The Push and the Pull

"I think it's about knowing when to push, when to pull, and when to just hold on." - me

I have a labrum tear in my shoulder. It's a chronic injury that is about two years old that has me headed for surgery someday, but not today. It's a frustrating experience to be afraid of every overhead movement...thinking that it could go at any time and feeling the hesitation that comes with it.  The good news is that I was told I could return to regular training last week but that I had some work to do. With all the pushing and shoulder work in CrossFit and Pilates my shoulders never get much of a break. I was told that I needed to balance the pushing with more pulling. And in a world of pushing, I'm learning how to pull.

And I realize how new that feels.

We always talk about pushing through, pushing hard, pushing limits... I've gotten comfortable with pushing. Push yourself forward, or push obstacles or clutter aside even when you don't want to because forward is the only direction and pushing is how to get there. Or the push is pushing back, standing up for yourself and what you want.  Push because you can.

But what about the pull?

I am finding value in that concept.  I realize that sometimes you have to pull yourself out, of negative thinking of situations, jobs, or relationships, when all you want to do is to stay in where it's safe, where its familiar but pull anyway because out is where your life really happens. Sometimes you have to pull away or pull back.

And then there is this whole other thing. This place where you can't push and you can't pull... you have to just hold it down. Hold on... to anything you can wrap your arms around even if it is a belief or a spark of something that cannot be extinguished because there is no forward or back, there is just now.  And that deliberate waiting, that control, and discipline may take the most strength of all.

I'll always have to decide... when to push, when to pull, and when to hold on.  And ironically, with all the pushing, pulling, and holding on... I'm ultimately letting go.  Letting go of the fear of what might happen, of what the injury might mean or might become in the future.  And that balance is exactly what I need.  That balance is where strength isn't just born, it's forged.


  1. Interesting finding the relationship between physical shoulder strength balance and balance in life and the words we use to talk about it.

    I know what you mean about letting go of what injuries might mean. It's usually at the point I stop worrying about an injury that it starts to heal.


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