Flashers and floaters
sound like lovely things; bright, light
bubbles of air with colors
like the bubbles I blew as a child;
flashers frighten me, just for a moment
like unexpected lightning
And the floaters?
I now feel as if I have my own posse of gnats following me,
just off to the side.
I haven’t yet stopped turning quickly to catch them,
to SEE them. What ARE you?
But they leave at my turning.
If I go blind I will remember these as lovely things:
flashes of lightning,
illusions of tiny bugs.
Nancy Welch is a child and family therapist with 28 years of experience in Bellingham and also a teacher of Zen meditation. Since the age of seven Nancy has suffered Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, an auto-immune disease that destroys the linings of the body joints and causes great pain and limitation. In 2011, Nancy published Medicine and Meditation, a series of interviews with people who are chronically ill, as well as their teachers, doctors, and family members.
This is a gestation, like the baby in my friend’s womb.
There are roots growing down from my neck and my sacrum,
growing down out of my coccyx.
Through my heels and into what is below me.
Time has to be given for these very long roots to take hold.
Time for a multitude of experiences on the pendulum,
while the Spanish Inquisition goes on in my body.
There is time for floods and dark, very long nights.
Nights so long you forget what walking in sunlight is,
you forget that there is sunlight.
There is so much time while these roots secure themselves.
Sometimes that night is so painful and it’s so cold
that the tip of my nose goes numb,
and spider webs move through my nerves.
The space between my vertebrae shrinks like a plastic bag over my mouth,
and things burn like the desert does.
A cold hard wind that erodes your skin, exposes your heart,
and then erodes that, too.
And my muscles come alive and do things I did not know could happen.
Its only once these roots are growing up through my neck,
and making it strong and wise like wood,
then, then I am ready for Spring.
Bryan is a yoga instructor who was struck by a car in Portland, OR almost two years ago. Describing this experience he says, “The resulting chronic cervical pain changed every facet of my life: my work, relationships (with self & others), and my ability to take care of myself. The resilience to make it through the shattering re-building process was sometimes available, and often times just beyond my reach. There are only a few things that have consistently helped me in the recovery process since the accident, with the main aid being my yoga. It has been helpful to add Kintsugi into the mix, as writing can be a fruitful way to approach the road to recovery.”