28 September 2007

Thursday 25th September 2007

Thank you to every soul out there who has sent their prayers...know that they exert an invisible power and that I am grateful.

I read a book recently called The Divine Matrix by Gregg Braden which attempted to explain the web-like links we all have with each other – sort of new age quantum physics mixed with mysticism. It didn’t quite go all the way to say that we are all The One, but it certainly alluded to it.
I have no doubt that as one human being suffers, at an invisible level we all do. As one heart ascends, so all of humanity is lifted.

My son is now fighting an enormous battle to regain his foothold on sanity. If he can get back onto solid ground I'm sure he'll be able to claw his way back to mental and physical health.
He is a fighter, a boxer, a warrior. He will survive.
He refuses to accept what has happened to him, to allow the people who so recklessly prescribed these debilitating drugs then dismissed his concerns to get away with destroying the life he'd built up. Unfortunately this attitude is probably increasing his suffering and turmoil, as he replays the events over and over in his mind in an attempt to gain clarity and understanding. It’s hard to know what approach is best: acceptance of his plight so he can move forward from this low point, or his stubborn refusal to accept it so he can fight the injustice, get even with the perpetrators and achieve some emotional compensation.

How can so-called ‘experts’ in the mental health profession be so unintelligent and insensitive?
Prior to this I’d had no contact with the mental health system, so it’s been a shock to discover that practitioners (mainly psychiatrists) rarely help people with empathetic and genuine counselling. Believe me I’ve heard some real horror stories lately.

If my son had listened to the two psychiatrists and one psychologist/pain expert we consulted, he would be in hospital and brain dead beyond repair by now. And someone with less guts than my son might have, in that situation, conceded that their mind was not clear enough to know what would help them and actually listened to these idiots.
Seriously…Electo Convulsive Therapy?
Anyone with half a brain knows INSTINCTIVELY that this treatment is barbaric and irreversible. Our brains and minds are exquisitely sensitive instruments, of a complexity that is light years beyond the comprehension of our most advanced scientific experts. This treatment does not act precisely to address a specific neural imbalance, it fries everything, yet it's so readily recommended as safe these days that we could be forgiven for believing this. NOT SO. Dr Peter Breggin again has exposed the long term damage it causes to patients in this article.

So where does that leave my son right now?
Thankfully the absolute shock and despair of his mental and physical deterioration has subsided and he is no longer suicidal. I’ve encouraged him to recognise his inner strength, I've validated all his experiences as real, and I've vowed to do whatever it takes to get him on the path to recovery.
We are still trying to find someone who may be able to shed light on exactly what has changed in his neural/chemical makeup and this is giving him hope. Today I will contact some neuropsychiatrists to see if any may be sympathetic and willing to help him unravel the mystery of why he is still deteriorating and why the thick fog of anaesthesia in his head won't budge, three months after stopping all medication.

All his medical and blood tests are normal, which reinforces our growing awareness of the limitations of western medicine. Something in his physiology really isn't functioning properly (or at all) and we can't get answers to what it is, so now we're exploring alternative therapies to address his declining health and extreme chronic fatigue.
From a yoga perspective, I’d say his life force is drying up, or perhaps it is just blocked. His body seems unable to generate it despite an extremely healthy vegetarian diet and sincere attempts to exercise.
Up til now, my son (a Taurus through and through) has been stoically resistant to anything ‘alternative’ (yoga, acupuncture, ch’i kung, ayurveda etc). He lumped it all in the ‘hippy’ category. Today we'll visit the Chinese doctor for acupuncture and herbs, which is an extraordinary U-turn for him. I’m astounded and grateful that he is now open to this. But I guess he's desperate. If Chinese traditional medicine doesn't help, next on the list is homeopathy, then perhaps some other healing modalities. But I firmly believe that with the passing of time, Nature will bring his system back into it's natural balance - he just needs time, faith and patience.

On the mat
Yes I’m still practising.
Yoga practice is both the anchor that grounds me and the breeze that lifts my spirits. Now, more than ever, those two hours are for returning to the safe house, temporarily out of the war zone.

6am practice in the Gallery on Tuesday turned out to be a reunion – Renate, Kosta and Sasha all turned up. I started off slow and deliberate, but steadily built up a powerful momentum which carried me through every pose in the entire primary sequence. A full practice at last.

Standing poses were grounded by the breath-focus in my feet rising to fill out the poses from the ground up, and after a strong Virabradrasana B, a little prompt made me try a freestanding Handstand at the front of my mat. The prompt came from nowhere, but I followed, kicked up softly and found the magic spot straight away. I stayed up there, in perfect balance for what seemed like minutes (in real time it was probably about 15 seconds). That pinnacle of suspension in perfect equipoise is an exquisite experience. Even now the feeling is still with me and as I think of it I re-enter the sublime heights, elevated above the mundane, I’m back up there, in suspension, and time and breath are held motionless.

Practice this morning (Thursday) was not as focussed – my mind seemed to be indelibly super-glued to the plight of my son.
During the sun salutes I had to pry it off over and over.

Come back to now. Stay present.
But I didn’t want to stop thinking about him because it felt selfish, like I was abandoning him, like every moment I thought about my son just might bring me closer to solving his problems and every moment was critical.

The emotional tug-of-war between There and Here continued unabated until Paschimottanasana, then it took a turn, as if the stronger side suddenly pulled harder and won.
In the forward bend I noticed my quads weren’t fully engaged, an action that grounds the entire pose. I corrected it, pulled up the quads firmly, pressed the thighbones down and felt mula bandha return. Then I wandered off to my son, lost it all, noticed I’d lost it all, re-engaged the mental and physical firmness to a slightly lesser intensity, drifted off again, brought myself back…etc…etc…etc…until my mind muscle gave up.

I did a weak vinyasa.

Then Purvottanasana, and the promise of redemption, especially if I could engage mula bandha and draw it energetically up to the top of my chest. There it lifted and opened my heart up like an erupting volcano. A tiny spark of energy flickered.

A slightly stronger vinyasa.

Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana – right side. I stayed in it for 12 breaths today – it normally takes 6 long, strong, focussed breaths before my right hip and knee will release their grip, so I usually ignore the regulation 5 breath rule here. When they release I gain access to all the emotional pain locked up in my lower back so I stick around and watch it writhing like an injured snake.
The other side of Ardha Baddha comes too easy so I have to work equally hard in a different way to avoid slacking off. The work is more subtle and my mind has to tune up to a finer frequency to remain present.
But extending the stay in this pose slows down the velocity of practice, kills the momentum.

I stayed longer than 5 breaths in Trianga Mukhai, but I wasn’t counting anymore, just enjoying the show, watching my body parts systematically release and adjusting the alignment of my pelvis in increments, keeping a watchful eye on the energy flow of the straight leg.

I stepped through the vinyasa…everything slowing down now.

Janu Sirsasana A – it’s such an elementary pose, but there’s so much going on when viewed through the microscope of total attention, the fullness of awareness seeing through muscles, tissue and bone, watching and directing fluids and energy around the body.

No vinyasa between sides, but I managed a real one after the second side – it was to be my last for today.

Janu Sirsasana B – just hurt my feet which was a surprise, they must be extra sensitive for some reason today. After all these years of practice (and-gulp- teaching) I’m still not really sure how to position that foot. Is it in the same flexed configuration as Janu A? Or is it rolled over with the sole facing slightly upwards? Both positions hurt.

No vinyasa.

Janu Sirsasana C – is fast catching up to Utkatasana as an unexpected favourite pose of mine (I think I’ve described the immediate change in my breath when I hit Utkatasana in a previous post) . In Janu C, the continual pressure from the heel into the inner thigh and an equal and opposite pressure inwards from the outer thigh creates something exciting. The inner stream of prana percolates upwards with this inward squeezing. I let that happen then remembered to press the bent knee down a bit more and my lower back screamed with delight – then the sparring dialogue opened up between those two, going back and forth like a see-saw, the knee testing the limit of how far it could go, the lower back sending immediate replies.

I laid back on the floor, interlocked my hands and took them overhead til they too rested on the floor above me. It felt good. This was my…(ahem)…new vinyasa.

My mind wanderered momentarily and I asked myself 'what would I have done at this point if I'd been practising at the shala?' The answer...'just kept going - so what's stopping me?'

Marichy A. My body really wasn’t complying now, but there was no struggle, just acceptance, awareness, understanding and application. I bound hands, went forward and held on. That was it.
Laid back on the floor again. This time it felt TOO good.
My entire body released into the earth and I felt a buoyancy supporting me. Instead of descending into the heaviness of Savasana, I finished off with a few inversions, rolling slowly out of Halasana then halfway back into it a few times to give my lower back muscles an acupressure treatment.
Then finally Savasana.
I do miss it when I don't do an intense, sweaty, challenging Ashtanga practice, but for now the challenges off the mat are excessively high voltage and I have to accept that I'm not superhuman.
Those two sweet hours of yoga were not an escape but a precious distraction, a necessary tonic to disperse the tension of my obsessive preoccupation with my son, a time to reconnect to the Source and recharge my batteries.

Ready to re-enter the war zone, fight alongside my son, and win.


gartenfische said...

Good for you for practicing in spite of the mental trauma.

I am glad your son is open to trying alternative treatments. I pray that he will be led back to himself bit by bit.

Sending you and your son love.

nobodhi said...

Dear Gartenfische, you may not realise how much your kind words have meant to me.
Bless you and thank you.