For weeks my hands had been tingling, going numb, aching all night long. Then there was the day that I picked up a paint brush only to have it fall from my grasp. I couldn't paint. I had spent all those weeks hoping it would get better, adjusting the way that I moved through the day, reducing my task list but still the day came when I couldn't hold a paint brush.
On that day, I simply painted with my hands. Painting the palm of one hand white, I pressed it in the center of my circle. This was my surrender. I needed help. I had to figure out what was going on; why my hands were hurting so much.
It took about six months of acupuncture sessions and massage therapy for me to regain full use of my hands and we never really figured out what had happened. It was much like a repetitive motion injury but I really wasn't spending a significant amount of time repeating any motion ... except maybe gripping my hands, trying to hold on. This was in 2015, about nine months after my mother had died, during the time that we were readying her house, my childhood home, for sale. My husband was still working two jobs, gone from seven in the morning until midnight. There was more, so much more, and I was just trying to hold on.
Looking back now, it all sort of makes sense.
Today, I have repetitive motion injury of sorts. I've been returning to work, to writing, to creating. I've been filling the calendar with things to do. Maybe too much so.
In the months after my stroke, after Noah died, I felt, profoundly, my physical limitations. I allowed myself only one thing a week. It's all I could manage outside of my home, outside of my sanctuary. One appointment, one coffee date, one event. Only one thing.
I've been feeling stronger, a little more grounded, maybe ready so I've been busier. But I made the mistake this weekend of scheduling two multi-hour events on back to back days, in the week after the holidays came and went. My body immediately said no. It didn't even let me get to the second event. It knew and it said no.
I'm listening. The body has great wisdom and I am listening. I don't think I have to go back to just one thing a week but I definitely am going to limit myself to no back to back days of things to do outside the house. One day I will be completely healed but it will take time. Until then, I will be more mindful of my calendar.
For today, it's OK to surrender. It's a good thing. It's what the soul needs.