Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Letting go of the negative so I can heal in the now.

There is an ancient Chinese story of a farmer who owned an old horse that tilled his fields. One day, the horse escaped into the hills and when the farmer's neighbors sympathized with the old man over his bad luck, the farmer replied, “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?”

A week later, the horse returned with a herd of horses from the hills and this time the neighbors congratulated the farmer on his good luck. His reply was, “Good luck? Bad luck? Who knows?”

Then, when the farmer's son was attempting to tame one of the wild horses, he fell off its back and broke his leg. Everyone thought this very bad luck. Not the farmer, whose only reaction was, “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?”

Some weeks later, the army marched into the village and conscripted every able-bodied youth they found there. When they saw the farmer's son with his broken leg, they let him off. Once again, the farmer's only reaction was, “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?”

I am realizing that getting into the car accident a few weeks ago was not bad luck.

When I went to Hood, trained myself up into a high level of fitness, hiking the steep "M" trail to the ridge with a 40 pound pack in 30 minutes or so, walking about 3 miles a night and working on my Balance 360 Board for about 15 minutes a day. I liked the direction my physical body was going, it was getting strong, I was learning not to over-train it, but to build the fitness like layers of thin paint, one over the next, and the color was richer, deeper, and more complex over time.

Then, the era of the punching bag began. And I think, when this happens, when something traumatic happens over and over again, its time to start listening. There is something going on, something you are missing.

I got a bit beat up in Aspen, and it forced me to examine my energy, my sense of personal responsibility. When I got back home, I gained back my confidence, and had a beautiful day with a friend whom I miss, but got injured again.

This would be the knee meets rock incident.

I believe now that I am lucky to have been in the car accident because had I not been, I would have been out there training again weeks ago. I would have taken it slowly, I was going to go to the pool and swim with a pull float between my feet so I didn't hurt my knee.

But I NOW realize that my knee is JUST NOW, a MONTH later, finally healed to the extent that I can exercise on it. I was forced, by the accident, to allow one of the most crucial joints in skiing to heal all the way, right before ski season.

Although I try hard not to push when I shouldn't, that's always a for me, as I want to learn, do, be stronger, faster, and then see how that affects my ability to perform.

The accident has been amazingly instructional, as well, because now, I am fighting a different kind of battle. Yes, in the month since my knee injury, I have gained about four pounds of fat, and LOST about 6 or 8 pounds of muscle. That muscle that is so hard won.

This period of time is a challenge for me because its my first test since entering therapy for my eating disorder last summer. Here I am, arriving back at patience. My body is healing, which is more important than meeting my goal of coming back at the beginning of ski season with stronger hips, legs and core than I left it with.

I believe I achieved that goal in August, but I was mentally focused on keeping it together through September and October, as last year these were the months in which I lost fitness as well.

Now, however, I am faced with a challenge: taking my win for how well and hard I trained all summer, and letting go of wishing I wasn't hurt now.

The Buddhist definition of suffering is this: Suffering is wishing something is other than it is. I wish I hadn't been in a car accident, because then I'd be even stronger now (and I'd have more free time, because it wouldn't be so hard to study and I wouldn't have so many dr.s appts!). But wishing things were different than they are now does not change the fact that I was in a car accident, it does not give me more free time or get me in better shape.

What it does is rob me of positive energy that I could be putting towards healing and moving forward from where I am now.

Before I could do that, I needed to realize, and admit, that I am hurt. As a person who is proud of the ability to suck it up and get it done, it is hard for me, a few days after a "mild" injury, to continue self care. I tend to look on it as babying, complaining, or coping out, probably because that is one of my biggest fears.

But I have a traumatic brain injury. Which means that while my body is healing well , my mind has some issues. And I need to honor that, look at it, be patient with it, and work on it.

It takes a village to put Kate back together, and I am grateful to the gills for Ruth at Health Works Institute, where I am a student, because she pointed me in the direction of some incredible people who can facilitate healing.

Now comes even more patience. This amount of therapy is exhausting. Its time consuming. It means that even though my knee is better, I can't start training. Which means I may loose more fitness, muscle, and speed.

This, for me, brings up issues with food. Red flag, red flag!!

So here is the deep breath and the place to look at this as an opportunity rather than a catastrophe of doom, undoing my hard work and throwing me again in the path of unhealthy compulsive eating habits that exist to try and momentarily soothe.

But what is the reality of the now? I can let go of wishing it was different, and thereby ease the desire for self soothing behavior that is distructive, and embrace what I have to do to get through.

Here is the team that's helping me heal, and their commitment to me is to get me all the way back to being able to stand on a swiss ball and hike the M in a pack in 25 minutes, but most importantly, restore my brain function to normal. Because I went to get Bodhi from his preschool the other day, and I couldn't find his classroom.

Northern Rockies Psychoanalytic Institute: Lori Thatcher, counselor
European Massage Company, Tamara Calhoon, NCTMB
Dr. Gary Litel, Chiropractor (406)-587-0711
Bozeman Creek Family Health, Dr. Burton, Dr. Cady and staff
Speech Pathologist: Amanda Fowler

Health In Motion Physical Therapy
Cranial Sacral: Lori Gillet
Acupuncture: Jean-Louis Gillet

I will also be working on Yoga Based Physicial Therapy at Health in Motion with a specialist who deals with balance and body spatial awareness.

Together, we will work to eliminate the headache I've had since October 8th, restore my severely compromised balance, reconnect my cognition issues which don't allow me to drive, study, or think after two in the afternoon, and heal my back, neck and hip injuries.

I am back at work giving massage, and the wonderful WONDERFUL thing about that is that it helps me heal! I have to pay attention to my body mechanics, of course, but I am feeling after every massage like things are re-connecting in my mind, I feel restored and full, happy and healthy.

Knowing that I am on a (full!) committed path to recovery, I feel hopeful and like I am already moving forward towards health. I picture myself coming through this stronger, more knowledgeable, and healthier in the end.

Maybe, its good luck, who knows?

PS, sorry this one is hard to read, I did actually re edit it, but things, as you can tell, aren't firing quite as well as usual. :-) We'll get there.

1 comment:

Liat said...

Wow, Kate- I am sorry that your brain is so whacked still! It must be very scary. Thank you for telling us how you are doing so we can give you love and support and encouragement. I am so proud of you for being kind to and taking care of yourself as best you can. I think that it is a skill that takes not just commitment but also practice just like anything else, so good job, and hang in there! xoxoxoxo