Being Injured. Or, it's ok not to be fine

A funny thing happened the other day. For the first time in as far as I can remember I got an injury. Not an ache, a pain - an injury. Climbing had done me over, or rather I had done myself over climbing.
The course of true love never did run smooth.
- Shakespeare
It had been a long day at work, each hour seeming like so much more, and I'd decided the only way to unwind was to climb. So there I was, hands chalked and ready. Half way up a route and approaching a state of flow. Left hand here, right foot there. Flag out wide, reach up for the crimp and... pop. A feeling like lightening, electricity shooting up my arm. Instinctively I pull away and fall. The landing is fine; that's not the problem. The issue is my grip or lack thereof.

The Lovers - Rene Magritte
Devastated I was, am, about it all. That must have been close to five weeks ago now and still I'm unable to climb. An embarrassing trip to the wall yesterday shows that much. This doesn't happen to me. I don't get injured. I'm a superhero - and there's the problem. I'm not.

The idea that you're invulnerable is an all too easy mistake to make. Your life to date runs counterfactual to the truth. Think of all the times you've succeeded. Every day is a victory, another chapter written in a book you're starring in. Every experience points to the indefatigable fact that you are unstoppable. Then something like this comes along and pulls the rug from right out underneath you.

This sounds pretentious and big headed. It's not meant to be like that. It's just hard to unwind when such an important outlet gets switched off. For one reason or another, I haven't been able to climb for a while and just as I'm returning to where I was a few years back my ability's taken away again. I've been kinda bummed out about this for a while now.

It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.
- Epictetus
It is easy to fall to despair. It's gardens are bountiful and inviting, but foolish to stay in. Better yet to take note, admire it for what it is and move on. Even mountains become covered by clouds - but just as the wind blows this too shall pass. Instead of the difficulty of the situation, what about the opportunity? As far as fitness is concerned, I can take the time to condition myself and build strength. I could catch up on reading, learn a new skill, or -- shock horror -- just take some time to relax. Ha! There's a thought.

The point of this is ultimately simple. The compass of you points all too naturally toward what's immediately in front of you. Kapicitta. The monkey mind is restless! It swings from tree to tree, grabbing and seizing at branches only to let go once another appears. Continually swinging so the monkey goes. No soft focus, a constant target lock.

Chase the horizon; crest the hill
At many points in life we are all faced with a decision. That this choice is posed to us so many times reflects its importance. It's a question of whether you decide to take charge of yourself. You have no control of anything else. I didn't decide to injure myself, so why am I so bummed that I am?

Take your reactions to anything and check them. Whining, complaining, moaning only takes us backward, sapping our all-to-finite time and energy. And it won't make us happier. You need to choose to change your reaction to pain of any form, to treat it instead as the transformative experience it is and learn. In order to be harmed you must believe you are being harmed. Your mind must be an accomplice to the experience. It is important to take a step back, to take a step back and think. Think and find it easier to understand, to process, to control. Don't let your desires betray you; don't let the monkey swing.

Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.
- Marcus Aurelius

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