These past two weeks have been a time of discovery on many levels for me. I discovered that I can bear the pain of grief from a loved one's suicide again. I discovered that I am blessed by the love and support of family and friends and the kindness of strangers. In tandem with these discoveries, I have been on a mission of discovery with my body.
Last Friday, I began individual yoga lessons with Pat Donaher
. He intently watches me as I do different yoga poses and the way I hold my body in space. I share with him the challenges I experience in yoga class and he works with me to make adjustments to ensure the integrity of my body while inching me closer to awakening parts of my body that have not been tapped into before because of polio and post polio syndrome. We honor the adaptations that my body made on its own to recover from polio and then to accommodate to the symptoms of post polio while being able to function as best I could.
It is thrilling to feel parts of my body move that I did not experience moving since I was 5 years old. With patience, humor and an incredible wealth of knowledge about both internal physiology and proprioception, Pat guides me not only through poses but gives me homework to do to stretch and to assist with improving my proprioception. (Unlike the exteroceptive senses, by which we perceive the outside world, and interoceptive senses, by which we perceive the pain and movement of internal organs, proprioception
is a third distinct sensory modality that provides feedback solely on the status of the body internally. It is the sense that indicates whether the body is moving with the required effort, as well as where the various parts of the body are located in relation to each other.)
Last night I attended the Collaborative Medicine Working Group at Mass. General Hospital. The guest speakers were my dear friend Rick "The Joy of Sox Movie" Leskowitz, MD and Bob Daly, MD. The topic was Tong Ren Healing. Pictured above is a creation of Alex Gray who founded Chapel of Sacred Mirrors. We all know about Gray's Anatomy (no not the TV show - the book that all doctors used to study to learn anatomy. It was the bible of medical students). Alex Gray has created a new Gray's Anatomy seeing beyond the physical into the realm of the Divine. Rick referenced Alex Gray and the work he is doing as he was talking about Energy Medicine.
My wish is that anyone who has ever received a life altering diagnosis could open their heart and third eye to receive the healing wisdom that surrounds us. When I first went to the mat with my dear friend Nicole, aka The Sassy Yogini, I had no idea the world that was going to open before me. I am discovering and creating new neuromuscular connections. One of my favorite phrases that Pat uses is "not yet" and we accept myself in the moment while inching forward to changing patterns that block energy and movement to allow the flow of energy to bring healing. I am so fascinated by how yoga is helping me to balance, align and shift body patterns from what was locked in from the polio and post polio syndrome. By practicing Vinyasa yoga, I begin to allow my body to unfreeze and flow. I love this definition of Vinyasa which I found on the Back Bay Yoga Studio
website: "Vinyasa Yoga emphasizes the sequential movement between postures, coordinated with and guided by deliberate breath. The Vinyasa practice becomes a moving meditation that creates strength, freedom and fluidity in the body and mind. As we learn to ride the waves of breath in our Yoga practice, we learn to ride the waves of change in our lives with more ease. All levels are welcome to join this vigorous practice in finding one's state of flow!"
Last night those who attended the collaborative were treated to the experience of Tong Ren healing. I could feel the energy flow through me. Although the practitioners were 'targeting' certain symptoms from different audience members, being in the energy field of healing produced a shift within me. I felt a sense of calmness. I felt a lot of negativity released and I felt peace. I also was extremely sore from yesterday's yoga practice and the soreness dissipated during the healing session. So much defies capturing the experience in words because it is beyond the realm of the five senses and the words we have to describe energy but it is certainly felt and experienced.
I am so excited to be on the Discovery Channel both on the mat and off. Synchronicity abounds with this journey. Nicole told me that she was going to hear Matthew Sanford speak tonight. It just 'happened' that I caught a post from Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation on Facebook about the work that Matthew Sanford does. Matthew talks not about overcoming a challenge but "living vibrantly through one's whole body whether paralyzed or not". His Twitter bio reads, "Transforming trauma, loss and disability into hope and potential."
I am so blessed to be tuned into the frequency of The Discovery Channel where wonder, mystery, knowledge and beautiful teachers abound. And at the age of 57 years old, it is so great to know that you can teach an old (downward) dog new tricks.
Links for your Discovery Channel:
Chapel of Sacred Mirrors
Matthew Sanford and Mind Body Solutions
Matthew Sanford in the Reeve Foundation Report
The Sassy Yogini
The Joy of Sox Movie
Tong Ren Healing
Yoga: Discovering the Mind Body Connection
God bless, be well and live like you were dyin'
From my heart to yours with love and gratitude,