I’ll never forget when the physical therapist handed me the 1 pound weights and said,
“Here, see if you can do this weight for the next two exercises.”
Are you effing kidding me? I have been working out consistently for 2 years and was just starting to play with dead lifting a few months prior....and now you want me to work out with 1 pound weights? What the hell do you want me to do with those?
Okay, I’m not gonna lie, I was pretty damn pissy about a lot of this.
Gimme those weights….and I could barely get through the first set of the first exercise…let alone two more sets. And, then the headaches that came after the workouts, because the muscles were tense, were brutal. More ice, more rest, back to the chiropractor, more rest and then repeat the process again two days later.
This cycle went on for months
I guess I’m a slow learner, because it took that long for me to figure out that the lessons that I was here to learn had nothing to do with the baby weights and rubber bands I was throwing around, but had everything to do with the weight of the should’s that I was constantly carrying around.
“I should be better by now.” “I should be stronger by now.”
I should be able to lift more than one pound.” “I should be back to my normal workouts.”
“I shouldn’t be having these headaches.”
“I should be able to hold my granddaughter and not have a migraine for 4 days because of it.”
The whole time I was focused on the pain and the complexity of the injuries, the anxiety of not having an end date to the constant pain I was in, the fear that all this pain and these feelings were now my new norm. I never really considered that a huge part of the story was that I had been in two car accidents within months of each other. I never slowed down enough to sit with the feelings that came from that, either. (big mistake, here)
I was hung up on the 1 pound weights, until I finally moved up to the 2 pound weights and then it all came to me.
The lessons I needed to be paying attention to had nothing to do with the number on the weight. It had everything to do with how I was showing up to move through the process. I knew from experience that I needed to be committed to healing my body and that was not a problem, my commitment was there. The consistency was there, this was my new job, healing…so I showed up and did the work, no problems there.
The problem was what I was focused on and what my attitude was about what I was focusing on. I was focused more on fear than faith, I was focused more on anxiety of things not moving fast enough or in my time. I was completely ignoring the feelings that I had behind what had happened to me. I didn’t realize that aside from the loss of function that I had physically, there was a massive loss for what I had and who I was before the accidents. While I wasn’t maimed or disfigured on the outside, the damage on the inside had changed my daily life. I couldn’t do a lot of the things I enjoyed before without being in tremendous pain. And, the only option was to lay on sheets of ice in the middle of an icy, cold New England winter to try and take the inflammation down. Meanwhile, my brain was on fire trying to figure my way through all of this.
They say time heals all wounds, and I do believe that some of that is true.
But along with time, it takes acceptance of what your new norm is going to be and who you are becoming because of it. It takes courage to dedicate the time to take care of you the best way that you can, even in the chaos of your life before things changed and it takes the will to set down the weight of what should be and embrace what can be.
And with that, I have learned, you’ll be stronger than you were before and even stronger than you can ever imagine.
Where do the "should's" feel heavy in my life? Am I focused more on fear than faith?
Where can I accept where I am right now, let go of what should be and embrace what can be?