"If we can allow ourselves to feel vulnerable and insecure when that is what is arising, if we can be totally ourselves without any pretense, we will find a great inner strength"
~ Jack Kornfield
It’s safe to say that we really never know what is going to happen next. Two weeks ago, I didn’t know I was about to experience some of the most uncomfortable sensations in my body I’d ever had.
And I’ve had some pretty uncomfortable sensations.
Initially, I thought the pain and discomfort was a direct result of an opening in my spine during a yoga class. There was fever, headaches and body aches. Reactions in the body that aren’t uncommon when going through deeply transformational work. In Thai massage they call it a ‘healing crisis’. Ultimately upon reflection, I thought what was happening was a good thing.
But the headaches worsened, the fever continued to rise and fall. I tried everything I knew to do. Trigger point release, body work, acupuncture, meditation, restorative yoga, nothing helped.
Finally on day 7 of this penetratingly uncomfortable ride, I made my way to the doctor for some blood work.
On Saturday, the results came in and I was diagnosed with Lyme’s Disease.
2 weeks ago I was poised to close out the season in NYC with some great yoga events. I felt vibrant, full of energy and was teaching with sharp clarity. I was set to shuffle off to California for an exciting teaching tour in Santa Barbara, the Wanderlust Festival in Lake Tahoe, and then off to teach 2 workshops in Santa Fe, New Mexico with my wife Dana.
Today, two days before I leave for my big trip, I feel tired. I feel the result of days on end of high fevers and headaches. I feel vulnerable and insecure about my health. I don’t feel vibrant, nor do I feel full of energy, and clarity seems off somewhere in a foggy distance. The antibiotics feel harsh and abrasive on my insides. And as I allow for myself to feel all that is arising, without pretense, I will say in full candor, that I don’t have any sense of feeling the inner strength Jack Kornfield talks about in that quote.
But I do realize I’m simply at an arc in a process that has yet to resolve. If something must empty before it can fill, well, then I’m as empty as it gets. The deepest moment of Yin, before it transforms back into Yang. And if in this moment, reading this post you feel sympathy, please don’t. That’s not my objective in writing this. I offer this to give you insight into a process, as it’s happening, as it’s unresolved.
I know I will heal. I know experiencing this will, in some way, inform my teaching. I know what is waiting for me out in California, is a world of things I couldn’t even imagine possible. I know I will be vibrant, full of energy, and teaching with sharp clarity when the moment arises that I take the teacher’s seat.
And isn’t that interesting, it seems my inner strength just rose up to speak before I even had a chance to notice. Mr. Kornfield it seems, was right.
To be continued…
(photo credit: Misha Jenkins)