“Dear universe, I’d like my old sacrum back please. Thank you.”
Being injured sucks. (truth)
“Be patient. It will heal in time.” (say all the teachers in my life)
ARRRRGGGGGH!!!!! (my response)
I don’t think there is a term I dislike more than “be patient”. (OK…maybe “slow down”, but same idea). When I hear this advice, my stomach turns and my blood boils. I am not kidding. I have a visceral reaction to the knowing that I can’t get what I want, when I want it.
I have been injured before and recovered. But THIS is different. It is a nebulous, undiagnosed, all-encompassing injury that is in my body and my thoughts 24 hours a day. It’s constant aching reminds me that something is broken and needs to be fixed. My pain is an activator that motivates me to want to do something.
You see I have always been a “fixer”. I can’t just sit by and let things be “broken”. They must be fixed. They must be made right again.
Except that is not working anymore. The older I get, the more i realize that my “Ms. Fix It” is not getting the results she used to. That fixing is not the pathway to change. In fact, its starting to get in the way. All energy and effort I throw at my injuries, my problems, my imperfections just tend to bounce back. How am I getting in the way of my own healing? Maybe the situation isn’t changing because something else has to…
“Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us all that we have to learn.”(Pema, of course). So I am supposed to just sit here and wait until I learn the thing that I don’t know I’m supposed to learn? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
But if I am being honest, everything in my life is trying to teach me the same lesson. "You are not in control, Kerri". And so what if I saw patience not as a resignation, but as an ACTION? What would it look like to ACT patient? What if there was no scarcity around time and the universe was never late? Then how would it feel to be in this moment amidst the discomfort of being injured and imperfect and out of control? I don’t know the answer. I am still practicing.
Here’s another perspective from Rilke: “Do not now seek the answers. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer”.
OK. Let’s try this.
ON THE MAT
For this practice, I would suggest a deep hip-opener. Preferably the one that makes you crazy. Here are some suggestions:
Get into the pose and just get quiet. Resist the temptation to sprint to your edge and let yourself arrive slowly. Notice immediately the tendency to fidget, fix, perfect alignment, etc. And just feel. Once you begin to experience the intensity of sensation that is when your work begins. Can you be here with the sensation and not try to change it? Can you feel fully the discomfort and not try to escape? Instead of rushing out of the pose, can you slow down and dwell in it a bit longer. THIS is the practice of patience and resiliency? And, as Rilke says, you might discover when you least expect it, the peace, freedom and clarity you’ve been looking for.
OFF THE MAT
There will be a moment today…it might be on the bus, or at work, or in a conversation with a family member, but it will happen, where you will lose control. Instead of taking the action of doing or fixing or reacting, can you take the action of patience. Of taking a breath and letting the moment just be. Slow down enough to get grounded and see clearly. Then, slowly assess your next move. It might, by the way, be no move at all. It might be “let go”. Regardless, can you stay curious in the not-knowing or not-doing and trust that the answers will emerge on their own?