>, < or = to Courage?

Life has been super full the past few weeks. With the help of friends and strangers, I put my kids on a plane to Texas for Spring Break. Getting ready was an exhausting chore, and now, I’m still in healing mode.

The house is quiet. I’ve been able to hear myself healing. And the quiet has brought me time and space to really listen.

I’ve been in Physical Therapy for several weeks now and I haven’t taught Yoga for the length of therapy. I wear a brace on my hips (thanks to Becky, who loaned me her old pregnancy belt) to keep the laxity from flying into pain, which can be incredibly intense.

So, like with any injury, illness, yoga or accident related, lessons abound. I learn about all the little muscles and tissue and ligaments that support me with every step.

I’m learning that although my illness has taught me to be strong, and taught me to fight like a warrior, I am not that at all. I have created a facade, a valance, a persona that is NOT telling the truth of my life, nor is it telling the truth of my body.

My body became so strong over the years, it helped me to deny the facts. That the numerous infectious diseases were creating an ugly terrain, a life-threatening, deceptive one at that.

I am strong. So what?

What really matters in this, my disease, is courage.

So I looked at my body over the past few days. And, I looked at what this hip business is trying to teach me. At the very core of my body (and subsequently, at the very core of my being), I have no courage. It is masked by the strength. It has lost its balance. Lyme has caused me to believe that extremes are the only options. Black. White. No gray.

Strength is good, right? Courage is better? Strength without courage is equal to or greater than the most ruthless bully on the playground. Strength without belief in yourself is less than or equal to the bully’s victim.

“I’m not that sick.”
“I can do it all.”
“I fight for my kids!”
“I can do a backbend. A headstand. An arm balance. Look! I am healing.”

No. Strength is not nearly as important as balance, and I’ve lost site of that.

None of my statements above prove that my treatment is working. What is proof is my courage to tell the truth. To accept what I know about myself.

I have no core strength. I am even afraid of those words, “core strength.” I let other people, other truths, other muscles, other beliefs stand in for the absence of courage to create the illusion of strength.

On some level, I have believed that somehow, I am flawed because of this. I can barely do boat pose, and not for lack of trying. I shake and shudder, with an over active neuro system and with fear. I believe that I am somehow less than what I need to be. Truth be told, I am right here. In all that I am. I have an illness that is trying to subtly destroy me. Up until this point, it has been winning. But no more.

I have decided to nurture the spark of courage that remains in my core. Even if I have to postulate that there is, indeed, still a spark, I will do that. Maybe through Pilates. Maybe through prayer. Maybe through the simply acknowledgement that it has been thoroughly eaten away by this insidious disease and I’m am truly afraid.

My New Mantra: I am awake to the absence of courage in my body and my being. Even if the image I project reflects just the opposite, by owning the truth I can allow Courage to grow, blossom and flourish. Only Courage can be Courage. And only through balance can I find my true Strength.

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3 responses to “>, < or = to Courage?

  1. I love you my sister! I hope we can find courage and strength in this.. I know the fear is what eats me alive… Thank you for being so honest. πŸ™‚

  2. Wow. This is beautiful and really heartwrenching. It is courageous to write these things.

  3. Ditto. I’m going to have to reflect on this one. One thought is that we all have courage deep within, but it can get obscured and difficult to access when we allow fear thoughts to get the upper hand. And that the e latter is a common thing – certainly something that I often do. If I had a life-threatening illness, the challenge would be much greater. So, for starters, I wish you total self-forgiveness! (if you’re not already there.) Much love to you and yours. See you soon!

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