I got quite the reality check the other day when I slipped on the stairs and landed smack on my tailbone - OUCH! I wasn’t doing anything out of the ordinary, just some household chores. What I WAS doing was ignoring some pretty obvious signals from my body. My leg and core muscles were pooped from a particularly challenging horseback riding lesson earlier in the day. I was overheated from being in my sunny living room on a hot afternoon. I was frustrated because the window air conditioner I was trying to put together came with the world’s worst assembly instructions and was just not working like it was supposed to.
In retrospect, I realize that my body was screaming at me to rest for a couple of minutes, but I was REALLY determined to get that air conditioner assembled. My lack of brain-to-body communication skills was the tipping point for the disastrous slip that has left me sitting on an inflatable donut and shuffling around like a little old lady (who's been slacking on her Restorative Exercise) for the last three days.
This less-than-enjoyable experience has taught me a few things. First, our bodies have some important stuff to say to us, but in our modern culture we’ve gotten pretty good at ignoring them. Feeling a little low energy? Sugar or caffeine (or both, in some tasty but ungodly mixture) are the go-to fixes, rather than biologically appropriate responses such as eating a nutritious meal or sleeping. The latter would actually allow our bodies to repair themselves, instead of just piling on more stress.
Second, the body does heal itself! I’m still in quite a bit of pain, but my shuffle has turned into something almost resembling a walk, and I was actually able to do some Restorative Exercise today - happy day indeed!
Third, this experience has restored my belief in investing in my health. I know the healing process is still going to take a while. But on the upside, my pelvis and spine were in relatively good condition going into this, and my hunch is that I’ll recover a lot more quickly than I would have a few years ago, when I was a rib-thrusting, pelvis-tucking maniac.
Can you stop reading this right now and listen to what your body is telling you? Chances are you’ve been tuning out a lot of it’s messages for a while. But it does so much for you, and it deserves the chance to be heard!