I have had my fair share of pitiful and painful moments. Times when all I wanted to do was wallow in my sorrow and feel sorry for myself. I have wallowed in tears and cried in shame. I have lived in fear, and laid buried blame up to my eyeballs.
Why is it we treat ourselves so much worse than we would ever treat anyone else? Why do we hurl insults at ourselves, then sit back and take them to heart.
I have a precious friend who is a PTSD survivor. She was in a horrible car accident and the nerves that control her right arm were severed at her neck. She underwent a difficult surgery to replace those nerves and was told it could be years of physical therapy before she could use her arm. She endured 10 years of 100% of NO IMPROVEMENT before she started to gain feeling in that arm. Ten years of no improvement whatsoever! I cannot imagine the pity parties I would have had if I had been her. She writes about her journey in a book that will be published on March 14, 2019. entitled, “Flying Lessons”. She also has a blog by the same title if you want to follow her.
She told me when I asked her how she endured that many years with no improvement, while the pain raged on, that she had to learn again how to love herself again. He biggest ingredient for success was to be kind to herself. Kind. That’s it? Just kindness?
You say, just kindness, but imagine if we woke up every morning and looked in the mirror with kindness and forgiveness for ourselves.
She and I met in yoga class. Yoga was part of her therapy to bring wholeness back to her body and her spirit. She told me she had been to over 352 yoga classes the last year. I’m not sure how we found the same yoga studio, but meeting Angela has been hugely serendipitous for me.
I discovered yoga only after my last child left for college. I am not one to strike out on a new path on my own, but for some reason I did and I went to my first yoga class. I was immediately hooked. Having spent a lifetime in various sports. Yoga was the one ingredient I had been missing. I too became hooked. It was a time for me to tune in and truly learn kindness and gentleness toward myself, and to give my body, and my aches and pain a way to heal and recover from the constant demands on my physical being. Little did I know, if would also heal my mind and my spirit.
The type of yoga studio I go to practices YIN YOGA. Yin is a completely different style of yoga that most have never heard of. Yin involves 3-5 minutes holds, usually flat on ones’ mat. It does not involve strength, but does give the body ample time to stretch, release and let go. It relieves stress and tight muscles. It softens connective tissue, the facia. Facia is the largest organ of our body and it is frequently overlooked. It holds the body today, but it can also hold onto pain and stiffness in places we don’t want it to.
Giving the body space, and room for the joints to move and open, is tremendously healing. I feel as we grow older our bodies tend to be more and more compact. We have bone on bone and muscles, ligaments and tendons all tend to tighten over time. The body can be very unforgiving. Once injured, it never forgets. It is why so many seniors have trouble moving with any fluidity. The chi, or energy fields, in our bodies can become congested which creates disease and immobility.
But the body has a tremendous ability to heal itself when given the right ingredients. Just like Angela’s nerves had to find a new blood supply and grow and heal. It took 10 years of exercise, patience and stamina for her to finally reach a cure. She experienced 10 years of 100% of no improvement whatsoever. Ten years of not being able to move her left arm independently. How does one endure that kind of prolonged absence of any improvement for 10 excruciating years? What makes a person not give up?
How many times are we the cause of our own pain and suffering? Why is it we tend to obsess over and over about why we did something wrong or made a mistake? Why do we berate ourselves for simple mistakes? Our mind and bodies want to heal, so does our spirit. “For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of love, and power and a sound mind” ~~New testament.
If you are in a place that feels tight, and crowded, painful and impossible, have your pity party. Wallow in your sorrow and your sadness and give into the grief totally and completely. However, set a time limit. Decide today you are going to be pitiful and feel as sorry for yourself as you possibly can. But, when you wake up tomorrow, know that you are going to move forward and you are going to do whatever you would normally do, if you weren’t hurting. Don’t make the mistake of getting swallowed up in your pain.
Angela had 10 years to trudge through before she saw improvement. What if she had given into the pity and given up on her dream? All would have been lost and she would be a cripple today. She would be miserable and hopeless when her determination was waiting all that time to give her freedom. Angela had a choice. She could be pititful or powerful. I think you know by now which she chose.
You can be pitiful, or powerful, but you can’t be both.
Give yourself permission to experience both. Allow the pity, but know it will have it’s end. Give in to it if you must, but don’t let it control you. Let it go, move on, and feel yourself grow. If you cut your finger it will heal. Put a bandaid on it, keep it clean and let it heal. Your body, and the skin and tissue know what to do. It knows how to heal that cut. So too with your spirit. Give it space, and you too can heal your mind and your spirit so you can move forward in love and kindness towards yourself.
Make room in your body for the energy of the universe, the Chi, and the Quantum belief that energy cannot be created or destroyed. It can only transform. When we transform our bodies, our mind and our spirits must do the same. When we give the body space, we are free to experience new adventures. We will then think and act more creatively and logically. When we are gentler and kinder to ourselves and to others, we empower ourselves and them.
When we are not in pain we are free to give our energy to others in a way that is whole, and true, genuine and sincere. When we are in pain, all we do is lash out at others in our pity, in our anger and frustration.
What will you give space to today?
Do you want to be pitiful or powerful? Because you cannot be both.
By the way, Angela’s book she wrote about her experience, called, “Flying Lessons” is being released for publication this week. Order it as soon as you can and read about her journey in her words.
Be at peace in your body and your mind and heal your soul in the journey.
Mother of two grown children. One daughter, living in Denver. One son, who lives in Los Angeles and works in the movie industry. One beautiful and bright grandson!
Dog Mom to retired AKC Champion, Addison and 25 week old Adler. One is a mamma’s girl and the other is a hellion!
Writing is a gift. I have no idea where it came from. Seriously addicted to telling stories and words and phrases are some of my favorite things.
Raised with horses. If they could bottle horse hair, manure, leather and dust, I’d wear it as a cologne.
Studied art in college and still paint in my spare time.
Very, very eternally grateful for YIN Yoga. It is the air I breathe.
There is nothing better for the soul than a walk in the forest. Love to hike and snowshoe. Much of my inspiration comes from nature.
“Of all the roads you take in life, make sure one of them includes dirt.” John Steinbeck
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