Well, it’s my second day with my new morning ritual. I made a cup of tea and settled down on the couch under a warm blanket on this cool November morning. As I sipped my coffee, I mulled over my musings of yesterday. Thoughts about focusing on my personal development – and blogging – while continuing to teach and travel the world swirled around my brain.
But more importantly, my attention was also gently dropping down into my body. I paid attention to the various aches and pains that I could feel. I’m coming off months of travel between Asia, Europe and America, teaching in multiple cultures and most recently a sinus infection that had knocked me out for a few days, so there were plenty of aches and pains to feel. No part of my body really felt good. Every location I checked into had some kind of ache, pain, stiffness or pull in it.
And my left knee – my left knee that has been paining me for the last ten months, inhibiting my movements, preventing me from getting cardio exercise, and generally sucking my physical wellbeing – my left knee was like an impenetrable black box.
I could feel the tightness around the outside of the knee, and I could feel a couple of places that were actively painful, but I could not feel into the knee. Inside is some mysterious injury that has been causing inflammation. Inside is some wound that has made it painful to climb stairs. Inside is some weakness that has led me to form the habit of not bearing my full weight on my left leg, instead hiking up my left hip away from the ground out of reluctance to put my full weight through my knee… and leading to low back pain from my hips being out of alignment.
This impenetrable black box containing a secret wound that was causing me all kinds of grief.
As I mulled my life, my upcoming year and my knee injury, without consciously thinking about it I started pressing my foot back and forth against the arm of the couch; creating push and pull of my tibia forward and backwards across the knee joint. For the first time, I could actually feel into my knee. I could feel the upper surface of my tibia rubbing forwards and backwards against the lower surface of my meniscus. I could feel the periosteum (the soft, smooth outer surface of the bone) rubbing.
My conscious awareness had made it into the black box.
I focused my attention there, and continued with the gentle back and forth motion.
And then it came. Tears welled up in my eyes. My thoughts went to my heartbreak ten months earlier around the time I had sustained the injury. There was a gentle release of emotions.
As I continued, I became aware of connections to other body locations. Some chronic tightness from my jaw just let go (as I no longer needed to hold on to controlling my own emotions). A place in my neck released, and I found myself rotating my head from side to side and I explored the new freedom of movement (allowed by the new freedom to feel that particular emotion). Somewhere in my lower right ribs lit up with intense awareness of how tight I had been holding those ribs, and then relaxed for the first time in months as I let go of the pain of having felt betrayed by someone so important to me.
And then I was done. For today, at least.
Later in the day as I was walking in the grocery store, I felt a freedom of movement in my left knee that I hadn’t felt since before the injury. It was exciting to feel my leg naturally extend fully as I pushed off the ground instead of always staying slightly constricted as it has over the last year.