Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Groot


This post probably won’t make sense if you have not seen the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, so I you want context, go watch it. The post will still be here. 

I happen to love Groot.  It is a common tool that Adam uses to show me clips of Groot; they make me smile.  Today after an awkward morning I was thinking about how Baby Groot fits in with the Guardians of the Galaxy Team.

I went to meet with my old supervisor this morning to go over my final evaluation, I put on my chaplain clothes, and nothing felt like it fit.  Of course, it was raining so I just needed to get out the door, ugly shoes and all.  I couldn’t listen to music or a book because driving takes far too much concentration for me now.  I was left alone with my anxiety and stories about how the meeting would go.  Most of my anxiety is rooted in not being able to give a timeline for my recovery or even a clear diagnosis of what is going on.  The amount of blood and other samples that I have given in the past two months, I would’ve hope could’ve yielded some sort of answer.

The meeting felt awkward, I miss my hospital, coworkers and job; and despite how I look I am still not capable of doing the job, right now.  As I was leaving the hospital, Adam sent me a clip of scenes involving Baby Groot and I kept thinking about how much I love that movie, how much it makes me smile and laugh.  As I drove to another appointment, I thought about how different that movie would be without Baby Groot. 

Even though his form is completely different from the first movie, he is still part of the team and his tribe.  He is taken care of and nurtured by the rest of the guardians throughout the movie.  He also drives them crazy, but that is life.  I feel like that now, and unfortunately, I have been here before, attempting to rebuild, to grow into something new again.  There are a few people that I have gathered around me, that remind me they still love me, and it is okay to be where I am.

They remind me that it is okay that I must practice fine motor skills, that I have trouble following conversations and that I need to lay down.  They remind me to take my time and not rush it, but I worry.  I worry about patience wearing out. 

I see something in Baby Groot that makes me smile and brings me joy, so for now that is my model.  That transformation is still surrounded by love and care.  That the people around me are much more patient and liberal with grace than my own mind. 

Question of the day: What or who inspires you?  What are you reading or listening to that gives you meaning in your own adventure?


Monday, June 18, 2018

Dinner


I never know, I never know what the day will hold when I start to open my eyes.  I am one of those people that opens my eyes before I start to stretch into my body, I like to look around and plan.  The night before I had gone over the plan for the day, make breakfast, clean, appointment, make lunch, prep dinner, write and rest.  As I start to feel my body, my legs are tingling, not painful but weak.  Right there, I start to get discouraged.  I keep going and wake up, start breakfast.  I can feel a change in my gait, I can compensate for it and adjust it, but it might get worse.   

It might get better, and there are things that certainly help but I am discouraged.  First thing I do in the morning is plan, I like having a plan.  I want to be able to say when I can go back to work, I want to say when I will know if the medication change is helping, I want to sign up for classes and keep growing but I don’t have a time table.  That is discouraging for me.

I come back to that question “What can I do…?”  In this case it is what can I do to love and serve my world the way that I right now?  How do I love and serve my world when I am scared and in pain?

I do it by loving and serving the few people around me, Adam, my friends and family.  Since I like I map, I figured the best place to start was with Adam.  This journey is not easy, and he inspires me with his strength and encouragement.  I can do my best to make him some meals, as I make my own.  So here it is, making dinner in your kitchen is loving and serving your world.  Simple.

Question of the day: What did you eat for dinner?  (Seriously, I need some meal ideas.)

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

60 miles an hour to 0


I am not able to write, at this time.  Looking at words and screens tends to make me dizzy, when I do type my fingers don’t necessarily work.  I find that random words are spelled wrong, or I just type half a word, or sometimes only a few words in a sentence.  I am beyond frustrated and I must use Adam as a proofreader for even simple things, like text messages.  I can’t really read my own handwriting.  However, I really wanted to share something with you all.

This past month has been terrible, I spent weeks in bed, a week in the hospital and was really scared.  I left the hospital without a clear diagnosis and was forced to use my very foggy brain to put things together.  Luckily, I had some clear moments and it lead me to a possible diagnosis and more importantly an amazing, caring doctor.  This doctor spent over 45 minutes with Adam and I going over my entire medical history.  As someone who has battled complex chronic illness for years, I am still overwhelmed with gratitude that someone took time to listen. 

I am hopeful.  However, that isn’t quite what I wanted to share with you.  When I got out of the hospital, I had a few emotions that needed to get out, that I needed to process.  I couldn’t really write, so I spent a week even more frustrated and beating myself up about not “getting better” soon enough. Then finally I decided there are different ways to be creative, and I started drawing.  I draw like a five-year-old, but it started to get things out.   I don’t know when writing will come back but until then I will ask myself “what can I do?”  There are infinite ways to express oneself and to tap into that creativity, you might surprise yourself. 

Question of the day: What can you do for yourself today that will tap into your creativity?


Thursday, May 24, 2018

Waiting for Transformation


Before I start writing I take a moment to pause, to listen to my breath and center myself.  I ask for some guidance and illumination.  Writing is therapeutic for me, it is one way that I start to work things out.  It is one way that I claim what is going on and clarify the next steps I need to take.  It sounds like this beautiful linear process. 

I have been very sick, and still waiting for tests to help understand what is going on.  I spent a week at home sick, a week in the hospital and I am still home sick.  I am learning to eat and drink again, learning to slowly move and stretch again.  It takes work.  In fact, today is the first time I went outside by myself in weeks. 

It is embarrassing, to go from sixty to zero and not know when I will be back to full speed again.  It is frustrating, discouraging and isolating. However, it is still part of the human experience, and I am doing my best to put one foot in front of the other.   What does that look like right now?

I eat very slowly, take frequent naps and set a timer for walking around the apartment.  I use a lot of self-talk to remind me that it is hard to see progress sometimes, to remind myself I am worth all this extra work, to remind myself that everything changes.  Despite all of that I am still left with these feelings of inadequacy and weakness, so I cry. 

Healing is not a linear process, life is not a linear process; we are all learning as we go along and sometimes we are just left with mystery. I am in such a rush to take something and make it into something better, but these are the moments that call for patience.  These are the moments when I don’t know what I am working with, so I can’t start to transform it yet.  Right now, I am just patiently taking that step in front of me hoping it goes up but not knowing for sure. 

Question of the day:  What is the step in front of you right now?   Baby steps, we are all in this together. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Returning to Roots


When I started this blog, I wanted a year of pictures a year of things that made me smile.  I wanted to be able to look back and remember that in some of my darkest times I still found a moment each day to smile, to be grateful, to laugh and to notice more than my struggle.  It was vital to my survival.  Why?  Because Joy matters!

It is a stressful time right now, I am scared, overwhelmed and in this horrible brain fog.  I only can see the step in front of me right now, and it feels unsure and steady.  (Hence, I am up at three in the morning writing this, instead of working on my homework.)  I find myself looking for the things that bring joy to my life, and I am a bit out of practice in remembering to take pictures.

Life is difficult, hard and heartbreaking; I see lives change everyday as part of my work.  It is too short, loves.  Those moments of joy, of peace and even calm beg to be noticed and celebrated.  In the last week I have had many of those moments.  I got to watch one of my dearest friends marry the woman he loves and adores in this past week.  I still get teary thinking about it.  I have gotten to dance with my husband to our song in Disneyland. I have gotten to eat at a restaurant that is filled with memories of my best friend and I celebrating our runs and our friendship.  I have gotten to see friends I dearly love, give them hugs and sometimes share a meal with them.  I have received a gift from one of my friends who was lucky enough to travel to Greece.  I have received outpouring of support, love and understanding from two friends I don’t see enough of right now.  I got to see Infinity War with two of my favorite people in the world and laugh. I got to make dinner for Adam something inspired and creative.  I got to play in the sun and shoot photos of my husband for advertisements for a workshop he is teaching.  I was able to come home to Adam every night and just be held.  There are so many more moments.  

These were important to list, these are important to remember, because joy matters.  This can be hard for me, so I am writing it down.  I am sharing things that make me smile because it is easy to forget.  

Question of the day: How will you notice what makes you smile today?  How will you acknowledge and celebrate this precious day?

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Pausing


This morning I stepped onto my yoga mat and started my practice, as I inhaled and exhaled to reach my right leg back I felt this tingling, burning radiating sensation in my right foot and calf.  I immediately started to adjust, engage abdominals, internal rotation, external rotation all kinds of different experimentation.  The sensation increased, and so did my anger.  I changed positions checking in, the sensations increased to the point that I couldn’t put weight on the foot, I couldn’t fully straighten the knee.  My anger continued to build until that inner critic spoke up. 

As I listened to my inner critic, and the emotions increased I paused.  I started listing everything I was feeling out loud, anger, frustration, tightness, clenching, lack of support, overwhelmed, tired, worn, breathing in, breathing out, gripping, spasming, tears and as I sunk into child’s pose “humble.”  From there my practice became another 10 minutes of crying and breathing in child’s pose feeling humbled.  Feeling wonder and awe that my body does work, that it carries me in and out of patient rooms, that is enables me to squat down and talk to patients, that it talks to me and tells me to stop.  Feeling humbled because it takes time to heal hurt, it takes time for the body to get rid of stress and pain. 

I rose out of child’s pose, that sensation still in my right foot and got ready for my day.  That was my practice, pausing, pausing to listen and acknowledge.  It is at this point in writing that I want to stop, I believe this is a boring story, I think who cares and yet here I am writing about it, reflecting on it.  Looking at what happened on my mat this morning and seeing all the other places where I don’t pause.  What am I afraid of?  What is it about pausing and slowing down that is so scary for me?

Question of the day: How did your morning start, do you see reflections of it throughout your day?

Thursday, February 1, 2018

One little word

I started this little experiment.  I wanted to figure out little ways to bring creativity back into my life.  I started journaling again, doing my best not to make it about the residency or my struggles but using prompts so it had a different focus.  Just taking five minutes a day in the morning or evening to writing something about the prompts, I haven’t noticed a difference yet.  However, I did notice that more creative projects started coming up in my life and most of them seemed like too much to do at the moment.  Until I found this one, one little word.  To journey through the year with one little word as my focus, again each month there would be prompts and suggestions but still room for creativity and exploration. 

This seemed like something I could find enough time to do, just a little time each month.  I first started brainstorming words, using some sparkly paper, because that is better.  I came down to a few favorites, I came down to a few that I NEED to be working on, a few that I SHOULD be working on and a few that I didn’t care for.  How to decide?  The pressure is on, this word is going to be my focus for the year, it needs to be perfect.  And there goes my little trap and struggle.  I started talking with a friend, and a word came up.  Coincidently a word that came up and stayed.   I drew a little bit with my word and worked with it, deciding to wait with it.

Then the word showed up, I was in a seminar at work and we were working on vulnerability.  We split into groups to do a little exercise, we spent ten minutes saying what we were closed to, and ten minutes saying what we were open to.  There was no discussion, just taking turns going around in the circle. This realization hit me in the pit of my stomach, “joy” I am closed off to joy.  I couldn’t stop the tears coming when I said that statement, tears of truth. 

It is a well-known statement “Comparison is the thief of joy.”  I hear that a lot, I am reminded of that a lot because my mind loves to compare to  measure unlike objects.  But joy is not this ecstatic moment where everything is perfect.  Joy is showing up and being present. Joseph Campbell says “Find a place inside where there’s joy and the joy will burn out the pain.”  It is only by feeling my pain, not minimizing it, not comparing it to someone else’s that I can find the joy in my life.  It is about acknowledging my experience, asking for help if needed, crying and laughing. 

How do I start?  I had a crazy day yesterday, a day where each time I walked out of a patient’s room something else happened.  I didn’t feel like I got a chance to breath, to stop and definitely not to reflect.  Until this moment, someone was looking to refer me to another patient and she stopped me.  She gave me a hug and said “you have no idea how happy we are that you are here.”  When I got back to my office to chart, I let that sink in.  Just showing up has an impact, that was joy. 

Question of the day:  Reflection, it is an integral part of the human experience, it is a pause to find meaning and purpose.  Reflect on your day, your week or even this last month.  Where was there pain? Where was there joy?