Interview with the Fitness Editor
Working as Assistant Fitness Editor at AllThingsHealing.com let me share what I know about health & wellness with a large international audience on a weekly basis. Going back to the archives, I stumbled upon an interview with Editor Bess Coble, Rolfer. We talked about what led me to make fitness a career, recovering from injury and how it’s never too late to discover your inner athlete.
What intrigued me the most was my experience having malaria in 2004. As I reflect back on my near-death Malaria in a Bottle experiment, I realize that it was a game-changer for me in my career. It’s not enough to tell my clients what to do to feel well; being a compassionate support on their own journey of healing and discovery is what brings me the greatest joy. Enjoy this excerpt from the interview:
4) The chronic injuries you endured in high school and still having to play in spite of the pain, how have those experiences influenced the way you train others now?
Personal injuries have taught me far more about what it means to be healthy than being fit. I’ve had shoulder and knee reconstruction surgeries, so I’ve felt the frustration of having a limb out of commission. For me the physical pain wasn’t the worst part, it was the identity crisis that ensued from not being able to measure my worth by my physical performance, or the way I looked. Injury challenged me to discover holistic methods of healing, like chakra energy work and Rolfing, where I found mentors who helped me establish a healthier way to measure my self worth.
I once participated in a clinical trial for a new malaria drug, thinking it would give me added protection for a trip I wanted to take to Africa. I didn’t go to Africa. But I did contract malaria. I wandered through the day in delirium, woke up in the night from horrible nightmares lying in a pool of my own sweat. Even the tormented sleep was better than the stabbing waking moments of feeling like a pin-cushion.
Initially I struggled with guilt over what I’d done, donating my body to a near-death experience. Then I had a revelation, that I needed to know what it felt like to hurt, to be miserable, to lose the ability to function. Compassion and empathy – these are necessary traits of someone in the healing arts. I’m better at working with others because of my own pain, more able to tune in to what their body needs.
Each of us will have a different experience living in our body. My own encounters with injury and illness have been a source of great joy and pain. I am reminded that there is great opportunity in affliction. Affliction leads us to be humble, which is a critical component in our preparation to become our best self. Through affliction we can choose to awaken our senses to learn wisdom, the greatest of all virtues.
What wisdom have you learned from your afflictions?
You can read more from Melanie’s fitness editor interview here.