Operation Healing: The Float Test

So, I've been healing since I last wrote.  I went to New York City and communed with my yoga tribe and my Guru Sri Dharma Mittra, and came home just...profoundly changed and cracked wide open and feeling like all kinds of healing was happening--physically and spiritually and in every other way.

And then, I was in a car wreck, two days later, on May 22nd, and my back was pretty messed up.

I didn't let it faze me.  I kept teaching my classes, kept doing my thing. I added in a chiropractor into the mix.  I'd never gone to a chiropractor and was pretty skeptical --but as often happens in my blessed life, I found the exact right person with the exact right technique--something called Active Release Therapy which went a long way to healing my neck, even though my lower back was still talking to me. Sternly.

And then I fell down in my driveway.

I didn't let it faze me.  I kept... doing... my thing,

Until, you know, the Universe decided that since I hadn't received the message I was supposed to receive when it was bouncing me off of things, it was going to up the ante.

Something gave way in my lower back last week.

I could not teach my classes.  I could not do my thing.

But get this: I am not letting it faze me!

Recently, as part of my ongoing research into all things nutritional, I read this article. In it, it said,

Laboratory mice were dropped into tall, cylindrical columns of water in what is known as a forced-swim test, which measures over six minutes how long the mice swim before they realize that they can neither touch the bottom nor climb out, and instead collapse into a forlorn float. Researchers use the amount of time a mouse floats as a way to measure what they call ‘‘behavioral despair.’’ 

I started thinking about that.

[Also, as an aside, can we not stop animal testing? If you want to recreate "behavioral despair," I can think of a zillion ways to create it using humans.  Have subjects stand in the endless line at Torchy's Tacos after many unsuccessful attempts to call in a to-go order. Exactly how long will a person with low blood-sugar stand in line behind the couple who define PDA before throwing up his/her hands and leaving? That happened to me recently and seriously, the guy in front of me was rubbing his girlfriend's ear like she was a Labrador --and that was just the start of their antics. BUT I DIGRESS. (Poor mice.)]

For me, ever since the Pain Years, whenever I've had some sort of physical setback --usually injury, although sometimes the FULF flares up --I have gone directly into PANIC MODE. It's a weird kind of PTSD --the one that says if I stop moving forward, I will lose the ability to do so. Like there's some finite amount of pain-free days I have and if I stop to heal or rest, I will be back on the couch again.  See you in three years.

So, what I think happens is that I swim and swim harder, and eventually, I find a way to climb out of the cylinder or I get lifted out.  I never do reach "behavioral despair."  Because I've  been there --heck, I LIVED there for a long time.  And nothing is as bad as that.

So, that's the good news.

The bad news is the panicking part --the EXISTENTIAL Despair. I go there after about, oh, five minutes.

Except for this time.  This time, I just decided not to do that. Even though I can't do the physical practice of yoga right now, I can focus on the other seven limbs. And I received instruction from Sri Dharma Mittra himself to concentrate on my meditation and pranayama --because stress is a bigger killer than low back pain.


I'm focusing on that for the next while until my back is healed.  I'm working on the whole practice, including eating an anti-inflammatory diet. And I'm trusting the Universe to handle all of the other fears that I have about losing my practice or my business.

This is all new ground for me, and is perhaps a much better test than the "Float Test." I'll keep you posted.


I was at a Rodney Yee workshop once, years ago, and he was talking about a time he fell down the stairs and hurt his back. He said that at first, he couldn't do yoga/exercises at all, but he would just lie there and visualize doing them, which he claimed was helpful. I hope you feel better soon!
Shaatzie said…
I see progress. I agree about the mouse test. I resent the idea that their little lives aren't as important as ours (Except if it's mycupboard they are in, and then, if they won't compromise their behavior, ah, well, I am not at the peak of spirituality yet, but we ALL are working on it, even when we don't know we are, because situations come to convince us we'd better start working, mediatating again.

I enjoyed following your 'adventures' and hope you keep writing. We panic less when we write, because magically, we write what we need to know.

Stay focused.
Kim said…
Not only is stress a bigger killer than low back pain, stress causes low back pain.