Happy KNEE Year, All!
My first order of business after waking up in 2019 was to have a full-blown total knee replacement. In theory, I had been wanting to go through with this surgery for quite some time. After playing volleyball for both the Air Force Academy and the University of Notre Dame, having eleven subsequent major knee surgeries, and two shoulder surgeries, after years of feeling the brutal, PTSD-fueled, physical manifestations of a victim mindset, after navigating love, loss, violation, betrayal, physical, emotional and sexual assaults, after finding my soul’s bruised and battered rudder, embracing it with loving care—still straight and strong, deep in the galleys of my heart’s ship—I had finally been ready to set a surgery date.
I had finally been ready to ask for help in exorcising the last vestiges of my old story; the last physical vestiges of my old emotional pain and chaos; the last excruciating daily reminder of each traumatic incident. I had finally been ready to set a surgery date...
Or so I thought.
But the Universe and my life knew better. My first two dates didn’t work—for scheduling conflicts, bureaucratic snafus, or for what I have come to recognize as a more accurate reason—because that is a ton of pressure to put upon an already intensive surgery. It is not my surgeon’s job to excise the painful holdovers of my past, as brilliant as he may be. It is not anyone else’s job to heal my life’s wounds but my own. Furthermore, there is no need to take this knee replacement as a surgical excuse to pile on every pain, disappointment, perceived defeat so that they may be reconciled with a scalpel, and baptized with new machinery.
The moment I stopped thinking about all of those ramifications and put my hand on my heart, asked myself how I felt right then, and then stayed present long enough to hear the answer, was the moment that it became simple, utterly clear, my surgeon and hospital became available, and the surgical date came through. How had I felt in that moment? I had felt severe pain in my knee. Acknowledging it out loud to myself that that was what I had been feeling allowed me to get present, and thus allowed me to align with the solution to that pain. I was not looking to my past to justify it, nor to my future to wish it away. I was simply acknowledging what I felt in the present moment and aligning what solutions there were available to me in that present moment. And as a result, three hours later I had an operating room booked, and a hospital stay planned.
All of our power is in the now.
And so, in the very early days of 2019, I had a full-blown, knock-down drag-out, total knee replacement. It was—and still is as I lay elevated with my leg in ice—brutally painful, completely inconvenient to all of the things that my mind is pushing me to do, yet utterly perfect timing for my heart to enjoy the present moment. And when we can allow our hearts to enjoy the present moment, the rest of our life takes care of itself. I am learning that there is no better opportunity to become—and remain by any means necessary—wholly present in each moment, kind to ourselves and those helping around us, and fully openhearted, than post-surgical restorative healing.
Happy Knee Year, All. May you take each moment as an excuse to nurture yourself back to whole, to feel deeply, to love on a cellular level, and live heart-first...
We ALL deserve it.
Polo REO Tate was born in Lansing, Michigan, where her family has deep ties to the community. Her Great Great Grandfather was Ransom Eli Olds (R.E. Olds), a pioneer and prolific inventor most notably responsible for inventing the first internal combustion automobile—the Oldsmobile. Growing up, [...]