We have all heard the phrase mind over matter. It posits that the mind controls the body and so it can overcome adverse physical conditions; we can will ourselves to be healthy and pain free. However, sometimes it seems that the reverse is true. Our relationship with our body is complex. We love and nourish it, and in return we expect loyalty. Yet our bodies, it would seem, serve a different master.
I can control my fear of heights, yet I cannot stop the ache in my hip. I can override my timidity when speaking in public, yet I cannot quell the stiffness in my feet and hands? Why does my body creak and groan every time I shift positions?
Of course, to remain as active as possible for as long as possible is important. However, for some of us it can be difficult to find the balance between activity and pain. The tipping point can be capricious. What energizes and empowers one day, induces aches and pains the next.
At times my body acts as an unruly child that requires love and discipline yet, despite all of my attention, sometimes stubbornly goes its own way. I am amazed by what my body can do and frustrated by what it cannot. I find myself surveying it with wonder and concern. I try to counsel my body, yet as is often the case with our offspring, my influence dissipates as it ages.
This tangled connection spills over into other relationships as well. I want you to intuitively know when I’m in pain. I don’t want to talk about it, but I want you to ask about it. I don’t want you to tell me what I can’t and shouldn’t do. Understand that it is important to me to try. I know that there will be a price to pay for hiking or biking or dancing. Let me decide if I am willing to pay it. Be there to support me as I do as much as I can, and when I’ve done more than I should. I want to be strong, but I want you to recognize that sometimes I’m not.