Tag Archives: wake-up call

Deserted Island of the Mind

Thoughts lost in isolation. A time for healing. A time for self-reflection. But we cross a collective threshold when those finger-wagging mirrors hover close to grimaced faces for far too long. Is there a limit to this period of limitless wondering, wandering? The escape valves are useless if constantly void of steam, and the wrinkles in society’s fabric are growing more difficult to ignore.

Sitting with sandcastle carvings in the shape of an SOS, eager for a glimpse of dropped rope ladders, descending from the heavens and offering a haven. Crossing fingers and toes that the cure won’t be worse than the disease and putting faith in the hands of the senseless. Clocking days on the calendar, desperately hunting for dissimilarities. Masks masking everything we’d actually like to express.

We’re dizzy from riding a spinning misery-go-round, searching for keys to the cage, and losing focus behind unblinking eyes.

The aftermath of bad decisions. This is nature’s revenge, and she’s not pleased with our choices.

Will anyone wake up to the call? Change what they consume? Evaluate how they think? Cease the irresponsible behaviors that are crippling the planet? Recognize the risk of heavy feet on pedals with cliffs fast approaching? Consider the greater good above the personal gain?

Time will tell…if she’s willing to speak. But silence might be a better teaching tool for a population unable to hear.

Adolescence Interrupted

A Beautiful, Baffling Brain


Because of a shoulder I recklessly and relentlessly abused for the last 30 years, I’ve been forced to add another doctor to my Santa’s-length scroll. I tried to be affable, give it plenty of ice, practically cut the mph out of the heart of my serve, and even took additional rest days between matches.

Yet, there it stood, defiantly sulking in the corner like a toddler told he couldn’t have dessert. It wasn’t interested in what I wanted or how much I required constant, intense exercise to keep me sane. The decision was made to remain a dysfunctional nest of tears and impingements that screamed at me whenever I pushed it beyond its threshold. It was obvious I was going to need reinforcements.

I found a physical therapist who specialized in athletes and was fresh off a stint working with the Chinese Olympic team. He took a holistic approach and followed the theory that the interconnectedness of our anatomy makes isolating a specific injury area nothing more than a fool’s errand.

Fascia, which is the connective tissue throughout our bodies, functions as a kind of supportive wrapping for nerves and blood vessels as they pass through and between muscles. If the fascia is disrupted by surgery or injury (or loses its stiffness), a variety of issues can develop.

Since this shoulder has been a nagging problem I’ve had for years, I was more than willing to hear his suggestions, however unorthodox they seemed.

So we got to work, trying to reestablish broken or compromised connections in unanticipated places. For example, even though the right shoulder is sore, the problem could be originating in the left knee or hip.

But early on, some very basic exercises started to paint a wholly unexpected picture. There were certain movements that were effortless to perform on one side of my body and absolutely impossible on the other. He remarked that he primarily used these activities to help retrain stroke victims. The more we dug, the more we discovered.

Because I stroll around this life with a brain that has been poked, prodded, sliced, beaten, and traumatized more than most, there are fundamental connections and channels that have been severed.

I play tennis like a maniac, I routinely go on marathon walks and hikes, I practice daily yoga, and I generally feel like a highly functional intellect. I assumed I emerged from the wildfire of my neurological nightmare more or less intact. But apparently, the smoke at my back was more of a smoke screen.

It looks like my habitual athletic movements established a type of overcompensation for some very fundamental disconnections. Because I’ve hit millions of forehands, the brain has learned to ignore the fact that there isn’t a normal relationship between my left leg and right arm, and the repetition of the activity allows that mask to remain.

I unearthed even more about a body and brain that I’ve been exhaustingly studying and researching for decades—but lying on a yoga mat with zero ability to move my arm and knee in the exact same way I’d done just a minute earlier was a frightening wake-up call that there’s still so much left to learn.

We possess some incredibly complex and mysterious cranial mainframes. Sometimes even the slightest disruption can rattle that cage in ways we may not ever realize.

So take care of that body, protect that brain, and nurture that mind. You won’t know what you’re missing until it’s gone.

Adolescence Interrupted