The Big View with Recovery Set Backs

Posted by darinreid on June 16, 2009 in Uncategorized

Over the past several weeks, I have experienced set-backs in pain levels and mobility that have dismayed, disturbed and depressed me. Just when I seemed to have achieved more comfort and flexion, my experience changed, without discernible explanation, to challenging pain and nearly non-existent flexion (which spells minimal mobility).

One of my wise and dedicated students, a professor at the University of Washington, suggested that I begin keeping a graph of my experience so that I can see trends in a larger fashion. And so, with her expert support, I began noting levels of pain, sleep. flexion, mood and activity. It is so tempting, and so very human, to become over-involved with today’s pain/activity/flexion and believe that current levels are permanent.

The larger view applies to learning the Alexander Technique also. As you become more keenly aware of your habitual reactions, they become louder, so that you may believe that you are regressing, when actually ease, calm, and overall co-ordination may be improving. These qualities may be much more difficult to chart; a graph is too mechanical for such qualities. The point is that progress in use of the self and in recovery is not linear, and may involve perceived regressions, experienced set-backs, and inexplicable leaps. The self needs to organize on many levels that are integrated and inseparable, especially in recovery. A long term view that is in balance with present awareness is a continuing balance of perception.

Pain is deeply discouraging; trust in the spiral process of recovery is conceptually appealing but realistically shaky. If I can recall my 25 years of Alexander study and all the spirals, set-backs, plateaus and breakthroughs I have experienced in that journey, perhaps I can bring a wee bit of patience and trust in process to this more acutely painful and urgent recovery.

I will see what the big picture reveals.