Dancing to Heal

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Thank you to people visiting this blog. It took so long for me to open up about what was going on – no one wants to share vulnerability. Isn’t that we have all learned?

If this experience has taught me anything, it’s that I really did think I could do everything on my own, this was the sign of independence, a life well lived, a success. Of course, I totally wasn’t doing anything all on my own, but I guess I felt that way. I was caught between that belief about independence, and the ultimate knowledge, that all of life is connected.

I needed to consider things from a different perspective. That has been one of the best parts of this experience: opening up to needing that connection to everything and everyone else. To really understand how the butterfly flapping the wings can effect the wind in a village in China.

Not in an abstract fashion, like it was when I first heard it, as information on the fly, whizzing around my brain but never quite settling in until now.

This week was an interesting experience for me.

I had physical therapy again. We started the mirror work but honestly, I was wondering why we were not working on my arm. I had watched the video and I liked what I learned. But, I simply could not understand why we were not working on my arm, the site of the original injury, CPRS diagnosis, and the extremity that shook the very most, just lifting my arm.

I put my arm out, the shaking visible to everyone in the room. I am a photographer/filmmaker, so, to me, this right arm is as functionally important as my right leg.

That’s when I learned that supposedly my right arm was no longer being evaluated. We ended our session so we could review the doctors referral because I knew for sure the referral says my right arm and leg so I hope that will clear things up for next Tuesday’s appointment.

This was a tough week, I had three, albeit short, things to do this week. I gave myself a day in between to rest, and I made sure to get to bed early. That’s not a problem this week. When I go out walking with my cane for any extended period, the pain when I return is enough to put me asleep. I guess the brain can’t take pain levels that high. I don’t take pain killers so I guess it’s the body’s natural reaction.

Today, I’d like to go out again but I barely made it last night, and its raining today. I am home it appears.

Before I left last night, I thought about how days like yesterday, having done an interview very early in the morning, barely able to get my body together to go out again, a lot of shaking through my right side. Two new dots on my wrists, this time, much smaller. I thought about the wheelchair, how it would have been nice to be able to get myself to the stage that evening, and then walk around a bit with the cane, but avoid the painful walking that just grows into a pounding, and makes it hard to stand on the leg at all.

DANCE TO HEAL, EVEN IF ITS USING YOUR MIRROR NEURONS

I put music on early this morning. Ancient sounds sat with me as I watched the gray rainy sky, seagulls flying, drops fall in considering the seriousness, and beauty of life. Gratitude.

Now, I put on music that makes the left side of my body move like it always did and I close my eyes, I see myself dancing – all of me, the right side too. The right arm might be slow dancing right now, the right leg silent, but, the whole body sings with movement and I see all of me dancing. Just like before, Just like in the future, so be my present.

I could go on about the science of this…or how ancient the knowledge…or just give gratitude for this moment, sharing with you reading my words from where I don’t know….invite you to turn on your music. Even if you can’t entirely picture yourself, forgive yourself, tell that part of your body that hurts, I love you, and I thank you for the message you have brought. I embrace you.

My gait was better this week, in fact, that felt much better. I shared with the PT how this cycle has played over the last two years, these cycles of symptoms coming and going, oscillating between, doing a dance themselves.

Right now, its stepping on the foot and leg that hurts, the ankle swollen and blue. I won’t step on it today too much.

But, I will keep dancing in my mind, and the mirror neurons and the emotion neurons, will be happy.

DANCING WITH PAIN

I want to share with you a beautiful site I ran across in my research. Dancing with Pain explains the phenomena of dance healing, directly from someone who not only healed herself, but witnessed and connected with other people who have done so. It’s not just any old song, it’s a particular vibration of music that allowed this woman to be able to dance without pain where another song without the connecting beat did nothing to ease or eliminate her pain.

It’s interesting that Dance Therapy is having such an impact on chronic pain, and this site really explains in much better detail the science behind that concept than I could myself.

Dancing with Pain describes the vibrational value of life, highlighting the interconnectedness of all of life. From Dancing with Pain:

‘Ayurvedic medicine – an ancient holistic system originating in India – teaches that if we introduce a healing vibration, it will set up a certain resonance or harmonic effect on whatever is disharmonious or dissonant. This resonance in turn provides the memory of harmony — helping the imbalanced or disharmonious state to recall its previously harmonious state. With that, ayurvedic medicine teaches, comes the restoration of wholeness and health – thus the ancient chanting traditions of many cultures around the world.’

Very encouraging. This site has been a great source of positive hope and expectation.

A few weeks ago, I tried one session of singing with my drum, the one I made myself. It was such a beautiful experience, feeling the vibrations in my body, and the joy in singing. My neighbor downstairs didn’t like the deep sound of the drum. He is an older Vet, he’s had a challenging life, and suffers many health problems. He uses morphine to control his pain. We don’t visit often, but I do pay him respect for his service, by sharing food or giving gifts.

He pounded on the floor underneath me, the roof above him. I stopped because I could understand his position.

It made me think, how did we create a world where singing and dancing is so rare? A nuisance. A relic of the past. When will there be a day of singing and dancing freely?

In some strange way, my not walking on my leg to prevent high pain levels, which builds more neural pathways of pain, has been the best advice I took. It came after a long time of me trying to push myself out to walk. I thought, naturally, that’s the way to heal. And, mostly, it is.

Yet, in the opposite direction. Mirror therapy, dance, and any activity that brings relief will create more positive pathways in the brain, and the idea is that eventually, those paths will take over, and the pain path will diminish and disappear entirely. This isn’t quick. A woman in a wheelchair no longer needed it with dance therapy, but, after a few years. It’s not like magic. And, you wouldn’t want it to be if you think about it. You, and I, we, must be involved in building these pathways in our own brain.

Here are a few articles to explore more about dance therapy:

A) This article shares a wonderful practice of using movement to better understand the feelings, emotions, and challenges a patient faces, and works with that body truth to perform healing – healing from reading the verbal language of one’s body. Brilliant!

B) I share this beautiful writing on the power of dance to heal, in this case, the earth. I find the words so powerful, and, its kinda exciting, even if you stopped to dance because of illness, stop and do it.

I love how our very own dancing joins us to the web of connection of life. Right there as you lay on a couch or in bed, even the very little you might be able to do today, just do it,  add your grain of sand, your beat to the dance of healing. And, consider, the earth too, which needs dancing so it can heal.

If these articles are kinda foreign still to your own individual healing process,  don’t worry. Music vibrations present unique healing opportunities. The most important thing is that you find what resonates for you.

Remember, kick up a jig or two, it just might save your life.

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