Conditionally Perfect Swearing (beware)

Frustration came to a hilt this past weekend which resulted in a meltdown. But apparently that wasn’t the peak of it (or the lowest point, depending on the view), because then there was another.

The pain in my ass (literally… but specifically my SI joint) has not only not been improving, but has been worsening. This long time issue is at an all time downer.

Truly, I have nothing to complain about. It’s not so bad that I can’t sleep, or I’m on pain meds, or God forbid immobilized. My frustration is so ego-based. The dialog is something like:

“I take great care of myself, I’m fit, healthy, conscientious, all body-evolved with fancy yoga moves and whatnot… why the fuck does my ass still hurt?”

And… better yet, if it’s not my fault surely it’s someone else’s:

“I’ve been to an acupuncturist, two chiropractors… even Lisa the Rolfer can’t fix me.”

Two pieces of truth came my way and helped soften the grip of ego (a good cry wouldn’t hurt either).

The first was from Donna Farhi. She has written about her chronic back pain and how she used to practice with the goal of soothing the pain: if the pain was gone, it was a “good” practice, if the pain remained, she had failed. I have been approaching my practices in this same way. It has impacted my joy, inspiration, and creativity in the physical practice as only pain and fear of “failure” can. Farhi calls this “conditionally perfect”… this life, body, moment are perfect only if certain requirements are met.

The second gift was from Christina Feldman in a talk we will use in the TT this weekend. She tells a story about a much loved birch tree in her yard that her neighbors want removed because it’s uprooting the water lines. Her first reaction is one of anger and ego… “MY birch tree is not going anywhere.” After identity and ownership soften she reflects, Why would this tree, just because it is mine, or just because it is beautiful, be exempt from impermanence?

This line really caught me off guard today. The arrogance of thinking that I shouldn’t have pain just because…? I’m young? (relatively) I’m a yoga teacher? I don’t want it?

And I really don’t want it.


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