My plans to write have been waylaid, as so often happens, by some health challenges (though the tsunami evacuation that took up most of Saturday was another thing entirely), which is kind of ironic, since what I wanted to write about was exactly those challenges and how I respond to them.
For most of my life, the weakest systems in my body have been respiratory and gastrointestinal. Whenever I get too stressed out, or a major stressful period ends, and sometimes for no apparent reason, one of those things goes wrong. Add to that my various orthopedic issues, all stemming from a torn knee cartilage 30 years ago, and most recently, gout, not to mention the various aches and pains of aging, and the situation is ripe for a misreading.
I confess, I spent a good many years feeling as though my body was my enemy, and I hated it for that. It felt that all of these recurring challenges were a deliberate punishment from an uncaring Providence. Crazy as that sounds, there seem to be plenty of people who believe that AIDS, lung cancer and various other diseases are punishments visited upon their sufferers because of bad behaviors, or perhaps visited on innocent bystanders because of the sinful behavior of their neighbors. For better or worse, my feelings were not religious in origin. To me, it seemed more as though someone or something was out to get me, to trip me up and thwart my plans. In fact, it was my attitude that tripped me up, as it effectively separated me from my physical self for a long time.
Getting reintegrated was the first and perhaps the most important lesson I learned at Green Mountain 4-1/2 years ago. We had been introduced to Belleruth Naperstek's Guided Imagery for Weight Loss in a class one afternoon, and I had reacted very emotionally, which always is a sign to me that I need to further explore something, so I bought the CD. In addition to the guided imagery track, there was also a track of affirmations, which I decided to listen to one morning as I got dressed. My thought was that affirmations would be a cheerful way to start the day.
Oy. Was I mistaken.
Unlike the "today is the first day of the rest of your life" genre that I was expecting, these affirmations were actually designed to reprogram negative self talk, and most of them seemed to be about how my body is my oldest friend and most constant companion and how I need to take care of it, etc.
Well, I started to cry within 15 seconds of starting to play the track and by the end was sobbing uncontrollably. That felt like an important clue, indeed, and I've made great strides in feeling more gratitude and less resentment towards my body, focusing more on what I can do physically, and less than what I can't. Insofar as I succeed, I am calmer and much more productive in my life.
There do remain some issues, particular relating to food and GI disturbances, but I will save them for my next post.