"So strengthen your drooping hands and your weak knees. Make straight paths for your feet, that what is lame may not be dislocated but healed."
These are words from the book of Hebrews in the New Testament. They've been on my mind a lot this past week. In the original context, the reference is symbolic. Whether or not we need to strengthen our biceps or quads, we are encouraged to accept the hardships of life as a kind of spiritual discipline that helps to improve our character. In my case, however, the interpretation became more literal when I found out on Monday I have a torn medial meniscus in my right knee. A meniscus is a disk of cartilage between the articulating ends of the bones in a joint, in this case--the knee. A knee is that bendy thing half way between your groin and your foot. It's a very simple hinge, actually, meant to only move in one of two directions. It takes not kindly to twists and torques, which is why menisci tears are common in athletes who make very quick turns on the playing field. In my case, I did not have a specific injury. Instead, it's probably a combination of wear and tear (my husband asked me, "how did you do it, Rose?" I answered, "Well, first I turned fifty...") and Yoga, which is full of interesting, pretzel poses.
Of course, the literal interpretation does not preclude the symbolic. Everything is an opportunity to learn and grow, right? So far I have learned three things.
One, between sorting out supplements to be taken 3-5x daily, icing, moxibustion, acupuncture sessions, acupressure, doctor’s appointments, talking to the health insurance company, back to icing, another dose of meds, putting on the brace, taking off the brace and general hobbling about from this chore to that, I have learned it is very time consuming to take care of a wounded knee.
Two, I have been reminded I have excellent friends who care about me, and smart-as-whips colleagues who have given me a host of ideas for helping me heal this knee as fast as possible. Let me share two quick and easy ones you can do to strengthen your knees:
- Lightly hold your hands behind your knees for 3-5 minutes. The goal is to bring warmth to the area, so don’t press hard or you’ll cut off the blood flow. You aren’t just holding the backs of your knees. You’re holding the Gall Bladder meridian Neurovasculars. Indirectly, you are balancing Gall Bladder Meridian, which runs along the outside of the knee. Since the emotional polarity of Gall Bladder is rage and forgiveness, holding here might also help to drain off anger and judgment. At the very least, sitting on your hands will keep you out of trouble!
- Lightly karate chop the pinky side of your hands together at the rate of about one chop per second while repeating this affirmation: “I know what I want, and I am decisive.” In this case, you are indirectly balancing your Small Intestine meridian, which supports the knee and quadraceps. Its emotional polarity is indecisiveness and decisiveness. If you think about it, when you know what you want, you move decisively towards that goal, figuratively and literally. So, this exercise energetically and emotionally helps you to make a straight path for your feet so your poor, weak knees won’t get dislocated.
Where in your life this week have you kneeded, um, I mean needed care, compassion, courage, patience, creativity, thoughtfulness and experimentation?