I did that. Only my Lucy was an icy sidewalk. I landed HARD on my right hip, hard enough to bring tears to my eyes. I remember having the thought, “someday I’ll probably have to get my hip replaced because of this.”
I was 35.
My neck and shoulders had always been my problem spots, but now my hip joined the fun: massage, x-rays, chiropractic, cortisone shots. 3 months forced inactivity – no yoga, cycling, dance, or even lengthy walks.
And it got better. Ish.
Better enough to commit to a cycling tour of Italy 2 years later, for our honeymoon. (When someone gives you an all-expense paid trip to cycle across Tuscany, you don’t say “no, my back might hurt.”)
Still, I was wary. I didn’t want pain to ruin our honeymoon. So I was extra careful, diligently followed my physical therapist’s advice and did my exercises. I kept up my yoga routine throughout the trip, amusing my fellow travelers with my funny-shaped stretching. And it worked! My back was fine – until preparing to return to work. Sunday night back home, my neck seized, my life long “bad spot”. Sharp pain radiated up my neck like an ice pick through my jaw. I couldn’t turn to the left.
My magic bodyworker fit me in Monday after work. I quizzed her: Could I have slept funny? Delayed reaction to the flight? Pulling my suitcase? “No Ginny”, she said gently, “This is your body armoring itself so you can return to work.”
Serendipitously, I had only one week in the office before beginning my yoga teacher training with a 10-day intensive. And it was there – on my mat – that I realized I didn’t have to know what I was doing next for work to know that I had to stop the work I was doing. 3 weeks later, after some deep reflection and with the support of my newly minted spouse, I resigned as the director of an organization I’d helped start more than 10 years earlier.
I wanted to pin the problem on my body. It took a kind, knowledgeable intervention to get me to listen to what my body had been trying to tell me for a long time. There was a stark and painful difference in my body when I was happy and relaxed and when I was unhappy and stressed. Even my “bad spots” didn’t bother me when I was at ease and motivated to tend them.
It was a wake-up call. I finally listened. That bodywork session stands out as a major milestone in my relationship with my body and my work in the world. Now, I have the joy and privilege of helping others understand how our mind and body can work together to ease suffering and restore comfort.