Today a coworker of mine told me a story that happened while she was at lunch, and I can’t help thinking it speaks to the mind/body spirit relationship. She was sitting in an outdoor eating area, and an elderly gentleman carrying a bag of groceries approached with a cane. My friend had finished her lunch and was about to leave, but she considered it might look rude to hop up as soon as the man arrived. She stalled.
No sooner had the woman looked at her phone, and gathered her belongings, and the old man was on the ground. He’d tripped on the curb. His grocery bag was on one side and his cane was on the other. Just as she took a breath, ( the one that would precede Can I help you? What can I do?) the man started cussing. These weren’t faded curse words from the 1940s or stored for years in an old coffee can. Nope. This man started ripping the sky open with profanity. He was yelling, and my friend paused. Was it even safe to offer assistance to someone in such a state. After all, he had a cane. When he was finished killing the ozone with fucks and bullshits, the rage continued. Only now the leg not the curb was to blame. He began whacking the side of his calf with it again and again, and calling it all sorts of names. Whack, whack, whack!
“I couldn’t believe it,” my friend said. Her mild request to be of service was ignored. The leg wasn’t a part of him anymore.
“Was it even real,” I asked. You know, cause he was hitting it so hard.
“I don’t know,” she told me.
“Well, did it sound like this,” I asked knocking on a wooden door.
“Uh, well, not exactly.”
“Did it have a door bell,” I pondered allowed.
She looked at me, undoubtedly wanting an artificial leg with a doorbell for herself.
That is neither here nor there. While the old man beat his leg like a knocked up terrier, she got the heck back to work.
How separate from your body do you have to be to cuss it out in public? On one hand, you could say the man was really centered. “I am not my body,” is considered a good mantra for many of us. On the other hand, what incentive does his leg have to behave better? What if it just mirrors his rage and puts a foot up his ass?
You’re questioning the mystical content of this entry, but this is where alchemy can work wonders. We are all faced with unruly appendages that would have us fall rather than move forward. They are creatures of habit, and they’ll take us down familiar roads no matter how dank and dangerous. Our bodies like the familiar. We can change this though. We can set a better course. It only takes a little attention, a little awareness and patience with our many parts.