Humility before healing

Tomorrow I am seeing an osteopath. This is a threshold moment. I view it as the beginning of an investigative journey into what is happening in my body. Up until recently I have resisted this. Fear and shame stopped me from fully acknowledging what was happening. I fear finding out something I don't want to deal with. Spine disintegration, scoliosis and cancer are a few of the demons I am running from. Logically I know it is unlikely that such dramatic health problems are present in my body. Emotionally though, the possibility, however small, terrifies me. Shame has kept me from self-care for some time too. I am embarrassed that I cannot heal this with yoga. I am disappointed that yoga has limitations and part of me feels fraudulent for being a teacher of yoga who is suffering physical problems. Basically I'm ashamed that I'm not perfect. I have been humbled, and a deeper part of me knows this is healthy. How long can I keep hamstringing myself with impossibly high expectations? It is unsustainable and eventually it has to come crashing down. Now it has.

In Sweden, in pain.  

In Sweden, in pain.  

It was in Sweden last week when things caught up with me. I was taking a break with my family and friends at a beautiful farmhouse by the sea. The pace of my life slowed down as I connected to nature, my children and my body. As the doing dissolved, the physical sensations I had been suppressing and doing my best to ignore, came to the surface. My body, freed from yoga for a few days, began to tighten and distort around the pain that found a voice in the stillness. That voice got louder and more angry and increasingly desperate. It half crippled me, banished me to my bed (while everyone else was playing on the beach and swimming in the sea) and forced me to acknowledge what was happening. After a few days my Swedish friends packed me off to their Osteopath in town. At that point I accepted what was happening and opened to receiving help. I crossed the threshold and surrendered to the truth. I reached the bottom and let the darkness envelop me. Sadness, anger and despair were there to greet me.

Tomorrow I see an Osteopath in the UK. It is the first step in my journey out of the darkness. I am still largely in the dark as to what exactly has happened in my body. I may never find out. Osteopathy may help and it may not but what is now true is that my defences are down. I am willing to try anything and everything. Traditional medicine, alternative healing, bodywork, whatever intuitively feels right. I am frightened and hopeful. I am optimistic and in despair. I am no longer ashamed. I have shared my vulnerability and been met with empathy and kindness. As a result the shame has lifted. I am humble, and that feels like a good place to start this journey.

Ben Parkes3 Comments