If you have painful knees, you can start to release that pain by stopping when you feel the pain and deeply listening to your knees’ truth. Also do this week’s Pain Free Knee practice Here’s my knee pain story to inspire you!
The other day, I was out for my morning jog/walk with my little dog, Lola. I always let her lead, we walk when she walks and run when she runs. As we started to run, my left knee began to throb, as it does from time to time, I stopped. Lola looked back at me with her big eyes and a sort of what’s going on? look on her face.
I knew it was time. Finally, time to listen to my left knee. Because I’d avoided it long enough.
As I stopped and focused on the pain, a memory flashed through my mind. I was twelve-years-old and it was summer in Northern Minnesota. In my lucid dream, my family and I were at our 100-year-old lake house. The house stood three stories tall. Surrounded by pine trees, and situated on the edge of a beautiful green-blue lake. I remember walking on the sandy driveway to our mailbox. My hand held a letter addressed from my mother to the parents of my babysitter, Marsha. I loved Marsha. She’d lived with us the previous school year. Her parents moved away and she wanted to finish her last two years of high school in her hometown. My parents had taken her in.
Marsha and I shared my pink bedroom and we even slept in the same full-sized bed. It was white with gold trim. I got to talk to Marsha every day and every night. She loved me and I loved her, in a sisterly, platonic way. As a result, I’d never been happier in my life. Since early childhood I was in charge of taking care of my bipolar mother and my three younger siblings. Marsha helped me. Finally, I was so relieved to have someone to share that burden. Marsha had one year of high school left and I was so happy that she was coming back to live with us again after the summer.
My happiness shattered one summer evening when my parents were arguing about Marsha. My mom didn’t want her to return and, even though my dad disagreed, my mom won that battle. I was distraught at the thought of Marsha not coming to live with us.
The next morning, my mom asked me to carry a letter to the mailbox. I looked down at the envelope and saw Marsha’s parents’ address. I looked up at my mom and she had a little smirk on her face. My heart sank; I knew this wasn’t good. On the way to the mailbox, I was in a quandary. Should I read the letter or not? I got to the big pine tree about halfway to the mailbox and sat down, leaning against its massive trunk. I decided to tear the letter open.
The words…Marsha is bad…Marsha eats too much…We can’t handle Marsha anymore… jumped out at me. As a result, I cried out loud. My first ever break-up cry and I didn’t do the breaking up nor did my first love break up with me. After my big cry, I felt myself leaving my body and watching from above as I re-sealed the envelope the best I could. Swallowed long and hard. Pushed my emotions down, and walked the rest of the way to the mailbox, placing the letter inside.
Hold up! I was so loyal to my crazy mother that I betrayed Marsha?! My twelve-years-old self was powerless to do anything but be loyal to my mom, crazy or not. Finally, I snapped back to the here and now and was struggling to breathe. A familiar feeling. I felt like I was suffocating. Also, trapped. Powerless to make the right choice for myself. Lola came running to my side as I felt the sadness of losing Marsha and many others after her. So, I was having a huge awakening.
I knew that each part of the legs represents a piece of childhood past. Knees are the first emotional center of the body. They represent the pre-teen years. My twelve-year-old self began hyperextending my left knee to control emotions, at the pine tree. Right before that walk to the mailbox. Thus, I’d been pushing back emotions and hurting my left knee since that time to stop feeling emotions. Emotions from abandoning myself.
F*CK. No wonder my knee hurt and had been hurting for years. Even more, I knew why.
On the tail of that knowing flashed all the other times I’d betrayed myself for another. All the times, I left my body and went forward doing and saying things that weren’t true for me. Finally, I stopped, to feel the sadness of my first betrayal. In the midst of all this mind memory awakening chatter, I looked up and saw my little dog standing next to me. She was staring at me with her loving eyes.
Soften And Feel
“Okay, Lola, it’s time to walk and stand without hyperextending my left knee. Oh, and feel,” I said laughing and lurching forward on my bent knee, trying hard not to push my knee back. Also, focusing on allowing the sadness to flow. Flow up from the deep well of grief caused by letting people go that I loved. Because someone else didn’t like them or was jealous and wanted me all to themselves. Many were bipolar like my mother and I focused on their care more than my needs. Grief flowed and I allowed myself to feel it. As I walked, my knee began to feel better.
Finally, here is what your knees are telling you: Listen up!
A Note From Your Knees
Dear Tender One,
I am your knees. The most underdeveloped joint in your body. I represent your pre-teen years. A sensitive time and we’re still a bit wobbly from it all. We need to grow up and heal from that time between childhood and the teen years.
Those were the years you began your journey to open beyond the sanctuary of your nuclear family. Like a bud opening, it was a nurturing time to show the world your potential. To run wild in your rapidly-changing, awkward body. To skin your knees, and come back for a hug that you felt too old for, but loved just the same.
I know nurturing may have been lacking during this time in your life. Maybe, you were not kept safe or told big kids don’t cry. You can overcome the loss of your innocence and reflower—with you as the parent. Parent yourself with safety and love. Hold space for your tender self. Watch the budding with awe and curiosity.
Your Left Knee
Your left knee holds the energy of your mother. Her job was to teach you about your emotions and inner world. In the pre-teen years, mom was to guide you in connecting with your feelings and intuition. To show you how to allow your feelings to guide you. When her teaching was lacking. You became weak kneed. And learned to shut down from feeling by pushing your knees back into hyperextension. I don’t like it when you push me back and don’t hold me in place. I’ll give you left knee pain to get your attention. I want you to grow yourself up, create safety, and intuit your way into your life.
Your Right Knee
Your right knee is a space where you hold onto your father’s teachings of the outer world. He guided you in your relationship with the outer world. When dad’s teachings showed you how to give yourself away to others. Let go of your truth. You became weak in the right knee. When Dad taught you to shut down around other people, your right knee pushed back. I don’t like this. I’ll give you pain to get you to stop, learn boundaries, and to share when you intuit people are safe.
When you are stubborn and ignore me, I give you torn ACLs and MCLs and other knee accidents and injuries. That’s me getting louder and louder to get your attention. Many of you have replaced me. That’s okay. You didn’t listen until I was beyond repair. That happens and you still have to do the work.
You are responsible for me. For your entire body. Grow up to strengthen and flex me. Get a knee strengthening and opening movement practice. Learn to feel your feelings and allow them to guide you. There are some amazing teachers out there to teach you what your mother or father could not. Start on your journey to heal me and I’ll free you from knee pain.
I feel you,
Your Knees (via Michelle Andrie)
P.S. – From your knees – The power to heal all your physical challenges, lies in learning the language of your body. Listening and giving your body what it needs and wants. So, begin today by listening to your knees and healing your knee challenges. Check out the Ageless Movement Practices to feel even better in less than 45 minutes. Join the Ageless Movement Facebook page. To hear all the amazing results from the ageless practitioners.