About five years ago, whether or not I would survive became a very real question. I didn’t know that immediately. All I knew was that my life, on literally every level, suddenly began imploding. It’s just that the “suddenly” part… well, wasn’t actually so sudden. I promise to get to that soon enough.
Mine is not a more typical tale of a big diagnosis and a body wracked and wrecked and a noble bravery through brutal treatment regimens and ultimate triumph. Well, except for the body wracked and wrecked part. That I have definitely known down into my bones.
No, mine is a story that joins the rising chorus of so many other stories. So many words that have needed to be spoken for so long about one word that all but didn’t emotionally exist when I was born just over fifty years ago. A most unpoetic word. Trauma.
Mine is a story about how trauma, when not transmuted emotionally, manifests bodily. Aggressively so. And, a story about how our massive modern medical edifice, obviously teetering in so many ways, is like a house of crazy cards when it comes to profoundly needing to heal from the inside out in order to heal at all. In order to literally survive.
I nearly died. My bones know that deeply. But because I nearly did, I now know things – and have done things – I could not have known or done otherwise. I know that telling stories is not just something we do but quite technically what we must do to stay alive. I know that how Native Americans use the word “medicine” is more medically true than how the West is using it. And, I now know that shamanic death is definitely a thing. A real and actual thing. It is a spiritual dying that can lead to spiritual rebirth. But, it by no means includes a guarantee of experiencing that rebirth in this lifetime, because it is in some complex way both cause and effect of a body cutting it extremely close to really dying. Close enough to go either way.
Well, it obviously went this way. I am still here. Body and soul.
At least for now.
For now is all I know now.
Which has turned out to be a huge blessing. I truly recommend it. The fully being here now part, not the nearly dying part. I would love to offer you what I’ve learned. Minus the nearly dying part, of course.
Because here is what is so weird. Now that I keep having visceral realizations of that thing we glibly call the present moment – it just feels like being somewhere between “I’m here” and “I’m still here” – I also keep having these genuinely joyful momentary experiences, and all they are is just something like Life Death No Control Never Know But Here Now And Either One And Either Way Wow Yeah It’s True The Only True Being Is Just Be Here Now Because… Well, Just Because.
Just Because turns out to be a good enough reason to be joyful. Way good enough.
Good enough to now, here and there and often enough, really and truly know joy in my bones. In my body. Which turns out to be where joy needs to be situated in order to be truly manifested. It turns out all that meditating and mindful stuff I did for ages… well, it does prepare a hallowed ground in our bodies for joy, but it isn’t the actual joy. After a lifetime of trying to think my way into what I now simply feel, it turns out that being completely forthright with and about and for our own bodies is how to create and to be and to know joy.
Joy is this weird realization that I am trying to describe and that I hope to somehow share as I begin again to write this blog about this one body and this one soul’s spiritual unfolding. I truly wish for every soul to know joy in their bones. For any number of good aspirations and good reasons, but mainly, you know…