Reading Waking

by Megan M. on February 24, 2007 (Blog) |

I’m having trouble concentrating. I think it’s because the computer stalls for 3-8 seconds every time I go to do… anything. So I abandoned my office and sprawled in the living room—on the couch—to finish my book.

I keep taking down notes about this book and wanting to write something, like a lot of books I read, but I don’t want to sit down and write it in the middle. I want to write it when I’m done. Of course, when I’m done I’ve often forgotten a lot of what I felt, but sometimes I have notes or persistent passages to spur me on. Like now.

So, for my birthday Vixen gave me a signed copy of Waking: A Memoir of Trauma and Transcendence, by Matthew W. Sanford. And I didn’t know it then, and his handwriting in the front didn’t tip me off (“Listen to your body… with smiles & hope, Matthew Sanford”), but it was precisely the right book for me, right then. It was the next step. It was the Next Book Megan Should Read. It was a continuance of the progression that began in my head and ended up in the rest of me, when I went from a prolonged fascination with psycho-cybernetics and NLP to hypnosis and then back to health, except this time it was the book Mom gave me, the Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom book, Christiane Northrup, which I’ve already told you about. And this book opened up a wonderful world for me where my body isn’t just a thing wherein my brain resides—my body is real and alive and present and communicative, deserving things, experiencing things, and not just as a tool for my brain to use. As its own self. Its own part of me. Blah, my explanations never sound as good! And this is important!

And so, I got through most of Matt’s book before I really got it. He broke his back and became paraplegic in eighth grade, and you read about his whole experience, moments when he surely might have died (over and over), but then you get to the parts where the doctors are telling him how to heal himself, and he gives you the impression (over and over) that the things they are saying are not quite right. (Personally, I’ve always had that feeling about doctors…)

And so I had those impressions. But it wasn’t until later in the book, dude, page 184 even, when it clicked. And I went, OH! THIS IS LIKE THE SEQUEL TO THE OTHER BOOK IN MEGAN LAND! So here he says, “That my body could be a possessor of memory made me confront something that was now undeniable. My body—not just my mind—is also conscious.” And this is so important, those of you living in bodies you don’t like, we all have a disconnect, we’re not working WITH, we’re working AGAINST, but what if your body is your best friend and the love of your life and the deity you worship and the child you never had all rolled up? What if your body is those things?? Do you continue to feel that way about it? Treat it the way you do?

There was a lot I didn’t understand in this book, hell, I’m only 26, ha! But there were so many little links and connectors, there is this story, here:

“A monk sits cross-legged in the middle of the road, meditating on existence. A powerful insight consumes him: He and the Universe are One. He intuits further that the Universe, being One, would never harm itself. And as long as he stays connected, he too will never come to harm. During this timeless thought, he feels the ground shaking. He looks up and sees an elephant walking down the very road on which he sits. He smiles inwardly and continues to meditate. As the animal draws closer, he opens his eyes again. A man is standing on the back of the elephant, waving his arms and yelling, ‘Get out of the road! Get out of the road!’ Completely confident in his realization, he returns to his meditation. The elephant squashes him. As he lies there hemorrhaging to death, he calls out, ‘How did this happen? I don’t understand.’ His Zen master comes out of the ditch, walks over to him, and says, “Didn’t you hear It tell you to get out of the road?’”

Hardcore Zen aside—and, ‘as long as he stays connected’, ha! Like it’s a magic potion!—which, by the way, is another book in this interesting meander of mine, this isn’t even a completely separate reference, it’s totally linked up! My mind and my body, my self and the world. It’s funny how much we can see, and still miss so much else…

Anyway, I totally cried at the end. I’m not going to tell you about that part, I think you should go read it. I went into it thinking this guy was enjoying his prose too much and got sucked in and three quarters through I was pretty sure this book was the next door leading to a hallway that leads to more doors that lead to my destiny. Ever get that feeling?

I’m feeling kind of grateful to Matt Sanford for signing this book, actually. It makes me feel connected to him in a funny way, especially after all these wonderful thoughts. Thanks, V. :}

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