As the year draws to a close, it is inevitable that our minds turn toward the passing of seasons, the ebb and flow of life, and the inevitability of change. This is particularly true for me this year as I stand poised, once again, on life’s Ferris wheel. But here’s the funny thing about Fortune’s wheel—because so much of the ride is beyond our vantage point, we can never really know if the arc we’re on is poised for an upswing, or the stomach clenching dip of a down turn.
My first post here at Writer Unboxed was on how a writer’s life was full of second chances. It was written from a place where I could clearly see the direction fortune’s wheel was taking me. And while I know that down always follows up—it’s science, after all—I was a bit unprepared for the sheer variety of downs there were. The truth is, the Shadowlands of Success are heavily populated with all manner of obstacles: swamps, impossibly high mountain ranges, impenetrable mists, mazes, and terrifyingly deep caverns.
And now for my own confession. Dear reader, I lied. Back in February of 2015, just after I crested life’s Ferris wheel, I fell—long and hard and far—into the Shadowlands. It was not a professional fall, but a personal one. It was not ergonomics that forced my hiatus. Or rather, not simply ergonomics but my body finally screaming at me—enough!—and forcing an intervention.
Because the thing about the body is, it remembers. It remembers and stores all the things that we’d rather forget. That we work so hard to forget. The truth is, I have spent my entire life avoiding the shadowlands, which probably ensured my visit was a long and painful one.
But my body knew. And remembered.
All of our experiences—physical and emotional—are stored deep within our muscles, sinew, bones, and even cells. While our minds are very adept at denial and disassociation, our bodies keeps track of it all.
In an essay entitled Infinite Exchange, David Maisel offers this stunning and startling truth:
In a 2011 paper on the medical effects of scurvy, author Jason C. Anthony offers a remarkable detail about human bodies and the long-term presence of wounds. “Without vitamin C,” Anthony writes, “we cannot produce collagen, an essential component of bones, cartilage, tendons and other connective tissues. Collagen binds our wounds, but that binding is replaced continually throughout our lives. Thus in advanced scurvy”—reached when the body has gone too long without vitamin C—“old wounds long thought healed will magically, painfully reappear.”1
Given the right—or, as it were, exactly wrong—nutritional circumstances, even a person’s oldest injuries never really go away. In a sense, there is no such thing as healing. From paper cuts to surgical scars, our bodies are mere catalogs of wounds: imperfectly locked doors quietly waiting, sooner or later, to spring back open. [Read more…]