Not long after I wrote my last post and began using the #pain4fuel hashtag, I received a slight warning “thwack” (bear with me here- I just don’t know how else to describe it) in the inner sanctum of my consciousness warning me to be ready to “put my money where my mouth is”. In other words, a bit of a heads up that I would indeed be given the opportunity to put my #pain4fuel philosophy to the test and practice what I preach. Not that I hadn’t already put it to the test throughout my life countless times, which is why I wrote of it in the first place, but apparently the universe felt I needed more. And so it delivered. I woke up Friday night with pain in my right shoulder that became so bad I could barely move my arm. It became worse as the hours went on. The universe had shut me down. “Just great”, I thought. “What about my plans?”
Before I go any further I should probably point out that I can be a maniac – especially when it comes to my workout, which I consider a daily essential. Intense is an adjective that may have been thrown at me in the midst of a pivotal moment or two… In other words, I want to do what I want to do when I want to do it and I want to do it with all I’ve got. This is only a problem when I. can’t. do. it. And the simple fact is, when you can’t do what you want to do in the way you want to do it, YOU FEEL TRAPPED. I can only speak for myself here, but when I feel trapped in any way whatsoever, I have the feeling that I am suffocating. Can’t. Get. Breath. My body feels like a heavy weight surrounding me and I want to take a break from being in it. And while everybody’s feelings may not mimic mine in that respect, most of us share some common aspects when we’ve been sidelined, and that is frustration and fear. Frustration that we can’t hold ourselves together “doing that thing we do” and afraid of what we become increasingly afraid of as we age: fear that this time it ain’t gonna all come together and fix itself and we won’t be the same as we’ve always been. The fear that all the things we do that make us who we are we will become unable to keep doing and that we’ll be shut down; possibly for good. Downer. And I will admit, it took this #pain4fuel touting cocky shithead several hours, a few tears, and many rounds of the “Pain is fueling my journey.” mantra before she was back in full-on conviction mode, able to see the gift within the injury. That gift being the knowledge that, as always, you will be fine. I don’t mean I’d be fine as long as I healed- that’s too basic. (Although blessedly for me, I am healing. At 53, I realize that’s not a given) It means you’re fine and you always will be fine. AS IS. It means having the faith that should something occur that takes you off the path you’re bent on traveling down, you’ll be directed to another path where you will be given what you need to continue your journey on a new path.
So what’s the thrust then? We’re supposed to just be “okay” with the fact that we can be plucked from our path at any time, stripped of some of our gifts and strengths without warning and dropped into some other path that we didn’t even choose for ourselves? The maniac within me has come to learn that this is not a yes or no question (meaningful questions seldom are) but rather, a choice. You see, what I’m finding out gradually is that the universe will shut or slow you down in various areas in order to make other areas of understanding available to you. It is my belief that on this journey, there is a formula. We never get a minus without the possibility of a plus or an equal (never – without + or =). The ways in which you may fill your particular formula are infinite, provided you believe they are. Therefore, nothing will be taken from you without leaving a space to be filled by something else. But here’s the caveat: you won’t be led to the gifts that are yet to be until you’re through mourning the gifts that have been. This is where you make your choice. You can choose to stay on an old path that has become well worn and comfortable even once you’ve reached the Dead End sign, or you can allow yourself to be placed on another path that frightens you with its unfamiliarity, but promises adventure and enlightenment. Choose wisely.