"A lotus first makes its home under water, surrounded by mud and other dirty conditions. As the lotus continues to grow, it pushes through its murky surroundings making its way toward a clearer surface. In time, the pod surfaces above the water, freeing itself from the filth and each petal slowly blooms to expose its beauty."
~ Nishima Gupta, Huffington Post
The phrase "No Mud, No Lotus" comes from the book by Thich Nhat Hanh about the art of transforming suffering. He shares that suffering is a kind of mud to help the lotus flower of happiness grow. That just as there can be no lotus flower without the mud, we humans too need darkness in order to recognize the light. And, when we understand and accept this, we suffer much less.
Just like the lotus is confronted with a lengthy and dark process before it blooms, I have been presented with numerous major challenges in my life. To be honest, I haven't exactly welcomed these challenges (that's putting it mildly!), but ultimately how I've dealt with these issues helped me to learn more about myself, what values I hold - and thereby facilitating my growth. MANY times, I realize in hindsight, these challenges came to create movement or a course correction in my life.
The most recent challenge is a fall where I hit my head at the end of January that ultimately ended up with me in the hospital. I wrote about it in my March blog, The Cosmic 2x4, where I decided that I needed to STOP working, seek treatment, and allow myself to rest and heal. Perhaps you'll understand the HUGENESS of this decision when I say that the last time I was in the hospital - AND the last time I took any significant time off of work - was when my son was born almost 31 years ago!
"Pain is a part of life's process, and you have to be willing to orient your perspectives about it if you want to see and feel change. Most people do not want to deal with the negatives head on, so the quickest escape to happy land is the usual solution."
~ Nishima Gupta, Huffington Post
Pain has been a major factor in my ordeal. Every time I would work on a massage client, a few hours later my muscles would tighten up and I would experience horrible back pain and an unbearable headache. Even stretching and taking magnesium didn't resolve it. At first I usually felt better by the next morning, but eventually this pain would last for days, making it impossible for me to function.
When leaving the hospital, I was given a very strong prescription for high blood pressure (caused from the pain I was experiencing) and told to take Extra Strength Tylenol. My doctor later offered muscle relaxers, which I declined. I know that some people would have chosen to go the pharmaceutical route and continue to keep working. But that is not my way and I felt strongly that I was meant to go a more natural holistic route - not just for me personally, but also as the "wayshower" for others that I feel is my path.
So, I created a Go-Fund Me campaign to ask for financial support, and was humbled and amazed at the outpouring of generosity I received. (This is just one of the many lessons I'm learning from this experience - to allow myself to receive. What a concept!) This allowed me to take a full 5 weeks off from working. I was already seeing my chiropractor, but increased the frequency of my visits. I also started seeing a woman who does gentle Craniosacral Therapy, Myofascial Release, and Energy Balancing. While I would feel good upon leaving each treatment, every time I would end up having a intense pain and inflammation response for a day or so. I intuited that this was 30 years of toxins stored in my tight muscles and pain being released, so I breathed through it and once it passed, I always felt better and my blood pressure began coming down.
"In every situation, especially the darker ones, there is something to be taken. It might be a lesson, a memory, an awareness or a reminder that life is truly fragile; a fragility that solidifies the beauty and gratitude we all hold within ourselves."
~ Natalie Snyder
I wish I could say that everything is hunky dory now, but it's not. However, six weeks later, I was off ALL medication and my blood pressure and all other lab tests were normal. I continue to see my chiropractor and am now working with a woman who does Pressure Point Therapy and Myofascial Release - a little more aggressive treatment. I returned to work on April 2nd seeing only 1 client a day 4 days a week. And I'm happy to say that I've also started hiking again - I do love it so! I still get pain after working, after healing treatments, and pretty much doing anything physical. BUT it is SO much better - and I am learning how to work smarter, and take better care of myself afterwards to lessen it even more.
I wish I could say that everything has become clear about why this happened or what the future holds, but I can't....YET! While there has definitely been some new awareness, I am still very much "pushing my way through the muck". More will be revealed next month, so stay tuned. In the meantime, I continue to know that all is well and hold the vision of being radiant, healed and joyful.
"Just like the lotus we too have the ability to rise from the mud, bloom out of the darkness and radiate into the world."
~ Ruth Renee, The Healing Advocate
Happy, Healthy Living!
JoAnn Newton is a Master Massage Therapist, Certified Diet Counselor & Holistic Nutrition Educator, and Spiritual Counselor who is committed to creating, living, and enjoying health, balance, and freedom on all levels, both personally and professionally, while providing educational and healing services.