I write this post in all honesty. It has happened to many colleagues in my field and outside it. To deny it, would be a disservice to the very people we serve in life. It is in the spirit of honesty. In Yoga, Satya. Satya is a fundamental quality in Yoga. It means not only truthfulness, but “ the virtuous restraint from falsehood in distortion of reality in one’s own expressions and actions”. For more info on this subject, have a look at this - https://yogainternational.com/article/view/satya-a-practice-of-truthfulness
Last night I was walking to friends. It was 1.6 miles in distance, to and from. It was challenging. My stamina felt it, my legs felt it, my back felt it. 2 years prior, I walked 26 miles in 2 days, over mountains with no problems, running 10km weekly, swimming 1 mile weekly, Yoga regularly, and my body pain free. Now I am 4 stone heavier than 2 years ago, making a heavier load to carry. I had been through the pain loop, I am what I affectionately call, ground zero, or just above it at present.
I have had, for the past 14 or so months, a sacroiliac joint disfunction. Mr right hip/sacrum in short, sticks. At this point, nobody knows why, partly because it is or was, an under recognized field of medicine. It feels like it inflames and can go from feeling stuck to a hot knife going through it. It can pain to the sit bone and groin. It has been with me day and night and at worst, can affect both sides. In that state it has put me in tears. It can be debilitating.
It has in the past, stopped me doing the very things I love, including walking, even short distances. It has challenged my career and my passion in therapy and Yoga, especially the physical aspect, asana. Even cutting my hours, the pain had permission to make itself known more, not get “better”. As much as this is disheartening, in all honesty or satya, this was a long standing problem and ignored by me by caring for others before myself. I had lost my centre in the fine line of self care and care for others. Easily done and happens to many. For some a lot worse than others. For some a lot better. In Yoga, it is possible to “go up the ladder” of enlightenment, but the field is elusive and treacherous, you can fall from grace and fall back down.
I have heard in some therapy circles, to leave your pain at the door when treating clients, teaching yoga students, pretend to be “fine, fantastic, just dandy”. But we are all students, including the people who are blessed with the knowledge of these disciplines. What really aids us is embodiment and experience, from ourselves and from many. I have become a bit of a specialist in turning an “I can’t” into an “I can” when it comes to clients and students. It has been a while to do it, be it for myself.
In many Eastern traditions, it is said to think of people worse than ourselves, as this aids compassion and perspective on our own pain. It gives us clarity. Our own personal learning, both in good and bad times, can aid the people worse off than ourselves. Surely that is a good thing? It makes your journey more personal and even more personal other people’s journey through life. This helps others, whether “in the trade” of health, or not.
Above all, we are all human. Each journey we have, contributes to the other. If we go through the journey ourselves and deny it, to me it is a tad dishonest. It does not show our learning. Rather, it gives the impression to me that we somehow, read all this from a book, when really, we “know” it.
We cannot go around pretending to be “fine”, when we are not, we are at best in a challenging situation. And as the saying goes – he who feels it, knows it. Denying the truth of the situation, also leads us to very dangerous ground of “running away” from a challenge. Who knows where that may lead.
As therapists and healing practitioners (or not), this to me is Satya, honesty with ourselves and others in the present moment. The learning and cultivation from this, leads others to a better place.
In this series, I detail my journey and I give this journey with the utmost love. I hope people in the same position find it useful to them. The first part of dealing with a challenge, is Satya. Being truly honest with yourself and your situation. It leads to acceptance of the situation in hand, as is. From there, you have movement, enquiry and hopefully compassion. This is surely a better place. Lx