lessons learned while kicking and screaming

so, first i want to thank everyone who volunteered to help me with my gardening. i was truly surprised by the offers.
it appears that this is all part of a lesson. one of those life lessons that the universe likes to throw your way, while she then sits back, watching and snickering.
my lesson?
i think it’s learning how to slow down.

today was a day full of weather. today followed 2 or 3 days of absolutely gorgeous, there is a goddess, heavenly weather. warm. cool breeze. no sinus-clogging humidity. today, the air was denser with a promise of storms. not horribly uncomfortable, but just licking the edges of cloying. i slept late, losing the morning battle around 9 or so. got up, complained about the heat and made hot coffee. i know. don’t bother. checked my email while i drank the java, switched on the AC and then took my shower to get ready for physical therapy.

i like physical therapy even though it’s boring. it’s the people who work there. they openly gossip and kibbitz and they make you part of it all. when i go there, the receptionist calls me dear and sweetheart and tells me confidential things that have been shared with all. my therapist, who’s last day is monday (moving on to a better position downtown), actually cares how i feel. she assures me that my progress is in the top 10% of clients with my kind of surgery. she makes me feel hopeful even though my back hurts. i’m going to miss her. i hope i don’t hold her loss against the woman who will be replacing her come tuesday.

today, the physical therapy interns were fanning patients and each other. the AC was broken and leaky. they would alternately raise and pull the shades, trying to determine which way kept things cooler. it was the first day i broke a sweat in the past 6 weeks. i loved it. even though the sweat wasn’t from exertion (physical therapy is about healing, not performing), i could pretend that i accomplished something strenuous.

i’ve made myself a somewhat loose schedule. monday, wednesday and friday, i go to therapy and come home and garden or do house-chorey stuff, depending on the weather. tuesday and thursday, i work in my “room” at the computer if i have web-work, or my herbal studies, or trying to create art. the reason that i only do two days of “office work” is because i can’t sit for very long. it stiffens and stresses the muscles in my back and makes me pine for percocet. so, only two days of that. the gardening and household chores are bad for the bending and lifting, but there’s more *movement* involved and movement is so much better than sitting in place. but i still have to pace myself.

so today, after therapy, i worked on the small bed in front of the living room window. it took me a couple hours just to rake out the old leaves from winter, trim things up a bit and lay down two bags of licorice mulch. just as i finished and began debating whether to continue on to the herb garden, the promised storm came up over the rooftops. no choice but to stop with the “one-bed-a-day” vow i’d made to myself.

so, what i’m learning (yes, there was a lesson here) is how to slow down. i have to move deliberately, especially when lifting bags of mulch, or squatting down to pull or pick weeds, flowers or food. i have to limit my sitting as well. no more 10 or 12 hour marathons on the computer to get a web site done or an image just right.

i miss that. but i’m finding out that there’s stuff i haven’t been paying attention to and there are details that i’ve overlooked when in my usual, narrowly focused, one-track-mind mode.

so, i’m making a concerted effort to pay attention to the lesson, even though i resent making even small concessions let alone the large, pain-filled one i’ve had to endure.

yes, i’m bordering on bitter, but ya know, the tiny, blue bell-like flowers that i gathered while harvesting the overgrown comfrey–their blue tinged with dusty pink at the calyx–i never had the time to really appreciate comfrey’s gentle colors before yesterday.

i’m also learning how to say no. since i can no longer rush in and fix everything, i have to say no. this is kinda nice. i’ve never been comfortable just telling someone no before. i always thought i had to find an excuse to not do something i didn’t want to do. and i’m really lousy at thinking fast on my feet and coming up with reasons why i can’t do something, when the reality was, i just didn’t want to. heh…so now, if someone asks, i can just say no, i can’t. really. i like this part a lot. a whole chunk of annoyance gone. no, i can’t help you move. do your laundry. take you to delaware to buy cheap booze. nope. can’t do it. end of story.

so, h’okay, i give in. i’m paying more attention to the little things, the details of it all. i’m even reaping in a few minor rewards. not all of my life is mired in misery and frustration. (but, i still want to do MORE. that’s the kicking and screaming part.)

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