When I chose my by-line “Nothing is more valuable than feeling comfortable in your body,” I was inspired by my own experience: a traumatic injury to my hip. Prior to the incident I didn’t have to consider my habits or patterns, behaviors or movements. My body used to do what I wanted it to do with very little direction from me! Although I had met people with severe injuries who impressed upon me the intricacies involved in negotiating postures (it’s certainly more than muscle work) I guess I didn’t take them seriously enough. Up until my own injury I continued to lack awareness of technique because I was rather mindlessly able to walk, run or jump. All that changed several years ago over a series of months that culminated in being unable to support my own weight. I spent two days in bed while my hip knit. Fixing my pelvis now to any greater degree would certainly require re-breaking and reconstruction. ouch.
Major surgery under general anesthesia holds even less interest to me than a regime of painkillers. Consequently, AMA can’t help me. The only thing that I could have done that I didn’t do was find a surgeon at the moment of fracture to re-set me. If you have ever visited an emergency room after an injury you know the chances of that happening correctly were slim to begin with, and ratio wise an extraordinarily expensive way to handle things. The ambulance ride alone is thousands of dollars. My motorcycle riding friends have been sent home from emergency rooms, told they had nothing wrong – when backs were actually cracked, and shoulders out of socket. oops. I didn’t think, at the time I needed to expose myself to all the germs that live in a hospital. So I recuperated at home.
The upshot is I’m still in the process of figuring life out on my own. This blog (among other things) chronicles my on-going adaptations to post recovery life. After my pelvis healed it was tilted, creating a small lateral curve in my low spine. This (and a habit of wearing a purse on one side) made one shoulder lower than the other. I learned that when I paid attention I could correct postural inadequacies. There’s nothing inherently “wrong” with having a massage therapist, chiropractor or body worker adjust you – but when You adjust You on a continuous basis you gain ground faster. In addition to sweeping life-style changes, I use yoga for my physical and mental therapy. So can you if you’ve ever suffered physical or mental harm.
Every posture: sitting, standing, even Trikonasana is a joining, a merging of characteristics and qualities. Breath, blood pressure, strength, flexibility, confidence, concentration, proficiency they’re all in there and then some. I’ve blogged often on chakras, which are energy centers and kosha which are body systems – but whether you know ’em by name or not, you feel your own subtle, vital forces. A vivid yoga practice takes past, present and future levels of awareness to a single point. A broad yoga practice is inclusive of all your activities: waking or sleeping. It’s not like standing outside of the yoga studio, outside of a sequence – doesn’t require your power, your body’ process, your parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems. Singling out asana as “yoga” is ultimately counter-productive. Life is yoga. Life is a yoking, a reining in, a Zen-blend of experience, intuition, inspiration and aspirations.
Allow me to digress for moment.
I have observed that no matter how much money people have they don’t feel good about being fat. I noticed this because around the time of my injury/recovery many of the people I knew with far more money, resources, support, employment and savings than me – envied me. What did I have to envy? Little more than I still looked “thin.” There are people who would trade fat for chronic pain any day of the week if they could only be thin. They are, of course, people who have never suffered from chronic pain, but that is not the point. The point is, and I do have one, that even exceedingly wealthy people have a smile on their face, pride in their voice, and a discernible joy over losing significant weight. I don’t blame them. Being a healthy weight feels comfortable. Being overweight is uncomfortable.
Money can buy the sports car, toupee, boob job and botox – but it can’t make a young person at a cash register wait on you. Not unless you waving a $20 under their nose. (I have a friend who used to offer $20 to ‘cut’ in line, bless his heart.) Much as I wish prejudice against obesity would disappear – it can’t budge as long as the fat people themselves promote unfair bias. People who hate themselves for being 5, 10 or 15 pounds overweight – they have no sugar coated sympathy for a truly fat person. Add to that: truly fat people who carp, snipe, and snark about the healthy and fit, maintain the battle lines. I couldn’t lose weight amid a society of people who were threatened by my weight loss so many years ago, I had to quit attending TOPS (Taking Pounds Off Sensibly). But after I quit I did lose and maintain my weight loss.
I mean wow, why does it have to be so hard? Why must people hate themselves and each other over such a First World problem?It’s because Weight is an emotion charged issue. Truly nothing is more valuable than feeling comfortable in your body. With that in mind, get comfortable first and then you’ll lose weight. You can’t lose it by despising yourself and others. You can’t move forward in a hostile environment. You’ll freeze yourself into a past based practice wherein you continue to see yourself, define yourself, portray yourself as a failure, a disappointment, a flop, a defeat. Lying on top of your filters of perception: how you see yourself and how others see you, your physical patterns don’t stand a chance. Stop beating yourself down! Build yourself up.
An overweight friend of mine is so darn sensitive that if I give him one compliment he’ll fuck up twice for good measure. He’s committed to his world view and resents my differing opinion. Such people, god bless ’em, may be our loved ones but they suck the living energy out of us for their constant need for approval. If you haven’t got the endurance, God help you. Energy vampires will turn on you as my ex-husband turned on me – with vehemence and vengeance. What’s a dude to do? Like yourself enough that you care for yourself. Say what? Like yourself enough that your resources serve you first, and you only get generous with your energy overproduction. Don’t syphon off what you need to do life for the sake of others who can’t return the favor.
That’s not being a bitch.
That’s not being a bitch even if people will call it that, and “selfish” and “self centered,” “narcissistic” and “absorbed.” Bad people will pick on you. Manipulators want you to doubt yourself so there’s more for them! But if you’re honest with yourself you’ll see the difference. If you’re calm and logical you’ll have to realize there is a material difference in-between helping people out of your abundance and helping others to your detriment. The kind of people who expect you to help them to your detriment are exploiting you. That ain’t cool. Even if it’s religiously correct, it’s not cool. And you can’t go blaming the church if the dysfunction ignites within you. You have to consider your own behaviors and what moves you. What fundamental beliefs, history and values converge to create your current particulars?
You won’t know if you don’t look. You’ll have to “wake up” as the yogis say. This is more than getting yourself out of bed, it is bold introspection. It is a journey that may uncover some things you don’t like about yourself (at first.) What the hell. You can’t get from here to Chicago without driving down some highway. Go anyway, the rough patches won’t last forever. The best blues are on the South Side. While I can jolly well share my ideas with ya all day, I can’t really share my experiences because they happened to me not you. No offense. But if you want to join me on the other side, ‘member that old t-shirt from the 70s that said “I’m with Stupid.”? You’ll have to replace that with a new one that says, “I’m not with Stupid anymore”