By Shae Hadden | Bio
Every day this past week, I’ve been exploring the question of “What can I do?” It’s been an interesting inquiry, with the answers varying each day, sometimes each hour, based on the state of my physical body.
I’ve found myself experiencing embarrassment at having to ask for car service at the grocery store, frustration at not being able to multi-task my way through my ‘usual’ amount of work, and vulnerability at having trouble carrying a 10-pound bag from my car to the house. But I’ve also experienced joy at regaining some flexibility, having pain-free moments and walking in silent contemplation around my neighborhood. Best of all, I’m learning other ways of relating to myself, my circumstances and time.
My doctor aptly summarized these new relationships in a motto which I’ve adopted: “Patience, Pace and Push”.
- Patience. All I have is the present moment, and I can choose to relax into it or to struggle. I’m finding that, if I stress about not completing something or not doing something other than what I’m doing, my body starts to tense up. And as soon as I tense, I experience physical pain. So I’m learning to trust there will be enough time to do everything I am committed to. Whatever I’m doing is all that I’m doing—nothing more, nothing less.
- Pace. Being self-employed, I set my own schedule. New to me is the idea of interspersing periods of work at the computer and on the phone with relaxation, physiotherapy exercises, nutritious meals and rest. This is a much more ‘humane’ way of relating to my responsibilities (instead of working for long stretches without breaks, healthy food or exercise). I’m finding that the time I do spend working is much more efficient and focused than ever before. Slowing down can be a way to speed up.
- Push. I could resign myself to circumstances and give up. Or I could go to the other extreme and take on a huge physical challenge like going for a hike right now—but I’m choosing the path of moderation in believing that I can do a little bit more physically each day and that I can still follow through on what I planned to do this year, regain my health and fulfill my commitments to others. What’s new is learning to stretch myself AND rest, to accept my current physical condition AND stand in the possibility of being fit, healthy and vital again soon. Pushing balanced with self-love supports growth.
When we accept and love what life is dealing us (no matter what our circumstances), we can continue to grow and learn. In the words of Humberto Maturana, "Love is the only emotion that expands intelligence."