Healing Body and Mind

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions but I happened to find a therapist and start Pilates about a year ago. These two additions to my schedule are helping me realize how I’ve adapted to old injuries, in body and in mind, instead of doing the work to find healthier, stronger, kinder ways of moving through the world.

When my Pilates teacher pointed out that my left hip is weaker than my right, I said, “Of course, it’s because I tore all those ligaments at the Kennedy Center back in the ‘90s.” She was surprised because I talk a lot about old injuries, something retired acrobats love to do, but I’d forgotten to tell her that my leg fell asleep for months while I continued performing – “Hoppity the Clown” was my nickname that year.

In the intervening decades, I’ve largely forgotten about the injury and adjusted to a weak left hip rather than addressing the issue straight on. The phrase “my lazy assumptions of powerlessness,” from my friend Lynn Ungar’s poem below, says it well – I was assuming that I couldn’t strengthen my hip, or direct plays from a radically different mindset or reframe family relations. With help, I’ve done all of these in 2022 and I don’t even know what assumptions I might find the power to change in 2023.

I hope you find some assumptions to challenge this year.

Pickle Circus Bill Forchion, Diane Wasnak, Jeff Raz Jump Cuts
Holding Diane Wasnak on my left hip with Bill Forchion watching. “Jump Cuts,” New Pickle Circus, mid-1990s


by Lynn Ungar

The shortest day of the year,
and I’m spending the last light
on pruning. Ragged dahlias,
collapsed grasses, the sodden remains
of the day lilies whose day
has come and gone – all of them
into the green bin with my blessings:

May you be glad at turning back to dirt.
We all will, but not today.
Today the ritual of release
feels tidy, liberating, and I wonder
what else I might prune back.
My delusions of grandeur and my
lazy assumptions of powerlessness.
My expectation it was supposed
to be easy. My belief that it—
whatever it might be—was ever
going to be fixed for good.
Is it true? Is it useful?
Does it spark joy? No?
Say thank you and release it
into the rapidly darkening day.