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10 Things I Learned from Losing Control

For a yoga teacher, nutrition enthusiast and outdoor nut, I’ve not had the most healthful summer.

First, it was excruciating abdominal pain that landed me in the hospital after six hours of vomiting and being doubled over in pain like nothing I’ve ever experienced. Two days later I emerge sans gall bladder, and I’m questioning how I let it happen. I eat right. I exercise all. the. time. I practice yoga. I don’t get it. Why me?

Less than a month later, I fell down my stairs, tore the ligaments in the top of my foot and sprained my ankle. I couldn’t bear weight at all for two weeks and am still nursing injuries from the fall today. Once done feeling sorry and “poor me-ing it” I took a breath and checked myself—seriously.

Questions like . . .

What’s the message?

What am I supposed to do with this set back?

What am I supposed to learn from all of this?

As is typical when I slow down enough to introspect at length, I found the answers to be multiple and layered. This is what I found true for me:

1. Ultimately, I’m not entirely in control. Though I try to be. Though I wanna be. Some things are out of my control and that is okay.

2. Unfortunately for number one, I discovered that I am far more of a control freak than I thought.

3. I am a mover. I am a doer. My body must move everyday. My mental health suffers when it does not. I knew this before, but it became much more apparent when I was not able to walk, hike, rollerblade, practice a physical yoga.

4. Friends are important. If I didn’t have my friends to deal with the emotional stress of my injury, I’m not sure what I would’ve done. One sweet friend took me out kayaking since my normal fitness routine was not an option. Another friend took care of me on a girl’s day out. (Thanks A & J!)

5. I must be diligent about taking care of myself at all times. It’s critical that I watch everything that goes into my body. Energetic nurturance of self is a top priority, and being mindful of all of my movements—even walking is important.

6. Massage is wonderful as general preventative care and a must for dealing with an injury. I had a massage today and the advice I got was far greater than anything my osteopath provided. Energetically I am more clear about how I will now recuperate and grow stronger.

7. Yoga is more than asana. Though I still can’t practice physically the way I normally do, the breath is always with me, as are the 8 Limbs to help me see clearly. I can move through the world without reacting to it.

8. Being grateful goes a long way. While it has clearly sucked to be sick and injured, it certainly could have been much worse. I am thankful for the health I do have.

9. Downtime is a good thing. In this culture of go-go-go, mandatory down time may be just the thing that allows us to gain perspective.

10. Writing and journaling both help clear my mind, enhance mental health and create clarity around where I’ve been and where I wish to go from here.

Yep, I’ve learned a lot this summer. I’ve learned about how my body works, as well as the workings of my mind in relation to these physical setbacks. I don’t wish illness or injury on anyone, but if it happens to you, take the time to look within and see what it has to teach you.

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About

Heather Church is a yoga teacher, writer, web strategist and Programming & Sponsorship Coordinator for Where Is My Guru. She teaches at a local college and writes passionately about sustainability, minimalism, yoga, yogic philosophy and mindfulness. Heather also works for a rockin’ location independent technology company where she develops websites, provides web and social media strategy and writes in all forms. Beyond the professional labels, her passions include outdoor adventures like hiking, kayaking, rollerblading and minimalist running. When not on the mat, putting pen to paper or on an adventure quest, Heather is happiest at home living a quiet simple life with her husband, daughter and two dogs. Find her at namaste*heather, and connect on Facebook and Twitter.

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