We Don’t Know What’s Going To Happen

My mother called yesterday. She had read my post about being in pain again and decided it was time to wipe her hands of this experiment. Fully expecting that I was in agreement she announced over the phone, “I knew you were never going to fix anything this way anyway. So you’re ready to eat food again?”

Mothers. All they can see is us in pain. They can’t appreciate the healing as it happens, only once it’s complete and on their terms. Such good protectors they are. (Hi mom!)

You can imagine her surprise as I calmly explained that I have no intention of stopping now. Regardless of the state of my back, hip and leg I have gained more insight than I could have imagined about my diet, ego/emotional health and the resiliency of my own resolve. I’m one for sticking to what I started and fully accomplishing my goals. Mama didn’t raise no quitter. She raised a hard worker who means what she says.

It’s nice to imagine that we know what is going to happen. Well, I should say that’s how I used to think and it caused me a lot of stress. So I guess it’s not that nice. It’s a false comfort blankie we wrap ourselves in when the uncertainty of the world feels scary. Eckhart Tolle speaks a lot about finding comfort in the uncertainty itself instead. That way we can live in the moment of reality and show ourselves how strong and awesome we are. Facing our fears helps us eliminate them. Eliminating our fears gets us to our true potential.

After a ridiculous tangent about her fear that if I don’t heal myself in forty days I’ll decide to quit eating forever, I asked my mom to save her judgment for after the cleanse is finished. “Please give me twelve more days,” I said. “Because much as we’d like, we don’t actually know what is going to happen. Don’t give up on me while I’m still in it.”

Speaking my peace to her really helped me refocus my goal. I think I was wrong to say I wanted to cure my sciatica. What I really want to do is find peace in uncertainty. I want to believe that anything can happen and it’s possible that it could all be good. It’s hard to be an optimist. Pessimists disagree but they’re wrong. I feel equipped to argue both sides because I spent three decades as a fiercely sarcastic pessimist and that’s one of the things that started to shift with my Saturn Return at age twenty-eight. I have worked hard to earn my optimist status and I think I’m almost there.

Yesterday I drove up to Washington to visit a good friend and squirmed in my chair as we talked. I limped around her beautiful yard as I tried to unloosen my hip and back from the twisting and pinching of sitting. Later that evening I went to another friend’s house to watch football and was the weirdo lying on the floor by the coffee table who kept refusing to join everyone else on the couch. Business as usual in the pinched nerve department.

Then I went home and something inexplicable happened. I had a really big poop. Twenty-eight days of no solid food and I had a really big poop. Where the fuck did it come from?!

I know it’s grossly unacceptable for me to force you to imagine me in that position, but I’m gonna do it anyway. There I was processing a bowel movement and this is what went through my head:

You know what would be fucking awesome? If I passed a marble and it turned out that when I was two I had swallowed that marble and my whole life it’s been sitting inside me so close to my nerve and every now and then it gets lodged in a cavity and zing! squeezes that nerve fucker and the pain and the ow! and the everything comes and I hurt but now it’s gone! That’s crazy! Oh but it would be so awesome. I can do this. I can heal myself. Why the fuck not?!

I remembered a note scribbled on a purple Post-It that I found stuck to the first page of the used copy of Tolle’s A New Earth I bought at Powell’s a few weeks back.

Put forth intention. Intend! And so it will be.

In the end I passed no marble. But when I got up and walked out of the bathroom I swear to you the pinch was gone. It took me almost an hour to notice it. I wrote yesterday’s post at my computer, straightened up around the apartment. Slowly it started to dawn on me that I could move more than I’ve been able to and I wasn’t limping in pain. I stretched and swung my body around and didn’t feel a pinch.

In disbelief I got onto my inversion table and it didn’t hurt. I flipped myself over backwards and it didn’t hurt. I shifted my hips without using my hands and started laughing at what felt like a miracle. Almost in tears I got off to call my sister but stopped myself. It was a fluke. This couldn’t really be happening. I needed to test it further before uttering a word to anyone else. Just then I lay down on my bed, no pinch, no piercing pain, and I did the impossible: I rolled over onto my side without using my hands to help me.

It took forever to fall asleep last night because I was overcome with joy and relief and I wanted so desperately to relish those moments of normalcy and a complete absence of pain. In the morning I awoke to a small pinch but one that is drastically reduced from what had become my norm.

There is something still occasionally shooting into my ankle, I have not cured myself, but the pain from my hip is gone. What remains is much less severe than anything I have felt since I fell in July. I’m not one to shout the divine from the rooftops but I’ve certainly been counting my blessings and humming the Ray Man Shabad all day.

I’m ecstatic to report that at the end of the day I’m still feeling better than I have at any point in this injury. Thank you mom for helping me get to the next level.

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