Bodies Are Awesome
I have been plagued by injuries over the years. Whiplash and calcified ribs from a car accident, patellar tendonitis, displaced kneecaps. A number of years ago the pain in my knees was that bad I was in pain stepping up on a kerb. Some years later the ligaments in my feet were so inflamed that every step I took hurt, for one whole year. Even walking had lost all its pleasure and appeal. I feared a serious limitation to my life, I feared I would have to stop dancing. I am not a professional dancer, but I am a passionate dancer, and the thought of not being able to dance was almost unbearable. Then there is my sciatica that makes its presence felt now and again. More recently I took up bouldering and landing on hard mats sent waves of pain through my knees. I became quite frustrated by it all, there seemed to be a new pain around every corner, with every new activity.
Then I took a hard fall, hurt my arm quite badly and my whiplash flared up again. Great.
Near constant pain of some sort is debilitating and frustrating. After I fell, my arm hurt when I opened doors, when I blew my nose even. Near constant pain makes you wary of movement, it makes you tired. And my pain is not excruciating, it is manageable. I can’t imagine what it is like to live with excruciating pain.
Last week I felt quite sorry for myself. Reluctant to dance, reluctant to climb, reluctant to walk, reluctant to do some basic things without wondering which angle I should hold my arm at, or whether my knee, foot, back would be sore again with that move. I ate the wrong things and drank too much, and gave my body more work to do.
I was just tired of being in pain.
My life has changed drastically over the last few years and I have focused on the journey my head has taken in all this. I have tried to work out how to heal certain wounds, how to get on the path I want to be on. Taking care of my sore body has been the annoying thing on the side.
Whilst taking care of what was in my head, and feeling sorry for myself for the pain I was feeling, I had overlooked one thing.
My body never quit on me. I have made my body dance in pain and boulder in pain, and I definitely haven’t given it enough rest and care, and it never quit on me. I have asked a lot of my body, and it has never quit one me. Luckily, pain can be a good teacher and eventually I learned to manage each injury and my body has thanked me for it, rather than resent me for being such a slow learner.
I have often been frustrated by all the things I can’t do well, or at all … and there are many of those. And there will be days again when I feel frustrated.
But today I just want to appreciate what a tough and resilient little sucker my body is, and celebrate all the things it actually CAN do. My body has allowed me to do fun, exhilarating and challenging things that help me find new energy for the battles I carry out in my head.
I am awash with gratitude for my body, this healthy and functioning machine I so often take for granted.
Movement is wonderful. Be it fun dancing or challenging climbing, movement is wonderful. Sometimes it takes the disappearance of pain to realise just how wonderful and freeing movement is.
And our bodies do that.
Bodies are AWESOME.