I recall, decades ago, when first learning to lock joints, throw, and fall (should it happen to me), my instructor was adamant on a principle of engagement that extends to every aspect of life - from self defense to trauma healing:
Look at the pain.
It's a principle that has served me well over the years. And in those times where it's been ignored, I've paid a price.
Pain is important. It's information. When you're aware of it, face it, and take it seriously, it's your greatest teacher, because it'll show you exactly what must be done to alleviate it. In joint locking, novices all make the same mistake. They look away, move away, try to distance themselves from the source.
But when facing a competent martial artist attempting to break your wrist with a wrist lock, looking/turning away is recipe for shoulder destruction and a broken wrist.
One must face, 'look at', the source of the pain - their own wrist - and blend with it. This is both how one can learn to counter these techniques, as well as flow with and 'flip' out of them into a break fall - thereby sparing your wrist and shoulder, but taking a few bruises from the ground.
With training, this strategy becomes default patterning, and not only buys one time to alleviate the pain, but to see opportunities amidst it, to counter and take advantage.
One must look at the pain to nullify it.
This principle is no less valid in trauma healing (and somatic coaching) as in martial arts.
In working with clients with trauma and PTSD over the years, that principle has proven equally indispensable. Trauma, the experience of pains past, get stored in our psychobiology. When mind-body patterns present at the onset of a trauma - breath patterns, postural cues, eye movements, etc - visions, sounds, smells, and fears rise to the surface.
To lesser degrees, those prone to anger or avoidance, while perhaps not in the same category, are similarly reliving patterns that hijack executive function and trigger the reliving of old coping mechanisms.
The first step in trauma healing (and personal growth), in regaining control over thoughts and actions, is... you guessed it:
Look at the pain.
The last thing most people want to do. And just as in martial arts 101, most people, rather than face it, avoid it. They do whatever they can do make it go away immediately, but in so doing, reinforce, if not augment, the pain.
The rationale to flee is reasonable, and strong - the pain is real. Unbearable in many cases.
But the poison is also the cure.
Looking at the pain with conscious awareness - awareness of the breath, one's physical posture, and thoughts - allows for the nullification of pain and the healing of trauma. It disassociates current ways of being from old ways of feeling, as the neural pathways that bound experience with emotional attachment are weakened, if not decoupled.
Looking at the pain provides the opportunity to reset mind-body patterns that cause regressive experience, and establish a new relationship with one's past. This is how one relearns to access the present, a present free of pain.
If you're reading this and feeling less than weightless, look at the pain. For just a few minutes. Pull your shoulders back and expose your heart... you're not in danger. Drop your breath, breathing from the abdomen in slow, controlled, relaxed breathing. Keep looking at the pain.
Don't judge it. Don't flee it. Don't look away.
It only exists because you choose to carry it.
In this moment, there is no pain.
The Weightlessness Process | 12-Week Mind Body Performance Program