Giving Yourself Grace When There’s No Yoyu – How Consciously Compensating Can Help You Overcome Obstacles
In this post, I explore the concept of giving ourselves grace and consciously compensating when we feel stuck or lack the motivation to move forward in certain areas of life. Drawing from a personal experience of recovering from a total hip replacement, I discuss how our bodies unconsciously rely on other parts to heal, and how we can apply this innate wisdom to other aspects of our lives.
Finding Yoyu Unexpectedly
In the spring of 2012, a few days after surgery for a total hip replacement, I could barely move my left leg because it was still swollen and the muscles had atrophied, especially in my left thigh. Even three weeks later, I thought my doctor was crazy when he recommended I start doing leg lifts. I could stand on my leg but couldn’t lift it an inch if I was lying down.
My leg had no yoyu. Yoyu is a Japanese concept used in daily conversation to express how much wherewithal, oomph, leeway, etc. you have, or DON’T have in terms of time, space, energy, or even money. And in this case, I was referring to how much physical power my left leg didn’t have.
No matter how hard I stared at it, my leg sat on the bed like a sack of rice. Frustrated, I ignored the doctor and my rehab exercises. I could walk, so I focused on shuffling around our condo and doing the essential everyday chores like making coffee and going to the bathroom.
After a few weeks, I no longer needed to use a cane, and though I was still walking slower than before, I was walking pain-free and without a limp.
Then, one day I was stretched out on the floor in front of the TV in the living room. I remembered the leg lift exercises and tried raising my leg. To my astonishment, my leg flew up in the air with little effort. I couldn’t believe it. When had the muscles come back? I squealed for Akira, and he came running, probably fearing the worst.
When I showed Akira my new moves, he said, “Well, of course. Your other muscles helped support your leg until it could move on its own.” Then, satisfied that I was okay, he left the room.
Though Akira was not impressed, to me the leg lift felt like magic because for weeks, I’d ignored the exercises. But over those weeks, my body naturally knew how to compensate so my left leg muscles could gain yoyu again.
It was as if all the other muscles said, “Hey, you rest until you’re ready again. We’ve got this!”
I could only do three full leg lifts before my muscles started to give out, and I lost proper form. After doing a set with my right leg, I stayed on the floor for a few more minutes with a big grin on my face. I knew I’d never forget the sensation of my left leg flying up into the air like it was weightless.
Allowing Conscious Intent
If our bodies know how to unconsciously rely on other parts of the body to move forward or heal, why not take this innate wisdom and apply it consciously to other parts of our lives? Might other seemingly impossible things become possible given a bit of time and support?
We’ve probably all had an experience where at first we couldn’t do something and then, after a period, realized we were doing it effortlessly and had no idea when the change had taken place. After the transformation, we feel great.
But before, while stuck in the struggle, we tend to be hard on ourselves. Instead of being self-critical because we can’t do it yet, we could give ourselves grace (ignore the leg lifts) and let another side of life take the lead.
We can do this by first recognizing that we’re struggling. Then we could ask ourselves, is it at all possible that another part of my life or spiritual team could help? We need that conscious intent to create space and patience so that all the other parts can come together.
I’ve been experimenting with this kind of conscious intent even in the kitchen. I’m good at eating and buying fish but not good at cooking with it…yet. Whenever I try a new recipe, I include side dishes that I know are tasty. Then, if my fish recipe fails, we’ll still have something on the table that we want to eat. I’m giving myself grace and consciously compensating until I can effortlessly cook with fish.
Are there any areas of life where you could mindfully compensate for a perceived lack? What part of life feels impossibly devoid of yoyu? Could you consciously allow someone or something else to take the lead for a while?
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About the Author:
Hi! I'm Marci. I have a dedicated spiritual practice, enjoy studying alternative-healing modalities, cooking a whole-foods flexitarian diet, and exploring Japan, where I've lived for 30 years. Learn more about my workbooks for kids, and journals for adults. Also, look for my upcoming memoir Otosan, which chronicles the five years I cared for my father-in-law, a WWII Japanese war veteran, as he navigates Alzheimer’s.