Saturday, January 10, 2009

Open to Learning New Things

My last post reflected some of the resistance generally characteristic of my life.

In my CPE program at Famous Giant Hospital last summer, we spent a lot of time talking about whether and how physical ailments reflect spiritual ones. One of the more memorable conversations concerned a patient in the hospital for weeks that expanded into months as his heart disease moved a transplant from unlikely possibility to suggestion to top-of-the-list recommendation to reality. "Listen to his story," urged my supervisor. "Look for the ways in which his heart has been broken." As, indeed, it was, with its pieces littering the last decade of his life.

Another one: a patient in for something else but plagued by intestinal problems of the type faced by many of us whose lower GI tract tends to reflect our emotional lives. "Yeah, his s--t, both metaphorical and literal, is all backed up one minute and the next, it's all over the floor. What do you suppose that means?"

So when I say that I haven't had to deal with the connection between body and spirit on a deeply personal level, I don't mean that I know nothing about it from an analytical and intellectual standpoint. I mean that I have never had to address it personally, or have resisted doing so.

No more.

I want to make a change, and by that I don't mean that I merely want to acknowledge and accept the ways in which my bodily physical life expresses my interior life of emotion and spirit and soul. I don't want to limit myself to gazing at the s--t all over the floor after the fact.

I want to find ways in which to open and extend and expand my physical self so that it can anticipate and support my spiritual self.

I wish that Beautiful Ballet Dancer lived here. Maybe she would know what to do. I wish that the yoga studio in which a friend and I spent an evening last summer offered something less than an NFL-level workout. I wish that I could touch my calves when I bend over.

It's going to be a long process. But I need to move from these cramped spaces, the interior one that makes my brain hurt and the exterior one that makes my back hurt. Maybe trying to reverse the order will help.


Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

I do believe in the mind-body-spirit connection. Many years ago, when I was breaking up a painful relationship, my chest hurt so much for about two weeks that it was painful to lightly touch my breastbone. And there have been other examples too. I hope you find a way to release some of the grief and pain your body is storing.

Cynthia said...

I find no coincidence that this year, migraines have assaulted me on a nearly daily basis, and fainting, while scary and humiliating, has been actually a relief. Mind, body and spirit are one integral being, and what affects one aspect will affect the others.

Lovie said...

yoga? maybe? I have wanted to do Yoga myself, but the nearest studio is 40 miles away. You keep bending over, girl, and eventually you will find those calves. I believe in you.

bean said...

it's a myth that there are only nfl-style yoga workouts out there. just ask around and you'll find any number of gentle beginner yoga sessions..even a private one or two to start. trust me, they are there a-plenty. don't be surprised if you cry from the release...i'm now (well, not this moment) in my (not lovely) basement on my elliptical machine ...i like the privacy and the ability to sing (practically primally scream) while walking with no one to hear and, as much as i don't care to admit it, i feel better for doing it every other day.

giggles said...

I ditto Bean.... And whichever yoga class you attend, go only as far as the moment will allow you to go.... I have come to believe what my yoga teacher has said in class (over and over) .... It's not a competition. Every body is different-even your body is different throughout the day.... Do only as much as your body allows you to do.... As you do it, you will change....Be gentle with yourself....

My mom died at 46 of heart cancer (yes, I know, it is rare and they were irradiating her lungs, because on x-rays, it looked like lung cancer and she had been a life long smoker...but they did an autopsy...) When my dad and I talked about it not too long afterwards he said that she had said, "I know my heart will be the death of me...."