Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Walking into the unknown … together

Yesterday was a red-letter day. I haven’t experienced one of those in a very long time and it felt wonderful.

Two events precipitated my mood. The first was a spanking-new workshop I facilitated with a friend and new partner on chronic pain. Not an easy topic, but one she and I have both lived. In fact, we met in her first yoga class 15 years ago when I was in the early stages of struggling with fibromyalgia. Since then, she’s fallen down a flight of stairs and lives with post-trauma stress disorder, which affects her sleep and pain levels. We each live and work the chronic-pain subject.

Late last summer, I felt called to ask her if she’d want to join forces for a workshop on pain as teacher. She didn’t flinch and asked why I had waited so long to ask. I have written about and taught this theme, but felt her input and our working together would be a win-win. So far, it has been. Not the least of which I experienced early on one afternoon at her dining-room table. She was tired and I completed her sentences and we laughed at how easily that happened. Next, I couldn’t make heads nor tails out of my written notes and she had no problem. No one else has ever been able to decipher my reporter’s shorthand. “This is scary,” I remarked. “It’s like you’re in my brain” and I think she was.

Years ago, we delightedly discovered we share the same, rare Myers-Briggs type, INFJ. For the uninitiated, that translates to introversion-intuition-feeling-judging. When I lamented that I seemed like a wishy-washy mom with my kids, she was quick to note that our type is the best kind of mom for the sometimes difficult children we parent because we let them be who they are. I reminded her of this conversation just yesterday.

Last week, I was experiencing a lot of angst a day we were meeting. She was okay with that and it dissipated. Today, her birthday, she was running ragged and low on esteem for pretty much the same reasons I was last week: trying to meet everyone’s needs; not enough self-care; launching a business, spending a lot of time at it, but not seeing the rewards of income (yet); living in a chaotic house because it is not a priority to children, and overwhelming for someone combatting chronic pain.

Yesterday, however, we pulled it together in a way we have been meant to in showing our humanness AND our learning to others similarly struggling. We’d created a good plan, improvised and tweaked, then had little time to practice, though neither of us minded given our busy schedules. We both trusted it would flow.

Five scattered people, whom neither of us knew, arrived by 12:15 at the chiropractic office (loaned by a supportive healer) for what was uncharted territory. Maybe not for Spirit. In my crazy-artist way, I had suggested we use props to illustrate the defensive, survivalist ways we deal with our pain. Renee didn’t hesitate to agree. So, I gathered two giant, sound-producing Hulk hands (fighting), empty club-soda bottles (squashing), plain Venetian masks (masking), pillows tied with rope (choking), a basket of blocks (blocking), small buckets of sand and black pebbles (burying) and paper-mache´ boxes filled with fluffy, white stuffing (stuffing down), confident they would work. I set them in the middle of our circle and, one-by-one, directed our guests to select a prop. After a brief hesitation, each complied. I have learned ALL adults need to play and will once they get over the shock of novelty.

Then Renee guided a gentle body-scan meditation, directing participants to where their body may be calling them, where it was being most tenacious, then asking them to give their pain a personality. She ably led them deep, quickly. Soon, we were back asking them to apply their chosen mode of pain management to their personality and what that conversation might be. The responses were rich, wonderful and interesting. Props often carried other meanings and helped one woman, steeped in a variety of pain and diseases, express her anger in a safe place where people listened and understood. Renee wisely reminded her that anger is energy and an agent of change.

When we learned she spends 75 percent of her day lying down to keep pain at bay and drove across town just to join us, I was astounded. It affirmed what we are doing.

I floated the rest of the afternoon, steeped in deep satisfaction and knowing this is my work right now, with Renee.

With a half-hour left in the business day, I headed toward the bank to open a business account. I’ve always shuffled between personal and savings, keeping good records, but meaning to get my own account. I finally did it and on a day my work feels confirmed. I think there’s definitely a message of encouragement here.

And I am so grateful to have a partner in crime, who gets me and this work. Happy Birthday, Renee. I think we’re birthing something amazing together!

• When has Spirit provided a partner in any realm?
• How does it feel to be sharing something?
• How does a partnership shatter the illusion of aloneness?
• How has Spirit let me know I am on the right path?
• How am I able to respond in/with gratitude?

yet proceeding

not alone
and tethered

walking into
the unknown

certain this
is the right

grateful for
the accompaniment,
bearing strength
and courage

 Listen to this post:

No comments:

Post a Comment