28 November, 2010

paradise happens

Imagine: you're exhausted right down to the insides of your bones, but you keep plugging away over-riding your natural inclination to stop. And imagine that you do not injure yourself, so that when you say "thank you" and "good-bye" to the last patient there is a space in your life that stretches out and feels like the Grand Canyon. You can do anything you want with the next 36 hours before you start the whole week all over again. And you have a car, the snowy Minnesota roads are clear and dry, and the sun is shining full of promise. I headed to the Landscape Arboretum. And realized as I pulled into the parking lot that I have never been here alone. Walking into the building I melted into a crowd of people I had never met, looking through items in the gift shop, sitting in the tea room, watching the wild turkeys, preparing for a wedding, laughing, fighting, missing their naps to look at the gingerbread house displays...The fireplace was inviting and I plopped down on the empty couch just for a moment to decompress. 3 hours later I was still curled up with a book, a cup of tea, and thinning crowds. Stretching my legs I wandered into some areas I had not explored on previous visits. Finding myself surrounded by blooming orchids, I gazed at the colorful birds of paradise. There were two blooms right next to each other as if they were dancing together, mirroring movements in flight. Seeing them growing with their leaves in a generous pot was stunning to watch. Easy to see where they acquired their names. I felt like I was in paradise especially after spending so many hours with patients living with chronic pain of auto injuries. It surprises us to experience such excruciating pain, yet listen to a doctor reading an MRI or X-ray report confirming that there is no significant damage: no broken bones. One starts to feel a bit crazy as the pain moves around, and there is no relief in sight. Prescription drugs simply mask the symptoms. Desperation quickly sets in. Various options are explored and discarded. With luck their auto insurance covers massage, bringing them to my services. Thus my exhaustion. And my devotion to self-care. Being around plants, out in nature, watching the critters, or curled up with a pet are all effective tools of self-care. Just the simple act of walking around the block, noticing the changes in landscape, gardens, and creatures jump start my process of rebalancing.

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