Acceptance 101 and the Gift of Renewal

Good morning!

I woke up happy. I actually went to sleep happy after a fun night seeing my friend/fellow intenSati instructor, Darbi Worley, perform at the People's Improv Theatre. Bravo!! There were about 6 or 7 intenSati peeps there and it is always just so much fun to gather outside the gym. It really made me smile!

What else is making me smile? Spring has arrived. I think. I'm about to go to Central Park after this post to find out but from the feel of the breeze through my window and the sound of children's voices from downstairs, I'd say things are looking good.

Since I tend to use this particular blog as a place to share about my physical fitness, health and wellness goals (btw, big THANKS to everybody who commented on my post the other day. I'll have you know I've added 30 push-ups and 100 crunches to my daily routine), I will share a little more.

Since my ankle surgery last July to repair torn ligaments, I've been doing 2 sessions of physical therapy a week. I started almost as soon as I got off crutches in October. That's 7 months of physical therapy. I am on my 4th expert. There was the first guy that felt good but not stellar, the second guy who was great at first but then I didn't like his personality or the intensity with which he pressed into my trigger points at 6:30am in the morning, the third guy who I loved but didn't take my insurance and now the 4th, Derek, who is excellent, takes my insurance, has a nice personality and feels like he has the best traits of 1-3 without any drawbacks. 

Derek is a very soft spoken, kind, Polish physical therapist with a lot degrees and a hands on approach that sometimes feels like he literally is underneath the skin of my leg and ankle with soft gloves. This may sound gross but to this girl who used to watch knee repair and open heart surgeries on TV for fun in high school, it's kind of cool. Derek is the best thing that's ever happened to my ligaments, tendons and muscles. He does manual manipulation and massage with the gentleness of a fine artist delicately dabbing his brush into a palette of paint and onto a page.

That said, he is not the bearer of the kind of news I've wanted, which is full 100% recovery with me back in soccer, dance and high heeled action by summer. On the contrary, he very gently points out that my ankle is not healed to perfection, there is still some minor ligament damage that wasn't corrected (the ones with the two tears were fixed, yes, but there was add'l damage) and since this was my third surgery, there is scar tissue and who knows what else that is creating some mobility and stability problems, still. Each week he asks me what activities I am doing and slightly winces when I describe the intense aerobics classes. He smiles when I say words like "yoga", "pilates" or "I took a few days off."

Sooooo, the dancing, jumping, lateral movements, zig zag cuts, even jogging any distance above a mile -- all not great for my ankle right now and risky. There is a decent chance I won't ever play soccer again. Same goes for heels beyond a slight little Aerosole or Easy Spirit lift (note to the design teams at Aerosole and Easy Spirit: I value your effort at making a comfortable, durable shoe for women who need them but can you PLEASE up your style quotient a bit? Comfort and cool are not mutually exclusive!). 

I've been talking about MOTs lately. A Moment of Truth is when you just get hit square between the eyes and the knowledge flows into your gut. It's the Knowing. Yesterday, my MOT came when I realized I had to stop doing the movements that are outside what I am allowed and able to do now. I have to err on the even more conservative side. I have to let go of doing more than my body can comfortably and safely do until, well, possibly forever but for now I'll just say for one day at a time.

Hopes dashed much? Sort of. But something about a MOT is often you knew it all along. At least from a soccer standpoint, a part of me just knew I wasn't going to get back to business, if only because I don't even go through this rehab process again! :0 So, I'd rather just err on the side of caution. I know athletes who stay competitive well into their adult years and the result isn't pretty. I say bring on the pretty, aka, me in one piece and out of the surgical ward.

THEN, part two of my MOT happened when I realized how much JOY and GRATITUDE I can still feel despite this grief inducing realization, despite daily pain and aches in my foot, despite the cravings and DESIRE I feel to do more than I can handle right now. Once my tears were done flowing, I felt so grateful I can do what I CAN do -- yoga, intenSati without jumping, cycling (spin class is OK but I need the right shoes or else it's too much pressure on my toes), walking, who knew there was such joy in walking, dancing freestyle, and, my new favorite, being a little sedentary every once in a while.

I thought about having a summer ahead of me where I won't be on crutches like last year and I felt so happy. When I was in the Strand book browsing (and buying, of course), I found a book that just jumped into my arms. It's called "How Soccer Explains The World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization" by Franklin Foer. Apparently, according to the Chicago Tribune, someone has "brought back a kaleidoscope view of a vibrant game and the people who believe in it." I guess there are other ways to appreciate soccer!

So, I share this today to help myself deal and live in the adage "acceptance is the answer to all our problems" for starters but also with the hope that it inspires YOU to look at where you need to find a little more peace and acceptance with what is. Tara Brach, the Buddhist psychologist, has this great talk where she says that no dream of your future is better than the present moment you have right now. She says studies show that happier people are not the dreamers who are constantly living in their head about that better day -- the promise of the time when the relationship is finally here, the career is soaring, the bank account over floweth, your body is in perfect health, etc etc etc. Rather, an opening to your essence, your source, your buddha nature, whatever you call it, IS where your most abundant feeling of happiness can be found. 


How often we wrap ourselves in a blanket of identity or identification and even as Life is happening exactly to help us evolve, we cling to that blanket like Linus. Don't be a Linus. Life says let go. It says let go every single day. Cells restore themselves, skin regenerates, Spring returns, and all that change you were resisting is meant to be embraced. Renewal is an inevitable and important part of our life cycle. So, apropos to the Easter holiday, I say YES to renewal (but no to bonnets, they never worked for me) and I honor the perfection of the imperfect journey. 

My soul longs for loving, happy and passionate living. My heart wants to embrace my life today. Does yours?