The joys of mobility progress

Posted by Jeanne Barrett on October 2, 2010 in Uncategorized

After a year and nearly 8 months since patella fracture, I am now experiencing the joyous resumption of vigorous activity, following numerous set backs, many delays, further injuries and a test of patience that nearly made me insane with frustration.  Without the tools and principles of the Alexander Technique, my insanity may well have been confirmed!

My recovery has also relied upon the necessary assistance of experts in other disciplines that are compatible with Alexander thinking, most notably intelligent whole-person Physical Therapy, Osteopathy, and the comprehensive strengthening of Gyrotonic exercise.  As an Alexander teacher, I have been able to bring a skill of intention and attention to the use of my self in the process of recovery. However, the experience of patella fracture and the requirements for full recovery in function have needed expert guidance far beyond my own skills.

Currently, I am thrilled to be able to run up hills every morning with some degree of ease.  Running on level ground or running down even a slight grade is more impact than my injured knee can handle.  There is no point in going beyond my current condition of self!  Since running up hills is a bit easier every day, my hope is that my use of self and balance of strength will allow running on any grade with ease before too very long. My intention and hope is to be able to run on the pre-dawn beach in Kauai in December, with the stars reflected in the sand under my feet and the ocean licking my heels in a rhythm that spells utter delight.

Gyrotonic exercise explorations have also expanded in possibility.  Many movements that previously challenged my injured knee can now be accomplished, as long as I continue to attend to my entire elastic self in response to movement stimulus.  In other words, allowing the dynamic pause between stimulus and response so that the activity can do itself.  Another way that I express this to my students is “going from undoing to doing without doing too much”.

I love my morning hill runs.  I know all the locations where I can hear and observe various birds, and how the air shifts so that the scent of Puget Sound informs me.  End gaining, as in pushing myself to run, is fruitless, and only results in pain and inflammation.  Every morning hill run is unique and requires a willingness for new experience, for allowing the current condition of self to indicate appropriate vigor.  If I hurry myself, I use myself poorly and suffer later.  If I allow internal time and quiet the hurry-urgency,  my use improves and I can accelerate with ease.  There is a large difference between hurrying and moving quickly with good use.

And this all speaks, of course, to the long journey of recovery, of which I know far more than I ever wanted to know, and during which I learned more than I had previously believed possible. I am grateful for the learning, deeply appreciative of the very refined help I received, and ultimately hopeful that my challenging experience will somehow benefit others.

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