Lessons from an Emperor

What a dead man has to say about your fitness.

“It is true that these (events) may impede my action, but they are no impediments to my affects and disposition, which have the power of acting conditionally and changing: for the mind converts and changes every hindrance to its activity into an aid; and so that which is a hindrance is made a furtherance to an act; and an obstacle on the road helps us along this road.”
– Marcus Aurelius

This quote from the Roman Emperor is a favorite of mine. Considering that I’m laid up on the couch with a thrown back, it seems important to turn to this quote, and the rest of his book Meditations, to seek counsel. As someone who waffles between agnostic and atheist, it’s the closest I get to spiritual guidance.
After a motivating interview with my coach Traver, and the first formal workout under this program I’m trying to attempt, I returned to work only to throw my back out.
This injury wasn’t the result of the physical effort in the gym. It was a very unsexy way to get hurt. All I did was sit down. But the manner in which I sat down, and the surface upon which I landed were both cumbersome, made more difficult by the gun belt and gear. This has caused me to be banished to the land of the invalid for the foreseeable future – or at least through the weekend. Either way, I’m already going stir crazy thinking about lost time and momentum as I chew muscle relaxers like chicklets.
However, in ruminating on Aurelius’ quote, I’m reminded about the purpose of The Squad Room and what I’m trying to accomplish. Back injuries are one of the most common injuries for LEOs and we often suffer in silence. I’ve done that plenty in the past and perhaps because of that I’m now suffering from an injury I can’t fake my way through. Perhaps, this injury is reminding me of my purpose and ironically providing me with a moment to get centered on what I’m trying to achieve here – finding the path towards optimizing the health and safety of peace keepers.
In the past, I’ve allowed injuries to sideline my progress and provide me with excuses. In Aurelius’ words, I’ve allowed them to change my affects and disposition. Despite the pain, a bad back doesn’t have the ability to affect my disposition unless I allow it. If I do not allow the negativity of pain and discomfort to change my disposition then perhaps I need to feel this pain and physical awkwardness once more in order to more clearly see my way.
Without a back spasm, I might not see the path away from it.
Stay safe.

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER
Learn how to optimize your life and health as a peace officer. Get actionable information to improve your health, learn lifestyle hacks, and get personal advice from world-class experts.
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.