I recently had a few days where I was unable to pick up my toddler. I did manage to hoist her up and down from the toilet a few times, but it was really hard. On top of the pain I was feeling, I also felt embarrassed to be a massage therapist and teacher of movement and still be vulnerable to garden-variety back strains.
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 wellbeing, but for my daughter’s.
You have people (and maybe animals, or plants) who 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.
The one thing that always helps me feel less powerless and stuck during times of greater pain or challenge is my toolbox of movement exercises and self-care practices. When I'm feeling pain, it can be easy to feel disappointed in my body and my efforts of looking after my health, and it can be scary to wonder how long the pain will last, how often it will return. Having a movement practice that I can call on gives me something productive to do rather than focusing on what I have no control over. No matter what part of you hurts or where you are in your healing process, there is always some kind of movement you can do that can help (even if it's some simple breathing exercises).
Even when 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. We can often define ourselves by our limitations, but the path to true healing starts with how we are able.