Sunday, June 26, 2011

My Hopes for Myself, as Written By Someone Else

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters

By Portia Nelson

Chapter I

I walk down the street
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I fall in
I am lost . . . I am helpless
It isn't my fault
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter II

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place.
But, it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter III

I walk down the same street
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in . . . it’s a habit.
My eyes are open. I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter IV

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter V

I walk down another street

Great Things: Illness Edition

Learning things from my hospital stay.
(This is actually the one where I was.)

The opportunity to learn to ask for help, and be comfortable with it.

The opportunity to try out a raw foods diet.
(I've been put on one to try to mitigate some of the negative effects of having so many hard-hitting antibiotics.)

Realizing what my very top priorities are.
(I have very little energy; I have to very consciously decide where to expend it.)

Gaining greater compassion for suffering.

Gaining greater appreciation for my regular life, and how far I have come in it.

Illness Frustration

I'm struggling with the idea of being ill. I want to go back to my life as it was; I don't want to miss the last week of the school year at the place where I volunteer, I don't want to be missing so many dance practices, I don't want to have to ask for rides to the grocery store. I want to be able to find a position to sit or lay or stand in that is comfortable, I want to be able to do even basic things for myself, I want to not be reliant on medications to be able to get good rest. And yet, that's where I am.

I have this idea I try to act on in my life that I call "yes, thank you." All of my experiences, my thoughts, my feelings, I want to be able to welcome them and learn from them; to say "yes! thank you!" to them. My personal motto or affirmation has become "I welcome, treasure, and celebrate all aspects of my life."

And I know that there is a lot for me to learn from this illness... other wise, I wouldn't be having it! But right now, this evening, uncomfortable and feeling helpless on my couch, I am having a lot of trouble appreciating that.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Hospital Lessons

I spent the last week in the hospital for a mysterious abdominal infection. It's still not cleared up (and I'm still pretty ill), but I've been sent home with oral antibiotics to clear up the infection so that the next round of CTs and MRIs and Ultrasounds will actually show something besides pus and fluid and we might be able to sort out the actual cause of the infection.

Here are some things I learned:

1. Don't tell hospital staff you have any food allergies, unless they are life threatening. It will seriously limit your diet, even in ways that don't make any sense.

2. It is totally your right in any situation at any time to have as much time to think as you feel you need, and to refuse anything that anyone wants to do to your body.

3. How you treat someone has a huge impact on how they receive what you are saying, how willing they are to listen to what you have to say later, and how difficult it is for them to interact with you on pretty much any level on any subject.

4. Getting things through an IV can make you smell and taste stuff.

5. Hospitals are sadly lacking in the two main basics of health; rest and nutrition.

6. Be clear and open about what you want and need, even if you think it's already been indirectly addressed.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Craving Story

This week I've gotten upset twice. I know that may not sound like a whole lot, but I'm generally a really laid-back person!

Once was because I felt that someone was being really pushy about giving me advice.  In fact, the way the person was phrasing things felt nothing like friendly advice, and very much like "I have it all together, and I know exactly what you need to do; do it my way or you'll regret it!" I got angry at what felt like an invasion, but I addressed the issue with humor and compassion, and basically let it go.

But then the next day a bunch of international friends of mine were planning a huge international get together that I am unable to attend. The gathering has been a bit of a sensitive spot for me since it got past the initial planning stages, actually. I feel like the group is going to get tighter without me, and I will miss out on the closeness that they will all develop. Anyway, there was some stuff around that going on that also got me feeling angry.

And that's when I noticed I really really really wanted to eat Captain D's fish and chips, with a Coke. For my international readers (and maybe not in my region readers; I'm not sure how far spread Captain D's is), Captain D's is basically seafood fast food. I was pretty surprised at myself, for having such a specific and strong craving when I haven't had a real craving in quite some time.

So I stepped back to look at it:

1. I was feeling left out, and suspected the feeling would last.

2. I was feeling angry, and somewhat betrayed and invaded.

3. My dad used to take my brother and I to Captain D's when we spent weekends with him after he and my mother got divorced, where I always got fish and chips and a Coke. Captain D's was like a treat, and a thing that we only did with my dad, so it was special.

4. Fried food, especially if white potatoes and gluten are involved, makes me feel very heavy and full and lethargic; in other words, it kind of numbs me out.

OK, so, craving deconstructed! What I was really wanting was to feel connected and, if that couldn't happen, numb.

I opted not to get my fish and chips. Instead I texted a message of appreciation to a friend and re-read a light novel that has always drawn me in very effectively.

A few hours later my craving had passed and I was feeling much better!

Friday, June 10, 2011

River Breeze Wellness

My friends! I am so excited!

I am now the owner of a legally licensed business called River Breeze Wellness! It has a website, a bank account, a PayPal account, a pretty green business license, and, most importantly, potential clients!

I will be doing holistic health counselling, which is supporting clients in exploring how food and lifestyle choices affect their health and happiness. I will support this work with Option-style dialogues and Reiki.

The dialogues and Reiki I am offering now, and the holistic health counselling by the end of the year (I am currently in training at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition).

Target Does Not Complete Me

Target as in, the huge buy-everything-you-could-possibly-ever-need-here store.

I went there the other day to buy a pot; now that I'm cooking most of what I eat I am finding my kitchen lacking!

In the past when I've gone to Target I've been drawn to at least a few items I didn't really need; pens or some little decorative or organizational thing. I have to remind myself, "You don't need that, it's just going to sit around and eventually you'll give it away to Goodwill or something."

This last time I was in Target, though, I wasn't drawn to anything like that at all! I just went in, found what I needed and wandered down a few aisles that looked like they had potential interestingness.

I just had this feeling, though, that I was fine, that I was in no way lacking, and that I didn't need anything more. I think this was really an outward example of what has been an inward process: I am feeling more and more like I as a person am whole, and complete, and not in some way nonfunctional or hollow. While of course I have room to grow, I am also doing just fine as I am. This is a new kind of feeling for me, and I love it!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

I Am Amazing

The original title for this post was "My Body Is Amazing" but I changed it for two reasons. One, an "amazing body" can definitely have an aesthetic connotation that I am not trying to imply and two, I am trying to move away from the dichotomy of seeing my body as separate from me. I mean, I do believe that my true and eternal being is spiritual, but right now, I am also clearly a physical being. I think it does my mind, spirit, and body a disservice to try to separate them in the context of day-to-day living.

So, here is why I am amazing.

First, a couple of weeks ago I had a consultation with an Ayruvedic doctor (Ayruveda is the traditional medicine system of India). In Ayruveda there are three categories of being, called doshas. The doshas all represent different aspects of mind, body, and soul. We all have all three doshas, and ideally, we would have a nice balance of approximately 33% of each dosha operating within us at any given time. Unfortunately, "ideal" rarely meets "actual."

There are two ways to measure doshas in a person: their natural doshas (what the percentages of the doshas are in you naturally) and their current doshas (where those percentages are now, whether due to illness or physical imbalance, psychological or emotional issues, et cetera).

My current doshas are fairly out of whack, but my natural doshas are very balanced! The doctor actually said that she had never worked with someone who is "tri-doshic" as I am, and that it is quite rare. So yay for my innate potential to be a very balanced person!

The second reason I am awesome happened when I was at the dentist this morning (and may I just say, it is pretty darn awesome that I was at the dentist's office at all, as I have a terrible fear of any sort of dental work). The dental assistant and the dentist herself both asked me what sort of dental hygiene care routine I practice. I need some kind of extensive work done, so I was concerned that they were asking so that they could point out where I was going wrong. Instead, it turned out they were asking because my teeth were so clean, with very little build-up, and they wanted to know how I maintained that! This is an area in which I haven't been giving myself a whole lot of support, so it was awesome to hear that I am naturally talented at keeping clean teeth!

The third reason was very cool. I was just at my neighborhood health food store and a Biofeedback practitioner was set up doing 20-minute demonstrations. I decided to do one, and it was really informative. I'm considering doing a full session with her. I found out that except for having slow digestion and absorption (which is an issue I am already addressing), I am remarkably healthy! In fact, the practitioner seemed really impressed with the numbers that were coming up.

I'm really proud of myself for working so effectively on maintaining my physical health, and I'm really pleased that I have a natural tendency toward great health as well!