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Just Breathe


This is one of my VERY favorite songs.

Anna Nalic sings it, I use it as a cool down very often at the end of class and just before meditation. The lyrics say it all. All you need is your breath. For those of you who have never meditated before and suffer from anxiety or have a high stress job, you absolutely need to try it. You'd be shocked at what taking a deep breath does for your body, mind and overall mental health.

In an age where technology is holding our interpersonal communication hostage, we need to step back, set down our external devices and find our breath. It's no wonder meditation is becoming so popular. There are apps, classes, you tube videos, books and more, all dedicated to it. I always wanted to try it but given my ADHD I assumed I would never be able to focus long enough to reap the benefits. When I finally decided to give it a go I found just the opposite. I am able to hyper focus and put myself into a higher physical state. I was hooked from day one. Meditation is essentially breathing, but who takes the time to do it? Until about a year ago I spent my life in a perpetual state of catching up, or trying to. Always running from one thing to the next, over scheduling myself, constantly being late and never giving myself time to - wait for it - just breathe. Seriously, never. Finally I just couldn't function anymore and needed some higher power to tap into - enter the amazing Kristal Fiorentino and meditation.

As I approach 50 I have made a valiant effort to really take care of my body. After a ridiculous amount of orthopedic surgeries and nearly a decade of physical therapy, I have finally turned a corner on fitness. I had to reprogram my mind to actually listen to my body. What is it telling me when I'm exercising. I never paid much attention to it. I've always just pushed myself beyond what is normal. Pain to me is the norm. I've never not been in pain, ever. I'm so used to it that I don't feel normal if I'm not in pain. When my sister had breast cancer and was finally finished with nearly a year of chemo, she asked her oncologist how she would know if the cancer returned. Her doctor said, "you'll be in pain." We both laughed at that because if that was the case then we both must be riddled with cancer! This was very interesting to us both. My sister is an ironman. She's done 10, or more, I stopped counting! She did her 9th ironman when she was going through chemo. She's amazing! So you can imagine what she puts her body through. When you are that type of athlete you absolutely enter a zone. You're not paying attention to the aches and pains of your body, you are trying to finish or place. I tend to gravitate to people that understand that part of me. My "workout" friends totally get that I'm in an enormous sling, on crutches or recovering from surgery at least twice a year, because they are too. We share doctors, stories of pain, physical therapists... Then we recover and get right back at it.

Well, I just had rotator cuff surgery 3 weeks ago today. That's why I haven't blogged. My point is this, I'm a freak and I know it. I fully accept this side of myself and embrace it. I identify with the strong qualities of my desire to exercise and need to work with it in a safe and satisfying manner where I can satisfy that side of myself, as well as, take a break and allow healing to happen. One week after surgery I went for a follow up with my doctors PA. I told her I've been riding my Peloton. But I explained to her that I'm not being a psycho freak where I'm clipped in, in an all out sprint and bent forward using the handle bars. I told her I wear my slippers, my sling & am attached to my electric ice chest under my sling, just using my abs to sit upright so I am very careful not to move at all and just pedal. Just breaking a sweat. She understood and said "Ok". The feeling of that makes me happy. When I'm told I'm "not allowed" to do x,y,z for 4-6 weeks, a part of me kind of dies. This coming just 5 weeks after my hip surgery, so since I recovered so quickly from that and used my Peloton as therapy, I was on a streak and feeling amazing. I didn't want to lose that so I did what felt right. I listened to my body. I didn't turn the tension dial way up, I just eased into it. So now I'm 3 weeks post surgery and feeling kind of great! I'm hoping when I see my doctor tomorrow he lets me out of this thing! He's either going to smack me or be amazed at my incredible healing power. This is where I give my body 100% credit for being amazing. It just heals like nothing ever happened. My ROM is so good already. This is my 3rd rotator cuff surgery and for 3 weeks out, you'd never know I just had this surgery. I attribute this to a positive attitude and trust. I fully trust that my body, even at 50, will heal like it always does and I do my absolute best to pay attention to it and treat it kindly. Meditation helps and I think my body is rewarding me for giving it a chance to slow down and breathe. You're saying to yourself "slow down?" Baby steps my friends! I'm embracing my healing. I prepared mentally for this surgery. Having had it twice before, I knew what to expect and figured out what I could do to stay active and safe and still allow my body to get some exercise. I don't have to worry about getting a PE! So what I'm trying to say is not just listen to your body, but get to know it, really know it. I know mine very well. I know exactly how it responds to everything. I know what feels wrong and what feels okay. We all need to stop complaining about our imperfections and embrace our strength and what we are given. Work with that, hone in on it and make it the very best you can! Love yourself fully. Reward the fact that you can breathe air and move freely. It is a gift and we all need to honor that.