Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Beginning Again

This is dedicated to my girl, Chapman, because she kicks ass even in the middle of the storm. 

It takes about 20 sessions of practice before your body falls naturally into the pattern of the asanas, or so my yoga teacher tells me gently as I stumble through poses, remembering four moves down the road that I'd forgotten a critical counter-pose or grounding stance.

What this reminds me is that it takes time for the muscles and neurons to remember work that you did long ago, that starting again simultaneously means reaching back and stepping forward. This metaphor is not lost on me every practice that I wobble through some poses and feel strong on others. But each day I notice new strength, each day I have to push myself to dig a little deeper, each day I wonder when it's going to be easy to do this work with the grace and agility I see all around me.

There have been a number of images stewing in my mind for awhile now. One is of a plastic ball made of interwoven black loops. The ball is a mass of contradicting tensions, you try to pull one loop and the others all resist. Work, children, relationships, love, finances, health, creativity, place, home...all so tightly interwoven that one cannot meaningfully shift without affecting all the rest. A few weeks ago I withdrew from a position I had applied for a few months earlier and the ball relaxed a bit. This week I moved truckloads of stuff out of our house and the ball relaxed a bit more. The kids are getting up 15 minutes earlier to have breakfast with me before work and I feel the ball shifting more. The chain reaction caused by letting one thing go has been tremendous.

Another image is of closing loops, finishing things that started long ago and need to come to a close. Next month I make my last and final journey to New Orleans for my final phase of reconstruction surgery. I've come to realize that this is it, that after this surgery I need to be done, that the space my body will occupy at that time is what it is, that it is time to just let it freaking be. I am thankful that this is coming to a close, thankful to turn the page on that particularly shitty chapter of my life and healing. Another loop to close will be making peace with what my body has been through in the past two years. That one will take longer, no doubt. This idea of closing loops comes from my dear friend Jenn who talks about eating the elephant one bite at a time. Yes, indeed, one bite at a time.

Finally, I have the image of D as a baby flash in front of my eyes from time to time. When we would travel with D as a baby, we would marvel at the most amazing leaps in growth he would make when we were away. It was as though leaving his regular environment and engaging with new surroundings would allow his mind and body to open up in remarkable ways.

My (fantastic, oncology-focused) therapist talks a lot about post-traumatic growth and how living through major life crises like losing your mother and having cancer can trigger positive shifts, perceptions, opportunities, connections and growth. It's a time where I feel like I need to recut the puzzle of my life, to bring in new ways of looking at things, to create the life that is compelling to live, to grow and shift perspectives, to answer the question "what are you going to do with your one precious life?" And like those periods of growth for my tiny boy, this time is counterbalanced with deep emotions and the need to sort and sift and figure while others have to be patient with you as you fuss and stretch and try to consolidate in this new space. It's learning to wobble on those shaky baby legs that, in time, become strong.

No comments:

Post a Comment