A year-and-a-half ago I was at the doctor’s office seeing a specialist I’d never seen. The door opened and a young doctor walked in, maybe 30.
I had just turned 49.
He went to shake my hand, then said as he kept his eyes on my chart, “Your heart rate is 46. Is it always that low? Are you a runner?”
“Yes,” I said. “I’m a runner and I practice martial arts.”
He looked at me for the first time, smiled, and said, “Good for you. That’s wonderful.”
Good for me? What’s that supposed to mean?
As he started describing the details of my upcoming procedure, I zoned out and started thinking about the last twenty-five years.
In a nutshell, I have had several pretty major physical limitations: I’ve had hip surgery, three surgeries on my left arm, and ankylosing spondylitis, a form of rheumatoid arthritis that first hit me at age twenty. At one point I walked with a pronounced limp for about five years, and by the time I was thirty I qualified for disability.
Over the years I had tried diet, energy healing, Western medicine, and many other traditional and alternative healing methods. I had taken painkillers and muscle relaxers just to get out of bed in the morning. I had spent a quarter of my time in doctors’ offices, physical therapy, pain management clinics, and diagnostic centers.
Then, one day, I decided I was, as the saying goes, sick and tired of being sick and tired, and I chose to shift my focus. At forty-three years old I decided to CHOOSE to focus on what I COULD do, not what I COULDN’T do. And, inspired by my two adolescent daughters, I started training in martial arts.
I’m not going to say it was easy. It wasn’t. Twenty-something years of focusing on what you can’t do takes its toll. But I hung in there, gathered my courage every day, and CHOSE to work on it.
It took me about six months to be able to do a left forward roll because, in my mind, it was going to hurt. Eventually I did it, and lo and behold, no pain. As I got stronger and chose to push myself, the can-do’s started outnumbering the can’t-do’s. And I started advancing in rank, and more importantly, advancing in courage, self-esteem, and personal power.
Back in the doctor’s office that day, I tuned back into the room with the young specialist and realized that he was right.
Good for me. It IS wonderful.
And good for You.
Good for you for Choosing to find the time to work on yourself.
Good for you for Choosing to have the courage to believe in yourself, even when your mind might be telling you something different.
Good for you for Choosing to test how far you can go, and then try to go even further.
And good for you for Choosing to see the best in yourself, and in others.
Every day, every moment, is a choice. It may not be easy, and you will fail more than you succeed. But shifting your focus to what you CAN do instead of what you CAN’T do will make all the difference in the world.
It did for me, and it will for you, too.