No Pain, No Gain?
It’s been two weeks now since my boot cast was removed and I’ve had a bit of a setback. By this time I expected (as indicated by the doctor) that I would be walking with a cane and getting around pretty well. My family even held off canceling our planned trip to Hawaii, on which we were supposed to leave today, in case I was up to making it. Well, not only is Hawaii out of the question but significant pain has me discontinuing PT and off my feet altogether for the next several days.
All this brings me to sharing my feelings about the adage “No Pain, No Gain.” We tend to buy into it. My friend at the gym doesn’t feel he’s worked out until his muscles scream out to him to cease and desist. And we women have all met mothers who are plenty self righteous about their 30 hours of birthing labor without painkillers, touted as “natural childbirth.” Does a delivery with an epidural make your child any less natural? Don’t all those sports injury doctors make a fortune off all those who “push through the pain?”
I succumbed to the same thinking this week. I started an energetic physical therapy program with three times a week. After the first 2-1/2 session, I came home with a list of stretches and exercises that filled a whole page. Each one was to be repeated a minimum of 5 times a day. I enthusiastically adhered to the prescribed regimen and soon I saw the desired results of being able to support walking pretty well with my injured leg. But then it started to hurt until we came to the point of today’s admonition from my surgeon. (Not going to complain anymore, no one should have to read or hear it.) Overdoing and inflammation were the explanation.
So what’s my point? Effort, not pain, is what leads to success. Putting forth your best attempt, without torturing yourself, is really what pays off. I have found it to be true in reaching my students or learning something new myself. If I push myself past exhaustion or work myself into high anxiety, I am immobilized. If I truly try and work hard at my goal, I do well and can make it happen. Somehow I forgot that this week and now I have to pay the price of relearning that lesson myself.
Have you found this to be true…or not?
The piece above is part of my Moroccan series, entitled “Reflections – Morocco.” Our trip to Morocco several years ago had a profound effect on me and my painting; I still feel it in my work today. I was captured by it all: the land, the colors, the patterns and details. I was captivated by the people and their lives, their clothing, their homes. In Marrakesh, there is a garden owned by the designer, Yves Saint Laurent, called Jardin Majorelle. It is a masterpiece of greenery and water features. This painting depicts the lush environment and the way it enveloped you. To aid the atmospheric aura of the painting, I used soft pastel on velour paper. For those of you not familiar with that surface, it is kind of like a velvet painting, without the Elvis, of course. It gives soft edges and a modulated appearance.