Evgenia is our world traveling, pilates-loving, health and wellness guru living in beautiful Crete, Greece. This week she is exploring the art of patience when recovering from a sports-related injury.
Some years ago I sprained my ankle. I was in dance class, in pointe shoes to be exact, and there was one jump in a variation that wasn’t quite what I wanted it to be. So I put all my energy into it, and for a second I made it happen. But only for a second. The next second I was landing on one foot with an audible snap, which turned my foot blue immediately.
It wasn’t fun. I was limping, the elevator in my building was broken adding to the stress, and the foot bandage was not the most beautiful accessory. Not to mention I was going crazy without being able to do any exercise. After a mere one week, I was back in ballet class, doing my best. I was very impatient when I couldn’t do something which was as natural as breathing previously, expecting way too much out of my poor, unhealed foot.
Fast forward a few years, and this foot still bothers me occasionally. Why am I telling you all this? Because I’d like to share what I’ve learned from my mistakes.
When I was younger, I believed in being invincible. “Injury-shminjury,” I would think, pushing my body as much as possible. I was completely certain that nothing could ever happen to me and my body, until small (or bigger) injuries started to creep into my life. It wasn’t until I started being responsible for the health of other bodies by teaching Pilates that truly learned that one must have a lot of patience.
Patience is difficult. We are all impatient to grow up, to finish school, to finish university, to find a good job, to get married, etc. We are not patient with ourselves in life, and so it is difficult to be patient when life throws us a punch. We just want it all to be over, without having to wait. It’s natural, but it is also not the best approach.
A couple of weeks ago, something happened to my back. I haven’t had time to practice proper Pilates and yoga, and my back was feeling sensitive from being on my feet all day every day. One day I simply bent down to get my wallet and felt that my back has lost its patience with me.
I could barely walk the first couple of days. The MRI showed that I have herniated disks, which I had already presumed to be the cause of my suffering. Ironically, the doctor told me to do some physiotherapy, and then yoga and Pilates. Thank you, doctor!
Remembering my impatience with my sprained ankle, I took it slow. I literally spent days lying in bed. I was getting anxious, but I had to tell myself that I Must. Have. Patience. I believe this is why my back is healing relatively fast. And when I get overexcited that I’m completely healed, even though I know in my mind that I am not, my back reminds me with a hint of pain that I still have some way to go.
Though this post was injury-specific, I believe it’s a good reminder to take a look at our life as a whole. Why are we always in a rush? Even in a whirlwind of happenings, or a big, rushed city, it is important to stop and smell the flowers. As cliche as it may sound, it is a necessity. If we don’t slow down, we will miss the most important life lessons, and why would we want to do that?