I learned a new word recently. Well, actually an old word with a new slant. This was an exciting experience for a word collector like me.
I went to see my doctor to see about an outer ear irritation that had been troublesome for 5 or 6 days, and she told me that the problem looked like it had resolved. Apart from feeling somewhat of a hypochondriac, I was intrigued by her use of resolved. Why didn’t she just say it was healed? Resolved seems like a less exact word in that way we talk about ‘resolving not to smoke again’. Or, we speak of ‘a mirage which resolves into a desert oasis’. Or, ‘a chemical compound that resolves into its constituents’.
It took me a little while before I could shake off my linguistic reverie, but when I did, I realised I had been given good news. My problem had been resolved. And, it had happened all by itself. I didn’t even have to resolve to fix it.
I’m not really hypochondriacal in the least. In fact, if anything, I’m probably like many of my readers. I attempt to out-wait a complaint. When I’ve had a sore back, I try to throw everything at it that’s in my yoga tool box before, eventually, – maybe weeks later – seeing a masseuse, physiotherapist, or osteopath.
I suppose healing lies in that unknown region between symptoms first arising and when they finally subside, if in fact they do. When an individual is diagnosed with a serious or chronic condition, it may take an enormous effort of will – of resolve – to deal with it.
I’ve included in this post a video clip of a person with remarkable resolve, Ian Waterman, who lost his sense of proprioception at a young age. Proprioception is a fundamental faculty for moving through the world, and Waterman was told that he would spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair. He was determined, though, that he was going to lead as normal a life as he could, so, with the help of physiotherapists, he discovered that he could regain control of his limbs through his eyes. So long as he could see the limbs he was moving, he could will his muscles into action and monitor their movements. Doggedly, he taught himself to stand, walk and to do everyday activities – each movement a result of unfaltering conscious effort.
This man’s resolve didn’t lead to a one-time healing. He has to apply constant concentration to movements we mostly take for granted. His story has inspired me to bring this sort of mindfulness at the very least to the time I’m on my yoga mat.