Stubborn as a bull

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I’m a Taurus. When I was a preteen that meant something to me. I would read horoscopes religiously looking for clues about who I was and what the future might bring. Mostly I wanted to know if the boy of my dreams had a crush on me. The predictive power of horoscopes I have long stopped believing in.

My astrological sign does still have some value in my life. It is a pretty good description of my personality. I am stubborn as a bull. My stubbornness is my nemesis and my greatest friend. After a pretty serious whiplash injury almost two years ago I learned just how awful a character trait stubbornness can be but it is also what got me through it. After the car accident I continued to take my kids to the park, work, clean, and do almost everything I did before. The difference is that I usually ended up in severe pain. One time I remember crying in the grocery store because I couldn’t make the grocery cart turn the corner at the end of the aisle or my daughter and I both crying at the park because I couldn’t push her on the swing. She was six. I could no longer carry my then three-year-old even though I continued to try. It was awful but I continued to push through. I didn’t think I had a choice.

Tauruses can also be stoic. I don’t think anyone but my chiropractor really understood how bad it was. I don’t think I understood until he would use some tough love and stern words. It is like I needed his confirmation that I was actually hurt. I didn’t trust myself to know if I was exaggerating or making it all up.

In therapy with clients I encourage people to embrace their feelings rather than avoid them. Pain is one of those feelings people try to avoid. People will create all kinds of chaos in their life to avoid the most painful parts of themselves. Usually this causes more devastation in the long run.

One of my clients recently told me that when he is in physical pain he visualizes how his increased heart beat and rapid breathing bring all the healing powers of his body to his injury. He focuses on the pain and imagines all the oxygen and white blood cells racing to the injury to heal it. I asked him why he doesn’t do this with his emotional pain. He couldn’t tell me. Just like I can’t tell you why I have the opposite problem. I embrace my emotions and ignore my physical pain.

After over a year of a variety treatments, I started to feel better. Now I get stiff in the area and I need to stretch it out all the time. But I learned that I had to listen to my body and sometimes that means slowing down. The car accident taught me that I need to treat my aging body better. I needed to start prioritizing my physical health.

So I started to run. Like any good Taurus I jumped in. Stubbornness and perseverance are intimately connected. I signed up for a race and started training hard. I ran every other day increasing my distance. My pure determination is an excellent personality characteristic.

I loved running. I felt great. Until one day I didn’t. I started dreading running, and started forcing myself out the door thinking it was a phase in my training. I was stiff and my muscles hurt. I thought if I ran through it eventually it would get easier again. My last run was torturous. Every step of my nine kilometres was a huge effort. So I decided to consult my chiropractor again. He gave me the look. The look that says. “Krista, what the hell were you thinking?” and “Stop being a schmo.” Yet again I am injured and didn’t know how bad.

The problem with a Taurus is they are too stubborn to ever learn. The good news about a Taurus is that they are too stubborn to ever give up trying.

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St. Albert Gazette

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