I started seeing a physical therapist this week for some long-term neck and shoulder issues. I figure if I’m going to be carrying a quarter (or more) of my body weight on my back for three months, I need to address some of these chronic issues before I find myself on my hands and knees, crawling across Poland! However, my other reason for action is my new found belief in the mind-body connection…at least in my body.
To explain, my back problems stem from a chronic issue in which my shoulders pull forward. Almost all the muscles are in conspiracy at this point, and for me to pull my shoulders back in a “proper” posture is quickly very tiring. It’s a Quasimodo/”weight of the world on your shoulders” physicality (although not quite so severe as to be called hunchback!). I can recall my mother commanding me, “Shoulders back, head up!” for pretty much all of my life, and I’ve come to believe I’ve been carrying myself this way, well, pretty much forever. However, I don’t believe it’s the result of a singuar physical trauma or accident, but rather years of abusive messages and occasional blows raining down upon me. Think of the hunched over position a child takes when they’re being yelled at or hit, and you’ve pretty much arrived at my day to day posture: Beaten down.
In retrospect, having stepped so far away from this “old” self, psychologically speaking, I now think over time my body started to become as overwhelmed and in despair as my mind. The two became intertwined, one carrying the memories for the other.
However, in the last year I’ve been doing intense therapy two days a week (hypnotherapy and more standard talk therapy), and I’ve shed so much of who I used to be and how I used to think, that I have a strong impulse to give my physical shell the same relief. Like everything else in the last year, it hasn’t been easy. I’m sore and exhausted and have had nightmares most every night since my first PT visit. My hypnotherapist believes this opening and releasing of my muscles is doing the same for the associated memories stored in them: the nightmarish secrets and recollections held in those cells are being processed one more time.
I can’t say I’m having fun or that I wouldn’t prefer an easy way or a magic elixir, but if it’s necessary to crawl across a little more glass to close this chapter forever, so be it. This work has been in preparation for my European encore. And that trip marks the opening of the door of my future – on my terms, for the first time in my life. Although I’m fairly petrified, I’m also very excited to see what’s on the other side.
And with that, the actual deep thought you’ve suffered through my painful confessional to get to: Is there anything more beautiful than a beautiful, beautiful flamingo, flying across in front of a beautiful sunset? And he’s carrying a beautiful rose in his beak, and he’s also carrying a very beautiful painting with his feet. And also, you’re drunk.