The mind/body connection intrigues me as I try to accept physical changes (and abilities) wrought by injuries, external stresses, and life transitions. Some days I am able to stretch physically without thinking of the consequences, the next day’s aches and pains, the temporary stiffness, the flare-up of old injuries. Other days, old injuries rear their ugly heads for no apparent reason and my mind spins the “what ifs” in a downward spiral.
We all change over time. For me, I must accept graciously those changes or make modifications or take different roads to accommodate what I can no longer do by embracing the things I can do.
A year ago when my running was stopped cold by a chronic hamstring injury, I returned once again to swimming. A dear friend consoled me, knowing that I am a runner but that I also have been a long-time water afficionado. He likened going back to swimming (being the porpoise) as only one step on my journey of healing before I could run again (the greyhouse). I must remember this analogy as my friend is a wise man. And like life, becoming physically healthy is a process, albeit for me a long process. I am often impatient with myself.
This morning my body was tight, my mind discouraged. My Pilates instructor shared her story of being a professional dancer and swimmer before turning to Pilates. She didn’t imagine ten years ago that she’d be an instructor today. She still dances, maybe by herself in a studio with music on her iPhone, and she swims at the local pools. She understands the mind/body connection but also considers options: maybe I can’t do what I’ve always done but there are opportunities to change, to experience other movements, to engage other parts of my body, which will in turn empower my mind.
Today I hung upside down on the Cadillac bar, something I haven’t done for several years. It was freeing, not being tied to gravity or the injuries that plague me. I must remember this feeling, floating, hanging, stretching, when the weightiness of what I can’t do overshadows what I can.