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For months I have been limping along, unable to take a full stride in the direction I want to take. I can see where I am headed, but the journey is painfully slow. About a week or two ago, I began to realize that I was no longer limping my way around. Instead, I was beginning to move without fear of pain. In fact, I realized I hadn't given my foot much thought at all lately…..
Okay, so technically, I haven't been limping from my injury in several months, but the pain has never subsided. It has always kept me sidelined or made me pull away or hold myself back from the simple joys I once took for granted. I have never been graceful on the mat, but for the past several months, I looked more like a cow on ice. I was awkward, lost and scared. I constantly found myself desperately searching for that green pasture I remembered; the one where I felt like I was on stable ground.
Somewhere along this journey, when I stopped looking so far ahead, I realized that I was already in a green pasture. Sure, it isn't the one I can picture further down the road, but it isn't bad. The grass is green and though there are a few weeds here and there, it isn't overrun by any means. Instead of finding myself moping about, wishing I were in the pasture down the road, I found myself enjoying this one. The grass smelled just as sweet as I remembered and the grass still felt amazing under my bare feet. I found myself frolicking about, without fear of holes or bees that may sting the bottoms of my feet. I tumbled onto the grass and just soaked up the moment. I finally let go and allowed the sun to warm me from the outside in.
Letting go of all the things that were holding me back was liberating. I didn't realize that carrying an injury around for so long was such an exhausting experience. By body was tired of compensating, my mind was exhausted from trying to remind me how to move without pain… and my spirit was broken from being knocked down and held back for so long. As I stared at the clouds lazily passing me by, I realized that I had finally made a step in the right direction.
It has been at least eight months since Abe crashed into my foot. Eight months of my life have passed me by. For those eight months, I took the back seat and played a passive roll in my life. If I have learned anything over the past few months, it's that I need to fight to maintain an active roll in my life, listen to my body and that being stubborn doesn't always solve a problem.
Last week I actually found myself enjoying aikido again. I wasn't anxious or afraid that pivoting on the balls of my feet would cause a great deal of pain. I wasn't conscious of my cow on ice-like movements. Instead, I just enjoyed being on the mat practicing. Saturday, I even gave iaido a shot. Last time I took iaido, it was a huge mistake. It caused my foot to get cranky and once that happened, it wouldn't behave itself anymore.
This time, my foot was more then cooperative!!! In fact, it went so well that I told my sensei I would be joining aikido class as well! We had previously discussed me training iaido one weekend and watching aikido after and vice versa the next weekend. As of today, my foot is still a happy camper. HOWEVER, my quads are KILLING me!!! I didn't realize how out of iaido-shape I was.