I sometimes have low back pain.
I’m pretty sure it’s related to lifting a patient when I worked in the hospital.
I’m also pretty sure that years of nursing –
lifting, bending over, standing for 13 hours at a time, all of that –
contributed to it getting worse (or maybe just never getting better).
It comes and goes now.
It gets triggered by long car rides – or standing in one place too long.
And by fear.
Or worry and other head-heavy mind routines.
Or when I don’t honor my Voice by speaking my full truth, expressing my needs and ideas.
Sometimes I tend it with yoga poses and frequent walks,
warm showers and soothing salves or smudge,
adequate sleep and good foods…
and by finding the courage to move through the fear,
to shift my attention, and to say or do what is hard.
There is relief in every one of those acts.
A lot of times, though, it’s really about feeling temporarily stuck, stagnant,
blocked up in energy – no flow.
A lot of times it’s really about NOT tending to myself
and making space for the practices I have to do to stay connected to Creative Source,
the expressive practices that keep my spirit muscle strong.
So, I begin the tending by pausing and listening when the pain shows up,
and then agreeing to slow down, shift gears
and serve my self, this one body, this healing journey.
Like the other night, when I took my big art journal and some pastels to bed with me,
and just sat with the dull, persistent ache whispering of the long, busy day,
letting it have my attention.
I found, within a short time, as the colors moved and the shapes appeared,
like I usually do on the easel or page,
that just by giving some energy and intuition to my creative practice,
while being with my body, exactly how it’s feeling, instead of ignoring it or trying to fix it,
my back felt seen and relieved (quite literally on this one).
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