Why do I consider injury and illness an opponent? Why do I think that it is my job to be at war with my own body? I would guess that my underlying thought is, “I am not good enough when I am ill or injured.” Harsh, but true. Recently, I have had plenty of time to probe into this concept as I have been battling with pain in my right leg and hip. Look! I even used the word battle in my last sentence. Fascinating!
We have all heard comments such as, “Joe is battling cancer; Susan has lost her battle against cancer; I have always struggled with my weight; let’s win the war on heart disease, diabetes, cancer, multiple sclerosis, etc.” The list goes on and on. Folks, we are constantly warring with our bodies. I have recently come to the awareness that this is not the healthiest or most joyful state to possess when interacting with our bodies. Let’s face it: When I am complaining about my hip that is degenerating from arthritis, I am allowing myself to feel like a victim. “Oh, poor me. This terrible thing has happened to me.” I must say that this does nothing for my mood or for the way I interact with others. Honestly, I think I become a far less enjoyable person to be around.
So, what if we took the concept of injury/illness and flipped it on its head? What if we turned to our injuries or illnesses and let them show us the way forward instead of allowing them to hold us back? What would that look like? What would it feel like? I am not sure. This is the world of the unknown for me. However, I am willing to challenge my thoughts and perceptions. Heck, I believe that there is a lesson in here. Now, realize that just because I would like to change my perception about my injury does not mean that I won’t backslide and get frustrated with my body regularly. Trust me. I have and will. It’s part of my process.
Where do I find myself these days? I have been thrown into Square One of the Change Cycle. The Change Cycle is Martha Beck’s description of what happens when there is life transformation. She believes change follows a cyclical course. We have all experienced the Change Cycle numerous times in our lives. We get thrown into the Change Cycle when we have an experience that puts us into a major life transition. “The change is so big, in fact, that it ends up redefining the way you see yourself” (M. Beck, Finding Your Own North Star, 2001). We experienced the Change Cycle when we graduated, when we moved out of our parents’ home, when we fell in love, broke a bone in our body or changed jobs. These are just a few examples of the experiences that can act as catalytic events.
Catalytic events fall into one of three categories: shock, opportunity and growth. Mine is the degeneration of my hip. The pain of my hip and leg has thrown me and my relationship with my body into Square One. Square One, the first phase of change, is appropriately named “Death and Rebirth.” As Beck describes, “Square One is a time of fundamental death and rebirth, the period during which you mourn your old life and begin to explore your new one.” Yes, this is where I am. I have grieved. I have cried as I have cancelled trips. I have mourned and will continue to mourn not participating in my own dance/life coach workshops as fully as I would like. No one ever said that going through Square One is fun. It’s not! It sucks, as a matter of fact. However, if you allow yourself to grieve and truly experience the loss in your life, you eventually gain the ability to begin seeing your life anew. Beck states, “When we understand the logic of the cycle, we cope better with change and adapt more effectively.”
Well, I am willing to give this method a try. Come join me as I travel through the Change Cycle with my body. I am going to let my body teach me the way forward as opposed to holding me back. Play along by asking yourself the following questions.
Have you ever battled with your body before? If so, what was the circumstance?
Did you listen to what your body had to say?
Remember three catalytic events in your life. Were they shocks, opportunities or growth?
Please share your experiences with me. I would love to hear them!