soldier shoulder : stage 4

"Perhaps the most important thing to understand is that a wrathful deity is but the other face of a benevolent and peaceful deity, and that the message of each is
"Do not be afraid. Nothing is happening." -from Open Space Forum

Don’t get so attached to the asana thing… Your body will change but your state of mind shouldn’t change. Become wiser in your thoughts… I used to be able to catch the backs of my knees. Now I can’t. So what?… Asana practice is just physical at first, until you develop wisdom… The yoga is what happens inside you – that should be alive all the time. - Sharath Jois 

Today I pushed up from floor into backbend and did a headstand!

So what's the big deal about that? Well, I'm elated, for one. It feels like I'm starting Ashtanga all over again: hey, I just nailed a new pose! True, neither was pretty, but getting into a solid backbend (other than ustrasana) felt magnificent.

For months intense shoulder pain has said, "No!" and "Stop!" The MRI results showed "effusion" (fluid) in the joint area, tendonitis, a spur, and—"stage 4 chondromalacia." Without a clue about most of the language, went to internet where I found this:

Stage 4, the most severe grade, indicates exposure of the bone with a significant portion of cartilage deteriorated. Bone exposure means bone-to-bone rubbing is likely occurring...
Yikes, no wonder I've been in pain. So, I got the dreaded steroid shot. And the needle experience which had me quaking in fear, was not a problem.

Currently not pain-free, but so much improved, that I'm smiling. (Nice also, to lose subtle, background depression.)  Will definitely get another shot if pain increases again, and I will also have arthoscopic shoulder surgery, if needed. (They can clean out the junk in there.) No more playing around with this.

Hooray for the shoulder soldier! (Tibetan wrathful deity! See above image.)

Have a great physical therapist
*, also. Just happened to mention that my brother has been in hospice for over a year (15 months), and she noted I am carrying a lot on my shoulders. Although I know about body pain relating to life issues, and am aware of being a "fixer," it had never occurred this idea might apply to me. Felt lighter and freer since that session.

I do rejoice in getting back some poses, but I also hear Sharath's words:

"Don't get so attached to the asana thing...yoga is what happens inside you." 
Deep bow to you, wise guru. One of the many things that has happened inside me is increased clarity, compassion, and a slowness to respond in conditioned ways. There are so many troubling things going on in the world today—from national politics to acts of individual and terrorist violence. It often feels overwhelming. However, I do not have to shoulder the weight of the world, I can contribute by being aware, showing kindness to ALL (ha! even Trump supporters), and doing my best in small or even large ways. And small is powerful, like the 360 Project where it all comes together. (And where, sadly we have had to add new origami cranes for Nice, Orlando, Brussels, among other distressed sites.)

Gratitude in sharing here in the ethernet—where words and ideas can hang waiting to be picked as needed or drop into the vast emptiness. Either way—


Spiritual awakening is a remembering. It is not becoming something that we are not. It is not about transforming ourselves. It is not about changing ourselves. It is a remembering of what we are, as if we'd known it long ago and had simply forgotten. At the moment of this remembering, if the remembering is authentic, it's not viewed as a personal thing...But in a true awakening, it is realized very clearly that even the awakening itself is not personal. It is universal Spirit or universal consciousness that wakes up to itself. Rather than the 'me' waking up, what we are wakes up from the 'me.' What we are wakes up from the seeker. What we are wakes up from the seeking.
~ Adyashanti

 360 Project

*Physical Therapist, Eileen Reihman

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