I have been having pain for a few days that had really grabbed my attention. Pain has a way of grabbing our attention, like nothing else can, right? This one was somewhere new, the back of my knee. This particular knee has had multiple surgeries, so I am quite accustomed to different pings and pangs. This wasn’t ordinary, in the decades that I have been dealing with this, the back of my knee had always managed to avoid agitation. That is, until now.
The pain was sharp, demanding, and lingering. I did the usual stuff that I do when that happens, and got nowhere. I thought about all the things I have done, over the last few days that might have caused it, and was confident that no one thing was to blame. Blame really is a wasted mental effort, after all, it is the resolution that counts.
Previously, I would have stayed home, and vegetated on the sofa, either listening to music, or mindlessly watching the television. Firmly believing that a few days rest would absolutely take care of it. The current, slightly wiser me, knew this was exactly the time, to avoid the couch, get to the gym, and check in with Harley. He is, after all, my man with a plan.
He was very quick to agree, that my right leg had become very tense. Most likely,I thought because it HURT. No one wants to make themselves hurt. In fact, we would be most unusual, if we did not do everything in our power to avoid it. So we tense up, a natural reaction, but one that only seems to serve to make matters worse.
He asked me to really concentrate on making a certain muscle work, it was an exercise that we had done countless times before, so I knew what he was asking for. I thought of nothing else other than the movement,. My mind was literally as empty as an amusement park in a hurricane. I was only thinking of the task at hand, and the movement that had been requested. Repeatedly, I tried in vain to engage the muscle. There was nothing.
So what was I missing? My mind was present, my brain knew the move, and my body made the motion. What more could anyone want? The exercise was becoming futile. Was coming to the gym a waste of time after all? On the verge of giving up, I thought this is ridiculous, I would say I was more mildly frustrated, than annoyed by this point, but the scales were about to tip, if something didn’t happen. Now what ???? I hurt, the offending muscle was playing hide and seek, and we were going around in circles, ending up as we were when we started.
Then instinctively I started back at the very beginning. It resembled those times when you have to retrace your steps, when you are looking and looking for some misplaced treasure. Then you discover it, right back where you thought it was all along, even though you would have sworn, that you checked there with a fine tooth comb. What do you know, suddenly the muscle fired like a fine sports car ready for action. What the heck just happened? Why didn’t it do that in the first place? Once the correct muscle took on the work load, my pain dissipated. Without pain medication. The angry muscles that had tighten around the problem area released, returning to their regular duties. I could move properly. Hallelujah, peace was restored.
The moral of this story is this
Sometimes in life, it isn’t about keeping going, doing the same things over and over again, to no ones satisfaction. It becomes about stripping things down and starting from the very beginning again, as though you had never done something before.
Often we need our mind, body and spirit harmoniously committed to one another. When either one checks out, nothing happens. We might think something is going on, however just as surely as your computer doesn’t work without a wi if signal, nothing gets accomplished.
This small example, goes deeper than getting a muscle working. In the bigger picture, it is easy to keep doing something the same way, either because it has worked in the past, or maybe, that’s just the only way you know how to do something. It takes something else entirely to take things down to the foundation, look at the situation with fresh eyes, and be brave enough to begin again.
At the end of the day, when things hurt, do your best to be brave, take stock of what isn’t working, and be prepared to make changes, even back to the beginning if you need to. In order to be our best selves, sometimes the universe has to align to make that happen. The body, mind, and spirit need to be re synced on occasion. For if any one is missing, the journey becomes increasingly more difficult.