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Softening Heart

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Lily Rose, Dec 13, 2013.

  1. Lily Rose

    Lily Rose Beloved Grand Eagle

    Pain has been my constant companion. In 1994 the joint in my left foot where the 2nd toe is attached to the long bone withered and died, being replaced by hard deposits of grit. It captured the nerves and ground them into constant agitation, so that every step was a jarring pain. The x-rays were frightening. The first podiatrist tipped my chair back and prepped a syringe. Fear overrode my usual polite-quietness. "No," I said. She shockingly ignored me. It took three escalating No's and a twist out of the chair to reach her single-minded intention to inject cortisone into my body. It was a year before my terror of a repeat incident was overridden by the consuming pain. A giant teddy bear of a man gently explained the situation to me, and praised me for not allowing that injection, which would have made my tissues less likely to recover well from surgery.

    In 1995 the joint was replaced with a silicone implant. The first surgery was cleaning up the deposited grit. The 2nd was the replacement. The situation created a completely new type of pain.

    In 2001, the entire foot was in agony. We were living in Alaska at the time. I found an ad in the phone book for an orthopedic surgeon who avoids surgery. It intrigued me enough that I made the 90 minute drive to see him. He took xrays and sat down with me, making direct eye contact. "You are screwed" came out of his mouth. I was so taken aback by his honesty, that fear actually receded. He told my that the pain in my joint caused me to compensate, which then fractured the long bones, which then caused tendonosis in my inner ankle. He took my favorite tennis shoes, had metal inserts put in the base, making them into 'rocking' shoes so that I never bent my toes. He told me frankly, "Find alternative medicine and disciplines to deal with the pain for as long as you can. When you can't endure anymore, the only alternative is surgery to fuse the bones, and you absolutely do not want that." He also added the final doom-words, "You have about five years, maximum before that joint will give out."

    I found a unique Rolfer who began the process. But the real change happened with Yoga. "Curl your toes," she'd say. I wouldn't. Weeks went by. Then months. One day I did it. My entire body shivered in fear of the pain. It did hurt, but .. differently. A few months later, my 'special shoes' were gone and I was walking barefooted. I opened my heart to her, this amazing teacher. The pain was always there, but diminished.

    This teacher had targeted me, and with two others, we were 'apprentices' to her teachings. Unlike the quick classes for certifications, she took us on the route of the older, more traditional methods of teachings. Nine months under her compassionate wings of grace.

    I began to use the pain as my guide. It helped me keep in tune to the pain of my students. It reminded me to be 'mindful'. My foot wasn't the only pain, only the most 'medically' visible. With this entire-body pain, I could guide others through the murky waters of their own pains.

    Many teachers have come through my life ... really, everyone around us can be our teachers if we open our hearts to this. Even those that cause us emotional distress.

    While living in Alaska (really, the most amazingly magical, awe-inspiring, spiritual place I have ever been) I realized a simple truth. The reminders that rain and sun make our rainbow. That light and dark remind us of essential cycles.

    This quote by Pema Chodron clarifies this:
    “Life is glorious, but life is also wretched. It is both. Appreciating the gloriousness inspires us, encourages us, cheers us up, gives us a bigger perspective, energizes us. We feel connected. But if that's all that's happening, we get arrogant and start to look down on others, and there is a sense of making ourselves a big deal and being really serious about it, wanting it to be like that forever. The gloriousness becomes tinged by craving and addiction. On the other hand, wretchedness--life's painful aspect--softens us up considerably. Knowing pain is a very important ingredient of being there for another person. When you are feeling a lot of grief, you can look right into somebody's eyes because you feel you haven't got anything to lose--you're just there. The wretchedness humbles us and softens us, but if we were only wretched, we would all just go down the tubes. We'd be so depressed, discouraged, and hopeless that we wouldn't have enough energy to eat an apple. Gloriousness and wretchedness need each other. One inspires us, the other softens us. They go together.”

    Steve O says to lean into the pain. Pema Chodron says to stay with yourself. They are the same concept.

    This morning I awoke with the exceptionally high morning pain. Because of the posts I read yesterday on this forum, I was able to remember to stay with myself.

    Let us be soft, and open, and aware.

    p.s. It has been 12 years since the doom-words about my foot-joint. While it still can be painful, for the most part, it is a shadow-pain only. Another reminder ... we do have power over our own bodies.

    with grace and deep gratitude to all of you,
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2013
  2. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    Lily Rose, thank you so much for sharing such beautiful and wise thoughts from your heart. Glorious...and wretched. Yeah, I was feeling that this morning.

    In the wee hours of the morning, I felt an attempt by my brain to bring back a leg cramp similar to the one that kicked off 20 years of shin splint pain. I really felt ambushed since I had been asleep. I quickly recognized it as TMS and it subsided. (Though I will confess I have mild anxiety over it still.) But I also suspected it was time to go deeper with my written thoughts today.

    I have started burning my pages after writing them since I have 3 teens and and hubby around. I would be beyond horrified if anyone read my thoughts so knowing they're destined for the stove has helped me.

    So anyway. I wrote about some pretty dark stuff this morning. Felt like I was really getting honest with myself for the first time in many, many (ever?) years. So there's my wretched.

    The glorious was afterwards realizing that even though I'm aware of those dark feelings....they don't own me. Like Julia Cameron talks about in "Drawing from the Right Side of the Brain," they're "cloud thoughts"...passing by...harmless.

    Thank you for sharing and helping me sort out what's going on inside of me a little more.

    More than anything, I hope the foot pain subsides. Here's a quote that I read today. It resonated with me because as you know, one of my TMS issues is a very painful keloid. But we all have our scars.

    Grace and peace to you, Lily Rose.

  3. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Lily Rose... I loved this from your post above.

    While living in Alaska (really, the most amazingly magical, awe-inspiring, spiritual place I have ever been) I realized a simple truth. The reminders that rain and sun make our rainbow. That light and dark remind us of essential cycles.

    Rain and snow. Light and dark.
    I'll remember the snow part, tomorrow. We may have 6 inches of new snow tonight and tomorrow.
    North Star likes this.

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