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The Weight on My Shoulders


Back in July, I was in bed ALONE. I went to roll over. I heard a pop. It was from my right shoulder. How can someone get hurt rolling over in bed, alone?

Commitments were plentiful. I didn’t have time to be injured. When it became clear the “pop” involved pain in the front and back of my shoulder, I scheduled a massage. After an hour of focused shoulder work, she casually asked, “Is there a big decision coming up?”

Big Decisions = Heavy Weight

Well, my husband and I both own businesses. There are always decisions. As it so happens, there was one especially large purchase forthcoming. I’m the one responsible for the details of transforming that vision into reality. The massage therapist nodded vigorously.

My work is all about recognizing metaphorical relationships between the mind and body. The shoulders can be related to decision making and carrying the “weight of the world.” It made sense to me; yet I ended July at the County Fair and then in San Diego still aware of my shoulder. (The mental recognition didn’t resolve the physical issue.) It didn’t always hurt but it was often letting me know it was there. I couldn’t reach for things, lift objects, or twist fluidly.

While in San Diego, a chiropractor suggested the pectoralis pain (front shoulder) was the result of a rib being out of place. Finally, mid-August I scheduled an appointment with a chiropractor/functional medicine colleague. He agreed with the diagnosis about the rib and proceeded to work on me head to toe. I felt taller and more able to breathe when he was finished.

Grief = Weight

I casually saw him a week later and he asked how I was. Sadly, my answer was, “About the same.” He was perplexed. He watched carefully while I showed him where I felt what. He softly asked, “Is there any grief in your life?”


Well, summer began with two funerals of children in one week—grief. That business decision is still in the works and definitely involves marital stress at times—grief of a different sort paired with worry. And then I have a kid moving to college. And another is a high school senior. And the third confidently reminded me that I now have no more middle schoolers.

Um, yes, there may be some grief in my life. He encouraged me to move my arm in a specified range of motion while rubbing the neuro-lymphatics for the lung, because lung is related to grief and self-worth. Wouldn’t you know as soon as I did that, I experienced relief!

We can heal ourselves! Pain doesn’t have to permanent! And the body is wise—it gives us messages. Some messages are more deeply embedded than others.

So if you encounter me, don’t worry when I’m rubbing the outer edge of my collar bone near my arm pit and moving my arm up, down, in and out. I’m physically supporting my emotional self in this time of transition.

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