Not the Engine but the Undercarriage!

UndercarriageThere’s a parallel between doctors and mechanics. There are well-meaning doctors who will check out all of the more obvious aspects of our chassis (height, weight, blood pressure, temperature) and miss the glaring Undercarriage2but less well known foundational weaknesses. Our bodies are, with no doubt whatsoever, the finest examples of engineering and design on the planet. My bias might be showing a bit, but the potential that our bodies support is beyond phenomenal. Nevertheless, one must have a mechanic worthy of the vehicle. And, you know what? As the ‘consumer,’ I want to know what the bill’s for – an honest, informative conveyance of the state of the conveyance!

So… when the doc is pressing upon and manipulating our tummies, what’s the deal? I’d never heard of this one and wonder at having paid a monthly specialist’s fee to Comcast to learn of the following medical condition:

Diastasis recti (also known as abdominal separation): In men, the condition is caused by internal pressure on the front of your abdomen, around your belly button, causing the connective tissue in your abdomen to separate or weaken. If any of my wonderful family of men or guy friends were to encounter this problem (what with the work and play they engage in), me and mine would probably have thought: Yep, hernia. Not necessarily so!

In pregnant or postpartum women, the condition is caused by the stretching of the rectus abdominis by the growing uterus. Geez! Who’d have thought? I, myself, never heard of this from any doctor associated with my own pregnancies nor the pregnancies of any of my family members or friends. Looking for a postpartum exercise program, I feel profoundly grateful to have found Courtney Wykoff’s MommaStrong programs.

We drive our mechanical and biological vehicles every day, yet it’s unsettling to realize just how little we know about what makes them tick.  Doctors and mechanics could tell us stories about having tried to have an intelligent conversation around the ‘what’s it that does it’ only to have us look back at them with a blank or quizzical face. (Then there’s always the “Yeah.  I know exactly what you mean!” patient – the perceptive fixit person proceeds to fill the clueless in.) Still, we both have our bottom lines: I want to have my bill interpreted so that I’m informed, whether it’s with regard to my bio-vehicle or my motor vehicle. And given the importance of both to the quality of our lives, I’d like to know about potentials before a medical or mechanical incident occurs so that I am empowered to do something about it (and, hopefully, pay a little less out of pocket).

Undercarriage3

Here I am, heavin’ and grievin’ along with the latest in cardio and core strengthening exercises, and all the time I’m doing things that are counterproductive because healing is always first! I’m one of the lucky ones to have found out about my undercarriage before crashing. Remember, we’re partners with the fix-it folks – and the mark of a great fix-it professional is one that recognizes their due diligence to share with you as a full partner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Go with the Flow

Go with The Flow

He thanked us for checking in on him. I think, with most folks, stopping along the shoulder (well away from a traffic lane) and making sure someone isn’t hurt and alone is “just the right thing to do.” He assured us his OnStar system had been activated on his work truck and that he’d already communicated with dispatch, so help was on the way.

Just moments earlier, we’d watched as the white work truck attempted to correct its course as it sped (with the rest of us) along the highway. OH, NO! Having missed the turn, he attempted to correct his course and turn right. TOO LATE! Aaaaahhhh!! The nose of his truck impacted the sturdy rebar-fortified, enormous concrete post helping to hold up the overpass. Parts of the truck’s panels flew off; the truck skidded to a sideways stop.

Like the worst hyperbolic advertisers, we sell ourselves a bill of goods:  One Time Only OpportunityLAST CHANCEThis opportunity will never come again! We’ve heard messages like this since childhood, and it’s hard to stop the adrenaline from revving, the stress hormone, cortisol, from pumping. That’s because these messages were invariably paired with another pattern: “What a loser!” and “Well, that’s that – you blew your chance… If only you’d paid more attention!” And it’s hard to stop the knee-jerk response to avoid ‘punishment’ in the form of being late, of appearing to be lost or receiving a reprimand. But let’s look at the cost to ourselves and others when we buy into the lie that a moment in time can define us to our detriment: what if the man ended up with permanent disabilities that impaired his ability to work, afford housing, provide for his family? What if other drivers had been unnecessarily harmed? What if the company he drove for was sued, putting employees at risk of their jobs? One thing’s for sure: he’s late to wherever it was he was trying too hard to get to.

Now a woman is waiting at a busy intersection. Go with The Flow 2 She’s waiting in a lane in which her only option will be to proceed straight ahead, but her left turn signal is on. The light turns green, and she sits. There’s a long line of cars that have no choice but to wait with her. When a cacophony of horns begin to sound, she finally begins moving forward. No doubt, she still got to her destination, even if she didn’t get there by the route she initially had in mind.

That’s more often the case than not in ‘real life.’ Some apparent opportunities aren’t for us. And that’s A-OK. So someone else got that promotion- perhaps that specific ‘turn’ wasn’t meant for you. Does someone have a talent or seeming surplus of good fortune – like they’re driving along in a Mozarratti while you’re driving a less awesome vehicle?  How does that stop you from arriving at the destination meant for you? Before you bemoan your supposed fate, consider the many stories of those who met with obstacles that kept them from the twin towers so that they lived and were able to share their almost-was-me stories.

Wherever you go, there you are.  Go with the flow!

 

Destination: Otherwise

The silver lining to living on this planet is that we can always find Summer – and my calendar says it’s officially here.

This is a time when we take to our chariots, which faithfully transport us to familiar and foreign parts.  That seems to be what Summer is for — explorations of our outer world, leading us back to explorations of our inner one.  We’re looking beyond our Googlemaps hoping to find a route to our wise inner child: fun, relaxation, friends, naps and snacks.

Summer’s greatest legacy is the way it brings us together – with nature, with family, with friends.  And when SummerTravels Otherwise (2) marries with art, we’ve a recipe for “how to turn strangers into friends” from all corners of the world.

 

Recently, I went through an extended period of time when I was working long hours between two jobs.  Travels OtherwiseMy ability to move myself through life’s events was adequate – and I am really grateful for that; however, I was aware that others had traveled to a different place in their lives.  This meant they were able to choose destinations near and far but always with fun as the focus.  By the time I was finally able to afford to work one full-time job, I needed friends and loved ones to remind me that Summer is the dessert to the meat and potatoes of life.  Luckily, Summer is synonymous with change.

Packing joy intoTravels Otherwise Summer’s outings, we’re brought back to our sense of fun and daring! With events ranging from the music and flashing lights of Belgium’s Tomorrowland and Nevada’s Burning Man, to Japan’s world-renown spas, as well as soaring cliffs we’ve a need to climb, summer travels take us, not only physically to geographical points previously unexperienced, but on life’s most wonderful and soul-essential journeys via ‘Destination: Otherwise’.

With Summer allowing us life within his visage once more, I’d like to share with you, dear friend, one of my very favorite quotes from another who undertook journeys to free himself from a life too heavy with the stuff of meat and potatoes:

When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? Perhaps to be too practical is madness. To surrender dreams — this may be madness. Too much sanity may be madness — and maddest of all: to see life as it is, and not as it should be!Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote                

 

Lateralization

Lateralization of ar interior

Lateralization of brain function means that there are certain mental processes that are mainly specialized in either the left or the right hemisphere. For fluid physical and cognitive activity, we depend on the cooperation of both sides of our brain.  For fluidity in our driving lives, we likewise benefit from an implicit agreement of equitable give-and-take in our relationships because, where there’s room for more than a driver, our mode of transportation is also lateralized:  driver’s side and passenger’s side.  And, just as with the brain, which has specific functions located in the front or in the rear, there are front seats and back seats.

When a passenger, with whom are we following along?  Who are we entrusting with power?  To some extent, whenever we’re a passenger, we are at the mercy of someone else’s choices.  We don’t always acknowledge to ourselves that we’ve given over a portion of our power to someone else when we’re in the passenger seat, but it only takes that one time – like when it’s obvious the driver is not open to our input.  Our adrenaline revs in its output, which drives the point home:  no steering wheel, no power.  It can be an innocuous moment, such as teaching a newbie how to drive (Aaaagh! You’re going too fast!  Slow down or you’re going to hit them!).  You realize how impossible it is to get your own leg to the driver’s side and stomp down on the brake, forcing the nightmare to end. You could always open your passenger door and bail to save yourself, but the newbie – who might be a loved one – could suffer harm or inadvertently bring the law down upon you.  You shakily get out of the car after assuring the newbie “you did great”Lateralization ~ Wobbly Man

Then there’s the more serious side of passengerhood:  the driver isn’t taking you where you had mutually agreed to go (figuratively and literally).  Ominous music, called anxiety – maybe fear – is playing in your body.  Lateralization ~ Scared Woman

As drivers, when we take on passengers, who have we invited into a moment of our lives?  Whose company are we regularly keeping?  Even with the steering wheel firmly in our hands, are we too frequently acting as taxi (meeting other peoples’ agendas) and not making sure we’re meeting our own needs as well?giphy (1)

When you’ve a moment to self-reflect:  Is your destination one that is beneficial for you and/or your loved ones?  Is your driving a means of realizing a positive accomplishment or are you usually driving away from something or someone (driving as a means of avoidance or escapism)?

To assess aspects of your life, you don’t necessarily need a mirror – Just look over at your driveway.

 

*Fellow Travelers:  Just for fun, take a peek at this site  (if your brain went, “Whaaah?  So did mine.  No worries, ’cause it’s all in our minds.

 


 

Hello!

Hi, I’m Branwynne, a fellow traveler along the way.

Every week, I’ll explore the parallels between the encounters I observe during my life’s journeys and the human behaviors we all come across along the way of life.

It recently occurred to me that the stuff of life doesn’t just occur in an office, a court room or other enclosed space ostensibly separating one human drama from another.  Wherever people encounter one another, there’s a story – even while on the road.

Join me in discussing the stuff of life you observe along the way!