What I Can Do

I've been feeling a bit bummed that I have to go back to my physio today. Not that I don't like seeing her, but I was only discharged only about eight weeks ago and was hoping I'd be able to handle things on my own for a while. But then last week I broke down and called her as the pain on the right side of my lower back hasn't been calming down as quickly as I'd hoped.

One of the hardest things about being in physiotherapy is that you have to do lots of exercises. And they're not easy to always fit into your schedule. But another tough thing is that you can't always do all the other activities you like. Sometimes you have to explain why you aren't on the tennis court during your friend's grass court barbeque. You end up sitting on a bench telling someone about your struggles with your neck pain or your back pain instead of actually playing.

The good news is that it's possible to get better – the bad news is this takes time and patience, particularly if it's been a problem that you've had for a while.

I've noticed recently that when it comes to exercise, I often focus on what it is I can't do – which creates frustration and struggle. Instead of being happy that I can walk and go to yoga I can't stop thinking about how things would be so much better if I could go swimming, play golf or tennis or go to Zumba.

And it made me realize, this is what unhappiness is all about. When you want to be doing something you're not and when there's something better out there that you desire, it's impossible to be happy.

It's a very simple thing, but wanting to play tennis when I can't isn't doing me much good. And throughout the last six years when I was really struggling with becoming pain free (which I mostly am now), I was constantly waiting for the day when I was 'better', when life would begin, when I would be happy again. Not that I wasn't ever happy, but when it came to my body, I was engaged in a constant struggle. And this wasn't only because of the pain (although sometimes it was the pain – ouch!), it was because I was focusing on what my body couldn't do. And I wonder how much more quickly I would have gotten better if I hadn't fought things so much. If I would have rested more and respected my body for where it was at that moment, instead of yearning for where it was I wanted to be.

That's in the past now, but I can certainly learn a lesson from it. As I go back to see Super Physio today I need to accept whatever it is I need to do right now at this moment to get the pain in my lower back sorted out. I'm afraid she'll tell me I can't go to yoga for a while. And afraid that she'll say that it will be months and months until I can take an aerobics class again. But I'm going to try to accept whatever it is my body can do right now at this time – because anything else isn't doing me any good.

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