The small room was bustling with warm bodies, and the air was saturated with the aroma of spicy chilies and savory meats. I carefully lifted a tortilla chip, puddled with salsa, up to my lips. Despite my earnest attention and my best attempt to control my movement, my hand and fingers began to tremble as my hand came to my mouth. It was at that moment that I noticed the watching eyes of the young woman at the register. Fire flooded my body … for me, a tell tale sign of shame. I wonder what she’s thinking? Maybe she thinks that I’m a drug addict. Or, perhaps she thinks my blood sugar is too low. Maybe she was just looking through me and out of the big, picture window?
I’ve hid my tremors for years. I’ve taught myself how to make it less obvious. For example, I hold my tea cup in both hands so that the cup is more steady. I’ve also learned to keep my hands in my lap, rather than together and at the heart (anjali mudra) when I chant, so that no one can see my hands shake.
Recently, I’ve stopped doing all of that … most of the time. It has been a process. I’ve told some of you about my tremor. Some of you have told me about yours and how you cope, for which I am grateful.
I’m seeing a naturopath to help me figure out why I shake and recently she asked me to sit with a question, “What is my body trying to communicate with tremor, and how might the tremor be useful?”.
In class, I often talk about how a sore shoulder or a tweaky hip are ways for your body to communicate with you. Whether it’s pain in your body, or pain in your heart, the pain is a merciful messenger, helping to guide your attention and your practice. So often we relate with an injury in the body, or the experience of anxiety or depression as the problem itself, rather than a blessed symptom.
When it came time for me to engage with my experience of tremor, I wasn’t just ignoring/hiding it, I was looking at it from the wrong perspective. I was concentrating on the desire to NOT shake. I didn’t want to spill soup from the spoon as I was holding it up to my husband’s mouth. I wanted to have control of my body.
So, now it’s my turn to practice the medicine that I teach, and it begins with accepting and sharing my struggles. Thank you for being in relationship with me and for being a part of this process. As always, I am boundlessly grateful to share this path. Have a Happy Thanksgiving.