Several weeks ago I spoke in Hilton Head, S.C. at the annual meeting of the National Institute of Complementary and Applied Behavior Medicine (NICABM). On the day I was to leave for California to participate in another workshop, I severely hurt myself during my morning yoga practice. Moving into triangle pose, I felt a painful pop in my left hip, and crumbled to the ground moaning having just pulled my hamstring muscle at its insertion on my sitz bone.
The flight to Los Angeles was miserable (in spite of the bourbon), and the discomfort forced me to focus on the truth that this was the third injury to my left leg in the last five months. This is the softer, feminine, more vulnerable side, what is that about? What am I not seeing clearly that I ought to be looking at more directly?
I have been struggling with this vulnerability issue for several years now. I still have trouble letting go of old strivings that once defined my competence, but that no longer serve my progress? There is some piece of me that cannot welcome and love the man I now am.
The coming workshop in Los Angeles is with the distinguished Kabbalist, Rabbi Gershon Winkler, and entitled From Torah to Tipi. It is about the shamanic roots of healing, and it just so happened that the bible reading for that week was the story of Joseph and his brothers. In summary, this is a tale of murderous rage and lies, wherein Joseph, the favorite son of his father is sold into slavery by his brothers. Living in exile in Egypt, imprisoned, he is redeemed because of his prophetic skills and eventually becomes the Viceroy to the Pharaoh.
Ultimately the brothers meet, they have no idea who he is, but Joseph recognizes them. Instead of getting even with them for their treachery, he forgives them, and eventually returns to live in the Promised Land.
During the service, it comes to me that hobbling myself is just another tribute to my inability to forgive myself for not being a man I once was. Forgiveness is the single most important process that brings us peace in life; and forgiveness is how we free ourselves from the prisons of unhealed wounds.
So here’s my New Years resolution once again. This year I am going to make peace with that past that no longer serves me and remember as my mantra every morning the words of the Mahatma Gandhi “forgiveness is choosing to love”.
Happy New Year, Feliz Ano Nuevo, Herzliche Neujahrsgrusse, L’Shana Tova!
I say this for All My Relations, Mi Takuye Oyasin.