I have just arrived home from a lovely family camping trip out on the Olympic Peninsula, cut slightly short by the urgent need to have my appendix surgically removed. A midnight trip to the Olympic Medical Center in Port Angeles, WA, determined this, and after a quick and clean laproscopic surgery, I spent about 30 hours in their care while I grappled with the incredibly vulnerable feeling of unfamiliar pain, dizziness and nausea (pain meds do that to me). I’m not particularly skilled at allowing myself to be vulnerable, but there are some situations in which you have no choice. I believed them when they told me it would get better, and it did. I trusted the kind nurse who looked me right in the eye when I told her I was scared and said, “It will be ok.” I rallied myself to get up and walk because they said it was going to help, that nothing but getting up was going to make getting up any easier, and they were right. Now I’m on my own couch, occasionally getting myself up to take slow, hobbling loops around my own garden, wondering how long it will take before I am able to take some of this experience back into my work with me. Hopefully not too long.
One of my clients told me once that when she had had a surgery years ago, she did a lot of mental preparation for it, trying to prep her body for the necessary but invasive medicine it was about to receive. She also said that she had decided to attach some other stuff to the little part of her that was being removed– pieces she thought she might like to let go of, like resentment or anger over things she couldn’t change. As I lay there in the ER contemplating my own surgery, high on Dilaudid, I was trying to imagine any of the more metaphysical elements I might want removed along with my appendix. I decided that fear, the kind that holds me back, but not the kind that protects me, was welcome to hitch a ride with that inflamed little organ. It’s a nice idea anyway.
Tonight they burn the “Man” in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada, an event I have been attending about every other year since 2002. It is essentially a big shared ritual recognizing the same desire– burn what is not serving you in a big giant fire and go on with your life a little bit lighter. I’m obviously not there this year (thank goodness), but I do hope that you all are able to let go of whatever you don’t really need in some small way tonight as that big fire blazes in the desert.
Feeling grateful for what I’ve got! Bevin