In praise of a backache

I’m directing a big Christmas musical at a local community theater. This show has taken up pretty much every minute of my free time over the past 10 weeks and I’ve loved every minute of it. Theater for me is a passion that brings energy to all of my other work and even to chores.

For the last 10 weeks, I’ve been at the theater almost every day – teaching, directing, building sets, making props. To make time for this, I’ve read less and blogged less. I’ve skipped running and meditation. And I’ve been eating on the fly and drinking coffee. I look like a bag lady wherever I go – hauling around work, my planner, scripts, and props.

I thought I was holding it together until Wednesday night when I threw out my back, and last night missed the opening of the show.

Here’s why I’m deeply grateful for this.

Pay attention to what your body tells you
My body warned me that this was going to happen and I chose to ignore the little creaks and snaps over the last couple of weeks until it was too late. Now I’m reminded to pay attention. AND to respond. This was just a 10-week period. If I’d continued at this pace for longer, just think of the damage I could have done.

If you have a good habit, stick with it!
I have been fairly religious about sticking to good habits when it comes to health. Except for the past 10-weeks. Now I feel driven to get back to a healthier lifestyle.

It’s okay to ask for help
There are a ton of people working on this show and far be it from me to ask for help. Except for the past two days when I had no choice. The rest of the production team has been incredible stepping in and taking care of last-minute stuff that had to happen. And my husband has even been happy helping me put on my socks! People like to be helpful. I know that. I just forget it.

Be grateful for what you have
There’s nothing like a loss to make you appreciate all you have.

The Universe has a plan
Everything is going to be fine with this show. My directing was done. The cast is ready. My back went out for a reason. My job isn’t to question that but to accept it and to revel in the fact that things are turning out just the way they’re supposed to turn out.

Empathy is a vital ingredient in life
When you throw out your back and can’t even put on a pair of socks, it makes you remember how tough some people have it with constant pain or other physical burdens that I don’t have.

Obstacles are creative challenges
When your back won’t move, you have to be wonderfully creative figuring out how to get out of bed. And get dressed. And sit in a way that minimizes the stress on your back. Back pain is a good reminder that there’s always more than one “right” way to get something done.

Take baby steps
Whether you’re starting a new habit or trying to get out of bed, taking baby steps means you’ll get there. Eventually. The Universe asked me to slow down this week. And then insisted on making that happen by slowing me down to a baby’s pace.

Be patient
When you’re not at your best, you have to be patient with yourself. What a nice reminder to always be patient with others as well. Who knows what they’re dealing with, right?

Enjoy the quiet times
When the Universe requests that you stop moving, enjoy the peace and quiet. Instead of working the past two days, I’ve had time to read, soak, meditate, sleep, and write. My back gave me a gift of time I didn’t think I had.

I’m sending this hoping I’ll heal soon and wishing you ONLY good health. And, when things happen… Namaste 🙂

Here’s a shot of Crescent Beach last weekend. I love the contrast of a New England beach.

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6 thoughts on “In praise of a backache

  1. I can only imagine your utter frustration at not being able to share the excitement and joy of opening night. And leave it to you, Janie, to make the absolute BEST out of whatever the fates throw at you! … or at your back. I hope you heal well and quickly, and that you get to see the show you’ve worked so hard on. Careful hugs, Sam


    • Bill drove me to the theater last night and helped me out of the car. I felt like I was about 100. But the show was terrific. If I hadn’t gone, I wouldn’t have been able to sleep wondering how it went. As it was, when I got home I slept for about 10 hours. I know the trick now is to continue to let my back set the healing pace. Patience!! 🙂


  2. Good stretching always helps backaches! Heat as well, or simply standing under the hot spray of the shower to relax helps at times.



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