The Wisdom of Pain – From Pain to Power

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by Joanna Charlton

I was determined to get out of Chronic pain, a victim mindset, negative behaviour and thinking, and bad habits which had ultimately resulted in where I was. I resolved to change my life and I took 100% responsibility, stopped blaming and complaining, pulled up my socks and started on my path to my courageous future.

You see, I was 38 yrs old, It was 2014, I hadn’t done too badly until now, Living in beautiful Crete, getting an MSc and PhD in Immunology. I had just left 15 years (1999-2013) of studies and research career behind, which everyone was saying I was mad to do in ‘these’ times (including my mom), and I moved to a tiny village in the south of Crete with my Cretan partner and we soon started a family. The idea was to live a minimal, sustainable, self-sufficient farming lifestyle in the ‘wild west’ of Crete, the Messara Plain (people really do still shoot machine guns up into the air during a celebration!). It was a total shock and despite my best efforts 2 years trying, It became a drag, resilience farming wasn’t for me.

I had been in constant pain with a ‘chronic body and back pain’ for the majority of my adult life and had finally went to the doctors and was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. I got to the point where I was in so much pain that I couldn’t get my socks on in the morning and often couldn’t even bend down to pick-up my little toddle, let alone do all the other chores around the house and farm. I was depressed. I felt like I was never enough, never strong enough, not a good enough farmer, mother, lover, daughter-in-law, etc. I felt totally trapped, unappreciated, uninspired and unfulfilled by life AND we were broke, which helped add to the misery. I was stuck in a negative cycle of mediocrity, and couldn’t see a way out.

fibromyalgia pain

Two years later in 2016, while grape picking in the scorching hot midday Cretan sun, a friend and English Teacher asked me to do the ‘speaking’ part of the lessons for her English students, I jumped at the chance, anything to get out of working in that heat. I started the next week. The following year I took on my first English student of my own, an 8-year-old girl in the next door village. Soon I began teaching kids in different villages in the ‘deep south’ of Crete, buried in the ‘Astarousia’ mountain range. At first I was teaching them just English, but as soon as I gained confidence, I was soon coaching them too, helping them also to gain confidence and envision a brighter future, using English as a means to open doors into worlds they couldn’t have ever imagined. Within 2 years I had filled my evenings teaching and developed a reputation in the area for my ability to get kids to ‘really’ learn and speak English. This gave me the spring board I was looking for but still I remained unfulfilled. I knew there was more for me.

In January of 2019, I decided to invest in myself, take time out for me, and find my purpose, my calling in life. I took a course online (Lifebook with John and Miss Butcher from ‘Mindvalley’ self-development platform), which coached you through an intensive clarity process, to create my very own ‘life book’; A book that describes and pictures in detail, what I want my ideal life to look like, in every area of my life! It was a revelation to me that I could create and design the life I truly wanted and make a step-by-step road map to get it. It changed my life forever and I started to gain momentum. 

Through this process of self-discovery and creation I found my purpose in life: to do what I have always loved to do; self-development and self-actualization to reach my fullest potential and to help others to reach their greatest self and create their greatest life.

I spent the rest of the year studying everything I could get my hands on, audio programs, books, webinars, attending coaching summits. In June 2020, NLP (Neural Linguistic Programming) and life coaching with David Key was the first course I completed and then the second course I took was Virtual Coach with Eben Pagen, that I graduated from in Feb 2021. I am currently attending the Virtual Coach Accelerator course-the inner and outer Entrepreneur.

With more than 100 hours of 1:1 sessions and groups, I have inspired, empowered and supported many people to gain the clarity they need to break through their physical, mental and emotional blocks with mind-body integration medicine so that they can start to do the things and activities they really want and create the life they truly desire. 

With Habit building for a painless living program, and holding the notion of the wisdom of our pain, I help and inspire people to look at their current results and see their pain as a ‘Cry for help and mostly a springboard, to convert pain into power to change their life style and build healthy holistic habits that, primarily reduces pain and serves their mind and body to create the life they have always wanted.  

Implementing what I had learnt to my daily life and creating new power health habits reduced my chronic pain by 70% in a matter of months, and I went from avoiding bending and doing any form of exercise to a powerful, happy fully integrated body that I exercise daily. I realized I had witnessed the mind-body connection in action and I am here to help others do the same, that is my purpose. If you are interested in more information, please find me on my Holistic Life Coach FB page. With love Joanna Charlton, Certified life coach and PhD in Immunology.