How are you ma? Question from my daughter Could not have been better than this...my prompt answer Her eye brows raised, a broad smile covers her face and she winks back at me naughtily... Take the scene backwards ..two months back and -it is me ..back from my morning routine of jogging, completely exhausted, evident pain on my face and body, disgusted with the fact that I will never be able to make it in my life. The story now will be best understood if I take you in flash back with me in my childhood. I come from a very conservative background, cannot be called poor but surely lower middle class of Mumbai where kids do not have place for playing. I had no access to physical exercises, my walks were restricted to walks till the bus stops which would take me to my college. In school too, 2hrs weekly period of PT was treated as time for chatting with friends. It was not something which was weird as most of the kids I knew were brought up the same way. As a result my legs were quite weak. At the age of 20, so called peak of my youth ,when I used to climb the regular staircase before catching up local train , I used to feel breathless and my legs used to indicate pain. My college science practical's used to be very taxing physically, and I remember coming back home exhausted and sleeping for 12 hrs. but all that looked normal to me and my parents as I was doing regular tasks anyway. It was almost 10 years post marriage when I had put on too much weight post my 2 nd delivery, my husband asked me to join him for runs I realised that it's too difficult for me to run or even to walk ...I used to take lot of time to get used to certain tasks...and the pain used to put me off.. My body had become unfit and unhealthy due to years of neglect and therefore my whole body was in poor condition I knew I had to do something, I knew I wanted to have healthy life, I knew in order to persue my dreams I needed my physical health to be good. I started Yoga, which surely gave me agility and energy. But walking and running especially was just a no no. My legs used to pain to the extent I used to cry and think this exercise is not meant for me. I used to wonder listening stories of runners who started with 1 km a day and excelled with time. I tried motivating myself with lot of self help books and kept going back to the routine but the pain didn't stop. My lungs and muscles were inefficient and my body was poor at transporting required oxygen to the muscles which used to result in pain and more pain. My weaker muscles tendons and ligaments used to give up if I tried to push harder. I had reached a point where I thought running or any aerobic exercise is not for me, I could not bear the physical pain and opted out for easy walks. Though the pain of giving up on challenge was even more for a woman like me who truly believes that there is nothing impossible if you really work had towards anything. Little did I know that soon I am going to have a day in my life when I would have my &qout;ah-ha&qout; moment, a moment of wisdom, a moment of clarity , a spiritual moment that the answer was within me all along....yes even to my physical pain. I was talking to doctors, my friends for listening to the challenges the patient experiences during and post knee surgery. My mom was to get operated for both her knees. She has been very regimental as far as her diet, morning walks were concerned. I never thought she would need a surgery nor did she anticipate such an operation in her life. During this experience sharing I realised she will have to go through huge pain post operation during physiotherapy if she has to have a normal life again. The kind of pain they all described was equivalent to pain a mother goes through during delivery. They all still opted for the surgery as they didn't have any other choice. I could feel the pain my mom was set for...and in that moment a thought struck me ... Pain cannot be avoided, the more you think of avoiding pain the suffering just increases. Pain is part of life...physical or emotional. One cannot avoid, cannot run away from, cannot conquer. The only way is to accept its presence, embrace it. This thought just had a snowball effect...suddenly so many visuals flashed in my mind. Knowing the syringe would hurt, one has to give hand to the doctor Knowing the probable delivery pain each woman wants to be a mother and wants to experience pain Knowing that one day he would be killed or injured a soldier bravely marches ahead Pain is most often felt when you try and avoid what is causing you pain And When we embrace our pain, suddenly it isn't so painful. So the key was not to avoid pain, confront it with positivity or motivation but to just embrace it...and probably wink at it and say...yeah...let the game begin...and trust me...you win...always. I knew I had got my answer I was searching for...I wanted to try it just the very next day... It surely was not a miracle...but the pain slowly got lesser and lesser. Today at 50 I have truly started enjoying my small runs and I am very hopeful that I will make progress eventually. That is when I started to wonder about the following: &qout;If I am able to accept the positive experiences of my life, that bring me joy and happiness, without even questioning their origin or trying to avoid them, what if I did the same for the other emotions I fear so much, such as pain, fear, anger, and loneliness?&qout; I learned that by embracing the darkness within my soul, all the while shining a light on it, I can better see the depth and darkness of my pain. It does show me where the source of my suffering resides: It was in me all along.