I still get “stuck”.

Today when I was working with my physical therapist she asked me to move in a specific way.  I couldn’t do it.  I listened to her directions and thought about what she said and tried to make my body follow the instructions and I couldn’t do it.  I was stuck!  There was a block in the neurotransmitters making it so I could not send a “move” message to that particular part of my body.  It brought tears to my eyes.  Realizing I was stuck and have been for who knows how long and that being stuck is potentially a big part of my pain, at least the pain in my back was really mind boggling.  I was really blown over by the emotions that were attached to realizing that I have been STUCK for possibly a long time and I didn’t even know it.

We get that way in life sometimes.  We go along and find a way of doing something and it works for that time and so we do it the same way over and over not realizing that there might be an easier or healthier way. We often are completely unaware that our “body mechanics” are a bit off, or our way of seeing things is with glasses that only have pinhole openings. Or we were taught by our families and friends that “this is just the way we do it”, and so you listen and follow the examples you’ve been given and get stuck doing it the way everyone you know has done it for years.  Even if it hurts.  Even if it causes pain that limits movement.

My therapist has me doing Stott Pilates, which is based on mindfulness of body movement.  Breathing, pelvic placement, rib cage placement, scapular movement and head and cervical spine placement are the key focus areas.  Today we were working on my pelvis which is where, based on multiple MRI’s, I have a bulging disc at L4-5.  It is an area that has been injured over and over.  What she asked me to do was this:  I was lying on my back, breathing through my back, keeping my entire pelvic area relaxed and loose, like a bowl of jelly.  I was doing pelvic tips, like rotating the bowl of jelly.  You have to be able to think a bit creatively to do this.  Anyhow, I was able to do it one way, but when she asked me to reverse it, my brain couldn’t get the message from the thought through the neural pathways to the muscles.  The path had not been used for so long it didn’t recognize the message.  I had created another way of using my back muscles that did not include moving the way I was being directed.  Weird, huh?

So why did it make me cry?  Because realizing that my brain can’t make my body work by doing a movement that should be natural somehow triggered my limbic system.  That old reptilian part of the brain, the one that connects movement and emotions.  Makes sense if you have a basic understanding of the limbic system.  Having it make sense doesn’t necessarily mean that you are not going to have the same response that I did.  It was a bit mind blowing actually.  To realize I had lost control of movement and hadn’t really been aware of it.

I didn’t know all of that before today.  I didn’t know that I had mindlessly used my back in a certain way because it worked, but over time it really was preventing me from moving correctly.  The positive thing about all of this is I know with this knowledge I now can work at retraining myself to do something that I can’t even imagine yet!  That’s how mind boggling this kind of work is.  I can’t imagine what it will feel like to make a specific part of my body respond to a command to move a specific way that it isn’t even recognizing right now. I have taken my movements for granted too long.  I now have to actually think and in some instances re-think the way I move!

I was able to see a relationship between this physical being stuck and how I have been stuck in behaviors and characteristics that have hurt me in many ways.  Some of my behaviors were a means of coping with a situation at a time that worked, and then over time it became unhealthy.  The same can be said of my characteristics.  They have evolved, and at some point, some of them became unhealthy and I was stuck.  I was doing what I needed to do at the time, and it worked then.  Since I have been working a recovery program, I am more mindful of my behaviors and character.  I have an awareness of where change is needed and have worked at practicing new things.  It feels so foreign at times, and even today, more than 3 years into my recovery, my pathways to the old thoughts and pathways can still be triggered because they were used for so long. The new ways, my healthy ways, can still sometimes feel so foreign and odd.  So I keep being aware, taking a good cleansing breath and really thinking about it, and move on to doing it the way that brings me to balance.  For me, balance comes with being mindful and exercising my soul in ways that move me with ease through life.

I am so grateful for an opportunity to be living my life both emotionally and physically with mindfulness.   I need the awareness of where I am stuck and some help in moving with ease the way I was designed.  I am finding that help with the connections God is placing in my path.  Thank you God for knowing what I need to be Unstuck!

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