Taking it Slowly

If you’re a regular reader of the One Step Further blog, you’ll know that I fractured my back in a wee skiing accident in January. The process of “getting back to normal” has felt slow, uncomfortable and at times painful.

The good news is that over the past week, I’ve felt a big shift in that discomfort. I now only feel twinges if I do too much twisting and occasionally the spasms in my back muscles make it tricky getting to sleep.

I’m doing exercises to mobilise and strengthen the muscles that have “been on holiday” for the past 12 weeks and I’ve started going to pilates classes 1-2 times a week – progress is happening.

Now that I’m feeling much better and my back (according to the scans) is healing but not quite fully healed, I sense impatience at how little I can do relative to “normal”.

This was really noticeable during my pilates assessment session when I realised that some of the deeper stretches and twisting moves were, as yet, not a good idea – so my back told me. I could feel that impatience shift into frustration, then I’d catch myself, give myself a talking to and relax.

My pilates instructor said something to me which really helped. “You have to go through the rehabilitation phase. You can’t go straight from injured to fit. You can’t skip the recovery phase.” She said “I see too many people who want to rush ahead, skip the rehab phase and then they have different problems or delay their recovery.”

I could feel that message of “slow down” resonate deeply on many levels.

  • I’m often impatient yet indecisive.
  • I’m often frustrated yet fail to take action.
  • I’m often searching yet not really knowing what for.

I think I’m realising that with a mindset of rushing to get somewhere, have something or be somehow, I’m bypassing phases that will help longer term.

I wonder if THAT insight is why I had my skiing accident? Was that the Universe sending me a strong message, “slow down, be patient, all will be revealed in its proper time. If you don’t I’ll help!”

This past 3 months of inactivity, a quiet work period and not much else going on, might actually have been exactly what I needed at this phase in my life. Hmmm – worth a ponder.

I’m also reminded of a book I was gifted about 10 years ago called In praise of Slow: How a Worldwide Movement is Changing the Cult of Speed by Carl Honore. The slow movement began in Italy in the 1980s and promotes a shift towards slowing down the pace of life in every aspect of life e.g. eating, travelling, fashion, parenting and even sex. (You can watch Carl’s TED talk here)

In many aspects of our 21st century World, it seems that faster is better. We want results now; we want our food now; we want instant feedback on our social media posts and we want to recover from injury fast!

The value of fast can be great; yet like many things it can bring unhelpful side effects. We can become addicted to the ping of a Twitter post, the ring of a smartphone, the readily available cheap T-shirt or the immediacy of a cheap “fast food” burger.

  • What could we gain by slowing down, waiting and being patient?
  • What could we do and how could we be as we look into the space in between the stimuli of our day?

I am now determined to relax into the necessity of my rehabilitation phase and enjoy the space for recovery.
I wonder where else I could slow down and what might I discover whilst doing so?
Where could you slow down and what might you stumble upon in the process?

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