Thursday, July 18, 2013
I visited my chiropractor today. I have had more chiropractors in the last few years than I would care to count. This is partially due to the fact that I have relocated more than once whilst I was in pursuit of that dream job I was hoping to land after completing graduate school. I have found it a challenging and frustrating experience to maintain my health in recent years. I would appreciate it if I could gain greater insight into why I continue to have pain issues in various parts of my anatomy. Given how mindful I generally am regarding my health it puzzles me that I feel as "off" as I do. My working theory is that my pain can be partially explained as being related to the PTSD diagnosis.
My appointment today was a bit of a sobering experience. My chiropractor reviewed some x-rays taken over two years ago shortly after I was in a car accident. I was rear-ended in that accident; my car was totaled and I received a minor whiplash. My chiropractor interpreted the x-ray imagery such that I might gain some greater insight into what is happening with my neck now as well as what measures I might need to take to maintain my health in the future.
I was in a car accident while still living at home as a teenager. In that particular accident the roles were reversed; I was the one who rear-ended the driver in front of me. It's long been my theory that it was this accident which perhaps set my cervical spine into the slightly reversed curvature that has appeared in x-rays ever since. Or perhaps it was the time I flew chin first into a mailbox as a much younger boy after losing control of my bicycle on a steep street in my neighborhood. Whatever the cause of what I see now in my cervical spine anatomy the long term impact is probably at least as clear and also disheartening. Given the condition of my cervical spine it is very possible I will be prone to bouts of neck pain for the remainder of my life. Dealing with this issue is just another challenge to my effort to maintain a positive attitude.
After arriving home I reflected on the story of the wounded healer as embodied in the story of Chiron. Chiron is a comet discovered in 1977 within our own solar system. Its orbit carries it between the planets Saturn and Uranus. In astrology Chiron is considered the Planet of Healing. In Greek mythology Chiron was half man and half horse. His father was a Titan named Kronos. His mother was a nymph named Philyra. It is his accidental injury with a venom coated arrow and the incurable wound that resulted for which Chiron is well known. Our bodies possess amazing abilities to heal themselves. Even more amazing is the fact that we do not have to consciously tell our bodies what to do when we accidentally cut or bruise ourselves. Our bodies have an innate wisdom that responds immediately. But then there are the wounds that do not seem to heal. These are the wounds like what Chiron suffered.
I sometimes feel I should have been able to overcome the many obstacles, disappointments and traumas of my early life history more easily. I have found myself wishing my life were different. I have felt the reality of my life ought to appear better and feature more love, comfort and prosperity than it currently does. And I have felt this way because I have worked diligently throughout my life to create a good life for myself. I have a good work ethic. I expected I would find more reward than I have. Perhaps I still will. To be confronted with a health issue that may be a lifelong concern was not in my plans.
Luckily I do have the power to choose the attitude I will bring to my circumstances. This truth is contained in the wisdom of the Chiron story. One approach to health and healing is to diagnose a condition, label it as bad and then seek to obliterate it with all manner of treatments including medication, chemotherapy, surgery and so on. A different perspective, a perspective offered by Chiron, is to see the wound as containing a gift. In this perspective the wound will ironically heal when we no longer resist its existence but instead accept it as well as the gift it contains. Chiron teaches that healing may begin the moment we embrace our wound and allow ourselves to believe that light can be found in our darkness. Sometimes it is our deepest suffering that allows us to forge our greatest strength.
Embracing a deep wound is not necessarily an easy process no matter how wondrous may be the gift you receive on the other side. I want to find a way to embrace my own wounds. In embracing them with love and compassion I feel I may discover the fullness of my power. In embracing them I believe I can find peace and a strength of character I would not otherwise know.