Updated: Jul 7
For many hippies, life can feel like a circus. Your hips play tricks on your health and your mind. You travel from tent to tent. The first tent of Pain. Then you travel to the Tent of Many Doctors. Then you travel to the Tent of Imaging. The Tent of Conservative Treatment can be frustrating. The Tent of Surgery is, for many, the first step on the way to the Tent of Hope.
For hip patient, Valentina Orbit, life is really a circus. You see she is a hippie as well as a Circus Artist and dancer. Her circus travels have taken her to a tent dedicated to Knee Surgery and, then, finally to the Tent of Hip Surgery. Valentina is currently at the Tent of Hope which has sent her on the way back to her artistry.
Her story begins with a torn ACL while doing acrobatics with her husband. She tried to ignore it due to health insurance and a belief that the show must go on! She finally jumped through the flames to have knee surgery, but her hip remained painful. Valentina, again, traveled from the Doctor to Doctor Tent finally finding an answer to her hip pain. The pronouncement was that she had a pincer lesion and a labral tear. And the great news was that she was given a pass to the Tent of Surgery in October 2019!
Through these travels, her biggest challenges were being out of work and being distanced from her community and, really her identity of being a dancer and circus artist. She still struggles with the fear of re-injury. Valentina says, “it's hard for my brain not to go to the worst case scenario, and allow fear to be in control.”
On the other hand, her biggest successes are feeling very close to being back to hip normal! “What I'm most proud of is being able to perform my multiple hoop act again for a friend's Zoom birthday party. It includes some super hard tricks but the fact that I can do them again is HUGE. There are some other more strenuous tricks that I have also tried and they worked”.
Valentina looks forward to the day where she can dance “with abandon”. She wants to be unguarded in her dance. She wants to dance with no thoughts of her hips. Her mantra during these travels have been a quote by Maya Angelou that states, "Fear and hope cannot occupy the same space. Invite one to stay." Valentina has invited hope to occupy her space and she does this by having a routine every day.
Valentina’s routine includes:
Morning Pages - If you haven't read The Artists Way, I highly recommend it. The main thing I've taken from reading it is her morning pages. Every morning I wake up and write three pages worth of whatever comes to mind. It's like a brain dump. I try not to reach for my phone, but instead reach for my journal. This has made the world of difference in my daily life. I am kinder to myself and others. I remember my dreams. I have wisdom flowing out of me, that I need to hear. It has been one of the best things I have done for myself lately and I highly recommend it.
I found Deerpark which is a buddhist monastery near my home and started going there regularly. It's founded by Thich Nhat Hanh and his type of mediation is all about mindfulness. There is a free meditation app called Plum Village. Oprah & Deepak also have free mediations sometimes on their app.
Eating super healthy - Valentina adopts a vegan lifestyle, but even with that she has increased her uptake of fruits and veggies.
Take classes/hobbies -Since I wasn't able to perform or teach since I got knee surgery, I decided to take free classes from the Continuing Education program offered in San Diego where I live. She took classes that ranged from Business to Photography to Sewing.
Therapy- This recovery can be just as much a physical as it is mental battle.
Physical Therapy- I have been diligent about doing my PT and I think it's been incredibly important. I also found a Physical Therapist that I love. Which has made the world of difference. I have Kaiser and their PT department is definitely lacking. I found myself crying every time I saw my PT from Kaiser but I couldn't figure out why. It's b/c we were going in circles, never finding answers or forward movement. That's when I realized I needed to pay for one of network and I found Cirque Physio. Since I am a performer, I need my body to get back to doing wacky things.
Reading -I have been reading so much and loving it! I even started a book club which has been a great way for me to stay connected with people and bond over non-physical related things. Most of my friendships and connections surround around the performance community so to be able to bond with people differently has been nice.
Marie Kondo -I took my recovery period as an opportunity to Marie Kondo our entire apartment and garage. I read the book and it's been really nice being so much more organized.
So, to summarize, hope and achievement are in Valentina’s orbit (pun intended). Her hip travels are now in the periphery of that orbit and she will continue to circulate through the Tents of Achievement, Hope and Success. She has relegated the Tents of Pain and Despair to a long ago trip. She is only allowing Hip Hope to occupy her space!
What will you allow into your space during these travels?