The latest edition of my herx saga led me straight to the living room floor where a yoga mat awaited my arrival. Every joint in my body was locked up and every muscle was tense and tight. The herx had gripped me suddenly and now its grip was so fierce I could only think of two ways to handle the pain. Cry or do yoga. I wanted to choose “cry” but, a second before tear production thought better of it and chose yoga instead.
On my mat, a faithful friend during previous herx episodes, I hoped the bends and twists of my yoga practice might assist in loosening rubber-bands coursing through muscles. It had always worked marvelously before but not this time. Not this herx. No, this herx had my very core in an iron clad grip and it wasn’t giving up easily. I couldn’t twist in a lunge. In fact, I couldn’t even stay stable enough to stand in the lunge! I teetered and tottered on legs that had, in less than an hours time, become stuck stiff.
When I tipped completely over and into the coffee table while trying to return to a plank position I became utterly frustrated. I had wanted to step on the mat and conqueror that nasty herx with valor and enthusiasm. I would show that herx whose boss of this body – me! I’d dominate the herx by nailing a strong and powerful dancer pose with poise and grace. But my episode of the herx wasn’t ending like I had hoped. The story book “happily ever after the herx” was not following the climatic scene and triumphant breakthrough I had anticipated.
I have to admit, this just irked me. When the herx made its assaulting arrival I had chosen to conquer it instead of cry about it. Now, where was my reward? Where was the victory? My frustration moved quickly to defeatism and depression, lamenting the physical body I could have were it not for my circumstances….
If it were not for Lyme I could have great balance and stability. If it were not for the ravaging my body has taken I could have strength and stamina. I could have weight and muscle and fat in the places that give women their shape and their curve. If only it were not for this devastating disease I could be nailing ever pose on the mat. It is because I am sick, weak and fragile that I am falling over!
It was somewhere around the words “unfair” and “circumstances” in my mind’s dialogue that I fell over and ended up completely sideways on the ground.
And I laughed. Oh, how I laughed.
Why laughter, you may ask? Because it was the moment in the saga where a climatic decision must be made by the main character. She must choose to take give up with anger or give in with grace. For this character, grace spilled out in the form of laughter as I chuckled at the pure ridiculousness of my predicament. My physical predicament – being sideways on the living room floor when I had intended to be upright – was just the most obvious. My attitude’s predicament was the one that came to mind when I hit the floor.
Up until that moment of impact I was going through the motions while my mind told my heart that I was justified in my frustration. My pain, discomfort and declining condition “entitled” me to have a bad attitude. Or so I said. Thank God, I hit the ground and He met me there because I needed to hear the truth.
You, not your circumstances, choose your attitude.
It took forty five minutes of frustration for me to realize that I was playing the role of a victim in the saga of my circumstances. But in that moment I was given the opportunity to choose otherwise. I could choose an attitude of anger or I could choose an attitude of joy. This time around the decision was easy and it was decisively for joy.
After an hour of yoga my muscles weren’t released and my chest still felt stiff but my facial expression was drastically different. Circumstantial everything was the same. It was my attitude that was transformed. Now that’s a “happily ever after” I can believe in.