The Scalpel and The Mattress: Or, How to Excise our Demons

I get sore muscles a lot. I lift things that are too heavy for me. I sleep on my neck funny. I drive too long without a break. I hunch over a computer all day. I hunch over Instagram all night. I wake up and don't stretch but instead stare down at the coffee while it brews painfully crunching my neck all within the first five minutes of the waking day. Oh I get sore muscles all right.

And I get spiritual sore muscles too. I'm impatient and cramp time. I'm anxious and twist my heart into knots. I long for things I know aren't good for me. I get the things that are good for me and exhaust myself pushing them away. I procrastinate and waste my gifts of spirit, few though they may be. I judge others and find myself full of fear. I stay up late for fear of nightmares and am like the walking dead by morning. Oh yes, my spiritual muscles get worked up in knots too.

When I do these things, the first tool I like to pick up is the scalpel of judgment. I admire its sharpness, efficiency, and deadly shine. It fits neatly in my hand, I can carry it with me everywhere, and it works incredibly fast whenever sore muscles arise. I feel them, I find them, I cut them out with my judgment scalpel and they're gone. Or at least I think they are.

As you're probably imagining, what's really happening is me just gouging spiritual holes in my body, attempting to cut out evergreen spiritual 'muscles' that always grow back, but bloodier, more tender, and angrier than ever before. Even though I believe with all my heart that the scalpel is my savior, that judgment will really fix me this time, that if only I could cut this massive flaw right out of my body I would be well, it never works. The scalpel of judgment isn't what it seems.

The other tool I have - that I almost never use but that has a 100% success rate - is a mattress. A really good one. California King size from Tuft & Needle with a 3-inch memory foam topper. And a pillow made especially for my head and my neck. Plus the softes Egyptian cotton sheets topped by a tempurature regulating comforter. This mattress is what I call the mattress of compassion and it works wonders for spiritual sore muscles, if only I would use it.

When our spiritual patterns bubble up - you know the ones; fear, depression, manipulation, isolation, jealousy, anger, shame, guilt - they always cause sore muscles. It's just the nature of our bodies. We can't help it and it's nothing to be ashamed of. And when we feel it, we have a choice; the scalpel or the mattress.

Whatever you've been through this year, my wish for you is that you know you always have a mattress to rest on. I wish for me and you to see that even though we have many scalpels in our tools belts, we don't have to use them. I wish for us all that even though our spiritual heavy lifting sometimes leaves us sore, we give ourselves the compassion needed to recover.

And here's the secret of these two tools; although we think the scalpel works well and fast, it's actually the mattress that's full of magic. The paradox of judgment and compassion is that judgment only more deeply cements the things we're trying to heal, while compassion can cure us almost instantaneously, if we're willing to use it.

Working with compassion almost always goes better with an Other. This could be a trusted friend, counselor, minister, or even our animals who are so gifted at compassion (and often very soft too!). If you're in need of someone to help you offer compassion to the painful parts of your sacred story, we're here to help. Book a spiritual support session today at and let us help you soften the sore muscles of your spirit.

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