Saturday, June 18, 2011

Secret Sculptures Of Bone

Dear friends, family, colleagues, and blog-followers,

Hello to all my tribe members who are gathering in Indianapolis this weekend. Today's entry is dedicated to you all. I wish I could be there, but this is the next best thing. 

I have a huge collection of half-written fragments, which I have decided to share with you. Many of them are parts of other, larger pieces that are in varying states of completion. Some of them are re-written excerpts from other things I have written, or passages that didn't fit into my book.

On Tuesday, June 28th, a piece I wrote will appear on the new website from my publisher, North Atlantic Books. I will be part of the "Wellness" Community on their site. The following is the introduction to that essay, with all the content I edited out of the original to have it fit their format. I hope you enjoy them both. Here's the link to the new site from North Atlantic:

When I took the oath as a physician on graduation day from Osteopathic medical school in 1986, I promised to listen deeply, to feel the messages conveyed by my patients’ bodies, especially their bones, not knowing what that promise would eventually entail. After years of caring for people and devoting my studies and perceptual training to receiving the stories of other people’s bones, my own bones call out more loudly than anything I've ever heard...
(go to North Atlantic Books Communities on June 28th to read the rest. . .)

Here are some other things I love about bones:
Many bones include a trabecular mesh in their architecture that incorporates air spaces. Most bones are about 20% water. The air and water that are incorporated into the architecture of bones engenders them with great strength and resilience. Some bones are filled with blood-producing marrow. A bone is made of bendable, resilient collagen (which is composed from protein, vitamin C, and water) into/onto which minerals (calcium, potassium, manganese, magnesium, silica, iron, zinc, selenium, and more) have been embedded. The whole thing is surrounded by a membranous sac called the periosteum, which is chock-full of nerve endings and a hefty blood supply that continues on into and out of the bone. Sometimes the articulating ends of bones are covered with a layer of cartilage. Living bones are far from chalky or dry.

Some bones are flat, some are round, some are long, some are shaped like the crescent moon, and some are wild shapes that have no names.

Some have spiraling patterns etched on them from the way they developed and from the way things are attached to them.

The Eiffel Tower was designed based on the shape and arrangement of the stress-bearing fibers in the femur. Notice the similarity of the architecture to that of the femur.
Drawing of a femur showing stress fibers in the architecture of the bone.
Some have quite unexpected shapes, especially the bones in the cranium. Here's a picture of my second favorite bone in the body, the sphenoid bone (this is an anterior view with the ethmoid attached, for all you anatomy buffs) of the cranium, taken by my colleague Andrew Haltof, DO. This is the "secret bone behind your eyes" that Kim Rosen writes about in "The Anatomy of Wings." Kim, along with Cathie Malach put this poem to music and recorded it as a wedding present for Steve and I in 1997.

There’s a secret bone behind your eyes
carved in the shape of a butterfly
the outspread wings remember the skies
and the waves and the wind and the weather’s tides

you can only reach it from deep inside
though the wingspan might be galaxies wide
as it lifts the soul from the thickness of flesh
sweeping it out of pockets of death

some have seen it and some have not
but those with the sight
they never forgot and never returned to their childhood home,
but rode the breath inside the bone back to the sculptor’s hand. 

Have you reached deep inside and seen any of the "secret sculptures" that collectively form what you call "your body"? If you're an Osteopath or a Continuum practitioner, I know you have. How about the rest of you?