Why can't I just do that, know that, move like that? Why do I feel so trapped in a body that is so incapable of doing the things that I want it to?
These are questions I have been battling with as of late. I have felt trapped by a body that is unable to do what I want it to at the drop of a hat, trapped by a body that I'm not necessarily used to, trapped by a body that I cannot push too hard, but try to regardless. Do you ever feel the same?
I thought that with time, I would become more settled in a body with new limitations. I thought that learning to not push myself and listening to my body would become easier. Conceptually, I understand the effects of living with a chronic disease, I understand that it comes with new challenges - as well as victories.
Recently, all I have felt is frustration. I am overworked, overtired, overexerted and so the frustration makes sense. This time is also so uncertain and I have been frustrated by how some are responding to it, frustrated about how it is ripping some people's worlds to pieces, frustrated by the selfishness and injustice that is so permiable in the world around me.
While I understand where this irritation and frustration stems from, it is now spilling over into other aspects of my life. In my most loved and cherished practice of yoga, which is usually the time where I get to come back to myself, to become centered and release all of my anxiety and worries, I have been overcome with irritation. Every time my joints ache, my damn hips just won't loosen and I can barely do a pose that is made to look so easy, I feel the frustration build. I see so many incredible yogis bending into the most magical poses and I can barely do a forward fold. It has been leaving me feeling quite defeated, to be honest. So the practice that usually helps me release my irritation, now has been contributing to it.
I have been pouring my heart and soul into everything I've been doing. Work has been all-consuming, using up way more time and energy than most people would be able to give, and then after work, on my days off or whenever I have a moment, I have been trying to meditate, ground myself and do some yoga. I have been pushing myself way past the normal limit and then finding myself frustrated that my body just can't keep up, bearing in mind that the normal limit no longer applies to me as I have a chronic illness.
So now, as I write this post, I'm lying in bed feeling absolutely drained and ill, realizing that I am still holding myself to the standards I had before I became a chronic illness fighter.
How could I possibly expect my body to keep up with what I have been forcing it to do? What is worse is the negative thoughts I have had toward this incredible body that is still keeping me going despite my pushing it and not listening to its cries for help. And worst of all, I have been comparing myself to others who are living such polar lives and lifestyles to me.
While I see so many people reconnecting to themselves, to their minds, bodies, and souls, I have been mistreating mine. It is so unbelievably quick to fall back into old, unhealthy habits and to oversee something as big as a chronic illness. When you are expected to be "normal" by everyone else, you try and force yourself to be.
Well, I've decided to say f@#ck that! I am a chronic illness warrior and this is my new normal. It is very different from a healthy person's normal and I am okay with that. It's difficult working as a doctor with an illness. To be honest, being ill is not really accepted or met with compassion in my workplace, people often get upset with you when you call in sick because of the extra workload they will have to pick up. So instead of being met with empathy, you are overwhelmed with guilt. Combine that with a global pandemic that has completely restructured everything - it's no wonder I lost my senses and tried to push myself to the nth degree.
But I have found my way again, and now I will fight for myself and my health, not against myself.
I will meet my body and my practice with the respect, love, patience, and gratitude they deserve. Instant gratification may be what we have been programmed to strive, for but it is simply not the way things truly work. Trying to achieve the unrealistic "goals" set by others and comparing ourselves to the can only cause harm. Things that take time, practice, and patience are things that truly matter. Our lives and our journeys are all completely different, and that's what makes life so special.
Black belts aren't earned after a few months, it takes years. Yogis can move their bodies in majestic ways because they have committed time and passion for their practice. Mastering anything takes a minimum 10 000 hours, which equates to 416.6 straight days!! Most of the time we spend a few hours a week on something, let alone full days. Things don't just happen overnight, they require work, time, energy, love, patience, and respect. That includes learning how to live with a disease, learning a new skill, participating in a new sport or practice, studying something new, etc.
I guess these feelings I have been battling with have been enormous teachers for me, that along with a few pep talks from those near and dear to me. It is OKAY to feel frustrated, down, lost, confused, sad and to grieve what you once had, but there needs to come a point where you learn the lesson that was intended so that you can pick yourself back up, newly transformed from the experience, and use it to continue to grow and learn.
So I now thank my body for the insane pressure it has been able to carry, I have so much gratitude for it, that it pushes through the treacherous hours at work and then it allows me to still get my yoga in despite being exhausted and aching. My body is a miracle, it may have its flaws and faults but it's still a magnificent miracle. I will slow down and listen to it more, I will stop trying to push it so hard and I will definitely stop trying to push it past what is not really humanly possible. I accept that I have certain limitations and I will embrace them as my new normal.
Thank you body, thank you lessons, thank you life. You are all so beautiful and it may have taken a while for me to see that, but I see it clearly now.
Please, don't be so hard on yourself if you have been. Now is the time to love, respect, and nourish your body. Protect it and thank it for carrying your though this life.