Now once upon a time, there was a little boy named Danny. Danny was young and he was running around, kind of crazy. The thing about Danny, is that if we peel back a couple of layers and look inside Danny’s body, we see that the fabric, or the tissue, of his body is free.
There are all kinds of three-dimensional movements and space. He can run and jump and play. Danny feels free in his body! In fact, he feels so free that he doesn’t really realize that he has a body! It’s light and fluffy and springy.
And then Danny, as a little adventurous boy, runs into some trouble. The teachers tell him, “Danny, sit down. Danny, you’re not very good at math. Hey, Danny!” This is going on and Danny starts to shrink a little bit in his tissue. His posture starts to take on those messages. He’s still pretty free, but not as much.
And then Danny has a fall on the playground and he hurts his neck, and it registers in his tissue. As Danny plays sports, he gets into all kinds of stuff. He has falls and he hits hard. When he jumps, he sprains his ankle and, slowly, that fabric inside that was so free and springy and yummy, starts to be compromised.
Now, there is still a lot of movement here. Danny is twelve or thirteen by this time. And fabric in his body is still pretty good. He can still do a lot. As Danny moves into his twenties and thirties, still pretty good. Forties, fifties, now the tissue, hmmm, that’s stiffness in the morning. That’s, “oh, I can’t quite do what I want, what I used to be able to do. I remember, as a kid, I was pretty free, but …”
I’ve seen Danny as an old man and he has pain now because this knee just doesn’t have the grace or the mobility that it used to, or his neck is painful and stiff. And slowly, over time, this fabric of Danny’s, which was once really loose and free and open and delicious has become compromised by the compensation of injuries, both physical and emotional.
If you think about it, compensation is really an interesting concept. Our body doesn’t actually go back to where it was after an injury, usually. That’s my experience, anyway. And so the body creates these shortcuts. These detours that become what we adapt to. They become the “normal.” And, because function is King in the body, (your body doesn’t really care whether you’re crawling, in a wheel chair or walking across the floor it’s got to get to the destination no matter how.) itwill take what it can get, even if it is compensation. Our bodies prioritize function above everything else.
Compensation is interesting because it doesn’t take a big glob of mobility out of one place. What it does is, it pinches a little bit off here and a little bit off here and a little bit off here.
It is amazing. I always say it’s like robbing Peter to pay Paul. And we subconsciously keep pilfering off these little chunks of mobility through our body in a way so that we can still function. And like robbing Peter to pay Paul, when Peter runs out of money, everybody’s sort of out of luck. And that’s pretty much what happens. There’s “aging” for you.
But, here’s the thing – it happens so slowly. So slowly that we don’t even realize it’s happening. It’s like the walls are closing in, but we’re so amazingly adaptive … that we don’t always register that it’s happening. We are so brilliant at adaptation. That’s our gift, but it’s also a downside.
Now, why do I tell you all this? I tell you all this because awareness of what’s happening in your body is absolutely critical to begin to change your reality! The more you know about what’s happening in your body, the more you can start to interact with it. Awareness is always the first step.