Man portrait gymnastic stretching bend

This came to me this morning at the gym. My trainer Franz and I talked about the connective tissue and it’s role as the architecture upon which our muscles, organs and even our skeletal structure is hung. Maybe having been (for a very short time) a nurse, and fascinated most of all by the anatomy classes, I’m enthralled by everything I learn about these bodies we have.

We have a ‘line’ that runs up the front of our bodies from the soles of our feet through our collar bones and to our scalps and another that begins under our heels and up our backs, up over the crown of our head and ends around our eyebrows. These ‘lines’ are the pathways of the connective tissue and it can crinkle up like old wrinkled saran wrap and inhibit our ability to move efficiently or it can be supple and pliable and give us that freedom to stretch and expand. Most of us can bend forward, more or less depending on our dedication to our strength, fitness, stretching and bodywork. But less of us are able to lean and expand up and back, giving that front ‘line’ an opening which massages and bathes our organs and muscles in an oxygen-rich blood supply and moving the lymph through our systems. In yoga, sun salutations and backward bends accomplish this. And we are literally opening our hearts.

When I’m at the gym with Franz, I should take a journal! Our workouts are as applicable to life as they are to specialized fitness. Here’s a metaphor for the balance between a functional front line (of connective tissue) and a stable strong back line. You can’t have one without the other! The past (what’s behind us) put in a balanced story, supports the future (yep, the front line) and therefore the quality of what we are able to project. For there to be balance, emphasis can’t be placed on the past, as in regrets or anguish, nor on the future. I’ve come far enough down the road from my past frustrations and disappointments to know that when I get stuck in a place called “This Isn’t It”, it’s a terribly dis-empowering and disabling emotion. It’s self-destructive when you’re not grateful and rarely satisfied.   As Einstein and others have said, you can’t get there from here. Or the same level of thinking that got me here can’t get me to where I want to be. But add in a heaping dollop of optimism, finding what’s good about the here and now, and I’m happily off and running.

We have the most precious tool; our pathway into the present moment and it’s our actual miraculous bodies.  Having my body support me depends on me supporting my body.  I start from right where I am, knowing there’s a built-in innate drive for vitality. Motion is lotion. It lubricates that connective tissue and paves the way. Being connected requires will and heart. How remarkable that the Great Creator tied together all of this master creation of the human body with connective tissue. What affects one bone, one muscle, one organ, affects all others.  And my quality of life is a choice.