Recently, in a yoga class with my friend and fellow teacher, Rebecca Butler, my knee hurt really badly. Since high school, the plates in my knees grind back and forth like gears shifting. The pain comes and goes, but I notice it most when my energy feels “off.”
After class as I helped clean up the studio, she said, “I feel like your knee pain has something to do with your dad,” but before she could even finish her sentence, I dismissed the idea as ludicrous. I’m reminded of the scene in Eat, Pray, Love where Liz sees a woman about the pain in her knee, and she says, “Mmm...you have no sex for a loooong time, baby. I can tell by your knee. Cartilage very dry. Hormones from sex lubricate joint.”
But, indeed, how we feel emotionally affects how we feel physically, and vice-versa. In Transpersonal Medicine, the authors explain, “Passion and joy are the best preventative medicine ... the single most predictable variable for many major diseases is the absence of joy and passion.”
My father lives a thousand miles away. He and I go days, weeks, without speaking to each other.
What did my father have to do with my knee?
The following day, my day off, I rested my body, and as usual, the pain subsided.
Until a couple weeks later, as I was sitting with a private client. He’d asked me about my dad. Though a little older than my own dad, he reminds me in many ways of him—the way he walks and carries himself, his penchant for storytelling, and his overwhelming generosity. Both would give the shirt off their backs to a person in need without a second thought.
Because I was seated upright with my legs in janu sirsasana, I couldn’t understand why my knee felt as though someone was stabbing it with a fireplace poker. Minutes later, though my phone was on silent, my father called. As I got in the car wondering how I would even drive, given that my right knee hurt so badly, I listened to his voicemail. My father leaves the longest voicemails ever, and as usual, he rambled as he yelled at passing cars and perhaps paused to order his breakfast in the drive-thru line.
The gist of his message was this: He—my father, a pool man who raised me to work hard, who has never to my knowledge missed a day of work—had taken the day off from work. Mind you, he calls to harangue me when he feels I’m working too hard: do as I say, not as I do.
“I’m taking a dose of my own medicine today,” he said, “and listening to my body.” He went on to say that he’d gotten a cortisone shot in his knee—a revelation that knocked the wind out of me—and he’d tried to clean his first pool and realized that his knee couldn’t handle it. So he was sitting at home with it propped up. And, subsequently, bored and calling everyone he knew, beginning with me.
What did my father have to do with my knee? Everything.
After calling him back, I called my intuitive friend. “What do I do?” I groveled, having wrongfully dismissed her intuitive guidance weeks ago. Sometimes our own energy is the hardest to see.
“Salt bath, sage journal and reflect. “Do you know that umbilical cord meditation?” she asked.
“Of course, yes.”
So, out I went to the back yard, where I put my bare feet in the grass, and asked, “What do I need to understand in order to heal myself of this pain?” The answer, which appeared within milliseconds, is too personal to share here, but standing with my heart facing the West, I asked the ethers to help me let go. I went inside and sat down on my mat and did a variation of Gabrielle Bernstein’s cord-cutting meditation that you’ll find below.
Many people, myself included, have a difficult time cutting the energetic cords from our loved ones, but cutting the cord does not mean that we sever the relationship. Rather, it means that we patch our energetic leaks and plug back into our own personal power.
Later, she texted me. “How’s your knee?”
And, I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried. It felt “normal,” meaning pain-free.
“Energetic connections are real,” she said. “Once your eyes are opened, you are no longer blind.”
Caroline Myss says, “We are not carelessly designed creatures. Everything about us has purpose, logic, and intelligence built into it, including how and why we become ill.”
This story, I offer you humbly in the hopes that it brings you the healing that it has brought me. After all, we are all connected through our energy, in some way. As one heals, we all heal.
Find a comfortable seated position. With each exhale release any and all tension in your body. Starting at your feet, fill your body with a warm caressing light of protection. Allow it to move up into your legs, stomach, arms, neck, jaw, forehead. Feel this light dissolving any negativity or darkness that remains stuck. Allow yourself to see the beautiful being of light that you are.
Focus on the area that represents your source of power and hope. Maybe it’s your chest or core or shoulders. See a brilliant cord sparkling in whatever color that feels right to you. Allow this cord to grow thick in width. See it running from you to the depths of the earth connecting you to love and support of the universe. Sit with this loving connection for a moment.
Envision the place where you feel the energy leaking. Say to yourself: I am ready and committed to cut this cord.
If you feel a need to say something additional to the person on the other end of this cord (i.e., I love you; I forgive you; I will help you later but just not now), take a moment to do so. How you do this is up to you. Use scissors or invite an angel.
The second the cord is cut, see it fall to the ground. Know in that moment the energy has been detached. You’re no longer entangled. Breathe in the relief. Imagine you are burying any remaining cords. See beautiful flowers blooming where they have been buried. As you step back into your source of power and hope, the earth benefits as well. Repeat this process until you feel complete.
Concentrate on the beautiful light that now surrounds you. Invite in the higher love of the world. Such love has the power to dissolve all cords of lower emotions. You see this energy create a protective supportive shield that protects you from challenges.