injured

I have an old shoulder injury that has reared its ugly head many times since I became a mom. I thought yoga had fixed it, since it hasn't bothered me since I started (not an unreasonable idea with the combination of stretching and strength-building it offers). Then I woke up Friday morning. The pain starts in my left elbow, travels up my arm where it reaches the next pain point on the front of my shoulder. Then it spreads from the front of my chest at the pectorals to the base of my shoulder blades and reaches across to the right shoulder. My shoulders, not being ones to leave other body parts out of the excitement, then extend the muscle spasms up my neck to the base of my head.

The problem with being a primary care-giver for a two-year-old is that it generally involves lifting and carrying. In and out of the car seat, up to watch the eggs cook on the stove, all day long. It's not an environment conducive to giving your body a break or a rest.

I've been noticing how feeling injured impacts my life--what I am thinking about my capabilities, the impact it has on my choice of activities. One thing that shows up is compensation. That's why these muscular problems seem like they have a domino effect: one muscle gets hurt and then the others work over-time in attempts to protect their neighbor or pick up the slack she leaves. Then the friends get sore from over-working.

There's a phrase in my business world about "learning to play injured" that's been on my mind this last week. It's about learning how to keep producing results even when you feel like you've had the crap kicked out of you. In the past, phrases like these have served as life mottos for me. But isn't it true in the world of athletics that playing hurt can slow down or even be detrimental to the healing process? I don't want my body to feel like this a single day longer than it has to. As much as I like producing results, this week I hope I can give myself permission to stop compensating and turn my energies toward healing. Perhaps in the process I'll learn how to do the same for the injuries that are less noticable.