These are the words I thought all the times my consciousness, shrivelled and sickened by dehydration and toxins, peeped out at the black room following black nights. Dear liver, don’t fail me, I urged, massaging below my right rib, breathing in so my trunk could shrink and I would feel – should it be swollen – a flank of distressed organ.
It is my liver, I realise, that I’ve given more thought to than any other body part bar my face. The liver is resilient, said my doctor. There is still time to change.
The liver has a quiet, dull voice when it speaks. It’s so deep in the body I barely heard its cries through the worst of it. No wonder it’s resilient, ignored as it is.
Now, in my yoga class, where the room smells of bergamot and myrrh, the slender woman with the PhD in anatomy tells us we’ll focus on our liver meridian. It impacts how we see, she says, and though the room is dark for ambience, I feel like she’s looking at me. It affects our sense of judgment, our self-worth, she says. She tells us to let go of being critical of ourselves. Sometimes we hold our anger in our liver, and this is most destructive when it’s turned in on ourselves.
We follow our liver meridian to our toes and massage the balls of our feet. With our eyes closed, we hear the sound of her light-footedness on the studio floor. This is a hands-on class, and she puts her hands on the backs of my calves, pulling the skin like she’s skinning a snake.