Conditioning is a hard habit to break. The initial trauma of my back injury and all that went with it floods my senses when I have a rough period with back pain. On the one to ten scale, ten being unable to walk, I have known ten intimately. And nine. And eight. And so on down the line. I have not been able to recover beyond a three. Last Friday, I was a seven.

I have taken many drugs for pain. I have known the support of a brace and cane. I have used t.e.n.s. Acupuncture, internal alchemy, Feldenkrais and Tai Chi. On Friday, what worked best was good old fashioned Irish whiskey and a muscle relaxant. On Saturday, I worked outside for better than two hours with little reminder of yesterday's pain.

The mind's workings are simple yet complex. When my spasms and pain came, my mind rushed to judgement. I could return to years of dire straights. I might get worse. No one to help. Panic, shortened breaths.

I stood in the traditional horse stance as best I could and focused on my breath. In quick fashion, my breath and my mind calmed. I was finally able to sit. Four fingers times two and one muscle relaxant besides, I slept well and survived another day.

I thought about how panic, or negative thoughts arise and how it is that the body responds/reacts. It is so easy to watch. A=B=C etc.... Without the ability to watch, to observe; when we only know thought = reaction, we are then as conditioned as Skinner's pigeons. When we realize that we have the ability to choose our own reaction (not always easy) it does smooth out the square wheel on our cart we call life.

On a lighter (or higher) note, I believe that I have found some of those twelve foot plants that some like to smoke. Hmmmmm.

And honey. Forgot how much I love honey. But best of all I like it in tea and on steel cut oatmeal.

No hint of snow. Heard some coyote off in the distance. Still some fog in the valley on some mornings. No frost in the wood. It has been as low as thirty eight degrees. No windshield to defrost out here!


Glad to see you are feeling better, your practice serves you well, not to mention the medicine. Saturday my own back started to hurt after splitting some twisted wood, and I was afraid the spasms would come. I remember well the panic that can arise when you are alone and that happens.