I am so grateful for the global community in so many different countries as well as here at home near Boulder.
Thanks to you and all of my friends! You enrich my life in all circumstances, and I deeply believe that true wealth means being rich in high-quality, mutual, empowering relationships.
But sometimes things have to go terribly wrong for you to fully realize how important your community is in helping you—literally—to survive. This autumn was a bit different for me: I fell very ill in September, first with bronchitis in Denmark, followed by severe gall bladder attacks that I had mistaken for stomach flu while teaching in Italy and Germany. While abroad, I had the privilege of teaching the DARe Modules and Somatic Experiencing® with a multitude of amazing groups of talented organizers, assisting teams and students in wonderful European cities including Copenhagen (Denmark), Riccione and Florence (Italy), and Cologne (Germany).
The unexpected descends
Since I arrived home, however, It has been very intense. Fifteen hours after getting of the plane I was rushed into the emergency room for gall bladder surgery (my inflamed, defunct gall bladder was removed). It was supposed to be a simple operation, but the bile duct got cut accidentally. While they were trying to fix it, my duodenum was perforated by mistake. Two surgical errors by two different, well-respected surgeons. And two surgeries instead of one, plus about another 11 invasive procedures over the next 14 days that I spent in the hospital. They had to take me off all food and water to let my digestive tract heal on its own for nine days. During that time I was only on intravenous saline with potassium. on this forced fast, I began to develop such a strong sense of smell that I could detect food or coffee brewing from faraway down the hall. It was hard not to pounce on it. I am eating normally now—yum.
But as a result of these surgical errors, I reluctantly cancelled all my scheduled activities for November and December to give me time to recover. I apologize to the students and assistants who were going to participate in the Vancouver DARe 2 Somatic Attachment event—people who had made their plans, booked flights, and had to experience the inconvenience of the change. I, too am disappointed. This workshop had been so beautifully organized by Debi and Saskia for over a year. Thankfully, it is now rescheduled for March 1–3, 2013.
The beauty of receiving
This intense time has been a great experience in allowing myself to be so deeply supported. I have been practicing “receiving” like the exercises in DARe 2. I never could have imagined such caring responses from so many. Until a strong need arises, we often don’t know how much support can be drawn upon. I was showered with so much love, care, and support from my circle of friends as well as so much connection from afar.
My room was always full of gorgeous flowers. Everyone came to support me with love, meditation, and music. Friends kept me company or gave me amazing sessions of cranio-sacral, color puncture, and visceral work. This I know for sure: I am healing better and quicker from all of this collective care.
When I was released from the hospital, I was a very pampered guest at two of my friends’ homes. I was (at last) fed delicious, nourishing food created and delivered from so many kind-hearted friends. I so appreciate your healing treatments, homes offered, phone calls, email, cards, gifts, care packages. I felt your “presences” in my life most of all. I continue to receive the care I need to relax and make my body stronger.
The road back
I am on the mend now. Learning about medical trauma and the results of surgical errors has been quite a difficult and insightful journey. For folks who have experienced excruciating pain, I have more understanding and compassion. I always had assumed that when pain got really intense and became unbearable I could count on dissociation. But I learned that when a pain cycle gets too strong even morphine cannot touch it. This experience has also made me appreciate life yet again and to recommit to what is most meaningful.
For me, this means showing up for and meeting whatever arises—with as much equanimity and sense of adventure as possible. It also requires self-love and love of others. And growing my capacity for curiosity, presence, connection, transparency, open-hearted vulnerability and authenticity. In the midst of ongoing physical invasions and challenges, this kind of mindfulness has served me well.
It will take a while before I can really be back in full swing. In the short term, I will probably be able to do only one 3–5 day workshop per month, with the help of assistants and DARe faculty. As my body heals and recovers I hope to be able to take on a more active schedule.
Meanwhile, several new DVD sets are being produced. We will have more and more DARe classes in English and foreign languages available in the online store soon.
You might have noticed also that we are in process of a name change, which will continue to reference the DARe work and also emphasize the Somatic Attachment element of the trainings.
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