Embracing Slow

Ankle Brace

I’ve written a lot about injuries on this blog. It seems I’ve been quite prone to them since cancer hit my family in 2009.

Our society is pretty fast-paced these days, faster than ever before. Information travels at light-speed along the interwebs, and there are more and more avenues to receive that information. People’s lives are on display now, and “image is everything” applies more deeply than ever.

Moving to a small agricultural town in Western Colorado was exactly what I was looking for. I needed to rest, to slow down, and to feel all the feelings I really felt about losing a parent and sibling within a year of each other. Add a dekagenarian grandparent ten months later, and that’s a lotta loss to process.

Distractions are only good for so long. Facing what I feel in a small community where there are few distractions has been a gift, albeit a challenging and sometimes painful one. Just since my brother’s anniversary in February this year, I’ve been feeling so much better about myself. Another reason for this is that I’m moving slowly.

Slow boat to China

When I look back and take stock, almost all my injuries occurred when I was anxious, vulnerable or scared. I first heard about this concept on a set of disks called “It’s Never Crowded Along the Extra Mile” by Dr. Wayne Dyer. The ankle injury last fall was when I was really scared on a hard climb. I was pushing myself too hard. Now I realized, I was also extremely vulnerable from the instability of my life.

Being injured, and also getting a terrible flu that flattened me for a week, helped me to slow down. I was able to focus on writing and editing. I had less on my plate, because I’ve simply been unable to put any more on it. Somehow, I let go of the desperation I felt when trying to find work last fall, and stepped into a smoother flow.

Slowing down these last weeks allowed me to more deeply integrate all that I learned from my sabbatical last fall. It allowed me to get back to a place of caring for myself. The result: I feel more connected to myself, to my friends here, to my community around the world.

Slowing down also allowed me to see how much progress I’ve made. It helped me to accept and love myself more, and celebrate the successes I’ve had coming through such a challenging life circumstance. I now recognize that last fall I was feeling like a failure because the yoga and reiki offerings I made to the Montrose community fell flat. There wasn’t enough business to sustain myself. I felt re-buffed and rejected by just about everyone in this town. Somehow my attitude wasn’t in line with the Western Slope community, and it resulted in negative experiences that left me questioning my abilities and skills.

I Rock!

By slowing down enough to look back, I can see all the amazing things I’ve accomplished. More importantly, I can see all the high quality interactions I’ve had with people. The few reiki clients I did have were helped tremendously. The yoga students I had at Gold’s Gym loved my class. Even in the short amount of time I was in Chicago, I built up a following of students and a community with yoga.

I’m starting to see now just what a wonderful & amazing person I am! Three years ago when Mickey died, I never would have thought the result would be more confidence, more self-love.

In light of a recent relationship, I realized how I wasn’t appreciating myself, and it resulted in not feeling appreciated by my dating partner. I wasn’t celebrating my successes. I was staying too focussed on what _wasn’t_ working, instead of what _was_ working. It’s easy to do when I’m under-slept and under-rested, with a three hour daily commute.

Out of the blue, since slowing down a few weeks ago, several people gave me feedback, unsolicited, about how positive I was. What a gift! It was like the universe was trying to tell me not to listen to the nay-sayers. When a person grows up with a community of nay-sayer family members, and they don’t receive a lot of love & support from them, it’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to please or impress them. For me, it’s been like trying to prove the nay-sayer family people wrong, that I’m not really who they believe me to be.

Receiving the positive feedback from these new friends reminded me that even what my family members think about me doesn’t matter. Instead, spending more time with folks who appreciate me feeds my soul, boosts my spirits, and helps me to offer more hope and love to others around me.

A Snail’s Pace

Also in light of this recent relationship, I realized I have no desire to push myself so hard in the outdoors. Maybe it’s just age, maybe it’s also on-going gut & nutritional healing. Unlike my dating partner, I have no desire, or even ability, to go out and “destroy” myself with physical activity. It doesn’t do anything for me.

While on sabbatical last fall, the most glorious days were during the first week. I lounged in the barca lounger, read books, and took gentle hikes. Even towards the end, I climbed maybe one or two routes in a day. It was simply divine to go at my own pace.

That being said, it would be great to find a happy medium with another romantic partner some day. It would be lovely to share my outdoor life with someone in a way that meets both of our needs. Even if this person likes to “hit it hard” in the outdoors, it would be wonderful if they did that on their own, and slowed down when we were together. It feels good to ask for this, and I’m hopeful I’ll get it.

I’d like to know if Dr. Dyer’s theory about fear in the mind causing injury is true. Share about your injuries or illness: when do you most likely get sick or hurt? What was your mental state? How did you get through it?

For me, I got the flu because my mental state was grinding on and on about the last conversation I had with my boyfriend, and wanting so desperately to control the outcome. I had tons of emotions about it, and was trying to process them all without the luxury of release through physical activity.

In a way, it’s a great practice for when I’m “old” and retired (hopefully). If I can no longer use endorphins to process my emotions, then what? I have to process them somehow. Yoga and meditation are my primary outlets, as are writing this blog, phoning friends, and watching movies that make me laugh and cry. (Despicable Me 2 is a great one!)

To all those in the “outdoor world” who are “average”, I salute you! I celebrate your mediocrity! Let’s be un-sponsored, nobody outdoor athletes who go at a snail’s pace together. Let’s take it easy, enjoy the sunshine, and feel satisfied at our one route, our one hike, or one ski run together. Team Snail rules!

 

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