Protecting Ourselves - For What?
For many years, I had a ganglion cyst (a fluid filled bump) on my wrist. And it got to be quite large. It made placing my hand, palm down, painful. I went to a hand specialist who, using a needle, shrunk the thing by draining the fluid out of it. But it came back bigger than ever.
With my only other medical option being surgery, I decided to talk to it. Over a period of days I asked the ganglion questions, listened, then wrote down whatever came to mind. What came was interesting but never curative. Until one day, the ganglion "spoke" of me trying to protect myself. That afternoon, I gained insight about my skewed thinking regarding my "need" to protect myself in life. Suddenly energized and inspired, I closed my notebook, grabbed my camera, and went out to take some pictures (I was into photography at the time).
I had just crossed the street from my apartment building when I slipped and fell on some ice. I put my left hand out to break the fall and over the next days, the cyst disappeared, never to return.
We teach each other that we need to protect ourselves. Sometimes we do - mostly, though, we try to protect ourselves from being hurt emotionally because we believe circumstances and people can do that to us. In truth, we have much more control over how we feel than anyone or anything else does.
I aspire to think of myself as ultimately un-hurtable rather than vulnerable and in need of protection. I would rather invest my energy in trusting my ability to bounce back than in trying to protect a breakable notion of who I am.
Sometimes a fall helps us bounce and get the leverage to get where we've been wanting to go. Falls can help us release what we don't want and get closer to what we do want. But we must trust in our reslience.
I found you through Tifferet and instantly loved your work, and this is a lovely reflection. Many people cannot or will not interrogate their symptoms. It takes courage and insight. I remember a quote from someone that a symptom is an experience seeking understanding, though, of course that can be taken too far and move to blame the victim, which is a longer story. Thank you for your art and writing.
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From the Inside