I’ve decided to stop being afraid of hurting my back.
See, I hurt it almost two years ago. Two. Years.
I hurt it so bad that I ended up on my bedroom floor in child’s pose, unable to move and my daughters had to call an ambulance.
It was humiliating.
It was frightening.
I lost faith in my body.
Ever since then, I have been afraid of hurting my back again. I’ve babied it. I’ve taken it easy, doing gentle yoga, and soft, somatic stretches.
But I haven’t really pushed myself.
Once in a while I do, but the moment I feel the least little twinge I back off again.
I haven’t hurt it that bad since then, but I have “tweaked” it and the fear of hurting it like I did the first time lingers.
Then I read an essay by Elizabeth Gilbert in the February issue of “O” magazine where she reflects on a knee injury. How it plagued her for over 13 years ever since her marriage had ended. When she finally got tired of being held back by that pain she asked what it needed She really wanted know. She heard it say it wants to run fast. To move. For her to stop using it as an excuse to hold herself back.
That’s exactly what I do.
I hold myself back for fear of hurting my back again.
I don’t take challenging yoga classes.
I’m afraid of saying yes to fun excursions for fear that walking too much or moving in an unexpected way will tweak my back.
But then I realized that the more I baby my back, the weaker it is getting.
The weaker it is getting, the more chance I have of hurting it again.
So, I’ve decided to stop being afraid of hurting it.
I’ve decided to move it. Use it. Strengthen it.
I’ve started taking yoga classes again. Ones that challenge me. That force me to use muscles I’ve ignored for two years.
I’ve decided to say yes to things instead of no for fear it might be uncomfortable. I ‘m 51, not 91. And even at 91 I want to be saying yes more than no. I want to be like Tao Porchon-Lynch when I’m in my nineties. Hell, I want to have her sprit and vitality now!
Each vinyasa, each lunge, each time I step my foot through between my hands I am moving through that fear. With each breath I am releasing it, making room room for trust, making room for what is happening in my body in this moment not some imaginary moment in my head.
Fear is just a thought.
Fear comes from not being present to this moment where I am fine, where my back is fine.
So, I’m saying yes again to each moment. I’m meditating daily. (104 days in a row so far.) I’m moving, playing, bending, stretching, strengthening and learning to trust my body again.
I’m learning to go toward my fear, befriending it, embracing it.
I’m literally moving through it.
And I’m finding tremendous strength and freedom on the other side.