As I sit at my keyboard with an icepack numbing my upper arm, I reflect on the curious idea that we spend so much of our lives ignoring our bodies’ gentle communications. We don’t pay attention until they scream at us. And then we have the audacity to blame them for getting old!
You know the joke:
“Dr., Dr., it hurts when I do this!”
“Then, stop doing it!”
Well, it’s no joke. My own doctors and physical therapists have said it to me many times in the past couple of years. I’ve been dealing with shoulder issues (rotator cuff tears, frozen shoulder, bursitis). No surgery, just lots of office visits where I’ve been told to go easy on myself. Healing takes time. And it requires learning to listen to your body. Right? But we resist. We grow impatient. Why? Because we operate under the impression that we shouldn’t have limitations. That life should be fair. That our bodies should be perfect (if not in looks, then at least in health 😉 ). And we complain when they’re not. Like someone’s made a huge mistake inflicting us with injury and disease.
But that’s real life. Messy, constantly challenging, stressful. And each of our unique bodies has its own way of acting, reacting, adapting, and coping. If we pay attention, we notice subtle cues from our own bodies that can lead us to cooperate with, instead of hinder, their healing abilities. Even in the middle of debilitating illness or injury, we can work with or we can fight the process. One path requires patience, perseverance, and awareness. The other path is easier in the short term: impatience and ignorance. But this way doesn’t bode well in the long run.
So, after scraping, chopping, and shoveling a few crusty inches of snow out of my driveway — mostly using my good arm, of course — for over an hour, I’m dutifully icing my shoulder. And hoping my body appreciates the attention. 🙂