Thursday, November 17, 2005

Snow, and Pain

It snowed immensely for a few days.. Our city was drowned in snow. Schools closed down, buses became stuck on the streets blocking traffic. The weather became one of the first topics that you would talk about with people.

We arrived at our dojo to find the parking lot unaccessible with wind driven drifts of snow. Driving down the side streets we couldn't find a safe place to park our car without the concern that we wouldn't be able to pull out again after class. Finally we found a safe place which was a good 10 minutes walk away from the dojo.

Against the wind we walked in single file sloughing through knee-high snow with our backpacks perched up on our shoulders.

We asked ourselves if we were the only ones crazy enough to show up to train today, but no.. there were 8 other karate students as nuts as us.

Class started, and within 15 minutes of training, my psoriasis skin condition flared up in pain. It felt like I was covered with boiling oil from my ankles to my neck. It HURT!

Oh I know why I flared up: When you combine the fact that the winter air is very dry, with the extra stress of the past 2 weeks of struggling with my autistic son everyday to do his homework, disciplining my 3 younger children to try to get them to clean their room for the past 2 days, being awakened by one of my daughters all last night due to "nightmares" thereby getting less than 3 hours sleep, and the stress of the oncoming black belt test which has been developing incrementally heavilly upon me for the past month. I'm not surprised that my skin condition flared with intensity.

I was in such pain that my hands were involuntarilly shaking. I wanted to break down in tears, and beg Sensei to allow me to pull out of class. I thought again about that over and over as I trained, but I realized that there is a big chance that I may flare up during seminar and testing. I have to be able to perform even with the pain filling my arms, torso, and legs each time I move.

I would meditate each time that we stopped moving. I'd close my eyes, and focus on my breathing, and tell myself.. "It's just pain from my skin. It won't kill me.. I can breath through it. I can do this.. I just need to focus even more."

We were nearing the end of class, and I was asked to perform my Bassai Dai kata. I mentally told myself.. "Don't focus on the pain.. focus on the movement of the muscles with the techniques.. on your breathing.. not the pain.. the pain isn't important.." I did my kata, and finished with a strong kiai.

Oh I need to rest, calm down, and put some moisturizing cream on me to be able to handle next week's test without as much pain. I'm just glad that through the combination of training in karate, and changing my diet to a healthier food combining method I have already healed over 60% of my skin condition naturally. I remember a time when my skin would have broken open throughout a class like this, and bled all over my gi, and maybe my opponent's gi in sparring. I didn't have to suffer that embarrasment this time.

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