Imagine walking from a well-lit room into a dark one.  Imagine the darkness as a visual expression of silence.  My rehabilitation made a mistake with the silence by focusing on the absence of light.  It too quickly accepted the loss and taught me to willfully strike out against the darkness.  It told me to move faster rather than slower, push harder rather than softer.  It guided me to compensate for what I could not see.

Another course of action, however, is patience.  Stop moving, wait for the eyes to adjust, allow for stillness, and then see what’s possible.  Although full-fledged vision does not return usually there is enough light to find one’s way across the room.  After a while, the moon may come out, sounds might gain texture, and the world might reveal itself once again, only darker.

Matthew Sanford, from Waking; A Memoir of Trauma & Transcendence

The Daily Bread Yoga retreat last Saturday  morning was wonderful for reasons beyond the sweet fellowship hall where we gathered, the sound of trains in the distance, or the room full of kind and generous people.  That would have been enough, honestly.  But we talked about healing in a way that was, at least for me, such an honest & gentle encouragement towards feeling altogether better.

I tend to should all over myself and others when it comes to the topic of healing.  I should do this, she should do this, he seriously ought to do this.   That is…ugh…like feeding your lagging spirit with the burnt coffee that has been sitting in the nasty stained carafe all day.  Blech.

I really love the quote above by Matthew Sanford.  If you don’t know about  Matthew Sanford, google him.  Go to his website at There is an incredible interview with Matthew Sanford on the NPR program that is now called “On Being” with Krista Tippet – again, go there and listen.  Then go find his book “Awakening; a Memoir of Trauma & Transcendence”.   It is great.

The shortest version of the story of Matthew Sanford is that he was paralyzed from the chest down in a horrible car accident when he was 13 years old.  He is now 45-50ish (I’m guessing) and is a world renowned yoga instructor.  AND he is still as paralyzed from the chest down as when he was 13 years old.

His amazing story of healing isn’t about him being able to walk again, completing a marathon, or doing Downward Facing Dog like me.  His healing was a transformation of his whole person, beyond what was “broken”.  I imagine he would say that his healing transformed his view of what actually was broken and in need of repair.  That is why this quote is a good reminder for me when I pull out my bucket of should for myself and the world.  Everyone had all kinds of plans, dreams, and ideas for what his healing looked like and where it would take him.  I am guessing that no one had “Become a Yoga Instructor” on the list.  It was his life and way to discover what was best and truest for him, as scary and frustrating as that must have been for him and all who loved him.

I’ll be honest and say that there are several people and situations right now in my life that I think I would like to be in charge of to heal and fix as I think they should be.  But, obviously my should-filled ideas aren’t anywhere as great as what might be (and of course is!) possible for them and myself.  I’m going to keep reminding myself of that and keep tossing out my bucket of should.

Peace on your head,


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