From my journal. At the end of March I had no definite diagnosis for the pain in my back which was making it very difficult to walk, bend down, lift anything heavy.
Saturday, March 30
I’m sore all over. Nothing has changed. Nothing I do makes a difference. Erica helped a lot by telling me this is very deep work. Especially the work with helplessness. I see that the only antidote is to trust the process.
I’m almost at the end of Wahl’s book. Over and over he talks about changing from the belief in separateness to belief in connectedness. He actually talks about his experience of unity in a council circle with talking piece. I always feel like my work on myself is intended to get me to the point where I can make a contribution. Occasionally I can see that my work on myself is a contribution. Now I’m coming to see that, if we are all connected, then I’m not working by myself for health, I’m working with everyone for a fuller, more meaningful life for all of us. When I really get that, I’m able to relax completely. It doesn’t matter if I ever “succeed” or “get better.” It doesn’t matter if I ever teach dance again, or astronomy, or start a circle, or a memoir group. I can join them if they happen.
I feel an astonishing sense of relief. There is a huge process going on, and I’m part of it, carried by it. I don’t have to make anything happen.
Sunday, March 31
That realization led into a wonderful relaxation. I went back to find Daniel Wahl’s language. He talks about the “narrative of separation” and the “narrative of interbeing.”
Post about Daniel Wahl’s book. I had a moment of felt sense of interbeing, something more than just being connected.
Monday, April 1
I ended up going into a state of complete apathy, first lying on the couch, then going in to bed. I ate some blueberries, but then wanted “comfort food” and there wasn’t anything available. If I could have had anything at all? Couldn’t think of anything. I just lay on the bed and got no sense at all of anything I wanted to do.
No sense of what to do next sounds to me like total surrender.
Tuesday, April 2
Jean Sonder called and suggested I call Vreeland. It’s interesting that I’ve had people pushing me along all the way, suggesting I call my doctor, have an X-ray. On my own, I take longer to go for help.
Wednesday, April 3
I’m supposed to see Dr. Vreeland today, for a follow-up and to have him help with my sacroiliac. I hope it all works out. “I offer myself to this process.” As I say that, I feel and accept my helplessness.
Dr. Vreeland is a chiropractor in White River Junction, Vermont. I was already seeing him for help with my lack of energy. I was pretty sure he would be able to help me, but not at all sure what that would look like. He did an adjustment, and gave me some exercises. The adjustment helped right away, the worst of the pain was gone.
Thursday, April 4
I feel like I’m emerging from a long heavy winter. Cleared out, stripped for action, my old life gone, burned away. No sense of juice or fertility, of anything new pushing to emerge. But that feels OK. No hurry.
Friday, April 5
Erica says: Your body is telling you “I’m going to really show you what surrender looks like.” Getting in touch with the helplessness without connection to trauma. Traumatized helplessness carries hopelessness, untraumatized helplessness allows for help to come from an unexpected place.
She said I had never been able to truly surrender, because I had never been held in a container large enough to really feel helpless. I realized that in the past, when I called it “shipwreck” or “surrender” it was really just giving up, and counting on myself to pick myself up and go on.