How can you tell you’re about to hurt yourself? Part 1

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There is a recognizable quality of sensation that precedes self-inflicted, movement injuries.  


I’m referring to the kind of injuries that result from reaching just a little bit farther, or lifting something just a little bit heavier, or somehow pushing to our maximum, and then “over doing it”.  


A lot of the time, after one of these injuries occurs, the injured person expresses the sentiment, “That was stupid.  I shouldn’t have done that.  I knew better.”


What is it that they’re referring to?  


How do they know that they knew better?


It’s not based on a precise memory of just how many inches they can safely reach.  Or knowledge of how many pounds are okay and how many are too many.


It’s a sentiment that’s based on a feeling.


That feeling is coming from the body.


If we get to know that feeling, then we can recognize it when it comes up and save ourselves the pain and bother of becoming injured.


In order to get to know the “I’m about to hurt myself” feeling, let’s consider the opposite feeling for a minute.


What does it feel like to feel strong?


Think back to a time when you felt really strong–even indestructible.  What were the qualities of that sensation?


When I think about it, the words and metaphors that come to mind are that I felt solid, or like my body was one piece.  I also felt a sense of energy and power, and I felt a sense of skill and coordination.  It almost feels as though my strength were somehow emanating out of me, and there was a confidence that I could interact with my environment with mastery.


The opposite feeling would be the times when I felt small, limp, disconnected, ineffective, preoccupied.  If I were engaged in some challenging physical task then there would be a sense of disconnection between the different parts of my body, my arm working independent of my torso, or my torso working independent of my hips.  Those areas where I felt disruption in the unity of the body would feel vulnerable.  And that sense of being vulnerable would be unnerving and create apprehension.


You could feel this right now by putting your body in Plank position.  That’s where you have your hands and toes touching the floor with your elbows straight and abdominals engaged.  If you’re not familiar with it you can find some instruction for it online.


If you can’t hold this position then right away you’ll start to feel the sense of your body being an uncoordinated collection of parts.  You might notice a sense of apprehension in your spine or in one of your knees or your wrist.  That’s the feeling I’m talking about.  The feeling like you’re about to hurt yourself.


If you can hold the plank position, then just hold it as long as you can and notice what you feel once you’ve held it as long as you can.  Right before you give out there is a feeling.  I would describe that feeling as a sense that something is a bit dangerous, and that one’s body is falling apart or becoming an uncoordinated collection of pieces that have lost their unity.


Have you felt the “I’m about to hurt myself” feeling before?


I’m curious if you would describe it the way that I’ve described it?




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