Wednesday, February 08, 2012
Tending Other Gardens
I want to tell you a story. It is a true story. It is a very personal story. Before I begin, I want to attract your attention to the subtitle of this blog. When I started this blog, a tad over six years ago, I described it thusly, “Here you will find thoughts, tips, book reviews, gossip, and scandalous secrets related to gardening, cooking, health, nutrition, politics and what ever else crosses my mind . . . Watch out!” (Ok—there is a grammatical error in there, it has been there for the last six years. It is going to stay. I have not changed the description since I first wrote it. I am not going to change it now.)
Now—even though the title of this blog, “Real Food & Scandalous Gardening Secrets,” and its description implies there might be controversial content, I have mostly stuck to fairly non-controversial gardening topics. This is because I get plenty of critical e-mail when I steer away from what my readers think is the straight and narrow. (But nary a word otherwise.) Hello!!??!! This is my blog after all. I am taking back my rights. You don’t have to like it. No amount of complaining e-mails will correct it for you. It is, my blog, after all.
This story is for my Sweet Sister, Lisa; and for all the rest of you who I already know I love, for those of you I am yet to know I love, and for those I am not yet evolved enough to figure out how to love—even though maybe I should.
Those of you who know me well, in real life or simply from my facebook page, are well aware of the accident I was in seven years ago. Since that accident I have suffered from involuntary muscle contractures. They are related to, but not as severe as, what is seen in stroke victims—when their hands and arms draw up in permanent contractures. In my case, these contractures affect small groups of muscle fibers, entire muscles, or small groups of muscles—instead of my entire arm, for instance. They occur, primarily, in my right arm and shoulder, the right side of my back and neck, my right hip, my right foot, and my right calf.
However they can roam around a bit just to keep things interesting. They are painful and disabling. I have learned that I can stretch them out—it takes time and concentration. So far they always reoccur. These muscle contractures are some of the weeds in my personal garden. Weeds are not all bad. Weeds are our teachers.
Now, I want you to know, that after seven years, I am so ready for this to change. So ready. But I had no Idea how to effect that change. I do understand a little something about the power of the mind. And I have slowly been recovering from the brain injury I sustained in the accident. My mind is beginning to remember what it is capable of doing; it is beginning to remember important lessons cultivated by important teachers.
Even though I don’t know how to effect the specific change I want, I know how to effect change. That requires changing thought. So I just started saying “Transformation.” “Transformation, transformation. I am in a transformation. I am transforming.” Maybe 100 times a day. Maybe 1,000 times a day. Over and over. I have been doing this for at least a month. Sometimes we need to persevere.
After the first few days (or maybe the first week) I started catching myself in negative thoughts. Negative thoughts about my speaking ability (the speech center of my brain was affected by the accident). Negative thoughts about how little I can accomplish in a day. Negative thoughts about how much pain I am in.
Negative thoughts about the unconscious awkward positions and movement of my hands or body, of my gait and posture when walking; which would signal any trained observer to the fact that I have neurological injuries. (I was a professionally trained dancer way back in the day. I was capable of grace. I was.) And more negative thoughts about my lack of smooth unconscious social skills. (I used to think the latter was a result of the brain injury; but now that my amnesia is improving, I have come to understand, that at least in part, it is actually a character defect. Sometimes amnesia is a sweet thing.) Transformation. Transformation, transformation. I planted new thought seeds. When I found myself thinking these negative thought weeds, I told myself to STOP. Just stop. I am in a transformation.
And then I caught myself telling a true story. I caught myself saying, “I get these involuntary muscle contractures.” It is a true story—but I started listening to myself say it. I started hearing my thoughts about it as I was trying to ignore the muscle contractures and get on with my day. I started listening to myself on those rare occasions when I told someone else about them. I started remembering all the times in the last seven years I have told this true story, to myself and others—and thinking about how much momentum and power that story has built up. How can anyone one possibly change, possibly heal with power like that standing in opposition. Oh man . . . Transformation, transformation. TRANSFORMATION. I am in a transformation.
Next, when I caught myself telling myself this story, I started changing it. It took me a few dozen versions of the story to come up with something that was still true, but not so stuck. I have been getting these muscle contractures, but it is going to change. . . . but I am in a transformation. . . . but I am going to improve. I changed my story, because I am in a transformation. And being in a transformation I am not going to be stuck. So I must change my story. And that is a choice. It is a choice I choose to make.
I changed my story, still not knowing what the solution is. But form follows thought. And so I changed. I still get the contractures. But now I notice them when they begin. I hit the floor (or wake up from sleep) and stretch. I rock them gently through their range of motion. I sweet talk them. I tell them that I love them and that they are going to heal. I tell them they do not need to be stuck in this painful miserable contractured life they are living. I tell them we are one body, one being, one life (related to that greater One) and I hold a vision of this body and its muscles in grace and dance working smoothly together. And I have started doing more dance stretches, a few dance movements, to turn on the music and in my current not so terribly graceful way, to remember (at least for a few moments) what it is like to let the music animate my body, to remember that physical joy.
I still get muscle contractures, but they are not as bad. I still am in pain, but it is not as bad. I don’t have any more use out of my day, because I am spending a lot of time putting those muscles ( gently and slowly) through their paces—and also lots of time holding a stretch and asking the muscles to let go. But I am getting stronger. In this work, both my body and mind are getting stronger. I am getting stronger and stronger ever day, in every way. In my body and in my mind. I am in a transformation.
But listen Lisa, listen Sisters, listen all of you who are my relatives, those I love and those I am not yet evolved enough to have learned how to love. What good is it if I am the only one getting stronger? What good is that?
We. We are getting stronger and stronger every day, in every way. In our bodies. In our health. In our care of our Mother, the sweet earth that supports us and who we are a part of. Stronger in our understanding and practice of democracy. We. We the people of this Sweet Earth are getting stronger and stronger, every day--in every good and healing way.
Plant the seeds. We have many kinds of gardens to tend.
Please feel free to join me on facebook, where the topics primarily are gardens, democracy, Indigenous rights, healing and health, natural living, and our beloved biosphere. https://www.facebook.com/harvest.mccampbell