Wellness + Spirituality=“Medicine”=Nuwati
“Turn your wounds into wisdom.” Maya Angelou
Why did I have this bad hip? What did I do? Why was this my karma? People often ask themselves these kinds of questions when they are hit by illness or some other kind of misfortune. Humans are uniquely rational beings who know that through understanding, they may either find a solution to a problem or at least a form of solace, comfort or peace. We hope that the universe is a fair, just universe and that there is a reason for everything. But if we do not seek answers, very likely we won’t find them….although that’s not always the case.
When my arthritic hip was particularly painful, I found myself wracking my brain. Why? Why? Why? I wondered, firstly, “why” my hip was deteriorating, because the doctors could never tell me. And I wondered the “why” of the big picture: Why did my life bring me this dis-ease? If we create our own reality, and I am responsible for my reality, why did I do this to myself? And how?
I had a hip replacement in 1997, and I’m happy to report that has been an utter success. Advocate of alternative treatments though I am, I am utterly grateful for the surgeon’s skills, modern technology and the success of the outcome. But of course, I’ve wondered “why” these “alternatives didn’t seem to work.
I’ve had years of retrospection to examine everything that built up to the hip replacement. As I said, I was an athlete and had taken pride in my physicality, particularly my strength, my muscles. Now, “pride goeth before a fall,” it is said. And there’s a part of me that tells me that I was not gentle with myself, either psychologically–to my nervous system– or physically, to my body. During the earlier years on the homestead, I built a house, gardened, cut firewood, etc. and when my first son was born in 1986 –he was a big one– rather than slow down and mother him, I was at first determined to carry him on my back and finish the painting, the drywall—you name it, in our very unfinished house. I was impatient with it all. This little guy was a colicky cry baby. He didn’t take long peaceful naps in the crib. No sir. He wanted to be with ME all the time, where the love was–or he’d cry. Born Caesarian, I had to recover from that and so did he. And I wanted to be close to him too….so I carried him everywhere. On top of this, we lived in an isolated environment, out in the country on the side of a forested hill. The road leading to the house was rough and up a steep hill. Driving in winter was usually not done so when the children were young, we carried them.
In the first six years of living in West Virginia, 1979 to 1985, my husband and I had taken a six year hiatus from “regular” full time jobs and taken irregular part time work. We worked for the 1980 census and for a surveyor. We had even gone “on the road” for a year to work for an oil and gas exploration seismic crew. We were part of the “juggie” crew, laying out miles and miles of geophones and wires and picking them up again, only to again lay them out. We walked half the width of Pennsylvania and all over south Texas. I remember my hip being very stiff when we woke in the morning in the bed in the back of our Ford Econoline van. But it would loosen up soon enough and it was full speed ahead! I was competitive and like to be among the fastest of the juggie crew.
So physically, I demanded a good deal of my body. And if you expect a lot from your body, you have to know how to take care of your mind as well.
The doctors suggested to me that perhaps I had injured my hip when I was young. I could not remember a time when this might have happened. A healer told me that the blood supply to the hip had been impeded, maybe by an injury. When my big husband and little ole me were “courting” we used to like to wrestle about, playfully…but I would really push myself….and he was a wrestling coach…so maybe I had injured myself during this early frolicking. Whatever the initial cause of the weakness in that hip, it remains a mystery.
But I can’t help but think that the “Why” of this dis-ease, this experience, was in order to learn. I learned so much through it all. I don’t have ALL the answers, maybe I never will. But I am so much wiser now, then e’r I was before.
And as my mentor, Grandmother Pa’Ris’Ha would say: “Stop asking and questioning why things are as they are…you know!”
End Part II