The Worry Less She, Happy Lovely She
While writing the following story, the letters “t wl shls” collected in the Title Bar. (A WordPress glitch if the author continues to type while it’s saving.)
The last line of this story was a typo, so I decided to go with the type-extra-letters to form a title.
Who’s to say if a typo is really a typo? I guess it depends on who is really typing. And so our story begins:
Separate, but the same.
Different, with One name.
As I come to sit and write this autumn afternoon, there’s much to reflect upon from the last few weeks.
It all started when I said, “I’m going to do it! I’ve been living here almost a year now, and I still haven’t visited the trendy yoga studio in town. My calendar looks the clearest it’s been in months: I think now is the time to start my 2 week trial.”
So I set out that Monday morning with a plan in mind. “I’ll go to the 10 am today, the 6 am tomorrow. Maybe I can do the 6 am on Wednesday. Then on Friday I’ll go to the 9 am before my doctor’s appointment.”
I bought the 2 week trial for 30 bucks, and I rolled out my mat amongst the tightly packed room of yogis. If I am able to truly reflect, I can see that this moment was actually a big moment for me.
You see, for years I did not step foot in a yoga studio. I started practicing at home around the age of 19 or 20, and then I didn’t step foot in a studio until I was about 28. Having a rare connective tissue disorder (Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome) left me feeling unsure, and actually scared: “Will the teacher understand my body? Will I understand my body?” I felt that my gut knew best, so I stayed away from trendy yoga studios, and found my place in the gentler ones.
Since, I’ve completed my Yoga Teacher Training (where I learned how to listen to my body), and I spent the last few months in Taoist Summer mode (full of fire and energy): so I felt like I was finally ready to do this!
It was Vinyasa (an actively flowing class). I’ve taken Vinyasa before, but this was Vinyasa with a handful of inversions and other upper-body weight bearing poses. The thing with EDS and yoga, or so it seems, is that: You’re fine during the class, but after….
So later that night I set my alarm for 5:15 am. I figured I’d decide then if I should go for round two. However, that little-gutty voice spoke up with the wispiest of tones and whispered, “Two days in a row is probably too much for you.” That was all that it said, and it didn’t speak again. So I thought, “Okay, okay, but I’ll see how I feel at 5:15.”
Alarm awakened me: I felt great. I felt like it was Christmas morning, and I was ready to spring. At that point I thought, “Wow, I’m really going to get a lot out of these two weeks.”
Instead of a jam packed room, it was one other girl and myself. The teacher was helpful, but I noticed a trend at this trendy studio. My Kripalu yoga training was all about going IN, but I felt like all these ladies knew how to do was go OUT. Both classes were fun, both had great sequences, and both instructors knew a lot about adjustments. However, I walked out of each class thinking: “Were people seriously just trying to see Who Could Om the Loudest?” Oh well, I’m still learning something, still sifting, still collecting the gems.
Wednesday morning I decided to work on a practice of my own. I wanted to incorporate the bolster into a class, so I squeezed the bolster in between my legs to strengthen my stance in Mountain Pose. All of a sudden, nerve pain like you wouldn’t believe shot through my legs. “Whoah!” Of course my first reaction was, “I hope that the use of the bolster like this doesn’t hurt one of my students!” However, the thought quickly diminished as I realized, “Dummy, something is wrong with your legs.” The pain intensified, and Me Gutty exclaimed, “Head for the couch!”
Swan diving for the couch I scanned my mind: “Why would my legs be like this? Did I squeeze too hard on the bolster? Did I press my foot down too hard on the golf ball (my morning ritual for releasing fascia tension)?” Then, my arms: my arms radiated with the same intense pain. “Oh my gosh, I should have listened to my gut! It was those back to back Vinyasas. I knew it, but I didn’t listen.”
For days the pain radiated: it wouldn’t stop. As I write, it has been almost two weeks, and the pain is off and on. I blamed the “injury” on the handstand the teacher helped to spot me in. The handstand that I was so proud of for doing. The handstand that I received such a rush from. But always remember: what goes up, must come down.
Of course, the plot thickened, and I realized that there was more to this injury than just a handstand:
The following Monday was my followup appointment with my general practitioner for the MRA I had of my head. Since my mother had a subdural hematoma at my age, I’ve had constant neck pain for over 10 years, and I recently had a visual disturbance while I did a Self-test for an Artery Blockage, I figured it was time to get a long overdue second opinion. (The first opinion shrugged my neck pain as “EDS related.”
I went to the office with a clear head: no concerns, no fears, no nothing.
A knock on the door, and a student doctor introduced herself and asked if I minded to have her see me first. I’ve been dealing with student doctors since I was 13 years old (I’ve seen the good, and the bad), and I know how it feels to be in training, so I gladly welcomed her presence.
Reading from the report, she rattled off a string of about 20 words that made no sense to me except for a few: that I don’t have an aneurysm (which I didn’t think I had one), and that something was “absent.”
“Did you just say absent? As in I’m missing something?”
She looked back down at the sheet and said, “Yeah. Hmmm. You don’t have the posterior communicating arteries. And you’re missing the left straight sinus. Hmmm.” She even said, “That’s weird.”
“Ummm, what do those arteries do? My mom had a blood vessel burst around my age, and that’s partially why I’m here. Also, because I’ve been dealing with excruciating neck pain for over 10 years.”
“It is congenital, it’s a late stage development. You must have developed some smaller arteries to compensate for the lack.” She explained that that artery connected through a few parts of the brain, and that it dealt with coordination.”
I thought to myself, “No wonder I’ve been goofy my whole life!”
I asked, “Is it possible that another artery is being overworked, hence my back-of-the-headaches, and why my mom had a blood vessel burst in the back of her head?”
She replied, “It’s possible.” She repeatedly went over the fact that I didn’t have an aneurysm, practically stating, “So that’s good,” but I had to make her aware that that was not why I was there:
“My connective tissue disorder can make one’s blood vessels very weak. I wanted to know how mine looked, thinking maybe that’s what happened to my mom. Maybe the fragility led to a bleed.”
“Well that would be a different kind of scan, and you would need dye injected for that.”
My third eye must have rolled back in my head, “Oh brother.” Why the hell did I get this MRA then? Well, I wasn’t very fond of the dye idea, so I’ll put that test off for awhile, until it is deemed: necessary!
For some reason she came over to me and felt my neck. As she touched the right side of my neck she said, “Hmmm.”
Hmmmm? I touched the right side of my neck: “Whoah!” I easily felt a large bulge coming out the right side of my neck. Thinking it was muscle I said, “I’m constantly overcompensating for that side.”
My doctor (whom I only saw a handful of times, and this will be the last), didn’t have much to add to the equation other than: a script to get an x-ray of my neck, a script for physical therapy 2-3 times a week for four weeks, and a snarky comment (snarky enough for me to think: “See ya! That’s all I need to hear from you!”).
No one explained anything to me. I didn’t know why she came over and touched my neck, and why he ordered the x-rays. They didn’t explain anything, and they made me feel like I was asking too many questions.
While in my car, the first thing I did was google the arteries. The posterior communicating arteries form the Circle of Willis. Instantly, “Bruce Willis is dead,” began to loop around in my skull.
At first I was so confused. I thought I was missing just the left posterior artery. I came across a study that was done on cadavers. The results were: 38.3% of these men had both left and right arteries, 38.2% were missing one of the arteries. “Ohhhhhhhhh, phew! It’s not weird at all!”
But once I actually read the medical mumbo jumbo I realized, “I’m missing BOTH left and right arteries, which is much more uncommon!”
As I continued my search, I came across a release that, made me question: “Could that be causing my tension headaches?”
“The network of arteries supplying blood flow to the brain is more likely to be incomplete in people who suffer migraine, a new study by researchers in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania reports. Variations in arterial anatomy lead to asymmetries in cerebral blood flow that might contribute to the process triggering migraines.
“The arterial supply of blood to the brain is protected by a series of connections between the major arteries, termed the “circle of Willis” after the English physician who first described it in the 17th century. People with migraine, particularly migraine with aura, are more likely to be missing components of the circle of Willis.”
Once I got home I popped the CD of my MRA images back into my laptop. I looked through each image, trying to see where this absent left straight sinus would be. It appeared that everything was there, but I had no clue how to read this map, this maze.
Unable to make any sense, I scrolled through the images to get a better glimpse of my cerival spine (my neck).
“Ohhhhhhhhh myyyyyyy worrrdddddd!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! When the student doctor touched my neck, that wasn’t protruding muscle in my neck, that was my spine!!!!!!!!!”
(For some reason, my computer is stating ERROR when I tried to upload this photo.
I think that is a sign that the image is a private one then.)
Ya know, again: My gut knew it! When I first looked at this CD a month ago, I thought my spine looked a little off: as if it were ramming up into my skull, causing compression. No wonder I blacked out when I did that Self test. I guess that’s why the docs knew to feel my neck, but why did neither one say anything about my neck? This compression is exactly where my neck pain stems from, where I told them it hurts! Why couldn’t either of them talk to me!?
Little gutty voice spoke up again, “Maybe that’s why your hands and feet are tingling. Does that neck look like it should be preforming weight bearing poses?”
I should have listened, gutty. I’m sorry, gutty. But I’m not only sorry, I’m also paying.
When I brought this all up to my yoga teacher whom I speak with on a weekly basis, she said,
“Ask why. Don’t limit yourself to what the doctor or the PT tells you. Why is your spine like that?” Knowing that I’m a fascianista (I’m constantly working with my fascia, my connective tissue), she added, “Maybe your spine is like that from your fascia.” I thought that that was possible, but I also thought, “Maybe I have scoliosis like my brother and sister.”
The following day, Thursday, it was time for one of Bhagwan’s visits. If you’re familiar with my writings, you already know that Bhagwan is a meditation master. He comes to America a handful of times of year, and creates an energetic space for us to meditate, and then liberate.
During the meditation, I quickly realized that I was able to access that meditative zone much sooner than ever before. For the past month, I wasn’t meditating as often as I’d like, so I was happy to see this advancement.
Then, just 15 minutes in, my Third Eye began to vibrate wildly. I could literally feel it vibrate, and then it rotated toward the front of my skull, and then up to the top of my head. This opening UP of the Third Eye has happened to me a few times before, but I thought: “It’s been awhile Old Friend! Cool! Bring it on!”
Once The Eye was positioned Upwards, the vibration turned to explosion, and I felt a continuous waterfall of energy stream from the top of my head over my whole body. I was shocked that this happened so quickly into my meditation.
This waterfall of energy did not last very long. About five minutes later I heard Bhagwan’s voice (in my mind) say, “Effortless Ease.” I had been to handfuls of his meditations, and meditations that played his CDs, so his teachings are swirling around somewhere deep in that mindspace. I realized, “I’m not coming at this with an effortless ease. Let me loosen up a bit. Thanks for the tid, Bhagwan.”
Moments later, one of Gurdjieff’s teachings popped in my head. It was one of his main teachings: Self Remembering. I remembered that in Ouspensky’s In Search of the Miraculous, Gurdjieff asked his students, “What is the most important thing to do whilst meditating?” The answer: to remember Yourself. (Gurdjieff taught a handful of practices: how to come into a state where it is as if you are watching yourself, surrendering your mind to Mind.)
I instantly realized, I haven’t been doing that! Okay, let me get a grip on that practice. To shift your awareness back so that you are watching yourself takes lots of practice. Lots of focus. Lots of letting go. Lots of practice.
When Bhagwan began his commentary after the 50 minutes of meditation, my first thought, was, “Every time, Bhagwan! Every time! Every time I come to you, you speak of the exact experience I just had!”
Bhagwan spoke of “Losing Yourself into that Self,” the one that is watching the You. He spoke so poetically on this other Self (I’ll paraphrase, horribly): “Who are we when we let go of ourselves? Is that new “person” more real?” He described what it is like to be in that Reality.
He made mention that this was the realm of Infinite Intelligence. That phrase perked my ears. This evening’s commentary was probably one of his best commentaries I’ve heard.
Bhagwan even spoke about the planets, and the delicate balance they hold with each other as they move with each other. Being in such a meditative state while listening to him speak creates a wonderful canvas to explore upon the mind. His words about the planets painted across my imagination, and I felt what it would be like to be the planets in this beautiful dance with one another: The Cosmic Dance.
It was a Magical/Magnetic Push/Pull feeling like few other. There are only a handful of occurrences in my life that felt so beautiful. I instantly flashed back to another Gurdjieff teaching about the planets, and this reminded me of a dance Gurdjieff choreographed. Whirling dervishes started to dance across my Visual Field. The Push/Pull Painting of Koi Fish I painted for My Spiritual Journey of Healing flashed as well. I became flooded with Soulmate/Twinflame-like waves of Love. I felt rushes of this Love often throughout this meditation. Sooo deep, sooo divine.
The next morning I spent an hour in meditation in the dentist’s chair. I’ve come to the realization that the dentist’s chair is one of the best places to meditate.
I lied back, and began to watch myself (Self-remembering), and I got into that I-squared (Infinite Intelligence) space. I was falling deeply into trance (something I’ve been practicing these past few weeks while I teach, and IT’S AMAZING!) and when I went into this trance-like-meditation state, I peered through some clouds, and looked down on my dad sitting at a table with a couple of things on the table in front of him. The vision was a little shocking, so I shocked myself out of it before I could see what was in front of him. Remembering that I made a New Moon intention (months ago) to learn and gain access to the Astral Realm, I thought, “I think my spiritual practice and intentions are starting to take shape!”
I walked out of the dentist’s office feeling like I was walking on a cloud. The dentist helped explain a few things to me that the first dentist did not explain. I realized that a second opinion is invaluable. Thinking about my MRA, I thought, “I should probably have someone else look at the results and explain them to me.”
All of my recent physical realizations have not upset me one bit. I didn’t once think, “Had I known about this before. Had this. Had that.” I just flowed from one instance to the next.
So I felt like I had more than enough to write about, but I didn’t know how to wrap it all up. I knew I needed to get out of the house, because every time I go out, something happens! “C’mon Yoda, let’s find that “new park” that Mommy just find.”
We set out and “We find it.” Yoda LOVES going to new parks: he just breathes it up.
After about 10 minutes I didn’t know where to go, but I felt that I should look up for a sign. The exact moment I did, I saw a grey shape of a Heron come swooshing in over the water, but behind the trees that were along the water’s edge. As we walked over I realized there were so many amazing trees at this park. (I later found an old sign stating that they were all planted there long ago for the town’s 50th Anniversary).
What seemed like one tree with three trunks, was actually a maple with two trunks and a oak with one!
I enjoyed walking underneath the branches of the different species.
Then I got a sense to turn around and go home, but I thought, “Eh, let’s just keep going. I kind of felt like I would get the end of the story here, and I don’t feel like those trees are enough.”
Now walking along the path, with the water to our right, through the clearing of trees, I noticed the handfuls of swallows swishing this way and that over the water. “I LOVE SWALLOWS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I haven’t seen them do their dance since we lived at our last place!!!!!!”
(If you have never seen swallows dip, dive, fly high, this way and that, you’re surely missing an experience of life that you dearly need!)
It looks as if they are flying like that for fun, but they are zip-zagging for bugs!
I thought, “Ooooooo, I should get video of them! Maybe the swallows are the end of my story!” I looked over my shoulder and noticed a man and a woman about to walk by. I looked ahead and noticed a little cement slab/dock with a couple of benches. “Hmmm, maybe I should take some video from there.”
As we approached the stone dock Yoda assessed that for him to get on it would require a jump. He looked excited to jump aboard, but then he backed off. My gut said, “His gut says, “No!”” I thought, “Well, I’m up for taking that risk.” I picked him up as he reluctantly pulled back. “C’mon little buddy, let’s go see the water.”
This dog has been on boats, docks, beaches, you name it. He knows the boundaries, and the consequences. I took the bench to the right, and took in the beauty. “Ohhhhh, I Love this town. Everyday I find something new!”
Panning my camera left to right, right to left, I wondered to myself, “Are the swallows even showing up on this thing?”
Yoda peered over the edge, and I reminded him, “Hey! Yodaaaaaa, stay back.” He looked back at me and laughed.
I hit stop on the camera, and just as I realized that he had headed over to the back left corner of the dock, I heard this 29 pound KER-PLUNK! It was the funniest kerplunk I ever heard in my life. I didn’t see him go in, but that loud plunk will forever stay ingrained in my mind.
For some reason, I must have accidentally hit record as I ran over to rescue him:
The Ned?! The End!!!
(I guess I really couldn’t End this story, even when I tried!)
however, I figured I should just keep The Ned, because
“Is it ever really “The End” anyway?”