Today I'm feeling pretty beat-up physically. I have a series of unexplained bumps, bruises, pains, and scratchy places on my body. I think one of the reasons for that is that I'm on my own running a fairly complex organization and that means I'm very busy and stressed out. I'm doing three people's jobs at the moment. I'm also coming to the end of my time at SMM and trying to wrap up various loose ends and projects related to that. But I had lunch with Paul Maclean yesterday and he reminded me that the only legacy that will matter is what I've done relationally with people. The rest of it, I suppose, is just dust and ashes. So that's two good reasons for the scratches and bruises.
A more interesting explanation, however, has to do with the dynamics of transition and the fact that major life transitions (change of job, home, or significant relationships) are also periods of risk. It's well known that people tend to have more accidents around periods of life change. So it's little wonder that I knocked over a plastic wine glass at the potluck last night or that I'm bumping my shins against coffee tables more than usual. I would go a step further and say that some of my symptoms are psychosomatic manifestations of sublimated "stuff". I'm processing my grief and anxiety with weird scratches, spontaneous bloody noses, and a pain in my head!
Now, it's a basic insight to recognize that this is the case. A more advanced insight is to see that this is possibly a good thing. These emotions and interior states need to be addressed one way or another. And if I won't give them room in my conscious awareness, then it's perfectly alright with me if they translate themselves into flesh. In fact, it's often easier to heal things when they show up in a corporeal rather than psychic form. So how do I address these aches and pains in my body?
Well, one thing I know about myself is that my body responds very well to touch. So either I need to get a massage or I need to convince my wife to give me a back rub. (That reminds me, the movie The Mystic Masseur was really very insightful about mind-body healing.) But there are things I can do on my own, as well. Exercise, of course (good thing I went sailing on Monday). Meditation would be wise. But probably what I really need to do is try to take it easy today and let whatever I do be enough.
I had a great conversation this morning with a member of the parish who is a therapist. We ended up talking shop and trading notes about what methodologies we should explore. She mentioned to me the possibility of using sensation and bodily awareness to treat anxiety. I mentioned to her my favorites including Family Constellations,
EMDR, John Savage's Therapeutic Listening model, Edwin Friedman's Family Systems Theory, etc. I always enjoy talking about that stuff. But I'm realizing that I'm ready for some new wisdom. I'm ready to take on the effort to learn and explore a new method. I'm not sure what that will be, though I'm tempted by Tantra and some even more esoteric methods that are NSFW. (Ask me in person and I'll tell you what I have in mind, but to paraphrase St. Paul, it's important not to scandalize those in our community who can be scandalized, even when we believe that we are acting within the bounds of our Christian Freedom (Cf. 1 Corinthians 8:9-12).
Anyway, today I'm just going to do what I have to do and get through the day. Tomorrow is a different story!