In early winter, whether we're celebrating Hanukkah or Christmas, both or nothing at all, families and friends gather to share food and drink and give thanks for a year successfully completed. We send up a rousing holiday cheer and share delicious holiday cheer in celebration of our accomplishments and to honor our cherished relationships. It's also useful to take a few moments to ponder and examine the many factors contributing to our ability to navigate the twists, turns, and surprises that daily life has to offer. Foremost among these factors is ongoing good health throughout the year.
Healthy knees require continuous motion. However, our generally sedentary lifestyles are at odds with the maintenance of robust knee joint architecture. Left motionless throughout large portions of the day, over time knee cartilage will break down and knee ligaments will become lax. These chronic changes are frequently associated with other degenerative alterations in knee joint architecture often resulting in pain in one or both knees. Increasing discomfort may cause a person to become even more inactive, creating a feedback loop of lower levels of activity and higher levels of knee pain. Paradoxically, the solution to many of these knee problems is to begin a program of progressive and rehabilitative activity that incorporates repetitive knee motion.
When Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes applied himself to a difficult case, he famously utilized his powers of deduction. Holmes assembled and examined the facts before him and employed a scientific method of analysis to arrive at a solution that took into account of all the elements of the case. The great fictional detectives who followed in his wake including Agatha Christie's Miss Jane Marple and Hercule Poirot, and G.K. Chesterton's Father Brown, all utilized Holmes's painstaking attention to detail and his inimitable, relentless logic.
Whether we're driving a car, riding a bike, or trying to record a spare at our local bowling alley, our musculoskeletal system bases its decision-making on past history, that is, what it has learned before. Drawing on years of experience, recorded deep within our muscle memory, we're able to avoid an unexpected obstacle in the middle of the road, or adapt quickly to a slip on a slick spot on the bowling lane. The history embedded within our physiology immediately directs our actions in the present moment. We don't have to think about these things. We react — and act — instantaneously, and more often than not, the right result just happens.
Mindfulness programs and practices frequently describe a process of locating your "center." One's center may be conceived as a focus of energy, both spiritual and physical, by which all activities may be grounded and from which all activities flow. Similarly, ballet teachers and gymnastics instructors enjoin their pupils to "work from your center," meaning that the student's spins, leaps, kicks, and other choreographed movements should emanate from a central region of power. As well, coaches of many sports disciplines, including baseball, football, and basketball, encourage their athletes to "stay focused" and "see the ball going through the net." All of these injunctions are designed to remind players to reconnect to their center -- their focus of disciplined strength, quickness, and coordinated activity.