I mentioned in a past post that I have been having problems with my ribcage in the last few months, and I said I’d tell more about it later. There was more to be told because I have the feeling that that pain appeared for a very specific reason and had a specific purpose. It took me a while to get to writing about it, though, because telling that story involves exposing some flesh and, well, it’s not exactly the easiest thing to do… (and this turned out to be a very long post; sorry about that.)
So, ok, it’s not easy, but I’m choosing to do it, if only for me to work things out in a more systematic manner than would be allowed by just letting the various parts of the story hang around in my mind in a somewhat confused manner. Also because it seems important to me to share about where I’m at these days, and this whole thing is an important part of it.
The story goes back to late February, when I learned about the Dance of Shiva. Reading about it, I was immediately struck by how much it would help me. Stuck patterns? Check. Needing and wanting help dissolving them? Check. A long-standing longing for a better working brain (in no small part thanks to Chronic Fatigue Syndrom)? Check.
I was feeling very strongly that this was the right thing for me.
I got the kit and got into Shiva Nata, loving it as much as I knew I would. While practicing, I was consciously working on trying to understand and dissolve some of my patterns. At first I was mostly asking: “what keeps me stuck in passive mode, and keeps me from switching to a more active mode?” – I wanted to know more about the pattern I’ve talked about in my very first post.
I didn’t get huge epiphanies or crazy breakthroughs, but some great insights came up. Things like:
Oh, so I *must not* do the things I want to be doing, because if I do move forward with them, people around me would start expecting more from me (like, that I “live up to my potential” or some other such crap). And I really don’t want anyone to expect anything from me. I see.
Hmm, so I go to bed very late and sleep the whole morning away because that’s a way for me to ensure I won’t have a productive day. Interesting.
Anyways. With those pieces of information and the self-work I was doing, I could feel that things had started to shift a little. I was feeling better, things were going in the right direction, I knew I’d soon be moving forward on my projects. I was really happy about it all.
And this is when my sternum started bugging me. Pain. Cracking. Not fun.
Still, I kept going, hoping it would get better. When I gently stretched my arms one night and felt a rib cracking twice, I thought it was broken (turned out it wasn’t, but still: ouch), and I knew I’d have to stop doing Dance of Shiva’s arm movements until my thorax healed for real.
Before I got there, though, I had an insight about that pain.
One day, sitting quietly after my Shiva Nata practice, I asked my body for information about that thoracic pain. After that, I wrote in my journal:
It feels like there’s something that wants to come out, or to hatch, or to open, and there seems to be a part of me that tries to hold it back, to keep it from coming out because that part of me isn’t ready for it to happen.
Minutes later, the pain was almost gone. Was it because I let it tell me what it was trying to tell me, and I acknowledged it? It seemed so. Of course, the pain came back, and things worsened, but every time I talked to it, it noticeably lessened.
Not to say that it was all in my mind, of course: the pain was real and incapacitating, and I knew what had physically weakened my thorax a few weeks earlier (too much stress put on that part of my body by carrying a heavy bag during my last trip), thus explaining why the pain happened there. But still, the underlying emotional component felt very real too. The connection between that pain and the part of me that was scared and felt threatened by the changes that were happening was clear to me.
Throughout this whole thing, I thought very interesting that the fear chose to physically express itself in my… ribcage. Which, just as interestingly, happens to be the cage that protects my heart.
It was as if the bars of the cage had been hardening to keep the things that were shifting and moving inside from coming out, and as if these things were trying to crack open these bars so that the new patterns that were in gestation could hatch.
So, as part of the healing process, I’ve included reassurance to my inner self that I’d take good care of myself throughout all of the changes that I want to see happening in my life. I’m learning to talk and interact with my fears, though for now I’m mostly talking to them, as I can’t hear their answers very well. But still, I know they’re listening, and my talking to them helps. And I’m working on the listening part too, so that they won’t have to yell as loudly as they did with that pain. I’m getting back into trying to shift my patterns, but I’m doing so very carefully. I’m paying attention.
As for the physical healing, it’s going well. As you know, I’ve been back into Shiva Nata’s arms for a little while, so yes, my thorax is much better. The pain only happens occasionnally, and even then, it’s much lighter than it was. I simply hope that the sternum-cracking-every-time-I-sneeze thing won’t turn out to be a permanent after-effect…