A Frozen Shoulder: Thawing my Resistance to my Inner Quality

Three days ago, I woke up with a frozen shoulder; I was unable to sleep the prior night or get out of bed. This has happened before, but this time, with the help of my amazing practitioner, Jenny Ellis, I really listened to the message being offered up. I came to understand the message along with fixing the actual physical pain. And this is what I discovered…

I work in education, and it had been the school holidays – a chance to rest, rejuvenate, catch up and be with family and friends. But I had to be super honest and realise I had not given myself the rest I needed. Each day did not feel complete unless I’d addressed cleaning an area of the home, walked the dogs, been with the kids, done some marking, caught up with a friend. I couldn’t say no, and if I did, I felt guilty.  

There was such a drive, a pushing through, I could feel a momentum of rush, a high. It was like a drug – and it felt like an ancient behaviour. I was aware of it but couldn’t seem to stop it.

Jenny supported me to understand that my shoulder had frozen because it was reflecting the hardness I go into to get things done. I had seen another practitioner earlier in the week, prior to the shoulder freezing, and he could sense how I was living. In the session, we talked about addressing my nervous energy. I asked if my body was exhausted as a result, and he said, not really; it was more the high of the doing I was getting off on: I was drawing satisfaction from the outcome and not paying enough appreciation and attention to the aspect of what just being me brought to everything. 

What does this really mean? Well, this is something I have been deepening and addressing for years – that I was valuing myself by what I did and not from who I am. I tended to not feel really good about myself until I had completed or done the task.

What my body brought to me, reflected back to me via my practitioners, was that I had to start understanding, accepting and really live the fact that it is first the quality of who I am within any activity which is key: that I am enough just by being me. Yes, of course things need doing, it’s not about sitting around and contemplating my navel, but knowing and feeling that my WORTH and VALUE are not solely derived by the doing.

I fully felt this yesterday as I surrendered completely to my pain and tiredness and lay in bed for most of the day, with my two children watching movies and chatting. I DID nothing, yet I was EVERYTHING for them. It was the BEST day.

So it is about quality. I can be doing, but it is a doing with the appreciation of my quality, which is in the doing; a knowing that the unique ‘me’ in it all, is already enough before anything is done. 

I also felt that it was not just about appreciating my quality as something separate, but to express it from a deep love and acceptance of myself. This naturally ensured I was embracing, honouring, valuing and caring for myself in each movement and thought, and I was fully worthy of that.  As women, what could we bring if we were simply enjoying being ourselves, first, before any of the doing?

Credit: Cameron Martin

I know for a fact what all this brings, from the relationship with my own mother. When I look back, there was a lot of doing; my Mum was busy and Dad was often away. But when I feel her love, it is her QUALITY I feel. I felt her deep love – it didn’t even have to be said or expressed but boy did I feel the QUALITY and essence of her love – the quality and essence of who she really was/is.

When I reflect on that, I feel a deep holding, a feeling of being nurtured and deeply loved by the quality and essence of my Mum. A huge warmth. Reflecting back, my friends felt the same – they always ended up chatting with her, and all her work clients – the same. All felt a deep holding and care, and an ability to surrender and the space to share their deepest thoughts and troubles with her.

How little do we pay attention to and appreciate the essence of who we are and how we express? If we close our eyes and sense the essence of who our sisters are, our friends, this becomes very clear. Yet, do we acknowledge and allow ourselves to feel this unique aspect of our own quality, how palpable and amazing it is, how clearly felt it is by others, before we even speak or do anything? An example is my sisters and girlfriends who are all on the other side of the globe to me. I do not interact regularly with them, engage in activities with them, yet I KNOW them and I sense exactly what quality it is about them that I feel and love.

Learning to acknowledge and pay attention to feeling my qualities and what others sense about me has been life changing. I’m starting to appreciate and claim what I bring before I even get up and do or say anything. I don’t have to prove myself in any way – I am simply enough.

It is that quality of me, which gives permission to accept and love everything about that quality of you, no matter what you say or do. And it is that quality in you which accepts me back. 

The more I connect to this quality of me, and cherish and appreciate it, the more I bring as a mother, a wife, a friend, a daughter, a sister, a teacher. I’m less lost in the angst of not being enough and the ‘trying’. I just am.

Thank you gorgeous body for offering this super important lesson to me, which I’ve been able to bask in for the final few days of the holidays, and truly rest in preparation to return back to my busy life.

We all know each other’s quality as women, our personality, essence, and it is this that we need to appreciate. I have come to realise that for women, it is not what we ‘do’ that everyone enjoys, it is the quality of who we are that we are appreciating.

Published with permission of my mother.

By Anonymous, Australia 

For more inspiration…

Women belong to themselves… exploring who we are as women, underneath the roles, expectations and the pictures.

From exhaustion to vitality: Esther’s story on learning to listen to her body and live in a revitalising way.


90 thoughts on “A Frozen Shoulder: Thawing my Resistance to my Inner Quality

  1. As children we can be very good at stopping, connecting and then enjoying what we are doing – we can be oblivious to time and all the other so called or percieved pressures we often feel as adults to get things done quickly so that we can get onto the next thing. This is a great example of being first and then doing. So most of us would have done this at some point in the past – hence it is about remembering this and returning to the connection and coming back to the enjoyment of being with the doing.

  2. If we operate with a level of tension and hardness in the body and do this consistently, then we are more likely to cause damage to the body from this. No different to RSI or Repetitive Strain Injury where the key word is ‘strain’ – the more we repeat a movement holding the body under strain, then the more likely we are to develop and RSI injury. This is all very simple to understand but often we can find it hard to change the way we do things as we are used to doing things under pressure or under strain. But imagine doing the same movement but with a connection to our essence and thus bringing a flow and care and no strain…this is the best medicine to apply of course and it makes sense. Though I do know that for me this is still a work in progress in changing old patterns and ways of being in a lot of areas!

  3. This is a great blog and a reminder for us all as women or men, that it is all about how we are and the quality that we hold and the connection that we hold that matters the most, over and above anything that we do. This to me is beautiful to be reminded of and timely too!

  4. When we can feel within our bodies that we are indeed enough and that we do not have to prove ourselves to anyone there is a deep sense of settlement, all those distractions that we used to stop feeling the unsettlement just melt away.

  5. “I have come to realise that for women, it is not what we ‘do’ that everyone enjoys, it is the quality of who we are that we are appreciating.” Quality is the most important thing – being is more important than doing – then miraculously space opens up to allow us to do more!

    1. You can certainly feel when something has been done with care, consideration and warmth. It makes for the very ingredients that nourish our connection with the Soul.

  6. “The more I connect to this quality of me, and cherish and appreciate it, the more I bring as a mother, a wife, a friend, a daughter, a sister, a teacher. I’m less lost in the angst of not being enough and the ‘trying’. I just am.” When we accept and appreciate ourselves we feel we are more and thus have more to offer in this world.

  7. Amazing our bodies ability to show us all that we live, this gives us the most amazing opportunity and that is to learn. Learn more about love and who we really are.

  8. Men think they are in an exclusive club when it comes to, having to be doing. The doing is drilled into us at an early stage that permeates the rest of life. We also need to rediscover ‘the quality of who we are’ that is worth appreciating.

  9. ‘Jenny supported me to understand that my shoulder had frozen because it was reflecting the hardness I go into to get things done.’ I can so relate to putting function ahead of quality and the resultant anxiousness and hardening in my body as a consequence. Learning to stay present and let my body guide me as to when to do things, especially stopping when it tells me to has meant that over time I have pushed less and find that life has become more seamless and that in fact I have more stamina and energy to keep going for longer periods. Ultimately when we can do things in quality and go for longer we are much more productive.

  10. “I don’t have to prove myself in any way – I am simply enough.” Wouldn’t it be amazing if we were all taught this? Then comparison and competition would fly out the window.

    1. Funny that how we seek to be proving ourselves a lot – be this to another or perhaps to ourselves. Certainly something to break or let go of!

  11. “I couldn’t say no, and if I did, I felt guilty. ” I knew this one and its a killer. Why do we give more to other people than to ourselves? And if so what is the quality we are then giving? Learning to say no is a valuable life tool.

    1. Sue when I read your comment it pricked a long forgotten memory of not being able to say ‘no’. I say long forgotten because I am now practiced in the delectable art of being able to say no and can say it with absolute conviction but once upon a time I could hardly get the word out of my mouth and that was because I was steeped in pictures and beliefs around what it meant to say no. Get rid of the pictures and beliefs and the word ‘no’ just rolls off the tongue.

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