The Grace of Injury

So let's talk about my shoulder, shall we.  Ug. I really don't want to.  I have a lot of feelings about it. 

"Gray326" by Henry Vandyke Carter - Henry Gray (1918) Anatomy of the Human Body (See "Book" section below) Gray's Anatomy, Plate 326. Licensed under Public Domain via  Wikimedia Commons

"Gray326" by Henry Vandyke Carter - Henry Gray (1918) Anatomy of the Human Body (See "Book" section below) Gray's Anatomy, Plate 326. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

I have another shoulder impingement, and some wear on my AC (acromioclavicular) joint.  Basically, roller derby + CrossFit wins again in the "meat tenderized + overuse = OUCH" category.  No dang fun.

A couple weeks ago, a fellow CrossFitter asked me if I was doing the Open this year and before I ROFL-ed, I said something to the effect of "Nope, I'm recovering from a sprained wrist."  To which she replied, "You're always getting over some injury or another."

Guh.  *gut punch*

This statement stuck in my craw, a little bitter pill of resentment.  "It's true! I get hurt way more than anyone else.  I'm weak!  I'm lazy!  I'm lame!  Why can't I be a super CrossFit biohuman badass and just DO STUFF and not be stuck on the bench!  This shit never happens to Camille LeBlanc-Bazinet!  WTF?!"

My emotional reaction to another injury was pretty intense, and it came on the heels of all the other crazy stuff that's been happening in my life.  The good news is that I'm getting pretty good at dealing with big challenges, and the tools I use are more readily available and top of mind because of it. 

I've been reading Pema Chodron's When Things Fall Apart, which is a book of Buddhist writings on how to deal when your life hits the skids.  One passage stood out to me:

We think the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.
— Pema Chodron

Things fall apart, and they come back together.  That is the circle of things, the nature of life.  I might "always" be recovering from injury, but honestly, we are all recovering from something at any given time--heartbreak, disappointment, sickness, death, a bad season finale. 

What's causing me emotional pain is my attachment to things having to always be happy and healthy and well.  The physical pain of my injury is difficult, yes.  But I'm increasing my suffering by believing that when I am in pain, it's the worst thing ever.  If I make room for my feelings, for the injury--if I have patience with myself and decide to just be with whatever comes up, I make room to honor whatever that experience is.

I tried doing this this morning in my daily 10 minute meditation practice.  I just let things come up and made space to hold them.  It was sucky.  I have a lot of feelings, and many of them are hard.  But afterwards I felt better, because I wasn't trying to run from my pain anymore, or shove it down into a dark corner of my psyche.  It was just there, just being.  And that took the sting out of it a little.

My intention is to make room for the good and the bad in equal measure, because in the overall scheme of things, the bad stuff allows us to learn.  It takes us out of our routines and patterns, shakes us up so we can understand more about ourselves and the spiritual, physical, and emotional work we need to do.  This experience of injury has been an opportunity to rest, to recover, to evaluate and reflect on what I want my life to be now, having been through the fire of the last few months.

So the next time someone says to me, "You're always getting over some injury or another."  I will say, "Naw girl, I'm always healing."