I have had a hard last couple of weeks.
I’ve had a long-term issue with my spine since childhood. Without going into details, there are a lot of muscular imbalances along the course of my spine, causing vertebrae to twist and turn, throwing my body out of alignment. For many years, the twist in my neck was so severe, it kept my jaw joint dislocated so that I wasn’t able to talk. That time was extremely difficult, and I am thankful every day I am past that hardship.
Part of my treatment entails manipulating my soft tissues so that my spine will untwist and function normally again. Usually, this goes well and each day I feel a little better. It takes work, hours of physical therapy and treatments each day, but that’s okay, I’m more than happy to work hard to get better. However, sometimes changes in one part of the spine throw the alignment off in the jaw and I am unable to talk once again until all the soft tissue issues in that area have been worked out.
That rarely happens anymore. But two weeks ago, I hit a rough patch and found myself unable to talk for many days in a row. My initial thought was, “This can’t happen. I have clients to see.”
But it was happening and I became anxious and worried…very anxious and worried. I couldn’t cancel on my clients!
After I settled myself down a bit, I asked myself two questions:
1) What would I tell my clients if they were going through this?
2) How can I exercise compassion toward my clients and myself in this situation?
The answers that came to me were simple, but harder to execute. Of course I would tell my clients to do what they needed to do to get better. I would tell them that life throws everyone curve balls and that it’s our reactions to the curveballs that matters. I would remind them that there is much in life we cannot control. I would tell them that all we can do is our best and treat everyone around us with consideration and kindness, including ourselves. For me, that kindness to my clients included letting them know more about the situation and trying as well as I could to inform them about how long that I might be unable to meet. The kindness to myself included trying not to beat up on myself for needing to cancel with clients.
While thinking about all of this, I was reminded how it is often harder for us to be kind to ourselves than it is to be kind to others.
My clients were all tremendously supportive and encouraging of me to take care of myself. They showed me the compassion I was having a hard time extending to myself and I am so thankful to them for that. I hope they can show themselves that same compassion as life throws them curveballs.
Yes, so 2016 began with a curveball for me, but I’m trying to practice what I preach. Compassion. I’ll be on the mend soon and look forward to working with my clients again.