When I was in 3rd grade, I broke my left arm. I fell off a swing backwards on the playground and snapped my left ulna. The bone was set properly. It seemed to heal quickly.
Flash forward a few decades, it’s giving me trouble when I do Wheel Pose during yoga. I’ve had an on-again, off-again relationship with yoga. I’ve settled into a steady yin and restorative regimen. I’ve always loved Wheel Pose. I made an ambitious goal. I was going to practice Wheel Pose every day.
It seems the old injury has come back. I can’t get up into wheel everyday. My left ulna needs a rest for a day and then it will cooperate the next day. It took me a week or two to figure out why this was. And then I remembered my elementary school swing incident.
Healing is an ongoing process. Long after the cast comes off, long after you’ve done talk therapy, you may still have flare ups from an old wound, whether the wound is physical or emotional. It’s okay to rest. It’s okay to say, “not today”. It doesn’t make you less than.
It seems my left forearm needs my patience. If I force myself into the position, it hurts. How often have we forced something that ended up hurting ourselves or another? Probably more often than we’d like to admit. We’re often told to toughen up, feel the pain, push past it or get on with it. That’s not how we heal. We heal by listening. We heal by respecting our boundaries and limits. Right now, I have three limbs that are consistently ready to do the Wheel. My back appreciates the stretch too. My left arm needs a little coaxing and permission to back off when its too much.
Compassion for yourself is trusting your process–even if its decades-long.