Organize Your Thinking – The Opportunity
I have a little problem right now. It started last fall and it isn’t getting any better. At least not yet.
I first noticed it when I was driving. I tried to look over my right shoulder and couldn’t rotate my neck all the way. Thinking it would work itself out, I didn’t worry about it. But a few weeks later it seemed to be getting worse.
I visited one of my favorite therapists who has helped me keep my body healthy and functioning for years. She can fix everything! But…no cigar this time. My neck continued to worsen.
I scaled back my working out, put some heat on my neck, and visited my therapist a few more times, but by Thanksgiving I couldn’t look to the side without rotating at the waist. My morning run the day after Thanksgiving was a disaster. By the end of the day, my neck had very limited range of motion, my head, shoulders and neck ached, and let’s just say….The Happy Gal wasn’t too happy. ☺
I decided to pull out the big guns.
Twelve sessions with the physical therapist. Nada.
Fifteen sessions with the chiropractor. Nope.
Finally I got an MRI, and I found out I have two bulging discs and some degeneration. More doctor appointments are scheduled, and I am crossing my fingers that I can return to normal soon. But right now I really don’t know. How soon things will get better? And what is “better” going to look like?
As you know, I am an organizer. One of my definitions of organizing is to turn chaos into something that serves you. We do this when we sort our stuff into bins and put labels on them so we can use it. But this experience is teaching me that more important than organizing stuff is organizing our thoughts.
If we aren’t careful, our thoughts will clutter up our minds quicker than our kids can unorganize the toy room, and we find ourselves trying to navigate through life with some very clouded vision. Though thoughts seem innocent enough when they start, nothing can shape our experience quicker than what we allow to run through our head – negative or positive
It has been a constant challenge for me to organize my thoughts about this injury. I naturally want to worry and complain and fear, but not only do these thoughts not change anything, they leave me feeling even more discouraged. And although it takes a tremendous amount of effort, I am striving to discipline my thoughts by focusing on the positive:
At least I can walk for exercise.
I can still do daily activities, like work at the computer and take care of my home and family.
I am less uptight at night, because there’s no early workout class I need to make.
I have reconnected with dear friends who like to walk in the morning.
I am more aware of my health, rather than taking it for granted.
I have much more empathy for the suffering and discouragement of others.
So at the risk of sounding very cliché, I am going to say this anyway: we all have a choice about how we experience life. It’s tough when we can’t change things. At some point all of us have to live with something we don’t like. But when that happens, the only power you have is to choose how you are going to respond.
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” – Victor Frankl