It is autumn, a time when the golden splendor of delight that is the world around us veils the absolute reality of the transition of dissolution that is taking place. This week has been a journey into my body, into old wounds, and old hurts, into the truest pain. No veil of golden beauty to distract me from the real transition that is taking place under the surface of my skin. Autumn and especially the time of Halloween, Samhain (Sowain), All Souls Day, and Day of the Dead, is a time of between worlds. Between the ravishing splendor and vivacious life that is the luminescent summer, and the cold dark and heavy inward turning that is the winter. Between the veils of the spirit world, and the realm of the material and manifest. Between the harvesting of crops and intentions, and the blanket of mystery that holds them in the darkness as seeds beneath the slumbering earth. It is a time to prepare intentions for the coming cycle, as well as look back at the cycle(s) that draw to a close. As I venture beneath the journey of my skin into the cathedral that is my body, I explore and navigate the bounty and beauty that resides there always. Yoga most often is a joyful and comfortable practice that leads me to openhearted delight and sweetness. Through the Asana practice I have been able to find comfort often in a body that at only thirty-one years of age has already by riddled with injury and trauma. I have, as I like to believe recovered, from a complete fracture to my fifth lumbar vertebra, and the insertion of titanium rods reinforcing the beautiful puzzle of bone that fuzes my sacral and lumbar spine. I most of the time continue to enjoy a full and comfortable life in my body. This is because of Hatha Yoga, and understanding the mechanics of my body more clearly. I am grateful for the opportunity to know myself so deeply, and the freedom that comes from this knowledge. Yet, for a little more than a year, I have been having extreme discomfort in my left hip when I practice. Not in the back of the hip where I had a bone graft and get back discomfort, but, rather the front of the hip in the front of the joint. I have been working diligently to take my abdominal muscles back into my back body, and muscularly move my thighs back to lay my Psoas (a major muscle that runs down the side of the vertebral region along the lumbar column, to the brim of the lesser pelvis) down, and this brings me some relief. Last weekend we had the great good fortune to have my adored teacher Bea Doyle visit from Albuquerque to teach a Therapeutics workshop at Shree Yoga. Titled 'Clearing Pain In The Body During The Yoga Practice'. This was just what I needed, and the deeper we worked the more inflamed my hip or psoas became. Bea, being the angel that she is, did a short one on one to release my psoas. As we worked I began to feel sharp pain in the region of my hip where the bone graft was taken. Tears began to flow, and heavy, not often visited, emotions of suffering and inability began to rise.
Flying through a windshield, or any window for that matter, of a moving vehicle at speeds higher than 0 mph, for me 65+, can really really really fuck you up. I would generally reserve the use of such an explicative, however I do believe it is the absolute apophthegm for these types of incidents, and being ejected from a vehicle will, totally, fuck you up. Not only is it unlikely to live through such instances, it is unlikely to ever walk again either. Being ejected from a fast moving vehicle one may loose valuable parts of oneself, like digits and limbs, or facial features like noses and ears, or the ability to eat and the ability to speak.
You will wake up hurt, you will wake up knowing things won't ever be the same. There will be questions, so many questions, often the easiest one to ask is why me? The answer that returns to that question will speed your recovery, or destroy it. You may ask will I ever, about a lot of things, and never really know the answer. You will do a lot of nothing, because you more than likely won't be able too yourself. You will cry. If you get lucky your born with a good attitude, a drive to succeed, and stubbornest that supports your steadfast will. You will have to learn patience, because all the good attitude in the world doesn't speed up time.
Hopefully it won't ever happen to you, hopefully these are not realities you will know, but they are realities I know.
I was unlucky to be ejected from the car, and suffer severe damage to this beautiful and capable body, however I was lucky to be born with a good attitude a drive to succeed and severe stubbornness. For these gifts, the good and the bad I am grateful, they have all taught me so much.
Recovery from a severe accident is challenging, more than challenging, its more like gladiator on steroids. Every day holds something new, every person has their own timeline so there is no real touchstone, little things can build up and become big things, reliving any of the trauma is painful. There are lots of tears and fears involved. You cannot help but replay the story when you feel unsafe, because after you have lived through from that kind of injury you never want to go back.
I have worked hard to stand on my feet as well as stand on my hands. I try not to take it for granted that time has aided me on this journey and nothing is permanent. And as I lied on my back, working with Bea last weekend, laying my psoas flat, crying tears of deep pain, I knew the journey of recovery wasn't over.
The body like the earth, like the solar system and galaxy and universe, is an intricate system of interconnectedness. The pain in my hip is directly related to the deeper pain in the back of my hip which is directly related to my psychological hurts and emotional wounds in relationship to trauma and triumph...I knew in that moment if I ever truly wanted to be "recovered" I would have to be willing to journey into this deep seeded pain, and more than likely more than once.
In order to really transform, to rise from the ashes of the fire, to stand on the other side of the darkness in the brilliant light surrounded by abundance and plenty, one must be willing. The beginning of my journey required me to be strong, committed, persistent, sometimes over stubborn, but I would not be as able bodied today if it were not for these qualities I live. This new leg of the journey is marked by an acknowledgment that I have not let myself ever really feel the pain, I always said it didn't hurt that bad, but this just isn't true. It hurt, it really really really hurt, how bad, more bad than anything ever. It hurt even more to not be able to move my legs like I had know how to do for years. It hurt to have to have my sister wipe my butt and put my underwear on me for months. It hurt to wonder if I would ever go on a dancing date, or if I would dance. I cry as I write these things down, allowing myself to not feel sorry for myself as I had seen these tears before, but rather just cry because sometimes we hurt, sometimes I hurt. In my willingness to transform this pain into something beautiful I have cried many tears this week, taken some ibuprofen, taken many baths, had lots of quiet time, have received a lot of body work, and resigned myself to knowing I would not finish the yoga challenge and seeing that release as the greatest triumph. The moment I allowed myself to feel the pain, to say this really hurts, it all started to go away. And when it starts to hurt really bad I remind myself that I am willing to be present in this reality while it exists, the pain subsides.
Some where between the dark and the light, the high and the low, is the magical place, the mysterious place where the veil of golden light masks the dissolution of the known to make room for that which lies beyond. When we allow ourselves the room to be present wherever we are, sometimes we get to throw our hurts, losses, and pains along with our hopes, dreams, and intentions out into the darkness and watch them light up like fireflies.
I leave you with my inspiration, and aspiration of the week.
"It's all alive, it's all connected, it's all intelligent, it's all relevant. We stand at the threshold of a historic opportunity in the human experiment. To re imagine how to live on earth in ways that honor the web of life, each other and future generations. It's a revolution from the heart of nature and the human heart." Bioneers intro