Oct 31st, 2011
Author: Jesse James Retherford
Category: Pain and Injury Treatment and Prevention
Over the past few years I have been living a story. It’s one that I tell myself daily. It is a simple story, filled with the excuses of why “I can’t.” In this story I continually place my family and work responsibilities at the top of the priority list while my health, fitness and emotional well-being fall to the bottom. I know this story very well because it is not just my own, I hear it each day from most of my clients as well. It is the story of “I don’t have time.”
I’m a massage therapist, a personal trainer, and a barefoot running coach. As such, I see and feel deep connections between the physical body and the emotional and spiritual body. The way I move and feel physically in my flesh and bones is intricately tied to how I move and feel on the inside. When my body hurts, I feel the hurt emotionally. When pain and injury limit my ability to physically perform or function, I feel limited emotionally and spiritually. When I am limited emotionally and spiritually I feel frustrated, exhausted, stuck and I am less likely to do the physical movements that will make me feel better. And then my body hurts even more, perpetuating the cycle. Over time these limitations pile up like an invisible mountain on my back and take over my ability to cope with even the most normal day to day stresses of life.
Left unaddressed, the physical pains fester and spread. Normal movement becomes painful and exhausting. It is so incredibly frustrating because I am a therapist and I specialize in the treatment of chronic pain and injury! I teach my clients how to address pain in their lives, how to work through it, how they can change their story and feel better. I know what I can do to help myself heal, recover and, ultimately, feel better physically and emotionally. I have been doing this for many years, and as I said above, I am deeply connected to my body. But instead of doing the work that I know will help me feel better over time, I buy into a story of “I don’t have time,” “I’m tired,” or “I’ll do it tomorrow.” On some level these stories are true, that’s what makes them so easy to fall into. I am self employed and support a family. I spend 25-30 hours a week doing deep tissue massage therapy and personal training sessions. Another 20+ hours a week is devoted to working on this business and writing this blog. On top of all of that are the daily responsibilities that come with caring for my four year old son. Compared to just a few years ago, I have much less “free” time. In many respects, my story is identical to pretty much every client that I see. I have been telling myself that “my well-being comes last,” which ultimately means that I sacrifice my well-being for the sake of others and other things. The irony is that if I continue living this story, my body will break down, either physically or emotionally, and my priority list will be flipped on its head. My personal well-being, by default, will move to the top of the list with great cost to my family and work. I know the ending to this story, because I have seen it played out with friends, family and clients every week. I am ready to change the story.
This Story is not my Truth
The main issue here is not a lack of time. I do have time. I have enough time to get in three or four good “my body is priority” sessions each week. If I suck it up and wake up a little earlier a couple times a week, I can get in another one or two. And that is more than enough. It really doesn’t take that much. Time is not the issue. Time is not the issue for my clients either. The heart of the issue is the story I continue to tell myself and continue to live. It is a story of fear, insecurity and an inability to let go of my pain. I must face this reality: If the story I am living makes me hurt, something inside myself is unwilling to let go of that hurt.
You cannot have change while maintaining the status quo
My truth is this: I don’t want to hold onto my pain. I want to feel it, listen to it, address the underlying issues it communicates and let it go. This is the story I want to live. I want to follow the story that accepts that I may be tired, stressed, under pressure – or what ever else I may be feeling – but I will take the time my body needs to feel better. I want to live a story of change. To consistently step into my fear and insecurity, allow myself to grow and evolve, and live my truth.
I am ready to change my story. I have listened to it for long enough and the results are the same… I hurt. The only way I will feel better is if I do something different. I must change how I feel inside and out by stepping out of my comfort zone and facing my story head on. It will be hard because the story is well ingrained. I’m not too worried because I am a bit of a masochist and I love to work hard. I will begin by assessing my strengths and, more importantly, my weaknesses and decide where the focus of change will begin. But that is a story for another blog.