I came clean with my yoga class the other day. I confessed. Even though I preach the good word about listening to one’s body and taking care of oneself, I hadn’t been.
I have had a sore shoulder for a year and finally went to a health practitioner about it. How’s that for taking care of myself?
It was my baby carrying side and when my baby was a year and a bouncy 20 pounds we celebrated my other son’s birthday by going on Theodore Tugboat. It was a great trip around the harbour and i learned a lot about Halifax but I also carried Leo on that side for the whole time. By the end of the day i thought my arm was going to fall off and did my shoulder ever hurt.
And it really hasn’t stopped hurting. Sometimes its more cranky than others and then I’d baby it for a while, but it was always low level sore.
I called an osteopath once and when his office didn’t return my call in 4 days i got cheesed off and didn’t make an appointment when they finally called (i must have been more cranky than my shoulder was that day).
Finally, the other morning in the shower, i pulled myself up by my imaginary bootstraps and thought, Fox, for gods sake, get someone to look at your shoulder.
My chiropractor does that bioflex laser thing and I’ve been going for a few sessions and it’s fixing up quite nicely. She also gave me exercises to do and so after confessing to my yoga class i asked them to do my exercises with me.
My BFF and i have been talking about this ache ‘n pain thing. She has a sore heel that’s getting in the way of her running, which makes her unhappy because she can’t run and running makes her happy. And we talked about how our aches and pains make us so darn cranky, when really, that’s life right?
There’s nowhere that says our bodies will be healthy and painfree for the time we meander this earth. In fact its the opposite, we will, guaranteed, spend time sick, injured and in pain. That’s just reality.
And i think that’s where i got to with my shoulder, i would feel the pinch and i would feel all unhappy about it and wish it were different but then not actually do anything about it.
I finally just got over myself. Deal with it and just move on.
Our bodies can be such good teachers. And our window for experiencing the world. Scott Bea, a psychologist says that all fun comes through the physical, “No one ever says, ‘I had a fun time thinking last night.’”
It reminds me of something i read from Pema Chodron’s book, “The Wisdom of No Escape”
It is helpful to realize tht being here, sitting in meditation, doing simple everyday things like working, walking outisde, talking with people, eating, using the toilet, is actually all that we need to be fully awake, fully alive, fully human. It’s also helpful to realize that this body that we have, this very body that’s sitting here right now in this room, this very body that perhaps aches, and this mind that we have at this very moment, are exactly what we need to be fully human, fully awake, and fully alive. Furthermore, the emotions that we have right now, the negativity and the positivity, are what we actually need. It is just as if we looked around to find out what would be the greatest wealth that we could possibly possess in order to lead a decent, good, completely fulfilling, energetic, inspired life, and found it all right here.
I read an article on work/life balance and really like what Emily Hickey had to say. She’s the CMO of Hashable and has a young child. She owes her sanity to meditation, having a great spouse/support system and looking for the soft factors at work (like liking your co-workers). Here’s what she says:
Humor and lightness really have to be at the core of the family and you have to be psyched that you have a family and sort of constantly aware that you chose to do this and be pretty joyful about that choice. I actually think it’s sort of a trick to be enjoying your family at that level on a daily basis versus just being overwhelmed by logistics and lack of personal time.
I’ve been having a tough time lately keeping all the balls in the air. Some days it feels like chainsaws, some days, flaming torches. I had a sleepover at a friend’s place last weekend and it was so nice to escape my life for 24 hours.
She lives in a straw bale house on a lake and it’s serene and beautiful and quiet there. Just her and her two dogs and cat. Pretty different from my noisy chaotic city life.
We played the Transformation game and i really focused on – how i can find more Balance in my life. I know Balance is a moving target and as soon as you find it the pendulum swings and you’re out of whack somewhere again. And that’s OK.
But enough Balance that i’m getting the quality things in life, even if it’s in small doses, instead of just more laundry. A place where I’m doing the important things, The Wanna Do’s as well as the other important things, The Gotta Do’s.
The Wanna Do’s are the things that make me feel like I have something useful to offer my yoga classes. Or a run on a Sunday morning to collect my thoughts. Or take my kids to the park and not just wish they’d get out of my way so i can Get Things Done.
On Sunday after the sleepover I drove home feeling great. I felt inspired and refreshed. I felt like it was all possible.
And then I arrived home. I walked in the door, through the house and immediately felt overwhelmed.
I walked past plants that were begging for water. Walked over dust bunnies sticking their tongues out at me. Overflowing laundry baskets. I felt completely and totally overwhelmed. I was immobilized. None of it felt possible. I laid on the bed and felt sorry for myself.
And then I got my ass off the bed and got a few things done. And then i felt like things were manageable again.
But looking back at it, i don’t want my mood to shift based on the number of crossed off items on my to-do list. I’m a total accomplishment junkie but i don’t want to be. I just want to feel good. Regardless.
I’m getting better at realizing there will always be items on my to-do list. I used to be able to do it all, now it just ain’t happening and that’s my life right now. It’s ok.
But I want to go a step further and feel good regardless.
I heard an interview with Jill Bolte Taylor. She’s the one who did the amazing TED talk. And she said in Oprah’s interview that as a brain scientist she can tell us that the chattery part of our brain that obsesses over to-do lists is a bunch of neurons the size of a peanut. Those thoughts that were driving me bananas are the product of a few cells. And since i can’t hold two thoughts in my head at once – i can choose.
I can decide to wallow in my overwhelm, or i can choose another thought. I have control over making friends with both my Gotta Do list and my Wanna Do list. And make sure i get some of both in my day. I can stay in the present moment and enjoy what i’m doing rather than wish i was doing something else. And i can feel good regardless of any list.