The Right Mood to Move
by Tara Meier
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I went to my physical therapy appointment. The therapist began by telling me I’ve been starting and stopping physical therapy. She told me I need to let physical therapy know why I miss my appointment when I do. She asked me why I hadn’t come in for awhile. She said there could be a problem with the insurance company.
I felt boggled and had to jog my memory. I knew there were good reasons why I hadn’t come for awhile, but had it been that long? I recalled physical therapy didn’t have my doctor’s order once when I tried to come. My babysitter had cancelled one time. I had just felt so fatigued too to get out of the house to exercise at least once. I tried to tell the therapist all these things to defend myself.
I felt guilty too. I realized I have gone to physical therapy off and on for quite some time. I sure didn’t want to be delinquent or take advantage of the insurance company.
Then it was time for me to start my exercises for the therapist. I still felt preoccupied as I began my neck stretches. I felt the nerves in my neck tense up and the stretch felt jerky and uncomfortable. Then the therapist began correcting me on my poor posture in a stern almost annoyed way. “You aren’t sitting right. You are slouching….” I started to feel bad about my posture too because I know too I haven’t had the best posture especially after my injury following a chemical exposure. I felt hurt again over how the exposure had hurt my posture. I started to feel hurt too by the therapist when she didn’t seem to have much compassion or tolerance for my poor posture. She had no idea how much I had suffered in my spine and how fortunate I believe I am to be able to even sit as upright as I do! Instead, she seemed only able to see my current flaw–I was not sitting correctly. I felt hurt as I completed the exercises and found them harder and less enjoyable to do. I just wanted to hurry up and finish them so I could leave.
As I left in tears, I thought, “This just isn’t working for me.” My mood is so very critical when I exercise. When I feel preoccupied, I internalize my negative feelings into my body. I feel tense and then my body feels tense and less up for exercise. When my feelings get hurt, it’s like my body gets hurt again too.
But when I focus my mind in a good place, my body responds positively. The Apostle Paul tells us, “Whatever is pure, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right; whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” ( Philippians 4:8)
When I bend my head down in a neck stretch, I often use the stretch as an opportunity to bow my head in prayer to God. I feel peace and rest as I stretch and pray because I know I’m in a good place with God. My movement feels more smooth and fluid instead jerky and uncomfortable. Plus, I notice I can do a bigger stretch when I’m in a good place.
Let me also share with you an awesome mood I create as I do a shoulder stretch! Another therapist gave me a shoulder stretch where I hold onto a door with one hand and pull away with my other hand. The movement stretches my shoulder holding the door. Instead of just pulling away from the door and feeling the stretch, I turn it into a fun exercise! First, I put on music I love such as SixPence None the Richer’s song, “Kiss Me.” I then imagine I’m ballroom dancing with my husband . (It’s sad yet amusing to me I do most of my ballroom dancing with our door since my husband doesn’t often desire to ballroom dance.) I then hold onto the door as If I’m holding my husband’s hand. I swing out with my other hand and twirl away from the door as if I’m twirling away from my husband. Then, I twirl back to the door as if I’m twirling back into his arms. I imagine we’re out on the town dressed up and dancing together as I listen to “Kiss Me”.
“…Swing, swing, swing the spinning step.. You wear those shoes and I will wear that dress..”
I soon tilt my head back for good neck and head stretch as I continue listening to the lyrics.
“…Oh, kiss me beneath the milky twilight. Lead me out on the moonlit floor.”
I imagine I’m tilting my head back under my husband’s face perhaps for a kiss. I have really put my mind in a good place as I exercise this time!
Love and Prayers,
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