Every move I make, no matter how slight, comes with excruciating pain (like moving my arm 1/4″ to get to the letter u on my iPad keyboard to type the word excruciating. And no, I’m not exaggerating.). My right shoulder. Ouch doesn’t quite cut it. If I actually allowed myself this, I would be emitting a heart-wrenching scream at every move. Instead, I squish my face up tight, then remember to stand up straight, release the tension in my face and breathe breathe BREATHE. Breathe into the pain in order to be able to move my arm a teeny tiny bit. Then take another deep breath and move it a tiny bit more. This is how it goes to pull up my underwear and shorts after going to the bathroom. Talk about being mindful. I’ve never spent that much time in the bathroom…ok, fine, but my focus was on something very different. Sometimes, I watch myself in the mirror because it gives me more strength, and sometimes I cry from the intense pain and from literally facing myself as I work through it.
So, now for the background story. My right shoulder has had limited mobility for give or take 10 years now. That was a long time ago, plus I don’t remember much from a long time ago, so I’m not sure if anything obvious caused this initial discomfort in my shoulder. I lifted weights a lot back then, and I ignored a lot back then. So any pain I may have caused myself (physical and/or emotional) that landed itself in my right shoulder, I ignored. For give or take 8 of those years, I continued to lift weights hard, practice yoga, throw my niece in the air, do anything I needed to do, regardless of the fact that these things often irritated and inflamed my shoulder. But dealing with whatever was going on in there seemed far too daunting. A couple of years ago, I did a year of acupuncture for emotional healing and a couple of times, I had my acupuncturist work on that shoulder, because it was extra irritated for whatever reason at that moment. This was when I started to make more of a mind-body connection to this long time issue of mine. I hate using the word issue in my vocabulary these days, but I’m going to roll with it here as that’s what it was to me 2 years ago.
Life went on, I continued to do all of those things that irritated my shoulder, once again, seemingly ignoring it. Although with a small tinge of something else telling me there is more to this. In the past 2 months is when a bright ass lightbulb popped out of my head along with a thought bubble saying it’s time to deal with this shit you’ve been storing in your shoulder for 10ish years!!!! (Using “-ish” somehow takes away from the strength of this statement.) I was participating in the Deepak Chopra/Oprah 21-day meditation on “Getting Unstuck,” which is when I made the connection to the various areas of stuckness in my physical body. Ohhhh, so those stuck areas are holding me back from moving forward in life too?!?!? It’s not just the more obvious emotional and mental areas?!?!? Hmmmm. And if I shift this stuckness in my physical body that could totally aid in shifting some stuckness in my emotional as well!!! Epiphany, say whaaaa! Or as us spiritual peeps call it…intuition.
I decided I’d start seeing someone for Reiki on a weekly basis to shift this negative painful energy and be free of it once and for all. I knew this wouldn’t be quite as easy as that sentence made it seem, but I was ready to go there. A week ago, I found out that the yoga studio I frequent (well not right now, obviously) has Reiki practitioners I can work with. Perfect. Then, I got busy with work and life (i.e. excuses) and put off making an appointment for a few more days. Not. A. Good. Idea. Friday, I woke up unable to move my right arm unless of course, I wanted to feel sharp stabbing pain throughout my shoulder. Apparently, I waited one day too long and my body said fuck you, enough already. I’ll show you, Dawn. If you don’t take care of me, I’m going to stop working for you. Oddly, my arm felt like it was just hanging there, like it wasn’t even a part of me anymore. My friend Lauren and I joked that it was trying to run away. Shit, I would too.
Well, I listened. I had no choice. I booked a massage for that day and emailed the yoga studio to book a Reiki session for early in the week. As I was wincing to get dressed for my massage, I was thinking this is such a waste of painful energy to get dressed, then have to get undressed and dressed again afterward. But driving naked is apparently frowned upon, and I don’t own a bathrobe or a trench coat. Looking back on this now, why the hell did I put a sports bra (or any bra!) on to drive to my massage? The pain did overpower some of my brain cells. For reals. I haven’t been thinking clearly or quickly for the past few days. My mind is very much focused on healing my pain and not so much on the everyday routine I call life.
I have been forced to slooooooow down. Every movement I make is mindful and precious. I took for granted needing my limbs to dress myself or wash my hair or pour a glass of water or drive my car [safely] or type this blog post. I am having to utilize my left arm to help with all those things … well, and everything pretty much. Ambidextrousness (and yes, this is actually a word), here I come! I still can’t move the top half of my arm so I just have the bottom half to use and even that is awkward cause it’s kind of connected to the top half. When I am healed of this, I’m going to give gratitude every day for having 2 working arms by high-fiving everyone I see!!! You just wait.
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” – Socrates