During this period in which I’ve been really really physically compromised, I’ve been harshly reminded of just how much we take our health for granted and how much humbleness any degree of illness and injury entails. I have been through this before–I broke my neck once, for heaven’s sake–but forget because my independence is more important to me than–well, than everything except for Grace and my ability to communicate clearly. When I am not ill, I am swift and impatient, sometimes even rough. But right now, I can’t do much for myself–and I can’t do anything rapidly. It helps to have received a diagnosis—apparently, a torn psoas muscle will throw your entire back out of alignment and put you in extended spasm as it heals. But knowing what’s wrong doesn’t take the sting out of how immobilized I am. I can’t carry my trash to the curb. Can’t do my laundry in the basement. Can’t clean. Can’t fetch groceries. Can’t drive my manual-transmission car (operating a stick being the most butch thing about me.) Can’t even sit upright for any length of time, which means I can’t work by Zoom. (No Talking Pictures episodes or Ruby Intuition sessions until I heal.)
Even bending down to feed Grace takes some strategizing.
Many have stepped up and I am beyond grateful. (A former beau still willing to change your cat’s litter is the purest friend in the world.) But I cry at least 10 times a day not just out of pain (I am not in the business of meds) but out of frustration over not being able to do things myself. It scares me, honestly. What if something happens to Grace? What if there’s a fire in my building? Intellectually I know I will sort every issue out as it comes up and that this is not permanent. That muscles heal and that all the maladies I’ve experienced since I took my intuition practice online—from kidney troubles to back spasms—suggest I must learn to be a channel rather than a depository. That I must develop beautiful boundaries and a greater reserve of gentle strength. That I must trust in the Flow and also the Force. But the willful, resourceful child who runs too much of my show is just mad I can’t stamp my foot.
In between somatic healing exercises and energy work sessions, I walk carefully carefully carefully around the block for much-needed sunshine and to ensure my muscles don’t atrophy. And I’m amazed by how many people cut me off or blow up that I’m moving slowly. I suspect I don’t look as fucked up as I feel so they don’t realize how vulnerable I am.
But what if—and I’m just spitballing here—we all made it a practice to treat everyone with the degree of care you’d reserve for a person bleeding and prostrate on a sidewalk? Because on some level, especially this year, we all are.
I’m sending love —and not just because I’m literally surviving on yours. I’m sending it because only love air-lifts us to a better place.
Paintings: Egon Schielle.