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  • Marie Trout

Flat-lining Emotions and a Bulging Waist Line

When my foot falls asleep, the blood flow to the nervous tissues is cut off. The nerves cannot send signals to my brain, and I cannot feel the limb – although I can see it is right there. It makes me wonder if this piece of listless flesh will ever be able to move on its own again. For a few scary seconds, it is as if the foot belongs to someone else. It is certainly not under my command! I can move my sleeping extremity around with my hands. And feel the strangeness of this body part that I tell myself is alive, even though it certainly doesn’t act—or feel— that way.

This morning I was doing yoga in candle light in my bedroom. It is usually not a peaceful or graceful experience. I make myself do it, because the stretching is good for my herniated-disc back, and my ailing knees and feet. Doing yoga by myself however, is not lonely, as I thought it would be. I enjoy that I don’t have to worry about tempo, about how I look when I lose balance, or about the beautiful and graceful people in the room that do everything so effortlessly. I let go of any desire to compete – even with myself.

As the birds started their morning concert, the daylight gradually became brighter than the little candle flame. It were as if the birdsong was chasing away the darkness. Their singing celebrated that life returned for another day.

I felt one with this renewal. I was re-booting. Coming online! I felt peaceful: a balanced sense of ease and an innate sense of joy. As I focused on postures and breathing, I realized that it has been a while since joy had felt me: It just bubbled up inside. It was a total gift: humble, down-to-earth joy.

Now don’t get me wrong. I have felt many joyful moments in the past year: Walter continues to get stronger. I feel joy each time I see him. Looking and being around our kids is immensely joyful. I feel joy each time I think of the community support that saved us. All of that and much more prompts thankfulness, love, and joy.

This morning however, I felt joy overtake me – totally unsolicited. It wasn’t prompted by anything external. For a long time, my emotions have been flat-lining. They were listless. My emotional register was held hostage by tension I couldn’t control. I have held myself in a continual state of preparedness. What if Walter’s new liver gets rejected? What if complications arise?

See, there it is again: The continuing “what if’s.”

I have rationally told myself how to think: Every time a “what if” floated by on my emotional radar screen, I used the technique of “doing what I could, and let go of the rest.” But it was, and is, mostly a rational process. It is not felt, although it is ingrained enough that it has become a good habit. This rational process – this habit- is extremely helpful, when I am emotionally asleep at the wheel. My rational mind can virtually move my sleeping emotions around when they behave as if they are a sleeping foot! This is a wonderful survival skill. But to live with sleeping emotions is a drag.

As an aside, when emotionally asleep, I tend to eat too much. And right now, I don’t even want to LOOK at my jeans. I wear stretchy things…

I know… it is a process, so I continue the trek: one step at a time.

Nonetheless, feeling one with the joy all around me, and in me, was a sacred experience.

“What if” it doesn’t last?

Oh dear…. I observe my brain spin, and allow myself to enter into the after-glow of the experience.

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