Not having use of your legs, even if temporary, necessitates a surrender and a form of obedience experienced by a very select population.
Any and all longing for control must be tossed out the window.
When company comes to visit one who is convalescing and the television is too loud, the dogs are barking, children are yelling, or running through the house and you carry wounds from childhood which call for a particular need for silence, you find yourself welling up with tears whilst joy is simultaneously rising in the next room.
Breathe Jill, breathe.
My puppy ate the avocado sushi I left out on the coffee table when I was asked where a specific kitchen utensil could be found and then at 4 am, he generated enough poop to asphyxiate a small village. Not being able to chase after him to make him cough up the avocado sushi, not being able to run after him to catch the trail of diarrhea, not being able-bodied, no matter how temporary, challenges me on many many levels.
I have trouble opening doors for myself. Oh those cursed doors!!! Bless the doors, Jill, bless the doors!
I have trouble dressing myself. Be patient, Jill, be patient.
I have trouble preparing meals and then figuring out how to eat them. I have broken many glasses and dishes and ramicans and various combinations of accessories which I have fashioned my home with. Is it because I’m not graceful? Perhaps. But it is also because I cannot manage “easefully” without the use of my legs.
After my last surgery, a friend of mine sent me a package of treats for my puppy. I had to retrieve it from the building next door to me. As I worked my way to the front door of the building, a man holding the door open for me asked, “Are you coming in.” “Yes,” I said, “Thank you.” “Today?” he continued, impatiently. All I could do was laugh and say, “That’s my hope!”
Am I up for the challenge? Why not? But I want to keep finding ways to soften into this challenging place and find ways to ask for help so that I don’t hurt myself along the way. Because it is hard. It really is hard.
I don’t want to feel bad for myself. I don’t want to others to feel badly for me either. I don’t even want to spend time much time speaking about how hard all of this is. But in order for me to get through it, I know there is no short cut to the finish line except for me to experience what I am experiencing.
The confinement in my body is a big challenge for this yogin who has only known how to be comfortable walking through the world using her body as her first expression.
Last night, my puppy went to go take himself to pee in the laundry room (on the his wee wee pad as he does in the middle of the night- I trained him to do so for bad weather days and middle of the night pees, etc) and I thought I should go after him to check for another trail of diarrhea. My instinct was to run after him. And then I had to JOLT myself into remembering that I can’t use my legs yet. But it is my spirit that has been deeply embodied. And remains so.
The pain I feel in this body and particularly noticing how I wish for this pain to ease is yet another level of attachment I wish I was not experiencing. It’s not helpful. It is counter to the reality of what is actually happening.
As much as I don’t want to speak about what IS happening in this way (re: physical pain, constriction, resistance), my task is to BE IN ALL OF IT.
So here’s the practice: allow the tears when it is too noisy for me. Ask my company to turn the volume down. Don’t indulge the trauma of the child who’s needs weren’t met. But instead, send her love and keep moving in the direction of clearing the heart by speaking the mind.
Know that in each moment when I cannot do something for myself (moments of constriction and confinement), I am being given a window into a pain I would not choose to know, but that it is a moment which offers me a deeper level of compassion for myself and the human condition I never would have had the chance to know intimately, viscerally, personally.
Maybe the truth here is this: Yes I feel very constrained. Confined. Restricted. But perhaps these experiences are going to provide the deepest doorway to freedom I will ever been able to unlock in this body, in this lifetime.
Let’s just wait and see.