This is a silly story of how an injured shoulder helped me meet my ego head on.
“Injury, meet Ego.”
She had not had an injury in years. It was a foreign feeling, this constant ticking pain following her around in each asana. She did not like the way it made her head buck each time her shoulder groaned. She gave the joint a few rotations. “You are better now,” she snapped. “Be better.” She let her hand rest over the skin, willing the connection to repair itself.
The next morning she lay still on her back, blinking in the sunshine. She rolled over. Her shoulder screamed.
“I hate you,” she seethed.
“I hate you, too,” it replied.
“No yoga, I suppose.”
“Yes you will go to yoga.”
So she tucked her mat under her arm and headed off to class. As she unrolled her mat she made sure to make eye contact with the teacher. She must explain why she was not performing well. She must let them know that this is not her. It is the injury.
Staying on her knees for downward facing dog while everyone else stretched at lengthened felt like defeat. “Why am I here?” she wondered.
“Just do it,” a soft still voice kept chirping from her belly. “Just do what you can. Isn’t that what you are ALWAYS babbling on about anyway.”
So she did what she could. When everyone else was jumping around, she walked slow and steady. Each jump felt like a knife to the heart. “Just breathe,” she heard that little voice say. “Focus on your practice. Breathe. Let go.”
It wasn’t easy but she made it through. The next class she still felt the sting of inadequacy through each movement. But as the pain subsided in her shoulder, she felt the victory over her own mind. “What a trivial thing this ego is,” she mused. “What a silly little thing to want to push me to break. Ego, meet Injury. She is stronger than you.”