Permission to Slouch

“When you give yourself permission to communicate what matters to you in every situation you will have peace despite rejection or disapproval. Putting a voice to your soul helps you to let go of the negative energy of fear and regret.”
-Shannon L. Alder

If it’s not one thing, it’s another.

Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.”
Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

Permission to SlouchRemember the old adage, If it’s not one thing, it’s another?

Somewhere between recovering from surgery (January-March 2015) and normalizing to a new normal, my Spondylolythesis decided to throw itself a party—one I would rather it not invite me to.

So after an emergency visit to my orthopedic surgeon and two steroid shots (why not try, right?), the next action point was heading to Physical Therapy.

Initially frowning on returning to PT, I decided to give it a go. Perhaps there is something new on the forefront that can help me.

Note my pride here. I’m not proud of it.

Permission to Slouch

“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”
Brené Brown

A few minutes into my first session, Danny, my PT, says, “It takes a lot of strength to be stable.”

I heard bells and whistles ringing, “Listen closely to this.”

I’ve been thinking about that statement for days.

Today, Danny turns on the wisdom, again.

As I stood atop the Reformer, strengthening my weak muscles, a wave of emotions and thoughts welled within.

Me: I hate being weak. More than that, I’m obviously not as strong as I think I am. This is kicking my butt.

Danny: Good. I’m doing my job. Making you stronger, more stable. You’re arching your back again. Tuck it under. Stop hyper-extending.

Me: Hyper-extending. Always hyper-extending.

Danny: Watch. The minute you stand or sit up, you arch your lower back. I want you to slouch.

Me: Slouch? Are you kidding me? I’ve spent most of my life training my posture to be tall, regal, and extended.

Danny: I’m giving you permission to slouch and I want you to practice everyday.

Me: Speechless.

Ancora Imparo, Always Learning

As I left the office, my hand made its way to the necklace I ceremoniously wear—almost every day. I said a prayer that went something like this:

Not going to be easy, God. Old habits die hard and take a great deal of work to retrain. I’d rather you wave your healing wand and just make this all better. Yet, I will trust you to help me. You always do. Amen.

Permission to Slouch

And, then, I thought of an even better prayer, recorded in a book I’m currently reading, “The Soul of a Pilgrim” (Paintner):

Permission to Slouch

This poem is like a beautiful deep breath.

When I first read it, I felt like it was giving me “permission to slouch”—even though I didn’t know it at the time. For me, that looks like:

  1. Resting my weary eyes from so much looking.
  2. My tired feet from so much wandering.
  3. My aching heart from so much hoping.
  4. Giving up the weight of knowing.

In other words, giving me permission from “doing” to “being.” A recurrent message on my life’s journey.

Maybe you need a big beautiful deep breath of being today.

Maybe you need permission to slouch, too. Permission to stop hyper-extending and instead practice stabilizing exercises that will ultimately bring you renewed vigor and strength.

P.S. Will you let me know how you do? I’m thinking it’s not going to be an easy thing for me. I’d love to hear any helpful hints you might have!