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Balance - Mind, Body and Spirit
My lower back was killing me
My lower back was killing me. I'd tried heat. I'd tried tiger balm. I did cat stretches until I meowed, but the pain would not go away. Desperate for relief I booked a massage.
When I told the therapist why I was there, she informed me that lower back pain often results from poor core strength. I was flummoxed. After all, I exercised three or four times a week and often heard the instructor say that certain exercises were for good for the core. I'd held planks. I'd squatted.
With all that squatting and plank-holding, how could my core be weak?
As the therapist’s fingers kneaded my muscles into submission, my mind wandered back to a time a few years earlier when I had a personal trainer. He often spoke of the importance of developing a strong core and frequently had me jump on to and off of a bosu (an inflated rubber hemisphere attached to a rigid platform), then throw a medicine ball to him, and catch it when he lobbed it back. I slipped off that bosu many more times than I stayed on.
Perhaps a strong core and balance are linked?
Mind, Body and Spirit
When I went to an exercise class the following day I knelt down and noticed a three-petal floral design at one end of the mat. Underneath it was: “360 MIND + BODY”. Hmm, I thought, 360 is the number of degrees in a circle, so they seemed to be saying that it takes both mind and body to go full circle.
Something told me there was more .. that a third element completed the circle.
I thought about my life recently. I'd spent a lot of time exercising, but not much compared to the amount of time I'd been in front of a computer. Sometimes after I'd been typing and surfing the internet I'd turn around, look at the clock and wonder where the afternoon went. I realized that i felt drained of energy and my back felt weaker.
An image came to mind: a weigh scale with two plates connected by chains to an arm affixed to a centre fulcrum. I imagined myself as the centre fulcrum and that one of the plates held "mind" choices, and the other "body" choices. For example, when I spent time eating nutritious food and exercising, the "body" plate filled up, but when I spent three hours in front of the computer, the "mind" plate started to get heavier, putting the scale out of balance, and pulling on the centre fulcrum.
I wondered if there was a way of counter balancing the weight from the two plates at the front. That's when an idea hit me: what if there's a third plate that I can't see because it's behind me? Just because it's invisible doesn't mean it's not there. What if this third plate holds choices that I make to feed my spirit?
Wednesday is my favourite weekday
Again I thought of my life. Lately I'd felt tired and discouraged and the back pain stole any remaining energy. But, I realized, there was one day of the week when I always felt good: Wednesday. On Wednesdays I felt energetic and cheerful. What was it about Wednesdays?
On Wednesday mornings I lead a group discussion on a book, "Love beyond Reason" by John Ortberg. The book is about God's love and Ortberg shares many amusing and heart-wrenching stories, which inspire group members to share ones of their own. Some amaze me, others touch me, and some challenge me to change the way I think. But I'll tell you this: I never feel back pain when I'm there.
Could it be that spiritual food actually strengthens my back, much the way an invisible rear third plate freshly laden with spiritual weight, could counter balance the weight from two overly full mind and body plates at the front?
I'm going to check it out because right now my back is hurting. My plan is to stop typing, turn away from the screen, walk outside, close my eyes, breathe in the scent of freshly planted lavender and fill that invisible plate behind me with scents, sights and sounds that nourish my spirit, restore balance, and, hopefully, ease my aching back. I'll let you know if it worked.
A Poetic Epilogue
I've returned from my backyard and it helped a bit
But fixing what ails my back isn't a quick fix
It'll take constant concentration
To avoid mind and body fixation
The trick is to remember this:
True healing comes from spiritual bliss.