I remember my mentor once saying what a gift it was to find oneself in the midst of our suffering.
Well, this summer has been profoundly challenging to the degree that I decided to cancel a retreat in Ibiza, the first time I’ve ever done that.
I had a motorbike accident in 1997 which left me with compression fractures in the middle of my spine. Over the years since, the pain has come and gone and I’ve managed it through various physical therapies, and even by training to become a Feldenkrais teacher myself.
This time, though, was different. The pain was so bad that it stopped me from being able to carry on running my business. It was like a car that wouldn’t and couldn’t move forwards. Occasionally I would try to engage first gear, but my body would quickly respond by stalling and forcing me to stop. It got so bad that sometimes it even felt that I was going in reverse.
I booked every kind of therapy I could think of – including a brutal technique called Acutomo in Spanish (a micro-invasive surgery) where I was subject to the therapist making small cuts between the vertebrae in my spine! But nothing seemed to help.
That is until I found Mark, a Canadian chiropractor who recently moved to Ibiza and who works with elite athletes and helps them to rehabilitate from serious injury.
Meeting and starting to work with Mark was invigorating. I found someone who could not just help me heal, but to excel. I began to see a path to vibrant health into my old age, where I could be flexible and able to function in the world optimally.
The ‘slap’ factor was realising that I had been in ‘coping mode’ for so long. I was reminded of the story of the frog in a pot of water. The frog apparently won’t notice if it’s being slowly heated to death, until it’s too late. But if you drop a frog straight in a pot of boiling water, it will instantly jump out. It’s a story I sometimes tell participants on my courses and retreats. So many of us are like that frog, experiencing what Robert Quinn calls ‘slow death’ where we settle for less than our full potential. Sometimes we need a shock to get us to take the action we need.
Meeting Mark made me realise that when it came to my body, I’d been settling for less than my full potential, for years. It was a painful revelation. But it’s also led to a massive release of energy and potential. With Mark’s help, and with a new-found commitment to excelling, I’m finding myself motoring ahead. I may not be in the fast lane yet, but I can now get into second, third and sometimes even top gear. It feels, finally, like I’ve got my life back.
And moreover, I’ve got a clear internal representation of what 10X now looks like for me and my health. A part of that is knowing that no matter what gear I’m in, there’s always another level or gear I can shift into. It’s that knowing and capacity to constantly improve, rather than settle and plateau, which energises me to continue learning and growing and healing.
“The tiny seed knew that in order to grow, it needed to be dropped in dirt, covered with darkness, and struggle to reach the light.” Sandra Kring