Stop Lifting With Your Face…

Words of wisdom from my chiropractor after another repetitive strain injury from work.

“You cannot lift people 3 times your size…it just can’t be done.  Why do you think you can?”

And another good point indeed…why did I think I could do that when I did it?  Interestingly, I have discovered that, although, it’s usually my back or shoulder that bears the brunt of the pain, it’s not always those body parts directly injured.  But it’s always the left side of my body.  And it was only after the good doctor grabbed my foot during one session and proceeded to elicit the most excruciating pain ever when I realized that my back and shoulder are just symptoms of a bigger problem.  Everything plays off of everything-it’s actually supposed to work together.

“Let’s see you lift this weight…um…no, no…not with your face and neck.  You can’t lift with your face…use your butt, use your legs.  OK-I said NOT with your face…”

Another useful discovery-your facial muscles can’t offer a whole lot when attempting to move 250 pounds of dead weight.  Apparently, though, I had been trying this technique.  Like my face was bracing myself for the impact and offering to help in any way it could.  My face.  Interesting.  Possibly explained my need to go to bed at night with ice packs on either side of my jaw.

I began to really pay attention at work to how I mobilized people and was truly shocked when it became glaringly clear that this was indeed my go-to method for lifting.  I had to stop and make myself relax my face and neck before moving anybody…almost like a de-programming tool.

I was reminded of this scenario when writing a paper for my course that I am completing in the next few weeks.  The basis of the paper is about 25 self-examination questions that we have been meditating and thinking on over the last month or so.  Essentially, we are uncovering the coping mechanisms that we have used in our life up to this point…and what works and what doesn’t work.  The point is not to focus on where we may feel we have “failed”, but what has been our M.O thus far and how could we re-frame it to be used in a more constructive, productive way?  And, how did we develop it in the first place?

After a few days of mulling these questions over, I was noticing myself getting really bogged down…maybe a little bit of over-thinking happening there.  Then I came across a book that I had purchased several months ago called “The Untethered Soul” by Michael Singer.  A fantastic read became an absolute home run when I read this:

“The minute you stop putting your whole heart and soul into the mind as if if were your saviour and protector, you will find yourself behind the mind watching it”

Enough said.  Just like my face, for 37 years I have expected my mind to do things that it had no business doing.  As a child, I was labelled as smart.  As I grew up, that became my “thing”.  I didn’t realize how much so until I looked back on decisions, situations and coping strategies I used and still currently use.  I somehow made the connection that, if I’m so smart with books and information, I should be able to use it to fix what’s wrong inside of me too.  All of my emotions, my judgements about how I’m perceiving life.  Yes!  That should totally work!  Unload the impossible on an organ that was never intended to do anything but simply input and output information.

So it’s not unthinkable when you ask the impossible that you don’t get the results you want.  You get something different-something uncomfortable because you are not engaging things the way they were meant to be engaged.  Your pushing them to the limit and bending them beyond the point of recognition.  And that causes pain…sometimes physical and sometimes emotional.  Sometimes a combination of both.

I have started to understand that my body and my brain are entirely capable of working on their own.  That sounds ridiculous but is absolutely true.  When I don’t ask them to do things they are not wired to do, it’s all good.  I don’t have to try to figure out a way to manipulate myself physically or mentally/emotionally to conform to a situation and MAKE it work.  Maybe it’s not meant to make sense…and maybe my body just is not made to lift the body of a 250 pound man.  And maybe that’s absolutely okay.



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