Day 79: Sitting with myself

I’ve been sitting for 56 years. You’d think I would have mastered it by now.

But no.

Today I couldn’t sit at the table and eat breakfast. I hopped around, doing dishes, doing laundry, noshing on random bites to eat.

At my desk I shifted, adjusted my chair, stretched, got up again. Jumped from one browser tab to another. Got a snack. Got some tea.

Driving to Atlanta, I clenched my shoulders, pounded my hands on the wheel, made gestures at other drivers.

By the time I got to the clinic, I was in serious pain from my lower back.

Hold feelings inside, tighten up in “fight” mode: It stresses organs and joints. Do this for years on end, and you will end up with pain so bad that you will do anything, anything, anything to make it stop.

You don’t need a medical degree to know that being tense is bad for your health. But you do have to listen to yourself and feel your body. You have to sit with it.

So I sit in the clinic chair, waiting for my name to be called. Close my eyes and breathe. Feel myself sitting. What’s my body doing? Where is the burden?

I carry the needs of so many other people. Because I believe that those who can carry should carry.

I carry more than I should carry. I don’t carry it with the right posture, the right balance.

I can’t relax because thousands of years of my farmer ancestor genes tell me that relaxing is lazy, and leads to starvation.

I was built to work, and that’s what my body tries to do, all the time.

All in my back and shoulders. Carrying. Lifting. Supporting.

So little in it for me. More precisely, so little for spirit. I’m stingy with myself and stingy with spirit. I can’t seem to just sit with it.

And so my back hurts.

Today’s penny is a 2014, the year I first had sciatica.