All my life, I’ve been a collection of parts. My thighs and my belly have easily captured the starring roles year after year. Hands, feet, neck – these less visible appendages have mostly had to content themselves with bit parts.
Eyes, skin, ears – these unsung sensory heroes have been routinely relegated to bank of extras, props, stage hands, behind-the-scenes grunt work.
My point being – at no time can I recall truly feeling like one connected whole body – one holistic and harmonious being.
In my ongoing yoga studies, our teacher, Adriene, is continually slowing our lessons down, moving through each step like it is equally important with the step just before and the step yet to come.
Today she explained that (and I paraphrase), while she realizes this slow-motion approach can feel tedious at times, she does this so we can start to experience our body as one inseparable unit, one whole that is working together on our behalf.
She says this is a state babies and children tend to have naturally, but we lose it as we grow up. In my particular case, she is absolutely correct, and here is a perfect example:
Right now, 99 percent of my physical organism is functioning adequately (I say adequately and not excellently because of my ongoing healing process from thyroid disease – excellently is, I hope, yet up ahead for our little organic collective).
But also right now, my left wrist is toast. Reason being, the other day I attempted a yoga posture where we were invited to balance on one wrist and then the other. My left wrist opted out, and the result has been excruciating.
For every day since then, I have been hyper-aware of my left wrist, the 1 percent that is on the equivalent of wrist bedrest, at least as much as my writing workload will permit.
I can honestly say I mostly don’t even notice, let alone appreciate, the 99 percent that is still holding its own, carrying its weight so to speak.
I have had to remind myself – repeatedly – that there are still a wide variety of other moving parts available to me that are perfectly functional. I can still do yoga, with modifications. I can still do my work, with extra care and attention to pain management. I don’t have to opt out of my entire life until this one wonky body part feels better.
But it is not an easy discipline to maintain, especially because of the “parts mentality” I have carried with me for so many years. With a parts mentality, the part that isn’t holding up its end of the bargain can and does bring all the rest crashing down with it.
With a “whole mentality,” the other healthy parts can support the injured part until it feels better. In other words, when I remember I am one interconnected whole, I also remember we are all in this together – all for one and one for all.
Today’s Takeaway: How do you relate to your body? Are you a collection of independent moving parts? Are you one cohesive unit? Is there mutual support when one part is having a particularly bad day (or week or month or year)? Do you tend to panic when one part is out for service (I know I do!) or do you keep the awareness that most of you is just fine, and this too shall pass?