Is this your first visit? Here’s the story so far: Continue reading
I was in the car this morning, pretty tired actually, and the dreary weather was not helping me, when after a block or two of driving, this thought drops into my head. This concept like a shoebox that’s full of little notes. It’s time to write another blog post, I realized. Who gave this to me?
George. Of course, George. Dearest George, it’s been a long time.
Not so long for me, my dear.
We were talking in the car about “life reviews” – let me take a moment to elaborate for the readers.
A “life review” is the concept of taking space after your life is over to review the decisions you made during your lifetime, and how your decisions and actions affected your own life and other people. More than that, it’s the process of integrating that knowledge, the full knowledge, the understanding of the full impact *regardless of your intentions at the time*, into your everlasting spirit consciousness, your soul, your “higher self”.
It’s this life review that helps us to make the transition from the very limiting restrictions of our just-past mortal lifetime, and incorporating our recent lifetime’s worth of experiences into the context of *all* of our lifetimes. Past lives. Lives in other times. Lives in other *timelines*. Lives, perhaps, as other species. Even lives on other planets. There’s a lot to integrate, and depending on how one has lived, potentially a lot to answer for, amends owing. Sometimes there’s a huge wash of gratitude, too. Sometimes it’s about realizing just how many people you have helped, how big an impact all those little acts had upon other people and other life forms.
So now you can see why incorporating everything you said and did from THIS life is going to require some processing.
Oh, remember my friend, (shows me lives layered over the same timeline).
George is showing me, reminding me, of the idea that some of our lives are not simply linear. Sometimes, we are living not just one line of possibilities. Sometimes, when we die, or even before we die, we want to go back and re-live a portion of our lives over again, and make slightly different, or maybe profoundly different decisions, just so that we can incorporate ALL of the learning potential we have in this body.
I think this accounts for some of our feelings of deja-vu. In those moments, we’re catching a glimpse of the overlapping timeline. Neat, eh?
(This sounds oddly hilarious in a British accent. Now he’s saying it in a high-pitched falsetto, just to make me smile.) We can all use reminders to take ourselves, even our journal entries, a little less seriously! We’re all going to the same place. (Shows me a man and a little girl walking barefoot down a dirt road in the summer. The road is flanked by fields and a fence, the sun is setting, everything is bathed in a gold light.)
George, you said something mind-blowing to me this morning, what was it again??
Blew right through your mind, evidently!
Haw haw. Okay, I remember. You were showing me that when someone dies, it’s not just that person doing a life review. The people who are still living are processing a reconciliation too.
Yes, and it’s exhausting! This may be why grieving is terribly difficult work. In other cultures, as one ages, even as one is dying, this gives that person and their friends around them some time to begin the process of life reconciliation. There are some people who work half their lives to prepare for their deaths – that seems excessive to me. I needed only some few years. Anyone with a meditative practice is prepared enough for death. Those who are left behind, they’re doing some very heavy lifting, spiritually.
Life reconciliation is work on the energetic plane. You’re human and your soul is still *stuck* in its’ body, but there are things which can be done to loosen that glue. Meditation is one, just proper sleep is another. Sleep attained through peaceful rest, sleep that is undisturbed by a restless partner or ended prematurely by an alarm clock. Sleep is important spiritual work.
That (saying) “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” No you won’t! (laughs!) You will NOT sleep when you’re dead, my friends! Sleep is a luxury of the living! It’s a spiritual necessity!
While you grieve, sleep becomes even more important. The work which can be done while you leave your body at rest, gives you the freedom to work outside the body for a few hours. Many times this is when people will have vivid dreams of their loved ones – these are actually visitations. Visitations are so much easier while you’re *both* in spirit. The only sad thing is sometimes people wake up and believe it was *just* a dream.
It’s never “just a dream” my friends. The love is real. Believe it when you feel it. Tell yourself whatever you need to say so that you can hold on to that feeling of love.
Everyone experiences a Life Reconciliation differently, but unlike a life review, which we do only at the conclusion of our own lifetime, we experience life reconciliations many times over! We do it for our own sake, as well as for our friend who has died.
This is why it affects you so deeply to hear someone you haven’t seen in years has passed. You might grieve that person, even though you hadn’t seen him or her in years. You’re reconciling all of the decisions you made together – it goes deeper than the human surface. This is well from which guilt inexplicably weeps. Questioning decisions. The finality.
A true life reconciliation is a finality – in that moment, you’re working on closing the circle of possibilities – all of the decisions have been made. For now, it’s all stories of what *did* happen. You’re saying goodbye to what might be, because YOU need to retain enough life force in your OWN timeline to continue to move forward.
If we didn’t do life reconciliations, we would find ourselves utterly swept up in reliving all the possible timelines and choices we could have made with one individual. (Shows me a bulb with roots growing downwards in a natural growth pattern, then shows me a pot-bound plant where the roots have overgrown into a giant tangled web.) What use is that? The purpose of *all of this* is growth outward. Obsessive behaviour (he calls re-doing all possible timelines obsessive) does not move us forward, it tires and warps us. Life reconciliation is essential for us to continue our proper growth. (Shows me a beautiful, healthy, flowering tree in his garden, branches spreading and curving upward, roots spreading and expanding downwards.)
When someone we are close with dies, or when *we* die and we leave behind so many souls whom we love and miss, life reconciliation is something we all do together. It’s a spiritual therapy. We all need it. Our reconciliation of our time spent with this person in spirit, HELPS THEM in spirit! It’s such important work!
I feel like I just woke up after this conversation. Thank you so much, George. Is there anything else you’d like to say today?
Live long and prosper! (spock hand)
Seriously! This is not what I expected!
(Laughs.) Live as long as you can, as long as you are comfortable. Dying with peace is easier when you know you have said all of your “I Love You’s”, all of your “I’m Sorry’s”. And Sleep Well!
Love you, George.
Love to you. (Sound)
(Pictured: Hillary Schneider and Tareena)
I received a copy of my medical records from the urologist today. He is such a great doctor. He had his office call me because he received the report from the pain specialist in Vancouver, and wanted to know if I needed to see him, because he would be in Tofino *tomorrow* and could probably see me then.
I can’t say enough great stuff about this urologist.
He made me really chuckle though, when I received my copy of my medical records from his office. He starts off by describing me: “This pleasant 37 y/o female presents with…”
I laughed. I try to be pleasant. Now it’s officially documented by a DOCTOR. I’m *medically pleasant*! Ha!!!
Anyway, tomorrow I’ll be talking with the pelvic pain doc and getting the ball rolling on my surgery. I’m really looking forward to it, what a relief!
This, my dear friends, is why I’m a little behind on cross-posting my podcast episodes. If you listened to Hammy the Pig part 1, I hope you have noticed that Hammy the pig part 2 was posted one week later, as promised!
Again, I really encourage podcast listeners to simply subscribe to the podcast through itunes if you have an apple device, or through stitchr if you’re on android. That way the episodes will download the moment they’re released, and you’ll know about them before anyone else! You can find me by searching “Kate Sitka” or “Joyful Telepathy”
I loved my conversation with Hammy, and I admit, I fell in love with him, a little bit… which is why I took it rather hard when his human, Cassandra, told me she’s started the process of re-homing Hammy across the island.
Heartbroken!!! Not only was I so looking forward to talking with Hammy some more in the future, but I immediately worried about him! I already have one pig friend who was rehomed and I have no idea where he ended up, whether he’s happy, or even safe.
Hammy, I’m sure will be fine. For most pet pigs in general though, they have a very tough time in life. Fewer than 5% of pot belly pigs remain in the first home that bought them as a pet. More than half of pet pot belly pigs are re-homed MORE THAN 10 TIMES before they are 10 years old! And they live to be 20!
Pig rescues are few and far-between. Pigs also bond so strongly to their humans, (although they might not demonstrate that through cuddling, but through other behaviours like monopolizing attention, being needy / whiny, being possessive or even being destructive) so getting re-homed can be extremely difficult for them.
Again, I am sure Hammy will be fine. Hammy has been a very lucky pig.
This week, I’ve been fantasizing about buying a farm and filling it with pig rescues. And horses of course. Maybe a llama. Sweetie doesn’t say much when I talk about that!
Speaking of horses, there is ANOTHER podcast episode that went out last week, my conversation with Hillary Schneider! Hillary is a coach who is also a horse person, and she had a small herd of horses that help her assist her clients. I’ve been friends with Hillary on facebook for a few years now, and her journey has been fascinating. (She posts a lot of beautiful horse photos, too!)
That’s it for now my friends! Be well, everyone!
I had a bit of a surprise this week.
You folks remember how I’ve been writing about the stabbing bladder pain that showed up last summer? How this came on the tail end of a two-year struggle with weight loss, and my theory that it was about hormones, cortisol fatigue, insulin resistance, maybe estrogen dominance?
Here’s the latest.
My nutritionist has just had a new baby, but she’s still happy to work with me for the sake of continuity, and she herself has used diet to correct an estrogen imbalance that had been causing her own weight to stick on and never, ever seem to budge. Over the past month I’ve quit coffee – that’s HUGE for me, given I used to *love* coffee so much and that Sweetie and I have owned a coffee roaster. Never again. This, more than any other single thing (though all the other things have had a cumulative effect) has made me feel better. Even if it’s just that I am not on a clock when I wake up anymore. I don’t *have to* have coffee anymore.
Instead, I’m a convert to matcha green tea. I like to make mint tea, and then whisk in some matcha with a tea ball, and then add some almond milk. It works great with lavender tea too. I don’t drink black tea either. This is on the recommendation of my nutritionist, and my naturopathic doctor. Basically cut out dairy, wheat, sugar, anything processed, any coffee / black tea. My food has been a lot of recipes from “Vegan Under Pressure”, and I’m gradually shifting into an 8 week meal plan masterpiece my nutritionist has compiled for me, complete with recipes.
Oh, and I’m not really eating chicken anymore. Maybe once a month, only if it’s organic. No beef, no pork. Basically, I am a pain in the butt to have at dinner parties.
I will be eating fish for sure.
I’m not sure if I’m losing any weight yet, but I have felt a shift in my body. I think, nutritionally, I’m finally on the right track… at least for now.
Anyway, the surprise came a couple of days ago, when I saw a new doctor, a pelvic pain specialist in Vancouver.
Holy crow, you guys. It was really great. Stressful, pretty painful, but great.
Women, you especially know what it’s like to talk to your doctor about period / pelvic pain and be given birth control or other meds that don’t work. That’s the story of 1 in 10 women. I actually think that ratio is higher, and that women power through or stay silent about pelvic pain, and simply stop going to doctors after years of not getting help. Because I am a talker, and I tell pretty much anyone who asks me how I am (assuming we’re friends) what I’ve been going through, pain and weight wise, many women take this as permission to share their stories with me.
In my estimation, I’d say chronic pelvic pain affects at least one in three women. I think the problem is that “menstrual pain” is considered to be normal. It’s normal if, after exercising, you feel better. Sure, then that’s a great way to cope. It’s not normal if you can’t walk, have to miss work, throw up, pass out. *So many women* have opened up about years or decades of doctor’s appointments and frustrations. Doctor’s office options are pretty limited. Birth control. Mirena IUD. GNRH antoganists, with synthetic hormones added back.
I recently heard about endometrial ablation, and was interested in pursuing that, but then the bladder pain showed up. That became my new priority. I thought it was somehow related to the hormones, but I didn’t understand how. I was cautiously optimistic about this new doc, because she’s one of the best in the province and country.
That’s why I feel so freaking lucky, you guys. Through luck, because of my specific symptoms, I managed to get in front of this wonderful pelvic pain specialist in very short time. And what’s so beautiful about this clinic’s approach is it’s “patient-centered care”, meaning, they don’t follow a generic check list of protocols for all patients. They talk to you, and find out what you want. They don’t *make you* go through all the medical protocols in a specific order. They look at what you want and need in life, what your care goals are.
After laying out my options, I was shocked when she said a total laparoscopic hysterectomy was my best bet at eliminating my pain. My bladder appears healthy, and my new doc has seen this before – the stabbing bladder pain is likely *referred pain*. Nerve sensitivity after 20+ years of painful menstruation. That’s what ignoring menstrual pain for decades got me. That’s also a testament to how powerful mindfulness, meditation, and lifestyle modification can be. You can get pretty far, living with chronic pain, when you have to.
I’ll get to keep my ovaries, so I won’t go into menopause right away, but yeah. I’m getting spayed!
It’s a major surgery with a six week recovery, and Sweetie still has a broken foot. The summer is the busiest time of year out here in Tofino, so I will ask for the surgery to be done in the fall or later. Many thanks to my facebook friend who recommended this site: http://www.hystersisters.com/ SO MUCH useful information and reassuring stories.
I will continue with my diet and naturopathic healing protocols indefinitely. We’re talking life-long commitment here. The surgery does not eliminate the importance of following a diet that is going to ease healing and help prevent future problems. This diet, and hopefully some weight loss, will set me up to bounce back really well from the surgery, and even though my uterus will be gone, my ovaries and the rest of my body will still need the good nutrition of an anti-inflammatory, estrogen balancing diet. This diet, my mindfulness / meditation practice, and my work on using gentle movement and positive attitude to cope with chronic pain are *all* recommended by my new pelvic pain doc. If I hadn’t already been doing them, she would have been recommending it. The gentle movement piece in particular will be essential to restoring a healthy nerve response in my bladder, after monthly inflammatory cycle has been eliminated. It’ll take some gentle coaxing to get my nervous system to realize that certain movements don’t *need* to hurt anymore. I’m not expecting a quick fix, but my friends, I am *so very happy* about this coming surgery.
It all comes full circle.
Sweetie is feeling a lot better since her foot has been put in a cast. She’s mastered showering with a bag on her leg, and she’s knit an enormous sock to cover the plaster. It’s really pretty cute.
So that’s the latest news, my friends. I hope this is somehow helpful to my blog friends – according to my statistics, 75% of my readers are women. At minimum, one in ten of you will have been through something like this, and I’m betting it’s more like one in three. I think this is a part of the negative effects of the silence created by menstrual pain not being considered polite conversation. I have had broken bones and pinched nerves hurt less than my regular monthly period. Yet while at work, out in the world, I’ve had to pretend like things are normal. I breathe through it, or maybe I stay in bed for a day or two. I just lived through it.
How many women at any one time are pretending to feel normal?
It’s not just period pain, either. It’s all women’s health stuff. We don’t usually talk about pregnancy loss openly, the way we’d talk about the death of a known family member. Women feel different ways about the loss of a pregnancy. Men too, of course. Women often don’t talk about struggles to conceive, or maybe they’re grieving their fertility because they have to get a hysterectomy. (I certainly won’t be grieving my fertility.)
Times are changing though, and I’m glad of that, because creating a space for women to talk about what we experience with our human female bodies is a part of our healing. Witnessing and acknowledging pain helps to carry it. So much of our pain experience is all the crap that surrounds the physical pain. A lot of that pain is just, the silence.
Our bodies are so fragile, and prone to error.
I remember a beautiful dog in a session said to his mum, when she asked why he was meant to die at such a young age. He said, “I wasn’t, my body was born broken. It kept getting sick. I left my body because it was going to just keep getting sick. Let’s try again.” (I’m paraphrasing from memory.)
I wish, sometimes, that it were as easy with people. Many of our animal friends will not live long enough. But so many of them get to come back to us, in new bodies. Maybe in your family, you may get to see or wonder if your cousin’s child is a grandparent or great-grandparent reborn. In rare cases, siblings who died accidentally can be reborn at late-in-life miracle babies, or as the child of one of the siblings left behind.
Bodies are prone to error, and so are our lives. That’s why we need spirit guides, or guardian angels. It’s hard being alive. There aren’t many guarantees.
I don’t personally feel like I *signed up* for this pain experience. I can certainly find meaning it in now, in that requires me to allow and welcome help from my dearest friends and Sweetie. But honestly folks, this is a genetic thing. This problem just runs in my family. It’s like the vehicle I leased for this life has a few foibles, and I said “OK, I can deal” and hopped right in. I’m not one to tell others that their pain and suffering is a part of a plan, that they elected to experience before birth. I don’t find that idea helpful to me personally when I’m in pain, so I don’t pass that along to others.
But what I do believe is that we have to know we’re going to wade through some unexpected and necessary pain and suffering. That’s just mortality. Maybe that’s my inner Buddhist speaking. I think we can *make* it meaningful, and purposeful, by moving with it, by trying to grow with it, and by trying to help others along the way.
That’s how I’m approaching all of this, and really, that’s my life’s motto right there. Just try to help each other along the way.
Love you guys!
Hammy was very gracious with me, allowing me in his home without whining or trying to push me out the door (as pigs sometimes do!) I learned SO MUCH about my new porcine neighbour, and I hope you will too!
I’ve just come back from a week vacation. When possible, I do try to give myself a week in February to do nothing but the things I *want* to do. In this case, I spent a day getting taxes organized, but the other 6 days were pretty much mine to do with what I pleased, so I planned a little mini-break with Sweetie, and I planned to spend a few days in Campbell River helping my friend Ellie move. You may remember Ellie from this podcast episode.
Speaking of the podcast, I had a *great* conversation with a new animal friend of mine! Hamilton the pot belly pig!
I’ll add a photo of him to his post later on today. I just love his grunting. Pigs are awesome. The Hamilton Interview will come out on Tuesday, with part 2 coming out a week from Tuesday. I know you’re going to love this one!
Sweetie and I had a little mini-break, where we stayed overnight in a hotel and then watched “Rogue One” in an actual movie theatre! When you live in a tiny town, you can go years without seeing a movie in a theatre. Man is it ever a fun experience when you haven’t seen one in a while! That’s a big difference right there between my life now, and my life ten years ago when I was living in Toronto.
One thing I had really been looking forward to is helping my friend Ellie move.
Well, as it happened, there was a big snow storm on our way home from watching Rogue One. We have to drive through a mountain pass to get home, and since we watched the later show, we reached the foot of the mountain at midnight. In a snow storm. We opted to stay a second night in Port Alberni.
I was supposed to go visit Ellie the following day, but this was just going to be too much driving. It may not look like Vancouver Island is a big place, but it takes four hours in good conditions to drive from my home to Nanaimo, and an additional two hours to get to Victoria (south) or to Campbell River (north) which is where Ellie used to live.
In case you’re curious, it takes 8 hours to drive from Victoria to Port McNeil, even with the speed limit being 120 km / hr through most of it.
Anyway, I am a driver who needs a break every few hours, so driving from Port Alberni, to Ucluelet, then back to Campbell River – way too much in a day.
And the next day, Sweetie fell down the stairs and broke her foot. So the way I see it, things have worked out to conspire to keep me home for my vacation and help Sweetie through the first few days of her injury. She’s coping really well now, but for a while there she was in a lot of pain and pretty much stuck in bed. She’s not weight-bearing on that foot yet, but she’s definitely feeling better.
Now I can hear her crutching around the house, sometimes cursing a bit under her breath, or exasperatedly scolding Mikey for laying down directly in front of her again. He will not move if she pokes him with her crutch, he just rolls over. Mikey just wants to be with her, and doesn’t really understand the concept of being “in the way”.
I’m also feeling quite a bit better pelvic-pain wise. I’m experimenting with this product: https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B00EEEGEGM/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 and it really seems to be helping. I haven’t needed the pyridium (a pain medication directed at the bladder) for a couple of months now. *I am not endorsing or recommending any products for medical conditions* I am just sharing my story here. The bottom line is, when you have a chronic condition, especially if you suspect is has a complex cause, you may need to build a team of people to help you figure out what things work and what things don’t work. Ideally we will find ourselves in front of that magic person who has all of the answers, but more often we need to educate ourselves and make our own decisions based on our knowledge and experience of our own body, and the input from trusted health care professionals.
Do you remember all of my “the weight of it” posts? This has been quite an ongoing story. Kudos to Andrea (I think it was you, over a year ago?) who suggested I may have a hormone imbalance. I’ve been working along that theory, and I now suspect I might have endometriosis, which would explain a LOT, including much of my weight gain despite being on a diet prescribed by a nutritionist. Stress > adrenal fatigue > insulin resistance > weight gain > estrogen increase > weight gain > estrogen increase > flaring of pelvic pain > stress & pain > more adrenal fatigue and around it all goes. The killer is the cravings I’ve had for crap food are crazy intense now, so I will not pretend I’ve been eating perfectly well this whole time. I haven’t been doing terribly, but there have been potato chips. That’s all I’m sayin’!
I do want to take this moment to count my very many blessings, as I have dear people in my life who are supporting me with so much love and understanding, and I have access to a variety of health care professionals who will eventually help me figure all of this out.
The great news is, not only do I have a supplement that seems to have gotten me off of pain meds, but this very supplement is often helpful in correcting an estrogen-dominant state in the body. I’m not quoting medical studies here, I’m reading personal blogs of people with parallel issues and how they have managed or reversed their symptoms. “Estrogen dominant” is getting to be a bit of a buzz word, but it’s also interesting that it’s a phrase the naturopathic doctor used when reading the very same rest results which the family physician had pronounced “normal”. I *know* that something is going on, hormone-wise, so I’m going to go with the doctor who has a theory on that front, and whose first line of treatment is *not* surgery or prescribing birth control pills – both of these are things I’m expecting from the pelvic pain specialist.
This is what you do when you’re waiting five months for your next specialist appointment. Anyway, if I do have Endo, this next specialist in pelvic pain is exactly the doctor to be in front of, but meanwhile, I’m just going to make the dietary changes that are helpful in managing endo and hormonal imbalance. These changes are also in line with the starting changes recommended by my naturopathic doctor, who I haven’t seen yet but have spoken to over the phone. We are still waiting for my urologist to forward the reports to the ND’s office before I actually go down to see her, but as a naturopathic doctor, she specializes in – and this is her quote – “healthy menstruating females”. In fact she refers to her patients as “MY healthy menstruating females” which was strange but oddly comforting at the same time! Her whole thing is utilizing naturpathic and integrated practices to facilitate hormone balance and fertility.
This is quite the journey I have been on. Meanwhile, the progress I’m making with the supplements and the early diet changes have enabled me to go for beach walks again! That’s a big plus when you live in such a beautiful place as Tofino, British Columbia!
I’ve gotten back in touch with my lovely nutritionist from last year, who is off on maternity leave at the moment but is happy to help me figure out a six-week endo diet, which will again keep me within a gradual weight loss category of calorie intake. Personally, I can’t really make a lasting diet change unless I have a six week meal plan, including snacks, and recipes provided. I just can’t do that on my own. I’ve tried. But once I’ve gotten through six weeks, I am in a much better place to make better food choices again. I’m super-grateful for the help. It will just help me fully implement the changes the naturopathic doctor recommended a while ago…
And here’s the extra-big challenge for me. I think I’m going to give up coffee.
That is huge for me. But coffee, as much as I enjoy it, is bad for the hormones, *especially* if you have an issue like mine.
I’m going to start experimenting with matcha green tea. If I can make a matcha green tea latte that I like, I think I will be able to give up the coffee forever.
We shall see, my friends.
Keep your eyes peeled for that Hamilton the Pig interview, coming Tuesday!!!
I will share with you, my observed phases of moving:
Part 1. Packing.
1. “All my stuff is precious” – starts a month in advance of moving. Stuff is wrapped individually, placed lovingly in a box, labelled exhaustively. Some items are zen-ishly purged. Many of us believe the entire packing process will go like this.
2. “Anxiety” – practicality meets social responsibility as you attempt to give away and donate things you will not want or need in the new home.
3. “Time Crunch” – starts one to two weeks before move date. Stuff is more quickly packed, layered between sheets, towels and other textiles believing “it’ll probably be fine”. Boxes labelled with the room in which the stuff belongs.
4. “How do I keep finding things to pack?” Decision fatigue kicks in. You have become incapable of deciding whether or not you will need this thing in the new home, so you throw it into a box labelled “random crap” thinking it’s okay if you have just one box of random crap. By the time the truck arrives, you have 10 boxes labelled “random crap”.
5. “It’s go time”. You have run out of boxes. Anything left unpacked goes into black garbage bags. It may get broken or thrown out, but you don’t even care.
Part 2. Unpacking.
1. “Optimism and Resolutions.” Look at all the space we have! We will have so much room! What a great opportunity to get completely organized as I put things away! New life! This will be great!
2. Where the heck is the can opener? *buys new can opener*
3. “Ominous foreshadowing.” Why are the kitchen cupboards full, but the boxes labelled “kitchen” only half-unpacked?
4. “I can fix this.” *buys organizational items*
5. “Why did I pack this!?” The discovery of carefully packed items from “all my stuff is precious” phase, but which appear valueless in light of the new home. The stunning realization that your pre-moving purge got rid of only half the stuff you should have purged.
6. “The Over-Purge”. The closets and cupboards are full. The new storage solutions are full. You decide to randomly stuff the remaining items into closets and cupboards making them over-full, or throw out items as you unpack them.
7. “Apathy”. With no enthusiasm to unpack the remaining 2 – 6 boxes, they are relegated to the corner of a room, or a basement / storage space for a year.
8. One year later: “There’s the can opener.”
Well folks, it’s about time for a blog entry, isn’t it? SO MUCH has happened in the past month that I can’t possibly write it all down and do it real justice… so do you know what that means?
I talk about the union convention I attended at the end of January, I talk about the course which Sweetie and I have joined, which is a feminine, energetic approach to the practical matters of managing money (Biggie gives the energetic message of “whatever gets you there” – it’s perhaps a little too woo-woo for him but Sweetie and I find it very powerful!)
I also talk about trauma, and how I was surprised that my memories of a childhood medical procedure have actually been producing symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress for *decades*. It’s really no coincidence that the universe pushed Carl & I together last month, is it??? It’s wonderful how that happens.
I assure you, I’m fine by the way. It’s just been a revelation for me – how what I thought were persistent memories of something I should have “let go” a long time ago, are actually indicators of trauma – and even though this medical procedure was nothing when you compare it to the potential for trauma in the human experience, dismissing it hasn’t worked in allowing my brain to actually “let it go”. That’s because trauma is a specific mechanical process in our brain, and the amazing part is there are techniques we can use to move that trauma through and completely change our relationship with that experience.
I decided to talk about it, after learning how very common it is for children to be actually traumatized by a medical procedure, and for the real effects of that trauma to echo out over our whole lifetime – and how exciting it is that being “traumatized” by something is not a permanent state, contrary to how trauma is commonly approached and treated as permanent damage by many therapists and medical professionals.
Listen and learn my friends, I hope you enjoy it!
We’re back! You guys, the first part of my conversation with Carl went live on the feed today, you can listen to it here, or search for my name in iTunes or Stitcher on your mobile device (cough and SUBSCRIBE cough).
Part two is locked and loaded for this time next week (I will be out of town, but my fabulous podcast support Jen Edds has already scheduled it.)
Jen sent me this wonderful little note about the second installment:
Carl part 2 is uploaded and scheduled to release next Tuesday.
I don’t normally include time stamps in the show notes, but I thought the lobster analogy about growth, and the conversation about PTSD and meditation were super powerful, so I felt compelled to include the time stamp in the show notes.
I also don’t normally cry while editing podcasts, but I cried like a little baby when Carl was sharing the story about the older – That one just crushed me. You guys had a really powerful conversation on so many levels.
Hah! I’m not going to spoil it for you! You’ll have to listen and find out!
You can see the detailed description of what Carl & I discussed in this week’s episode right here, or on your mobile device!
I hope you enjoy it!
(image came from here, a lovely read by the way.)
I’ve been thinking about this post for a while. You guys, I had a *super-fun* phone call yesterday with a new podcast guest! His name is Carl and he’s a firefighter. The first installment will be posted on Tuesday (the 10th) and the second part a week later, on the 17th. Watch Joyfultelepathy.com for the release or better yet, subscribe through itunes or stitcher on your smart phone to get it automatically on your device the second it releases J
Carl wrapped a little bow on a blog post idea I’ve been mulling over for a few weeks, and I’ll get to that. First, a little context:
December notwithstanding, I’ve been eating pretty well. I’ve still been gaining weight. It’s ridiculous. I’m probably going to lock it down again and just go mostly vegan except for lean protein, because while my body seems to be in wolly-mammoth-in-wintertime mode, it can only do so much with healthy veggies, lean protein, flax / avocado, and no flour, sugar or dairy. I always miss dairy. But as much as I love it, it does seem to be a part of the problem Every. Darn. Time.
Meanwhile, having seen my urologist in January I’m being passed along to another specialist in pelvic pain in Vancouver. Having completed the ultrasound and the bladder scope, now I can finally follow up with my naturopathic doctor in Victoria, who I’m feeling optimistic about. She specializes in women’s health and hormones, and I suspect there’s a cortisol / estrogen / progesterone factor in here that isn’t being flagged in the regular blood work.
Before anyone out there gets excited and tells me I should do the elimination diet before seeing this next specialist, relax. I have. Diet is the first place I go to heal myself. Of course it is. Alas, despite all the messaging out there, there truly is not a cure-all that works for everyone, and I haven’t (so far) found a diet that’s sustainable long-term without causing some sort of imbalance, leaving some need unmet. Not yet. One day I will, I’ll just keep working on it. I admit, I’ve been feeling a tad sorry for myself, and the December exception to my dietary efforts to heal myself has, of course, not made me feel any better in the long run!
But here’s the thing I’ve been telling myself, all through this particular health-challenge. It’s all okay as long as I work every day to make myself a little bit better. Every day I do my exercises. I think about what I can do to replace the vigorous walking I used to enjoy and can’t tolerate right now – so I replace it with yoga core-building exercise, and I’ve added some weights into the mix. Maybe I can’t power walk, but I can certainly lift. And I can ABSOLUTELY eat the best diet possible, and track it, so I have something to tell the doctors when they give me dietary suggestions.
For me, visualizing my ideal self doesn’t motivate me as it seems to motivate others – it’s discouraging. I work best when I focus on getting a little bit better every day – doing something EVERY DAY that is positive and will put energy into the healing track, rather than the illness / victim story. I have to do this *regardless of the outcome*, because honestly, all I can control is what I do today.
I’m writing about this because you guys *know* I love to buck the trends in the new age world, and the messaging out there is if you find an affirming mantra, if you do the intention-setting and the visualization, you *will* get there. Or you must at least *believe* you will get there, because if you don’t keep the faith you will SURELY fail, and in that case, you have only yourself to blame.
Does anyone else get that message, or is it just me?
Well, personally, I don’t find this strategy to be helpful in the long run. My Sweetie finds it helpful, and I can appreciate that. It does work for her. For her, she can do the “right things” and see actual encouraging change! For me, it’s a bit soul-crushing. If my motivation for positive action is dependent on a time-sensitive outcome, when that deadline comes and goes without the outcome I was hoping for (like 8 weeks of following the nutritionist’s plan ending in a “sorry I can’t help you” conclusion) what my brain does with that information is spiral into a hopeless and helpless puddle of self-pity. And that doesn’t help, does it?! Brains are funny. It’s not a logical conclusion that this thing didn’t work so I feel like giving up (I didn’t give up, of course, but I FELT like giving up) but for some of us, that’s what our brain does with this intention setting agenda. It’s too great a risk when you have a brain that likes to self-flagellate.
Carl said something awesome to me yesterday. He said, “Pain is a benchmark for greatness.” I’ve heard this before, in different forms. I have a friend who gets supremely excited when she hears from a new client in spiritual crisis. She *loves* working with people experiencing a “dark night of the soul” because she has seen the amazing transformations that can happen in dark places.
The key, the vital key to it all, is to never give up.
You don’t *have to* be attached to the final outcome. In fact, if we want to get Buddhist about it, attachment to a *specific* outcome could enhance your sense of suffering. But the embrace of the struggle, the affirmation that pain is just a benchmark – this is a sign post on an amazing journey of triumph – a triumph you may not yet fully understand, but a plan and a path that has purpose in this world – well that shifts everything.
I’m writing this for the folks reading who have chronic illness (physical or mental), or just undiagnosed chronic pain. People, you’re so not alone! I was listening to a podcast recently where the author of “Kicking Sick” was saying as many as one in three adults in the US suffer from a chronic illness. By the way, I think it’s a great book. It does of course have a focus on diet, but the information in there is also key to organizing your own care, and building a team of support people to help you. I’ve solved mystery health issues in the past using these strategies. I takes patience and persistence. It is tough when you don’t know how long it will be before your team finally clicks, and you start making some serious headway.
Now that I think of it, maybe I’m ready to try another nutritionist. Sometimes it’s about getting in front of the right people.
So that’s my mantra for this New Year, and my resolution. Every day, I promise myself, I’m going to be a little bit better. At 10 am every morning, I’m going to think about what I am going to do that day to improve my health, including what I’m going to eat to affirm my health, where I am in my exercise plan to improve my body, and where I am this month in my business goals.
I encourage my friends to do this too. If the grand New Year goals are motivating for you, AWESOME. Do it. But if you’re starting off the year feeling discouraged, and the emails I’ve been getting are telling this is a pretty common sentiment at the moment, just affirm to yourself that you will make a plan today. Every day, you are going to embrace the benchmark of resistance and pain – and welcome it not as a sign of futility, as your tricky mind might be tempted to frame it, but as a sign post. And promise yourself that you will read that sign post and answer it with a fighting spirit!
For me, that fighting spirit was a missing piece. I’m not a fighter. I’m a watcher. I’m a listener. I’m a comforter. I’m a helper. I’m a healer. But I’ve never identified with the feeling of fighting. I can be competitive, sure, but it’s always non-confrontational.
Talking to Carl, a guy whose job has “fighter” in the title, I realized that I *need* that firefighter spirit in my emotional toolbox. I like to be chill about things. I like to accept people where they are, and I practice kindness and self-care. I practice compassion to myself and to others. But I don’t really fight. I’ve been taught *not* to fight, actually.
But sometimes, you’ve GOT to fight. I don’t know how I missed this, but fighting, I realize, is a fundamental state of being! We don’t want to be fighting all the time, sure, let me explain:
I think there are fundamental states of being we agree to / sign up to experience when we incarnate on earth. These fundamental states are the universal experience, experienced not just by humans, but by all life forms on earth (and on other planets, I’m sure!)
There are also fundamental lessons in incarnation as a human and experiencing a deep deprivation of one or more of these states, and a part of our spiritual goals may become to learn HOW to experience these states later on in life.
Love, for example. Everyone should experience love in some form or another. Not everyone does, sadly, and sometimes people learn how to love, or accept love in adulthood. Some people *struggle* with love, being loved, loving others. But whether one has experienced it or struggles with it, love is a defining state of being on earth. Your relationship with this state of being becomes pivotal in your life review (your total incorporation of you life’s choices and experiences into your lasting spirit consciousness.)
Anger. Again, we all experience it. We grapple with it. We learn from it.
Fear. Fear motivates, fear can paralyze and imprison. Fear can define entire lifetimes, whole generations, and great chunks of history.
Joy / Euphoria. Different from love. Some people chase euphoria their whole lives, and they find it in different places. I think that “god moments” fall under this category.
Compassion. Nurturance. We all experience it, and we are all faced with a lack of it in some way or another. It can define who we are and how we face life.
So far, these may look like simple emotional states, but emotion plays a more important role than I think is generally accepted. Extreme experiences can make us feel vulnerable, and so extreme emotions can be conflated with weakness. Which brings me to the next state:
Strength and Weakness. Nothing makes us feel our mortality more than weakness, regardless of the form. In our moments of great strength, we can feel indomitable! Nothing can stop us! Until it does. Then we feel weak again. If a guy like Carl can come on my podcast and talk about his moments of weakness – despite that weakness being during a time of recovery from an injury gained ON THE JOB, for him, it’s still weakness. That can still spark a downward spiral, a dark night of the soul.
What’s great though, is, Carl knows how to fight. So does his little dog, by the way. You guys are going to love Mr. President. Carl credits his little dog for helping him on his road to recovery, but I also think there’s a part in all of us that has to engage or give up. Sometimes if you’re going to engage, you *have to* fight. It feels like fighting. You have to dig, embrace that you don’t want to do this thing, and then do it anyway – whether it’s lift those weights for one more set, or fight against a mental illness, addiction, or cancer.
And this is not to disparage anyone who has fought and lost. We have all lost fights. That’s why they’re called fights – the stakes are high! You could lose. It’s part of life to fight and sometimes lose.
That’s what make me realize that Fighting is something we come here to do. We all have to. We grapple with it. We have to engage in fights sometimes. So embrace your fights. Channel the adrenaline that our bodies and brains give us for fights. If you get knocked down, or lose a fight, just raise your head enough to wink at that sign post on the road – that benchmark to greatness, because even in losing a fight, you’ve made it further along the road that you ever would have if you’d never tried.
And that, my friends, is the whole point, isn’t it? We’re not here for stasis. We’re here for change. For challenge. So let’s help each other as much as we can along the way, because everyone has to fight sometimes. Let us be thankful for our struggles; for each struggle is a teacher in our practice.
My Wonderful Blog Friends – Here’s to a good end for 2016, and to hope, energy, and unity in 2017!
Happy new year, darling! We appreciate that some years deserve the bum!
(“deserve the bum” has a few dirty meanings)
I know it’s been a rough year for so many. What would you like to say about it?
You must never give up hope. We’re going through the cycle again – (shows me the current culture is reviving a lot of the sentiment and ideals from mid 1950s, which was a time most people considered modern and progressive.) Yet it’s so backwards, people see what they want to see. They don’t see others or themselves for how they are, they see what they idealize. That’s wonderful, in many ways. Dreaming is important.
Action is just as important.
Not more important than dreaming?
Without dreams, how can you imagine all possible action? Art is important. Thought is important. This is why we thought LSD was such a revolution at the time – it created thoughts and “expanded the mind” in ways that would never have been possible. We didn’t have the internet, you’ll remember. (He’s teasing.) We (back in the 70s) believed in the magic of imagination. If you could dream it, you could create it – if your thoughts were limited by everything you’d been taught and seen in your lifetime, your dreams would be limited. It was sad, at times; alarming as well.
We believed – foolishly – that if everyone could just experience the psychological and imaginative power of LSD, it would free the mind, free the imagination, to never-before-dreamed-of possibilities! It’s was part of the revolution.
Of course, it didn’t work like that!
Yeah, I can appreciate the line of thinking through. We still see that. Imagine, visualize the life you want, the world you want, and you can create it.
Well, you’re one step closer to creating it. (Shows me shoveling dirt from a trench.)
What do you mean?
It’s like excavating new channels for the mind. Creating new shapes for the thoughts to flow! Canals for the imagination! (Big grin.)
Digging holes in the brain? Are we talking about LSD again?
(laughs, takes a deep drag on a cigarette he suddenly has, and I smell the sharp smoke. Now John has solidified in my mind, he’s lazing back on a chaise lounge, it’s white, with a battered, worn feeling, but perfectly clean. It’s in a loft apartment with wide industrial windows nearly to the ceiling. It’s a large room but feels intimate. There’s a plush red patterned carpet under the chase longue, and I worried for a moment about the ash burning it as John ashes into a ridiculously massive crystal ash tray on the floor. The room is somehow opulent and sparse; stark and cozy at the same time.)
No, love, we aren’t talking of LSD at the moment. I thought we were talking of imagination! Imagining things is hard work – don’t underestimate it. There is heavy lifting in the excavation of the mind! Just ask any artist!
(Thinking of Sweetie) I know. What do you think the role of artists is right now? In the year 2017, in the context of the future’s history? Can you see that?
(Laughs and takes another drag.) That’s quite a creative question! (He gives me a rhyme / limerick that I don’t quite get – something like “… all the fun, an artist’s work is never done!”) Art will always serve the same purpose – art never dies, it never disappears, though it may have to go underground. You can’t stop it, can’t eliminate it – which is why art is so useful in protesting the established regimen! (significant look.) Remember I was alive during Nixon.
Apparently I need to do more research about Nixon. I don’t know too much about him, I haven’t been that interested.
Well let’s put it this way, darling. It would behoove all of you to become VERY interested in former President Nixon. He’s playing all the tricks from the same hat. (President Trump’s leadership will mirror Nixon’s in many ways.)
(John stands up on a podium, as though speaking over the heads of a large crowd, points his finger directly up in the air and projects his words:) An educated mind is not easily led!
Oh! And art can be used to educate others, obviously.
It’s just communication, another form of speaking to your fellow human. Art is a way of whispering to people who don’t wish to listen. Who would rather deny. If you can’t get them through the ears, get them through the eyes, or the heart! Most people have a heart. Most people!
Is art – (before I even finish typing the question he breaks in with a very forceful statement-)
YES art is the ESSENTIAL form of resistance. It’s the IDEAL form of resistance! What are concerts without songs? What are marches without signs? What is a movement without art? Just a bunch of people, milling about like cattle! (He laughs kindly.) The best / most exciting thing about art is that *everyone* can participate. Must participate. SHOULD participate! With love, remember. With Hope.
And Happy New Year, darling Kate. (He’s giving me a flirty little eye twinkle.)
Thank you for popping in John. Happy New Year to you. And Happy New Year to all my beautiful blog friends!