Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Watch your step! Establishing a healing and healthy lifestyle

At the beginning of the year I started practicing Taichi, following a Yu Sifu. For the first few weeks my knees were very painful, especially my right knee. I thought "over time your knees with strengthen and the pain will go away".  Then we had some heavy rain that prevented us from going out and practicing Taichi for a few days. The pain in my knees went away. I realized that the Taichi itself was injuring my knees, because I was positioning my feet and legs improperly. In TaiChi your weight will shift from one leg to the other, sometimes putting a tremendous amount of weight and force on the knee. If your foot isn't properly aligned with knee you can injure yourself. This most gentle of exercises can be very hard on the knees if you don't pay careful attention to technique. When I started paying attention to proper alignment of my feet, knees and body - the pain in my knees went away.

The author of Hebrews says
Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees,and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Hebrews 12:12-13 (emphasis mine)

Discipline is designed to lead to "self discipline". Going through a time of discipline is painful and unpleasant. There is a danger that I might let it go to waste, fall back into old patterns of doing things. The way to avoid that is "make straight paths for your feet". During times of discipline we need to make straight paths for our feet. What are straight paths?

  • healthy habits
  • healthy thought patterns
  • healthy community and accountability
The goal is healing "that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed".  

In the practice of Taichi I needed first to stop injuring myself. Watch where you place your feet and how you place them. Take heed where you walk and how you walk. Create an environment that is conducive to growth and healing, and that avoids unnecessary temptation to return to an unhealthy lifestyle. Find some healthy people and form a community with them or join their community. Make straight paths for your feet. 

What a shame it would be if I am going through a time of discipline and instead of learning "self discipline" I went back into old patterns of thinking and doing that ended in my life being "out of joint". 

The ultimate goal of discipline is healing and health. "Be healed". That is what God wants for you and me. I want to do my part to make sure this time of discipline results in healing and health NOT an "out of joint" life.