A friend has asked if I understand the mind-body connection, particularly with reference to backs, and boy, I certainly do. When my daughter was a year old, my back pain was so bad I couldn’t stand up and had to go to bed for six weeks with disc trouble, which I later saw was really marriage and life trouble.
So now, yes, my body has decided to take a little dive, to allow me to lie down and say “Help.” I know that in terms of stress and pain, mine is nothing; there’s an article in the paper on a couple watching their blithe two-year old daughter die of cancer. I can’t read it.
But still, this year – the birth of a grandson, watching my daughter turn into a superb mother, thinking of the young years of my own motherhood, which becomes, sometimes, a catalogue of what I did wrong. My mother, nearly dead several times, me flying or driving to Ottawa to say a last heart-rending goodbye, only to have her recover and sit chatting about the weather. Accepting the presence of death.
And, not inconsequential, the shock, disruption and expense of discovering that termites had devoured the back end of my house. Plus the usual on-going neuroses, worries about kids, friends and other family, and then, hey why not, my own life – writing work, which is sporadic, teaching work, which is fulfilling but draining, and always, the intense focus on my flaws.
So right now, all of that, it’s sure, has conspired to turn me into this sloppy bundle of sneezes and groans. It’s cold and grey outside, dull light, not a speck of sun. And Christmas is coming, which of course is entirely non-stressful and full only of peace and goodwill.
Despite back pain, I have to get the Christmas box out of a far corner of the basement and decide on a tree and get cards out and make lists. Must get outside today and feed those poor birds who are hovering hopefully around the empty feeder. First, to the Y, to sit in the steam and make myself well.
And at some point, I’ll try to sit still and be mindful and really feel what I’m feeling. If I dare.