Monday, September 4, 2017

Scarcity

Scarcity, this idea of not having enough, not being enough that plays in our subconscious.  This theme that the media has lead us to believe can be satisfied by abundance, by buying things, by being more….  It is a pattern I struggle with, to remind myself that abundance does not balance out scarcity, that doing more will never equal me feeling like I am enough.  

There are tools I have learned, the first is too look around and see if indeed there is something lacking, or something threatening.  To come away from the stories that my mind spins and notice what is around me, find gratitude for what is around me and take some really deep breaths.  

It is still a well worn pattern, in my nervous system, it can play like a record and it takes attention to notice the pattern, to break the pattern and when energy is really low to admit that I need to change the pattern.  I get to a point with panic attacks, where I am so exhausted that it is easier to keep playing the record, but once I notice the record I need to break it.  I need to apologize, I need to own up to my behavior and make an effort to change.  

However this past week, resources felt scarce, or in some cases nonexistent.  Things like food, water, shelter and medication became real issues.  It started with concerns about medication, a delay that has turned into a number of weeks at this point.  Which meant I took stock of my ‘emergency” stock, had to alter herb dosages and try to plan for the chaos that hit Houston.  There was no way to plan, there was no way to predict how long we would be out of our apartment, and I had no way of knowing when I might receive a shipment of my bladder medication. 

Eventually this has all lead to a full blown flare and my rescue medication has yet to ship.  So the second time that Adam and packed up to evacuate we both realized we wanted to cry and yet at the same time we felt pretty numb.  I started thinking about what is the way to balance this scarcity idea, belief?  Because for me telling myself I am still enough when I am in pain and scared doesn’t break the pattern.  

Resourcefulness is the way to balance it, to see what can be done, to understand that I have other methods of coping and helping myself.  To understand that when someone offers you a bed and a shower it is not out of pity but compassion.  To accept that people still love me and care for me, to understand that when I am afraid I am not thinking, there is a blessing of having people around me as a resource.  Sometimes the resource is working on foundations and sometimes it is going to a friend and saying “help me, I don’t know what to do.”  It is admitting that I am vulnerable and scared, that I am not thinking clearly and that has nothing to do with how weak or strong I am.  It has nothing to do with what I will be able to do tomorrow, it is that moment that requires me to reach out to other people as a resource.  

I hear the message everywhere and everyday that I am not enough, and someone offering a different way to “fix it.”  There is no quick fix, relationships take time to build, trust takes time, resources take time and it takes time to learn new patterns in the nervous system.  This week has been rough and the lessons are just beginning to come to the surface, but valleys bring fertile growth.  As long as I am still here, there is time to stand back up and work on those resources again.  


Question of the day:  What is your response to scarcity?  What methods do you use to bring yourself back into harmony?

Monday, August 28, 2017

Praying

Yesterday Adam and I headed down to the Bayou a few blocks from our apartment to see where the water was.  As we approached, we saw the water in the street and neighborhood, flashing lights from a constable was behind us and we looked around at the home right there on the edge, the boys playing in the water and the families outside with mixed expressions.  It was about 4 in the afternoon, and I kind of wanted to leave, to get out. Worried about what could happen and how things would unfold.  

Adam who is a bit more grounded and reasonable listed the reasons to stay and that we were safer, so we stayed.  Despite anxiety about food reserves for me and medication concerns (thankfully nothing life threatening.). As my anxiety built up and I continued to remind myself that I was lucky, I was dry, I had power and at least I had rice and bone broth.  I would get through.

However my heart still ached, still wanted to do something, to help.  So what can I do right now?  I have no skills for search and rescue, but I have a closet of clothes that can always be cleaned out, I have non-perishable food that I can’t eat that I haven’t given to a food drive yet, I have toothpaste and other toiletries that I buy in bulk.   So I started cleaning out my stores and gathering things together.  Because they will be needed for a long time.

That is thing with watching a natural disaster unfold in your home, you want to help right now.  It is hard, but there are things I can do to help right now and more to come as this continues to unfold.  

I can talk to my neighbors and ask how they are doing, ask how are their families are.  Give them space to talk.  I can check on my friends, and see what is going on.  I can cry as both me and my friends await rescues.  I can hold the door and help someone bring in their stuff, because they weren’t able to evacuate.  I can smile and be calm standing in front of the grocery store that never opens.  Saying a quick prayer for the employees.  

We are all looking for ways to help right now, and there are plenty of ways to lend a hand.  But this journey is just starting for some people, stay with the journey not just the first reaction to help during the crisis.  My heart is breaking in both ways, this has brought the city together, brought neighbors together and reminded all of us that we are not alone on our journeys.  




Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Stepping Stones Aren't Always Smooth

It feels like a first step, and yet there have been so many steps leading up to this point that when does one say it is really the “first step.”  It is certainly opening a new door and a new chapter, but in this case it doesn’t quite feel like I am also closing a chapter.  I am bringing that chapter with me.  I am bring all of who and what I am with me into this new job and new opportunity.  

That has to be the most terrifying thing in the world for me, I have no fancy piece of paper, I have no shiny board certification, I have me.  I have my life experiences, my wisdom and my teachers behind me.  I am entering an new arena, where religion and philosophy start to become science.  It starts to be tested, will this wisdom help others as well?  The scientist in me is cringing a bit, because there is no way to provide reproducible data, but I am still testing wisdom, teachings and my beliefs by becoming a chaplain.  I am testing how well will I understand and appreciate people’s worlds, how well will I understand what they are feeling and not judge them by what they do, how well will I hold space for people day in and day out. 

I started looking back, at all the little steps that got me here.  I wrote about them, 16 plus pages of all the decisions that I thought would make me a good candidate for the job.  However curiosity got the better of me and I looked back on my blog to see what was going on five years ago.  

You wouldn’t know it from the photos, but I was barely able to get out the door.  This is why people are complex, blogs, social media and interactions don’t give you the picture into how complex people are.  Adam and I were silently grieving an IVF cycle that didn’t result in a positive pregnancy test.  I say silently because only a few people knew that we had chose to try again.  When I got that phone call from my doctor, I collapsed on the floor.  I remember sitting there and having the last conversation I would have with God for a good long while.  Thinking that there was no way this is all he had planned for me, disappointment and heartbreak.  Until in my grief I decided there was no God, and it was best to put away that little fairy tale, that things had a purpose and meaning.  

Now I see that God was listening, that even though I turned away he still kept the door open and placed people in my life that would slowly lead me back.  That if Adam and i felt we had no tools to deal with this grief, there would people to ask, to talk to and people that surprised us with their kindness. It was a gentle nudging to get my feet back on the path, to look around and see that my life was not defined by one event.  I was not looking for a religion, I was not looking to become a Priest and yet one step at a time it continued to make sense.  

Although right now I feel like I will be walking into those patients’ rooms alone, I know who and what is behind me.  I trust that the Dao will put me there for a reason and I have to show up and be open.  Right now I don’t feel like I’m enough, but what if I changed that?  What if I decided I am new to this, I am a beginner and it is okay if I don’t have every answer?   In that context, this is the first step, the step to accepting that I have a lot to learn.


Question of the day:  Does opening a new door mean something else closes, or can you take the complexity without the burden into that new space?  


Friday, August 18, 2017

Six months

Change...it is a house rule and when it happens slowly, it is easy to forget where I was before.  It is easy to lose sight of how much progress has been made.

Six months ago, I was in my doctor's office for a follow-up, to discuss what about my treatment plan was working and what wasn't.  At that point I was still getting up six-seven times a night to urinate, I was curious what else could be done, so I could get some solid sleep.   She suggested a few things, a hormone treatment, different medication or a nerve stimulation treatment which would take time.  In a world where sometimes I lose track and just want a pill to fix it, three months seemed like a long time.  But it was still the best treatment suggestion for me.

In the last six months, it took a while to even start the nerve treatment I have had two huge moments, where I cried in gratitude.  The first was a few weeks ago, when I no longer had blood in my urine, that has not been the case in years.  The second time was when I slept completely through the night without having to get up once to urinate.  

Change happens slowly, health returns and it takes time to learn what helps and what doesn't.  Is there one thing that I can say helped the most, no.  It was little things, each little thing that I tried, stuck with or eliminated.  It was both my doctor and my acupuncturist taking the time to continue providing new options and doing their own work and research to be able to find something that will help.  

Adam seems to get this question a lot.  “So Lenore is better right?”  Yes and no, it depends on where you are looking from.  Yes I am so much better then I was, I know more about my body and how to listen to it.  However, there is still a lot going on, I am still taking lots of herbs and supplements, I am still very cautious about my diet (I finally got to introduce broccoli!!!), I still have plenty of sleepless nights and days where walking is difficult and painful.  All of this effects Adam’s life as well, when I have a sleepless night even if I am not the couch, he doesn’t sleep as well.  When I am hurting, it wears on him.  Understand that is a tough question for him to answer and he sometimes needs support too.  He does so much to help me, and it inspires me to keep going.  He makes me laugh, smile and find the beauty in my darkest moments.  He fights harder for me, and has never given up; he is amazing!

However each one of the little changes and improvements gives me hope, gives me hope that I will be able to wean off regular bladder instillations.  Hope that I might get to have chocolate or spicy food again.  Hope that I will be able to run, without so much fear and tension.  Hope that I won’t feel like less then I was before because of this condition, not because of what I can or can’t do; but because my perspective will grow and change.  That I will no longer compare myself to some idealized illusion from the past and will accept every bit of myself in the here and now.

Each one of those steps forward, reminds me that life is continuing to grow and change, that I am not stuck, no matter how it feels.  Change sometimes takes time, but it happens, the question becomes what are you working towards.  


Question of the day: What are you working on right now, that has you feeling impatient?  Can you go back and see who you were six months ago and see the movement?  

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Illusions

A number of years ago, Adam and I were watching a full moon rise and I turned to look at him.  I said “did you see that, the moon passed right in between the clouds, it passed through them.”  My beloved husband, looked at me in disbelief and said “what, the clouds can never be behind the moon?”   I looked at him, confident in what I saw, dismissing years and years of scientific knowledge and said, “yes it can.”   Quickly I realized his point of view and I laughed pretty hard at myself.  

Though it didn’t stop the fact that I had seen this marvelous illusion.  For a moment I really believed that the moon passed through the clouds as if it was just a prop in our atmosphere and not a celestial body.  I believed what my eyes saw, I believed the illusion.  It can be so easy to fool ourselves by what we see, hear etc…to not ask additional questions, to fail to expand our perspective.  In fact the mind likes to fill in these blanks with drama, anxiety, hence the saying “the mind is a terrible master.”    

There has been something that is weighing down my heart, something truly heartbreaking to me.  I have seen it repeated several times in the last week, in different contexts and my immediate reaction is to bury myself in the sand.  I am not that person anymore, the sand is no longer home, the dynamic of life is home.  The times when I am able to take a step back, and realize that cloud and the moon are not in the same plane, it gives me a moment to question.  I can check in with the stories that my mind is spinning and separate them from my feelings.  I can find my ground, and trust my actions.  To focus on what needs to be done, what is actually in front of me and the rest just needs to be blessed.  

It is easy for me to use the fire of emotions as fuel, to take giant leaps or run with an action.  However when that fire is high, it is also when I am the most unsettled and muddy.  It is a time for small steps, for observation, for feeling and acknowledging the emotions are not who I am.  

Question of the day: Where are you right now? Is this a time for action or for a little bit of observation?  



Monday, August 7, 2017

Bully, part two

My life is about to change, I have been working on something for almost five years now, and it is finally coming to fruition.  I was accepted into a CPE (clinical pastoral education) program at a local hospital and I will be a resident Chaplain for the next year.  These last few weeks are a bit of the countdown and rest period before that work starts.  

There is this giant change coming, and I am nervous, excited and everything in between.  However there are so many questions, that won’t have answers until I am in a room with a patient, until I know a clinical assignment, until I start and get my feet on the ground.  If you have learned anything about me, one I like plans, and two my life is pretty much built around routine.  So going from full-time wife and part-time volunteer to full-time chaplain, school and full-time wife, is a bit daunting right now.   

With all the uncertainty and change looming, I feel pretty anxious about the future.  Reading through the material for this upcoming residency is exciting and intimidating.  However I made a mistake last night before bed, I was reading through the syllabus for one of the units and my internal bully started spinning.  It started telling me there was no way I could do this, I have never done it before, I don’t know how and I am just going to fail.  Needless to say it resulted in a pretty restless night.  

I got up in the morning, feeling exhausted, depleted and drained.   So I put clothes on, went down to the gym and started walking until it was light enough out to go walking down to the bayou.  I ran some errands and when I got home to start working on my studies, the bully was there right next to me.  

I had no response, I truly had no response.  So I walked away from my computer for a second, and sat.  I stopped arguing with the bully, I stopped trying to find ways to prove it wrong.  I just sat for a long time.  Thinking, looking for something in my heart, something that I had to offer that no one else in this program would.  (Which is another fool’s errand, because I don’t know the people yet.).  

Then I remembered before I left to go grocery shopping I asked Adam, “what are my skills, what am I good at?”   This is not false modesty looking for a compliment, this was a sincere question, this was me telling Adam, I don’t see it right now, help me.  He started talking and I quickly got ready to leave.  As he made a joke about not being able to handle a compliment, I made an excuse.  

While I was sitting there with this bully, I thought “why the fuck does this bully have more say in my life, then Adam?”   I made a list, a very short list of the people whose opinions I really cared about, the only people with authority to put me in my place, to help me see reality and to encourage me.  The fucking bully is not on that list.  So I told the bully over and over, “you are not on my list.”   

I thought of the few people on my list.  I thought about things they had said about me, about my ability to listen, my ability to make someone feel safe, my ability to articulate myself and the fact that I am a good fit for this job.  None of them have told me it will be easy and all of them have said they believe in me, they are proud of me, and they love having me as a part of their life.  What else would I want the people I am closest in the world to say about me at my funeral?  That I enriched their lives.  Again those people are real, the bully is not.  

My list is who I trust, the people I seek out for their honest opinions and the people I trust to help me change my focus to what is real.  


Question of the day:  Who is on your list?  When is the last time you truly listened to them and absorbed what they had to say about you and how you enrich their lives?     

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Wilderness, my old friend

This past month has been incredibly difficult, I have spent more time in recovery mode then I have in a long time.  I have hit wall after wall, I have struggled through work counting the minutes until I could go home.  I have ended up at my apartment door in tears more times then I can count just because of how much it hurts to walk.  Yet, somehow I still got through the month, I still managed to go to work, I still managed to go grocery shopping and make meals.  I managed to travel a number of times even though it meant using a wheelchair. 

This past month it felt like my health was going downhill again.  I had to turn down a dream writing opportunity, because I didn’t have the extra energy.  I lost time with friends and I spent a lot more time at my doctor’s office then normal.  Asking for a wheelchair at the airport reminded me again how invisible my condition is.  

However the pain is nothing compared to the lies my mind has told me in this past month.  I live with a bully, and it will take any advantage it possibly can to tell me that I am not enough, I am unlovable and I am unworthy.  These past years of living with IC, chronic pain, ovarian cysts etc…are a tiny minuscule dot compared to the anguish this bully has given me throughout my life.   This bully that is fed by platitudes, by expectations, by shoulds and by misunderstandings.  A bully that can turn Facebook, conversations with friends, inspiring stories and other innocent interactions into something venomous.  

This weekend a line in the sand was drawn, it is a bully, it lies.  I asked for help, and I showed up to receive that help.  There is nothing wrong with self-care, there is nothing wrong with MY self-care.  It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t look like anyone else’s, it is mine.   

So I hope you will permit me to to share with you, my lines in the sand.  My end of the argument with this bully, the next steps into the wilderness and wake up each and every morning and say I am lovable.

It is okay to know my limits, and to turn down opportunities.  It will always be with me, that someone saw my talent, and that I do have potential to grow and flourish as a writer.  It will be at my pace.  

It is okay to wake up a few hours early to make tea and do a practice.  It is okay to take time to take care of myself and my body.  I am not “missing out” on something because I go to bed early.    

It is okay to admit I need a nap or need to lie down.  There will be plenty of board games in the future and it was nice to have my friends still close and just be near them.  

It is okay that I don’t know what I am doing.  That is the adventure, exploring, learning and growing.  

It is okay that I feel like the world is moving too fast.  There is no race and I can stop trying to catch up, I haven’t been left behind yet.  Honoring my pace, being honest is really the only way I will make progress. 

It is necessary to take this transition time and rest.  I won’t know all the answers going into this new job and new position, life is giving me the training I need each and every moment.  

It is okay to be happy and silly.  

I am lovable, I am love.  

It is the scariest thing in the world to ask for help, to show up and then to really be receptive to that help.  However there are so many different paths up that mountain and so many people willing to lend a hand, everyone is worth being cared for, including me.  


Question of the day: What is your self-care practice?  

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Graceful

Graceful

The definition of graceful can be having or showing grace of elegance.  It is a word I would not use to describe myself or my actions, but what if I started to look at it differently.  What if I break down the word, to mean things that fill me with grace?  What if I become graceful by focusing on what speaks to my spirit, what brings me grace?

My teacher likes to remind me that grace is an unearned gift, it has nothing to do with worth, it is the blessing of choice, the freedom to chose how to react in any given situation.  Professional dancers are graceful and elegant because they have chosen to dedicate their lives to that passion, they have nurtured their spirit with dance, and their spirit has nurtured their dance.

So what does graceful look like living with chronic pain, with a chronic illness?  Today it meant when I woke up screaming and fighting off imaginary attackers that felt like they were stabbing me that I accepted Adam's embrace, his words and his reminder to breathe through the pain.  I sleep with a weighted blanket, it weighs about 16 pounds so understand when I talk about thrashing around that, the blanket went flying.  The stabbing and spasming pain was so intense I thought I was being attacked.   (Again the mind lies.)

It took a great deal of time for me to calm down, to unlock the muscles that I was able to.  I still haven't figured out how to calm down those bladder spasms and tears just kept coming.  The grace is the ease in which Adam rises up to comfort me very early in the morning, steady and solid.  I become graceful not because the pain goes away, not because I stop fighting but because I accept the breath.  I chose in those moments where every part of me is telling me I am helpless to come back to the breath.   Yes, there are times I need prompting and the reminder but what else are our loved ones here for?

They are here to remind us of the grace inside each and everyone of us.  They are here to hold us and support us when all of our tools have broken down.  They are there to remind up that we can rebuild those tools and that life is a cycle.  

On the days that my spoons are exhausted, I come back to the breath, I come back to soft soothing music, I come back to the scriptures and prayers and trust that this too shall pass.  Sometimes I even come back to mindless TV, or cute animal videos.  The pain always passes and in the end I have filled my spirit with just a little more grace.  

Question of the day: What fills you with grace?  Can you make one of things a part of your daily life?

Monday, June 19, 2017

Gently

I have been blessed with some phenomenal teachers, teachers through out my life that have inspired me, humbled me and some times just left me awe.  There are teachers that I have been fortunate enough to spend years with and some that just come and go for a moment.  I think of these coincidences as little tests from the universe, to see see if I am present and paying attention.  The universe is always opening doors for us, opportunities but sometimes there is so much going on...   

I love maps, I love to know what to expect, what to plan for and who I need to be in a situation.  However lately my lessons have seemed to have the message look at the terrain, stop looking at the next step.  Another way to phrase this would be to trust that it will all unfold perfectly and to just let go.  The greatest lesson of course, is that I only need to be me in any situation.  I don't need to do anything, just be.  

I noticed today in yoga just how much struggle there is around this idea.  The teacher gave us a cue to follow our hand with our eyes, moving in an arc in front of us.  I had a rough time with this simple motion, my eyes would literally jump in front of my hand, to the final destination.  I finally had to really slow down my breath, close my eyes for a moment, block out the world and just focus on my hand.  I stopped the movement and just observed my hand, making new introductions to my eyes and my hand.  

I locked on to my right hand, took my attention to the blood flow and just observed.  I noticed all the little tremors and shaking that I have developed in the last year, the strength of the natural curve of my hand, that I needed to cut my nails, and finally my fingerprints.  Then my eyes quickly jumped to the teacher to see what I was “missing.”  The class had switched hands at that point and so I did my best to really follow my left hand with my eyes, to gently bring them back when I found them jumping to the destination.  

Right now, I have no map, I have only the terrain.  There is only the trust that others have walked this path before me, that the destination can be reached.   I know the destination, I know what I want and so while I keep that firmly in my mind’s eye it is time to gently bring my eyes back to the terrain.  Looking for the map, makes me tense, jumpy and disconnected, so it is time for some simple introductions to the terrain to begin.  One breath at a time, one step at a time and one word at a time, gently coming back to the here and now.


Question of the day:  How do you remain focused on the journey, when it is through the wilderness?  

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Better Questions

I recently went to Greece on a retreat for 10 days.  While I am still processing a lot of those experiences, when I got back home I fell down pretty hard.  It was a lot to ask of my body to travel there and back not to mention the activities and managing food  and treatments while I was there.  

I came home depleted and exhausted.  My body was having difficulty adjusting back to the time change and I spent a lot more time then I would like in bed doing nothing.  I do mean nothing, not sleeping, not listening to music or books, just simply laying down and not moving.  I needed to ask Adam with help with groceries and food, which puts added stress on him.  

So what is my tendency in these situations?  How do I feel about myself?  I feel pretty terrible about myself, my self critic will kick in big time and my self compassion drops to a zero.  None of this pattern helps me recover faster, it is just another draw on my energy.  So how do I change that?  How do I transform this pattern of I am worth something when I am "well" and I am not worth something when I need to rest and recover?  

I could go into patterns learned in childhood, that I have since reinforced through my own actions.  But for me this is a feeling, it is not logical.  Understanding the creation of the pattern is not enough in this case, it must be interrupted again and again, new pathways need to be formed and nurtured.  One way to do that is to become a question ninja, to ask questions until one opens up a door.  

It is about having the patience with myself to ask a lot of questions, because when I feel poorly I am not terribly receptive or connected.  I want to push the world away and curl up in my little ball and not be seen.  Which again makes it really difficult to ask for help, or even accept help that might be offered.  

So here are some questions that made me stop, that opened up some new doors, and changed my perspective a little bit.  Yep, I am still exhausted and I will be resting for the next couple of days, but I will slowly step away from that self critic and through some new doors.

  1. Do I want to be perfect or healthy?
  2. Do I want to accept that I am human and have needs or continue to repress them?
  3. Do I want connection or significance?

That allure of perfection is a common theme for me, and a complete illusion.  Health and well-being on the other hand is real, and I am worth being real, human and connected.  


Question of the day:  What are questions you ask yourself to break your patterns?  What patterns need a slight perspective shift?

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The importance of breathing



Ever have those moments that start to snowball?   That it starts to feel like everything is starting to go wrong and you start to believe it is just going to be one of "those" days.  

My moments started before I went to bed, while reading through some literature on medication, I noticed that the one medication I take everyday, the first thing I take as soon as my alarm goes off has peppermint in it.  I recently discovered a sensitivity to peppermint.

I just burst into tears, kicking myself, beating myself up for not noticing sooner.  It is a common thing, forgetting to ask if something is in food, and then having to face the reaction.   It is cause and effec; as much as I pay attention, as diligent as I try to be I make mistakes.   

Things started adding up through out the next morning, to the point where I had forgotten my water, my bladder diary and my notes for my doctor appointment.  I pulled into the parking garage and felt stupid, irresponsible and exhausted, and it was only 8:00 in the morning.

Immediately that little voice spoke up and said "well it is just going to be one of those days..."

I refused to believe this needed to keep snowballing.  I did the only thing I could do, I started taking some very deep breaths.  Silently telling myself to reset, to forgive and move forward.  

I wish I could say that it was a magic moment and my feelings of stupidity and irresponsibly went away.  I still felt that way, I still wondered if the doctor would refuse to give me treatment that day or if I would have to drive home and then back.  But those decisions were out of my control.

The importance of breathing is to remind me to keep moving forward, gently and remember that new treatments come with new stresses.  It brings me to the present moment, to look around and discover my resources.  I still got myself to the doctor, I am still showing up.  

Yes, the last couple of days I have been so exhausted that I have made decisions between eating or showering, between washing dishes or laying down on the couch, I feel like a mess, the apartment is a mess but one gentle step forward at a time with as many deep breaths as it takes to keep showing up.

Question of the day:  What is the reset button you need today, what will remind me you to be just a little gentler with yourself?

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Looking for the stable ground

Here I am in the doctor's office, taking another chance.  This is a really difficult thing to explain, the uneasiness of trying something new.   It took a number of months to get this appointment, this chance at "the best option."   Words that I have heard so many times in my life, not even related to interstitial cystitis, also related to infertility, to migraines, to pelvic pain and irregular bleeding.   

In my most recent follow up with my specialist, I was full of gratitude and relief that something was helping immensely.   That all the different treatments, tests, physical therapy and diet modifications had resulted in an upward trajectory.  Considering where I was a year ago, still in and out of the emergency room, this has been a huge change.  As I was catching up with my doctor and emphasizing the improvements in my life, I hesitated.  I thought do I even mention anything, do I even ask for help with nocturia?   Or do i count my blessings, and stay on this treatment?   

I was taught to be grateful for what I have, to realize how much worse it could be and to not ask for too much.  But still getting up to pee three to four times a night on average is a little disruptive to a sleep cycle.  So with my heart pounding, I asked what else could be done.   I asked if there were more ideas.  

I was left with the best option, regular weekly visits for three months for my tibial nerve to be stimulated and hopefully my nervous system slowly reprogrammed.  I was given some literature to look over and decide.  I had two months, to consider, to weigh the options, and to research.  To go over the worst case scenario over and over, because that is how my brilliant mind works.  Not focusing on the best case, but the worst case.  (Still need to practice changing my focus over and over again.)

However it wasn't until a few days before that appointment that anxiety really started to set it.  Remember I had spent two months going over the worst scenario over and over.  As the appointment loomed closer, that seemed to be the mostly likely scenario and finally the only scenario and I felt completely trapped.  I had just proven to myself how easy it was to reprogram my nervous system, that all the research and focusing on the worst case scenario and narrowed my vision, my perception and my belief of what was possible.  

So why?  Why this belief in the worst case scenario?  Because when it comes to my health, I would rather live in disappointment then be disappointed by something not working out.  Being disappointed hurts, it stings and reinforces this idea that that there is something wrong with me. But why chose to live in that state?  What was I doing?   

Yesterday, I spent the day reexamining the literature.  Deciding to look at the best case scenario, deciding to look at the whole spectrum of possibilities, and still the anxiety is there but the disappointment is gone and that is when the knowledge that everything changes shines through.  That belief that I always find my way back to, that it will get better, that it continues to get better and I continue to learn and live.   This is not that shiny place of everything is sunshine and rainbows, this is the stable ground of being able to observe, be open and patient.  It is a solid place to move from and to return to.  

I sit here feeling the pulses in my leg and trusting the path will continue to change, grow and evolve, that something much larger then me is weaving the tapestry and even if I end up being disappointed it will all lead to better service.  


Question of the day:  When is the last time you let yourself believe it was going be alright?  Do you find yourself entering situations already disappointed as a defense mechanism for vulnerability?

Monday, May 22, 2017

The last 30 pages

Almost two years, I have been working on filling this journal.  I started it when I went to Greece and it seems fitting that I finished it right before I head back to Greece.  This journal explores yoga teacher training, 40 rules of love, the Daoist Precepts I accepted as a Priest, discussions about some scriptures and the last 30 pages are what I hope will be the start of my book.  

It might be more accurate to say those last 30 pages are what it took to convince myself that I have a story worth sharing, that there is some wisdom in it that I have gleamed and that someone out there might benefit from hearing it.  

It is easy for me to write, I have countless journals that I have filled with my journeys, but it is a different game for me to say. I think there is some wisdom here, I think someone can benefit.  Writing is a state changer for me, it is a way that I gain perspective and sometimes it takes years.   It has taken almost 30 years to change my language about something, and I was surprised what started to come out when I finally admitted maybe I have something of worth to offer.  To accept that something from my own life, not some knowledge I have read about, not someone else's story but my own is worth sharing as much as the other people's lives I value.  

How do I reflect that in my life?  It is one thing to come to that conclusion, it is quite another to live it.  It is a journey of bumps and bruises, that I can't predict.  For now, it means that I will continue to work on this book for as long as it takes and I will notice the opportunities to share my own story instead of someone else's in my everyday life.  

So thankful for reading and supporting my writing all of these years.  The little bits of encouragement I get every so often, help keep me going and sharing.  Love you!

Question of the day:  How do you reflect your own beliefs in your life?

Monday, May 15, 2017

Animal Lessons

The day Adam and I got the keys to our old house, we took Sterling over to show him his new home.   We were so excited to finally have a backyard to play with him in, we imagined that he would be just as excited.   Adam and I had this equation in our head, outside = more space to play with his ball = happier dog!   So we took him to the backyard and let him explore for a little while and then brought his ball out.   Sterling looked at the ball, ran to the door and sat to be let inside.   In the 10 years that he lived in that house he only played with his ball outside once, and it was a shocking moment.  

Sterling had a lesson to teach us that day, let go of of those equations and expectations.  Sterling was happiest inside and so we made space for him to have his own "ballroom."  Because watching him play with his ball was the most amazing thing in the world and if he wanted to play with it inside, then that is what he got.  

Adam and I went to say good bye to the house, look for any last things we wanted to grab and to bless the house for the next owners.  We have both needed some space to process the grief of selling the house, saying good bye to Sterling and grieving the people that we were that day when we threw the ball out for Sterling and he went the other way.  

Maybe that day Sterling was telling us "hey humans, think bigger, dream bigger and when the grass is too itchy it is totally okay to move on."  That house saw a lot of joy, a lot of heartbreak and a lot of change over the years, and none of it was really based on that original equation x = happiness.  Sterling, Adam and I made that space a home, and so we are taking the best part of that house in our hearts and with us for the rest of our lives.  

I can't know if I would be a happier person if life had worked out differently, but I do know that there is a Force much bigger then me leading me to my life's work.   I am happy, it looks nothing like what I expected, given a big backyard to play in I decided I was better suited to learn how to play in all the spaces, not just the ones that are expected.  

Question of the day: What lessons have your animals taught you that you will carry in your heart?   

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

What can you hear without noise?

I have spent a lot of time, thinking, planning and dreaming about the moment when the pain would completely go away.  I dream about running again, the brain fog lifting, being able to drink orange juice, having more energy...all kinds of silly things.   It gives me hope, to know there are still plenty of things I want to do that I am not able to do right now, it means I have room to grow and there is still an enormous amount of passion left. When I work on my book I imagine what it would be like to be work uninterrupted without so many trips to the bathroom.  I dream about the day my husband can touch my back without wondering if it will make the pain worse.  

Monday I hit a desperation point, a flare that seemed to not be easing up or responding to treatment left me exhausted and drained.  I was sobbing on the floor simply from sorting laundry, it was hard to lay down and be comfortable and moving was not helping.  So I asked my acupuncturist if there was anything that might help, and he prescribed me an herb.   I drove to pick up the prescription, meticulously measured out the correct amount with my little electronic scale, dissolved the powder in hot water and swallowed the bitter tasting concoction.  

I sat down on the couch, and shortly tears started pouring out of eyes.  It took some time for my mind to process and register that the pain level was dropping.  The tears of gratitude and relief continued to fall for a little while as all the noise died down.  I wasn't numb, but the screaming stopped.  That miraculous moment in which the pain went away had arrived.  

What did I do?  I didn't jump down for joy, I didn't immediately grab my shoes and go for a run.  No I stayed on the couch for a while and listened to my body, the screaming might have stopped but there was still a lot to hear.  My body protested any more movement, not because of pain but because of exhaustion.  My body was more exhausted then it had ever been, running half marathons, traveling for 48 hours straight, backpacking, conditioning for sports, even that time I had mononucleosis, I had never felt anything like this.  

I mention a lot about the amount of mental focus it takes to live with chronic pain, but I had little appreciation for the toll it takes on my body.  Each and every part of my body has been working so hard to keep me going, to keep me upright, smiling and growing. So I grabbed my heating pad and crawled into bed to take a nap, to rest, to thank each and every cell for working so hard.  To thank each and every bit of me for not giving up, my will might be what gets me out of bed each and every morning, but my body works to keep me present.   

It is amazing when the noise gets turned down how many different things I felt in my body.  I could feel my ankle throbbing from where I had twisted it the day before, I could feel that my abs were sore from working out, the most miraculous thing was being able to BREATHE.   Being able to take a full breath without aggravating the pain, feeling the rib cage expand, the diaphragm and pelvic floor move, is a gift.  So I welcome my respite and instead of running around chasing after all those things I dream about I enjoy the gift of this breath and moment. 

Question of the day: What gift did you receive today?  What gift can you give back to yourself?