It all started when I decided to try the whole walking thing. Once semi-accomplished, I thought that walking on the other side of the stair railing would be much more fun.
My parents had reserved seating in the emergency room: “Oh, hello Wilson family. What did he do this time?” Enter scar tissue: Tricycle crashed down cement steps, because Knievel would have nothing over me. I was three. Hit the pavement from second story, climbing the outside of our house. I was seven. Got hit by a car, because I was The Flash. Damn shoelace! I was ten. Oh, there’s much more, but I’ll leave it at that.
In a brilliant attempt to tame these tendencies, my parents enrolled me in martial arts. Throughout Hapkido, Aikido, and Judo, we practiced Yoko Ukemi, which is a side breakfall, designed to protect the body from the impact of a throw or sweep. I must have done thousands of them over the years, mostly on my left side. Most people are right handed, so …
With Yoko Ukemi, the hip absorbs a lot of pressure, but it’s not something you notice while doing it. In fact, years go by and … nothing. Scar tissue builds up, but it goes virtually unnoticed. Recently however, there was a twinge; then pain, and trouble. There it is and it’s not happy.
Physical scar tissue is something we can locate, palpate, diagnose, and treat with a pretty high degree of certainty. It’s the not-so-physical pain; the kind our souls bear, that … when it manifests, we don’t know what the hell is going on. It too, can go unnoticed for years, but then outbursts, irritability, underlying unhappiness, and even crying for “no reason”. There’s a reason.
Most of us tend to proceed forward, relegating the symptoms to the fringes of our consciousness. We deal with it, waiting for it to go away on its own. Reality laughs at that notion.
Whether the scars are physical, emotional, or psychological, we all have our own to varying degrees. Usually it’s a mixed combination. Some we may have caused ourselves, while others by others, circumstances, and accidents. No one goes unscathed. It is what it is, because it was what it was and hear we are.
As far as my hip goes, deep tissue therapeutic massage. It works, but very painful. Outwardly, I’m a stoic pranayama breather. In my head, I’m a 1980’s scream queen.
And yoga. The mind, body, physical, mental, soul, conscious, and subconscious as well as other humans and the universe, as we think we know it, are all connected. It’s not new-age; it’s old school and it’ll take you on a journey of truth and falsehood, reality and delusion, pain and ease, forgiveness and guilt, regret and contentment, denial and acceptance, testing and rewarding, weakness and strength.
As Nic Gregoriades said, “Yoga is a martial art you do against yourself”. True, but so is doing dumb shit.
While I still find the other side of the railing alluring, I’ve tamed my response, upgraded my skills, and refined my approach. Besides, the emergency room ain’t as cheap as it used to be.
Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash