A few weeks ago I was strolling around town with a dear friend who was having a bit of a walking issue. She was rather slow and lumbering, and her joints and limbs were bothering her. I felt a certain degree of compassion, but also frustration. So many folks I know these days are unhealthy and out of shape. I do yoga every day and walk, too. Rarely do I have any problem moving.
Until recently. Following a yoga injury I sustained more than six months ago, my walking continues to be impaired. And yesterday as I was walking around Manhattan with my family, I was the one who was behind. I was the one limping. I was the one who had trouble “doing stairs.” I was the one who couldn’t keep up.
I asked myself, “What is the lesson you’re supposed to be learning from this?” The first word that came to my mind was “compassion.” Have compassion for yourself, a little voice whispered in my ear. It’s okay to take it slow. It’s okay to skip some classes. It’s okay to rest. Another voice also whispered, “Remember how you felt about your friends who weren’t in such good shape as you? Have compassion for them, too.”
I consider myself to be a fairly nonjudgmental person but the more I limped the more I began noticing the negative self-talk that was going on in my head. “Why can’t you go faster? Stop babying yourself! Figure out what’s wrong and fix it…now!”
I do believe that sometimes we get an injury because we need to learn a lesson, even if the lesson is only something as simple as “Be more mindful and pay attention.” Or “Let go of the ego.” Or, “Be more patient or kind…give yourself time.”
I have been very impatient with this injury but I think it’s time to allow myself to rest. Pushing is not always the answer—whether you’re trying to win a race, publicize a book, make a new friend, or get to the top of a mountain. My knee, these days, seems to be little more than an annoying enemy.
But my knee isn't my enemy; it's more like a girlfriend who's offering advice. We may not always like to hear what she’s saying or admit that she's right, but sometimes we just need to listen, learn... and put our feet up.