Michael Fukumura: Lessons of a Healing Journey
Personal Reflections of a Healing Journey by Michael Fukumura
We will all get injured at some point in our lives. Healing an injury may include limited activities, rest, and pain management. In my case, I sustained a large medial meniscus tear in my right knee while surfing a big wave. What I learned during my down-time was that a positive, pro-active attitude grounded in universal principles of non-attachment, mindfulness, and self-compassion, helped me and my loved ones during my healing process.
For weeks, I limped because of excruciating knee pain and swelling. Getting up from sitting or walking down stairs was painful. I could not even squat. Most seated yoga postures, wherever there was flexion with external rotation (janusirsasana) were impossible. The pain and limitation taught me to have courage and faith in my body’s inherent capacity to heal. Even in moments of doubt, I believed that I would be restored to pain-free movement. This deep belief that all would be well kept me positive and pro-active in my healing journey.
Acceptance and Surrender
My injury required that I slow down, learn to live in present time and let go of disappointment, regret, self-criticism and anxiety. As much as I wanted to jump back into my regular activities, I recognized that I was not in control of my healing. It was a very humbling lesson to accept my current limitations and surrender the strong impulse to run and do an active yoga practice. I realized that I needed to patient with the healing process and receive what the injury was offering: rejuvenation. Then, I was able to relax into more restorative and nurturing practices.
I realized that I could not do my healing alone. I sought guidance from wise and powerful healers who have specialized knowledge and talents in Eastern and Western models of health and well being. I kept an open mind and astonished in the power of Spirit working through these healers who opened doors of awareness and energy that had been blocked.
Increased Awareness of Alignment
My injury motivated me to question everything about how I was aligning my body. This lead me to a greater awareness of how the parts of my body worked in harmony with each other. Instead of mere theory, my injury experience and study of the knee joint’s relationship to the whole body gained much more relevancy and meaning. My pain and limitation fueled insight into how old habits had undermined my energy and made me more aware of new ways to optimize my alignment. For instance, I created stability in the places that moved the most (my feet) and opened the tighter places (my hips).
My injury was a great teacher in practicing mindfulness in every movement. I regarded all movement like an asana with deep presence and clarity of mind while staying connected to my breath and sensations. Even walking became a careful and centered practice where I balanced on the threshold of pain while listening deeply to my body’s signals to understand what my body needed.
My memories of the challenges and progressive healing from the injury are unforgettable. By being more aware and treating myself with kindness, I was reminded of my own humanity and what is really important in life. My experience awakened a deep empathy for myself and for others who are suffering.
Gratitude for Life
The longing for freedom in my body and mind after months of severe restriction in my movement deepened my gratitude for the simple and ordinary. As I made progress on my healing journey, I celebrated every pain-free step as I regained ability. Since then, my enthusiasm for life has grown profoundly as the energy of Spirit is able to express itself more freely through my body. The greatest lesson from my injury was that it served to reconnect me to my inner joy. For this, I am eternally grateful.
Learn more about Michael Fukumura, prAna Ambassador