Monday, April 24, 2017

Year Four

Year Four's focus was about finding my voice.  When I wrote those words shortly after returning from Greece, I wanted to find my voice as a teacher, transform the wisdom I had received in my years of study and use my own experience to teach others.  I immersed myself in teaching as much as I could, at one point teaching 9 classes a week.  

I think this is the case of be careful what you ask for.  The voice I ultimately was forced to listen to, was my that of my body.  To learn that pain is a message and sometimes that message is "stop."  I got to learn how uncomfortable it is to be sit in a doctor's office and say "it is not getting better."  I had to learn that it was okay to give my pain a voice and descriptions so that i could figure out different methods to treat it.  I also learned the silence of people's lives moving on when you feel like you are standing still, the silence of no longer being able to do the things you used to be able to do and people falling away.  There is a silence within change and transformation, the silence of someone else when you start saying "no."   

This was a really difficult year to look back on, because I wanted to compare and be able to say I am physically better.  However I read the post about what it is like to take 20 pills a day, and mentally found myself counting how many herbs and supplements I am still taking.  I found myself calculating how often I still reach for medications.  Then when I read the post about insurance not covering a treatment and being in that same situation now, it feels like no progress has been made.  

I forced myself to zoom out.  My flares no longer confine me to bed for days, I am constantly improving and figuring out what is necessary to take on a daily basis and what is necessary when I start to feel a flare.  Yes, Adam and I are trying to determine if a treatment is worth it when insurance doesn't cover it.  There is no guarantee that my nerves will respond, or even that there is an issue with my nerves; so where is that voice to help guide me right now?  

That is the voice that I have cultivated a relationship with not just in year four but also in year five.  That little inner voice, that requires silence, patience and trust.  That is the voice that reminds me to zoom in, zoom out or change the focus.  It is the voice that sometimes has to scream to get my attention, it is a voice that I resent sometimes and yet it has never left me.  Finding my voice was much more about listening to myself then speaking, the first step is hearing and accepting the message for what it is.  The awareness has to be there before language can form.  

Question of the day: What can you listen to today?  What is not being said in the busy, noisy lives we live?

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Year Three

Year three both started and ended with photos of Sterling, and it seems appropriate because the focus of that year was healing.  That little pup taught me so much about healing and brought me so much comfort.   He was my reminder to go easy on myself, and I rarely listened.  

It is really hard for me to just look at the theme of healing encompassing just that year.  Because as I was flipping through those pages something really stuck out to me, the pattern of achieving, of quickly getting over something and maybe not quite getting through something.

That year continued the travels heading to Amsterdam, Oregon, New Mexico, China and even back to Nepal.   I just wanted to keep going, and had no intention of stopping even when my body started screaming at me.  I started training for a half-marathon and eventually took a break because of my doctor's recommendations.  I found myself headed into surgery with an optimistic attitude that in six weeks I would be running again, the pain, the irregular bleeding and the worry would disappear.  I wanted my recovery to be miraculous.  However somewhere miraculous meant it had to be immediate to me and that was a one of my follies. 

Released from my doctor's care I started running again, and sped up my training because I had a half marathon to do.  I had to prove to myself that I was better, that my health was not as important as those goals.   So that third year ended with a trip to Yosemite and the beginning of the disillusionment that I had "healed."

The journey of that third year is not about redemption and victory.  The story isn't over, I am still in that arena of my health at the end of that year.  Sometimes things don't happen quickly or on that "miraculous" timeline that I was confused about.  However a number of years later, having lots of bums and bruises regarding my health, I can say that I finally get that my health is worth more then those achievements or short little victories.  I would not change those lessons, and I am still in that arena everyday of learning to heal, and be there for others.  Year three will continue for the rest of my life.  It wasn't a challenge to be completed in a year, it is a calling for the rest of my days, that is the miraculous recovery, embracing my health.  

Question of the day:  Why do we think we can come up with a better plan or timeline than God?

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Year Two

In year two I decided to focus on inspiration.  This was a much less focused goal, and something I am working on right now, finding and fueling that inspiration.  Inspire, that act of breathing into, the act of receiving divine breath, guidance or purpose. Inspiration is about exciting the spirit, finding and discovering the things that lift you up.  

That year was filled with me trying new things and even retrying things I hadn't liked in the past.  I left my job and started volunteering with the advocacy center.  I did crazy challenges like 33 things before 33, no TV and even 100 days of hand standing. I completed my first mud run in the freezing rain with the help of my teacher.  Adam and I did some updates and long overdue changes to our home.  We also started and stopped the adoption process, deciding in the end it wasn't the right decision for us.  

The thing that really sticks out about that year, one thing that I found that really lit my soul on fire was traveling and exploring new places.  That was the year Adam and I both started to say "YES" to traveling, to stop waiting for everything to be perfect and just find out what happened.  It was also the year that I started traveling by myself, that first trip to Nepal was life changing for me.  

Looking back at that trip and how fast everything came together is mirroring exactly what is going on now. I am going back to Greece for a little retreat.  This will be my first time traveling internationally alone since my diagnosis and the longest trip I have taken in a long time.  My health is the best it has been in a long time, maybe even better then the first time I went to Greece, because at least I am in touch with what is going on.  Still I have fears.  Going through that second year and seeing the photos from Portland, Chicago, California, New Mexico, Boston, Canada, Nepal and Spain reminded me how healing traveling is for me.   That second year is still inspiring me that I can travel, it just might look a little different and I don't get to eat all the chocolate anymore.  

Year Two was also about throwing away that old blueprint, trying new things and a lot of "beginner's luck."  It was about breathing life back into myself and taking the breath that was offered.  

Question of the day: What inspires you?  

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Year one

Counting down to 1,000 posts and over five years of writing, sharing, photographing and learning.  I listened to people recommendations about how to celebrate this accomplishment, and then I back pedaled.  I tend to minimize my accomplishments and not want to make a big deal out of things I am actually proud of.  I tend to armor my heart up, instead of offering my heart and seeing what happens.  This is when I know something is truly precious to me, when I only discuss it with a few individuals and I hide from the rest of the world.   I stopped writing, I had this fear of hitting 1,000 posts.  

This morning I woke up and looked at my count, and decided the truest way for me to mark this was to look back at each one of the years individually.  So I went into the office and grabbed the books of my blog from the first four years.  I opened that first year page and tears began flowing.  This is what I was avoiding, not the memory of the pain, but the idea that I actually accomplished that goal I set for the first year.  The fact that with that first post I changed something in my life, something I continue to practice to this day.

Trust me the pain still hurts, there are some wounds that never seem to completely heal.  Those wounds and heart breaking journey of fertility treatments lead me to seek more joy and appreciate the moments in my life.  It forced me to look around, to try new things and to return to a path I had long abandoned.  So maybe it is good that some wounds never completely heal, because that helps motivate me to continue moving forward, to not stay in that place and accept that everything changes.  

So I picked up that book documenting the first year of my blog and let the tears fall and when they stopped, I was open to discovering what happened that first year.  WOW!  There is so much that happened.  Adam and I started learning yoga and more importantly we really learned the importance of playing even when life is rough.  We learned things that helped recharge us instead of numbing.

I started to learn to be creative again, I started to work with glass, paint and theater.  I also got to take a glassblowing lesson which is still a highlight of life.  I really started to look for all the good things in life, and I think every negative pregnancy test helped prepare me to meet my teacher and ultimately guide me to wanting to become a Chaplain.  

There are so many good memories in that first year, mixed in with the carefully disguised disappointments and even some not so subtle memorials to people that I said good bye to that year.  At the end of that first year I had about 365 photos to make me smile and remind me how beautiful life can be even when it feels brutal.  

Question of the day:  What do you use to remind you of the beauty in the world?  When is the last time you looked through an old photo album and let the tears, laughter and joy flow through you as you traveled to another time?             

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Sunshine Sunday

A little bit about peace, is it about the environment or about the state of the heart?   This week I finally asked for help with something, I did something completely terrifying and reached out honestly and sincerely. I dropped the "I'm okay" mask in a situation where I felt like I had to be "okay" all the time.  I think I held my breath awaiting a response, because I was feeling unheard and unseen with this issue.   When the person responded she brought a bit of light into this little valley I am in right now, a little bit of empathy, and took my hand to remind me of that light.  

There is still work to be done, there is still growth that will come from this fertile soil, but I was given a bit of peace that I wasn't alone in this.   So when Adam and I finally made it to the beach, I just wanted to soak up that light and peace, gathering a bit of my resources because it is time to start climbing out of the valley.  

It feels like a great focus heading into Holy Week, to remember the resources that we have to gather and maybe even reaching out for a few new supporters.

Question of the day: What is an invitation for growth in your life, and how will you accept it?  (I tend to accept things kicking and screaming, but I am working on making those intervals shorter and shorter.) 

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Sunshine Sunday

I miss my little dog, but I am happy he missed this rainstorm.