In an ideal world, we can continue forward never changing one flawed thing about ourselves, but instead the world is real. SO…F*CKING…REAL! For the last month I haven’t been able to sit or drive without feeling like someone is stabbing me in the back. I have to drive a lot. I have to sit to write, do lab work or the endless paperwork I avoid like pumpkin spice. The pain is coming from my contracted psoas. My intuition kept saying to me, “You need to change your ways!” I made note of it, then avoided the note.
Intuition is not always clear. Could it mean, the way I follow up every day with a beer? Is it the avoidance of the stacks of unopened mail in my office? Is it the outreach to community and family that are so deserving of my thanks and humble appreciation for all their support in the last two years? Maybe its the way my inner dialogue is akin to a 14th century flagellant—I mean, I’m such a freaking stupid idiot for thinking that way—oh, oops! Or maybe it’s just all of it?
I looked on the message boards about psoas stuff, and the general consensus is people get pain from their psoas when they are under extreme stress or have suffered a traumatic event. Here I raise my hand to testify. Digging deeper, though, it is associated with the suppression of anger, frustration, and other emotions. And let’s not forget fear! Here I take my hand down and hide. I haven’t written an open-hearted blog (or much of anything) in almost two years. The last piece I wrote was so vitriol, so anti-the-cosmic-maker, so dark, and yet also fiercely hopeful. Ironically, the hope was as frightening to me as the darkness, and so, after years of being religious about killing the censor, I self-censored myself into silence…
Psoas I was saying, the real world doesn’t let us stay with the status quo. Life flows passed us, over us and drowns us if we stay clinging to the anchor of the past. I’m not into that. I mean, I did write a series about the future, have always been progressively minded, and last year started Wild Child Extracts, a company that is extracting CBD from hemp—an industry to which the law is having a hard time catching up. Does that mean I can’t be stuck emotionally like some infantile narcissistic president? Apparently not. Waaa!!!
Here are my solutions:
I quit drinking coffee and replaced it with tea in hopes my muscles would relax some. I cut out my vices [insert your choice of frowney faces here]. Whoa, okay, just kidding. I greatly REDUCED my vices, and started taking my own product. No, this is not an infomercial, but let’s be real: CBD helps you sleep, helps relax your body, reduces pain, helps with anxiety, and doesn’t mess with your clear thinking like THC. All these things are needed for me.
I also sat behind my drumset and played the hell out of them. Drumming is serious aerobic exercise. You sweat, you have to keep moving, you have to breath deeply and calmly, and you have to relax your body while you’re doing it or your timing will be off. Deep breathing is on the list of Psoas cures. Music is also emotional, and to play it well, you have to express it.
Maybe most importantly, I’m writing about my emotions publicly, right here, right now. It’s not easy. I have a daughter with cancer—that fucking sucks! I have separated from the mother of my other three children and they live with me only part time. I was a stay at home dad for several years and very involved in their lives, education and family fun. I deeply miss them! I live in a small community. People still believe they have to choose sides when a couple separates. I get dirty looks from people that have no fucking idea who I am or why things are the way they are. It’s human nature. I have to respond with the energy of kindness and love anyway ’cause I’m that kind of guy, most days. Angry at the creator? Fuck, yeah. When a Jehovah’s Witness came to my door and asked me if I saw God’s love in my life, I wanted to say, “Fuck God; if it wasn’t for my community of friends and family helping me endure all that life is shitting on me from above, I’d be dead.” My faith is in people, not God, but I’m sure I’m missing something. Maybe it’s that through all of this, there has been an inner voice that has guided me that I’m pretty sure is not my own. It tells me what to do and not do at times, and things go well when I listen and not so well when I don’t. It could also be that I am bat-shit crazy. If your daughter gets cancer and you have to leave those small children that you love more than anything, it rewires your brain. You will feel crazy. It has been a slow difficult road back to feeling sane. It is a slower road to forgiving my creator. I’m used to being a person about love, joy, goodwill, health, and understanding. That’s why I’ve suppressed my emotions. Who wants to hear me spew the embittered darkness? Not me!
I’m starting to lighten up, though. I think I’m getting tougher; my kids, too–and not an angry kind of tough, but the kind that can listen to my daughter Stella’s cancer jokes and actually laugh. It’s all taught me a profound kind of joy that is found in the moment, appreciating simple wild beauty, good food, and the warmth of close friends all of whom have their own trials and pain. That’s the real lie we tell ourselves, that we are alone in what is hurting us, and yet if we open up to others, we find that we are so not alone. How selfish of me to hold it in and not share that someone else might not feel alone, and how narcissistic to think that my pain is somehow greater than my neighbor’s pain? As much as this time may hurt, I know that someday I will look back at it and be grateful. I have been gifted with witnessing life in a much deeper way and I can talk with strangers whose life went flying off the rails and feel compassion rather than a need to run from the horrors of their story. Life is a really harsh teacher, though. It makes the trials of high school feel like a day spa.
I can’t talk about what I’m doing to help myself without mentioning yoga, and my town’s True Center Yoga. Yoga has been a lifeline and I can’t say enough how much it helps move things through the body on every level. My psoas is just one of many ailments that I’ve dealt with the last two years, and no matter how much I groan on my way to yoga class, I have never once regretted going. Not once. I always come out feeling better than when I went in. This blog wouldn’t be complete without expressing my gratitude to my yoga teachers. Namaste!
Finally, I brainstormed a simple list of writing prompts to help kick my ass forward on its way to inner health and serenity—yes, my ass has an inner serenity, doesn’t yours? Here’s the list in case you want to play, too:
- 1. List 10 things you are avoiding. Don’t avoid this one.
- 2. List 10 negative things you say about yourself or about your life.
- 3. Now take those 10 negative things and turn them into affirmations (feel free to add others).
- 4. List 10 things you would like to do for yourself that you’re not.
- 5. Write about something you want to do, but haven’t had the courage.
- 6. List 10 reasons you are grateful for your work. (I added this one because my inner voice was getting overly negative and I needed to remind myself why what I am doing is so important. If you’re not grateful then maybe read “Weird in a World That’s Not, A Career Guide for Misfits, F*ckups, and Failures” by Jennifer Romolini.)
- 7. List 10 things that hurt you that you can’t change. When you’re done with this one–if you’re sure you can’t change them–burn the list and release!
You may find some redundancy in trying to complete the list, and no you don’t need to find a full ten. Don’t get judgey about my list! It’s really about holding up a mirror and asking yourself to look. Then out of the self-supported darkness you find there, transmute it into something that might actually help you. Psoas a way of thanks for being a part of my community, I wish you luck!