Have you ever awakened and felt paralyzed? If you have, you will understand what happened to me this morning. I awoke at six and felt I could not move…I went back to sleep and awoke again about fifteen minutes later. Awake, but with a body that felt like lead, the effort it would take to move myself was more than I could muster, so I dozed off again for a few minutes. The third time I gained consciousness, I looked to the clock beside the bed…it was now almost seven…still heaviness in my body and enough awareness to lie there and ponder the situation. Was I really paralyzed? Could I not move regardless of my effort? I felt no pain, only a dull heaviness in my limbs that called to me to return to sleep. I thought about my night. I had fallen asleep at a moderate hour, around eleven, and slept through the night without awakening. I had a couple of glasses of wine with dinner… unusual but not something that has ever affected me this way. My head felt clear, only my body had a feeling of dullness. Could this be a reluctance to meet my day?
I have a yoga student on Sunday mornings whom I adore. She appreciates what she is learning and relishes the opportunity to begin her week with a journey into her peaceful inner space and treat her body to the luxurious stretches of yin yoga and blood moving sun salutations. I look forward to our class every week.
I have a conference call later with my Kindred Spirits, my inner circle of friends who live far and wide but gather for a group phone call once a month and have a reunion once a year. Our calls are always a delight to my day.
This afternoon I am going to visit a dear, young friend. She is facing the challenge of her life. She has been diagnosed with stage-four cancer and the medical community has issued her a death sentence. With the same style, grace and compassion she has lived her life, she continues to meet each day. She is my greatest teacher and I am humbled in her presence. My desire to help her in some way moves me to tears for my feelings of helplessness. Perhaps it is my feelings of helplessness that paralyzed me this morning. What can I do to ease her pain? Who am I in the face of these tumors that grow in her body, robbing her of an active life, stealing their mother from her children, threatening to leave her friends and family feeling lost without her sweet, patient presence?
For twenty years I have been listening to bodies. As a CranioSacral Therapist that is what I do. I listen to the tissue and respond to what I hear. Today I will place my hands on my friend’s body and listen. I have fear around what I will hear. I believe it is this fear that triggered the feeling of paralysis this morning even though I had no conscious thoughts of her in those first moments of awakening. As I have sat with this, pausing during my writing to spend an hour in meditation, this is the conclusion I have come to.
So now I will meet my fear and go to her with all that I have and all that I am. I will let go of my expectations, my judgments and my agendas and simply meet her where she is. I will listen with an open heart and respond with kindness. I will be with her as fully present and compassionate as she. I will love her, as best I can. That is all there is to do. She is in God’s hands and I must trust in the wisdom of her soul.