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This week, I am in a place I’d hoped not to be: a fibro flare-up. I have managed incredibly well since last fall and, almost, convinced myself this wouldn’t happen again.
And yet, it has. In the midst of pain, sleeplessness and new injury, I am stubbornly trying to use all of the lessons and awareness I’ve accumulated to NOT plummet into my old patterns. Patterns of closing up, numbing myself and falling into the murky abyss of disconnection and isolation. I am catching myself.
Fortunately, I understand what triggered this and I am coping by not only taking care of myself, but seeking help from others. I didn’t use to do that. I’d suck it up and suffer alone, which only made things worse.
I am trying to detach and be the observer and also bless this experience. That practice has proven extremely beneficial in the past few months, although it’s much easier to apply to little, annoying things.
Monday at the chiropractor, he gave me something new to chew on: “What if you’re not worse, but this is a step toward discarding old injury.” You mean like taking a half step backward to get two steps ahead, I asked. “Yes,” he responded, then left me to stretch on his table and take my time getting up. Tears flooded my eyes, memories, my brain and knowing into my body: he’s right. I am getting a second chance. Another shot at responding to the kind of trauma that set this whole thing off.
It is the response, I am understanding more than anything, that makes the difference.
Sixteen years ago, I had a miscarriage and, for years, my body tried to hang onto that baby, punishing itself for losing it. Fourteen years ago, an automobile accident caught me in a twist and I froze.
Last week, an unexpected medical procedure revolving around my reproductive system (sounds familiar, huh?) tapped those experiences and disease. This time, however, I am not fighting it by closing up. I am trying to surrender into it. It’s not easy and counter to what my body feels like it’s programmed to do.
More importantly, I am not letting my mind go ballistic, getting ahead of the situation and already putting one foot in the grave. I prefer to believe my body is preparing to shed a layer of old, deep pain.
Yesterday, I sat down to do some more editing on the book I have been writing and re-working for what seems like eternity. The first chapter is Pain as Teacher; so, here I am letting it be.
What is this pain, this experience teaching? To remain present, surrender into the experience, expected the unexpected, be positive and trust … not run to the conclusion that this is all bad. It may be uncomfortable, but it doesn’t mean punishment. It may actually mean healing.
This will not crush the dream I am in the process of realizing: opening an art studio for under-served kids, publishing my book, making art and offering nurture groups.
Truth be told, before I recognized what was happening, I asked God why this – pain and injury preventing me from living and dreaming – was happening again. I needed to articulate that fear. I did it in the comfort of the meditation tent I’ve constructed in my new studio. Then the phone rang and one of the six people I’ve asked to serve as an advisory committee for this kids’ program instantly said yes – no hesitations. I figured it was God’s way of telling me that nothing will stop my dream. All six have agreed: no arm twisting.
Key to holding all of this, this time, is balance: knowing when it’s time to push through and also when to relax and surrender into healing. Previously, I’d totally push until I was depleted or completely succomb to shutting myself down.
I am grateful to get the opportunity to do it right this time. First, to be aware of what this is, then to surrender into it, but not let it eat me. The best way to do that is to trust.
• How do I typically react when things aren’t going well?
• What’s my programmed response been?
• How do I re-program myself?
• What is the response that is better for me?
• How do I trust God in these situations?
I’ve been cruising along
for many months
like I used to
until I hit a roadblock
and the old junk
came flooding back
like an unwelcome
into my body and brain
my spirit had something
“don’t go here,
it’s not your path
and I was actually
able to listen