How can I treat a callus?

I sometimes tell students that it’s good to remain vulnerable, sensitive and open because you can find a lot happiness there.  I do also say, though, that being like that will also cause you pain.  Like Joni says: “be prepared to bleed”.

The alternative, of course, is to form a callus on your heart.  It sure as hell makes it easier to live.  Less rewarding, but easier.  No great highs, no great lows.  A middling, comfy life: which is not to be sneered at.  Let’s be honest.

Still, it’s a lot easier to deliver the advice than live with it.  Delivering the advice can make you feel wise.  Feeling wise may be a comfort at times, but if you are a sensitive person yourself then you know that the next low is just around the corner.  Sometimes it slips round the corner and smooches up to you, and sometimes you step out and forget about the corner and it slams you down like a truck hitting a pram.

I listened to Gabor Maté recently in an interview with Russell Brand and Gabor talked about trauma a lot.  His idea being that we are born open and vulnerable and learn as we grow up to close off depending on how we experience love.  It made me think about myself (everything does: I’m a narcissist).  It made me wonder why I am so sensitive to change, loss and rejection.  You could say: “Isn’t everyone?”  Sure.  But I have a bad case of it.  If someone I trust cuts me I brood over it.  Sometimes for decades.  If someone leaves I feel personally insulted.  And devastated.  It pushes me into depression.  Even change can sometimes trigger a spiral down.  It depends on the change.  Changing socks is ok.  My daughters getting older?  Not so ok.

Without going into the specifics of my childhood, I can look back at my early years and see obvious reasons for all this.  I say obvious, but I really mean that they are obvious to me now.  They were not obvious to me as I grew up, or even in my twenties or thirties.  It wasn’t obvious to me when I was ten why I felt the departure of one of my friends for a new city like a numbing, constrictive pain in my throat and lungs that left me speechless, or why I couldn’t do something “normal” like cry about it.  Looking back it’s pretty fucking obvious.  My dad died when I was five, and the post death grieving was repressed.  40 years to realise that isn’t too bad I guess, but it’s not too flash either.

If I feel hurt I close down.  I isolate myself.  I know that about myself and have become slightly better at knowing that, and trying to push past it.  I’m not mature though.  I still want a hole to crawl into.  A dark place.  Forcing myself to shrug and stay in the sun is the best thing to do 90% of the time.  I know it.  But it’s fucking hard when you’ve trained yourself in the opposite direction for decades and only just realised why.

I tire myself out.

  1. Soak the callus in warm water
  2. File with a pumice stone



Published by


I wrote a book called Kaitiaki o te Pō