Friday, 26 April 2013

One step at the time

My foot, which underwent surgery four days ago, insists on constant attention like a child. Every movement I make is a trial. The fact that I must concentrate on every move involves me in an elaborate kind of dance, which I'm sure must look rather hilarious to my family. My body tells me that it needs to be this way or that. And no, the toes can't point that way. At the toilet, put your knee here. Breathe deeply if you need to. Now get down on all four. Point the leg skywards while you read the book!

It's a slow and awkward dance, but it still feels like a dance since the movements need to be right and since they absorb so much of my attention. Maybe it's like walking on thin ice. Maybe it's like climbing in a tree where I don't know if the branches will hold.

At the same time, no movement brings total relief. With every move, I grope towards a state that feels a tiny bit better, that's all. Like in a labyrinth, the exit from pain is nowhere in sight. I need to grope my way towards it. Sometimes it feels like there's a line which I cannot see, but which I can feel my way along.

Pain is my Ariadne's thread. It's what I want to get away from, but it's also my guide. It's the language of my nerves. It can come unexpectedly, in flashes. Sometimes it wells up like a wave. Usually it wants me to move, but sometimes it's just there, like a stone, an object demanding all my attention and refusing to go away.

When I talk about pain, I'm really talking about the movement of heart and mind. You guessed it, right? It's ki (or qi in Chinese), or part of ki to more precise. You all know it from Star Wars. It doesn't provide me with a map, but it can be quite stubborn about what my next move should be. It can be wrong, but usually, if I follow it, things become a little better. They lighten up somewhat. At least that's my experience so far. Here comes a generalization (somewhat on the cheap): Whenever you're stuck, do one thing at the time. One small step, and then another. It works for pain, for human relations and for too much work. Don't try to move the mountain. Go for the pebbles, and forget about the mountain. Think of how winter turns into spring. A little at the time!

Don't put the foot here! Point it in the other direction! Now, lower it to the floor! Let your toes touch the carpet! And listen to your stomach as well. It's time to get something to eat!

Labyrinth by Voitv

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