For some time, I had been saying, I’m too busy! I need to slow down. I’m seeing too many clients!” Well, they say to be careful what you ask for! Suddenly, I had to cancel all my Craniosacral therapy sessions for at least six weeks. While I have continued teaching Continuum and seeing my other clients and supervisees, I am blessed with a freer schedule. I am also blessed with the potential gifts this new injury offers!
I hesitated to write this blog post. It could be embarrassing to admit this has happened again, but what is it in me that is embarrassed, and can the gifts and lessons here be useful for others? Can I put aside my ego, any needs to be admired as a healthy, fit Continuum teacher with fluid bones, and just get on with receiving what is here?
To be clear, I don’t see this fall as an accident! Yes, I was doing a stupid thing, standing on a folding chair to hang something up, but when I went back to the corner of my office where it happened, I was amazed. There was just a tiny spot of floor available for my hand to land in, which is what it did. The rest of the available floor space was covered by a big, thick cushion! If I had landed on that cushion, I probably would not have been injured at all! It was almost impossible for my hand to have found that tiny spot of bare floor, but that’s what happened! This was not an accident in the usual sense of the word. This was an offering, a wake up call. I didn’t receive the one six months earlier as fully as I might have, so I was being showered with gifts once again!
So many gifts. So much potential. I could reject the gift, choosing to hold on to something older, or I can enquire, receive, and share. I choose the latter.
The most obvious gift here is of slowing down. I was asking for this! Now, having not slowed myself down enough using all the tools I have gathered over the years, I have temporarily lost the ability to do anything quickly! The subtle attention required for performing with one hand the simplest everyday task – washing, dressing, eating, cooking, even walking – slows me down, preventing me from escaping this moment!
I am challenged to practice what is most important to me in life: to accept and appreciate what is, with equanimity, simply being present with what is.
I must listen on a deeper, more subtle level, which is what have I strived for for years.
I have a rich opportunity to study the tissues in my body in relation to injury and health. As a Continuum Movement teacher and Biodynamic Craniosacral therapist, I have been fascinated observing the densification occurring in my wrist with the shock at the moment of the accident and the first moments following it, and then watching the shock and trauma in my system dissipate and integrate over time. I have observed waves of shaking, trembling discharge and enjoyed exploring the powerful effects of using Continuum sounds and micro-movements, allowing the inner wave to dissolve the density.
I am having ample occasions to observe, accept and be with my feelings, including gratitude, pain, and frustration. At one point, I announced to my husband, “I’m going to have a tantrum now, and I’m going to observe my sensations during it!”
I am learning to more readily ask for and receive help. After flying to New York last week, I have considered in the future wearing a sling every time I travel, in view of the abundant the kindness and support I have received from so many strangers!
Finally, unable to function habitually without pain, I find myself creatively engaging with the moment. Life has become like an ongoing mindfulness meditation or Continuum Movement practice!
Dying to Each Moment
Recently, I watched a video (https://vimeo.com/158838428) of a favorite somatic teacher, Camille Maurine, with whom I studied in California, between classes with Emilie Conrad, founder of Continuum. Camille has written a wonderful book called Meditation Secrets for Women. She reminds us that each breath can be perceived as a birth and a death. Emilie Conrad saw true fluidity as being able to die again and again. She wouldn’t make someone a Continuumteacher until she saw that they had died enough times, like a snake shedding its skin, letting go of the old and beginning anew in any and every moment. When we hold on, we densify in a familiar pattern, becoming less fluid and responsive for the next moment. This is true for both our tissues and our psyches.
(Image of snake shedding skin: By Sean Gagnon (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons)
When I consider the moments of real change in my life, they generally relate to something not working out as expected, or facing a serious challenge, often involving health. Perhaps, this is such a moment.
An important principle of development is that growth does not occur without challenge. For example, every stage of embryological development involves meeting a challenge, like implanting and developing the beginnings of a placenta and umbilical chord when needs for nourishment grow beyond what can be taken in from the uterine fluids by osmosis.
What is dying for me just now? What needs to die? Perhaps, it is time to let go of any remnants of needing to be perfect. Believing I’m not good enough just the way I am. Living with more speed than I want or is good for me. Ignoring messages from my body to slow down. Living according to the limitations of time.
Emilie Conrad used to ask, “If we were not bound in time, would we be susceptible?” meaning would we be affected by our outer world. A major intention in Continuum is to deepen beyond the bounds of time, submerging ourselves in a more fluid, primordial state that precedes time. We find that, indeed, in this state we are less dependent on the outer environment for our needs and more resilient in interacting with its effects.
In the moment of the accident, I was very much bound in time, just trying to quickly get something done in the 15 free minutes I had. I was trying to squeeze this task in before doing my Continuum practice! From now on, I do Continuum first!
Since the accident, I cannot function in that urgent way. I am supported in living in this moment, because I can’t do things quickly. I can’t multitask. This means I can’t be planning or thinking about future moments while engaging in this one. I can only be in this moment and then the next.
Ahhhh! I feel grateful. I am less bound in time. In an odd way, I feel freer.
What is dying, trying to die, or needing to die for you? I hope my words here support you in being able to let go and allow this death without having to break a bone! Please let me know by leaving a comment or sending me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.