Proprioception is the concept of knowing where your body is in space (body awareness) and the ability to safely maneuver around your environment. It also includes the use of heavy work activities and the ability to stimulate the joint receptors.” (Source: Amanda, Matthews, OTR/L http://nspt4kids.com/parenting/what-is-proprioception-and-why-is-it-important/)
A colleague introduced me to this concept last week and I was captivated by it. Words can be restrictive containers sometimes; a poor limited method to express what is welling up deep within the soul, but sometimes they can be absolutely explosive, illuminating what we have been experiencing, but unable to name. Here was this word that I had never heard before: proprioception, five syllables describing a fascinating function of our bodies that I never knew existed. Sometimes proprioception in children with autism or other conditions have a hard time sensing the world around them, so they exhibit behaviors like hitting the wall or the ground repeatedly. A parent can be helpful by offering a hug, or placing their hands on their child’s shoulders so they are reminded that the ground is beneath their feet.
I fell in love with this word as it came up in conversation, because it seemed like a great metaphor for life. Lately I’ve felt like I’ve been losing my grounding. What once used to feel safe, secure, solid, and familiar seems to be shifting and moving in ways I didn’t expect or understand. I’m not sure how to clearly navigate my environment right now. I’m finding myself afraid and confused. I’ve questioned my judgement, my motives, and my decisions. In the end, I want to exercise until I’m tired, and I dream about endless hugs. I wonder if I too, would like to cuddle up under a weighted blanket.
I’ve told trusted friends and family about my “proprioception,” and they’ve listened, tried to give advice, hugged, and prayed. I’ve been praying too: In the morning, in the afternoon, before bed, and lately around 2:00AM. My mind has been flooded with comforting scriptures, and I realize He is with me always. This is going to last as long as it lasts, but until then, I must keep moving forward.
There’s been something else that’s become an unexpected comfort. Not a fix, but a little ray of light creaking through the door into a dark room: the words of C.S. Lewis. I’ve been a Narnia fan since before I was able to read. When I was a preschooler, PBS aired the BBC’s Chronicles of Narnia which Grandma let my brother and I watch one evening in the den when we were sleeping over. It sparked my imagination and filled my heart with wonder…the Lion has meant much to me over the years. This is probably why I get choked up when a child asks me if we have Narnia in the library. I am convinced the wardrobe doors are open to all who seek to enter, and I can almost hear the pages call out in cheerful invitation to every reader, “Come further up! Come further in!”
My girlfriends and I have decided to dive into the deep intellectual pool of C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity this month. I’ve been hearing good things about this book since I gave a copy of it to my seventh grade English teacher in 1997, but I’ve been afraid to read it myself for fear that I wouldn’t understand it, that Lewis’ words to adults weren’t for me. In truth, I don’t understand all of his thoughts, but I have been reminded with childhood delight what a friend his words have been to me. I will conclude this post with ten great quotes I found from @CSLewisDaily on Twitter…so beautiful and so good.