Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Tuning

This weekend Adam and I had the privilege of attending a tabla concert.  I was only able to stay for half the concert, I wasn't able to sit comfortably, because of some tests I had going on and standing can be exhausting.  

I love the classical Indian music, and so it was such a treat for my heart.  I honestly felt like I was fighting a bit of a battle between my heart, to stay and my body that really needed to rest.   

During the performance, there were pauses when performers were changing.  Sometimes these transitions took a bit of time, because the instruments are very sensitive and need to be tuned correctly and often.  It is important for the quality of the music that the instruments are tuned.  Over and over again the announcer thank everyone for their patience and ensured us that it was worth the time to tune the instruments.

So of course I kept thinking about about the skill it takes to tune an instrument.  How important it is for a musician to know how to care for their instrument, to give the best quality performance and therefore offer a piece of their heart.  I remember watching a piano tuner work on my parent's piano one day.  I remember when I finally sat down to play, and the difference in the music just from taking the time to tune the instrument.  

Yet I was never the best at taking care of my body, the most important instrument that I have. I have the chance to learn a lot about how my body communicates with me now.  I have gotten to learn the importance of good food, quality ingredients, drinking enough water, and resting.  I struggle with the idea of resting, of relaxing especially when I feel like I am treading water right now.   

So again I look to change my language, to find a voice to describe this process up to my standards.  Instead of looking at my body as an adversary, and feeling like I am fighting it or it is fighting me.  Instead of seeing myself as sick, helpless and frustrated that a new treatment didn't work, I am working to find other ways to look at it.  I am tired of fighting, I want different language.  My body is not something to overcome, it is something to celebrate, to enjoy and to learn from. 

I am gaining new skills to learn how to tune an instrument.   As I gain competence and learn from getting back up again and again I will be able to offer more of my true self to people.  If my body is working well and happy, then my heart is free to perform.  I am worthy of the time and care.

Question of the day: What event in your life could you find different language to describe?  Does it change how you feel about the event?    I find it a lot of work to pay attention to my language, however I have experienced the benefits of playing with language and how it helps change focus as well.  


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Love is....

Language tends to be a big obstacle for me.  I have trouble communicating how I am feeling, I don't always feel safe to let people know that I need to rest, that I want some time away.  I have written in previous posts about how the mind lies.  How it is can be vicious, and how for me it seems like a constant chatter.

Since I have been diagnosed with a chronic illness, I have really struggled with what words to use.  Adam hates it when I say that I am sick, and at first for me it was necessary to say that I was sick, otherwise I would keep pushing myself and not take the time to really get better.  But now, that word doesn't fit.  I feel sick a lot of the time, my energy is low and I feel a lot of pain.  But I am not just one thing.  I am not just someone that doctors gave a label to, I am not just someone that is struggling with everyday activities on certain days, I am not just someone that feels great and happy.  I am all of those things and more at any given moment.

However I still really struggle with language.  This past weekend Adam and I went to visit some friends this weekend, and words like "burden, selfish, helpless, high maintenance, inconvienent, demanding, difficult...ect" kept coming up.  Then Tuesday morning I read an article about a woman that was diagnosed with cancer and she decided to define what love was.   It completely changed my state, and I decided I needed to do the same thing.  After all who else can define what love is, what love looks like to me other then me.   

Love is my friends taking 30 minutes to look for a restaurant that is safe and comfortable for me to eat at.

Love is my husband understanding that I can't eat with him at the airport because the sight and smell of food is making me feel sick and stressed.

Love is my friends being willing to try new things because it is safer for me to eat, for them to go out of their way to ensure the ingredients are the best possible even if they are more expensive.

Love is my husband going to pick up the dog after a long day of work so that I can rest just a little bit longer.

Love is my best friend sending me videos and photos as she runs races that I wanted to be running with her.  It is her dedicating her miles to me, and her continuing to cheer me on even when I cancel at the last minute.  

Love is anyone understanding that sometimes I just need to rest and sleep, even if it is on their couch five minutes after I walk in the door.   It is them letting me sleep even though they want to spend to time with me.

Love is someone making a meal for me, and just being happy that I am keeping them company as they do all the work.  

Love is my husband remembering what time your doctor's appointments are so that he can send me a sweet message at the perfect time.

Love is me listening to my body and resting, sleeping and speaking up if something is going to help.

Love is me communicating with my medical team and asking for more lidocaine instead of just accepting that procedures are going to be painful.  It is me realizing that not all the pain is necessary, and in fact it helps them to treat me better, it is information, not complaining.  

Love is the friend that sends me messages every couple of days asking me to lunch and checking in with me.  And when I respond that eating out is difficult, he reminds me that the food is not the important part, he just wants to see me and make sure I am doing alright.  

Love is sometimes just crying because of the pain or stress or whatever, no matter if I am in the grocery store, a plane, anywhere.   It is letting the emotions go instead of hanging on to them because I am worried about what people will think.  

I could continue to go on people have really flooded me with love the past couple of months.  And if I am honest, my entire life.  I am very loved and treasured by the people in my life and I feel the same way about them, I treasure the people in my life.  

Question of the day:  What is love?

Monday, January 4, 2016

Lies

I know this is my first post of 2016, and usually I would be excited with goals and ideas for what the coming year might bring.   While I am working on finding that excitement, and making some of those goals.  I wanted to share this post I wrote a little while ago.  One that I am honestly hesitant to post...here goes:



I am a big fan of Jenny Lawson, and her blog, thebloggess.com.    The way that she is open about her struggles with mental health, and her humor is sincere and something I appreciate.  She reminds people "depression lies."

So TRIGGER warning for anyone that needs it.   

It is not just depression that lies, it is the mind.  My mind lies to me all the time, it is a constant tape in my head.  Meditation, yoga, running, qigong and my other studies have helped me to slow the tape down, sometimes, to have some brief pauses, and to even begin to change the tune.   Sometimes the old tape begins to play, those are the most cruel and violent lies.  These are the lies that tell me I am a monster, that I am unworthy, that Adam would be much happier and livelier without me.  

I have gone through a couple of periods in my life of clinical depression, and I have done a number of things to cope and work through it, and live my life.  A couple of weekends ago. I felt like I got hit my a truck, with that old, old tape of lies.    Which escalated because I began to think "why is this coming up again?"  "I thought I was past this."   

So I lashed out, I snapped at Adam about something insignificant, and when I realized I had snapped and hurt him, the tape became louder and faster.  So I ran to the closet and began to beat my arms, my knees, basically throwing my body at the wall in an effort to hurt myself.  I collapsed in a pile in the closet, completely disgusted with myself and afraid.  Adam was sitting there very calmly and asked me what I needed.  

He brought me an ice pack and eventually I was able to find the little voice inside me that said "I need someone to stay with me, I need someone to watch me and hold me, someone that will still love me, because I am not able to access that right now."   So I asked him to stay home, not go to class, and watch me.  

I wish I could say that was all it took, and that I was instantly smiling and better, because he said "of course."  Because he wasn't going to take his love away, especially when I was hurting and confused. Even though he was hurting and confused by my behavior, because like I said it hit me out of no where.   

It was a long day, full of Adam holding me while I cried, of him convincing me to go for a walk despite the rain.   Of me asking him to take me to my favorite place in Houston, to go see the butterflies, of discovering a new park and rose garden, a birthday celebration with some friends.  So many beautiful places and things, that I was only able to see with a very dirty and dark filter.  I was still looking for the beauty, the peace, finding the contrast and he was standing by my side through it all.

The scariest moment, the moment when I felt the most vulnerable and afraid was that moment when I asked him to stay with me.  That moment when I felt like I was in a deep dark hole, and I didn't know how to get out.  He didn't climb in the hole with me, he just knew I would eventually start looking for the light, if he kept showing me it was there.  So the truth is you can climb out of the hole, you can get the tape to slow down, to change, no one can do it for you.   On the other hand the people in our lives are the light to help guide us out, the reality is we all need that light sometimes and we all can be that light for someone at some point.  

Changing my focus helps, changing my physiology helps, changing my language helps, sometimes the filters need to be cleaned and polished, just like eye glasses.  Who cares why they get dirty, just clean them and if you don't know how, ask for help.  If the person you ask for help, does the wrong thing, tell them you need something else.   Everyone is doing their best and if their first reaction is not helpful, ask for something else or someone else.  And it is OKAY to admit you don't know what you need, it is okay to admit that you are just as lost and confused by your feelings.   

Question of the day:  What would you like some help with today?