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Frozen Poses and a Swirling Dervish (the Anxiety Series)

September 11, 2012

My dog and I visited the vet today. She acted like she knew something was going on, did I broadcast my worry with my body? I knew what I would hear, but I wanted to make sure there was nothing worse. When the vet pronounced her problem as hip dysplasia, I peered at the x-ray, my mind racing and I struggled to pay attention to what he said next. It wasn’t worse than I feared, but it was bad enough.

Thoughts raced, like a swirling dervish. Not the sufi dancers, but more like the fans of the Grateful Dead at the college stadium where they spun and spun and danced until they fell down. My mind works that way sometimes. Hip dysplasia does that to me. So do other words.

Even if my mind isn’t swirling, my body often freezes and my next moves will be difficult and clunky. Sometimes, I live with both a frozen posture and a swirling mind. In those moments I remember the locked in patients I used to work with at the hospital, me trying desperately to find a way for them to communicate. Sometimes an eye blink system, sometimes more of a gaze. Either way, frozen posture, swirling mind.

For me, the antidote is always the same. I come back to a softening, a sinking in toward acceptance, a letting go of struggle. Then, the words said again . . . hip dysplasia . . . seem less caustic, more normal.

The softness welcomes me, I welcome it.

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