Several months ago a woman wrote a note that read, “getting lyme disease = becoming a doctor without going to medical school.” My response to her and the hundreds of other women who agreed was, ”Yes, we are becoming healers finely crafted in the arts of subtle multi-systemic body awareness. The Shaolin Temple of Self is in full effect!”
“Shaolin is a quiet, solitary art. Beyond acquiring inner peace and harmony, it requires absolute inner stillness and the ability to contemplate void without flinching in a total absorption of what-is in the moment. Without that, you cannot find center. Without center, you cannot find self. And without self, you cannot become selfless, entering the necessary state where egoism cannot meddle with intent.”
It’s been more than a year now mostly bed-bound experiencing the intensity of this broad-based, multi-systemic party of pathogens grouped under the simple four letter word Lyme. Living with intense pain the year prior, it was a fourth or fifth bugged-bite last March (2015) that bankrupted my brain, handcuffed my arms and hands, hijacked any turn or look of my neck, ambushed my eyes and ears, and molecularly shifted the patterns of precedence in life, mind, sanity, and serenity. But of course that’s what it is here to do. I have always known that and was shown from the first moons of this voyage, but had no idea that the experience would require me to stand still while on razor sharp edges, being cut and gutted, skinned and flailed, all with conscious breath. Pain was always honored as a teacher in life (if not from others’ eyes), and my studies as a doula gifted me the mantra that pain cannot kill you: a temporary guest towards the contractions that always hold meaning and gift life anew, no matter what form. I’m a tough cookie very adept at hiding and tolerating pain, a devout and spiritual being lucky to have been born with natural optimism and good cheer, but now know well the physical forces that can bring insanity while so severely siphoning the vitality of every organ, cell and fiber of our being.
The strain and stress has been tremendous, but Baba Yaga’s glasses gift the vision that this long journey is to change every molecule of every pattern of thought and action in Life. Last year this time, I had opened up a lovely little studio space with a friend in great excitement towards the many bundles of cloth, fibers, pigments, metals, and creativity that was bursting from my being. I have not been there since founding the studio (hand-made-studio.org) and my one year sabbatical is now two. This whirl-winded current has shifted every word-reading, weed-picking, food-producing, medicine-making, fiber-dying, leather-pounding, copper-crafting, hide-fleshing, textile-teaching, horse-hugging, tree-visiting, song-singing, story-telling, land-adventuring, chit-chatting, feast-making, body-moving adventure ever thought possible. Good thing I’ve led such an adventurous life and used my body well these years! And now, I lay still in horizontal healing lands and am tended to full-time in a city (thanks mamma!) as Health still seems to be traveling further and further from my shores.
This physical and psychological pressure-cooker of an experience is an intense practice of presence, patience, perseverance, surrender, study, stillness in illness, action in non-action, and much more. This illness is my kung fu master and teacher: unrelentingly, ceaselessly sifting the soul of my soil towards new landscapes. No need to travel, The Shaolin Temple of Self is in full effect!
“Shaolin practitioners are healers, educators, a source of knowledge for the community respected for their wisdom and services performed, whether it be healing or protecting.”
“To the Shaolin, philosophy and arts are ideals and the thin line always walked is between self-defense and non-violence.”
Yes, after the biology degree, the years exploring western and non-western herbalism, and my experiences as an energetic and holistic healing practitioner regarding the miracle of flesh and bones infused by spirit named body, I am now steeped in the intense training towards the community of cells and systems that make up the body with protection and healing being the only services performed all day every day without interruption. Healing, educating, protecting, defending and attacking sums up this Lyme experience pretty well. Surprisingly, this training now includes integrating modernity and technology (a skill set I avoided.) The capital O-optimism is turning into a capital R-reality check as the severity of my neurological issues continues to wax although I wait for the wane. The beasts on my back and in-between my migraine-inflame-brain include words slurs, sound slips, synapses surrendered, and memory found in the fog of a long ago land. Comp-re-hen-sion is now a long four syllable word and s-p-e-l-l-i-n-g is no longer simple or rote. Sentences stringed too long to be understood as a soft song sizzle like bacon, and all sound is literally LOUD - it is they who place on my crown a seizing frown. And so, whenever words no longer wiggle and my brain no longer jiggles, when I remember and my me can come through - in these gifted moments of clarity I would like to be with you all for a spell, sharing the capacity of voice and words as my body and hands are now far from the force that has gifted me the greatest pleasures of my life. Time to learn anew and focus on ability while accepting the lay of these new lands.
So here I am letting you all know what has so far silently called me away from many wanting letters, phone calls, emails, visits, gatherings, celebrations, and what has now opened the gates of gigabytes previously uncharted - The Shaolin Temple of Self!
On the Shelf