Healing Jew with Wounded Knee

Walking slowly like a robot. That’s how I am. A friend who is not on Facebook contacted me today because she hadn’t seen an update on my blog for a month. I was amazed that anyone noticed. I’ll start with a health update. It’s been 11 weeks since I tore my right meniscus. I decided about 10 weeks ago to not have surgery. I will post some articles below which support my decision. I’ve been actively doing physical therapy, and pursuing alternatives. My quads just starting working about a week ago. 

 

The things that are helping me the most:

Magnets (for pain and swelling);

Acupuncture;

Yamuna - body rolling, foot wakers, and foot savers;

Foot and Gait Pilates rehab - one-on-one with a Level 5 Instructor;

Rest - I feel better upon waking every new morning;

Water - hydration is key (I also strongly want to be submerged in live water - wishing for a lake with easy access);

Anti-inflammatory diet - no dairy, processed sugar, or wheat; 

Open Floor dances - which I do in a chair (for my heart and spirit); and

Self-massage - constant.

 

Other things I’ve tried:

Kinesiotape - helpful when someone else put it on. I can’t quite manage it on my own.

Physical therapy - helpful when I do it on my own.

Stationary bike - helpful to get my heart rate up

Walking - I practice on a track where it’s flat and the path is predictable. Walking out in the world without lanes is still scary, but I’m doing it. I can go up short stairs, going down is frightening. 

Massage - one hands on session with someone my body trusts. It felt great to be touched. Getting in and out of the space was challenging, and I have concerns about the transfer of energy (*more about that below).

Pills - acetaminophen (500mg), ibuprofen (200-800 mg) - at this point just before bed, or if in pain during the day. 

 

I find I get defensive when people ask what’s happening, and then give me advice that I did’t ask for. I am learning to trust my body and intuition. Often my body won’t relax with certain practitioners, or modalities. My body has not relaxed or released for four different Kaiser physical therapists. My body has relaxed and released with two distance healers. One is a shaman in Pennsylvania, and one is a healer that was in New York at the time of our initial sessions. I am a skeptic until these things start working, which they have. My medicine bag is open, please keep yours open for me. It helps!

 

 

Please know, dear reader, that I am working on pieces that aren’t for public consumption yet. It’s happening. It will unfold. It will appear. It will take some time. My brain is incredibly active, and has been obsessed with politics. I don’t want to use this space as a platform (that may change). I will say that I feel Jewish when I get involved with social action, human rights and politics. 

 

I have been reflecting on a diversity training that I went to several years ago where we were asked to make a list of descriptors, and then rank order them. It was a way to open a discussion about prejudice, how we see others and self. With the current national election I am constantly asking myself if I identify more strongly as a woman or as a Jew? Am I more white skinned or Jewish? Am I a privileged educated person before I am a Jew? Am I a Buddhist before I am a Jew? Am I straight before I am a Jew? Am I single before I am a Jew? Am I childless before I am a Jew? Interestingly, what I’m feeling/sensing/knowing is that I am a Jew first before all of these things, even my gender. Shocking, I know. And by Jew, I mean someone who carries the weight of historical persecution, suffering, fear, as well as the discipline to study, heal and thrive. That’s pretty much it. You probably won’t see me in synagogue, and my views on the middle east may not match yours, but I can’t change history or my blood. I feel the weight of my Jewish ancestors. I cannot shake it, try as I do. I feel it is my Jewish duty to heal. 

 

I found an old letter from my maternal grandfather to my mother dated 1975. It opened up a line of inquiry and enabled me to start writing the book that needs to be written. I know some of my writing here seems like a tease. Blogging is a way for me to feel into being public and vulnerable. The book is a huge leap, and requires my focus and ability to suspend the idea of you as reader. This means there may be big pauses here. 

 

Last night before sleep I grabbed Starhawk’s Spiral Dance from my shelf, closed my eyes, randomly opened a page, focused through the blur:

 

It is not easy to be a Witch, a bender, a shaper, one of the Wise; nor is it safe, comfortable, “laid back,” mellow, uplifting, or a guarantee of peace of mind. It requires openness, vulnerability, courage, and work. It gives no answers: only tasks to be done, and questions to consider. In order to truly transform our culture, we need that orientation toward life, toward the body, toward sexuality, ego, will, toward all the murkiness and adventure of being human.

 

 

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*

Regarding massage/hands-on healing and energy exchange, I have a lot to learn, and have learned a lot. Many years ago I was having some back pain and called a place nearby that I knew had on-site massage therapists. I was eager to get help, so I made the first available appointment. Off the top of my head I can’t recall the woman’s first name, but her last name was Lew. My back was killing me. When I arrived and laid down on the table I asked her if she was related to the Rabbi Lew. “Yes” she said, “He’s my father. Was my father.” A few months before this encounter I had read “Be Still and Get Going” by Rabbi Alan Lew. I was sad to learn of his death, and wished that I had had the opportunity to sit with him. I had met him briefly years before when my parents were visiting San Francisco. My mother wanted to see the stained glass windows in the synagogue that our cousin had designed. We stopped in randomly. Rabbi Lew happened to be there and walked us around the sanctuary. At that time I didn’t know anything about him, his history, philosophy or practice. I am grateful that he wrote, and his expression lives on. Back to the massage table. There I was, in the hands of the late Rabbi Lew’s young daughter.  She began to talk. And talk. And talk. And cry. And cry. And talk. And talk. I listened. I heard. I felt. I absorbed. I let it flow out of her and through. I did not receive a massage for my aching back. The healing went the other way. 

 

Things like this happen to me often.  

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Great article to support my decision to avoid surgery for meniscus tear:

 

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1305189#t=article