Friday, February 12, 2010

From Stubborn to Flexible

I have a stubborn foot. It has limited flexibility - it is stiff. From the front of my ankle to my toes - it is almost as straight as a board and it's mostly numb.

This is a left over issue from injuries I received in an accident. Post-accident, I did months of physical therapy - actually enjoying most of it because I could see the results of my badly injured body getting stronger with the correct exercises. But I didn't like the set of exercises that tackled my left foot. They felt awkward and uncomfortable. I tended to do them lightly, rather than give them my best effort. 

Fast forward about four years and the foot still isn't moving much. You wouldn't realize it if you saw me walk. My ankle has fairly good range of motion and it compensates for the foot, so I walk without a limp. In most of life - it doesn't affect me. But I notice it when going up steps and walking on uneven surfaces - grass, trails and sand. My ankle needs to over extend and/or rotate to keep me steady. And trying to stand on only that foot is difficult.

Over the past year, I became concerned that this extra stress on my ankle could cause more issues down the road. A time or two, I started doing exercises for this foot, but they didn't seem effective - plus they were annoying. 

My motivation to stick with the exercises fluctuated, Darn it, why didn't I tackle this more aggressively earlier? Now that it's been four years, it will never move. Why even bother trying?

Last summer after running barefoot on the beach, without the 'safe' cushioning of running shoes, I noticed some life in this foot. A nerve or two complained. I don't like pain, but this kind of pain tells me something positive is happening. And I noticed a sliver of flexibility that wasn't there before. 

I promptly told my family we need to move to the beach - now! Since I'm still in PA, you know they haven't agreed yet. 

Thanks to these strange looking shoes I can now run/walk barefoot on most any surface. (yes, you may laugh, they look funny)
As I slowly transition (it's a process, my feet/legs have to adjust) to running in these, there's more activity in my left foot. Nothing amazing yet, but step my step, I have hope for it. 

While running the other day, I found myself wondering if I have other stubborn, numb areas in my life - maybe in my emotions, mind or spirit. 

Do I avoid issues because they are uncomfortable or awkward to deal with?  Have I lived with an issue so long, I just assume it will always be that way? Do I get tired of doing exercises that would help me grow because I don't see immediate results?

And if so, does it affect other areas of my life? Do I have some unstable areas due to issues I haven't dealt with? And what do I compensate for without even realizing it?

What about you - avoiding any issues?

7 comments:

laurette said...

I like your analogy here! Very thought provoking today for me personally. Avoiding issues? I think I do that way too often. Thank you for your insight.

JD said...

Beautifully written, with powerful truth and brilliant wisdom/insight!

Kelly Langner Sauer said...

my brother uses these same shoes - they are so funky-looking! Still, I am glad they help!

S. Etole said...

you ask some hard questions ... good, but hard

sam duregger said...

yep! the five fingers to the rescue!! Have you read, "Born to Run"? This book is what keyed me into barefoot running and the Vibram Five Fingers!

Keep up the running, blogging, and writing!! #dreamyearbook

Janet Oberholtzer said...

Thanks for your comments. Your encouragement about my writing/truth/insight means so much!
As you know ... since most, if not all of you, also blog/write ... when you write, most times its really for yourself. So S. Etole - yes the questions are tough and most times, they are really for myself.

Jeanne Klaver said...

Do I avoid awkward, uncomfortable issues? You betcha! I try never to believe an issue will "always be that way," but until I acknowledge the issue itself, I can say without doubt, it will. I love these "shoes." They are actually cuter than just about any pair in my closet. You are an inspiration, as always.