Although I would not wish a devastating injury like mine upon anyone, I have come, at last, to a sense of deep gratitude for the learning and opportunity offered by this unexpected, unwelcome and often hellish life changing injury. Adversity is never welcome. Who wants to break their knee, for god’s sake? Not any sane person. And while my sanity has often been questionable, I don’t seek pain as a means of learning. But, pain arrived, life happened, and all I could do was learn. The Alexander Technique offers the possibility of using the Self consciously, whatever the conditions of the Self might be.
As I have frequently stated, this injury changed my life, and thus changed me. I have had to endure and survive the deep dismay of not being who I defined myself to be (a mobile and active person), and to embrace the not-knowing of how to be without previous definition. My edges have softened. In being forced to stillness and slowness, in enduring my own noise, in accepting, after much struggle, my limitations, I have found a freedom in less defined being that is a great surprise and a deep gift. Of course, I want to recover fully, but I have relinquished the urgency of ever being the same person as my pre-injury self. I would never give away all that I have learned for the predictability of being my pre-injury self. My comprehension of pain, immobility and long recovery, and my understanding of that process, could only be informed by experience. Conceptual recovery is an illusion and a set of assumptions. Applying Alexander principles to the many-layered sequence of injury recovery is a reality that I live and can convey to my students with hard won experience.
Without this experience, I would not have worked so deeply and attentively with professionals of other disciplines, and thus understood how Physical Therapy, Osteopathy, Gyrotonics can assist in effective whole person recovery. I have learned of the kindness and skill of professionals that is available once intention is clear and end-gaining is set aside. The struggle of continuing means-where-by in recovery has taken on entirely new meaning.
I have relinquished the tiller a bit, learned to allow the boat’s drift, become more open to currents, and let wisdom be other than mine.