It is hard to love your body through the aches and pains that we humans endure over our lifetime. Especially if you are one that works out and takes good care of your body. You might see posts on social media about how your body's “A temple” and hear from others that“This is the only body you will have in your lifetime”. But what do you do when your body is in pain and under the weather? How do you manage patience and compassion when your body doesn’t do what you want it to do?
I know this struggle first-hand. I was an athlete starting at the age of 8. I played basketball and wanted to play in college. During my freshman year of high school I injured my shoulder. I continued to play on it until it would dislocate. I had to go to a couple of doctors to figure out what was wrong with it. Finally, a shoulder surgeon repaired my shoulder when I was 16 years old. I endured rehabilitation for 6 months before I was able to be released for normal activities. I never played college basketball but continued to value exercise and being in shape.
I am now 31 years old and my shoulder is in pain. I have no idea what has caused this pain but I am angry about it. I am sore in the morning and in the evening. I don’t feel the same as I did 6 months ago. Instead of being compassionate about my rehabilitated shoulder, I think about all of the things I have done wrong over the years. I think about how I haven’t worked out like I should. I think about how I sit for long periods of time and don’t move my body enough. I tell myself that I am fat. I blame myself for my shoulder hurting. I am mad at my body for not responding the way I want it to. And this tape goes on and on without stopping.
When I pause and breathe, my wise brain kicks in. I realize that my shoulder was never going to be the same after surgery. I think about how my shoulder might be sore after all the years of activity post surgery. I then feel more compassion for my body, particularly my shoulder. I hear my shoulder telling me to stretch and do light yoga. When I do stretch, I listen for cues of release and satisfaction. I image my shoulder going “ahhh” as I stretch it. Instead of taking medication, my shoulder is able to heal on its own. It is able to relax and release the tension it has. I can sense the sensation of pleasure. All is well.
Our bodies are unique and wise. If we listen, we can hear what they have to say. Your body knows what it needs. All it needs is for you to pay attention.
Do you need help implementing some of these ideas and live in the Kansas City area? I would love to meet with you to discuss your specific situation. To make an appointment, you can reach me by email.