This semester I signed up for a gym class. Research states that getting regular exercise is good for both the mind and body. Lets face it, my mind could use all the help I alow right now. I am taking a proactive approach to my ever encroaching anxiety over my schooling and home life responsibilities. So, in this context, I saw a good opportunity for personal growth that did not really cost me an extra to my school bill. Also, I had a nice hole in my schedule just waiting to be filled. In the past, I have loved to seize opportunities to stretch my legs and be active. However, this gym class is turning into a real pain for me.
I mean, really, it hurts. Most mornings I wake up I can feel every muscle in my body begging me not to move. Lifting my back pack or walking down a flight of stairs requires concentration and determination. The whole situation is in all, very pathetic. But, I remind myself to be forgiving. My body has done some pretty amazing things for me. It has carried me across Isle Royal on a back packing trip. (on which I neglected to wear properly fitting hiking boots and lost most of the skin on the back of my feet and several toe nails) It has taken me by paddle and portage through a large portion of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA). (including a winter trip in which we build huts out of snow and wandered around on our home-made snow shoes) and most importantly, carried and grew my two children. And how do I return the favor? By running myself past my abilities and straining my heart and lungs till I wheeze and become light-headed. Being in a class of mostly 19-21 year-olds who are already fit has caused me to be a little cruel to my body. Many of them are either Kinesiology majors or on the college track team. Poor lungs, poor legs, poor arms. I am not 20 anymore, and I need to face the fact that I have been pretty out of shape for many years already.
But does this mean failure, or quitting time? NO! It does mean working with in my means, and pushing myself at a healthier pace. I have made a commitment to get more fit, and I will make progress, even if it is slow and painful. Training to be a nurse and health promoter also motivates me to be in better health myself.
I have resigned myself to the fact that, at least for now, I am going to be at the end of every line and last to finish every run. I have never been at the bottom of anything I have applied myself to before. But, I am trying to remind myself that being the slowest or worst athlete out of my fellow class members does not devalue the work that I apply myself to, or the progress I make. I need to go easy on myself and not be ungrateful for my ability to not participate at a level I wish, and be grateful that I can participate at all. For this one class, just showing up and doing my best is a measure of success all on its own. And at the end of the day, I’ll be better for it.
Pain is often a measure of healing. When we have an infection, a painful fever helps us to fight back from within. When our heart breaks, the pain offers us a chance to grieve and learn, and eventually move on. We fear it, and fear that it may consume us. However honoring pain and respecting it’s boundaries can lead to regeneration. It is true on both physical and emotional levels. I am in pain now, but I will be stronger tomorrow, and the day after. Keep going, keep pushing, and honor your needs to easy back when the pain indicates you have gone too far. Life is ment to be lived and felt. I am honoring this pain today. Healing is on its way with the rise of the sun.