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  • Writer's pictureEve Bernfeld

Humility (Conservation of Energy, Part 3)

Mt. Owen, Grand Tetons
photo by David Swift

I learned the climbers rest step early in my life, growing up at high altitude, the child of mountaineers. Step, breathe, step, breathe, step, breathe. Instead of moving through the steps with momentum, you take a tiny pause with each step, conserving energy. Resting then moving forward. Repeated a few thousand times, it will get you to the top of the mountain.

This past summer was a lesson in humility. First, out of nowhere, bronchitis. Two trips to urgent care, two chest x-rays, antibiotics (that didn’t help) and a nebulizer treatment (that did help). Then, when I was finally over that, I threw out my SI joint while visiting my parents. That was a first.

Nursing the sacroiliac joint back to health was a deep dive into Alexander Technique. “No.” before I try to roll over. “No.” before I try to sit up. Two or three steps and then “No.” when the pain kicks in. My shoulders and neck release, the wave of pain subsides, I’m able to take two or three more small, slow steps. I spent two and a half days alternating between lying on the ground, taking short walks and lying in bed reading books. It was the vacation I didn’t know I needed. If only it hadn't taken an injury for me to let myself do it!

So when we got back from Disneyland recently and two people in my family tested positive for covid (Drat! Despite being the weird family wearing masks while shooting spider webs.) I found myself falling into a rest-step rhythm. Honed over the summer of humility. Put in a load of laundry, take a rest. Go to the grocery store, take a rest. Make lunch, take a rest. Etc. All (pause) day (pause) long (pause). Repeated a few hundred times, it will get me through the day.

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