Monday, October 28, 2013

Measuring up

          Last week I had my annual physical.  What a treat (yeah, right) to be poked and prodded and asked a million and one questions because my physician's computer system magically updated itself in the last few months.  The result was a plethora of inaccurate data for many of the patients and I was no exception.
          I found it frustrating, yet fascinating to be questioned endlessly about the health issues I used to struggle with years ago.  "How's your depression?"  "Is your pain still chronic?"  "How often are you getting a migraine?"
          "Please put all of those in the 'resolved' file," I told the nurse.
          "What's your pain threshold today?"  she asked.
          "On a scale of 1 to 10, how much pain are you in?"
          "Zero," I told her. 
          "That's incredible," she smiled.
          But not as incredible as what I discovered when I stepped on the scale to get weighed and measured.
          Having struggled for years in my teens and twenties to measure up in the weight category, I no longer give much thought to what the magic number might be.  I watch what I eat.  I exercise.  I rest.  I meditate.  I leave the rest to the wisdom of my body and in return, it has blessed me with maintaining a healthy balance for the past ten years.
          Still, I couldn't help but do a double-take when the nurse measured my height and said, "I've got you at five feet, seven inches."
          "What?" I replied.  I've been five feet, five inches tall since my eleventh birthday, so I was skeptical.
          "Here....look," she said, pointing.  "I was a little off, but rounded up."
          Sure enough, I measured in at five feet, six and three-quarter inches tall.
          "I've always said I wanted to be five feet, six," I laughed.  "Guess all that yoga really worked to stretch me out!"
          Still, I've been practicing yoga for nearly seventeen years....and getting Rolfed annually for more than a decade. 
          Why was this the year I finally grew up?

          For years my Rolfer and I have been working to unwind an insipid scoliosis pattern in my spine.  This summer's three-series was particularly grueling and I asked him mid-way through, "Do you think I'll ever let this one go?"
          He shrugged.  "Time will tell, but there's always that possibility."
          Ever since I discovered the minor "s curve" in my spine, I've been acutely aware of unwinding any pattern that encourages me to split off to one side, to disengage with the world and "check out."
          I've learned the hard way that's no way to live.
          And so, ever since I strive to stand in my center, even when it's painful.  When it's hard.  When I find myself having to confront repeated situations that call out for a different response than "fight or flight." 
          Instead of reacting like I used to, I choose to stay present and work through it with awareness.  
          "You must be a pleaser," one of my knitting students said to me recently when we were talking about one of my recent challenges.
          "I wouldn't say that," I replied.
          "Then you might be a non-confronter."
          I nodded.  "Yeah, that's more accurate.  But I'm learning that if I don't confront a situation, it'll keep confronting me."
          And after all, confrontation can be a healthy way to new roads of communication and clarity.  It can also lead us through open doors of new experience.

          I've had a little crush on someone for a while.  He works somewhere I frequent occasionally and while we don't know each other well at all, we do have short, but sweet conversations.  I even ran into him the other day while working through my "bad, bad thing."  It was good to see him...a reminder that the potential for new beginnings is always on the horizon.
          And yet, there's still a part of me that wants to tug me off center.  The part that asks incessant, unyielding questions:  Will I measure up to what he might want?  Am I good enough?   Am I too independent?  And the most difficult of them I too old?
          At this point in my life, I don't give a lot of credence to those very human, yet very obsolete curiosities.  They waste too much of what I could be focusing on and creating right now.  I suppose I can put all of those questions in the "resolved file," too.  Who knows?  Maybe one day soon, I'll tell Mr. Crush we should plan to run into each other on purpose.
          After all, if I can shoot up an inch and a quarter in a year's time, I know I can keep growing in other areas of my life as well.  All I need to do is stand tall, stand in my center and keep walking forward.