“The Hip Bones Connected to the…”

chain link fenceI never wanted to be one to grow older and complain about all my aches and pains, so I swear, I’m not complaining here!  There is a moral to this story, I promise!

You probably have someone in your life that seems to thrive on relating their latest illness to the world.  I remember a neighbor years ago who lived on the other side of a chain link fence from me.  I loved spending time outside, either soaking up the sun or working in my garden.  Because of this one neighbor, I felt I had to operate in stealth mode to enjoy my backyard.  Venturing out the back door involved preplanning.   I avoided times that my neighbor was sure to be outside.  I’d peer out the windows for any sign of movement around her house and if the coast was clear, I would venture out.  I cautiously remained on the alert for any sound from across the fence, watching from the corner of my eye with one foot pointed in the direction of my door.  I was ready to make a mad dash for the house if needed.  If my neighbor managed to catch me off guard, I’d be stuck listening to all her health issues until I could think of an excuse to break away.  It was the same dreary conversation, over and over again.  You know what I’m talking about, right!

I’m not going to be that neighbor!  This blog is about being real, right where I’m at today.  So for those who care and have read any of my previous posts on this aging body, here goes.

First, I’ll give a little update on the abdominal issues.  If you need to know the back story on this one, you can catch up here with: “I’m Not Average”Apparently, I’m not average at all.  I’m an overachiever!  In this case, it’s not a good thing.

I got to spend a day in the ER last week because of my midsection.   The issue is that I build up large amounts of scar tissue from to many surgeries and being septic twice now.  The scar tissue causes obstructions.   The doctor said that the average person with my scar tissue issues, has to have surgery every two years.  I’m two months away from the one year mark of the last surgery and I’ve experienced symptoms of a partial obstruction twice now since the beginning of this year.  In previous events related to this, that’s been the pattern prior to the hospitalizations.  I’m updating you on this one, not because I’m looking for sympathy.  But, if you’re the praying type, maybe you could swing some prayers this way.  Another surgery would not be a good thing for me!  As a matter of fact, one doctor said it would be a mess.  OK, enough on that!

Here is what I want to focus on today.  It’s my “pain in the neck”!  It was in December when I found out what the problem was.  I have three bulging disks in my neck and two more disks with bone protruding into the nerve.   Thankfully, there is not so much pain in the neck anymore.  Most of the pain runs down my arm and my hand feels like it’s been asleep much of the time.

I’ve been in physical therapy now for a couple months and I put myself in traction at home every day.  Things are improving!  Initially, I had to give up running, but I’m happy to say that I’ve slowly been able to work my way into “minutes” of running on my schedule.  I finally have a couple days this week where my coach was able to assign “miles”, instead of “minutes”!  If you’re a runner, you can understand how this makes me want to do a happy dance!

Being in physical therapy for different parts of my body since I took up this running hobby has increased my awareness of how kinetic changeamazing our bodies were created to be.  You might remember the song we sang as kids, “The hip bones, connected to the leg bone.  The leg bones connected to the knee bone.  The knee bones connected to the …” and on it goes.  It’s all part of the Kinetic Chain.  Each joint is connected by bone, muscle and tissue to the next joint and the next and the next.  When the movement of one part of our body is hindered or a part is injured it affects the other parts in the chain.  You might not even have symptoms of a problem right away.  Injuries can build up over time and all of a sudden, your body is screaming at you.  The pain you feel might not even be where the root of your problem is.  The problem can originate somewhere up or down the chain.

I love the analogy of the different parts of the body being like us, who we were created to be with the gifts and talents we each possess.  One person may be like the mouth.  They are just naturally a very vocal person with a gift of eloquent speech.  They are able to be a voice on behalf of those who have no voice.

shoulder for cryingOne person may be like a shoulder.  They are built to be strong.  They’re the burden bearer or a shoulder to cry on.  They’re not only able to carry their own heavy loads, but also the loads of others.

Even the unseen, seemingly insignificant parts of our bodies; all have a specific function that is necessary to our existence.   Each part is connected in the Kinetic Chain.   If one part is hurt and neglected, the other parts of the body will be affected.  What good is a mouth if it’s wired shut?  A mouth without the tongue to taste, teeth to chew and a throat to swallow is useless.   A mouth without a head and a face to hold it in place would just look weird.  It needs the other parts to fulfill the purpose it was created for.

This is really what’s on my mind today.  Sorry it took me so long to get here.  It boils down to the simple fact that we need each other!  Why do we isolate ourselves from others?  How can we be so proud and arrogant to judge another person to be of lesser value than ourselves?  Why is it that so many try to operate on their own, without the help of others?  Remember Herby, the dentist from “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”, as he declared, “I’m independent”?  Even Herby found out he needed others, but almost at the cost of his life.

I’m guilty of all of the above at one point or another, so I’m not just talking to you.  That neighbor across the fence needed me.  I listened and tried to be kind, but I really didn’t care that much.  I avoided her in every way I could.  I really couldn’t help her with her medical needs, but I could have offered encouraging words or maybe a smile to brighten her day.  Maybe even I could have enjoyed the outside I loved, by helping in her yard.

It’s true, when one part hurts, the others will hurt.  Turning a blind eye to the needs of others will eventually affect you.  Devaluing those who work under you in the workplace will eventually affect you.  Neglecting the people that are a pain in the neck, butt or whatever, will eventually affect you.

No, we can’t be all things to all people.  We weren’t meant to be.  But we can be the best at being who we were created to be and using the gifts and talents we were given for the betterment of humanity.  When we refuse to function and fulfill our purpose, when we become intolerant, unfairly judge, criticize or belittle another human, we hurt a part of ourselves that is valuable and necessary to our existence.

So here’s the moral of our little story today.  We, as a member of the human race need to start focusing on our overall health and well being.  We need to start thinking long term, for the sake of our existence.  Let’s begin to take better care of ourselves, which means taking care of each other.  I need you and whether you like it or not, you need me. You’ve heard it said, “It takes a village…”  All of humanity is a part of our village, our Kinetic Chain.   So let’s, “Be the change you want to see in the world”.   Just do it!



I’m Queen of the Hill, On Top of My Game

Finally, the anxiously awaited day has arrived!  It’s the big interview that was so hard to land.  This could be the ultimate dream job!  The position, the title, the salary, the company, the hours, they’re all perfect!  What should my approach be?

Scenario #1: Nervousness robs me of my sleep the night before.  I’ve rehearsed possible responses to questions that may be asked.  I’ve researched the company so I know what their day to day business is about.  I’ve even checked out the statistical data, their financial position, and their marketing strategy.  I’m so ready for this interview, yet my palms are damp, my deodorant may be failing and I’m even a bit shaky.  Though I meet the qualifications, I’m prepared; I still question whether I’m good enough.  Am I confident?

Scenario #2: I wake up and feel like I’m queen of the hill.  I’m on top of my game and my game face is on.  I know I can ace this.  Everyone likes me.  There is no one better qualified for this position.  My prep for the interview is all about me.  I pump my mind full of every positive affirmation I can think of.  I’m dressed to the nines and immaculately groomed.  Am I confident?

Have you found yourself in each of these scenarios before?  I think we’ve all felt these things at some point.  In these two scenarios, we can identify confidence, pride, arrogance and insecurity.  The negative aspects of these characteristics have become huge “pet peeves” of mine.  While I like to think I am tolerant of other people’s flaws, non-judgmental, accepting and a really kind person, I find myself feeling rather intolerant and judgmental when I scrape up against a prideful, arrogant person.  Prideful arrogance is a characteristic that ruffles my feathers to the point that it’s worth the risk of exposing more lack in myself, to talk about it here.  It ruffles my feathers because it hurts people.  And I know it hurts people, because it’s hurt me.

So, just what are we talking about here?  I looked to the dictionary for the interpretation.

Confidence: 1. the feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; 2. firm trust: “we had every confidence in the staff”.  3. The state of feeling certain about the truth of something.  Synonyms: trust, faith, reliance, belief, credit, credence

Pride: 1. a high or inordinate opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc.  2. The state or feeling of being proud.  3. a becoming or dignified sense of what is due to oneself or one’s position or character; self-respect; self-esteem.  4. Pleasure or satisfaction taken in something done by or belonging to oneself or believed to reflect credit upon oneself.  5.  Something that causes a person or persons to be proud

Insecurity:  a feeling of apprehensiveness and uncertainty, lack of assurance or stability

Arrogance:  an attitude of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner or in presumptuous claims or assumptions

I’m not proposing that everything about these subjects is negative, as you can see in their definitions.  What I want to propose is that we be willing to take a look at ourselves and identify that which is in us that is negative and hurtful to others.  The truth is others see it before we do.

What’s the difference here?  There are attitudes that we adopt.  Some, we purposefully choose to put on and others we unknowingly adopt.  Maybe we picked up on a trait in someone else and there was a certain appeal about it or maybe we adopted an attitude because of unspoken, but strongly expressed societal pressures to conform to an image.  There are also attitudes that are just us.  They are a part of our character and nature and they come from within.  These attitudes are formed by beliefs or perceptions that we believe to be true.  Whether they are true or not is irrelevant here.  What is relevant is how we come across to others.

Our culture and the corporate world would encourage us to speak in positives, to appear to be a strong, vibrant and happy person.  To do anything less would expose our weakness and make us somehow unfit, a lesser person.  But, is this thinking causing a generation of phony, arrogant people to be the ones who are running and managing our lives eight to ten hours a day, five days a week?  It actually scares me to ask that question, because I’m inclined to believe that the answer is yes.  I’m not excited to live and work in that kind of world.

I don’t know of anyone who is naturally confident and secure.  Confidence has to be built into a person.  Some people will try to make themselves fit the bill on their own.  They try to “put on” confidence and security by changing their actions to what’s accepted and expected of them.  It’s not real.  True confidence is perverted resulting in arrogance.

Arrogance is “all about me” thinking.  It will trample the weak and tear apart good people, piece by piece.  There will be no remorse, because there was never any concern or regard for any other person.  As an arrogant attitude brings success and satisfaction to a person, it’s fed and grows and before you know it, a monster has been created.  The monster knows little about good leadership and how to properly manage people.  The monster becomes a dictator and those he or she encounters on the journey, will have to become monster like, as well, or they risk becoming, yet another among those crushed along the monsters path.

Confidence is something that is internal.  It’s like true beauty that comes from within rather than put on with make up.  It’s built in to us by loving, encouraging and nurturing people that take the time to validate us, our true qualities and gifts.  It’s built into us through knowledge that we gain in education, in job training or mentoring.  It’s built into us by truly “earned” successes and even failures.  Life happens and if we allow, we can be built up by it.  For a wounded soul, it can take what seems to be an endless stream of affirmation and validation before that person can start to believe in their value and walk in the ability that is in them.  It takes someone confident who cares enough to take the time to invest in other people to draw out what was there all along.  An arrogant person will miss this opportunity.

As you can see, the recipe for confidence isn’t one that is quick and easy.  It can’t happen overnight and it can’t happen to the one who is isolated, a king in a kingdom of one.  As you’ve heard it said, it takes a community to raise a child, so it takes a community to build true and beautiful confidence in a person.

So, back to the job interview; which person are we coming across as, the confident or the arrogant one? Even if the job is not for you or the applicant is not a fit for your position, regardless of the side of the table you’re sitting on, an opportunity sits before you to make a difference!  An arrogant person will miss out.  A confident person will see it.