Get out of your own way

I went to my case manager at the pain clinic to talk about some road blocks I was having. I felt like I couldn’t make progress on my physical rehab goals and do the harder PT exercises to make me stronger, because of the pain I was having. But I had to do the exercises to get my stronger and have less pain. I was frustrated by this catch 22 and couldn’t see a way out. I was worked up as I was telling her this and had some tears.

She told me to just pause and calm down. She said this is all a narrative I’m telling myself and it’s causing me a lot of anxiety. Can I just step back and tune into my body wisdom? What is my body telling me? It was really interesting that she didn’t answer my questions directly, but totally redirected me.

It was a strange moment to just have to pause and calm this totally anxious and worked up part of my brain. I tuned into my body. It took me awhile but I finally told her that it’s telling me to calm down. It’s telling me I’m actually working really hard with all the things I am doing. It was such a calming shift in perspective and feeling.

She asked me if it was possible to get out of my own way a little bit and recognize there is a narrative running in my head. She recommended this book called The Big Bamboozle. It’s pretty wacky with some funky art, but the concepts are great. It got me to see some of the narratives that are running on autopilot, much of them around fear and feeling badly.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot since my meeting with her. What does it mean to get out of my own way, tune into my body wisdom, and stop the narrative running through my head? When I do tune into my body and ask it what to do or how it’s feeling, I usually sense a short, peaceful response, like “Rest” or “You’re doing fine.”

My body wisdom is a lot more tight lipped than the crazy part of my brain that’s yapping away, but I’ll try to listen more often. I’m also reflecting on “getting out of my own way,” which I think is turning off the narrative and just being and letting go. That’s terrifying but I’ll try to practice that too.

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