There are so many things that we do on a daily basis that we take for granted: breathing, eating, swallowing, walking, running, jumping, playing, and for some - Joy.
We take it for granted becomes it comes easily to us - we have forgotten the work that we put in to learn how to do them in the first place. Sure we come out of the womb with the urge to breathe as it is built into our programing to continue the process, and yet somehow we sometimes forget to breathe.
When we are frightened. When we are in pain. When we get tired. When we drift off into dream land while our eyes are still open. Then we have that moment when the body takes over: the diaphragm is triggered by the sympathetic nervous system and contracts, pulling air into the lungs, allowing our blood to be filled with sweet, sweet oxygen.
My mother has an autoimmune disorder called Polymyositis - a disorder that causes her immunsystem to attack her own muscles. The first major symptom that she had was the inability to swallow. She couldn't eat or drink without extreme focus and modified foods. For a while she could only eat or drink with a straw. Gone were the days of being able to eat on the run, grab-n-go, shove food in to make hunger stop. It was now a process to fuel her body. It was hard. And she is a strong woman who never gives up. She persisted and now eats with ease (most days).
One and half years ago I broke my ankle. Walking through my yard.
*******TRIGGER WARNING: GRAPHIC******** (skip to safety)
The story goes like this: I have backyard chickens that needed to have their water filled. The water is contained in a five gallon metal container which by itself doesn't weigh very much, but add five gallons of water to it and man on man it gets heavy. About 40 lbs of heavy to be exact. So, here I am walking that container back to the coop, holding the water in my right hand, and clumsy me twists my left ankle. As I am falling, my big toe on my right foot gets caught on the ground and all of a sudden the bottom of my foot is touching my calf. Take a moment and think about that: the body is not made to bend that way. So cue massive screaming and pain that sends me into shock (I litterally told the paramedics: "I just want to go to sleep, is that okay?" Them: "NO. STAY AWAKE." Me: "okay..."). They gave me LOTS of pain meds and the hospital gave me even more. I had IV pain meds every 3-4 hrs until my surgery the next morning.
(For the squeamish - it was a compound Tis/Fib Fracture at my right ankle. I required surgery and am held together with metal now.)
Here is what I took for granted: walking, running, jumping, skipping, dancing, swimming, bouncing, just about anything that requires your ankle to function. And I thought I was okay. I would be okay with time. I could heal it all on my own (find that story here).
As I have finally started to heal in the last six weeks I have been able to do things again: run a little, walk around the house and yard, jump on the trampoline and dance with my kids. So today I decided that I would start real walking again. I put on my running shoes and walked down my driveway. About 50 steps into my walk: PAIN. Fuck. And I was dedicated. I asked myself what it is that I need to do in order to make this happen? PAY ATTENTION. What? I'm walking. How fucking hard can that really be?
HARD. I have to learn how to walk all over again. I have to focus on how my foot sits on the ground, how it rolls from heal to toe, the position of my foot, my knee and my hips. My mind has to focus internally on the muscle structures of my entire body: core engaged, hips tilted back, shoulders straight, rotating my right leg to the left, and vice versa with my left.
My walk lasted 27 min for a total distance of 0.92 miles (thank you Apple Watch). During the last 10 min of my debut walk I told myself with each step: "Pain is information. You will not break."
Over and over again.
Pain is information.
I will not break.
I am no longer broken. I am healed and there is work to be done. Keep going, don't give up, and focus on the future.
I took it for granted when I used to run that same route. I didn't know then that one day I would dream of such a thing - to be able to be so free as to glide effortlessly over the earth, feeling the wind cool my sweaty scalp, while pushing my body into new possibilities.
I have to learn how to walk again. I suffered a trauma and now comes the hard part - extreme mental and physical focus, pain, work, strengthening.
My pain today was information - information that I will take back to my P.T. My P.T. who will provide me with more pain - transformative pain. Pain with purpose and intention.
I won't take that for granted.
What are you taking for granted?
What is your pain trying to tell you? What trauma has left you reeling and feeling like it's never ending?
When you are ready to face it and choose transformative pain with a healing touch, let me know. I can help you see the things that are holding you back from moving forward. Together, you can find your stride again, eat without fear, jump with joy and abandon, or overcome the unthinkable.
Anything is possible with the right tools. Don't take that for granted.