The beauty of life is in the sharing. We are lifted by the joy and love that surrounds us. And we are connected in some deeply human way to the suffering of others. We feel compassion for those in pain — whether from a broken body or a broken heart.

This week began with a long morning of creative work making pictures. I got so lost in the flow that I ignored my body’s signals. It was only when I stood up straight that I realized I had been leaning over the scene for more than an hour, with poor posture, my back muscles trying desperately to hold me firm and still. I knew immediately that I had pushed myself too far and that there would be a price to pay.

I’ve spent the week with back muscles in spasm, unable to bend my stiff body to put on my shoes or settle into a chair comfortably. As a former physical therapist, I can sometimes help myself. I’ve worked through my stretching exercises and stuck with my normal strength training as best I can. And after a session with the chiropractor and the massage therapist, I think I’m finally on the mend. But it’s been a humbling week. I’ve been reminded of the foundation of good health and the need to put my body first.

I wonder sometimes about the way we store pain in our bodies — all those feelings and memories — forming some kind of fragmented narrative, carried in our joints and muscles, coiled with tension waiting for release.

Every ache and pain tells my story.