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Day 15–Down doggie, down…..

In Jane Fonda’s book Prime Time, she keeps saying, “Get into your body.” I thought I understood what she meant until today. Today is my 6th Pilates class, and I was on all fours on the machine going into plank.  Almost like, downward dog in yoga. Basically, put all fours down and stick bump up in air. Then depending on how you move, you can stretch your shoulders and your hamstrings.  I felt this enormous fear rush over me and my awesome Pilates instructor said, “Are you ok?” I said, “no, I am scared.” She told me it was ok and to breathe. I did and then I was done. All I kept flashing to was 20 years ago when I blew my acl in my knee. Your ACL tendon is what allows you to bend your leg.

I was in 11th grade and had just endured a grueling winter of workouts in preparation for the softball season. I volunteered to be on the tug of war team for my class during some school event. I remember planting both feet down and thinking, “Ok, now don’t move.” Well, then my leg went out from under me, just like that. I thought the kid behind me had kicked me.  It was a career ending injury. I never thought it was worth it, to play again and run the risk of going thru six to twelve months of rehab. It wasn’t like I was going to the Olympics. I also flashed to my shoulder injury.

For my first two years of high school, I semi-dislocated both shoulders  during the softball season. I spent each summer in rehab for both shoulders. I remember my physical therapist saying both were hanging on by a thread.  All I could think of today when I was focusing on the shoulder stretch was what if they give out. Then I will fall down. It was the same when I was stretching my hamstrings, what if my leg(s) gave out.

I never knew I was carrying around this trauma in both my emotional memory and my muscle memory. Today, they connected and I became aware of it.  During today’s session, I also realized there is a difference in height between my right and left legs. I carry more weight on my right leg and my hips are crooked because of this. How long has my body been like this? I didn’t come out crooked. Have I been over compensating for 20 years and at 37 it is now catching up to me? Yes.

Did you ever realize you needed something when you got it but before that you never knew you needed it? I will ask again—it is a big question—Did you ever realize you needed something when you got it but before you got it you never knew you needed it? That can happen with love, relationships, jobs, kids, dogs, you name it.  So how do you open yourself up to receive something you don’t know you need? You create space for change and it will come. It will come.

Now, that I know my emotional and physical body has been carrying this trauma I can focus on acknowledging those feelings and letting them go. Clearing space for me to have faith in my body again and that if it gives out, knowing that I will be ok if I fall and it is ok to fall. Sometimes, I think we learn more from life’s falls than when we are standing tall.  Fall, stand tall—as Jane says—connect with your body—peace out.

About Joy Rain

Joy has been a diversity and inclusion consultant and mediator for over ten years. Prior to consulting, she was professor of Psychology and Women Studies. Joy has a Master of Arts in Psychology (Boston University) and a Master of Education in Social Justice Education (UMASS Amherst).

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