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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Leaning into the Sharp Points: Staying Present through Painful Times

Bellowing into the microphone the ringmaster, dressed in a red and black tux with tails, commands the attention of the audience. 
“Ladies and Gentlemen! Our next act is unparalleled by any other! You will only see it here and even then you won’t believe your own eyes! Our very own Michelle will lean into a bed of razor-sharp points! She will lean so deeply you’ll shudder with discomfort. And then she’ll lean in a little more! ...Watch! ...Now!
On cue I lean. I lean into the sharp points. I feel the blades puncture the first layer, no, maybe first two, three, or five layers, of my flesh. I want to escape. My body screams for me to stop but my mind says I can do this. I must lean deeper. Further. I press my back into the blades, feeling the pain and knowing I won’t survive. Who could? Like fire melting through wax the sharp points penetrate to the bone. It hurts so much that I cry unstoppable tears.
“If you want to see Michelle lean further, please applaud!” says the ringmaster.
And much to my chagrin the audience erupts with an unsettling round of applause. 
Do they believe I can do it?
I press my body in further. I know I can’t win. The pain is too much. The wounds are too deep.
More applause.
A little deeper.
It’s too intense.
And even more applause.
I must continue...
I start to lose consciousness. 
My body sways.
But I stay...
until I fall to the floor in a humbled heap.
The audience gasps a collective breath. 
And then I stand up. 
Not bloodied, but healed. 
“TA DA!” the ringmaster proclaims as I bow.

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