Practice and Detachment

It has been quite a week – quiet, restful, slow and boring, soothing, tedious, nurturing, melancholy, crazy making – that’s a week of Karen on a couch. I am being asked to let go in a way previously unknown to me. My practices, instead of timed inversions and vigorous backbends, are now things like asking for what I need, taking slow walks around the block and resting when I am tired. It is requiring a new level of detachment and patience for me to remain so still and rest so much, but it is absolutely clear that it is the only thing to do.

I don’t know what population the doctor was talking about when he said I could return to work after six days, but I am not in it. The studio will open as planned on September 24 and a highly capable team of substitute teachers will conduct my classes that week. These teachers all have demanding schedules and I am deeply grateful for their willingness to help. I hope to return to teaching on Monday October 1 and I plan to make that a restorative yoga week to help conserve my energy.

We wisely asked a friend to stay with us for about five days to help Cliff take care of me. It was wonderful to re-bond with my heart sister Barbara Walker. She met my every need with such love and intuitive grace and wisdom – I was truly visited by the Mother Goddess in human form.

My days have taken on somewhat of a rhythm. I get up for about 2 – 3 hours in the morning. I am able to do some office work, play the piano, and walk outside. I can walk about two blocks. I am able to go up and down stairs and try to do it 5 – 6 times per day. I have started some very gentle yoga. I can do reclining pranayama on a bolster and it feels wonderful to open my chest after lying and sitting so much during the past week. I cannot yet take deep breaths, but I can focus on making the breath smooth and soft, so it is a start. My teacher Dean recommended that I begin, and it does certainly help my mind and my spirits. My asana practice is very simple. I sit in a chair or in Virasana and do basic arm work. I can do a few leg positions on the floor, but without much muscularity or lift yet. I stretch and massage my feet. So those are my formal yoga practices. Detachment means being at peace with that being all I can do right now.

Each day I take a 2 – 3 hour nap, and I am sleeping well at night. Pain has not been a problem – it has never been greater than a 2 and is usually even less. I was very uncomfortable being on a narcotic – Percocet – and was able to eliminate that within 2 days of being home. Ibuprofen is working fine for pain and as an anti-inflammatory, and I am slowly reducing those doses as well. I have had one acupuncture treatment and will get more. I will also have a lymphatic drainage massage next week.

I have had some low moments mentally. It is difficult to experience such a profound loss of physical ability. It helps me to remember some of my students who shared that they also have had hysterectomies. I visualize them doing headstand or kicking up into a handstand, and it gives me faith that I will do those things again too when the time is right.

I spend a lot of time on my iPod – I am really glad I made that purchase! For reading it is easier to manage than a book. I am re-reading childhood favorites. I just finished Black Beauty and am now enjoying Hans Brinker. I have watched tons of YouTube videos of favorite singers – especially Alison Kraus and Linda Ronstadt. Oh the joy of hearing clear, rich voices singing three part harmony – thank you Linda, Emmylou and Dolly! I have kept up with email, played Yatzee, and figured out how to use the camera. These things matter when you are on a couch for most of the day!  I have enjoyed fabulous meals provided by a loving group of helpers. My appetite and digestion are both good.

Not too much poetry here today – a fairly mundane report. I appreciate your concern and care, and continue to feel the circle of support around me.

In peace,

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22 Responses to Practice and Detachment

  1. su nimon says:

    I so appreciate that you’re re-reading childhood favorite books. On a recent few day escape, I re-read Return to Oz… much more creative mentally as an adult than watching a movie. Sending light, love and peace for your smooth recovery. Savor life, regardless? 😉

  2. Edie says:

    You are fine.

    Detachment is fab, but why not ENJOY your recovery? Revel in the slow-paced luxury of it. Healing has its own pace, so let it proceed as it wants.

    “Observe,” as Shannon tells us.

    And be aware that this loss of physical ability is only temporary. The day will come, and it will come soon, that you will realize that you are right back where you left off and probably even out “ahead.” And the day will come that you will completely forget that you even went through this ‘setback.’ It really is a minor hiccup.

    From one who knows…

  3. Dennis Gibbons says:

    Stay healthy in mind and spirit, the body will recover. Prayers for full recovery are coming your way.



  4. Mary Chasin says:

    Karen, I do wonder what it would be like for someone not in such good physical condition as you to make their way through this recovery. It sounds like you are doing great, considering what your body just endured. Isn’t it interesting that when we think we’ve gotten pretty “good” at detachment, a whole new attachment we never even knew we had shows up. I’m sure you are appreciating the many discoveries you are making.

    Sending healing thoughts,

  5. JoAnna Lamparelli says:

    Glad to hear from you. It really does get better. Your insides need time to heal.
    I know it is very dificult now but by doing what you are told will only help with the healing.
    Hang in there and I will see you soon.
    Love JoAnna

  6. Kellie says:

    Thank you for sharing your journey. My hope for you is that you continue to feel the love, support and prayers around you throughout this entire journey, as trying and mentally frustrating at times as it maybe. Yes, there are bumps along this road of healing – but take it from someone who is on a similar path, in hindsight I have learned that they indeed, just bumps or as Edie states above “hiccups”.

    I wish you peace and healing everyday of this journey.

  7. Lisa Lefkort says:

    Please know that while I have not been writing, I have been with you (thanks to this blog) in heart and mind, daily sending healing energy your way.

    Thank you again so much for sharing.

    Mom and I looked at your Ontario photos tonight. They are wonderful! SO glad you and Cliff did that! And also glad to read you will go to see the Dr. in (Illinois?). That sounds spot on!

    With a big warm hug,


  8. Erica Steinweg says:

    I so hear you about sudden loss of physical ability. It is very difficult to encounter for a person who is used to being so profoundly active. You are absolutely right to rest now, and it will come back when the time is right. Take care, take heart, enjoy your music, lots of love.

  9. Linda Harston says:

    Thank you for your message. Julie was concerned you had experienced a serious set back. But I knew you were just doing everything possible to regain your strength and heal. SO GOOD. You have so many people who are pulling for you. We all care for you so much. I think about you and pray for you every day. Love, Linda

  10. Bess Kaplan says:

    Having undergone some surgery myself, I can assure/reassure you that NOONE would have been able to go back to work in six weeks, Karen.

  11. Do you mean 6 days? I was surprised when the doctor said that. It certainly gave me an unrealistic view of what this week would be like. Yet it also allowed me to go into surgery in a very calm and confident way, so that was worthwhile.

  12. Bess Kaplan says:

    of course, i meant six DAYS, karen.

  13. Beth Tramer says:

    Hooray for you Karen I am with you.

  14. Mary Kelsey says:

    Your regime reminds me of times I was limited, such as when I had malaria or the past year dealing with grief. I found I wanted to read only happy fiction, with no tragedy, not even prolonged sadness. Some on my list: Jane Austen; Ivan Doig’s The Whistling Season; Ellis Peters’ Brother Cadfael murder mysteries;and Anthony Trollope’s Barchester Towers. I also reread all of the Ann of Green Gables series.

  15. Hi Karen:
    You are surrounded by so much love; and love alone will heal you! You are healthy, whole and complete and anything outside of that is maya (illusion). The Goddess has you and continues nurturing you day and night. Remember even the Great Siddhartha (AKA Buddha) had to receive rest under the Bodhi Tree; which in turn allowed him to find enlightenment.

  16. Rhonda Kuster says:

    Though I have not been commenting (often reading from a computer blocked from such), I have been following your journey and have been in awe of your profoundly beautiful writing and your rich and vibrant spirit. These posts are each so full of teachings for all of us. I am grateful to know you and be a part of your healing band of allies Karen. Much love.

  17. Kim Hill says:

    Karen–Healing light and love to you. I am one of those who can speak from the “other side” of a complicated hysterectomy. You will gain strength and endurance every day, though you may not notice it. I clearly remember noticing one day while out for a walk that my legs were swinging under me in a way I hadn’t felt for a couple of months (since before the surgery). What joy!

    I hope that the rest of your treatment is swift, gentle, and effective. I am thinking of you often. Love–Kim

  18. Belinda says:


    Embrace the opportunity you have before you as a gift in observing yourSelf. And that yourSelf will eventually disclose its own source, which is Spirit itself and in that you will find the wholeness of your being.

  19. These beautiful and inspiring comments truly do lift me up. Thank you so very much for all your love and support!

  20. Celia Jennings says:

    Hi Karen,

    I’m so glad your surgery went well! Yes, it does take time to recover but I know you will be back to being your old self soon. I remember it taking a bit of time to be able to walk any distance and I took lots of naps. Now I know that I am not the best example for you, since I struggle to do some poses that others can, but that has nothing to do with my hysterectomy! Keep up your great positive energy! You are in my thoughts! C

  21. Craig Narada says:

    Beloved Bhakti Ma – Do not be surprised when we start sleeping on your front stoop with our instruments, ready for the moment you’re ready to sing with us again. We love you, we miss you, sending you all the light and love of the universe. C-N

  22. Your beautiful message has brought tears of joy to my eyes. I miss you so much! We’ll be singing together again soon! Love love love, Karen

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