Today I woke up with one vertebra on my back all flared up! It was hard to move and painful to squat down to pick up things from the floor. I had to go through my morning routine – to make sure kids were ready for school before 6:30am, and get myself ready for work – despite my back pain. And so I did.
Yet, somehow I knew exactly where the pain came from. You see, I have been going through a divorce process for more than six months now and routine had not been easy, being responsible for taking care of my kids and driving them to almost all of their activities, having a full time job now, and doing house chores on top of that. Yes, welcome to a single parent’s life! There is not much time left for myself in a day, even though I try to sneak in self-care as much as possible. Still, I feel I handle the responsibilities mostly by myself. Then, yesterday, I received an email form a certain person transferring one more responsibility to me… That email pissed me off! Yet, I remember my exact thoughts at that time: “Wow! One more thing for me to do? Why are so many responsibilities on me? It feels like carrying one more thing on my back…” Ha! There we go! There is the answer: I immediately felt this new chore as a heavy weight on my back. And like magic, “Shazam!”, it manifested on my back overnight.
Now you may be asking yourself, “how the heck can she remember what her thoughts were when she received that email?” Great question! I believe that has to do with my mindfulness and meditation practice, which has picked up recently. As soon as I saw chaos spreading around me months ago, I started working diligently with mindfulness and/or mediation. My goal was not to try to control things externally, which I have learned at this point in life is impossible… What I aimed for was peace on the inside, finding my inner stillness, so I would be able to handle whatever showed up on the outside. But what I get from those practices is more than that. Yes, I find more patience, tolerance, peace, and also awareness. I become aware of the way I stand, move or sit (posture-wise), and I also become more aware of the way I am breathing throughout my day. I also start to notice my thoughts when unwanted things happen, because sometimes they throw us off so hard that we become unconscious of what we say or think. This time, I noticed my thoughts yet didn’t stop them. But hey! First step is awareness. I was glad I could recall my exact thoughts, since that helped me identify where the back pain originated.
So, yes, first step is awareness, then what? How do I heal after it has manifested into back pain? Well, I knew that the image of me carrying responsibilities on my back related to the thought or belief of not having enough support. Then I decided to touch my back – and I attribute knowing exactly where the pain was from my body awareness conquered with the help of yoga – in the painful spot and say an affirmation to help let go of that belief. Every time I felt some muscle spasm or sharp pain, I would touch the spot and repeat to myself, “I am supported in every possible way”. As many times as it showed up during the day. How funny it was to see the pain disappear as soon as I did that; every single time! Our bodies are unbelievably complex and beautiful!
If we pay attention to what is going on within us, we are capable of healing our own ailments. I encourage you to practice mindfulness, meditation or both. It doesn’t take much effort physically as with a sport. You could be walking, sitting or lying down to practice it. If you stick to it and make it a habit, it will provide you with more awareness and knowledge about your body and mind to start with. And, like I mentioned above, the first thing we need to solve a problem is awareness about it. Give it a try and I would love to hear how it works for you.