Tag Archive for 'healing'

come on home to me

come on home to me
black warriors, hard edges
learn soft from my thighs

there’s no drama here
you can leave it at my door
i will wait for you

i kiss your forehead
eye eye nose lips ears and throat
blessing your senses

i’ll wipe down the blood
i’ll whisper your name all night
you’ll wake up yourself

come on home to me
we are two shades of healer
it’s my turn to fight

– #blackaugust #blackaugust575

image

in semi-poetic response to my mri

technology means i can get an instant notice on an app that my mri results are in.

and i can wade through the foreign language of Medicine enough to feel daunted. vindicated.

i knew something was bad wrong inside my left knee, the knee of my heart. i have aligned all my ways of knowing, these pictures are confirmation more than revelation.

there are a few words i understand – there is a tear at the root, and there is a difference in the meniscus i was born with. it’s always been different, perhaps always leading towards this moment of dysfunction.

it’s humbling to mostly not understand what i am reading, these big english words, all of which i want to use in scrabble, and otherwise want nothing to do with.

the data that something is torn and there’s a reason for my pain that can show up on a magnetized picture is also a relief. my pain is rarely so clear.

my knee is changing my outlook on life…

my heart has changed

chambers open inside chambers and i feel infinite

i need my whole self
i need my boundaries
i need my life’s work
i need my tenderness

the more i explore myself with eyes of love the more vastness i can comprehend

heart opening is a part of any other healing that my body needs

the knee bone is connected to the heart
no matter what the doctor says – she only thinks of me for fifteen minutes at a time

this sacred body is becoming my obsession

my damaged always-full moon
coming out of the dark

i have been a witch
now again now turning inwards
anyanwu, flesh on my tongue
learning to heal
with imagination and marrow and attention

i just needed a destination for this black magic
my lineage
we know to find the joy at the torn root
we know to dance with fingers pointing north
we know our bodies are our inheritance
we turn our prayers
into tomorrows

You Have Permission

We are winning.

It’s devastating.

Those who believe that the attention of this country (and world) needs to be placed on the death, violence and oppression that result from white supremacy are winning. Black lives matter, we are asserting it with body, mind, heart, spirit, media, disruption, dance, art.

It’s a lot. Some of us are not doing well, treating ourselves like temporary participants, even though we know this is a long struggle.

There are those who want to ignore the ways their own internalized racism connects to this violence. We are raising that attention, making everyone reckon with racism, argue about it, take notice. And, if they are allies, grieve with us, and grow.

But it’s hard.

It means we have to reach our hearts into the bloody mess, lift it up to the light with our grief and attention. Some of us have known how bad it is, have been doing movement work around it for decades. Others of us are relatively new to this awareness, have been living ‘normal’ lives, are politicizing in the streets or on the internet. The growing documentation of black death and assaults on black bodies feels like an escalation. It’s exhausting.

From one awakening human to another, I offer you permission to be long term with your attention. Some movement moments are really quick, some moments feel like a lull, for years. Regardless of the pace, this is life long, generation long work.

Khalil Gibran taught us that the sorrow we experience carves out the space for the joy to come. I have been thinking that the devastation and grief we are experiencing now is carving out a space for the liberation and freedom and safety that future generations will live into.

But in the meantime?

You have permission to take care of your whole self on this journey.

You have permission not to educate strangers about racism on social media.

You have permission to turn off auto play on social media and decide when/if you can watch videos of black people being harmed. You have permission not to seek out visual and audio information of black pain and death.

You have permission to feel your grief.

You have permission to take breaks. The pace of violence is intense, take care of yourself.

You have permission to feel numb, overwhelmed, silenced, enraged, scared and hopeless.

You have permission to be small and need care from your community during this time.

You have permission to ask others to just hold your black body while you breathe, cry, laugh, vent, and feel fear.

You have permission to confront racism in public.

You have permission to feel pleasure. You have permission to dance, create, make love to yourself and others, celebrate and cultivate joy. You are encouraged to do so.

You have permission to rest inside of cultural release – get lost for a bit in a new movie, or analyzing what Drake’s ghost writing means, watching babies samba, or futball magic, or compulsively read horoscopes, or dance to Trap Queen in your living room.

You have permission to heal.

The pace isn’t going to slow down, right now we are in the phase of movement that is about making the truth undeniable. It is not the first, worst, or last of our battles.

It helps to create rituals that allow full emotional range for this time. I use candles and meditation to process the losses, water and moon to ask for emotional/physical healing for those who are harmed. Saying the names is also a powerful practice.

Don’t bottle it up inside, don’t try to move through this time alone.

You have permission to grieve. And you have permission to live.

i love my hip, i love my healers

the healer community in detroit is pretty amazing. small, but gifted. i work with adela nieves, who is trained as a curandera, and with enid carter, a black mama masseuse who affirms my body the whole time she works on me. both take however long we need.

both have helped me with an ongoing hip pain that i have been looking at in horror, unable to comprehend that such a strange fire could truly be radiating down my body. they’ve helped from a physical and emotional perspective.

enid said in our most recent session that i have to love my hip. it is a simple thing, but when a body part is in pain, my response is to think – ‘[insert body part] i wish you would go away, detach yourself from my body, disappear, just stop!!’. i curse at the pain, i curse at wherever i am sitting, everything around me. then i curse at the sky.

then i go into my somatic mode and think, ok what does this pain have to tell me? through the filter of my curses, it’s sometimes hard to understand the pain, but i listen, i journal, i reflect. i pray, i wish, i long for relief.

enid suggested that i just love on the hip. and do the following loving things to it:

ice it
use a yoga ball for sitting at my desk
rub and ask others to rub my sacrum and feet
use pillows to support my knees and ankles when i am laying or sitting
stretch my hamstrings daily, gently, with a yoga strap
use weleda brand arnica oil and arnica pills
and take aleve – don’t sit in the pain

and then keep sending love at my hip, at my back, down my leg, to my whole left side as it works to release the pattern of pain, to my right side for growing stronger in this process. i think about the million intersections of my body, my wholeness, and the layers of emotion, memory, and joy that reside within me.

then i love my hip.

and i love my healers.

i love my hip.

packing my octavia butler bag (reflections on the field innovation team boot camp)

i am returning from a gathering that felt like a redirection, or next thrilling iteration, of my life resources.

a few months ago, my friend renna reached out to me because she knew some people who were getting together to design innovative responses in real time to the challenges of disasters.

i have very little background in disaster response, but i do live in detroit, and am as obsessed with apocalypse as the next sci-fi head, and i regularly work with communities who have been devastated by a combination of slow economic disasters and faster natural or manmade ones. so i agreed to go.

and i am so glad i did.

the room was one of the most experientially diverse i have been in in a long time. there were first responders and people who had worked in the disaster response field for years and have published books on it. and then there were veterans, an astronaut, robotics experts, artists, nonprofit leaders, government employees, theater arts facilitators, scientists, writers, designers, makers, hackers, teachers, futurists, technologists with communications tools that made me salivate, gamers.

and me.

we are all volunteers, and most of us have never been part of a disaster response effort. and that is the exactly the point. a few years ago, some people who had been involved in disasters we’ve all watched at a distance or survived – 9/11, katrina, fukushima to name a few – reached out to a team of designers, convinced that there must be more innovative ways to approach the conventional response to disasters. with the design team, they (at the time housed within fema) cultivated a survivor oriented response framework during hurricane sandy. they asked how do we fundamentally transform the experience of survivors? not seeing people as numbers, but as stories, people with futures, sensitive traumatized individuals and communities at a major precipice.

what grew out of this was a project called the field innovation team (FIT). it has spun off from fema to be it’s own project.

it includes a lot of characters and really brilliant people. i met an elder astronaut/pilot with a dry wit that kept me cracking up the whole meeting. i met a man using sci-fi to prototype plans with communities. i met a woman who makes robots that can swim underwater during a tsunami and tell rescue teams where people are, where danger is. i met other people creating robots that can carry supplies and resources to people where there are no/dysfunctional roads, and eventually might be able to lift people out of places where vehicles and helicopters can’t safely reach them. i met technologists envisioning a world where the detritus of natural disasters can be processed through 3D printers to rebuild. i met two facilitators using theater, masterfully, to deepen the relationships of the room, and it felt good to be in their hands. i met techies who are creating communication tools that keep people connected where there is no wi-fi.

i met a safety trainer who told us all to pack our ‘go’ bags – not just for doing this work, but generally to make sure we were ready for the world that exists now, with rapidly changing climate and manmade conditions. what he described putting in that bag made me think of lauren olamina, octavia butler’s perhaps most famous protagonist, packing her bag to survive an unknown future. the whole training placed me firmly in my ongoing question about how we grow in the escalating tension of our times – living on a planet we have abused so thoroughly that she must respond.

i won’t lie – it was a politically complex setting for me. i am used to being in spaces where people generally agree on a set of core values, or at least assume that agreement. in this circle, i could feel the best part of each person there, but knew that many had journeyed corporate, military or government paths on their way to landing in the place of doing survivor-centered disaster innovations. the language was largely foreign to me, i had to ask a lot of basic questions to make sure i understood what was going on, and i was left with so many more questions yet to get answered.

but i felt good that they were excited about my world view. and as i shared what mattered to me, i found that the common thread in the room was not just saving lives, but a passion for community voices being at the center of any response, communities being at the heart of envisioning futures that move us beyond the long-term crisis of inequality as well as the urgency of disaster. i learned a lot more about the resource and legal challenges to handling crises with community direction.

most of the people i talked to agreed that disaster strikes in ways that unveil the social inequalities in a place, in ways that open people up to different pathways than they may have thought possible – it is an opportunity to do what octavia spoke of in the parables: shape change.

i feel like my belief that ‘there are a thousand paths towards justice and liberation’ is alive in this work. from our unchosen starting places, we reached this room, and we were able to hold each other as living intersectional entities between lots of different worlds that need to be not just in coherent conversation, but in flow, if we choose to survive and evolve together on this planet.

over the course of the training, it became clear to me why i, particularly, was there. all the diverse, seemingly random skills i have been developing can be of use for FIT. from my doula training to my somatics training to my sci-fi scholarship to my facilitation and process design work to my auntie skills to my coaching work to my ruckus/allied media conference/detroit learnings. perhaps more than anything else, i can imagine calling on my network of incredible people around the country, dedicated to the local brilliance of their communities.

my vision for my impact as a part of the team is to connect communities i love to resources that enhance local reach in the midst of a crisis. i feel like in most cities in the u.s., i either know (or am one step removed from) a body of local experts – people who love their city, understand it’s dynamics and reactions, understand why people stay there and what could catalyze them to save their own lives, and most importantly, have a long-term vision of justice and growth that can shape the innovations that will work immediately and sustain the right kinds of change over time.

one of the things i have learned in detroit is to seek out opportunity in crisis, and i have come to see this as a foundational emergent strategy. the idea of FIT in and of itself feels deeply aligned with emergent strategy – responding to disaster – unexpected change – in ways that contribute to community resilience long-term.

it is just a beginning, and i have a lot to learn. but i am thinking very, very big again, and it feels magnificent. i am excited to find out who in my network will be amongst the local leaders, healers, doulas, sci fi writers and strategists who will transform the way we as humans respond to crisis.

it feels like sci-fi in practice. and it feels like an invitation you say yes to. i’ll keep reporting back on the experience and lessons. and i hope to hear from those of you either interested in getting involved, or with ideas and feedback on all of it.

now – off to pack my go bag.

healing out loud/claiming frida

(drafted this last week on the road)

feb 24, 2014

last week i received my contributor copies of the anthology dear sister: letters from survivors of sexual violence. my piece in it, called “awakening”, was written about two years ago. it is about ‘how i was smart, how i survived long enough to fall in love with myself.’

it was so exciting to read where i was in my healing process at that point in my life. one of the paragraphs talked about my weight – how i gained weight for protection, as many people do. and how i tried losing it a variety of times and ways, but when people began to give me a certain kind of attention, i would lose my courage and go back to my pizza and chocolate beloveds. after years, decades of this, i finally felt ready for the change to begin.

i went on my sabbatical in 2012 with a goal of learning what health looks like for me. what i learned is that i had to really love myself, my body, as it was. and from that loving awareness, i would understand what transformation, if any, was needed.

in the dear sister essay i write about some of the ways i started healing and falling in love with myself leading up to and during that journey.

in that loving place, when i sought the answer to what health meant to me, i found i longed for strength, for the capacity to run and play with the kids in my life, to have a real chance at surviving any sci-fi apocalyptic conditions i could imagine, and to enjoy sex and pleasure without shame.

i learned that i would need to do it all at my own pace.

it’s important for me to notice how far i have come. in my early twenties i was eating pizza, hot pockets, fast food, candy, bread. since then i have learned so much about sustaining myself – how to cook delicious vegetables without meat or sugar displacing the nutritional value, how to make a salad dressing that transformed my relationship to raw vegetables, how to juice, how to shop the outer edge of the grocery store (veggies, fruit, fish, eggs) rather than the inner aisles (snacks, candy, cereals). and i have been actively practicing yoga for two years now, getting my body stronger and more flexible.

i have also been doing major healing work through somatics – learning to access and understand my whole self through the sacred ground of my body.

so it was thrilling to receive this essay about healing from trauma back into my life now, when i am almost halfway through a 21-day sugar cleanse. it feels like the next radical step in this lifelong journey of mine. and it feels like i have come far enough into my body to really notice, with curiosity and tenderness, the ways trauma still shapes me.

i started doing weight watchers earlier this year, which for me includes tracking my food and wearing an activity tracker. i felt like i had made a lot of shifts in terms of my health, and wanted to raise awareness now about eating and exercise. it was illuminating – i was still eating larger portions, eating worse when i traveled (which is a lot of my life), and being more sedentary than i want to be. i made changes with that awareness, but kept hitting pleateaus, particularly when i traveled. two pounds forward, one pound back.

the sugar cleanse came in because what i observed was that i had the hardest time controlling chocolate, bread, alcohol. i first cut out bread, and quickly learned that lots of the gluten free alternatives are also mostly sugar. i needed to know if sugar was keeping me plateau’d in my health. my sister starting the cleanse provided the perfect opportunity to do this from a state of inspiration and solidarity.

writing about it, sharing it, has been immensely vulnerable and powerful. i realize that actually a lot of my writing, here, in more formal essays, and even the fiction i am writing, is an examination of myself, my healing process.

which brings me to frida.

my bathroom walls are covered in self-portraits of frida kahlo. in fact, she has a presence in every room of the house. thinking about my writing, my subject, my passion, i feel i have to invoke her constantly as an ancestor who has made it not just ok but radical to create my art as an exploration of my life. she once said, “I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best … I think that little by little I’ll be able to solve my problems and survive.”

her work as a queer, disabled woman of color was radical because it presented her beauty, her strength, her struggles, her resilience. things not yet to be assumed but claimed, carved out against all societal brainwashing to the contrary.

i feel similarly about my journey, though my medium is less often visual arts (though i will have three pieces up at the carr center exhibition on feminisms this month), and i dare not presume the talent of frida. but i am locating transformation at a level i can see, decipher, understand – myself. i am sharing that as transparently as i can in my art, knowing that the conversation i want to be part of at this time in history is how those of us who were supposed to be invisible instead became very loud, very whole, very powerful, very beautiful, and very joyful. very full, capable of creating our own healing journeys wherein we realize we are examining the breadth of societal trauma through the lens of ourselves.

to claim that full, whole space, i think we must claim the artists and ancestors who worked before us to carve it out. i have been claiming octavia, audre. i want to go on record as also claiming frida. she, too, is my sister.

dropping into body

spent the day today driving down the coast of california, hiking, dancing, laughing. i have never regretted saying yes to a road trip in my life, it is sweet to my body to journey at this pace, touching the trees and rocks along the way, watching the sun set over the vast pulsing ocean.

this last week i was in the second weekend of my somatics teacher training. i love being a student in this way. i will write lots about it sometime soon, but for now i am just sitting in gratitude.

i feel my body like a returned homeland.
i am dropping into my body as a falling in love: thrilling, learning, easy, impossible, there, there, there, here.
glimpses of my wholeness soften me.

the longing i have always had for a world where wholeness is celebrated and encouraged and possible feels closer as i expand to be in my whole body, to feel home in myself, in relationship to others, as something small in the face of the massive and mysterious, as something which belongs, which could not ever be apart.

one of the teachers shared a quote from shuji maruyama, founder of aikido: ‘you cannot defeat me, i am one with the universe.’ this release of the possibility of loss or failure, stepping into alignment with the universe, is the aspiration in me right now, for myself, for this species of which i am a part.

tomorrow i land in l.a. for another octavia butler event, its exciting and educational to continue this work. i will also get to meet the founder of the octavia e butler legacy network! it’s an exciting and appropriate time for this octavia renaissance.

wild seed (geek-out notes)

i recently got to hold space for an intimate conversation on octavia butler’s novel wild seed with a group of fans/geeks at solespace in oakland. i mostly didn’t document it because i was immersed in the full body thrill of being present. however i do have the list of framing questions and the closing thoughts. i share them here purely to titillate.

framing questions:

(from Octavia Butler Strategic Reader)

– Are you currently suppressing or hiding a skill/ability because it would make you stand out from others?

– How do we learn to apply our skills/abilities in positive ways?

– For Doro and his children, death is not really seen as a consequence for their actions – how does immortality or longevity relate to morality?

– What is the relationship between immortality and privilege? (Longevity as privilege at the expense of other peoples’ lives)

– In Wildseed specifically there’s a reliance on a gender-based binary set-up. How does this impact the story? Are there moments of gender subversion?

– This series can be read as a new Adam and Eve narrative, with Africa as an Eden. What is similar and different about this from other creation myths?

– How does this series relate to Darwinism with it’s presentation of the struggles between human vs. superhuman vs. subhuman?

(from Mkali Hashiki, conversation starter)

The piece about power. Why is it that she can only “get power” by planning suicide?
And is that power?
What is Butler saying about power dynamics in relationships here?

—-

closing thoughts from the group – the feelings and brilliances were very much a group effort:

about the experience

i feel gratitude that an artist could be so playful and imaginative and lay stuff out that can get us so engaged. and then to come together and engage with it, to get really excited.

just reveling in embodied geek bliss

grateful for this space to rebound and geek out. i can geek out on the web and mental orgasm as i am talking virtually, but sitting together like this is awesome.

this conversation restores me.

about the book

i am aware of the relationships between art making, different communication styles, somatics, ritual and magic. of all it takes to create a pattern of decentralized networks of coordination.
*
i am interested in having a discussion of men on this content/book, exploring what it says about masculinity.
*
doro is the ultimate disassociation character. he jumps out of body as a traumatic response and continues to do so, as so many of us do, he can never stop, he can never ground and get back into himself. the question i have is: can doro be healed, is he healable?…i’m sitting with the idea that nobody ever tried, i have the feeling (anyanwu) couldn’t – but i don’t think she ever tried.
*
that’s the reality of so many young men of color in our communities. that is our responsibility, for young men, for everybody. i’m left thinking about survival strategies, self-preservation and agency.
*
it’s intriguing to talk about when to quit (and how). somatics has good practices around that.
*
i’m thinking about the creation myths and stories i grew up with, and the world we are in, the glittering world – what it really takes for bigger entities to quit, to give up.
*
neither anyanwu nor doro has much humility. why should they, they’re immortal, that’s their downfall, their inability to seek out help, change or healing. stuff is coming up for me about organizations and leaders not being able to change – we default to hierarchical structures. there are organizations that should die and don’t, there’s a lack of humility and vulnerability.
*
and what does it mean to quit, give up, let go, pick up…it’s deep to see her commitment as positive, her commitment to suicide…how do we do this in our movements, and personally – how do we make transitions constructive?
*
there are no accidents. I’m one of those people who left the movement, committed political suicide, im done, im tired, going to go do something where i am not tired. moved across country and changed my name. now in my wellness work (not healing, as i think of that as something done to someone else) its leading me back to organizing work. not an accident that my favorite author is sparking this conversation as i need it.
*
powerful for me as a filmmaker. i came up organizing. i remember being on the phone saying I have to step back. i was crying, cause we have been doing this so long, it takes a toll on me. it was a moment of self-reflection. i was crying out, and said i want to use my art to create change.
*
it is important to examine whether anyanwu was surrendering to something inevitable when she decided to die, or whether it was her commitment, her power. power or powerlessness – which was it? does it matter out beyond exhaustion? what is the distinction between these two? which had the most influence over doro? her surrender or commitment? which do we need to do – commit or surrender? fully let go of the world which can only exist in violence? or is it that we must commit to surrender – surrender our hold on the old, surrender to the unknown?

the next reading is the next book in the patternist series, mind of my mind. let me know if you want to be looped into hearing about octavia butler and emergent strategy events :-)

how about a beginning of self-determined care?

my friend b loewe wrote this blog an end to self-care, and i was moved to respond.

hi lovely b :)

thank you so much for putting this out there, i feel the energy of it. and as a community-supported self-care queen on day 8 of a juice cleanse, i have to engage.

my negative feelings on self-care kept me in a state of not caring for myself for years, delaying me in getting what i needed, keeping me in unhealthy movement spaces, feeling powerless and tired.

my community had to intervene. they generated the resources to send me off to take care of myself. if they hadn’t done that, i don’t know if i would be here at all.

once they had intervened, i still had to go through an internal process to get to a place where i determined that i needed this healing, that i wanted to be able to give to movement from a healthier place.

so…i love the idea of community care…but what is that, if not community supporting each other in our self-determined efforts to care for ourselves and our families?

there’s that relationship wisdom, “you can’t change someone else.” i feel that – i know it’s true for me, when people try to change me i root my feet down into the soil of what is.

grace boggs speaks it into movement, echoing gandhi, “we must transform ourselves to transform the world.”

for me this includes self-care. or perhaps more precisely, self-determined care. because the messages we receive are that our lives don’t matter, that we don’t deserve love, or even to exist. to choose instead to value ourselves, our health, and the health of our communities – all as one, not at odds with each other, is radical, it’s self-determination.

and i love the idea you put out that “movement work is healing work” – it absolutely should be, and sometimes it is. and when it is, it’s amazing.

but so much of the movement work we do these days is not structured in ways that promote sleep, much less healing. there are some beautiful flows of intense work, but more often than not, in my work as a facilitator, organizational development lover and coach, what i see over and over again are isolated, exhausted and overworking organizers in endless loops of tasks, conflicts and fundraising. i observe work done in a state of urgency that often leads us to not have time to cook for each other, care for each others’ kids, or even to pursue that “political clarity” which maria speaks of.

when movement is full of individuals with scarce energy and health, that scarcity flows in every direction – it leads to us competing with each other for resources. that’s what this capitalist system wants us to do, compete with each other for what we are told is enough. the shift towards grassroots fundraising is a beautiful response to this – that we generate abundance within ourselves, so our movement work can be self-determined.

that is the same thing we need to seek as individuals – abundance that allows our lives and work to be self-determined, community-determined.

i think that burn-out happens when life is not lived with intention. when we are mindful and intentional, we can begin to experience abundance, not in the material sense, but from the joy of living our lives on purpose.

its a privilege for us to even have this conversation, i recognize that. but there are some people, people with less time and resources than either of us have, who are just beginning to get a tiny little bit of encouragement to take care of themselves, and i would hate to see your words take away from that, or make people feel guilty for that.

i think it matters that we value and love ourselves and each other. and to me, that looks like affirming the radical act of love however it comes, without judgment, whether it’s through a movement retreat, or a yoga class, or knitting, or a protest, or a garden.

so yes, let’s get specific about community care – how does it look to do this so that people are able to do for themselves what they need? some people thrive working long hours with very little alone time…others thrive with two hours of meditation every day, or physical activity.

how do we create communities where everyone can self-determine and ask for what they need, offer what they have to give, where the result is abundance?

long blog short, i don’t think this is either/or. i think this is yes: more health, more care, everywhere. getting more people in more communities talking about what a healthy caring life looks like, how they are already living and caring for themselves and each other, and how we all support each other. and not just how generations from now people might live a healthy live, but how we are and can be practicing health, well-being, joy and justice in the here and now.

because from experience, the healthier i am, the more authentic love and contribution i am able to give to movement, to the next generation in my life. the more i prioritize caring for myself, caring for my community and accepting care from my community, the better and brighter spark in the movement flame i can be.

healthcare vs. healing

last week i hurt my knee while i was in ny. i’ve had issues with my knees in the past – thickness impacts if you know what i mean. i’m working on it.

anyway, while helping our hostess, the elegant super fabulous dj rimarkable, with some groceries for a gig she was catering (she’s the pam the funkstress of the east), i slipped on a patch of ice. i thought i was fine, but within a few hours my leg was swollen, hurting, my back felt lopsided and like it might have a knife in it, and i could hardly walk.

a breakdancer friend hooked me up with her doctor, but he was busy that day, so sent me to an orthopedic immediate care unit. and the immediate care unit did everything but touch my knee and actually figure out what was wrong with it. i told them all i knew, that it felt twisted or sprained – not broken. i told them i just needed some pain relief, some guidelines on how to not make it worse. they gave me an ultrasound, an x-ray, and some percoset (with a brief reference to constipation and drowsiness, bad combo…).

it amazed me to sit with health professionals who clearly cared and wanted to help, but didn’t even examine my injury over the 5 hours i was with them.

the next night i went to see dj rimarkable spin and chairdanced all night. at the end of the night a woman who had actually held it down on the dance floor asked what was up, and i explained about my knee. she said – i am an acupuncturist, and i can do something about that.

the next day i met her at the brooklyn acupuncture project and she physically examined my knee, tracing all the rivers of pain flowing up and down my leg and back. and then she pinned me from head to toe.

after about 15 minutes, i felt a release in my back that led me to giggle. after another half hour, as i was drifting in that magical sleep that comes with acupuncture, i felt a massive boom through my whole body which rachel the acupuncturist told me was a chi boom, and a good thing. after she pulled out the needles, she rubbed an analgesic oil on my knee and said it was better than ice, which can put a chill into the joint that keeps it from healing. an hour after i walked in feeling broken, i walked out feeling aligned and healed, barely limping.

when i got home i went to the detroit community acupuncture clinic and got another treatment with nora, who also hooked me up with some kind of magical tiger balm patches to keep on my joints.

i just facilitated the whole weekend and could actively feel my body attending to itself, healing faster than i ever have from a knee (or ankle, or back) injury.

it felt like the exclamation mark on a train of thought i’ve been having – i want to always choose the traditional healing methods, the methods that rely on touch and turning the body’s healing properties on itself.

and i have to remember that, even in emergencies, when it feels like the ER is the best move. i don’t need health systems that start off asking about my insurance and give me the most expensive tests they have without leaving me in better condition.

i need healing.