Notes From a Bad Back

Last Updated: November 24, 2023By 7.2 min readCategories: Personal Musings

Y’all, I pulled my back today and holy wow is the pain bad. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced concentrated pain like this. I took Advil. I have a heating pad wrapped around me, but boy each time I breathe do I want to cry. I finally found a position I can lie in with somewhat less pain, but it’s hard to even think straight. Meanwhile, I don’t take days off easily. Especially from work. 

Here are a list of “things I know:”

-It hurts

-Thank goodness for this heating pad

-I work from home which means I can answer emails sparingly if I need to and, also, not fully dressed.

-The birds are keeping me company.

-I can catch up on YouTube finally! 

-I will take my body for a nice walk when I can do it because this body is a good body.

-God will heal me.

-Pajama pants rule! 

-Pain is not a game. That sh*t will have you on your butt. 

-Rest is not debatable if your body needs it. It will ask. If you don’t listen, it will demand it anyway.

When our body asks for a break we are often ready with a list of excuses.

I don’t have the time.

I really need those hours.

But. But. But.

What if we actually just took the break and were okay with whatever others thought? I’ve had to practice time and time again of letting go of my fear of other peoples expectations. I literally let the fear of what others thought about my need for a break or what they may say debilitate me more times than I can count and in some instances I just stopped trying or flat out gave up. Which meant when I actually needed to rest or take time off I wasn’t, so when I didn’t I was. I was overcompensating when I didn’t need to be because I was under-compensating in the moment. Like my mom says, I took a short-long cut!

In Believe It, Jamie Kern Lima quotes 50 Cent when she says:

Either pray or worry. Don’t do both.

50 Center

Like positive and negatives, prayer and worry negate each other. You don’t get a neutral, you get a flat out mess.

What if the next time your body said “rest” or your mind said “turn off” you did?

I didn’t end up taking the day to heal. I worked just as much as I would have, but I did put a heating pad behind my back and pray and talk to my girlfriend. I did implement more care into my day between snacks and lots of water and candles. I tried to find a balance even though balancing while working isn’t really a thing. But, that’s the imperfect part of this series. I’m going to show up and tell the truth. I think of this series like the “reality” photo on Instagram. The edits hide the messiness, but they often hide the best parts, too.

Which brings me to another question:

How do we want to live our life? There is that famous Mary Oliver quote which asks us:

Tell me, what is it you plan to do

With your one wild and precious life?

Mary Oliver

Really? What is it you plan to do?

I know I spend my days rushing. When I am in pain, I am hoping to be in peace. When I am not reading, I want to be reading. When I am finally within the loving and graceful arms of someone, I am worried about losing them.

Have you also lived in these contradictions? What truly is peace of mind?

As I have gotten older the one thing that sticks with me is how much time I don’t have. Cheryl Strayed writes, “these days will add up to something.”

My question is: what will your days add up to? When it’s all over, will you be proud of the life you’ve lived? How much will each task on your ever lengthening to do list matter? Will you care more about the love than the loss? The peace than the pain? How will your life feel when you get to the end?

I’ve spent years and years relegating the present to “not right now” and the past to “let’s hold onto you, let’s live in you.”

Here is what I encourage us to do, that is those of us who need to start living for the now: take one day and truly live in it.

Use your heart as your compass.

Take the time to actually listen to the lyrics of the song.

Like someone you follow on social media? Actually read their post or watch their Reel, (like I did with Cara) and share it.

Find a moment of pause in the middle of the whirl. Actually, pause. Then, share that pause with someone else. Pass. It. On. We are only as great as the people we share our lives with. Be careful about who you let inside your circle.

The other day, my friend B said she had seen my Facebook posts and I seemed happy and upbeat, but how was I really?

Interesting, right?

I texted back:

I’m really positive and upbeat and grateful I slept some more. Not every day has been like 100% pure joy, but the bottom line I’m operating from is.

Liz Adam’s shared a wonderful quote on her Instagram stories which read:

I love what she wrote in her Summer Mindset blog post. My favorite thing she says is:

To sometimes not look ahead but be right where I am. Time is a thief and a year goes by and I don’t want to look back feeling like I wished it away or watched it go by.

Liz Adams

What choice did you make today to put you on path of success?

I don’t mean the kind of success quantified by praise, a raise, and/or a checked box. I mean, did you take a dance break while you drank coffee and sat in the sun? Did you take a long walk to pickup dinner and take your time glancing into shops along the way? Did you keep the TV off and dive into a novel with uninhibited joy? What brought YOU joy today?

B was asking a really reassuring question because she wanted to make sure I was okay! B is an incredible and aware friend. Yet, how many times do we post things on social media, but not share the whole story? How many times do we say, “but you don’t really know what’s going on beyond that square, that feed, that 30 second video?

What if we told the full truth?

Maybe, not every single gritty, hard, and messy detail, but choosing to paint the picture enough that the person posting is also the person living, so that there is no discrepancy between them and you, and so that you we aren’t doomscrolling, but truthscrolling instead!

What if you felt more connected by what you saw online that it made you want to share what happened offline? Maybe not in the moment, but as a reminder that life can really be that good!

Like the quote Liz shared, the moments that are often square worthy aren’t the ones that capture the real life goodness: the completely burnt dinner beside the ordered-in-pizza, the heartbreak of losing a child followed by the joy of feeling a new heartbeat, the memory that transports us back into that fixed time, or the line in a book that threads into a conversation with a best friend over Bloody Marys and a gift certificate left unused for years for a marriage that ended, but a friendship that persisted!

Are you making the choice to live? Make one today. Make a point to truthscroll. Make a point to fill your cup and then sit down with it and sip on it. Take deep breaths. Take your time. Take it all in.

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