The Path To Bodhichitta

You start where you are, the practice will meet you there.

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Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Sunday, December 30, 2007

All The Way Back

Dear Other Backs,

Once again The Resident has broken her promise to me. Foolish of me to have expected otherwise, really. But she did seem determined when she jotted in her notebook 'Be pain free by December 2007' last November. Then again, she may have been delirious from all that coffee she consumed to stay awake during the motivation seminar that she was sweet-talked into attending. Delirious or not, it was a dirty trick. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, I'm taking revenge.

To her credit, The Resident has tried her best to befriend the insurgents within. That would be Gluteus Medius Fascia, Latissimus Dorsi, Thoracolumbar Fascia and Trapezius. Between you and me, I suspect there are more who are lying very very low. As it is, these four have hideouts that are embedded deep within places where no Balinese, Javanese or whatevernese massages can inflitrate. And so, the battle has been a long drawn-out one.

The Resident had it coming, though. Always slumping in sofas, standing with all the weight on one foot, tottering around in heels even after spraining her ankle...not giving a damn about me, in other words. I silently suffered through all that abuse, but after she thoughtlessly put me in the direct line of fire, I decided it was time to rise and fight. You could say, it was the straw that broke the camel's back.

So I gathered my team and we plotted. What would make The Resident repent for the ill-treatment she dished out to us almost daily? Sciatica was out, as that would involve the legs, which whom we had a good relationship. Herniated disc was a possibility but SOME MUSCLES were afraid of the pain. Wusses. We eventually settled on scoliosis.

That night we had a meeting with Tan Sri Spine, who agreed to shift its top and bottom ends slightly away from the middle line. Enough to create considerable pain but not too much that it required surgery. I told them that fear of pain only exists in the Mind (of whom we don't think very highly), but no one listened.The attack was launched the very next day. But in true Resident-style, she only decided to do something about it one year later. That made my job very difficult because you know how some muscles can be when they have to perform tasks outside their job scope without any rewards.

Anyway, the first treatment The Resident undertook was chiropractic. All of us braced ourselves, but nothing prepared us for the rude shove that came from above. Tan Sri, Latissimus, Thoraco and Gluteus had such a fright, they screamed. The Resident heard us but guess what she said? 'That felt really good'. I don't need to tell you how offended the foursome were. So they did the obvious - they retaliated.

The Resident and The Chiropractor met for three straight months. At first we enjoyed launching a counter attack after each session. He even talked her into an acupuncture session once. Thankfully, she hated the threads of energy wriggling under her skin as much as we did.

Then, The Chiropractor took it too far. He began explaining our modus operandi to her. He even had diagrams and models! We had to do something! But before we could cook up another plan, he dug his own grave by telling her, "Maybe you should give up yoga."

That was the end of The Chiropractor. And The Resident was still in as much pain as she was before she met him. Next in line was a Swedish massage. Lattisimus, lulled into sleepy surrender, almost crossed over to the dark side. But we slapped him into wide-eyed attention the very next day.

Next was reiki. How we chortled. The Resident had agreed to a friend's offer to send healing energy her way, but we knew she didn't fully believe in it so the battle was lost even before it began.

Then came shiatsu. This time we were on alert because the shiatsu master was the real thing from Japan. Fortunately, it was only a one-off session during a spa event and nothing really came out of it. He did give her some ammunition though. Warned her to stay away from the cold so as to not worsen the pain. Spot-on advice. We were slightly impressed.

The physiotherapist was another laugh. The Resident was almost won over when, during the second session, the therapist confused 'convex' and 'concave', and turned to The Resident for help. And this at a renowned medical centre, mind you!

Then she scared the living daylights out of us by visiting an orthopaedic specialist. Even Tan Sri Spine contemplated waving the white flag. The Specialist prescribed muscle relaxants and we immediately cooperated. The Resident is very against chemicals so we were surprised when she agreed to give it a shot. Our decoy worked, though she never went back when her dosage finished even though we resumed our attack.

The crystal healing may...MAY...have worked if The Healer and The Resident had spent more time on the sessions than on drinking copious amounts of masala chai and exchanging soap opera stories. You'd think they would have learnt their lesson, but they still do it to this day. The only difference is that they've graduated to wine, which we hate, because the chilly liquid makes us hurt more than we want to. You see how she blatantly disregards our wellbeing!

Three years have passed and we're entering our fourth year of rebellion. That's almost as long as the Iraq war. All throughout those years, The Resident has lived in pain. We remind her of our existance every minute of the day - when she sits at her computer, when she lies on the couch, when she gets out of bed, when she's had a long drive, when she tries to arch into a backbend, when she struggles to take in deeper breaths of air, when she crumbles after 5 minutes of sitting in get the idea. We hurt her the same way she hurt us.

We took joy in the fact that we prevented her from practicing her beloved yoga the way she wants to. Each time she achieved relief in downward dog, spinal twist or wheel, we sprang back with a vengence. A few months ago, we made it impossible for her to do plough and shoulderstand without tears of pain. We thought we were winning the war. Little did we know that the joke would soon be on us.

We recently decided that The Resident has learnt her lesson and we could return to our old ways. But that wasn't to be. We had held our positions for so long that we didn't know how to go back. the panic was overwhelming! None of us had thought to pave a way back home. Just as we resigned ourselves to our fate, The Resident found someone who gave her and us a ray of hope.

Last week, she visited an osteopath. For 90 minutes, The Osteopath counselled us with her fingers and we poured our fibers out. We were in bad shape, she said gravely. We had aged...this was the back of a 40-something not a 20-something. Lodorsis in the lower back, slight kyphosis in the upper back, protruding left ribs and muscles that were a complete mess all over. Naturally, the blame game erupted. Everyone accused the other of overdoing it. But really, it was all every muscle's fault.

The counselling hurt like hell. The Osteopath said that it would take three months before we would see any improvement. The Resident is hopeful again.

So this is my story. It doesn't have an ending yet and I don't know what it will be but we're all cheering each other on.

I will write again soon when I have more news. Thank you for listening.

The Resident's Back

P/S: The Resident is not a camel. That was just a figure of speech.


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