Wednesday, February 14, 2007

News and Gratitude

How about this for a St. Valentine's Day? Wahoo! Hopefully lovers of all kinds are able to spend time safe and cozy with their beloved(s), as we are all slowed down and even humbled by the immense power of nature.

A reminder that this Friday we continue with our Once-a-Month Buddhism Dharma Talk with Michael Carroll. This week's topic: the Sharp Edge of Compassion. This topic will explore the unsentimental side of love and compassion, its more fierce edge. We meet from 7:30 - 9 p.m., sit in meditation for some time (with instruction given to anyone who needs it!), have the talk and Q&A. Suggested contribution: $10. This event takes place in Fairmount. For more upcoming events be sure to check out our workshops page.

In the meantime, I want to extend a heartfelt and sincere "Thank You!" to everyone in the community who has extended well wishes my way, dedicated a practice to my health and well being, and expressed concern for my 'condition.' I am happy to report that things are improving. I saw another surgeon for a second opinion, and, as things are improving, he's recommending physical therapy and a 6-week check back.

If you hadn't been by the studio lately, I was out for about 10 days with tear-inducing 'shoulder pain,' accompanied by an inability to sleep/get comfortable, and drastically reduced mobility. I couldn't even brush my teeth! An MRI revealed some disc concerns in my cervical spine, and the first doctor recommended a 3-level discectomy (removal of the discs) and spinal fusion. My husband and I were shocked by the severity, and rocked by the implications.

After many cranial sacral treatments, acupuncture, consultations with very smart, informed, dear friends, bubble baths and rest, I'm feeling more 'like myself.' There is still some pain and tingling in my right arm, but I'm feeling more and more confident that this body can be inspired and encouraged to heal without such drastic, invasive assistance.

There was no trauma immediately precipitating the 'event,' but during the course of my life time, I have 'totaled' four cars in accidents, before MRIs were available for consultation (and before yoga practice came into my life!). It's very likely that discs have been bulging for quite some time, I just unfortunately have an anatomically, genetically narrow spinal column, which seems to be further narrowing with trips around the sun, and results in infringement of a nerve root. We're hoping that an MRI of my brain will reveal that previous brain trauma (swelling of the brain and unconsciousness for 3 days after a particularly bad car accident when I was 17) will explain my hyper-relexivity. If not, the 2nd opinion doctor is concerned that my spinal chord is irritated, and would recommend surgery to relieve the pressure.

As with all injuries, alleged setbacks, and the things we generally regard as 'bad,' this is a ripe opportunity to inquire, investigate, surrender and receive. The lessons are rich as I am being invited to slow down, required to ask for help, and truly inspired by the amazing community we have to draw from at Wake Up Yoga. My husband, Paul, and I have never been closer, and our priorities/values have never been more clear. It's amazing to discover that beneath everything: minor irritations at work or crumbs on the counter or the occasional feeling that circumstances could still be better and need to be tweaked... that beneath all of this is simply a deep and abiding love that is so powerful it renders one speechless; so precious and beautiful I cry. Whatever it takes to remind me of how much I take for granted while still giving me the opportunity to feel gratitude and connect with grace I am grateful for. These gifts are truly the precious jewels that spur growth and connection.

Here's wishing you the wisdom and ability to find your jewels hidden in what appears to be piles of sorrow.