Well, in my last blog, I was my own personal champion for diving into the creative experience. And, I took the leap. . . and ended flat on my back. Literally.
Just as I was getting excited, ready to do the work!
I spent 3 days in bed with a horrible SI (Low back) injury, that kept me completely immobilized and out of work. Three whole days! I have never (ever in my 10 years of teaching) had to take 3 consecutive days off of work because of illness or injury. It was a first, and it was hard for me to swallow.
The first day, I was ok. I thought to myself "This is what it feels like to take care of myself. I can totally do this." The second day I said, "Well one more day won't be too bad, different classes will be missed. And, I just have to." Day three: "What is wrong with me? Three days? Oh no! What is everyone going to think?"
In many ways that sense of guilt hurt far more than the level 10 pain in my back. I worried that people were going to think all sorts of ugly negative things about me. I tortured myself about it for the entire time I was laying on my back, too injured to even hold up a book. I was certain that people were going to think that I wasn't trying hard enough to heal. That I wasn't being responsible and "pushing through" as truly motivated and reliable people do.
But, this was of course all in my head. The reality was I couldn't stand up or sit without intense pain. The reality was that no matter what anyone was thinking, I was physically unable to teach for three days. But, I couldn't let go of it. I was convinced of my doom and gloom as a professional dance instructor.
But, by the end of that third day of rest, I was finally able to stand without muscle spasm. On day four I gingerly went to teach, and everyone smiled, glad to see me, asked how I was feeling, expressed just how worried they were for me. One student even gave me a little Mexican incantation to help me heal. People weren't upset with me for being injured, they were compassionate. Far more compassionate than I was to myself.
A week later from the initial grab of injury. I am still healing, my pain has moved from a level 10 at the peaks to more of a constant 4. It still requires me to lay down and rest my back for long periods of the day, allowing the muscles to undo and the joint to heal. But now, I don't feel guilty taking that time to rest and heal. I am comforted by the reminder that people have shown me compassion and support. It is my job to honor them by showing the same gentle nurturing to myself. It doesn't have to be selfish; it doesn't have to be hurried. As Soto Zen Buddhist Susuki Roshi said, it is just "Things as it is."
And, I am worthy of healing just as I am.
So are you.
(PS The incorrect subject verb agreement in Susuki Roshi's quote is intentional. As a Budhhist he saw the multiplicity of the world as just aspects of everything as one. No duality. Hence we see plural, but the nature is singular. . . Pretty cool stuff).