Terry Storch Dispatch w.50.2020
Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax. - Abraham Lincoln
Life Lessons from Torture Therapy
I have been going to a deep tissue massage therapist for my shoulder and arm pain now for a few months. I have multiple decade-old tennis injuries in my shoulder that have caused some pretty serious pain, as well as nerve pain in my arm. Years of trial and error and the fact that some surgeons weren’t convinced that surgery would do much good is what led me to my current reality with torture therapy.
I say torture therapy pretty accurately because this “massage” is literally the most painful experience I have ever endured. I’m not exaggerating when I say that this therapist redefines a pain level of “10” every visit. I have a very high pain threshold, and this last session took me to tears and evoked plenty of audible expressions during the 90 minutes of hell. But the really crazy thing is, the horrific pain in this 90–minute session is really bringing some incredible results of no pain when I play tennis. As I was driving home from one of these torture sessions recently, I thought of a few life lessons that I wanted share.
First, we must realize that stepping into the pain brings the answers we’re seeking. You see, the pain I was experiencing in my shoulder and arm was manageable if I was not playing competitive tennis. So, I could have just dealt with the pain and managed it had I chosen to walk away from tennis, which is something I love and find joy in. I would have given up something that I really didn’t need to give up. Stepping into a very painful experience and walking through it has given me a new lease on life and a new reality that includes something that brings me great joy and energy.
This learning applies to so many areas in our lives. We can find ourselves intentionally avoiding pain, challenging conversations, conflict, and much more because that seems like the easier solution. But, avoiding pain is detrimental and oftentimes, bypassing that initial pain leads to a delayed pain that is far worse. May we remember that stepping into the pain is the best decision—one that will ultimately give us what we’re hoping for.
Second, my therapist is world class. She’s not a typical massage therapist who works at a spa. Her name is Caydee, and she not only works on professional athletes like MMA fighters, baseball players, and golfers, but she takes on average Joes like me. Because Caydee is world class, she’s very busy. I asked her how she manages her schedule and her large amounts of daily clients. Caydee said she is very intentional, and always gives herself 30 minutes between clients. She said that during that time she resets her mind, and does some Yoga stretching, push-ups, and other physical exercises. She said these contribute to her ability to stay sharp, strong, and focused going into her final session at 6:00 on any given evening. Wow, what an incredible life lesson from my torture therapist! I desperately need to get better at taking care of myself during the day!
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Shalom (Hebrew: שָׁלוֹם shalom; also spelled as sholom, sholem, sholoim, shulem) is a Hebrew word meaning peace, harmony, wholeness, completeness, prosperity, welfare, and tranquility. It can be used idiomatically to mean both hello and goodbye.
This last weekend's message from my pastor, Craig Groeschel, was remarkable and applicable. Is peace even possible in 2020? That is the key question Pastor Craig addressed in his message. If you’re asking that question, I highly recommend that you invest 30 minutes of your day by watching the message
Why did Craig's message land at the right time for me? Well, to say our world is completely nuts and full of complexity and change would be an understatement. We’ve all dealt with a global pandemic, which has led to other chaotic events in our lives. For me, I took on a job change and added a dash of adjustment to my life...throw in our oldest kid going off to college...mix in my mother-in-law moving to Oklahoma and staying with us for over a month...sprinkle a little bit of our youngest getting her driver’s license and the freedoms that entails. And mix all of that in a blender and then, add in the shocking and unexpected news that my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. And just when it seems it can’t get more challenging, my uncle, my mom's youngest brother, passed away this week after a long battle with health issues and Covid being the final factor that took his life.
Shalom, Shalom...maybe that needs to become my Serenity Now plea. (Seinfeld reference!)
Shalom is my prayer. Shalom is my deepest desire. Shalom, shalom! To take us all the way back to my learnings from torture therapy, we must go through the pain to experience the beauty. Shalom is not without pain. Peace is not without pain and challenges. It’s in the middle of life, and smack dab in the middle of the storm when we can become centered and find the peace of God. It’s not a coincidence that I got a powerful reminder of how important it is to sharpen our axes and take care of and invest in ourselves.