would you let someone else tell you how you feel?
No? Then when we aren’t healed by the timeline someone else set for us, why do we feel failure? Why do we feel let down? We’ve been promised something without considering the kind of support we respond to best in the process to make it happen for ourselves.
Technically, you heal yourself. A doctor or other kind of professional can facilitate the process but when it comes down to it, it’s our cells that have to turnover. We put in the work, consistency, and we drive the approach feeling better. If we’re given a medication, it’s our effort to take it everyday to work on healing ourselves. The medication facilitated the process, but our bodies did the work of synthesizing it and regenerating elements of itself.
No one can truly tell us the exact remedy with a perfect timeline for healing whether from any injury or health challenge.
the person who knows you the best is you
Because my gut health journey is far from over, I want to share my testimony about injury recovery and how to figure out what kind of healing modalities work for your body. However, the same principles apply to recovering from any health challenge.
Movement forms can promise so many things, most of which are driven by results. Weight loss, muscle gain, leanness, toning, energy boosting, and stress-relief are results. Yet, not a single one of these results can be achieved through a method of movement alone. Movement results are multi-factorial because your body relies on nutrition, lifestyle choices, and mental wellness to make things happen.
This is why diets and exercise regiments fail a majority of the time. We’re promised results without the process being explained or supported in ways that we respond to best. We’re individuals, we have bioindividual needs to make change happen. The same goes for injury recovery, sometimes we have to make our own pace based on how we feel.
6+ months ago I could hardly move my upper body
A cliff jumping accident left me with a fractured vertebrae and surgery that cut through my abdominal wall. I first had to relearn to do the simple things with pain; breathe, walk, sleep, reach for things. I remember crawling onto the floor to see what my movement was like roughly two weeks after surgery. I didn’t recognize how my body felt, it didn’t feel like mine. The movement piece that became part of my identity guiding @stralayoga had been restricted.
A yoga practice where you move from your middle became impossible. Every time I tried, I was too weak or my muscles would spasm and I’d feel worse. That was my body telling me to lay off, rest. The inherent remedy with an injury is to go to physical therapy to rehab. Insurance covered it, so I tried. Using force and pushing on the problem with repetitions to strengthen didn’t bring healing. It hurt more.
Putting control of our life in someone else’s hands creates a power position that isn’t real, which forces the healer to become a pretender. Because the truth is, you are the healer. You body is miraculously healing itself, all the time, your entire life. And sometimes, it can use your support, or support of another. Even in the most extreme of medical treatments, when it works, it’s still you that’s doing the healing, not something outside of you. It’s why two people with the same ailment, same treatment, can experience radically different outcomes. It’s what’s going on in you that counts most. - Tara Stiles
the action steps for recovery
get professional opinions
Do your due diligence and investigate what’s going on in your body. Get doctors’ opinions, go to physical therapists and chiropractors if that’s who you’re called to. The more we know, the better chance we have at finding how to heal the root cause of our aches and pains.
Once you’ve got the green light to move at all, figure out if you are even ready to get moving again. You’re the one in control of you. Healing yourself is about you, someone else telling you that you’re ready to move might not be what you need yet and that’s okay.
drop your ego
It’s easy to set self-imposed timelines on ourselves in regard to progress. Personally, I didn’t want pain killers, I didn’t want help doing things, I wanted to keep moving. I needed help, though. And thank God I surrendered and did get help because I wouldn’t be where I am now had I not gotten out of my own way of healing.
There’s a delicate balance between listening to medical professionals and listening to your body. Another personal anecdote to put it into perspective is that I believed what the emergency room doctors said in that it would only take eight weeks to heal my vertebrae and a month before I could use my abs again after an appendectomy. I took a hit to the ego as these timelines approached and I still couldn’t use my upper body.
Had I failed? Nope, it was a lesson in bioindividual needs to heal.
start however it feels good
I like to apply this principle to exercise in particular. Exercise doesn’t have to be a calorie-burning, sweat-inducing, wild workout to be beneficial. I like the word movement better than exercise for that reason. Take tai chi for example. This ancient eastern movement practice has a principle called “wu wei” where you quite literally are learning to do the art of nothing. You soften and sway so that you’re quiet enough to recognize how you feel. It’s harder than you’d think to not induce force when practicing movement.
Starting a healing program based on intuition is also important. Gut-checks (aka, listening to your intuition) are wildly important, because it’s there that we can tell if we’re ready to embark on the waves that come with healing disease and dysfunction.
rest when you need
We know the difference between when we can muster up the energy to try something and when we’re being lazy. Tap into your intuition, get quiet enough to listen to your body and mind talk to you. Accepting a season of healing is critical to bettering our bodies when injured.
find your healing community
Healing can be a solo activity or a group one. Pay attention to where you find comfort, and chase that as the season calls for it. There is something very human though about sharing in collective experiences.
putting functional healing into practice
There is no quick-fix for the body being well in the long haul. Use what you can, drop what you can’t and trust that progress will come in the process of regaining movement.
real life isn’t steady, the game is rolling with its waves.
Functional approaches to healing are practical and useful above being attractive. They teach us to withstand the waves that can knock us down if we stand too rigid. Physical strength to heal follows the mental strength we first foster.