What Back Pain & Gangsta Rap Taught Me About Gratitude


I started a SIMPLE, bodyweight exercise routine the other day, and in the middle of it, I dropped to my knees in pain and just started sobbing out of control.  It finally hit me like a lightning bolt & I thought, “I’m really in denial about how much pain I’m in and have been in over the last couple of months, and what the hell am I going to do about this?”


Augie walked in right in the middle of the sweat and tears and asked, “What happened?”  I said, “My back hurts and I can’t deal anymore, and I WANT TO workout!  I’m tired of going easy.  I want to move like I want to move & pick up the intensity.  My back needs to get over it & get with the f-ing program.  I’ve HAD IT”  He said, “What you need to do is STOP!  You wouldn’t tell one of your clients to work through the pain, why are you any different?  You need to rest your back and let it get better.”


I snarled back, “You just don’t understand.  I’m going for a walk.”  I grabbed my headphones and out the door I went, crying, feeling sorry for myself, & listening to gangster rap on pandora.


I suffered for about 5 minutes, until one of my favorite songs by, Ice Cube, came on called, “Check Yo Self.”  Talk about needing to hear those words right then and there.  I immediately stopped crying & suffering, and started smiling & bobbing my head to the beat.  Then…I GOT GRATEFUL.


Check yo selfbefore youwreck yo self


In a state like I was in before that song came on, all I could focus on where ALL the things I couldn’t do because of my back pain.  There’s no inspiration or positivity in that.  All I could see was more and more of what I couldn’t do, wasn’t going to be able to do, & miss out on.


Thankfully, that song came on and changed my emotional state, and I thought of more than 5 things I was grateful for & that I could do, in despite of my back pain.



Here’s what I came up with in my Gratuitous, Gangsta Moment:


  • At least I’m still able to walk for exercise.
  • I can still do a lot of different weight training exercises, especially for my upper body & core.  It doesn’t matter if they are basic and simple.  Something is ALWAYS better than nothing.
  • My bestie & #fittwin, Alicia – Certified Pilates & Melt Instructor, is skilled in body alignment issues and is helping me with some pain-relief techniques using The Melt Method.  I will get better by taking action on these steps.
  • My back issue has to due with the muscular system & an imbalance, it will get better with time.  There’s no nerve damage, and I’m not going to have to have any major surgeries or anything like that.
  • I have the monetary means to go to the chiropractor, a massage therapist, or acupuncture to feel better and get relief.  I’m also knowledgeable about the right types of exercises & stretches to do and not do.
  • I can still go to work, do my activities of daily living, and dance.
  • What am I going to learn from this experience, that will help me be able to help someone else with this same challenge in the future?


Talk about an A-HA moment.  I decided right then and there that I wasn’t going to be a victim and continue to think, “Why is this happening to me?  What am I going to do?  What will people think?  What if I gain weight if I can’t workout?” Etc. Etc. Etc.


This is considered focusing on the problem & just leads to more suffering.  When we only focus on the problem, it gets bigger and bigger.  We just can’t see a way out of it.  However, when I got grateful, my thoughts were much more solution-based that I can take action on to remedy the challenge or problem.


Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional. – Unknown


We will all feel pain, either physical or emotional, from time to time.  However, suffering is optional.  We suffer because we want to focus on the problem, be victimized by it, feel sorry for ourselves, and enroll others to feel sorry for us, and then take no action.


The next time you find yourself suffering over a situation,

“CHECK YO SELF before you WRECK YO SELF”, & take a moment to list at least 5 things you’re grateful for.

You CAN’T suffer and be grateful at the same time.


Believe me, you will be better able to find solutions to your problems/challenges when you’re in a gratitude mindset vs. a suffering mindset.  I find that most of the challenges and problems we face are a chance to learn something.  If we’re learning than we’re growing, and if we’re not growing, we’re dying!  Learn to be grateful for your challenges!


Whose ready to stop suffering & embrace gratitude?  Don’t underestimate the power of your favorite tunes that motivate you and thinking of at least 5 things you’re grateful for!  I bet once you get to 5…you’ll think of more.  You just have to get it going!


Thanks for stopping by,


P.S.  I’d love for you to join my Inner Circle.  I send weekly coaching emails on fitness, nutrition, & mindset info that I don’t share on social media & blogs.  Get on the list HERE & receive your FREE Lean Eating Guide as a bonus gift.

Photo Credit:  Derek Plank of d photo photography