I recently had a few days where I was unable to pick up my toddler. Okay, I did manage to hoist her up and down from the toilet a gazillion times, but it was really hard. It sucked. And it felt embarrassing to be a teacher of movement and massage and yet strain my back with one morning of excited, first-sunny-day-of-spring gardening.
The good thing about times like these is the learning experience that comes with the pain and hardship. What did I learn? For one, I felt renewed in my passion for helping people to not experience times like these. My toddler depends on me. She depends on me being able not only to barely manage hefting her up onto the toilet, but to lift and carry her in all sorts of situations. And to engage with her. And to be a role model of how to be a human. This was not happening last week. If my back were constantly in pain, this would be a really big problem, not just for my well being, but for my daughter’s.
You have people who depend on you. Maybe you also have animals and/ or plants that depend on you. Are you able to be there for them? Are you able to not only keep them alive, but to engage with them as fully as you want? Maybe you want to have more time or energy to be with them or to help them. Maybe you just want to be a more pleasant person for them to be around. It’s hard to do that when you’re in pain.
Another thing I’m reminded of when I’m slowed down by illness or injury are all the things I take for granted. I can’t constantly keep in mind every little thing I should be grateful for, but it’s helpful to remember that I am not my back pain. I am also my shoulders, which feel mobile and free. I am my feet, which are happy to carry me for miles and miles. While I have a few parts of me that are unwell, I am SO WELL in a gazillion parts of my body and my life. I am so able.
Becoming able is about checking in with whether you are able to be the person you want to be, and if not, determining what might be limiting you from that. It’s about not defining yourself based on those limitations, but by what you are working to be able to do.