I injured my wrist in early summer. I have been prone to tendonitis—knees, ankles, elbows—for years, with each small injury taking forever to heal again, and any sudden strain on these joints can quickly bring back the pain. In this case, gardening was likely the culprit; I’d been putting in a lot of shovel time, digging in the hard, dry clay to make homes for various new veggies, flowers, and trees I had picked up at the nursery. Not serious, and hardly a crippling pain, but to try to play guitar, for example, was excruciating for a time. I had to turn down two requests to play, as I just would not be able to get through even one tune.
Nonetheless, I have found that when I’m active, exercising (I run or cross-country ski almost every day), and eating healthy, regular meals, I have little or no pain—everything is flowing better, and everything feels better. More is at work than a particular part in the machine. We are whole, integral, and not a mere collection of pieces.
I have stopped accepting long recovery time as inviolately given. Using what I had learned from my hiking trip self-healing discovery (see previous post), I concentrated on expanding the energy where my wrist hurt. It would go away, then return, and I’d repeat the process each time. No miracles here, which was fine—when we exercise and eat right to lower blood pressure, for example, we’re not expecting instant results, but that doesn’t mean improvements aren’t happening. This happens a lot in my healing work too—ten days after the session is a much better guide than immediately afterward. Once energy is flowing better, everything benefits. And indeed, my wrist improved over the week—not completely, but substantially. I could play again at least.
But something else happened too. As the week wore on, I had a growing sense of strings of light through and around my hands, wrists and forearms, extending from shoulders to past my fingertips. Just as tendons ripple through the forearm as fingers are flexed, so too these strings of light energy rippled with my activity. Very cool, and it helped significantly with releasing the energy in my wrist, since I was now concentrating on the whole, not focusing on a part, which can tend to reinforce the condition—I know an online group dedicated to one particular pain syndrome; they largely post photos of their condition and complain to each other. Definitely. not. healing.
I returned to the Adirondacks. The day was very hot, so I wore flat canvas boat shoes, despite my previous lesson in foot wear vs. foot pain. I used what I had learned—I’ve become convinced that all pain and illness is essentially trapped energy. We don’t fight it—we release it. So as I walked, I continually released energy. The strings of light in my fingers and arms also extended all the way down my back, from below the ground to over my head. I walked six hours, with no pain or soreness anywhere. Nice. Very nice.
The last two hours of my hike that day, after the first six hours of walking through the wilderness trail, was up Black Bear Mountain. While not sore, I was getting tired, especially my legs and feet, and I wondered about the wisdom of saving this climb for the end. But I concentrated on the strings of light, and something amazing happened. I climbed with ease. I had a strong sense of being one of the big cats, powerfully prancing up the territory. I felt lighter, stronger. My dog noticed the change, and changed her gait as well. I could see she was using the same energy, natural to her, rediscovered to me.
But here’s the thing—as I climbed, I was *less* tired. Less! I could still feel the tired muscles, but I had More energy, and could have continued for quite a while past the summit. I was suddenly using ALL of my body’s energy, with far more muscular strength. The same was true later descending, an activity usually murder on my knees, especially down this mountain, as the descent route is sharply down several steep rock surfaces. But my knees were fine. My legs were tired, but not sore, and I could have continued for quite a while more, even when reaching the car after the entire eight hour hike.
The next day, I got some more insight into this extra strength. While none of the traditional muscle groups were sore from the hike, I did feel a very slight soreness in my calves, easily released, and a soreness in the muscles on the outside of my lower legs. I didn’t even really recognize I had muscles there before—like the muscle behind your upper arms most people find when they learn to breast stroke. I had been adding muscles to my climb that I don’t ordinarily use. Letting my “strings of light” energy do the work had better orchestrated my activity. This muscle was sore for a few days—though only when walking, as it was fine when climbing stairs (conversely, my calves were fine except when descending stairs). I was literally stronger just by better using physical resources I already had, but hadn’t recognized. Letting the energy guide me again, I realize that if I consciously kept my feet under my center of gravity when walking, even this soreness vanished.
The point here is that working from the totality of our energy, we best allocate our resources. Using total muscle groups in balance is just one example. Consider yoga practice to balance energy; often this will erase cold or allergy symptoms, simply because the body is working more efficiently and can better handle the extra stress. Same with T’ai Chi – energy is flowing, and your entire body benefits. Emotional and mental benefits accrue as well. And of course, whether we call it prana or chi, spiritual benefits accrue too. We are part of a system, a universal system, and like the economy, it’s meant to flow.
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October 2012 is a series of daily posts about “A Wilderness Hike,” taking readers through the healing of wilderness experience and glimpses of my work at Kwan Yin Healing and of my book, “Getting Unstuck.”
You can read the series from the start via the links here:
Oct. 1: A Wilderness Hike
Oct. 2: The Sixth Hour
Oct. 3: Snowy Mountain
Oct. 4: Letting Go of Baggage–the Wilderness Way
Oct. 5: “Bear” the Thought
Oct. 6: Mountain. Buddha. Impermanence.
Oct. 7: The Rewards of Rain
Oct. 8: Finding the Keys
Oct. 9: “I’d love to, but times are bad.”
Oct. 10: Attracting the Law of Attraction
Oct. 11: We are not our thoughts
Oct. 12: Honesty, Forgiveness, Healing
Oct. 13: Getting Unstuck: Feeling Overwhelmed
Oct. 14: Money is remarkably easy to come by, if that’s all you want.
Oct. 15: To be Time Rich, Learn to Be
Oct. 16: Changing Thoughts for Changing Work
Oct. 17: Finding and Sharing your Gifts
Oct. 18: Do you want to be the boss? Be sure you want to run the show.
Oct. 19: Finding jobs within jobs
Oct. 20: Bright Mountain Dream
Oct. 21: Escape the Wilderness of Addictions
Oct. 22: The Importance of Spiritual Direction
Oct. 23: In Search of Enlightenment
Oct. 24: Relationship Thoughts from the Wilderness
Oct. 25: We learn in realtionships
Oct. 26: Chrysalis
Oct. 27: Self-Healing, part 1
Oct. 28: Self-Healing, part 2: Time for a new perspective
Oct. 29: Dix Mountain
Oct. 30: The Mist-Filled Path
Oct. 31: From Wilderness to Wondrousness