Escaping the Grave
Due to a health setback last December, I've had to seriously cut back on my normal writing routine.
In fact, I've had to cut back on almost everything. Exotic exploits like walking from one room to another. Opening up jar lids. Thinking straight.
2014 has been my second year serving on the executive of my writers' group, yet for the first few months I could barely function in that role. My friends from our group stepped forward to hold the line, volunteering to do several jobs for me until I recovered somewhat.
Through it all, I felt rather like The Bride from one of my favorite films -- Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill, Vol. 1 and 2.
In Kill Bill 2, The Bride expects to ambush one of the names on her revenge hit list, only to be ambushed herself instead. She is buried alive in a coffin and left for dead.
However, The Bride draws on her previous martial arts training with Pai Mei and begins a series of focused punches against the roof of the coffin, until it breaks open and she makes her way to the surface.
For decades, I have suffered from chronic pain. I have pushed through fatigue, nausea and crushing body pain by using mind-over-matter in order to get things done. Because of the sense of having to fight in order to do normal things, I have always related to this sequence from Kill Bill 2.
However, following the Great Health Crash of 2013, I began a treatment program at a chronic care clinic near my home that has given this scene a whole new resonance for me.
One of the steps I was urged to do is something called a body scan, which is basically a meditation focusing my attention inward -- where I have been loathe to go for years. Body part by body part, I had to stay there inside my burning, shrieking joints. While many people in my group would drift off to sleep during the body scans, it was a raging hell hole inside of mine -- complete with evil clowns jumping out from behind the torment.
I think I can safely say that body scans have not been my favorite part of treatment for my chronic pain condition.
But just as Pai Mei asked The Bride to dig deep in order to learn from him -- even if it meant bloody knuckles and tears -- I put my faith in the team at the chronic care clinic.
For our final session together, we've been asked to bring in something that represents us and our journey through the program.
My thoughts immediately turned toward this scene of The Bride escaping the grave.
At this point in my treatment, it feels like I'm punching my way free of the coffin every time I do a body scan. It continues to be my least favorite recovery tool.
However, The Bride didn't gain her knowledge of the Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique without a price, did she? When you've got a Hit List like hers, you need something more than even a Hanzo sword.
Sending out my thanks to the facilitators and participants of this spring's treatment course.
Is there a movie or TV scene out there that really captures a key moment from your own life?