Developmental Milestone: Walking
I’m learning to walk. I’ve been learning for about a year but haven’t perfected it yet. I mean the actual walking I’ve done since forever, but, I’ve never done it properly properly.
Stomping around the corridors of a large secondary school counter-balanced years of marking cross-legged on the floor/ bed/ couch. I never worked at a desk, other than in school – and when I did, I was often sat cross legged on a chair. All my marking, planning etc. etc. was done leaning over books, essays, exam papers. I practised this somewhat unconventional method throughout my own school years, college, university, teacher training. So actually, forever. This was fine. Until, it all stopped.
And everything went still.
We’re re-building our home (renovating really, but feels like a re-build), and after months of being inactive, I decided to shift a bag of plaster (an everyday occurrence when working on a house), when my back decided to betray me. An electric current shot through my body and demanded I become a statue. I was in absolute agony and realised my back was my Achilles’ Heel; it had become my weakest point.
Did you know the health of your back is often closely connected to your emotional well-being? During dark moments, it is often your back (and/or stomach) that become a physical manifestation of your inner darkness. It makes sense really; when your core is strong, you’re strong. A building with a strong foundation will last longer than one built on sand. Fact.A half-hearted idea or belief is easier to dilute and break down, than one that is secure and unwavering.
You’ll be familiar with the phrases ‘chin up,’ ‘hold your head up,’ ‘stand tall,’ etc. etc. often uttered when times are tough. They’re encouraged to create the impression that you’re well; strong, doing OK. Slumped shoulders are low mood indicators – your core is not supporting you and that leaves you vulnerable to all the elements. That means your head isn’t supported physically or indeed, emotionally.
The process of re-building my strength was long and still on-going. Your trust in a reliable car that breaks down, becomes damaged, encouraging a loss of faith and starts to feel like a betrayal. That’s how I viewed my back for a long time anticipating that it could go again, unannounced. There were a number of avenues I went down in order to heal (I’ll cover some of these another day), but the podiatrist was my saviour. He was my partner’s friend who managed to get to the root of the problem. Feet, really? Yes – foundations.
I have rather un-glamorous Monster Munch feet and have been blessed with being flat-footed too (I know, some of us have it all). It transpired that as I walked, I didn’t engage my core and walked on the outer arches of my feet. Years of walking incorrectly, and then months of subsequent back pain, meant that I had altered the way I balanced, my hips, back and the way I held myself. I compensated by adjusting my walk and posture making for a rather tangled internal knot.
I do yoga now, as one of my healing strategies. We’re encouraged to spread the weight across the feet; to have firm foundations. Tadasana, or mountain pose, improves posture and strengthens these foundations: i.e. the power and mobility in your feet; toes. Like Jenga, if the foundations are wobbly, there’s little choice the top has other than to topple over. So I’m spreading my weight and engaging my core and achieving that early childhood milestone!