Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Handless Maiden Explores A Path To Healing

I am writing this entry on the eve of my wrist surgery, with great difficulty navigating the keyboard. I'm sorry about the lack of entries, but it has been so hard to type with my fingers oscillating between numb and electrically buzzing. My hand is so swollen; instead of fingers I have sausages about to burst their casings. Relief is coming soon.

Many of you have contacted me with all sorts of advice on different therapies and treatments. You should all know me well enough to know that I have tried everything - every form of Osteopathic treatment, many types of massage and tissue release, applying therapeutic lotions and soaking in potions, acupuncture, homeopathy, Continuum, micromovements, sounding, electrical stim, ultrasound, herbs and supplements, Chi Gung, other energetic approaches, exorcism, meditation, infra-red, cold laser, visualization, and much more. This is not mundane carpal tunnel syndrome. This is a situation made unworkable by the tenosynovitis side effect (inflammation of the lining of the tendons in my wrist and the lining of the joints in my wrist) caused by my estrogen-blocking medication. I accept that I need the medication to block the estrogen that feeds the cancer growth, and I accept that I need external help to create some space to prevent nerve damage in my precious hands. I feel confident that this is the right thing to do and that this is the right time to do it.

I am using this "opportunity" to explore the age-old fairy tale of The Handless Maiden. My Jungian friends explain the deeper soul level meaning that helps me transcend the grief of  having lost the subtle sensing and depth of my relationship to my hands.

Clarissa Pinkola Est├ęs presents a fascinating analysis of the tale of The Handless Maiden,

"The Handless Maiden is about a woman's initiation into the underground forest through the rite of endurance. The word endurance sounds as though it means to continue without cessation, and while this is an occasional part of the tasks underlying the tale, the word endurance also means to harden, to make robust, to strengthen, and this is the principal thrust of the tale, and the generative feature of a woman's long psychic life. We don't just go on to go on. Endurance means we are making something."

I am making another pair of hands for myself, and this will in turn lead me to a new life. I am being as creative as I can as I dissolve and reform a new body that is capable of carrying me into the next part of my life. I yearn for a rest, but it's not time yet to be done with this enduring.

My surgery is Monday at 9:30 am Pacific Time, if you are inclined to enter the field and send a thought or prayer. Steve is taking me, bringing me home, and taking Tuesday off to be with me. I have people lined up to help me out for several days. I'll have Steve post an entry on Tuesday to let you all know how I'm doing.

Here is a poem that my friend Mary passed on to me that I find profoundly comforting.

Blessing The Boats (at St Mary's)
by Lucille Clifton from Quilting Poems 1987 - 1990

may the tide
that is entering even now
the lip of our understanding
carry you out
beyond the face of fear
may you kiss
the wind then turn from it
certain that it will
love your back 
may you open your eyes to water
water waving forever
and may you in your innocence
sail through this to that