Category Archives: Chronic Illness

We’re Just Passin’ Through

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Unexpected Loss

My two oldest children lost their father to cancer this weekend. He was 61. Divorced over 30 years, we’d come to a peaceful place with each other. To the point where we could sit and have a conversation about our lives, the kids and the state of the world. You know, everyday stuff.

He didn’t know he was sick until about two months ago. So this was an unexpected leaving. The kids visited with him, and he was happy in his last hours. As happy as one can be in a dying state, I suppose. I grieve him. I grieve that he lived with illness and pain and that there was nothing that could be done for him. I am very sad that our children are grieving the loss of this gentle soul. Because that is what he was above all else. Gentleness in a world that is not often seen, or offered. No matter the differences that eventually pushed and pulled us apart in those early years, that gentleness was the reason I married him. He was the reason I am gifted with the presence of two amazing people on the life path. Thank you for that gentle soul.

My son and I made arrangements with the funeral home. I wrote his obituary. I wish now that I had said more about the gentle-man who had attempted to live and thrive in such a harsh world, but I didn’t. Seriously… he was almost too innocent for this world.

We Are More Than This…

My own esoteric experiences have taught me that this reality is meant to be a place of experiences, where lives can be lived well. Or not. It’s really up to each one of us to decide. Me? I’ve made some incredibly naive and not so great choices, pushing myself and this body through events and drama I would tell my dearest friends to run from, to steer way, way clear of. And the results? I wore out my vehicle. My body crashed.

Hey, but you know what? The crash that came with being the overachiever, the fixer, the mommy, the best wife I could possibly be, the one everyone could count on? It forced me to sit. Well, lay down at first. For months. Chronic illness is a bitch.

Some time has passed and an early form of recovery is happening, albeit snail’s pace slow. I sit in awareness. In beauty, in breezy, sunny days, or listening to the rain, or playing with Frankie, the long-haired chihuahua trusty side-kick, and appreciating my adult children who pop in and gab, or bring me a surprise bunch of sunflowers. I sit doing work I love, writing or editing novels or articles on finance and travel. Lots of super-present moments, mindful awareness, moments I had not experienced before the crash. I was lost, running on autopilot. Despite all of the meditative knowings, lucid dreams, despite knowing we are more than this… I fell.

Conscious Connection With All That Is

The crash brought me back into conscious connection with Spirit, to the soul Collective. And my ex’s transition from this world to the next reminded me yet again that this is not our home. He is gone home. He’s left the vehicle behind. Individual expressions of Spirit, we are graced with experiencing incredible, vibrant life, exploding into diversity and life-paths filled with cosmopolitan personal stories that ignite passion, hardship, sorrow, joy, and love, shooting off, weaving through and into the canvas of time.

So now? What. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to sit for a moment and watch the sun sparkles come through the rustling leaves blowing in the trees behind your house. Or close your eyes and listen to the cricket song as the sun falls away past the rooftops and the trees become shadows against the last flash of red light. Maybe watch the woodpeckers dig into the trees for bugs, or the blue jays fight over their territory. Listen to the squirrels complain because you’re too close to their stash. Smell the fresh-cut grass. Hug your loved one and breathe. Just stop. Be now. Feel the connection.

We are more than this…

Adventurer on the edge of the cliff by loutpany

Dedicated to HWT. Save me a seat at the edge, we’ll dangle our feet for a while before the next adventure.

 

 

Trust Without Borders

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Wow what a ride!  This life journey sure is a blast.  Took a minute for me to get to this place of acceptance and yep, discovery.  It’s a whole new world for me (I sound like Jasmine from Disney’s Aladdin… wait let me get my flying carpet out).  

Didn’t think I had it in me to make such major life changes, especially being 63 and all.  But who says we can’t do, learn, become more than this in the senior years of our lives? (and what’s considered senior nowadays?)  No one.  It’s our own perspective and the limits we set on ourselves.  

Health challenges pushed me out of the comfort zone into the unknown.  Oh no!  Let me just say, this Pollyanna chicklet was freaking out.  (and maybe sometimes I still do a little, for a few seconds when I wake up in the middle of the night and think what the he**)! 

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When I relax into the web of knowing, into trust of Spirit and All That Is, I do OK.  So far, every need has been met.  Every.  Single.  Thing.  The right doctors, the right tests, a work-from-home job I can do in my p.j.’s.  And not just any job, it’s a job that not only uses my writing and blogging skills, but allows me creative freedom (this is very cool).  I work in the sunny south windows with my trusty sidekick Francis aka “Frankie” the long-haired chihuahua, sipping hot chocolate from Penzy’s (the best) and snacking on tasty Envy apple slices.  Oh yah. 

Let it Be (John Lennon), Be Here Now (Ram Dass), Que Sera Sera (Doris Day) and of course my favorite We Are More Than This…  Trust without borders. 

Crosses

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Months and years of family and health challenges left me exhausted with more questions than answers. What the heck Universe, what’s the story? “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger!”  Hmm… does it, because I was pretty darn wiped out and not feeling strong in any way.  Good thing I have an awesome sense of humor and strong belief that we are more than this…  While gabbing with a friend on FaceTime, the collection of  crosses on my wall showed up behind me on the screen. She noticed the crosses. “They’re pretty aren’t they?  Each one unique and different.”  I said.  She asked if I had named them,  (in other words, the physical “crosses” I bear).  Interesting perspective, a perspective I had not considered and made me laugh.

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For me, crosses represent the intersection of Spirit with matter in order to experience physical life as human.  However, I sure appreciated my friend’s fresh perspective.  The challenges presented over the many years and months could very well be named as my “crosses.” They are the intersection of Spirit experiencing life in all of its Fullness.  Living experience.  Energy of the Collective Whole, Spirit, God in all of Its glory, living out unique, creative, beautiful experiences.  Some tough and challenging, others easy and fun, still others wild, out-of-control crazy!  So hold on tight! We are witnesses and companions to the unfolding and manifesting Spirit.  There will be good times and not-so-good times on this journey. All part of our experience as more than physical, as more than this…

“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.”  ~ Louise Erdrich, The Painted Drum

Myriad of Things

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God

Disguised

As a myriad things and

Playing a game

Of tag

Has kissed you and said,

“You’re it—

I mean, you’re Really IT!”

Now

It does not matter

What you believe or feel

For something wonderful,

Major-league Wonderful

Is someday going

To

Happen.

~ Hafiz, “You’re It”

 

Tag. You’re IT!  Do you believe something wonderful, major-league is about to happen?  I always have.  I want to keep believing.  These days it’s meant believing with a whole bunch of challenges.  Health challenges, financial challenges, life-purpose challenges, all abounding around.  In the midst of it all I see and feel God, as a myriad of things, encircling me.  In the presence of the people I am with daily, in the winter sunshine pouring through my home office window, in the trees wearing the winter snow, in my pup’s wiggly butt as he brings me his favorite toy for playtime, these, each and all living God.  So maybe someday is not here yet, and the major-league wonderful is still coming.  In the meantime, the myriad of things gives me joy and keeps me going. Tag “You’re IT!” Living God.

 

Soul Family

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soul family

 

Where do you find your strength? What moves you forward, upward, onward, possibly inward despite what’s occurring on the day-to-day life path? Who or what inspires you?

At any point over the last several years. I might have given up, stopped working completely, crawled into a hole, thrown in the towel on every day life, surrendering to the debilitating physical illnesses that insidiously sideswiped me, throwing me off my comfortable life-path. I crashed, but didn’t burn. I refused to lay there and got right back on life’s roads… repeatedly. Wouldn’t have any of it. No. Wouldn’t given in, wouldn’t give up. But I wasn’t alone, my “soul family” walked beside me.

Reflecting on what occurred over the last several years, the people I came into contact with, those family and friends that continue to be present… all has been instrumental and necessary. Looking at it all from a different, big picture perspective has provided insight. The insights as a result of my experiences were waiting in the wings whispering for attention. Some so in my face and obvious, I missed them completely! Other lessons quietly moved me from one step to the next and the next and the next, where then… a destination magically appeared, perhaps not what I expected or what I might have chosen, but a destination nonetheless. Then. When I’d land, and think o.k. I’m all right for now, surprise! A vortex of chaotic activity appeared again swirling into yet another series of events.

I learned patience and true self-care. As a result of dietary and nutritional changes, my overall health improved. I learned how important it is to get the sleep my body requires (not what I thought I could get by on). Much of my life I’ve acted as if I were Wonder Woman, able to face and overcome any obstacle at any time, doing whatever it took. Now I understand this is an unreasonable demand on the mind, body and soul. Wonder Woman behavior can cause what I call “body crash” and “soul disconnect,” something I’ve experienced first hand and continue resolving today. I now realize and accept healthy limitation. Each day I am better and better in every way. Progress has been a little slower than I’d prefer, even so it has appeared and I’m a grateful.

Soul family members walked this path with me, sharing in the experiences… my adult children, siblings, friends, work colleagues doctors and other medical professionals, throughout the toughest times, they held me in positive thought and supported me with encouraging words and actions (for which I am ever grateful). We’ve talked and shared what it means to truly practice care for the mind, body, and soul. The health challenges I’ve faced have brought about large life change, change I know I would not otherwise have made. The challenges have been the impetus for action, new ways of doing, thinking, behaving, and believing… All of which unfolded working hand-in-hand with others. We all played a part in the unfolding of increased wellness… without them, without my soul family, I would not be where I am today.  You know who you are, Thank You!

 

 

 

 

Only one world… It’s now

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josephine wall tree of life

Tree of Life by Josephine Wall

If you’ve followed my blog, then you know the stories of my living between two worlds, the physical and the spiritual. Sometimes I’m dreaming or visioning or learning with non-physical spiritual teachers, sometimes I’m all about living in the physical and taking on day-to-day challenges. Well, the worlds have blended, there is no other world anymore, no “there” and no “here.” It’s just one place. It’s now, in this very moment.

Conscious that we are living representations of our source or spiritual self, I realize I am that spiritual self. I am not two separate beings, one spiritual, one physical. Knowing this means recognizing the divinity in all others just as much as being fully conscious of my own spiritual origin. When a colleague walks into my office, aware or unaware of their own source consciousness, aware or unaware that we are more than this, I know it is my responsibility to listen with discernment. There is a lesson in what is unfolding. There is a message in the sound of the words. There is an agreement between us as a Collective Whole to experience as they are, as I am in these moments, in each moment unfolding throughout the events occurring.

Excitement and an ease of living comes with this knowledge. There is a peace that permeates with the recognition, with this conviction and knowing that there is an agreed upon blueprint of some sort. All we need do is step into the flow as the moments, minutes, hours, days, years of the print unfold… and trust that as a member of the Spirit Collective all is well and as it should be.

No one knows better than I how frustrating physical existence can be. Before Grace gifted me with this awareness and conviction, in the grip of illness and physical pain, I called out, I felt persecuted, I felt as if I were a failure. Me, the meditator, the empath, the teacher, the spiritual mentor. I was sickI was sad. I was struggling… How could this be? How had I come to be in such a place?

Much farther down the road, I now very clearly see how each event, each experience has been important, has carried weight, has led to another step to some next place in time, in some cases to intersections and new life choices, even during states of illness and struggle or contentment and joy. I am not alone in this endeavor. There have always been fellow travelers on the life path. Fellow “tribe” members. We have agreed to be here intersecting in space and time, having the experience.

There are still days where I feel ill, or too tired to keep going. There are still times I struggle with situations, however I know with certainty that I will make it to the next moment. And that moment may be very different from the previous moment. I know with certainty that I am never alone, that I walk in strength of companionship with all others, be they unaware or aware. I know that beyond the physical, those who do not manifest in the body also walk with us. And it’s good, and all good. Answers to questions are delivered, resources supplied, even to the smallest degree. We just need to pay attention to the moment.

More to come fellow traveler. Peace.

We are more than this…

She Lived

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Etching by Gustave Dore

Etching by Gustave Dore

 

A dear friend of mine passed away a week ago after an 8 year struggle with cancer. She has gone beyond the veil. I was fortunate enough to have spent some long periods of time with her this year. I realized this morning that during these last few months, with health and abilities declining, she didn’t lose her “spark.” Because of this, I actually missed the fact that she was losing the battle with cancer. My first thought… I was in denial. However, reflecting on our conversations I see now that yes, her body was declining, but she was the same person she had always been, loving, caring, joyful, positive, conversational and very funny. Her body changed but she didn’t, so I didn’t see that she’d be leaving us soon. I missed it completely.

We worked together over a period of ten years, developing a friendship after she resigned due to cancer treatment and declining health. When we spent time together, she would catch me off guard with her humor talking about “this cancer” or life events that had occurred. Life events that would have thrown most of us into a deep dark tizzy she handled with calm grace. I learned from her. The gracefulness, trust and humor illustrated in her words and actions quietly, without notice, sifted into my own approach to life. Gifts I didn’t realize she’d gently passed to me. I wonder if she knew herself? If she saw the change…

What I will remember most from our time together over the last five years is the laughter, the stories and memories we’d share about the old workplace, family or pets. She’d have this grin on her face, and sometimes would stop talking altogether because we’d think the same thing… pause and wham!  We’re both laughing to the point of tears. What a hero! … I miss her already. Thank you dear friend for sharing your life-journey with me. Thank you for laughing and crying with me, thank you for showing me that we are more than these bodies, more than the events that make up our lives, that we are indeed living spirit experiencing life and most of all that we are more than this… Life’s journey is a workshop for the Spirit!

We will see each other again.

We Are Heroes… Magnificent and Courageous

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We are heroes, strong and courageous. Warriors of the day and sometimes the night. Life events unfold, some so good, others just tragic, through youth, young adulthood to adult, to middle age, and elder years. Good childhoods, not-so-good childhoods, wonderful home life, so-so home life, broken homes, great parents or broken parents. We get married, maybe stay that way or later divorced, sometimes face the challenges of being with a partner who has addictions, or maybe we deal with that challenge ourselves. Sometimes we stay single, or sometimes we lose our partner well before their time and we are alone. Children come along, or sometimes they don’t… but if they do, along with them is another set of life events that intersect with our own. We choose careers we love… or hate, sometimes just in-between. Our health is good, or not so good, or maybe absolutely horrible, but we move on moment-to-moment, day-to-day, year-to-year, fighting the good fight… being a hero.  We are heroes… life-path warriors.

This is how I’ve chosen to see living. As a person of courage. How else can such human life tragedy or joy, despair or all-good be fittingly described? In seeing myself as a strong, heroic, capable being, I am better able to face any particular moment as it unfolds. I am a hero.

While driving to and from the office, just me and my thoughts, I’ve reinforced this glorious hero perspective by listening to inspiring, epic music. Some composed by Audiomachine, their songs Blood and Stone, Hope and Glory, Solstice Sun, Army of Kings,  Existence: Beyond the Clouds and Rebirth are my favorites. Violinist Lindsey Stirling also has some amazing send-shivers-through-your-body compositions such as Transcendence, Elements, Song of the Caged Bird and Assassin’s Creed Theme. I get in 60 minutes every day of “I can conquer the world” hero-rousing tunes. Some bring memories of getting through a particular life event that left me broken way back when, bringing on tears but also feelings of gratitude for having bravely survived what occurred. Grateful for the courage that has kept me going.

We are amazing creatures. Perfect beings in our imperfections. You are courageous. You are magnificently brave. Choose to recognize the hero that you are. And so it goes, and so it is, and so it shall be. All said. We carry on. Peace dear reader, and much love to you for the journey.

 

I Am Not Broken

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Leah Pearlman Dharma Comics

Leah Pearlman
Dharma Comics

The betrayal began ever so slowly in 2008. At first I blamed the stress of crazy work hours and raising a family alone for being sick. Unable to eat without frequent trips to the bathroom (sorry, I know TMI), nausea, dizziness and weakness…  Feeling broken and betrayed by my body, I went on a quest to regain wellness. I dove into the land of doctors, tests, hospitals and specialists. One doctor told me I had IBS (nope), another said it was GERD (test said no), still another said it was my gall bladder. She sent me for a gall bladder scan, said it was malfunctioning and to go see the surgeon… have it taken out. Surgeon said no, just don’t eat fried foods. “You’re a healthy woman, just eat right and you’ll be fine.” Oh. Ok. I didn’t eat fried foods but I figured he’s the expert, maybe I just needed to eat even healthier than healthy.

I went in for food allergy testing at the suggestion of a friend, about 15 foods show up. I cut them from my menus, including gluten, soy and dairy. Already down 15 pounds, this new change in diet spurred another 15 pound weight-loss… I’m now down 30 pounds, feeling even weaker and more fatigued. My long-time doctor suggested I see a nutritionist. She’s very concerned and afraid for me and says so. I appear to be suffering from malnutrition. The nutritionist tells me that she believes I have adrenal fatigue in addition to the food allergies and a lowered immune system. I follow her menus, feel a little better, however I gain no weight. I know. What a problem right? But I’m in a size 2 now and that’s just too thin.

Mid-2015, I have no vacation or sick time left. My body has betrayed me big time. I am frustrated and embarrassed. Confidence has faded. My social life is non-existent. I’ve become a recluse. I’m afraid to eat but force 2000 calories of anything I can stomach down so I won’t lose any more weight. The doctors give me medications for nausea, medications for dizziness, medications for GERD (which I don’t have), medications for acid reducers (I don’t have acid reflux). I see a gastro dude, he does all the tests, they come back clear. No cancer, no celiac disease, no ulcers. He tells me to take the acid reducers. What? I don’t have indigestion. I don’t have acid reflux. I don’t take them. I will have none of it.

Caring for the family and holding onto my job were my driving forces throughout this challenging time. Despite how I felt physically, except for the very worst of days, I went in to the office. I found side streets through small neighborhoods that took me the 11 1/2 miles in every day rather than the main roads. If I felt sick, I could pull over and wouldn’t be in the midst of traffic. I kept plastic bags in the car and a change of clothes. I knew where all the bathrooms were on the way to work. I took naps at breaks and at lunchtime, drinking bone-broths and water, living on boiled chicken, potatoes and rice. I stopped socializing completely, sometimes hitting the pillows at 7:30 p.m. hoping I would get enough magical deep sleep and feel better the next day. I couldn’t trust that this body, this earthly vehicle would function from moment to moment. I became anxious and fearful.

Life had become nothing more than trying to make it from one moment to the next. Enough. I took my health into my own hands. July of this year, based on “gut” feeling (pun intended), I went to see the surgeon who did my emergency appendectomy 3 years ago. I explained what had been occurring and told her I thought it was my gall bladder. She listened, affirmed the symptoms as possible gall bladder disease and ordered another scan. She called and scheduled gall bladder surgery the next day. Yes. It was distended. After the surgery she said, “You should have had this out years ago, it was completely inflamed.” Who would have thought one little organ could wreck such havoc?

Surgery was August 12th. It’s October. I am a new woman. I had pumpkin pancakes and chicken-apple sausage for dinner last night. I am joy-filled. I am no longer sick after I eat. I’m regaining strength and have gained a pound or two. It’s been a long, long journey to wellness. It will take more time to feel 100%, especially with the anxiety and fear of illness that has become my life. I had an ah-ha moment the other day when I realized how cautious I’ve become about what goes into my mouth. Living with chronic illness had become a way of life, it was MY life. I will have to rebuild the trust that this body will do what it is supposed to do, to reprogram mind to know body is doing ok now.

During the years of illness, I lost contact with several friends because I couldn’t make it to their parties, celebrations, life-events. I was too sick. Still, there were those, both family and friends, who stood by me and supported me regardless of my condition, they showed up at the hospital, they took me to appointments, they did my grocery shopping and brought me food. They helped me clean house and let me sleep when I couldn’t keep going, sometimes entire weekends. In addition to family and friends, there were many women, earth angels, at the office who supported me throughout the years. I am deeply grateful for their prayers, support, encouragement and everlasting understanding while I walked this journey to a new state of wellness. You know who you are!

In addition to moving onto a path to wellness, the four-week recovery from surgery provided downtime to finish writing my book, “An Awakening – Life’s Journey is a Workshop for the Spirit: We are more than this.” I finished writing the book, had it edited, worked with a book cover artist, contacted an e-book formatting company, pulled the book together and released it on Amazon. It was literally effortless. Each step flowed from one to the next. This is when you know with conviction that you’re doing what you’re meant to do.

So what do you think? A happy ending wouldn’t you say? Each day I feel stronger and healthier, happier and more alive. I’m still a bit of a homebody, baby steps might be a good idea for now. I received the first royalty check today from Amazon. Wow. It can only get better. Many thanks, much love and deep bow to all who held me up through these last 7 years. I am forever grateful.

And so it is. And so it shall be.