Lessons Learned

They say we often learn the most during the hardest times. Having a total hip replacement earlier this year has definitely been packed with lessons. I have grown so much in the last couple months and despite the challenges, I am in some ways very grateful for this opportunity. It is my greatest hope that I will heal and continue to evolve into the best version I can, and also help others along the way.

My top lessons I have learned are:

  • Letting go of the “numbers” and instead listening to my body. For decades I have tracked my steps and calories to point of obsession. Since I am not walking as much, I have realized that the numbers are not a reflection of my worthiness or goodness. I have instead learned that tuning into my body and listening to how she feels instead of relying on an outcome or goal is way more joyful.
  • It is okay to receive. My whole life I have been one that relies solely on myself for success, accomplishment, comfort and most basic needs. I have learned the allowing others to give to me is not an indication of weakness. Instead, I have learned that receiving from others empowers both the giver and the receiver. How blessed I have been to be shown so much love.
  • Living equanimity is attainable. I chose the word equanimity this year and my intention was to remain steady no matter what life handed me. Despite infection, blood clots and many trips to the emergency room I was challenged greatly to remain steady and strong. Having daily gratitude is what has kept me steady. The intention that I set in the beginning of the year remains possible based on how I respond or react to the challenges I face. Remembering that I am in control of my thoughts is what grounds me.
  • Being more balanced. I have a tendency to give 100% to my work. I thrive in being productive and prior to hip replacement had very little time or energy outside of work. I have learned that I can work AND be balanced in other things that bring me joy.

Taking proactive steps every day to remain grateful is the key. The humbling this has taught me will propel me into something great. I encourage you to reflect on your own challenges and the lessons you may have learned through whatever life challenge you go through.

And for the millionth time–never dismiss what someone is going through because of their strength or project your experience onto someone else.

Maybe the greatest lesson is that my life may be different post hip replacement, and that is okay.

Adapting to Change

Through life we really are adapting to change constantly.

What initially may feel like a huge hurdle soon becomes a seamlessly easy routine.

I’ve experienced this so much in my adult life without ever really connecting the dots that I have indeed adapted to situations that initially felt so overwhelming. New jobs, divorce, selling a home, retirement, and illness are all examples of hurdles and yet, somehow, most of us endure them. In fact, many times we come out better on the other side. I see it clearly now.

The covid pandemic was a perfect example for me personally at this resiliency to adapt that I now believe we are all wired with, if we are open to it, and have the capacity to be somewhat flexible.

The world shut down and the places I was teaching yoga at closed their doors to visitors, and the major health club I was a regular fixture at closed. I had to switch gears quickly. After just two days of wondering how I would earn a living, I started offering virtual yoga through recorded sessions that I sent out to my followers and on social media. Within a week I had a YouTube channel and life soon became one of virtual yoga sessions and staring at my face for hours a day on a computer. My business model was to accept donations by trusting that those who could pay would, and those who were also faced with uncertainty, would simply use the videos to get through, and pay it forward somehow when they could.

I had great success and brought in an extraordinary amount of abundance during the lockdown.

Just like that. I adapted to change.

Many yoga teachers were in the same boat and many opted for perfectly curated videos with platforms to offer memberships, on demand payment and pay-for access type features. It seemed every week another platform was being marketed to sell your offerings. I never really wanted to “sell”, but rather I opted to give with an extended hand to receive, if that was in the heart of the giver. Maybe a naive business model and one I return to thinking about from time to time, but never can seem to switch to a “pay for my content” business model.

Just like that. I adapted to the change.

Once the world opened back up and my daughter was back to in-person day programming, I started to rethink how I would get my feet back into teaching yoga to those with neurological conditions and those living in settings that prohibit them from easily accessing yoga. I knew I didn’t want to be an online sensation and I felt I needed to be back serving my people. I do still love giving my YouTube channel a weekly recording. I have some amazing followers there and I also love my studio classes. The majority of my work remains to be my specialized yoga in assisted living settings.

The spring that the world reopened, I sat in a coffee shop doing a quick google search of “residential programming for adults with brain injuries near me”. I watched in awe as a modest list popped up. I emailed six agencies and by the end of the day, I had six contracts to begin teaching in their residential homes.

Just like that. I adapted to change.

I started the two days a week commute with sometimes 250 miles of driving round trip. At first, I felt this kind of driving would be grueling and perhaps even too much. I saw that much driving as crazy and wondered how I would do it, especially in the big city of Denver that I did not really know. People questioned my rational at driving so much for a 40 minute yoga session that I charged only $55 for. I let the naysayers say what they wanted but I forged on. Within a really short time the “long” commutes turned into enjoyable drives and it turned out to be really no big deal. I quickly learned the routes and found joy in not having to use my GPS as I remembered the streets. And within a short time I added another day and 26 more homes to the commute week, toppling out at over 50 different homes and teaching over 65 classes per month while sometimes driving anywhere from 800-1000 miles per week.

Just like that. I adapted to change.

Two weeks ago I had total hip replacement and once again was faced with having to adapt to some major changes, although these are likely temporary as I continue heal. Through the healing process however I am keenly aware at this concept of adapting.

The first few nights sleeping with the horrific stabilizing wedge was grueling and painful. Now, I *almost* look forward to the cozy feeling of being secured in place. I walk around my block and it feels like my usual 20,000 steps per day. I have swapped out my crazy schedule and cooking amazing meals at the end of the day for icing my hip, laying down to read midday and allowing others to serve me. My days have gone from 8-9 hours of work and commuting to studying sourdough recipes and how to up-level my busines for passive income. I have watched zillions of webinars, listened to podcasts, scoured Pinterest for recipes, and have done more jigsaw puzzles on my iPad than I’d like to admit. The days fly by and here I go again.

Just like that. I have adapted to change.

When I am healed up and back in action, there will again be a chance to adapt. Will I return to the same schedule? Is it possible I shift slightly to be more accessible online? Can I go from being a single person serving hundreds of people in-person to becoming a trainer of sorts for others to learn the method? Will it perhaps be a combination of all of that while still choosing time for sourdough and soulful hobbies?

Just like that. I know that I will adapt to change.

How many times in your life have you adapted to what seems like extremely hard changes? Take inventory of just how amazing you are as you reflect on the process you have demonstrated in some of your major life hurdles.

And just like that, you too have adapted to change.

Anticipating

I thought I had it all figured out when it came to anticipating changes and challenges.

I chose the word vulnerability for 2023 and I thought I was done with being exposed emotionally, having to ask for help and all that other stuff that is so hard for me. Leaving 2023 behind, I was feeling pretty good about my progress in learning to be a little more exposed and willing to ask and receive help.

Little did I know that it was all just practice for the BIG time vulnerability.

For 2024, I opted to work on being okay regardless of what was going on. To be neutral in the midst of chaos and to not waiver when life gets challenging. I want to practice equanimity.

One week ago I had total hip replacement. I opted to go into the process solo knowing that I would be required to have a lot of help at home. My intention while at the hospital for three days was focusing on me. I felt pretty confident going home that I had myself ready. Preparing my house for time spent mostly on one level that has a bathroom and space for me to relax, ice and heal was key. Making sure I had snacks, books, pillows and all the things I felt I would need to limit the constant asking people to get things. I thought I was set.

In many ways I was and am set. Having done seven orthopedic surgeries in seven years prior to this one, I felt fairly confident in my ability to navigate pain, crutches and living in a tri-level house.

I had lots of things however that I did not anticipate. You can read all the articles on what to expect but until you are in it, there really isn’t a true frame of reference. And I will say again, hearing that 80 year olds have this procedure all the time and do great is so not helpful. Part of the gift of living a Yoga lifestyle is learning to truly practice not comparing yourself to anyone, including the 80 year olds that have been sedentary and usually already dependent on others and who will continue to be sedentary and dependent on others. Not the super active, busy changing lives, walking machine like me.

Anticipation is a great thing, until you miss a few things.

What I didn’t anticipate was the fracture in my femur that occurred during installation of my new hip joint. This meant my weight bearing status would be different and the need for that to heal, along with my new hip, would be harder and slower. Adding in the greatest fear ever of dislocation that can occur with one wrong move, I am on hyper alert when it comes to movement.

I also didn’t anticipate the helplessness that would come with the precautions of a total hip replacement. No bending or sitting part a 90 degree bend, no crossing the legs, no twisting the leg or hip internally. So that means pulling up your pants, putting on socks, shaving your legs, reaching for a blanket, dropping your phone, scratching an itch, lifting your leg onto the bed, and so much more. For someone who gets it all done effortlessly this is an abrupt stop to my life.

The simplest of things seem like an ordeal.

Then the WEDGE. The surgeon is very adamant about post-op precautions, especially with a fracture, and sleeping is the craziest thing ever. Between my legs is a large foam wedge that I have secured with four velcro straps to prevent any internal rotation. I also have my blood clot prevention pumpers pushing air in and out around my legs all night. Add in the compression socks that are so tight and itchy. All of this means that I am basically on my back, secured into one position for the night that I cannot get in or out by myself.

Talk about vulnerability.

Lying in bed while I am completely immobilized is the purest of vulnerability. What an opportunity to sit with equanimity and be neutral in the midst of emotional and physical restraint.

I also had no idea the volume of pain I would experience with this. I knew of course there would be pain but the deep, stabbing and burning pain around the joint is unreal. The fracture adds to the pain and the swelling has taken my once toned and slim leg back two decades when I weighed 80 pounds more. Looking down at my leg and seeing the size of my thigh is startling, but it is also temporary.

I know that this week has brought me so much in the form of grace and letting go. It has also invited me to receive like I have never received in my life.

For now, I am icing, walking, resting, and working on allowing the vulnerability to flood my daily experience while also accepting the equanimity that brings a steadiness to me.