Ani was not pleased with my refusal to run this morning. I couldn’t sleep last night with it and I’m reluctant to move this morning, even though I know that movement holds the relief from the pain in the joints. It is all self-inflicted, of course… well, mostly at least. Years of dance are a double edged sword that both strengthens and damages and this morning bits of me are reminding me of that.
It will, of course, ease and disappear as the morning unfolds and I will forget the discomfort and be able to ignore it. The original cause of it… the dance… brought intense pleasure along with the pain and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. ‘Old Arthur’, the one unpredictable element, in all this, is pretty much a family member, being intimately acquainted with the joints of many a relative… so arthritis does have a hereditary component playing its part too.
I can’t help thinking how much that applies to other aspects of life though, where a situation we get ourselves into, either by choice or necessity, seems to take over; the good bits that drew us initially become overlaid with pain and though we are reluctant to make a move to end the situation, fearing loss, failure, more pain… we know that this is where the ‘cure’ lies.
We manage quite nicely to ignore the problems until they rear their head, reminding us of their existence… and then we suffer, promising ourselves that we will take action, make a move, do something to create a change. Except … the pain wears off again as the situation settles and although we know it hasn’t gone away, we can pretend it has… we can forget and shelve our concerns for a while. Till next time. And so the cycle continues.
The trouble is, of course, that like arthritis, it isn’t going to get any better while the root cause remains. I can take painkillers, numb the ache, cool the inflammation… make it less acute… but that isn’t a cure for years of wear and tear. It is only a patch on the ragged garment of time.
As with many chronic situations, there is no cure for an arthritic joint other than cutting it out and starting from scratch. But there are things that can be done to make the joints better… and oddly enough, it is within both the cause and the effect of pain that such change is found. It shouldn’t be a surprise… in both maths and language two negatives can make a positive.
With the joints the best thing is bringing the strength of movement to the muscles around them; the flexibility and strength that were learned in my dancing days and which were at least part of the cause of the problem, along with the outer and uncontrollable possibility of arthritis. Very often, with a negative situation we learn far more than we realise too. The resilience, flexibility and inner strength may be hidden behind many layers of emotion… but they are there, or we would not have survived thus far. And they are there even when it hurts. But they need kickstarting … the same way we push aching joints into movement. We had the courage to get into the situation in the first place… to take a chance… and we still have, whether we feel we do or not, the courage to face yet another chance of our own choosing and make a change.
In neither case is it easy and the longer we leave it before taking action, the less we feel we can move, the more we seize up, the stiffer and less flexible we become; the more afraid of the inevitable pain that comes with starting to dance again, both in the physical sense and its analogy. And yes, I remind myself of the dancing hippo from Fantasia these days as I push my body back towards where I want it to be… but I’d rather look ridiculous doing something than be stuck because I didn’t.
The dog, of course, just buries her head in her paws and seeks safety under the table.