It is not a diagnosis, of course, and has clinical exception, but it is a provocative idea to mull over and one I've been sitting with this week.
For years, I held chronic pain in my upper back, specifically on the left side.
The tightly wound knots came and went with varying levels of intensity, the pain often creeping up and into my neck.
I tried everything to release the hold of the knots and pain on my body - acupuncture, body work, reiki, yoga, ball rolling. Relief was only temporary.
The physical pain had non-physical roots.
The origin of the pain was deeper than the surface muscles.
The problem wasn't the knots. The knots were merely a symptom.
This summer, one simple change has had a lasting impact on my chronic pain, a change that began to dissolve the knots at their root source.
Drastically reducing time spent on my laptop and phone, my source of chronic control.
We live a good portion of our lives in the invisible digital ether.
Our devices are tools of control.
We can more easily control, define, and manage our identity and relationships online, and to a degree, there is comfort in that.
However, chronic exhaustion from trying to have chronic control can take a toll.
My laptop and phone were convenient vehicles - necessities even - for how I kept my life organized, managed my day to day, and connected with those around me.
My devices were vital self-employment tools for networking, connecting, promoting, building, discovering, and growing. It was easy to fall deep down a rabbit hole, lost for hours in this invisible - yet very real - world.
This summer, I took a big step back from this digital existence. I drastically reduced my time on social media, barely touched my laptop, and took a purposeful pause from business related endeavors.
Instead, I was out in nature hiking and walking, at the library reading books, meeting up with friends for in person activities, and exploring new corners of New England.
With great space, I discovered great freedom.
As summer draws to a close, I realized that I haven't felt pain in my upper back since May.
No heating pads, no rolling against a wall with a ball, no endless periods of discomfort.
No knots, no tension.
Loosening the tether on my devices softened my need for chronic and complete control, which in turn released the hold of physical pain.
This awakening, awareness, and freedom helped me reclaim a healthy life balance whose grasp I had lost down the digital rabbit hole.
Our pursuit of chronic control, however that may personally manifest, is a symptom masking the root cause - a life lived off balance.
A healthy balance in mind and soul has a ripple down effect on the health of the physical body.
When we release our need for chronic control, we create space for balance to return and rise to the surface.
How can you create a more profound balance in your life this fall?
What happens when you power down the device and power up your presence?
What rises to the surface in the space that is created?