Strong Body, Strong Heart

Dedicated to Flor, my wonderful trainer…

My body is stronger than it’s ever been.  So it’s never too late.

My whole life I have suffered from severe back pain coming from scoliosis (curvature of my spine). Over the years, every time I would try to get more fit and exercise, I would injure myself again and would be laid up in bed.

So I gave up.

Then I started noticing my blood pressure beginning to get higher, and a few more pounds creeping up on me, which I certainly didn’t need. I decided to begin a diet. From there I joined a gym but told myself I would just try the elliptical machine and treadmill. I was so weak after barely five minutes, my heart rate would be so high, and I would be absolutely exhausted. I felt pitiful.

And then my husband spotted a trainer, Flor. He noticed how she didn’t push people, worked with clients of all ages, and was extremely knowledgeable about anatomy. He suggested I give her a try. I did and she changed my life.

In the last few months Flor has slowly and gently coaxed my body to strengthen itself. She never pushes me, only invites new ways to build muscles where there has only been weakness.  I noticed these big gaps in my brain when she would tell me to come from my ‘glutes’ or some other part of me. I didn’t even experience those muscles. It’s like those important pieces of me, through neglect and fear of getting hurt, had gone into hibernation. And I pride myself, as a body-centered psychotherapist, in being very in touch with what my body is telling me. I am, except for those unconsciously disowned, forgotten places.

What was most astounding to me was that as I inhabited my body more fully and strengthened it, patiently, compassionately, I became braver in my heart as well. Ways in which I might protect my heart from rejection or failure began to be less visible in my life. I have become bolder and braver, putting myself out in the world in all kinds of new arenas. As my physical body became more engaged, my emotional body did as well. I am taking risks I might never have taken in my career. I have set necessary boundaries in clearer and more definitive ways.

I have always felt like I had a brave heart, and certainly an open one. And yet the stronger my body becomes I surprise myself at my willingness to have an even braver heart. I surprise myself at the way I can say “Why not try that?” My ‘Yes’ is loud and committed, as now my core supports it.

And, by the way, my blood pressure is normal now. My heart has endurance and can love even more deeply.

I am always in awe of the seamlessness of all the layers of ourselves. Each part of us feeds other parts. Each ignored and discarded part shows up in some other way, to remind us to remember and reclaim it.

At times I regret that this did not happen sooner for me. But it is clear…I was waiting for Flor.

How do you approach your own “wholeness?” Share your story!

5 thoughts on “Strong Body, Strong Heart”

  1. You had my eyes leaking! Love to you and Flo. YOU amaze me. Your openness to life, change, and sharing the most intimate moments of your life in order to help other’s grow. Thank you, dear Ruthie, from the bottom of my ever so slowly growing heart.

    1. Barbara, Your heart is so big already. It’s now just about a brave and courageous heart.

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