What I’ve learned so far….

I have been out of commission the last 6 weeks +. I had a shoulder replacement mid November and tomorrow, Christmas Eve, my constant companion (above) and I will be parted.This will mark the end of phase I of recovery, ushering in phase II.

This time has been my own personal prolonged Winter Solstice. A time of quiet, reflection, loss and gain.I have truly allowed myself the space to heal and reflect. Few commitments, physical therapy is priority, while I piece together this life changing time.I now appreciate how much the chronic pain was zapping my zest for life. Without it, I feel a renewed enthusiasm for everything.

I prepared myself mentally before surgery to have a possible bad out come. That meaning, I worried about what might happen on the operating table. It was hard to turn myself over to strangers who would intubate and sedate me while my shoulder was dismantled. I worried about post op pain control during these days of the opioid crisis. None of this turned out to be worthy of my existential energy. Just the opposite.It was all flawless. During one of my early nites post op as sleeping was particularly difficult, I was overwhelmed by a feeling of gratitude, the likes I have never before experienced. I felt completely connected to everything and everyone. I realized that this is not a whoo-whoo idea, but reality.

I began my recovery physical therapy(PT) at day 10 post op. Wow. I was shocked at my limits and the struggle. When someone suggested that PT stands for “pain and torture”, I temporarily latched on to that moniker. A couple of days later, I realized that this attitude toward PT was not serving me. As I do my exercises 3 X a day, I decided that this time is my yoga practice right now. This made a huge difference.

The small losses of independence (driving, dressing, having your food cut) were hard. My loss of them were only temporary. Soon, there will come a time when these and other losses will find me permanently. They do for all of us. I hope that I have developed the grace to embrace them with humor and curiosity.

And during this 6 weeks, two friends, one of them my yoga teacher, passed into the mystery. I was prepared for both losses, not that that preparation completely eases the pain of loss. Now it is time to turn my energy toward supporting those left with these losses over the weeks and months ahead.

As 2020 is on the horizon, I look ahead with purpose, gratitude and humility. This journey is not over. I look to the weeks to come and reconnecting. Gassho, namaste.

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