My body, in apparent consideration of the work I'm doing around women's bodies, has been kindly offering me many opportunities to give it careful thought lately.
Several weeks ago, as avid readers of my blog know, I was suffering from horrendous headaches then was afflicted with an insane rash under my arms and between my legs. The doctor rashly (pun intended) diagnosed Lyme's disease (I'd also been feasted upon by four ticks in the previous 2 weeks) and put me on antibiotics. The Lyme's titer came back negative, so that ended up being a dead end. Thankfully the rash cleared up, but the headaches continued unabated.
I'd been doing some body work with the amazing Karen Morris, massage therapist, and it had led me deep, deep, deep into my psyche. My gut feeling was that the physical symptoms were a manifestation of the emotional work I was doing. The headaches began after our first session. The rash sprang up two days after our second one.
I went back to Karen to see if we needed to go deeper or if we could clear out whatever it was that was causing such pain.
We had an incredible session. She bore into the areas which were painful, eventually heading to between my shoulder blades. I asked her to pull on my right shoulder blade to the point where it felt like it might dislocate. It pulled tremendous grief out of me. I had an injury there when I was a child - my shoulder had gotten pulled out of joint - and apparently my body was still holding tension, pain, and grief there. Through Karen's ministrations, I was able to release that pain and grief. In addition to the tension, I also released the message I'd gotten along with the injury- to be a good girl and not express myself. That message gone, I felt enormous empowerment and determination to do the work I'm meant to be doing in the world - empowering women to LOVE our bodies!
I think I've been holding back with my art and my writing for fear of offending people or saying or doing the wrong thing. This is challenging work because people sometimes get triggered, and I sometimes get the fallout from their distress. It takes conscious effort to decide to put myself out there fully. And it's important for me to be centered and clear about my intention when I do it, to know I'm acting from a loving, compassionate, clean place.
That session with Karen led me to realize that the headaches were giving me the opportunity to stop doing my work. The pain was stultifying. It was very difficult to work through them. I could have, with impunity, stopped there and taken to my bed. Thankfully, though, I was able to realize that the pain was a gift. It was an opportunity to look at my options and to choose the higher path. I choose to create. I choose to share my understanding. I choose to share my art and my writing. I choose to do this work even if it bothers others. I choose to do it because I believe it will help others heal. I believe it will help women see themselves and others with more compassion and kindness and love. And I believe that I can help make the world a kinder place through my work. I must continue it.
With those realizations, my headaches all but ceased. A couple of times I started to get another one. I realized quickly that they were tied to feelings of rage. When I started getting angry, my head would get tight and I would start to hurt. If I could release the anger, the headache would dissipate. I am learning to find other ways to work with the information I have other than rage. Settling into rage isn't helpful - it's actually a very helpless place to be - that's probably why it hurts.
And now I've got poison ivy. I'm a terrible scratcher. I have difficult stopping myself from scratching when something itches.
This morning I awoke with insight into that - it's kind of like what I do with emotional issues - if they scratch, I itch. Deep. And perhaps too roughly sometimes. Perhaps I cause myself pain when I scratch too hard. Just like I have with the poison ivy. I am contemplating today whether I could perhaps turn my attention elsewhere when the urge to scratch arises - not deny the sensation and desire but rather
notice it and choose to do something else because the scratching is painful and destructive. It's a new thought. I don't know what'll come of it, but I'm curious about the possibility it presents.
The upshot of it is that I'm noticing that my body is giving me many opportunities these days to take a look at my feelings, my beliefs, my past, and plenty of other things. These messages from my body at times feel like a rather corrosive hag working extremely hard to get my attention with the extreme pain. Maybe though, it's more like a very, very concerned parent trying to let me know I need to change my behavior and be kinder to myself in order to have a better life. I'm hoping to begin to take time to focus gently on the messages my body is giving me and to listen more attentively so it doesn't have to go to such extreme lengths to get my attention from here on out. Ticks, headaches, rashes, poison ivy - very creative, but not so welcome! I promise to listen better now! And I'm grateful for the lessons I'm gleaning from these opportunities. Truly.