There is a Wisdom,
Buried deep in my bones,
Passed down to me,
From Ancestors of Old.
Today we call it a curse,
And fight and rail,
We give it names,
Arthritis and Migraine,
And call the wild Wisdom,
By another name: Pain.
But, is it, really,
Just the song my bones knows?
5,000 years ago…
…I would have been honored amongst my Tribe. I would have warned my People four hours ago that a change in the weather was coming, something I knew because I felt the change coming in my ears, my head. We would have had time to take shelter before the raging winds arrived, as they have now.
…I would be warning my Tribe now that an even bigger change was coming. I feel it, in my bones – in the bad knee and shoulder that suddenly twinge, and the deep ache in my bones growing sharper by the moment.
My bones know. They are singing to me, singing of the changes to come.
Tomorrow, the temperature here will drop from 35 degrees to something-below-zero, with wind chills of -30 degrees.
My bones are telling me that, a Gift that could have meant the life or death of my Tribe.
I can tell you when rain is within 50 miles and headed this way, whatever the season, by the pang in my shoulder. There was a time when that would have been very useful.
Now, I have no need of this life-saving Gift. Who does? We have the Weather Channel, and weather apps on our fones.
But maybe, it’s time I stopped complaining about the “pain” of my “reactive inflammatory arthritis” and “weather migraines,” and started thanking my body for giving me the warnings it was meant to give me.
It is only my body singing to me with ancient Wisdom.
Maybe, it’s time I started just listening, just being with the sensations, without labeling them as “pain,” and instead, think about what they would have meant a thousand, or five thousand, years ago.
Survival. Life. Or, death.
Maybe, it’s time I stopped running away, and just lay still, curled up, and listened to the Wisdom buried deep in my body.
I think it has a lot to say.
I wrote that last night, but then didn’t post it.
I was too busy, listening to my bones sing.
There is a craft to this, the listening, one I’m sure our ancient ancestors refined. Just as I know the approach of rain by my very reliable shoulder, what exactly was the singing in my ribs, my bad knee, then most of my bones, even into my hands, telling me last night? If I had no weather app on my fone, I would need to know.
Waking far too early this morning, writhing from the ache in my bones, with pressure in my head, I knew the temperature was soon to start its drop and more change was coming. I could hear the wind roaring outside. When I got up, I discovered that yesterday’s mild south winds, that had changed to west winds last night, were now hard and gusting even harder from the north.
My mind flashed back to reading about the “polar vortex” and coming “arctic plunge,” with temperatures so low that “if you are younger than 40 you likely won’t remember anything this cold.” I put that out of mind.
Why stay awake and thrash and fight the “pain,” when it is only my bones singing to me, with the ancient Wisdom, as the bodies of some have done for countless generations before me?
Instead, I thanked my wonderous body for the warning, and told it that I understood why my bones were singing, the Wisdom it was sharing with me.
Muscles relaxed instead of spasmed.
The song became a lullabye.
And then, I went peacefully back to sleep.
It will take time to break long-engrained habits – the tightening of muscles around the signals my body is sending, the labeling of those signals always as “pain,” fighting and avoiding them, causing my body to only send them out louder and stronger, more urgently. But, it’s a start.
I’ve wondered before if weather-related migraines were an evolutionary advantage – if a small proportion of members of a tribe had them, they would have been, I think.
But, I never tried to consciously work with my body, to acknowledge that its messages were received, other than to say, “yeah, that part hurts, I understand, you can shut up about it now.” The flare of inflammatory arthritis I’ve been having has given me a new incentive to work on how I deal with “pain,” and acknowledging it while in deep relaxation does help – to a point.
Maybe, only “to a point” because I wasn’t acknowledging the whole message.
Yes, my wise body, I hear the song in my bones now, and I understand. You’re right, a big change in the weather is coming, a dangerous one. Thank you for warning me. I am safe, warm, and protected – and listening.