Inspiration hits in the most unlikely of places.
I was on the airplane flipping through the US Air magazine. I stumbled across an article that was an excerpt from a book entitled, “Turn Left at the Trojan Horse” written by Brad Herzog. In the passage he is talking about Greek myths and talks a little about the Morae. The Morae are three sisters that are also known as the Fates. Clothos, the youngest, spun the thread of life. Lachesis, the middle one, measured it with a rod, and Atropos, the oldest, snipped it with shears when Death arrived. They determined the time and manner of one’s death and also one’s lifelong destiny. I vaguely remember something about Norns and Parcae, other versions of the fates described in a similar way in Germanic paganism and Roman mythology.
I started thinking about these three sisters, weaving the strands of life, and the different ways that life is like a tapestry of woven cloth.
An individual strand connects with another, the strings weaving together, intertwining sometimes for a short while, sometimes for the rest of time. Each person is represented by a string, the weaving is the relationships between people. Each connection is meaningful, and each connection influences the way the whole cloth turns out. People come together in life, travel together for a period of time, and then branch off again. Sometimes cycling back, sometimes not, the same way colors move in and out of a woven tapestry cloth, sometimes used throughout the entire piece, sometimes just an accent of a particular color to complete a picture detail.
My thoughts returned to the image of the three sisters holding the threads of life, weaving the tapestry. And interestingly enough, there are three main systems that travel throughout the entire body: the nervous system, the lymphatic system, and the circulatory system. They are all long string like tubes, weaving in and out of the muscles, bones and organs. They bring new fluids, energy, and information to an area, and then take away the waste products and the return feedback to the central processing areas. They all start and end at a large central core, and branch out to progressively smaller vessels until they reach the capillary beds. They make their exchanges, and continue the cycle. If you look at it in an anatomy book, they almost look like strings being woven together, with yellow string to represent the nerves, white string for the lymphatic vessels, red and blue string for the arteries and veins of the circulatory system. The same way that people come together, tangle lives for a while, and then branch off again, these systems have the same fluidity in anatomy.
These three sisters rely on each other. The circulatory system enters a portion of the brain in the nervous system that filters out fluid from the blood to make cerebral spinal fluid. The lymphatic vessels weave around the nerve roots to absorb the waste products out of that same cerebral spinal fluid. The lymph also weaves through the capillary beds of the circulatory system, cleaning up any fluid the veins didn’t pick up. The nervous system innervates smooth muscle in the arteries to help adjust blood pressure. The nerves also help control the lymphangions to milk the lymph fluid through the vessels. Like sisters, these systems support each other.
These three systems are everywhere in the body. And I mean everywhere. They also travel together. Think about the spinal cord, and then think about the aorta and vena cava, the major artery and vein of the circulatory system. The lymphatic system also has its main collection duct just below the sternum. They all are in fairly close proximity to each other running vertically through the trunk. Then they all have branches to the arms and legs and head that progressively branch out smaller until they hit the fingers, toes and brain. They have found nerves, lymph vessels, arteries and veins in the sutures of the skull, places that they now know continue to be mobile throughout life. There are even nerves, lymph and blood in the sheath that surrounds each nerve. Everywhere they look they find these three sisters woven into the tissue. That is amazing to me.
And like the three Morae, the three systems can determine the fate of a body. If they are healthy, the body can recover from illness and trauma much more efficiently. But like anything so interwoven, if one system is faltering, it impacts everything. And faltering systems usually mean pain and dysfunctional movement.
There are different treatment techniques to work with each sister individually, but the best treatment results are when each sister gets some attention during a session, more like a conversation, each sister talking in turn, passing the discussion back and forth.
I just marvel at these sister systems weaving their strands in and out of the body, and how they create a beautiful tapestry in the flesh.
Who knew all that would come from an airplane magazine?
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