I don’t know who I will be or become after I recover from these three surgeries, but I know I have been broken open in very core and primal ways.
After my second surgery, three months ago, I was sitting in a chair in the shower, purchased by my Beloved (at one of those medical supply stores) and I felt my bones beginning to speak to me.
I wasn’t on drugs. I wasn’t in an altered state of any kind. But I had a moment of clear seeing. It came quickly and went just as quickly. However, after eight years of grieving deep grief, I was grateful for this moment.
My femur bone became my ancestry speaking to me and telling me that there was love which went back further than this lifetime which I was born into, and it told me that this healing was about another level of letting go. Letting go of the shackles which had caused a tremendous loss to my heart and to the foundation of my body and now, the whisper, the mystical gift of a whisper, was telling me to remember that I came from something much stronger than people who leave and people who do not wish to love me. As the whisper became louder, this mystical gift assured me that I came from people who’s love is so fierce that I can undergo such a breaking of bone, breaking open of this body three or more times, in order to heal it.
I do not even know who these ancestors are. And I have a few days each year when I am overcome by so much grief that the only thing I can do is simply put one foot in front of the other (figuratively, since I cannot walk yet). But this message to me was clear and it is a message I am following just as I am following another.
Here is the other message:
There is an image I hold very dear of myself as a child. Even though I was very sad by my surrounding circumstances (my mother divorced twice by the time I was 8, both step-parents were alcoholics, and beginning around age 4, I experienced and endured all forms of abuse), I had an unstoppable, spirit. Much damage was done to this bright fierce spirited soul. But she was relentless. Resilient.
Last spring, while I was doing a yoga training with Seane Corn, there was a moment when she nudged me along as I was coming up into Urdhva Dhanurasana. (I am the first one to admit that I am not a natural backbender. And it’s no mistake that Desiree Rumbaugh is my teacher. I joke with Desiree all of the time that I have a steel plate in my thoracic spine. But I am truthful about what lies underneath: grief. Grief I am in the process of healing.) So Seane told me to come back down and she gave me another instruction in the form of new way for me to come up into the full pose.
What happened for me was profound and it had very little to do with asana. I believe this is why we practice and why we teach. To experience or transmit moments like I will
On an asana level, I quickly realized that I was just muscling my way up easily into the pose. But what happened for me in that moment, was that I broke up some scar tissue and my heart absolutely burst open.
It burst open to freedom. Freedom from pain. Freedom from stories. Freedom towards LIFE!
At first, I couldn’t breathe because my thoracic spine was opening as it had never
opened before. I could describe the simple adjustment Seane whispered into my ear, but I am far more interested in the metta level of change which transpired than anything else. In simple terms she whispered for me to feel my own heart and asked me to keep going towards it.
Seane saw a woman who was raw with grief and yet eager to let it go. She saw an opportunity that was there for the taking. She passed a beautiful torch to me which for me said “Keep loving. Don’t ever stop loving.” That is what changed for me that day. That was why I could barely breathe. Because the change was so big and the integration was not confined to my body. It was in my psyche, my brain, my heart, even in my hardwiring. It was big stuff.
About a month later, I was practicing with my beloved, Desiree, and we backbended ‘till the cows came home. I didn’t even need to tell her that I had had the steel plate surgically removed. She shouted out across the room in laughter, which is what she does when she recognizes transformation and or great skill. She knows how to love so darn well, that Des.
Someday I hope to experience this opening again because after so many weeks on crutches with my last surgery and now entering this realm again, my upper back has become kyphotic even though my heart is doing something else entirely and moving towards this bigger stuff called opening and healing.
When we are told that we are loved, when we are told or challenged to keep loving, these are very simple words for such difficult tasks. Rilke says, “For one human being to love another: that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation.”
My body has a long long road ahead. I don’t know where this road will lead. But what I do know is that my heart wants more than anything to heal. And if I can heal this heart, I can heal this body. If I can do that, it doesn’t really matter if I can do dragonfly ever again or even a handstand. What matters most is, the universe, the space, and the enormity of love that can carry me forward. The love that comes from my ancestry. A love now being transmitted through my bones, my spine, the sparkle in my eyes, and heart which truly knows no limits.