My car broke down last night, in a very curious way. I was coming home after what was easily the best chiropractic adjustment yet. I’d been trying some new “Foundation” exercises recommended by my acupuncturist for the past four days and already feeling much, much better. So my back is the best it’s felt since even before my injury – I can see the path to having a strong, healthy back and core, maybe stronger and healthier than it’s ever been. Then my car stops – literally steps from where I live. It just stopped and every time I’d start the engine, it would turn over, then stop.
Great, another problem. So I get it towed to a place that’s literally around the block, make arrangements for a rental, all the BS. I’m worried about the cost, since I’m not exactly flush with money these days. Today I get a call from the repair shop – a very reasonable price to fix, and an extremely reasonable price to take care of some other routine maintenance. Up to that point, I’d been dutifully taking my car to the dealer and spending a small fortune. So what initially looked to be this expensive pain in the ass turns into a long-term cost savings, and a little extra TLC for my car.
It’s another in a series of ways the universe has been giving me what I need. It started with me going through what I thought was a worthless procedure to diagnose. I took off a day from work and ended up having most of the day to relax and enjoy myself. I got myself a Thai massage, something I haven’t done since I was in Thailand almost nine years ago. It was fantastic!
And it opened up something in me – I’d been really neglecting taking care of myself and treating myself well. I’d become so focused on “improving myself” that I was actually burning the candle at both ends and putting off the things I truly enjoy, things that bring me pleasure. When I had this massage, I welcomed the relaxation and just let go – it created this beautiful opening in my heart and mind, and started this attitude adjustment. And it wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t had that “stupid procedure.”
That weekend, I messed up my back at the gym. It really hurt and I was very bummed. First, this was about the third time I’d messed up my back, and I was frustrated with always being weak and subject to injury. Second, my oldest son and I had joined this gym to work out together, and it was a really great bonding experience, and now I was injured. Third, I was really enjoying the new gym, which has such a better energy than the place I was working out at before.
So I was down, and determined to change my behavior and heal. Stop the heavy lifting, adjust my exercise to focus more on stretching, mobility and core strength. Let go of the “body builder” mentality that was shortening my muscles and depleting my energy. See a chiropractor and acupuncturist and really heal my body.
The chiropractor noticed my hips and spine were out of alignment, which was likely the reason for the injuries in the first place. So I’m on a program of adjustments, stretching exercises and DEEP-tissue massages that has my back feeling really good. I’m on the path to truly healing my back, not just living with off-and-on pain, like I’ve been doing for the past several years.
The acupuncturist noted my low energy – she called it “dampness,” which is how it feels, like I’ve got a damp blanket over me, feeling tired all the time, stressed, lacking focus. The acupuncture is awesome! I can’t say enough good things about it, it’s been life-changing. First, it loosened up my back in an amazing way from the first time. Second, it’s relaxed my body in ways I didn’t even know I was holding tension. The doctor even directed me to a website with awesome core-strengthening and stretching exercises that have already helped my back significantly.
And most importantly, it caused me to focus on taking care of myself and repairing my energy. Funny with all my talk about energy and all the things I’m doing, my energy is so low. Again, I’ve been so focused on “sharing my knowledge” and “learning to improve myself” that I’ve been really neglecting my energy. So I’ve been diving deeply into self-acceptance, really loving and caring for myself, which has opened up my heart to better appreciate things in my life that are important, and to let go of things that aren’t.
It’s also helped me to see how my focus on “self-improvement” has actually come from a place of not fully loving and accepting myself. It hasn’t been as much about enhancing myself, but making myself “good enough” to deserve pleasure and happiness. So I’ve been letting it all go, focusing entirely on resting, healing and renewal, with nothing to “learn” or “improve” right now. It’s been weird, I’m not used to this. But it feels right.
I’ve changed my diet – eating dinner earlier and not wolfing whatever down right before bed as the last thing on my to-do list. Eating things that bring me good energy. Cutting out coffee, which has been a huge addiction (so I’m actually MORE sluggish now as I get over my addiction to excess caffeine and rebalance).
I’m also using my meditation to find gratitude in the value I’m bringing to the world right now, which is something I’ve been seriously overlooking. I work hard as a dad, but have spent almost no time stopping to appreciate how cool it is to have little “me’s” out there in the world, that I’m helping to raise. I haven’t spent much time at all appreciating my work as a dad until now. And that’s just one example, there are so many aspects of myself that are worthy of appreciation and gratitude right now, even if there are other things I want for myself.
There’s so much value in taking time to fully love, accept and appreciate yourself. This is like giving my spirit a massage and an adjustment. I believe it is the most effective way to create real self-esteem and confidence, and it’s what I teach to the world, yet I’ve been so busy “generating,” I have been denying this to myself. Damn, it feels good to really appreciate what an amazing man I am, and what an amazing life I’m living right now. And that leads to more heart opening, more love and appreciation for others, more generosity, more compassion. It leads to more happiness.
Then my car dies. Ugh. And I’m not seeing an upside, but at the same time, it’s okay. I’m struggling with how to make arrangements, but at the same time kind of okay with it, just hoping the damage is minimal. Then today, the mechanic tells me the damage – far lower than I expected, and considerably lower than anything I’ve paid for repairs before. And the other maintenance is also very reasonable.
So instead of a financial butt-reaming, I’ve found a more affordable, reliable mechanic who is looking out for the long-term well-being of my car and my pocketbook. This ends up being a long-term savings – a car that lasts longer and a much more affordable maintenance program. And “find a good mechanic so I’m not always taking my car to the dealership” has been on my to-do list for over ten years.
So I’m fully committed to taking care of myself, of growing from the inside-out, of basically putting my own teaching to work for myself! The time to treat myself well is now, and in doing so, I’m of more benefit to the world around me and those who are truly important. I’m no longer seeking, I’m doing, I’m enjoying life now, not looking for some bar to clear so I can give myself permission. What does this mean going forward? I don’t know. Right now, I want to bring my resources in and heal. Perhaps that will mean a new direction, or perhaps it’ll actually make me a more effective coach. I’ll let that figure itself out and pay better attention to the signals the universe is sending me – ignoring them has been quite painful, even if the end result has been good.