Bye Bye Identity

Today is the day! In about 8 hours that my right hamstring will get reattached to my sits bone deep in the pelvis. Around 1:30 pm Pacific time.

I have been limping, feeling pain, and moving more and more slowly for several weeks.

The usual marching, speedy, springing woman that I normally feel like has gone away for awhile, at least physically….

….and a new very slow person has replaced her.

I must admit. I’m a little anxious about the pain.

I saw photos of how they do this. It wasn’t exactly looking….gentle.

The surgeon cuts into the leg, slices across, goes underneath the gluteal muscle mass (that all gets lifted up with some kind of metal device), then the pelvic bone gets grazed up so it bleeds (this doesn’t sound peaceful) and then the shredded end of the hamstring that is detached gets pinned with two titanium pins onto the bleeding bone.

No problem!

Three days ago, I lay on a bench up in the choir loft of a gorgeous brilliantly lit church, the sun pouring through the colored glass and making the whole interior of the place glow with golden luminescence.

My leg was throbbing. Underneath the friendly, articulate, amused voice of David Whyte, who was standing far below (he has two working legs, I note) with a microphone….

….my mind would shout sometimes even through his eloquent words “oh god, 72 hours until the knife cuts the back of my thigh and goes deep into the place that is already throbbing right NOW”. 

David chuckled once, mid story, sun beaming towards his face like a spotlight, and picked up his podium with both hands, moving himself several feet to his left.

“I can only take so much light”, he joked.

I wonder if that’s how MY mind functions.

Because it is strong, stable, kind, loving and relaxed….and then….it appears to offer a slide show of dangerous Coming Events.

Me in a wheelchair, me laying face down for 6 weeks with drool coming out of my mouth, me crying because I can’t go outside, me not being able to get up to go to the bathroom with crutches, me with the entire right leg cut off, me realizing that this whole body thing is on its way out.

  • this is going to hurt
  • what if they can’t repair it (the worst thought)
  • I’ll never be the same
  • my life is over as I’ve known it
  • I’m going to shrivel up like an atrophied raisin, my muscles will shrink and petrify, and I will never come back to my athletic energetic self
OK then!
I know, I know, it’s a little over the top.
But allowing these kinds of thoughts to be as they are, knowing they are not all of me, has been one of the most wonderful things to accept.
“I shouldn’t think bad thoughts, I shouldn’t be worried, I should be positive, I should not anticipate pain, I shouldn’t be so dramatic.”
Is that true?
Can I absolutely know that it’s true that I shouldn’t be making such a fuss, that I shouldn’t be worried, or that I’m saying goodbye to my life as I’ve known it?



How do I react when I believe that this is a troubling situation? That this pain I feel is BAD, that I’ll never be the same, or that I’ll be in MORE pain soon?
Sick to my stomach, nervous, angry, full of visions of scary images.
Who would I be without the thought that I shouldn’t be afraid?
Who would I be without the thought that this is disturbing, that it’s not guaranteed to go perfectly, or that this is a bummer?
Without these beliefs, I’m in a Don’t Know state. I feel the sensation in some parts of my leg and I’m calling it “hurt”, I write, I see other visions, I imagine myself hiking some day in the future, I hear a cat outside.
I breathe deeply.
I laugh as David Whyte talks, I see the pictures he describes. They are not of legs or hamstrings.
Can I turn these thoughts around to their opposite? YES!
  • this is going to heal
  • what if they can repair it
  • I’ll always be the same (especially the me that isn’t even a body)
  • my life is just beginning, with a new leg
  • I’m going to bloom like a juicy grape, my muscles will grow and loosen, and I am already back to my athletic energetic self

I just waved my arms around while lying on my back in the bed, laughing, my heart beating and my body getting warm enough to take off my sweatshirt.

My arms might have a fantastic, strengthening time. And my mind.

Why not?

Gratitude for everyone, for support, for change, for injuries, for surgeons, for the amazing technology of even being able to attempt to repair such things.
Gratitude for beds, couches, wheelchairs, legs, voices, blood, photographs, imagination, joy.
Gratitude for medicine, destruction, evolution, treatments….that we all move through the veil, eventually.
“We think that we’re afraid of the death of our body, though what we’re really afraid of is the death of our identity. But through inquiry, as we understand that death is just a concept and that our identity is a concept too, we come to realize who we are. This is the end of fear.” ~ Byron Katie


Much love, Grace

8 Replies to “Bye Bye Identity”

  1. Complete recovery for you. Or the person you think is you. ;) Which, may in fact, be very sloOow! Hahaha!!! :DDD

  2. Okay, so the lesson I learned here is to never, EVER, look at photos of a medical procedure I’m about to have done! Seriously though, with all my heart I know you will be fine. You are such a light that nothing but light will surround you. And I don’t believe for a minute that you won’t be back to your ol’ self – dancing, walking everywhere, zippety-zip!! And if there are things that do change it will be a beginning of something amazing. It can’t help to be that way cuz it’s you:) Much love to you<3

  3. Grace, you will pull out of this even mo’-betta than you are! It’s called *seasoning*….you become *more seasoned*, seeing, empathetic. You have a crowd supporting you! You don’t have to buck up immediately like a smilie-faced kewpie-doll.

    Have a great book to dig into when you get home, on the very same subject as your last Byron Katie quote. It’s *The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are*, by Alan Watts. Such a subject! Be sure to ask Juanito to get you some very funny comedy dvd’s to balance deepening with levity.

    Keep smiling, Baby…and your quick recovery is in all the hearts you reach out to, including mine. Love, Elena

  4. Positive loving energy your way. Life is pain, life is pleasure, and everything inbetween. If it hurts don’t fight it, run from it. Instead, go into the pain, be one with it, be the pain. Today is my day to hurt. Nothing lasts, pain or pleasure. Soon I’ll have a new day that is pain free. It’s all mind, the pain isn’t real, it’s just an illusion of the mind just like everything else.

  5. Good luck today Grace. I will be thinking about you and sending you love. Thanks for sharing your journey. I always relate to what you write about. Your Grace notes feel like a gift everyday!!!!!!

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