The Gift of Instability 06/22/2015

June, 2015

My return to seeing patients at the office and keeping up with my therapy has kept me busy. I’ve also been able to reflect on the many lessons I am learning and the metaphor that the instability in my hip provides for the unexpected events that have created a sense of instability in other parts of my life.Juggling-work-on-unicycle[1]

I have cautiously paced my walking routine, knowing and feeling how my hip lacks stability. I walk only as far as I feel I can safely while feeling into my ability to support myself on my right leg without potentially over-doing-it and setting myself back. I hear stories every day from my patients about their efforts to comply with their physical therapy program along with all of the ways that life gets in the way and either slows their progress or creates a set-back.

In my own search for stability in my leg and in my life, I’ve had the opportunity to put many past lessons to use, providing perspective and hopefully, more growth. I am a personal growth junkie. Although a part of me loves diving into the depths of life and trying to figure out how to learn, grow and find balance it can be very difficult at times. I have realized that whether it’s my body or unexpected events in life I am in search of balance and stability and I suspect I am not alone.

I used to believe that if I could take care of my body in all the right ways; diet, exercise, relaxation, play, to name a few, that my body would be stable and supportive of all of my activities well into my senior years. It can be disappointing when I’ve done all that I know yet my body still experiences unexpected, unpredictable and uncontrollable health challenges.

This is also true for my mind and spirit. I try to meditate and I go to retreats, I have worked with counselors and currently work with an excellent non-traditional life coach and have only recently realized that none of this will prevent stuff (fill in your own “S” word here) from happening. I used to subscribe to the idea that somehow my thinking, praying, meditating, gratitude, kindness, etc, would help my life even out and prevent me from attracting “bad” things.

What a relief to discover, probably not for the first time, that my efforts to live a so-called healthy life for my body, mind and spirit will not change any of the stuff that happens in my life. Stuff Happens! 

What has changed is my capacity to deal with it. My efforts to keep my body strong and healthy have surely allowed my recovery from hip surgery to go smoothly (knock on wood). Meanwhile my mind and spirit practices are helping me be more resilient and recover more quickly when life throws me a curve ball.

It doesn’t mean things are suddenly easier, or calmer, or even that I always meet them with grace – although hopefully more grace than in the past. However, when I feel unstable, unsettled, upset, overwhelmed or hurt, or even victimized, I can come back to center more quickly.  It takes effort, just like my hip exercises. I get to remind myself over and over to re-orient to the situation and find the truth in it.

For me one truth is that everyone, literally EVERYONE, is doing their very best. And in our best efforts we often fall short. We say things, we hurt others, we can become angry and judgmental. This is just as true for our bodies and medical caregivers as for our personal lives. In our perfectly imperfect humanness, we make mistakes. The opportunity is to remember to step back, reflect, re-orient, and try again– and again and again.

Balance is not a static thing. It is something to come back to for brief moments to rest, restabilize and prepare for the next unpredictable event. We can hope that each time we meet these unexpected moments with more grace and compassion for ourselves and each other, and hopefully find some peace in the instability of life.

Posted in: Allisons' Blog, Hip Surgery

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