I’ve been out of commission the past few days with back pain. My chiropractor diagnosed me with a herniated disc. I know it isn’t that simple. This has come on for the past month with the symptoms increasing daily. The very foundation of my self is being challenged by this situation. I am a yoga teacher. I lead a very physically active life. Not being mobile is heartbreaking. I have taken my physical health, my strength and my vitality very much for granted these past few years. This has made me take a step back and take a look at what deeper issues are lurking within my psyche that are causing the physical pain.
At first I thought it was fear that was finally moving out of my body. According to Louise Hay in You Can Heal Your Life lower back pain is indicative of not feeling supported. That can mean financially, or by the people in your life. I have recently been practicing radical trust and thought my back pain was a symptom of old stuff “back there” moving out. I thought, in my case, it was my fears around money or the lack thereof. As the pain got worse I realized I had to go even deeper within myself to find the clues to the back pain. As I did this I began to understand that I have not loved my body. In fact, I have disowned it for much of my life.
I grew up with four brothers and a very religious mother. I never saw my mother’s body. She always covered up from head to toe. My brothers being teenage boys did what most boy’s do: tease their sister. I have always been self-conscious about my body. So many of my choices these past 20 years have been to change my body in some way. And underneath all the self-consciousness was yet an even deeper issue. I don’t really want to be here.
Take note: I am not depressed or suicidal or any of that. I simply wanted to prove myself worthy to go back to God. This does not make sense of course. Our psychosis rarely do. For years I have tried to perfect myself in many ways. If I became a vegetarian I could prove myself worthy. If I did enough yoga and meditation I would prove myself. If I could lose this fat around my belly, etc. Of course, my body rebelled against all of it. Every time I attempted a vegetarian diet I would feel sick after a while. And the intense yoga I’ve done for years has now shown up in my back. And, I never have lost the fat around my belly.
The body never lies. It will always tell the truth. The truth is I have not been supporting myself on this journey called life. I have been so busy trying to get it all perfect that I have not accepted myself on the physical level. I have tried to transcend my humanness. My physical body has shown me for years that it doesn’t work that way. I haven’t been listening.
*Acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. I have to accept that I am perfect exactly as I am. That is the only way I will find peace and healing for my body. I am taking long, deep, conscious breaths to get into my body. Each breath has been an intentional breath deep into my belly. When I focus on acceptance I can feel myself struggling with the breath. I have disowned myself for so long that this breath of acceptance is a challenge. Through this process I have committed to being here. I know that when the breath comes easily I will have owned myself and my physical body. I am not there yet. But I have faith. In myself.
*pp. 449 Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book