The Present Moment Warrior

I feel like I am in a new arena of my learning. I had a pretty dark winter which is why I did not do much writing. Well I wrote, I just did not publish. This latest period of my life had been interesting though, but I am really hoping I am done with it and moving on. The stasis of depression was too deep.
Up here where I live, we have an abundance of grey days. I work in a grey office with no natural light. I have three incandescent lamps in my office so that I get some semblance of more natural light. I hate fluorescent which is what is predominant. The training rooms are the center most of the building, so they do not have any windows. I go in early so often and there is no daylight and up until recently, I leave in dark when I come home. And the snow is terrible. It is March 30 and it started to snow last night. We have about a foot on the ground and it is to continue all day. It was warm when the precipitation started, so there is a slick of ice on everything. My poor dogs where slipping all over the place and the little one could not get off the deck because the snow is too deep and heavy for her to navigate. backyard 3-30-14
I also have not been feeling the best. I have a condition brought on when I was given massive doses of drugs including steroids and chemo when I first was diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis. The combination was too much for my right kidney which decided to stop functioning. I was able to heal it some but only have 40% usage and that will be it. It is better than none. But because it is sluggish, it produces stones pretty regularly. Nothing else causes it. There are stones lodged in it that hopefully will never pass as they are too big. My other kidney is just fine and clear. I have gotten to the point where it is just something I live with. I have produced over thirty stones I have captured. For the past couple of weeks, I knew I was in the process of passing a stone as I can feel them traveling. This baby had knives in it.

Kidney stones 3-28-14

Kidney stones 3-28-14

This is my present moment. But I am choosing to find alternative things to focus on and it is making all the difference. Interestingly along with the misery I was subjecting myself to there has been a wonderful current of hope and happiness. I am choosing to focus on that. Yesterday morning I sat outside and listened to the birds. I love that so much. We had a few that were eyeing up the real estate for homes as I have many bird houses. I passed not one, but two kidney stones on Friday night and they were big. The feeling of relief and no pain is marvelous and I am so grateful they are out. It is Sunday and I do not have to go anywhere and hopefully they will have cleaned up the snow and ice more so by tomorrow it will not be hazardous driving. Meanwhile, the dogs and my husband can kick back all day. I have chores but those too are ok because I do not have to go anywhere.

Princess LaLa snoozing

Princess LaLa snoozing

Village plows

Village plows

I am beginning to define my present moment as what is good in it, not what is wrong. It is a challenge when I am so used to being negative. My brain automatically turns to that and I must recode and process differently. In all my reading I found out that being negative is quite normal. We are preprogrammed for that to keep us safe. I just went too far with it. Not that I caused it. But understanding all this created such a sense of relief and release of guilt and shame that allowed me to move on. I also know that it is fine to embrace the sad and disappointment of life too. There has to be balance with expression from both ends of the spectrum. It is ok to be upset, sad and even angry if you know there is another end of the pole to reach. Until I had all the pieces of the puzzle there was no way I would have been able to put things together.
I understand so much more now. I understand I had to face a lot of junk from my past in order to understand my present moment. But it is not what defines me. The old voices are wrong, the people who choose to see me in only one light are wrong. But I do not have to prove anything to anyone any longer. (Could I say any anymore?) You could not have told me this two years ago or even a month ago. I had to reach this on my own.
I am congratulating myself and saying one more thing. It is not original, others have said this to me and I did not believe them. I am certainly no wimp. I am a warrior. And I am getting stronger and braver every day.

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At the threshold

I feel like I am stepping up to a doorway lately. Behind me lies all the past grief and anguish and it is a soft dull grey cloud that is cold and stagnant. But it is familiar. I know I do not belong there anymore. Through the doorway lies a bright green field with a river running through it with very cerulean blue water. Everything is brilliant in color saturation, almost like a cartoon illustration. It is unfamiliar yet inviting.

.reaaching

There are hands pulling at me, trying to keep me from entering the threshold. Many of the hands are my own making. It is my ego telling me to stay and live in my life as it is. There are hands of those who have known me and expect me to remain as I have always been. The brunt of their anger and frustration transferred to me. There are those who want me to stay and fix them because that is what I have done.  It is all I have known but I have had glimpses of what could lie ahead. I have been so concerned with the reaction of others that I felt like I was trapped.

One of the things I am learning to do is pause. It takes great concentration for me to do that, I but I have been told that if I keep practicing this, it will become part of my nature. Instead of reacting to something someone says or does, I pause, think about it and try to see it from their place and not let it become mine. I used to do that with everything. I take it on. So now, I pause and I wait to see what really sticks, and so far, not much.

Also, something happened recently. I have been feeling very fearful, frightened and scared. It was a permanent state of being for me. I would wake up and when I would do a body check, I would find I was in a tense state with my neck and legs tense within seconds of awakening. I would put myself there by just thinking about an upcoming event or something I had to face. I have been very consistent with a morning meditation along with a hypnosis tape at night. The morning meditation gets me to physically relax before I start the day. The hypnosis tape is helping me deal with fear and undoing the freeze mode that I put myself into.

I was in meditation the other morning, and this was the vision I had: It was me as a small curly red-haired three year old running. This beautiful child was grimacing and crying and her hands were out stretched as she approached. I was the adult she ran to. I picked her up and embraced her and then enveloped her into me. As I did this, the voice in my head said, “I will keep you safe. You are safe small one; go back to being a loving and happy child.”  After the meditation, there was a big change in my peace level. I cannot really explain it, but I know it is there.

I was also taught a trick that is similar to EFT by John. EFT does not work for me because I do not like the tapping on myself, especially in the head area. It should be obvious why. Instead, I use a stroking method and it is very soothing. I can disguise it easily as it looks like something someone does when they have a headache. Only I am saying in my head, “Even though I feel like this person is making me feel: bad, sad , mad….whatever….  I am safe.”  I say it over and over until I feel the calm.

flowers in space

Another thing I am doing is I am collecting things that make me happy. It is a simple thing to do. For example, when someone sends me an email and says something nice it, I keep it in a folder. When someone sends me something nasty, I delete it. It is satisfying. I took down all the clutter in my office and put up some of my photography. I have pictures of my favorite spot on THE River to my left and to my right. I play forest and bird sounds in my headset at work so I feel like I am at least hearing pleasant nature sounds. I am buying flowers to have in my writing spot. flower in window

And then this afternoon,  I had a small miracle happen. I love balloons. When I was a child, I thought they were magical, and I still do. My favorite color has always been pink. Any shade, but I love rosy pink the best. I was doing dishes and I looked out and there was a balloon bouquet stuck in my neighbor’s bushes. It is very windy today.  I was sad to think some little person had lost their balloons. I was thinking I would try to get them but they were in a place that would have been tricky, and then they blew away. I left the kitchen for a moment and when I came back and looked again, they had blown up into my fence and were caught. I went and got them. They are shades of pink and white and two pale blue ones on long curly ribbons. This brought me a lot of happiness and I see it as a message that I am on the right path again. And so I am joyfully celebrating this and all the messages and miracles that are happening.

Balloons

Safety

Snow in the pines

Snow in the pines

I am to a new point in my path. I am not going to spend time here on the long and short of it as it is not relevant. It completely boils down to one thing. Feeling safe. Simple, right? Not so simple for me. My safety issue is huge and has led to chronic illness, relationship issues and the worse component; extremely low self-esteem. Because this issue is so pervasive, it has been right in front of me all this time without me being able to see it. Others have, but that does not matter. I have to see it for what it is. It is a huge nasty beast that needs to be put to sleep.

This past week, I have been so off kilter. It started Sunday when the weather reports started their screaming that a storm was coming. I love storms because I love Mother Earth. What I do not like is the idea of having to travel in a storm. If I can stay put, preferably in my own home, I am content to watch the fury from my chair, be it wind, lightening or even snow. But tell me I have to get into a car and face the idiots who do not have an ounce of safety in their head, and I am in a panic. The morning of the storm, I had worked myself up to being paralyzed and so I stayed home. Granted, there was no snow until about 9 am, but I knew in my heart that it was going to be awful. I was right.

Wind and snow abounds

Wind and snow abounds

I am never far from a panic attack of my own making. And let me explain something, my attacks are not like others where they visibly wring their hands and sweat. Mine manifest in a quiet inward way. But they are no less critical as someone who throws a tantrum or erupts. They are no less real than someone who is a war weary soldier. This is not a contest to see who has it the worse. No one wins. I have spent a copious amount of time and money trying to fix this issue. This weekend was a climax that has been coming for a while.

I did something I hardly ever do and that was nothing. Literally, I did nothing for a better part of the day. It took most of the morning and a round of quick grocery shopping to allow myself that freedom. It was a recommendation I put into place. It gave me a pause and it was a much needed pause.  I pulled my medicine cards and came up with a reading that said that this was exactly what I need to do and to continue this practice for a while. The butterfly card which was the first one I pulled was very telling. The center card was the blue heron, which is my totem, but it was upside down. The card read “come up for air. There are many layers of truth to understand, and wholeness is impossible in one dive.” I downloaded a phenomenal guided hypnosis tape, slapped on the headphones and retreated for about an hour and half. We then spent the rest of the evening watching great movies; all had a message I needed.

I am not sure what is next. I know this: I need to feel safe. I don’t. I need to fix that. Simple. I woke up this morning and before my feet had hit the ground, I had tightened my shoulders into a neck spasm thinking about the upcoming issues and scary events I have coming up. And, scary is indicative of the lack of safety I feel because to anyone else, they would not be scary. Feeling safe is not something I actually think I produced intentionally; I think it is just a conditional reaction. This is what needs to stop. The events are actually something I love doing, but are now tainted because of the layer of fear I have attached to it.

I also had inner rapid vibrations. This is my indicator that I am in transition. Being aware of all this is the first step. I think I have method that may be at least a partial remedy. I am not going to find resolve from someone else trying to fix this and I am not going to find safety in others until I can learn to feel safe with myself. I have tried to get others make me safe and it only has produced anger, frustration and disappointment. It has to be me. The other thing I know that is imperative to my healing is taking the time to stop, pause, breath and (dare I say it?) JUST BE.

Princess La La teaching Mommer to Just Be

Princess La La teaching Mommer to Just Be

 

 

Blizzard Anxiety 3-12-14

snow in the bushes It begins.

Blizzard Anxiety

I woke up this morning to not a trace of snow. Matter of fact, it was still near 35 and there had been a trace of rain but it was still wet and had not turned to ice. And I was standing there watching my dogs run in the mud, wondering if I had made a foolish choice again. This whole week, and actually since last week, they have been predicting the storm of the year for us. I am a weather geek and my own internal gauges coupled with following good web sites had indicated we were in for a doozy. When I was a kid, the anticipation of a snow day was as good as Christmas. As an adult, the opportunity of snow day stopped when I stopped teaching in public schools and went to work for non-profits. Instead the anticipation was replaced with unbridled anxiety. I got so worked up about this I actually made myself sick to my stomach.

Everything was reporting yesterday that they were closing for the day in preparation for the predicted storm. The schools were closed and many businesses indicated they would not be open. The non-profits all said they were closed, but the staff needed to report. I think that is horrible. If the weather is so bad that you so not want to bring the clients out in it, keep your staff home too. But they do that so the staff will take a sick day or personal time and they do not have to pay them if they do not show up.

For the past two days I was wrought with the worry of having to drive in the weather. I only have to go ten miles, but it is towards the lake and the roads are the worse when it snows. I cross three towns and the variety of the clearing of the snow varies.

In March 1991, we northern New Yorkers woke to the pelting of ice on our roofs and the explosion of transformers that were caked in ice. I will never forget watching the one behind my house sparking green bolts until it finally went out. We went ten days with no heat, no power and it was cold. I was working for a town as a media relations person and had to report to the Community Center which had been set up as a Red Cross Shelter. I spent a lot of time there making food and helping people. I would return home to build a fire in the fireplace and cook on the grill. It was cool for a week, but by the second week everyone was pretty weary and nasty.

So as I sit here typing, the snow has begun. It is wet and heavy. The temperature is plummeting. My husband just told me that the Weather Channel is here down on the Lake shooting. That to me is a big sign.  I wrote my boss, who is working at home because her teen age son is home from school……. that I would not be in. The relief of not having to go out is making me content and joyful inside. There are so many indicators for me that there is a need for change. This is just another. snow 8 am

 

Lost hours

Goddess of the garden   Goddess of the Garden

Today we all lost an hour. Would not matter but I am sensitive to the switch to daylight savings time. I notice the subtle shifts in the light. It is good because it means spring. But it tweaks with my internal clock.  I think it is a stupid practice we need to stop participating in. No one needs DST any more. I realize that the benefit was to lessen the consumption of energy by being up at the optimum amount of sunlight. But my work day does not shift so I will be back to driving to work in the dark. I do not like that. I will enjoy coming home in day light and I will be able to spend some time outside with my doggies. But sitting outside in subzero temperatures does not facilitate that lately. It has been ridiculously cold and it seems spring will never come. But losing that hour made me think this morning. It struck me how many hours I have lost.

This year is a tough one for me. I am facing turning 60 in June. I am acutely aware how lucky I am to be able to say that. My mother could not. She did not live long enough. I have friends who did not make 60 either, so I am blessed. I remember my grandmother’s 65th birthday and how she looked and acted. I thought she was so old. I do not feel old most days. The truth is that the number frightens me more than the physical reality. Life is such a game and how you play it makes all the difference.

It is hard to express the need I feel to accelerate my learning and participation in activities that help me grow.  “Just be” has never sat well with me. I have too many lost hours. I won’t get them back but I can do something different moving forward. I need to cherish every hour. If I spend an hour in quiet reflection or meditation, that is not wasted time. And to sit in the garden is time spent connecting with the Source. Time wasters are arguments and discord and working hard at useless endeavors. I want my remaining time to be resourceful and productive. I want my footprint to leave a lasting impression in some manner, hopefully a good one. I cannot stop the cellular progression of my body and I accept that. But I do have control of wasted and lost hours.

What is cycling

spinning top

I want to share part of the experience that I go through and have for the last two years. I refer to it as cycling. I did not know what it was even when I was doing it. But others did and they would wait patiently for me to return, as I always did . I think this effect is very common but I did not know that. But I will tell you I hated it. I still do, but I aware of it and more comfortable when I am in a spin.

So what is cycling? It is the pattern of experiencing jubilant happiness, almost to being high to the slamming down to extreme depression and then eventually even out. When I would go through one of these episodes, the high was very, very short lived but not so the depression. That would last and it would seem forever before I would find even footing.

I share this because I want anyone who is going through something similar to know it is ok. It is all part of the healing process. I did not know that. I would be over zealous in my short lived high. I would express love and joy and thought I had found nirvana only to cascade down and do what I called a face plant. It was a regular event. These episodes were brought on by therapy sessions of certain kinds that would induce extreme sensations and feelings. It was necessary to knock down the walls that I had created. I had to release so much and it was the manner that allowed that to happen. Fortunately for me, I have caring and loving people who support me.

I still cycle. Recently I experienced the sensation of feeling like I was a bit invincible. I was celebrating a new found space of comfort and growth. At first I was satiated and feeling Devine and then the downward thrust. It does not matter what caused it or what this particular episode was about because it is always the same. The good news is the time from high to low to even is much, much shorter and neither is as extreme. I can embrace the “even” sooner.

I share this now because part of what I am really “getting into” is the physiology of what happens in the brain and the body along with the spiritual components. Mind, body and spirit are totally intertwined. I find this all fascinating.

Pharmacy nightmare

pharmacy       “And how can I screw up your order today?”

This is a tale of debauchery and exploitation of the highest kind. I put this out there for my fellow bloggers so that the word can spread. The crime is health care and in this case, the pharmaceutical branch. Here is the plot. They make it impossible for humans to get the medicine they manufacture to the point of desperation. That way the suffering idiots will pay anything for it.

I am on a specialty drug called Enbrel. Enbrel runs about $1760.00 a shot. It may be more now. I would do just about anything I could to get off this. My reasons have only been amplified after this week. Enbrel suppresses the over active immune system I have which causes the inflammation every time I move. It also slows down the production of extra cells that create the psoriasis on my skin and in my organs.  I am lucky because it works. I was on originally taking it every week and I have reduced the dosage significantly. It also has some nasty side effects like making me incredibly susceptible to infections that could kill me because I would not be able to fight them off and can produce cancer cells.  No problem.

I called in my prescription into Accredo last November when I had to switch insurances. It took two months to get the first order. I had to go through so many hoops but I did get it. Then for my next shipment, they decided not to send it because the weather was bad. Really? It is not like they hand carry it. Well, that was just the beginning of a long process of lies. Every time I called them, I had to start with a new person and they had to hear the story and then read the notes. The outcome in the last six calls was they had it figured out. Every time, it was something else wrong. But it was also an hour every night on the phone. The last time I called, the woman was so pleasant and assured me she had it figured out. This call was an hour and half. She wanted me to call the next day to her supervisor who she sat near and she would then get on the phone. She did not have a direct number. The next day I called at the specific time and the number went right to voice mail. I did it five times…which give me some satisfaction because she has five annoying voice mails that say nothing. Then I called the main number and supposedly got someone else who said it was her supervisor too and she was at her desk and that she would go get tell her to take this call. And the other lady who was supposed to be at her desk was at lunch. Who would imagine that? So I waited as she transferred me and she said she would stay on the line until the supervisor picked up. I was so excited….and then, click….. nothing.

That did it. I had our benefit person call the insurance company directly and they called through and supposedly they are getting it fixed. Then I called the rheumatology office and they are on it and supposedly it is being shipped out on Monday. We will see. I hope I get a ton of it as it lasts for two years. Do not use Accredo if you can or Express Scripts which is the same.

On top of this, I get a B12 shot monthly. I went to the doctor on Thursday to get it and they are out. They do not have any and they cannot get it. I was absolutely disgusted with all this. This is like being held hostage.

The good news is I did some research and found something better than the B12 shot which was not working. In four months of shots I only raised my level 87 points. I am not even close to the normal range.  In my research, I also discovered that my ridiculously low B12 is also a contributing factor to the Psoriatic Arthritis and some of the other symptoms I have like poor metabolism. There is something interwoven in the inability for me to absorb B12 and what the impact the lack of this crucial vitamin causes in symptoms. I am now trying with the doctor’s suggestion  sublingual methylcobalamin 5000 MCG and folate 800mcg. This is over the counter and not uncommon in better pharmacies. It seems like there are so many things that this simple remedy will cure…not mask but alleviate. I had to do the work and the research. It really makes me upset but this is truly the path western medicine is headed. And customer service is a dying skill.