“Man is harder than iron, stronger than stone and more fragile than a rose.”  -Turkish proverb

There is nothing like injury or illness to wake us up to our own fragility. Our bodies at once so strong and capable are also remarkably fragile.   Health and vitality, which seems so natural a state when we are in its midst is just as equally tenable. Of late,  my body is not quite able to keep up with the pace and intensity of change, and it seems like maybe my body is a better judge of the intensity of the situation than I am.

Learning to listen to the messages of the body is a humbling experience. There is no pushing through the body that aches and needs rest. Back pain should demand our attention and respect.  Sometimes lying still is all it takes to know what needs to happen and what can wait. In the end, most things can wait.

There is never any real winning in putting off paying attention to the body’s pain signals. Today was one long lesson in listening and heeding my own physical wisdom.   I needed to lie down at least 15 times today and I could have even for a moment.  Instead I missed those moments or at least only partially lived them because the pain in my back made  it all but impossible to fully pay attention to anything.

Learning to pay attention to what is calling our attention, especially the messages of our truest vehicle, our body is the way that  “…we start to have a burning, almost heartbreaking sense of the fragility and preciousness of each moment and each being, and from this can grow a deep, clear, limitless compassion for all beings.”

At the very least, it is the only way to have compassion for oneself.   Ignoring my fragility does a disservice to my strength. Pushing through and ignoring the moments that require honoring my fragility doesn’t make me stronger.  It just turns my fragility into exhaustion and makes it hard to remember how good life is.