Catharsis

I’ve been having some trouble with my left shoulder for a few weeks now.  I tell you this not for sympathy, but to explain why I was where I was today.

It’s bothered me so much lately that I’m not sleeping well, because I tend to flop a couple of times during the night, and now I wake myself up when I do.  I am coping fine.  Getting things done and all that.  It’s just I’ve had to compensate for it being out of whack.  And I’ve stopped doing planks with Justin every morning.  Enough is enough.

Finally I decided to do something about it.  Me + lack of sleep = unhappy me = Unhappy Family.  It’s the new math.  Or Mama math, as I like to think of it.

I made an appointment with a very skilled massage therapist.  He has helped with our Princess’ leg issues to the point where she rarely has the leg aches anymore.  He has straightened out my neck and shoulders and LOWERED my shoulders (stress, I know where you live) more times than I can count.  I knew if it could be fixed, he could do it.

When folks hear about massages, they picture relaxing and gentle with calm music, candles, lovely scents.

Just no.

This guy is kind and compassionate, but it hurts, y’all.  He chases those little knots around and pushes them out of you.  And it hurts like the dickens.  Until it stops.  And he releases the pressure, and you feel like a new person.

End result is awesome, but it takes some work to get there.  (Hmmmm, that reminds me of something I like to call life…..)

I walked in today, and told him the news that my neck was actually fine.  He listened to me whine for a couple of minutes and nodded.  He said he knew just what to do.

And he did.

But oh me.  I bit my lip and made fists and my feet came up off the table a time or two.  A couple of times I was worried my reflexes would kick in and I’d punch or kick him.  Each time the knot released and he let go, I could tell it was working but the pain got a lot more intense before it let go and felt better.

About halfway into it, he found a spot at the top of my shoulder, one of the instigators of all the trouble I’d been having.  When he went after it, it took my breath for a second.  As I remembered to breathe, I felt tears welling up in my eyes.

But they weren’t from the pain.

I was sad. And the tears welled up and dripped to the floor where I was looking through the hole in the table.

Oh the brokenness.

What.  on.  earth.

I couldn’t figure out what was going on, and then I remembered a wise doctor telling me that we carry our stories with us, even on a molecular level.

Ah.  So that’s where all the stuff has been hiding.  No wonder I couldn’t move my arm easily.  I’ve been holding onto some things.

I wasn’t sure if it was worries over future plans or the grief of my friend’s passing or the stress of spending a night on anaphylaxis watch with our Princess a few nights ago…..but I knew it was all in there.  Hiding in these little knots.  When he finished, I felt a weight had lifted.

Off my arm.  Off my soul.

Last Saturday night I sat listening to my cousin’s husband play at our favorite coffeehouse.  He shared his stories through song.  I laughed and listened and really enjoyed the evening.  He is talented and so open with the stories he shares.  It was all going really well, and then he played the song he wrote for his daughter.   The one about their connection at her birth and how he hopes he will see her as he takes his last breath.

It hit me at once all over again.  And the bandaid was ripped off, and the pain of my Daddy dying was raw and new, and I wept.

And it was good.

I don’t want to ever think about that and not feel, you know?

It was good to shed those tears.  It opened up something in me, I think.

Silly, isn’t it, what can bring us catharsis?  A release of all that is pent-up inside.  Of all that is screaming to get out.  We sometimes tell ourselves we have to pack up all of those emotions and feelings and tears and push it in a corner and keep on going.  Because we have things to do, people to see, places to be–we’ll get to it later.

Only we rarely do.  There’s no spot on a calendar for grief work or meditation, is there?

And so when we sit in a darkened theater and see a movie that moves us beyond tears, the box gets opened a little bit.  Or when we have to pull over to the side of the road because Colbie Caillat’s “Try” has us sobbing all of a sudden for some strange reason, a little more escapes.

It’s important not to stuff it all in and push it out of the way, I’m finding out.  At least for me anyway.  My arm and shoulder are begging me to keep working on taking a little bit out of that box everyday.

I don’t think it will every completely be empty.  Our hearts and souls rarely work like that.  But if I don’t stuff it down and keep sitting on it to keep the box shut like I’ve had to do on occasion with a suitcase, that’s progress.  If I can take a moment or two each day to take a little out and let it go, I will have done something.  Something cathartic.  Cleansing.

And that is a good thing.

Wishing you all a sad song on the radio just when you need it most.

Love to all.

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