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Saturday, November 18, 2017

The Body as Metaphor

Taking a lesson from connective tissues to connect to our issues.

Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?
The Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to
Alice: I don’t much care where.
The Cat: Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go.
Alice: …so long as I get somewhere.
The Cat: Oh, you’re sure to do that, if only you walk long enough.

- Alice and Wonderland, Lewis Carroll

What have I done?

What will I do?

How will I move on?

Where will I go from here?

What will I do once I am there…

I can’t pretend to know a thing about growth and rebirth, about suffering or love. What I write here is conjecture, is the movement of my own heart working in ways that has more to do with movement than it does with beauty. But there is beauty in movement, a dancer to a stage, a yogi to a mat, a climber to the rock, a surfer to the wave. We move in great ways, we move in small ways, we become great in small ways.

What does this have to do with the body? …Bear with me, oh patient ones, I am about to explore the boundaries and limitations of that which is our inner selves…the connective tissue.

Like with autoimmune diseases, sometimes our body is TOO good at it’s job of protecting and healing, and the result can be painful…in rare cases, deadly.

Fascia, a cobweb-like connective tissue in our body, is designed to adhere to the surround tissue. You know that jelly-like, thin little layer of skin you peel off your chicken (don’t be gross, I hope you do)? That’s an example of fascia! Muscle groups, blood vessels, nerves…it helps serves as an anchor for passageways. When we become injured, fascia just overachieves.

If you’ve ever stretched consistently, you’ve probably noticed some development of flexibility over time. There may be some areas of your body, however, that you just CAN’T seem to get at, no matter how much you twist, turn, scream and shout. This may be your fascia.

Deep tissue massage, or even a styrofoam roller ball in which you can sit on and break up fascia in nearly every major muscle group may be an ideal option for you. But consider getting a professional, medical opinion before completely ruling out what may be causing your fascia to harden, prior to any self-diagnosis.

Do you know the difference between a ligament and your fascia? Both are connective tissue. Ligaments bind bone to bone, distensible, but NOT elastic. Snapping ligaments can be related to snapping little pieces of plastic in your body.

Which isn’t to say that the stretching of a ligament isn’t possible. As a living organism, ligaments may be stretched very gradually over time. Another example of stretching a ligament? A sprained ankle.

When you break an ankle, duh, it’s a bone. When you sprain an ankle, you are over-stretching your ligament. The only problem is, ligaments are NOT elastic.

That means they can’t stretch, right?

Well, we’ve already demonstrated when you plummeted down those stairs with all those library books and your reading classes that a ligament CAN stretch, otherwise you wouldn’t be hobbling around on the pavement and reading dumb articles like these for relief.

Elasticity actually refers to the connective tissues (or rubber bands…) ability to RE-GAIN it’s original shape.

My father once told me in academic writing you SHOULD NEVER SHOUT AT YOUR READER. But I prefer a sledgehammer approach to writing, much like how he prefers a sledgehammer approach to cooking. So there. *nah!*

In this sense, a ligaments inability to regain it’s original shape post-pain is why a sprain in many cases may actually be worse than a break itself. The old hum-drum phrase “it’s just a sprain” is more of a pish-posh why of saying, I’ve got no clue what I’m talking about.

Therefore, the outside of the affected, sprained ankle will always be somewhat looser than your UNsprained ankle. Maybe your loved one will lovingly push you down the stairs again so you can lovingly balance out your lovingly ligaments.

No, silly, don’t do that, I was kidding. Keep that ligament young and strong like bull, mmkay?

Now why would the body so such an odd thing as to disavow us the ability to heal back to au-naturelle, original form?

Because when we stretch our muscles, when we’re reaching under and around and over and backwards, our ligaments help stabilize our bones and body and keep up looking saucy. If it weren’t for your ligaments, every time you stretch, it would feel exactly like that last time, with none of that fancy development. Say goodbye to your bow pose. Say goodbye to touching ye toesies. That ability to hold things in place counteracts our muscles ability to BE completely elastic and…go back to it’s original shape.

So hah.

So like fascia, like, autoimmune disorders, ligaments, and various other parts of our physical bodies we have a way of tharwting ourselves despite our best intentions.

We get in the way of ourselves.

So when you sit down at the office, prepare yourself for the long day ahead, when you thumb through your planner, when you decline those dinner plans because you have work to do and bills to pay and mouths to feed, ain’t nothing in this world for free, right?

Sorta true…

It’s when we do TOO much, take on too many projects, try to gung-ho the entire healing process and plow full speed ahead that we end up doing more harm than good. Many of the pains and ailments people will with on a daily, chronic basis, have to do with the body’s natural healing process (or structure), and it’s sincere, give-it-your-bestest effort to restore you to original form. The downside is, with everything working against each other, taking on the simple daily projects of pumping blood and recycling oxygen and converting phospholipids and puzzle-piecing neurotransmitters and hinge joint this and sensory nerve this and ne that….MAN! Our little bodies have a LOT TO DO.

And so do weeeeeeee!!!!!!

Now before you start hyperventilating I have sunshine waiting amidst your cold dark rain.

SIIIIIIIIIIIMMMMMEERRR, man….

Say it like that, long and drawn out. mmmmm, it feels so good once it hits your lips.

Take a note from your body. Don’t take on more than you can chew. You and your body will find a way to cope with each other, gradually, overtime, you will learn a yin-and-yang kind of tango between the physical and the metaphysical that can turn your FIgHT FIGHT FIGHT! responses down a few notches and turn that inner quarterback into a matriarchal ballerina…or a yogi! You know how I love them yogis.

Missing me from cyberspace? I spent the past week driving across country San Diego-Tahoe-Chicago, moving three years of It’s a Wonderful Life back to my home town, sweet home Chicago. What once took me two days and 30 hours of driving, a year later took me 5 days. Why? I was exhausted. I was hauling back traces of my humanity in cardboard boxes with little more than a hatchback and a stuffed tiger from childhood to carry the weight.

I shut out the extended hands for help, I poo-pooed my mother, my brother, my friends, who reached out and offered to help me move, drive, fly, whatever it took because they sensed the long journey ahead, and because they loved me, wanted to help. I gave myself a week before starting classes full time to completely up-heave my life AND my lifestyle.

Just because I was up for the challenge and excited about beginning that journey as soon as possible, no one ever said it had to be a one-woman show.

Which isn’t to say yet another drive cross-country for Sexy Sadie the Honda Fit wasn’t an enlightening and worthwhile experience. But I certainly made the entire process harder on myself. And I certainly wish I had someone to share the ride (yes, it’s a pun) with.

I made it harder on myself. I made it more expensive on myself. I made it more lonely on myself. I learned a lot, got kicked in the butt, stressed and teased, laughed and cried, and suffered over hotel room cable and a cheap bottle of wine in a plastic cup.

We can be incredibly grateful for the experiences we have endured, as they have come. Adversity doesn’t have to be fought off with an iron skillet, it can be invited in like hot pancakes wafting up the stairs in the morning to rouse you from slumber. Adversity, however, does not need to be created.

In a Buddhist sense, suffering is a necessary and inherent part of the physical “sheath” – this layer of life in which we now reside, herein our physical bodies, this life we lead…it can suck, sometimes, and that’s okay.

But just don’t make it suck more than it has to, because you have something to prove. Most times, you think you’re proving Mom and Dad and your ex-boyfriend wrong, but really, bottom line is, it was an insecurity from within that perhaps instilled a doubt that you did indeed have something to prove.

When we think we are proving the world wrong, they’re wrapped up in their own dirty deeds, and we are really out to prove it to ourselves.

So take on those projects at work, chug full speed ahead at your passion, and love every minute of a challenge. But don’t shoot down the aiding hand or the shoulder rub or that amazing hug you didn’t realize you needed until you got it. And if you aren’t getting what you need…don’t be afraid to reach out the other way too.

If you begin – anything, the day, a project, a challenge, a sandwich – believe in yourself. First and foremost. Never lose that. You CAN heal, over time, every day. The smallest of ways that we don’t notice tend to make the biggest differences. Your body wants so badly to take on your injuries hardcore and overachieve sometimes because we are physical and inherently built to LOVE OURSELVES.

Your body wants you to survive, and your body will fight for you until your last, beautiful breath. Your body, YOU, already believes in you….you just have to let it.

Love the challenges my friends, savor the healing, and bite your lip when the pain gets tough. Sometimes we need external resources to help what is internally plaguing us. What is your medicine? Before you take on too much, before you overachieve, ask yourself – what is your end goal? Not what you WANT….when you scan your mind’s eye ten years in the future, five, one year, who is it that you envision yourself to be? Who do you want in your life? Love and happiness should be your keys, and luckily, those things are available to you, right now, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health.

Peace and love,

your friendly, neighborhood, Deanna.



About the Writer

Deanna Meiresonne is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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