I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at three years old. Honestly, my mother was really on top of it and I was so resilient as a child that it didn’t really throw a wrench in my life plans.
The symptoms rarely show themselves, but when I have a bad year, I know I’m about to undergo some serious transformation. After all, when our bodies talk, the messages aren’t to be taken lightly.
This year has been a swelling of the knee kinda year for me. When I have these episodes, I always know it’s my true self’s desperate attempt to get my attention.
At first, I try to cure myself. You know, deep breaths, extra green juice, lots of prayers to Archangel Raphael, and some at-home stretching. But of course, when our fears start to manifest themselves in our physical bodies, there’s usually a much bigger lesson to be learned that requires our complete attention and energy. That’s when it’s time to call in the reinforcements. For me, that’s my Pilates instructor, Kara.
It had been about three years since I last saw her. And I admit, while I like the final product, I avoid going because I know she’s going to make me work, plus the guilt of taking time out of my day feels so heavy.
Kara heals beyond the body, that is for sure. Sometimes it is her words that speak to my soul, but mostly it is the space she gives me to connect with my wounds that allows me to heal. We all need people and activities that allow us to do this. We do not live in this world alone.
The other day while in session with Kara it was time to do these quad exercises that kill me, because I’m so weak in my right leg from protecting that injured knee. I’ve done a really good job of not letting that knee feel pain by overcompensating with the other leg.
In that moment, the lesson began to come out of the shadows and show itself. We all do this, don’t we? We protect ourselves from the feelings we need to feel the most. We try desperately to find partners, in an effort to not feel inadequate. We keep ourselves so incredibly busy in order to not feel that awful feeling of not being enough. Or we eat, drink, smoke our way through the anxiety.
We’re so scared of feeling, because it’s uncomfortable and it hurts. But what I learned through the pain of lifting up that leg was that the cure is just underneath the pain.
As I worked through the pain, I found my inner strength. It was a really weak inner strength, but nonetheless it was there. I could barely feel it, but it felt alive and so excited to get stronger. It's been there this whole time, but for some reason, I convinced myself I had lost it or that it never existed.
This is true for all of us. The pain that we’re so desperately avoiding is, in fact, the answer. Acknowledging it, and agreeing to go through the healing process is where we find the inner strength that has always been there — it just went unused for a while. The pain is actually a gift, a sign, a path.
And the strength, well, it's always been there. We were created with this super strength inside that is beyond the physical world. All we need to do is connect.
I try not to get caught up in the drama of wondering why that strength was covered up in the first place. But what I do know is that strength needs to be realized, and some of us just rather explore, discover, and tell others about it later.
Tell us your story of strength below. <3