And that's just the way it is.


Wait what?


Refute the idea that your body is incapable of healing

Your body heals you every single day. It is a miraculous machine of homeostasis: always interacting with new environments, adapting, evolving, growing, healing, balancing. Your body heals every single day – symptoms are signs of that.

My body knows how to heal a sty, in fact it has done it 2-3 times a year for the last 5-6 years. It swells and inflames to bring attention, to protect, to increase blood flow: to heal.

The problem is not in my body’s ability to heal, but in my ability to hear the message my body is telling me.

The mind and the body are one.

When your mind can’t handle something, your body takes over. It is impossible for the two to not interact – when that is literally what they do all day and night to keep us alive.

When I couldn’t handle my life circumstances five years ago, my health deteriorated. When I couldn’t face the emotions coming up, my body held them.

When I was triggered a few weeks ago, my body produced a sty. It said, “we’re still stuck here, the lesson still needs to be learned”.

Alternatively: you can do all the hot compresses and take all the homeopathic remedies, but until you learn the lesson, I’ll be here.

Every symptom of your body holds a story of the mind. Every accident, every ache, every cold, every twinge. And they will repeat until the lesson is learned.

How can we uncover the messages of our body?

I asked myself many questions as I explored my most recent sty, but here are three for you to consider:

What is your symptom preventing you from doing/having?

My sty was preventing me from fully opening my eyes, from looking at screens (work), and from showing my true self (a giant swollen eye sure makes you want to hide!).

What could you do/have if it were gone?

I could work harder, show myself to others, and see what is in front of me.

What was happening when it came on?

Oof. A lot. Pandemic, life changes, confrontation (with others and myself), money, moving. But after a few reflective questions, I knew what this connected to – it was clear to me that this sty was the result of me not seeing what was in front of me for so long, and not speaking up for myself in a situation that needed it.

I sat with these insights for a couple of days and kept loving that sty with warm compresses as it grew and changed and evolved. Then on day 3 when it felt like it had stopped progressing, I took Silica – just one dose.

The next day it was gone.

And it will for sure return if I didn’t fully learn the lesson– or something else will come up.

Because our bodies are a lot like toddlers trying to get their needs met: they’ll scream and shout until they’re satisfied.

They don’t care who’s watching. They don’t care if it’s silly.

We may try to ignore them, try to distract them, but if it’s a need that has to be met – they will make it known.

We don’t shoot the messenger, we address their needs.

What is your body telling you?

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Copyright Paula Jeffrey 2020 | Photography by Kathryn Dyce