My early years were spent floating, metaphorically, where I moved as the currents seemed to arbitrarily move me. I like to think that I was acquiring information and strengthening my foundation; I’m sure there is truth to that. In graduate school when I began providing psychotherapy treatment to others, I realized that I was over my head emotionally. It was then that I myself entered psychotherapy in order to begin to make sense of my history, my present life, and to develop any gifts that I might have in this area. This trend toward self-exploration can be likened to “making a fearless moral inventory” or the fourth step in the 12 step program. At this point, everything in my life became a means toward increasing my self awareness, learning more and more of who I was and what it was that I was to bring to the world.

Beginning my sixth decade in this body, certain self-defeating and recurring patterns are becoming clearer, a necessary prerequisite for healing. Having had an overactive will center in childhood, my tendency through life has been to push forward regardless of any resistance that I might counter. This blind persistence is a quality revered in our culture, however on a more subtle level it can create a significant imbalance. I believe much of my work in this lifetime was to bring this self-defeating trait into balance. Prior to the beginning of my physical symptoms, I unconsciously lived this pattern of willfulness, like floating in a rudderless boat. Once the symptoms began, I became more aware of the imbalance. My past actions seemed to emulate the pattern of moving two steps forward and three steps back. It seemed that each time I had a breakthrough, there was a resulting backslide which accompanied the breakthrough. As many insidious unconscious patterns do, it became more exaggerated and therefore more apparent as time went on. As I became more aware of the suffering this pattern caused, I began to question what was causing this apparent backslide. I suspected that it was triggered by a sense of unworthiness, but just knowing that did not change the pattern.

 
In 2010, when I went to India for embryonic stem cell treatment, I hoped to once and for all face this obstacle to my recovery head on. Through a dramatic healing described in an earlier blog entry, I began to strengthen on all levels. Three months later when I returned to India for more treatment, my beloved Great Dane tragically died. This heartbreak was too great for me to “grab hold of myself.” In spite of seeing the insidious pattern of backsliding, I felt powerless to alter the trajectory of the contraction. I understand that healing is not linear, but once a recurring, obstructional pattern becomes conscious, the way to move through this wall can become clearer. Still, I began to lose ground once again.
 
After returning to Colorado in 2012, it felt much like a renaissance of sorts. I had become so debilitated in Pennsylvania that I seriously questioned whether I would ever survive another move, especially one that was to 8000 feet altitude when I had significantly diminished respiration. However, being faced with a living situation that was neither supportive nor regenerative for me, I had to choose between maintaining status quo which was familiar and seemingly safe, or to move into the unknown. In the past, choosing to move into the unknown with the anxiety that ensued in and of itself would cause a backslide. In spite of the anxiety that was created by the change, I chose to gather my inner resources and to move forward no matter what.
 
Crestone can be a magical place to be if one is wanting to undergo serious inner work. If one is in the right place emotionally, the energies will align and PUSH the work, whether one likes it or not. I and my closest friends clearly like it. I was back and I was ready for the next passage along my journey. To say it another way, I am existentially saying YES. Having been a competitive athlete most of my life, I believed from a young age that my value was tied up in winning. I swam, ran, and competed like my life depended on it. This ability along with my willfulness created what the Buddhists would call a fixed identity, an insidious pattern or “how one tries to put solid ground under our feet in an ever shifting world…”
 
The last month in Crestone has presented the most anxiety provoking time since I have returned. Changes in primary caregiving and the conflict that ensues would have sent me into a significant backslide. However, in the last two weeks I have consecutively broken my speed record on the stationary bike. I also continue to improve in many other areas. I cannot remember a time where I voluntarily entered the place of “not knowing” and did not shut down physically and emotionally.
 
However, it seems that in Crestone, healing is never simple. It is almost as if the Universe tweaks you to be sure the teaching is enduring. Last week my transverse arch, an area of ligaments that hold the metatarsals together, separated and painfully collapsed resulting in a chronic torn ligament. I felt discouraged and, in the past, this disappointment would have created a significant setback. In addition to feeling discouragement, my mind would have created an impervious sense of failure. The self-hatred that would have been generated by my heartless reaction to the physical vulnerability would override any sense of empathy for softening around the injury. This would in turn exacerbate the injury. This seems to be the pattern that leads to progression of the physical symptoms.
 
My very wise friend Judith challenged me this week as she presented me with the question, “can you move forward, leading with the collapsed foot?” This question stimulated an existential shift. Can I allow my vulnerability to lead the show rather than leading with arrogance and the fixed identity of the ego? In that moment I understood the wisdom of my physical vulnerabilities. In Byron Katie’s book Loving What Is, she states, “When I am perfectly clear, what is… is what I want.” Her work is wonderful practice for acceptance.

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While I am becoming comfortable with vulnerability, both mine and other’s, I am appreciating the gifts of the physical symptoms and my own willingness to do whatever it takes to LOVE WHAT IS.
 
 
 

 
 
 
 


 
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