Day THIRTY ONE
Wah wah wah!!! Reading my last two posts, you would think I was the biggest whiner on the planet!! Gad!!! Thanks for letting me vent folks. I really needed to get all of it on my chest.
7am with Alicia was similar to last night’s class. My right knee still felt tightness and incredible pressure from within. Yesterday’s poses that gave difficulty gave me difficulty again today. One thing I decided to do differently was to sit through the tightness for both sets of final breathing. By the time I lay in final savasana, the back of my knee spasmed. Ugh!! It’s been spazzing out all day just like yesterday.
As I reflected on my recent knee pain and after re-reading my last two posts, I came upon an affirmation that The Healer once told me. My knee pain is not due to anything amiss physically/structurally/mechanically. In fact, it was emotional. My knees, he told me, were indicators of my emotional state of being. They are where I hold my stress and they express themselves, or whine, as a signal to me to pay attention to something that is wrong.
If The Healer would’ve told me this years earlier, I would’ve thought that he was out of his mind. How can my emotions cause my pain? With his help, my own healing journey has made me believe that our bodies are like maps. They hold the histories of our life experiences in all forms: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. When we suppress negative mental states of being or emotions, they get trapped within our bodies causing pain and chronic disease. One time, The Healer was dealing with my chronic back pain issues and he used tui na to treat it. Taking his elbow, he plowed into the grain of my back from below the shoulder blade all the way down to my glute and down my hamstring all the way down to the back of my knee (our body is one muscle), the areas that were injured and causing me great pain. When he first did this, I was howling in pain. He marveled at my reaction because he said, “I’m barely applying any pressure. What the heck did you do to your back? The stuff that is stuck in here is old…5 years old. What was going on in your life 5 years ago?” I recalled back to 5 years earlier: it was indeed an awful time in my life. I felt like I was living a lie, living a double life by suppressing the truest part of myself and showing what others wanted to see from me. The treatment continued for at least 15 minutes and while I screamed in pain at first, the screaming eventually turned to crying, and then full out gut-wrenching sobbing. It was like a dam within me broke and the river of tears flowed freely. When The Healer was done, I said to him, “I felt like I should’ve cried those tears five years ago.” He simply nodded in agreement. After two more treatments of tui na on my back, I’ve never experienced back pain again.
Similarly, The Healer told me that pain in my knees may be caused by emotional states of lacking flexibility and compassion especially towards others but more importantly, towards myself. I’ve been feeling this way for a long time and it is no wonder, he said, that my knee injury started 19 years ago when I was just a teenager. A locked out knee means it is inflexible…it is solid, concrete, unbroken, like a lamppost, right? Well, the emotional equivalent of inflexibility can be expressed physically in a knee that has trouble bending.
It is hard to deny the strong connection between my recent knee trouble and the incident with my mother and all the emotions it stirred within me. It was further reaffirmed after reading lynxofsilver’s comment about the connection between emotional and physical pain. Like The Healer, Louise Hay has written a wonderful book called “You Can Heal Your Life” and she writes that every physical ailment in the body is attributable to some emotional or mental state of being. Read a review about it here.
Riding the subway home, I just focused on being more compassionate towards myself. I tried to forgive and love myself for all that emotions that I have felt these last few days. Why is it that we cannot forgive ourselves as easily as we forgive others? As I tried to go through the process of forgiveness, I started to cry on the subway. I didn’t care. I’ve learned not to care what other people think especially if I will heal from this release. On the walk, home I was bawling. I had a good cry for 10 minutes and afterwards, I made peace with the events of last week and my reaction to them. Wouldn’t you know? Hours after that cleansing cry, my knee feels a million times better than it did these last 48 hours.
Caroline, a teacher at my neighborhood studio once said during class, “Pain is a gift. It increases our self-awareness. It tells us that there is something wrong and that we need to pay attention to it so that we don’t hurt ourselves even further. So be grateful for your pain, for your injuries. They protect you from harming yourself further.” She is so right.
So thank you knees for being my emotional and mental barometer. Without you as my safety net, I would spiral downwards. Forgive me. I am learning to listen to you. I am learning to be kind to myself. Bear with me as I learn this hard lesson and I know you’ll let me know when I’m going in the wrong direction. And when you do, let me remember to be compassionate towards you and your message.