For most of my life, my body has not only cooperated with me in my explorations through the labyrinth of human existence, it has also allowed me the confidence to navigate this maze despite uncertainty about what is around the next corner.
I’d like to think that you, too, feel this way about your body. That is to say, you like your body and are grateful that it operates in a way that enhances your life experience. It allows to do your work and your play in a satisfying way. It protects you from assault by the elements of age and abuse.
My body has never boasted that it is a natural athelete’s body. But, by the same token, it has never screamed “klutz” at me. Thus, I have excellent self esteem in my ability to perform bodily activity such as yoga, weight training, and walking 15k steps a day,
I have always been grateful to my body, even through menopause, for staying, generally, in the same shape it has been since I was a girl.
I betrayed my body by asking it to do something awkward and it rewarded with a big lifeshock.
There is irony here.
My longtime friend Bill and I were exchanging email on Wednesday morning about Porches and painting, physical therapy and Stanford. Since Bill retired last year from his position as a university professor in physical therapy, I shared with him that I had begun a 6-week regimen in a local physical therapy rehab to stretch and strengthening my muscles, tendons, and ligaments because of some disc discomfort in my spine. Blah, Blah, Blah.
“Good bye, Bill. Have a great day, “I wrote without the slightest intuition that my day was to change quickly.
I climbed onto my bed still in my nightgown, my newly arrived (from Amazon) kelly green stretching strap in hand.
I followed my therapist’s directions to a T: lie on the edge of the bed, lower my right leg off the side of the bed with the stretching strap around my ankle, pull on the strap with my right hand, and bring the heel to meet the hip for a necessary stretch.
And then, in one of my body’s most uncoordinated moves in my lifetime, I pulled myself off the bed.
In trying to recreate this bungling, rolling, thudding 2.5 foot drop, I still do not know how I landed on my right set of cute little toes.
I splayed my little toe from its friends in a split second of pain.
Then the event ended. I immediately apologized to my foot and body in a loud screaming way.
To remind me that I need to pay attention to the little things in life, my little toe saluted at a 25 degree angle.
And thus began a long day of medical assistance which included, I might add, a twice-attempted effort by a cute podiastrist to re-align my toes. He told me I had great feet. I told him he looked the picture of Wisconsin Dutch health. He told me my feet had great circulation. I told him he looked as healthy and fresh as a block of Wisconsin cheese. He laughed, talked, and yanked. He told me I had a bad fracture. I told him I was still flying to Portland to see my granddaughters on Monday.
How you doing?
Hey, I had two babies, I bragged.
The torture ended; I drove myself home.
When my husband arrived home from trial, he found a tiny woman in a big boot and aside from sympathy, wondered how in the world I did such a thing.
I simply pulled myself off the bed, I said in a cranky voice.
That night after my husband and the dog were fast asleep, both snoring to some degree, and I lay with my tootsies wrapped like a mummy on an Egyptian cotton pillow, I apologized to my body and promised to do better.
I took an AdvilPM and dreamt of the Alps and my journey on a soft dirt path up to a spectacular field of edelweiss where I then frolicked like a young lamb without a care in the world. I kicked up my tiny heels and sang The Lonely Goatherd.
As with all events in life, it is not what to happens to your toes, but how you handle them.