By Stew Bittman
Returning from another of Sig's Gatherings, my heart was wide open, my mind was focused, my mission was clear, my passion and determination were soaring. Then I read the newspaper.
The human genetic code has been cracked. The scientists and politicians and businesses involved are drooling over the implications, "A historic point in the 100,000-year record of humanity." Mapping the genome "creates at least the potential" to cure cancer and "hundreds of other diseases that have plagued mankind for centuries." It "has implications far surpassing even the discovery of antibiotics." "We have caught a glimpse of an instruction book previously known only to God."
I don't know about you, but I immediately reacted to all this with great fear, and anger. "What the hell is wrong with these people?" "When will they stop?" "How can I help stop them?" "What's the point of everything I do and teach and preach?" "Why do I bother?" "Where is the hope?"
I gathered up the family and went out for a walk down to the river, knowing that I could find clarity in Nature. We took the "lupine trail", which every year abounds with thousands of sweet-smelling and brilliantly purple flowers. This year, however, there was only the dust and debris left from a massive logging operation, clearing out the countless trees that had died because of prior forest mismanagement.
We all cried, Ari especially. When we reached the river, my feelings of pain and hopelessness and despair were wreaking havoc with my intention to see the perfection in all things. I asked the river for guidance. It simply flowed on, seemingly oblivious to my dilemma. In so doing, it lovingly gave me the answer. Flow on. Feel the pain and flow on. I realized that I wasn't even upset about the forest or the genome anymore.
It was all about "poor me." I was caught up in a game being played by my ego to keep me trapped in my illusion of separateness, of powerlessness, of hopelessness. It became very clear that all my assumptions and attacks and resentments and power trips and judgments and complaints and whines are like little dinky firecrackers I lob over the walls that I have built around my heart, the walls that get thicker and thicker when I allow ego's games to pass unnoticed. The walls that keep me in my "good little boy" mode, no threat to any aspect of mainstream society. The walls that keep me from being the servant and healer and the lover that I am. The walls that keep Innate from expressing my highest potential through me.
I realized it was okay to feel pain. I truly believe that we have to feel in order to heal. I tell my practice folks this all the time. Every time we feel, without repressing or acting out, we take a brick out of the wall. Every time we celebrate our joy, even in the midst of our sorrow, we tear down a section. Every time we remember who and what we are, even while feeling pain, we wield the wrecking ball. And every time we acknowledge the perfection and balance in any situation, even if we don't understand it, we undermine the entire foundation of our egos' works.
Thanks, river. Thanks for reminding me of everything I learned at the Gathering. Thanks for reminding me I still have a lot of work to do. Thanks for reminding me of all the other warriors in my chiropractic family that are doing the same work. Thanks for flowing on.