The challenge of further stillness

Posted by Jeanne Barrett on July 3, 2010 in Uncategorized

Diagnosis of stress fracture in my left foot was confirmed by both my doctor and my PT this past week.  Stress fractures (hairline cracks in the bone) rarely show on x-rays, but my symptoms of localized pain, discoloration and slight swelling are consistent with a stress fracture diagnosis.  Clearly, my foot was not elastically prepared for increased activity post knee hardware removal.  My joyous enthusiasm for mobility backfired.

The primary treatment for stress fracture is rest, as well as minimization of pain causing activity (in my case, walking for more than a few blocks, as well as walking at more than a snail’s pace).  I was so very happy to be able to walk with ease and speed after hardware removal surgery, and now I am reduced once again to dreary restriction.

I am very grateful that my knee has no pain whatsoever, and that I can teach Alexander lessons with ease. To say I am frustrated by rest requirements puts it very mildly.  I am constitutionally restless, and despite nearly a year and a half of enforced limitation in mobility, I haven’t learned to like being physically stilled.  I have defined my very being in life by an exploration of movement, and I wrestle mightily with being unable to walk, let alone being unable to run, dance, skip, or catch the next bus with ease and speed.  Patience in healing and tolerance for immobility have been tested and worn to smithereens.

Quieting internal chatter, thinking with the whole self in stillness, and remaining dynamic without impeding healing is my current challenge.  There are new skills to be learned, more identity with a constructed self to be relinquished,  and more active stillness to be embraced.  A sort of dynamic surrender is key now.  I don’t like this experience one bit, but also trust, in my quieter moments, that larger learning is occurring, and I am hopeful that I can embody these hard lessons to assist my students in their mobility challenges, and the necessity of stillness as an internal skill.

The Alexander Technique offers a choice in response to stimulus.  Although I struggle, my choice in response is to learn, find a new quiet, to go from undoing to doing without doing too much.  Being happy with this necessity is not the question; learning is my only option. Fighting current conditions of self will get me nowhere.  The battle becomes internal to a more extensive degree: quiet, refuse to narrow or shorten, request an overall elastic self, in an ongoing spiral of active stillness.

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