So the shitstorm is a-wailin' at the Parent Company, and I am like the foolhardy TV reporter clinging to the sideways palm tree.
I awoke in the middle of the night with a stabbing pain in my neck and shoulder, and rolled around in bed, on the floor, back in bed, with pillow, without pillow, got up and tried yoga poses, got back in bed and tried to ignore it.
Interrupted sleep is always such a rude surprise to me, because normally I'm an excellent sleeper. Among the best.
I finally took some Tylenol and tried the last, and least palatable, trick in my book, which is just to sit with the pain and focus on breathing in and out. (This trick is courtesy, well, lots of people over the years, but most recently I've been reading Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat Zinn). When I allowed the pain rather than mentally running from it full-speed, I realized that it was coming in dull spasms that were a good 1 - 2 breaths apart. I found that I was able to calm myself down enough in between spasms that I got drowsy and finally fell asleep again.
As you might guess, I did not arise in the most rosy-cheeked and resplendent of moods. I had to get to the Parent Company earlier than my usual time, which meant rush hour traffic, I'd slept through the time I'd allotted to take a shower which was, to put it delicately, sorely needed, and it was raining, and I made my instant coffee in the dark and dumped in too much grounds so it tasted like crap-syrup. Plus, my right neck and shoulder still hurt like a beast.
Despite playing my emergency inspirational playlist entitled "Hold On," on the way to work, I was in decidedly poor shape by the time I got there.
I decided I needed to start over. Just go to the start menu, hit shut down, wait 30 seconds, and then reboot. I started with calling the massage place and scheduling a same-day appointment.
I've never had a massage before today and it both was and wasn't what I expected. Was, because it felt reeeallllly good, and I was pretty much zoned out drooling about two minutes into it. What was surprising was a) tearing up when she placed her hands on my head at the beginning and b) when she finally hit that sweet spot right where the ouchies were, I felt an immediate zing back down to the old irascible colon. It was like the ball of tension got scared out of its hiding spot and settled right back in its colon-cave, like a hermit crab of dull pain.
And what I was surprised to feel while I was facedown on the massage table drooling up the carpets, was something almost like remorse. It was like: wow, body - we've been in like, actual pain here. We've spent so much of the past year in physical and psychic pain, and I've been in such a hurry to leave that all behind, but my body has forgotten much more slowly than the rest of me.
And I started to feel sorry. I'm sorry, body, for yelling at you so much. I know you don't have language so you have to get the message across in whatever way you can. I spend so a lot of time plugging my fingers in my ears saying "shut up shut up shut up, I don't have time for this now!" when it's telling me we're tired, we're hungry, we're stressed out, we're still. in. pain. I keep trying to placate it by swallowing my palmfuls of pills, but it's like a pet that doesn't totally understand the whole gist of it all. All it understands is it hurts, it hurts, it hurts, and you gotta respect that. You can't just be like, "Hey, walk it off."
I felt sorry for dragging it all over town, stuffing in whatever food is on hand at whatever time is most convenient for the rest of my agenda, sorry for guzzling down caffeine as a replacement for rest, for energy, for the Life Force itself. Sorry for slapping it around and making it wear underwear with holes in it and skipping the night-time toothbrushing and forcing it to squint at streetsigns rather than taking the time to get a new pait of glasses. No wonder it's going on strike.
And I was sad to hear a phrase echoing back to me which I'd heard before from myself during those dark times when I was sick, like really sick, something the doctors couldn't tell me but which I nonetheless knew to be true. My body was speaking to me and it was saying, "Liklik, your life ain't right."
Dammmmmm. I mean haven't I learned this by now?! I thought for sure I had skipped merrily into the light, into a life of contemplation and yoga and watering my herb garden and reading personal growth books and writing in my journal with a special pen. But here I am with the rest of the mortals, running around like a headless chicken, pace too fast, demands too much, apartment like a bomb went off, playtime not nearly enough, and the herbs are all dead, dead, dead.
I left the massage place in a quasi-dream state. I felt like everything was in slow motion. "Keysss...keysssss...I need car keys now. Car keys. Caaarrrr keeeeys." The world seemed very loud and seemed to be moving very fast. I found myself crying in the car again, but these weren't like frenetic stress tears, or Dane Cook "I tried my best" tears. These were slow-moving tears from down in the bedrocks, tears that cried themselves with great compassion, out of respect for the great quantities of grief and pain there can be and is and will be in the world over. The tears of a sage! The tears of person whose people have lived through war and sickness and evil but kept living despite it all!
I came back, drank some water, took a hot shower. I consult the voice of reason. She says, it's not to late to start again. She says at least you know where you are, because that will help you get where you want to be. She says start over. Begin again, and again, and again, and again, forever and ever amen.