Hands and knees, he tells me to touch my right elbow to my left knee. Not even close. Stretched out on the table, she asks me to pull my knees to my chest. It is those simple tasks that make me want to stop before I get started. There’s a bit more padding around the middle than I’m used to. And my back does not bend. I am not fragile, I am not broken. But my small muscles have shortened, dare I say atrophied. They cling to my lower back as if my very life depended on it. Do not underestimate the small of your back muscles. They are fierce, but my confidence is weak. I grapple with shedding the weight of my body, the pain it causes my back and the fear of starting over. All in the Same. Sharp. Breath.
When you fall off a horse, the adage is to get back in the saddle. Truly, you don’t want to wait. It was my experience that after falling off a horse, if you didn’t get back up, you might never ride again. So, even if it took someone hoisting you up, you got up. Then you went for X-Rays. When I broke my back, there was no standing at the climbing wall and putting my hands and feet up there. I could barely stand. I walked to the car, bent over. Everything felt wrong. You don’t get X-Rays before you saddle up or climb again.
For the last few years, I have been putting in the work to start a second career as a teacher. There were many nights I lost sleep worrying about my students. I carried the traumas they carried, and I worried greatly about whether or not I would be good enough for them. With the best of intentions, I would wake up early in the morning and fall into bed at night. Everything I did was for their benefit. Every book I devoured, every lesson I planned, every assignment I read. When I broke my back, one of my students said, maybe it’s time to climb new mountains. The universe told me to rest. My body physically had to stop.
The weight we carry is hard to quantify. Some of it we carry by choice. Some of it is added without our knowledge. And some of it we drag along until we are wise enough to let it go. The important factor being why we carry the weight not that we carry the weight. This is a parallel and a lesson in helping us solve any problem we may encounter. Sometimes we hit it headlong and other times we hide out in fear. We ask questions or we “fix.” We choose to act or not. We manage our feelings or we don’t. We take ownership or we blame.
One morning not too long ago, I did not wake up in a panic about being outside my comfort zone. I did not feel like I had to learn while I was riding/climbing/teaching. I felt fully capable and equipped to begin my day. I woke up with an incredibly real mission. It was to get to the root of the weight I was carrying. To wonder about perseverance, growth and holding weight that was never mine to carry. I wondered why these repetitive behaviors continued to manifest themselves into a muffin top full of the remnants of a night of stress eating. I wondered why I continue to over function when the universe tells me to sit this one out. I wondered why I couldn’t accept a break and self-reflection as the best medicine. It’s hard to start over, but it’s hard to carry the painful weight of all the things.
What would it look like for you to saddle up, to start over, from a healthy place rather than from a place of fear? I know what it looks like for me, and I’m sharing about it in Saturday morning’s edition of my sometimes weekly email. SIGN UP HERE to find out what I’m doing to start over.