The Body Always Wins

We live in a digital world. Lots of things are on demand. We get what we want when we want it.

Think about that for a minute.

It effects our mindset. We expect things to happen quickly and if it’s too slow, we won’t stick around.

The digital lifestyle is an impatient lifestyle which is in direct conflict with our body.

While we live in a digital world on a digital tempo, our body lives in an agricultural world.

The agricultural tempo is one that recognizes the natural pace of things. Preparation, planting, feeding, watering, weeding, waiting. You have no control over the outcome other than the things you do to facilitate the outcome.

You can’t make a crop grow faster (well, at least without genetic engineering). It grows the way it grows.

Your body is much the same way.

There is no guarantee that what you plant will grow into the thing you want. You have to do your best to make it happen and be patient. Adjust to setbacks. Accept limitations.

The word patient means “able to accept or tolerate delays, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious“.

And annoyed means “slightly angry or irritated” while anxious means “experiencing worry, unease, or nervousness, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome”.

How are you doing with that?

Let’s translate this into everyday language.

To be patient means, you can wait for what you want and not get pissed off when it takes longer to get than you want it to.

I’m pretty terrible with that. I like to think I’m patient but I’m patient with things that are easy to be patient with.

I don’t like or enjoy warm / hot weather. Yeah, I know I live in Tcxas. But I’ve learned that cooler temps don’t come any sooner by me bitching and moaning about how damn hot it is and how much my electric bill is breaking my budget.

Oh, I still complain about it from time to time but mostly I don’t engage. But it’s not that hard. The weather is the weather.

I can’t force it to be cooler no matter what I do.

And I also can’t force my body to heal on my timeline.

See, it’s an agricultural tempo. It takes time for tissues to knit themselves back together, regain strength and capacity.

Why is this so hard to understand? Well, usually an injury or surgery leaves a hole in your life. you lose something you love to do. Maybe it’s running or wake surfing. Or maybe it’s just getting out to enjoy the outdoors or playing with your kids.

And now Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) enters.

FUD is born out of the hole that’s created by what you’ve lost.

You want to fill the hole as quickly as you can rather than explore it.

So, you think that if you do more, work harder, push yourself, you can get back to running or [insert the thing here], sooner.

Or just keep doing things while continuing to hurt thinking you can get your way.

This never works.

Maybe I told you that many years ago I busted my lumbar spine trying to dunk a basketball (ok, I really could dunk at one time but the body has long forgotten what the mind still remembers).

And with FUD at the helm, I decided, after a short period of inactivity, like a week, to just push this thing forward.

I felt like I was gaining weight, getting weak.

Of course I wasn’t but that’s never the point. We make irrational decisions all the time based on how we feel.

Frustrated that I had this happen, frustrated I still had problems a couple of weeks later.

I was FUDtsrated.

FUD was chattering and I wanted to just shut him up.

I went for run.

Right. On an incompletely healed fracture.

And how do you think that worked out? Not so good.

Injuries heal according to the biology of the body. A busted bone will take at least 6-8 weeks to knit itself back together and then many months before it’s fully hardened and ready for impact loads. It’s just the way it is. You can make things move a little faster by not interfering with the process and doing things that promote / support the healing process.

And you can definitely make things move more slowly by doing too much or omitting key recovery elements.

But, you’re not going to make a bone heal in two weeks.

Professional athletes often play hurt. They have a lot at stake. A lot of money. They choose to put the body second. Maybe I would too. I would like to think I wouldn’t but having worked with a lot of pros, I’ve seen the pressure to get back in the game.

It’s real.

But again, you can only do that so much. There are injuries that just force you to the sidelines.

How long did it take Payton Manning to return to playing in the NFL from neck surgery? A long time – about 18 months. And he even said in an interview that he was used to pushing himself and this was a situation where he couldn’t. He was the guy that would do an extra 5 reps or more weight than asked but now, no way.

To fill the hole and quiet the non-stop chatter of FUD, is another article or maybe a book (or you could hop over to my friend Heidi Armstrongs’ site which is loaded with great info of dealing with FUD). But in a nutshell, take the energy of FUD and transform it into something else. You may not have to be inactive. As in my case, I could have chosen swimming. Almost no impact on my fracture, plenty of movement and work.

The point is you have choices. The worst choice is to ignore the natural, agricultural tempo of the body and try to force it be a digital thing.

That’s all I have for now.

Thanks for reading.



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