by Justine Calderwood, MSPT
Ever feel like your life is under construction? Like everything is in an uproar? Like things aren’t going right and you just want it to get back to normal?
Maybe you’ve noticed that construction is necessary for progress. Maybe you’ve noticed it’s accompanied by growth and healing.
Let me share a story or two about construction and healing.
My house has been under construction for the past month as we add on a family room. This means there is a huge pile of dirt where they dug the foundation sitting RIGHT by the stairs we use to get to the main part of our house. There’s a porta-potty just beyond that for the construction crew to use. My parking spot has shifted over and now my husband and I are squeezed into a tighter spot in our driveway. It takes some finesse to back up in such a narrow space.
Sometimes, like this morning, I had to park down the street because there’s a big trailer of building supplies in the spot where both of us normally park. It’s starting to cramp my style. Parking on the street requires a good walk down and up my driveway, on a hill covered with snow and ice, depending on the weather here in Colorado.
We’ve had to wait on permits, inspections, the crew as they work on other projects, the weather. It’s going slower than we’d like. It’s inconvenient. We started this process because we simply don’t have the space we need in our home. But we realize in order to get where we want to be we have to have to endure the construction phase.
My healing business is also under construction right now. I’m working on a new, professionally designed website while working one-on-one with a business coach. There are growing pains as I question myself with all the decisions that are required in this process. Having to decide how I want my website to look; page names, design, content for each page, colors, titles, a new logo. Looking at things from a new perspective and changing the things that aren't working well. Writing down my goals and vision, generating a budget, and creating content for social media gets overwhelming when I am juggling a patient caseload and family life. It’s painful. It’s stressful. Some days I want to cry, scream, or just take a nap to avoid the arduous task of decision making.
I stick it out, however, because I know these pains are necessary to get me where I want to be. It's the same reason I spent seven years in college becoming a physical therapist in the first place: the reward at the end. The end result in this case will be me reaching my ideal clients so I can help them with their big healing work. When I arrive at my goal, I will have created a business that I’m proud of, gives me joy, and helps me really make a difference in people’s lives while showing my daughters that their dreams are worth pursuing.
In the midst of all this, I started a new diet. It was out of necessity, because we discovered the source of my daughter’s tummy aches turns out to be a parasite and candida (yeast) in the digestive tract. She immediately had to start following a very restrictive diet which has been challenging for her since she’s only nine years old. Day two into her Candida Diet I decided to join her out of support.
So…more construction, more discomfort, more growing pains. This time it was an overhaul of a diet which has no room for sugar, yeast, pasta, wheat, soy, and a list of other no-no’s which eliminated our normal convenience-meals. It’s not like we were eating ALL the wrong things prior to this, but the new diet forced me to research, scour labels, educate ourselves and others, shop at the local health food store in addition to the big supermarket chain, be a watch dog for everything that goes into my daughter’s mouth, and generally spend more time in the kitchen than ever before.
I make two meals now….one for us and one for my husband and oldest daughter. It’s been no easy feat for someone who was already struggling to maintain a healthy balance between work and family life and get it all done in 24 hours’ time.
Not only did I begin the Candida Diet, at the same time I also started detoxing several major organs for my own health. This requires a daily regime of supplements that my dietitian recommended. The first week I checked and double checked that list of supplements before each meal and at the end of the day to know exactly what I was supposed to take and when. I did the same checking and rechecking for my daughter, making sure she was taking all the recommended supplements and pro-biotics to bring balance back to her little body.
We both experienced discomfort at the new routine. I’m ecstatic that I feel better in my body now, as I’ve shed a few pounds and I'm back to a healthier weight. But with it has come some stomach aches, missing out on social eating and some foods (and drinks) I really enjoy. Same goes for my daughter. She can’t eat school lunch, treats are completely off limits, and play dates are on a break for the moment unless they gather at our house where we can monitor her food intake. It has brought us both to tears on more than one occasion. But we know it’s necessary to get to the end result of better health.
This is all very minor stuff in the big scheme of things, but it all adds up. It starts to get under your skin; pick, pick, picking away at things. Creating chaos in a world that was comfortable and familiar. A world that worked like you wanted it to work and had come to expect.
To me, healing is a sort of construction project, too.
When you choose to make a change in the hopes of feeling better, there’s bound to be some construction along the way. It might come in the form of physical discomfort. It might show up as a change in emotions. It might be both. It might be unpleasant. It might rear up as an ache, burning, an unease, difficulty sleeping, not being able to get comfortable while your body shifts and finds a new norm. It might show up as a sea of emotion. Crying, feeling the blues, rage, feelings of despair, anger, resentment.
On the other hand, it may be extremely pleasant. You may feel bursts of joy, elation, gratitude, lightness, laughter. Your physical pain may lift. You may become aware of beliefs that were lodged in your system that needed to change, or emotions that simply needed to be expressed. You may find yourself returning to the activities you once found joy in. A walk or hike. Running. Enjoying time with your family. Clearing the fogginess from your head. Creating a sense of peace you haven’t felt in years.
Those of us that are experienced in bodywork and the healing process call this “Under Construction” process the Healing Theory. It can happen at any given time, but I like to tell every new patient I work with about it so they aren’t surprised.
I once worked with a gentleman that didn’t feel much while I was doing my hands-on work with him. I explained what I was feeling under my hands, the softening and lengthening out I felt. I explained the healing theory and that he may perhaps experience some change, pleasant or unpleasant, after our session.
Sure enough he called me the next day and said “I didn’t really think you were doing much yesterday, even though you explained it all. But today I’m in pain. My shoulders hurt, my head is achy, I can’t get comfortable”. “Uh oh, he's mad” I thought to myself. I quickly started to think of solutions in my head that I could offer for his discomfort.
Before I spoke he continued, “I’m calling because I wanted you to know I’m okay with it. I have been so numbed out for so long, not really feeling anything, so feeling the pain is actually a step in the right direction. I want more of your treatment. I think it is exactly what I need to help me”.
The point is, change can be uncomfortable. It doesn’t mean it’s not right. Change occurs all around us, day in and day out. Sometimes we get bursts of change all at once and it can feel overwhelming and we want to cry out “Why me?” or “Life is unfair”. Other times we ride the high, feeling like all is well and things magically fall into place.
Life is about change, just as healing is about change. The key is to remember that through change comes the reward of progress, healing, and growth.
Peace. Contentment. Understanding. Joy. You can put your own label on what healing is.
Go ahead….where do you see yourself at the end of it? Are you vibrant and alive? Glowing? Happy? Pain-free? Courageous? Sober? Healthy? Off pain medication? Sexy? Free from a toxic relationship? Balanced?
Even if it takes some discomfort to get there, will it be worth it to you?
It’s okay if you say no. It's okay if you don’t want to go through the process. If you are “fine” with where you’re at. Not everyone is ready to heal or grow; to take the steps needed and endure the “Under Construction” phase in order to feel better.
Maybe today’s not your day. Maybe today you stay in your comfortable little box, even if it’s miserable and you’re missing out on living the life you want.
But maybe you’re like me and you say “No way! I’m getting out of this box and moving forward!” Even if that means asking for help or support, praying for patience and endurance, and being uncomfortable in the process.
Because eventually the box is just too damn confining, don’t you think?
Justine Calderwood, MSPT is a holistic physical therapist who is passionate about helping women and men with chronic pain feel better and move easier to recover from trauma, injury or shitty life circumstances. She wants to help you discover the hidden clues to your physical pain, unravel the kinks, and guide you toward authentic healing, regardless of how long you’ve been suffering. Schedule a no-cost, no-obligation Discovery Session to see if Justine is the right fit for you as you strive for a happy, balanced, active life.
The materials contained on this website are provided for general information and educational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice on any particular individual situation. Please see your Healing Spot Physical Therapist or other medical practitioner for full and individual consultation. The information contained in this blog is not intended to diagnosis, cure, treat or prevent any disease.
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