For the second time in a week, I woke up to painful spasms in my left leg. After I stretched and got it to “calm down”, I climbed out of bed, went to the kitchen, poured a large glass of water and decided to go outside. Even though it was only 2:40 in the morning, our faithful, fifteen-pound, rescue dog came padding after me and camped out at the door until I came back in.
As I sat in the hot tub, I was mesmerized by the shadow of a table and two chairs on the deck. It was as if someone had created a flat, pencil drawing on the wall. I realized, again, that we’re so used to seeing the things around us that we don’t really “look at” them anymore—they’re simply part of the background. I wondered if we ever look “flat” to God—if we’re, too often, simply our “shadow selves”.
After coming back into the house (knowing that I wouldn’t fall asleep again) I found these causes for what’s commonly called a “Charley Horse”:
compressed nerves in the spine
inadequate blood flow
exercising when it’s excessively hot or cold
lying in bed for long periods of time
How often do you feel pain (not only physical, but mental, emotional and, sometimes, spiritual) because you’ve:
been injured (by humans or a situation) or
felt “compressed” (not able to live fully into your best self)
inadequate (simply never enough)
dehydrated (thirsting for something that you know you need, but don’t know how to attain)
over exercised (exerting yourself more than you know you should) or are simply
lying dormant (too paralyzed to move forward)?
When have you had someone as faithful as our little dog, Vero, camping out next to you—just waiting for you to be okay? Have you appreciated that blessed gift?
I want to do better at being aware of the human traits that make me lose sight of the amazing options I have each day. And, I don’t want to ever forget that image of the flattened table—non-dimensional, less interesting, simply there.
I know that each of us has intrinsic potential, value, and importance (even when we don’t believe that about ourselves). Collectively, we can help to make our world a beautiful place of love and joy—grounded by living into our best selves. Will you walk with me down this road of living with awareness and intention?
Two theories on how the name this condition became known as a “Charley Horse”.
1. Major League Baseball player, Charles (Charley) Radbourn was a pitcher from 1880-1891. His nickname was Old Hoss. One day Charley got a cramp in his leg during a game. After that, when a player had the same problem he had a “Charley Horse”.
2. A lame horse, named Charley, was part of the groundskeeping crew for the Chicago White Sox. When players got hurt, teammates referred to them as “Charley the Horse”.
side note #2 (2019):
After I wrote this story, a freind told me about “Hyland’s Magnesium” for people who regulary experience leg cramps.