Nanima: Dump

We began Nanima one month ago. Here is the next instalment!

Chapter 3: Bag of Bones

“Hi, Mary,” said Gary. “How’s your body?”

Not many people ask for personal information about your body so outrightly. Your chiropractor does. Gary called Maliyan by the name she had always used before moving to Nanima and changing to the Aboriginal one. She wasn’t Aboriginal, but she was Australian. As she considered the indigenous people part of her country’s fibre, she felt that they were part of her, too. She was fairly sure that they didn’t feel like that about her, but what we think about ourselves is really the deciding factor.

“Long drive from Oxley,” said Gary. “You didn’t do the five-hour trip this morning, did you?”

Oxley was the English (and commonly used) name of Nanima. It was far enough away from the city to be inaccessible to day-trippers. It meant that the bulk of the people out there, in the sticks, were committed to country life. 

“No, I came yesterday,” said Maliyan. “Going back after here. I have a question for you.”

Gary was the sort of person who loved questions. He could usually answer them and, if the client would allow, give a university-grade synopsis of the issue.

“I don’t know why,” said Maliyan, “but I get really nervous when I have to come here.”

Her body was in a good state and the cracking didn’t hurt. There was no logical reason to feel afraid of it.

“I don’t mind when you crack my spine and legs and hips,” continued Maliyan. “It’s my neck. To be exact, the right side of my neck.”

“I’m not a psychologist,” said Gary. 

Even as he said the words, he knew he was heading down the wrong track. Anyway, the shadow of indignation which passed over Maliyan’s face would have told him. She was not lacking in psychological sophistication.

“I tell myself that it doesn’t hurt and that there is no need to get anxious about it,” said Maliyan. “I visualise myself as a bag of bones going to the mechanic for servicing.”

Gary laughed. Not heartily. He was too earnest for that.

Maliyan didn’t explain about her more subtle pre-appointment procedure of distancing herself from her body. Her yogic interest had given her numerous processes for developing a small space between herself and her body and mind. In this way, even if we are suffering something physically or mentally, it will not have such an impact on our inner stability.

“Does that help?” asked Gary referring to her bag of bones visualisation.

“Not really,” said Maliyan.

He turned his attention to cracking her body and eventually came to the culprit area.

After doing the nonoffending side of her neck, he said, “You are not demonstrating any muscular tension when I crack you.”

“I can relax my body when I want to,” said Maliyan. “That’s not the problem.”

He moved to the offending side of her neck and gave it a skilful, painless crack. He had no nervousness about assaulting bodies. He said it was similar to driving, at speed, with oncoming traffic a mere few feet away, and with only a white line separating the two. He said he knew where the line was. 

Something surprising then happened. Tears surfaced in Maliyan’s eyes; from the jolting of the white bones, through the fiery communication tracks of the body, to the bottomless cavities of her eyes. Maliyan wasn’t a crier. She wasn’t opposed to it but, at this stage of her life, she didn’t normally feel the need for it.

Clapping his hands together as if he had just won a prize, Gary said, “Ahh, that I know!”

Maliyan assumed that the “that” he was referring to was the tears.

“That I know,” repeated Gary, “because many people cry when they are cracked.”

Maliyan pushed on her arms to get off the cracking bed, but Gary gently placed her back down. He walked around the bed, thinking, so that his few sentences would be exactly right.

“I’m not just cracking bags of bones,” he said in teacher mode. “Every part of your body is attached to your brain and also to numerous energy centres. Your neck, in particular, is intricately interwoven with your brain function. When I crack your neck, it gives a major dump of information to your brain. It feels like an overload, even though most people are not aware that it is happening.”

“Yes,” said Maliyan as triumphantly as Gary. “That’s it! My original, presenting problem was the right side of my neck. I must store a lot of karmic refuse there. It’s the sudden, big karmic dumping that makes me nervous, not the actual bone cracking.”

Although he wasn’t sure what karmic dumping was, Gary translated what he assumed it meant into his own language and was satisfied with the result. 

“See you in a month?” he asked.

Maliyan nodded. It was a very productive fifteen minutes. Productivity is far more related to undivided attention and openness than it is to time.


As she began her long drive back to Nanima, Maliyan pondered, It’s one thing to know it’s a karmic dumping, but what exactly is it dumping? What precisely is in the load?

She turned her neck – a neck which was now much more flexible – and looked through the rear window. There was a long line of Friday freeway traffic; all heading homeward or weekend-getaway-ward.

Who am I kidding? she thought. It’s not that we don’t know what we have buried away in the bones and sinews of our body. We know. We were the ones who put it there, but the time comes when we are ready to deal with the dump (or, at least, smaller bits of it), and then our entire system becomes cleaner, lighter, and brighter.

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