Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Getting away

Sometimes life feels like it is too much, sometimes I feel like I am being given more then I possibly have the ability to handle.   So in moments like those I usually grit my teeth and find a way to keep going, to realize that I am will discover new ways of handling things and eventually what needs to be done will get accomplished.  

However last week, I did something completely different when it felt like too much.  When I noticed that I was no longer sleeping well, I was unable to eat properly and I was not taking care of myself.  I went away.   I handled the critcal things, doctor's appointments, vet appointments, job commitments and decided the rest could wait for me to get home.   I went away just a few hours drive to the Austin area, had dinner with a friend and then spent the next bit of time alone.

I came home feeling a little bit more settled and clear. A lot of the things that were stressing me out are still here, I just feel bigger than the "problems" now.   I am able to handle them step by step again.

While I was taking the time for myself, there was a lot of chatter in the back of my mind.  
"you are simply running away from commitments"  
"you are simply giving up"   
"you are selfish"
"you don't deserve this"

Those are just some examples of how my mind likes to take me away from the present moment and away from being happy.   So the only thing I could do was come back to my senses and embrace the present moment, otherwise I might have missed the beautiful purple flowers.

Question to consider: What is your favorite way to take "me" time?   When is the last time you allowed yourself even a 5 minute "me" break? 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The sun is out

It started off as a gloomy, rainy day.  I drove to the doctor's office falling in love with the storm clouds wondering if a lightening storm was in the future, and as I drove home the sky was beginning to clear.  I walked out of the doctor's office in a pretty gloomy mood and sittting in traffic watching the clouds clear gave me some perspective on how fast things can change.  In that moment I may have been in pain and frustrated that my energy is low, however I know that it will change.  

I had an idea for a project this morning and maybe some extra rest is just the thing that I need to really figure out the next steps to take.   Getting to type up my blog with Sterling sleeping next to me is pretty freaking awesome.  I am just going to take this one moment at a time and let my body heal as quickly as it will.   I am not on anyone's time scale, the days I feel good I will be out and about doing my work and on the days I want to take care of myself I will make space for that.   

Back to basics!   Even moving the toes and ankles can be yoga.

Question to consider: What are you planting this spring?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The park!!!

I took this photo about a week and a half after my surgery.  Sterling and I walked all the way to the park my our house, (on a good day it is about a ten minute walk).  I took it as a sign that my body was healing well and I was ready to get back to work.   So I went back to work, teaching and visiting my Hospice Patients.  Slowly my body started whispering (take more time), and then it started talking and finally it started screaming at me.  I heard my body whispering, and I decided it was just growing pains, and healing is not always painless.  THe good thing about the body is that it continues to speak up until you start to listen.   I am pretty stubborn, so it tends to have to get pretty loud.

So I took another week away from my patients.  I sent a request out to all my friend for some help with basic errands and tasks.   People offered so much support, they came by, they called me, they offered to do things I never would have even thought about.   There was a moment when a friend came by and asked "what can I do?"  I answered "Can you please take out the trash?"   It is such a  simple thing and it meant the world to me, the people that brought me meals, that helped with laundry, that called just to check on me.   It was very humbling.

So I took it easy and I still don't feel great.  I still wanted to stay in bed.   So as I drove the the vet to pick up medicine for Sterling I had to think, what is my lesson right now?   What can I learn from this?

1.  The body doesn't heal on the mind's time table.  It takes as much time as it wants.
2.  I am incredibly loved and blessed to have so many wonderful friends that are willing to help me with unglamourous tasks.
3.  Sometimes it makes sense to take your pain medication even if it means you will be stuck at home and unable to think clearly.  

However I was grappling with a statement.  As I drove to the vet I felt so useless, because I was not able to do as much as I wanted.   Because a simple errand left me exhausted and I still had a patient to see.   Then it all clicked.   

I am getting a brief, shallow glimpse into my patient's worlds.  A brief stint in what it is like to ask people to help you with simple tasks, to know that moving will increase the pain and still doing it anyway.  That anyone you have the ability to interact with is to be cherished.   That someone spending time with you, reading to you, or just being near provides comfort.   

People ask me what I do with my patients, and it is all very simple things, I talk with them, I hold their hand, I listen, I sit in a room with them while they sleep.   This last week has shown me what that is worth to me.   It is priceless, and I am so thankful that my friends and Adam took the time to be with me.    

Question to consider: What do you find the most comforting when you are getting better?

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A view

The Greek philosopher Epictetus said more than 2,000 years ago: "People are disturbed, not by things (that happen to them), but by the principles and opinions which they form concerning (those) things. When we are hindered, or disturbed, or grieved, let us never attribute it to others, but to ourselves; that is, to our own principles and opinions."

I have been thinking about this quote a lot lately.  As I talk to people, as I figure out how to manage the pain and fear associated with my surgery.   As I focus on being kind to myself, which generally means I need to stop pushing myself so much.   So why do I push myself?  Why do I smile through the pain?  Why do I agree to a fully scheduled weekend, when I know I just want to rest?   

Appreances, wanting to be more than I am.  Worries that if I just say I am going to sit at home for another week, that I won't be enough.  That is all my story, my mind.  Everyone has been so supportive and helpful, if I simply ask for what I need to help when I need it.  I trust someone would provide it, sometimes I am afraid to ask.  I am afraid to be vulnerable.

I see so many things when I look out these windows, and I feel at peace.  In this moment there is nothing that I need.  However as I go about my day and still need to listen to my body, I need to eat, drink, sleep, play and rest.  Right now all I want is to create the best atmosphere for healing which means I need to ask for what I need help with.

Question to consider: what do you need right now?

Thursday, March 5, 2015


Two images that brought a giant smile to my face!   Just a shout out to the blog's beginnings.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015


When I was in China, back in August our translator, Richard, gave all of the group some parting gifts.  One of which was a block (cake) of Pu'er tea.  I remember looking at the tea, and wondering how to break it apart, how to prepare the tea.  I had seen tea bags, loose tea leaves, tea pearls but I had no experience with how this tea was packaged.  Adam decided to research it when we got home, and told me he found a video, but it would take time.  

When I returned from China my focus was on preparing for the next trip to Nepal and so the packages of tea were placed in the cupboard with the other tea.   Secretly I feared that I would forget about the tea and Richard's wonderful gift would go unappreciated.  However like so many gifts in life, the tea came back into my awareness at the perfect time.  

Someone suggested I drink more Pu'er tea to aid in my recovery, and I suddenly had the time to devote to opening up the tea cake without harming the tea leaves.   So Saturday morning after breakfast Adam and I began to break apart the tea.   For me this became a meditation, to be gentle, to be aware of how I was handling the tea and to just allow the leaves to separate on their own.   During the process I absolutely fell in love with the tea, I was able to appreciate the different size leaves, the different colors, and was so excited to taste the flavors.  

I tend to enjoy drinking tea, to savor the moment, to notice the different flavors and learn.  This was entirely different experience, and I am so grateful for those moments with the tea leaves.   The tea tastes wonderful, however opening up the tea leaves was the gift I needed.   

Question to consider: What is your favorite type of hot beverage?  Are you a tea drinker?  

Reading paragraphs

Everything feels different and I don’t know if that is okay.   What I mean by that is I don’t know if it meets other people’s expectations...