Yesterday morning, I had a funny moment which has stayed with me ever since. I was thinking about going to a gym class to help my posture (Mézières method) for the first time and wondering whether I would show up or just stay home instead, finding a ‘good’ reason not to go. 

An image then flashed through my mind. I ‘saw’ a horse refusing to jump over an obstacle. I could hear the hooves on the grassy surface, the rubbing of my boots against the leather of the saddle, and I felt the horse coming to a powerful stop in front of the white-and-red log fence in the way. 

Along with the image of the reticent horse, I heard the expression ‘Refuser l’obstacle’ (to refuse the obstacle), an expression I learned as a youngster when attending horse shows. Like the horses in my memory, I too somehow was balking,  — in this case at the idea of starting something new with people I didn’t know.

I have not ridden a horse in some fifty years. Still the memory came up and sent me a message loud and clear. You’re balking, girl. Is this really what you want to do and who you want to be?

The advent of osteoporosis in my life has brought a string of new experiences, both physical and psychological. I have started aquagym classes for example, a totally liberating experience, not so much because I’m playing in the water but because it’s a class for seniors. I am with women in their 60s, 70s and 80s. We all are in varying degrees of physical decrepitude, and it does not matter at all. Two or three women still have fantastic figures, but most of us come in all sorts of shapes and I find this profoundly refreshing.

At the gym class (because I went over the obstacle in the end), I found out that I was in good physical shape despite the general achiness of my spine. The therapist, however, confirmed the remark both my husband and daughter had made early that morning: I am very tense. My whole upper body is like frozen in fear. ‘The sky has fallen on your head,’ the teacher explained.

Yes, osteoporosis was a bad surprise, a family heritage nonetheless. Suddenly, for a while at least, I cannot do much and must be careful not to fracture another vertebra. My backbone is made of brittle stuff which can break if I sneeze or laugh too hard… I have therefore to deal with a body which needs love and care, attention and protection.

I thought I was in control of everything, managing osteoporosis and its consequences. But only a part of me does. Just the tip of the iceberg maybe. Below the tip and deep under the surface, there is so much I do not know and do not understand.

Going to the gym class has reassured me: my back should be more limber within a month, and hopefully my mind as well.

If psychologically I may not do so well, spiritually, possibly as a lasting  result from our long stay in Manresa, my spirit is alive and connected to Godde in many different ways, as if it were trying to fill in where my body and mind are powerless.

The image of the balking horse now makes me want even more to go and walk around our village, where so many riding horses are playing in the neighboring fields. I feel a mysterious connection somehow, an unexpected bond which makes me love them in a new way.

Still, how strange the way my mind communicated to me yesterday morning, bringing back memories of days long gone, to show me what I intended to do right there and then, — confronting me to an attitude which, in the end, would not have been good for me.

Photo: Refusing horse,