Tag Archives: hope

I am ALIVE!!!

As I finally decide to sit down and write, one thought is louder and a bit more pushy then the rest…it’s that we all go through things in our lives that leave us feeling, for lack of a better word…DEMOLISHED!! This can be anything. It might be a relationship issue, a challenge to your mental health or a snafu to your physical health. It might be family, friend, life, work, body, mind or soul related. Sometimes it might be a multitude of those things occurring somewhat simultaneously …which we all know BITES, LIKE REALLY FREAKIN’ HARD.

I am going to keep this brief (doubtful) and hopefully even more than that…simple. Life can throw us some serious F’n curve balls. Because why? Because it is life…that is what the fuck it does. No further explanation needed. Without the dramatic details, I will say this, I am no stranger to any of the aforementioned struggles. Work…check. Physical health…Check. Depression, Anxiety,  just plain soul sickness? Check. check. check.

I haven’t blogged in over a month. My usual and customary M.O would be “Ummm…ya know what?  too much time went by…I give up…Yet another thing I started but didn’t continue, but…whatever…I kind of hated blogging anyway .” (now go ahead and add in some sprinkles of mild self-loathing and a touch of self-righteous indignation and you may have even had my younger self’s  response to what I perceived as a (wait for it…) “shortcoming” in my character!

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But not so fast Y’all…that is precisely why I started to blog to begin with…to reflect, learn, nurture and even forgive MYSELF!!!  And perhaps inspire others to do the same along the way.

So today, as “they” say, is a new day. It doesn’t take away all the days I had that were hard. It does not “undo” the days that felt or perhaps even WERE impossible to write.  However… it doesn’t mean that I can’t just write a few paragraphs today and simply haul off and hit publish. I think writing is one of those “just get back on the bike” type of things. Maybe life knocked me down for a bit. Maybe my automatic thinking voice was “Oh well…I guess I won’t write anymore”,  but what about my quieter voice…the one I have to really tune in to hear? The one that might say something a bit more polite and a tad more kind like,  “Listen, it’s been a tough few months and look at you…You are still here! You still have things to share and words that are real and important and worth writing. Even if for no one else but YOU!”

So, ya know what?  It’s a start. Sometimes you just have to say “I am alive” and hit publish, knowing that it is enough. Because being alive, well that is pretty fucking important! And sometimes staying that way is pretty fucking hard. So celebrate life today and know this…not everyday will be a great day…not every month will be a productive month.  However, each day you wake up, breathe and learn how to navigate this world to the best of your ability, you have won. Every day that you reach out to another when your own ability for living seems weakened at best…well, in my humble opinion, my friend, you have succeeded.

So let’s just celebrate and honor all the little things that prove we are ALIVE…the inhales, the exhales, the getting out of bed and the crawling back under the blanket…the writing, laughing and dancing  and the silent, sleeping, desperate sobs.  Let us honor all of it! Today, I honor the wonderful things and the terrifying crap and all of the stuff we survive that falls somewhere between the laughter and the tears.

So…as you can see, even though it’s been almost two months and a boat load of life since last I wrote,  I am very much alive, and if you are reading this, so are you!  And well, as it would happen, that is what the HELL we are celebrating right now!!!  So go ahead and do something FABULOUS for yourself, because ya damn well better believe I am!

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Strep Throat…A Small Price To Pay To Have My Darkness Fade Away

What do you do when you want to write…but your mind feels blank…yet your heart feels weighted and heavy in a way that it needs emptying? I don’t know what to do with my feelings tonight…I am dealing with an illness (lupus) that has managed to completely wreak unexpected havoc on my body and mind, on my spirit and even on my home for that matter. And tonight (and many other nights, days, afternoons, mornings…I AM THOROUGHLY PISSED OFF! ) I am also confused and sad and honestly,  I simply and sadly feel as a person I am CHANGED.

I have always been an emotional person…a “feeling a lot”,  (perhaps too much) type of person. My ability to tune into my own feelings and as well as deeply empathize with the feelings of others has pretty much guided the course of my life. I am a psychotherapist by profession and I truly love my job, it is sacred and beautiful to travel with others on their own inner journeys.  However, right now,  I am definitely in the midst of some deeply painful shit…and though I have an abundance of dear friends, parents that love me beyond words, a husband who has been by my side for almost 20 years, two beautiful boys…tonight and so many nights as of late, I feel so completely and utterly alone.

I know, at least I hope, that  I will be able to  find ways to integrate these dark feelings in with the light…I will have to find ways to weave the painful shredded fibers in with the hopefully stronger, fabrics that make up relief and healing. I pray I find ways to ease the relentless questions of my mind, find a way to  stop the unending search for answers, the hows, the whys, the what the hells?  The what if’s?  Yes, those, “when the fuck did this happen?”  type of questions, the ones that I am sure may never be answered nor would they be particularly useful if even if they were. I mean do I really need to know…”Yes…it was that bug spray, that spray paint, that north wind that caused this disease to activate.”  I can’t turn back time and undo any particular event that may have contributed to this process…so it is just toxic to live there.

I have been having terrible nightmares as well…a side effect of some medication, in my opinion. So,  I feel infinitely more apprehensive this evening, in these late hours of the night.  Yet, as I nod off to sleep, quite literally, falling in and out of consciousness while writing this…I realize that my 13-year-old son has snuggled up next to me, his head leaning on my hip, his size 10 man feet dangling from my bed. (Now…this is not great since he has strep throat and a 101 fever) however, just for tonight,  I am willing to risk just about anything to steal what is sadly becoming…a more limited number of tender moments, the one’s that he used to offer up so freely and abundantly . Yet, tonight …on his own thirteen year old terms (which apparently could be a side effect of him being kind of sick and weak? HEY…I’ll take what I can get! ) Tonight…he is being generous with his snuggles. When he came in to say goodnight, he actually took my arm and said “mommy…I love you so, so much”…This unsolicited declaration is not common place anymore, so if that was the only moment, I would have savored it.

I am also realizing… just as I write this…that some of my heavy heart is also entangled in the thirteenth birthday of this beautiful boy. He is a May baby…just like his mamma. He is dancing on the cusp of crazy adolescence, while still hanging on a bit longer (thank God) to the threads that keep him my sweet little boy.

So, just for tonight,  I worry and grieve and choke back what feels like an endless supply of tears because it feels this sickness is stealing away parts of my life. The parts of me, that at no point and time, and I mean NEVER, NOT EVER… not one damn time, have I offered up for the taking!  These dark feelings try to grip me and drown me in sorrow, they try to take hostage my sleep and my inner peace. But on this night….I lay here in bed, with my laptop humming, my husband sound asleep to my right and my son somehow fitting perfectly into the small space that is left on my other side. All of a sudden, I feel acutely aware of the abundance of gifts in my life.

I am not as alone as I thought just a mere 20 minutes ago. How can I not  cherish the beauty of what I DO have? Pain and fear are making it all too easy to focus on what I don’t have.  While I fight and battle with this pain, this disease and all its unknowns, I begin to realize that there are a few things that I do know and I know them with absolute certainty!

My thirteen year old, the tough guy, the one who  drives me to the brink of insanity almost daily…the one who pushes every damn button I have and laughs as he get’s the crazy to come dancing and jumping right the hell out of me! My boy…the one who gets the reactions he had hoped as he encourages his younger brother to join in the game of  “let’s drive mommy to the brink and watch the show!” Yeah…that’s my boy.  However, for now… he remains snuggled up, sound asleep by my side. His breathing is a steady rhythm bringing unexpected reassurance about mostly everything in the whole world right now. You know what? I am thinking these days may be numbered and that kind of makes me cry even as I type this…Tears. So in this moment, I will simply cherish his sleepy, fevered head by my side, cherish it with every ounce of my being.

My eight year old tried to wrangle his way into our bed earlier and we had the “NO WAY” discussion because he is “too accustomed” to his sleepy mommy and daddy just caving and saying… “sure…come child, disrupt our sleep…because we are too tired and old to fight you off.”  So,  tonight…he stays tucked under his Spider Man Comforter, head nestled in Avengers pillows. The night is young at 12:19 am, so he may still find his way in, during the wee morning hours. But for now, it seems my heaviness, my darkness, is unexpectedly lifted.  I think it’s by this writing, it is by this process of letting my thoughts flow out into words, however poorly written, I just don’t care. Really, I don’t…They are out of my head and on the screen and I can’t help but feel a bit lighter.

I also feel lucky…or is it grateful? Yes, It is Grateful. Tonight I recognize that I have my struggles, my pain, my illness…but it is certainly not all that I have and is most definitely NOT all that I am. Chronic pain can try to steal the brightness from my life…but there is no possible way that it can know this secret…the secret that deep, pure and unconditional love is simply and fully immune to being stolen! It just can NOT be stolen by a thief and his cruel and stealthy ways. For it seems that tonight, I am veiled in protection, I am cloaked in peace. All by this little man who drives me to unimaginable levels of frustration by day…but on this particular night, he is the sweetest of lights. He is the thread weaving together the good and the bad. He is the integration between pain and freedom.

He may likely never know, how on this night…when I felt like all of my chips had been cashed in and the cruel “thief” known as pain tried to steal all of my good…that he was my protector…and that was just from being by my side, his unexpected snuggles and his drifting off to sleep. I listen to him breathe and I feel grateful and I feel blessed. I feel honored by his presence tonight.

I also feel like within 24 hours I will likely be infected with Strep Throat…which can’t be good when dealing with an f’d up immune system, but I feel like this…what’s a bacterial infection if not just a tiny price to pay? Payment for the precious snuggle and sweet, sleepy, unconditional love that is being so freely offered tonight. I don’t know if it’s the fever or the antibiotics or genuinely a boy just needing his mom…honestly, it doesn’t much matter, I’ll take it.

So thank you my boy…thank you for getting me out of my funk…and most likely giving me yours.

For Survivors…Some Lessons From A Garden

Lately, I have been spending more time in the evening outside with my garden…my plants, my flowers, the earth. I have a disease that is making it almost impossible right now for me to be in the sunlight.  I have been mourning parts of who I used to be, while fiercely trying to adapt…to acclimate and navigate what I may become. This is new to me and sometimes the grief is heavy.  However…there is a gift that seems to be an integral part of this painful process.  The gift is being alone with my thoughts (but not in a scary way…) I am in solitude, yet feel one with the earth…in my garden, in nature. Not in the sun…but in the quiet hours of dusk, through the stillness…through the quiet, gentle breezes…If I am able to quiet my mind and listen closely…I can sometimes hear the lessons being gently taught.

Lessons from my garden

Upon looking at a flowering bush that was all but  “dead” two springs past… The one I was being encouraged to  chop down and discard, and I ALMOST  conceded to, but did not, because…HOPE! This is what she whispered to me last night…(if you take issue with my plants metaphorically speaking to me, stop reading…like, right now…seriously… I won’t be offended. She had a lot to say! )

So She Spoke…

“Just because I “look” dead…does not mean I am dead!  Give me time. My own time. Not your time. Nor someone else’s ideas and pressures of time. Won’t you help me out a just a bit? I will have to do most of the work, (the really tough inner work)… but perhaps you can help brush away the dead leaves, the ones that are making it hard for me to grow. Might you even trim my branches? Just the ones that you know for a FACT are hurting me…for this will allow my other less fractured ones to grow even stronger. ”

Prior to this…She was hiding…resting…invisible…Branches barren and fractured, looking like there was no hope. In her own time, she became what she was supposed to.

“If it seems someone did not know how to care for me in the past or perhaps even harmed me by planting me in the wrong environment…maybe you can learn about how to help me take root in a new space. A space that might be more suited for what I need to thrive. However…once you help me move, it’s going to take me time to learn, time to learn about this new and healthier space. Perhaps… to even know I have arrived somewhere new. I beg you… Please, give me time to adjust, time for my roots to take hold…I am not used to being in conditions that are well-suited for my heath. I am not used to all of  this potential!”

“Just because It is good for me…and YOU know it’s far better…I will still need time to understand that I am really here…in a place with more favorable conditions for my survival.  In my own time, I may learn that sunlight and water and rich soil that is filled with nutrients, is in fact, better than the darkness I had  so grown so very accustomed to. I didn’t truly understand I was in the darkness, I even learned to like the darkness… don’t you see? I didn’t know my conditions were as unfavorable as they might have been…for they were all that I knew.”

“So my friend, just because YOU know it’s healthy and better….does NOT mean that I don’t deserve plenty of time to adapt and learn, on my own, HOW  and WHY it is better.  So please, PLEASE… don’t over water me just because I never had enough of it in my life. Give it to me little by little.  Don’t keep telling me how wonderful it is on this side…let me come to that on my own. Check on me from time to time, come and sit by my side every now and again.  You just might be surprised that although I may not be perfect (and who amongst us is?) and I may not always use or “appreciate” all of my resources like it seems the others do, Ya know…the ones that have always lived on this side of the garden? Even still…I will still grow. One leaf, one branch, one petal and maybe even one blossom at at time”

“And please remember this…winter will come again. The seasons will change, the ground will shift, the temperature and climate will not always be optimal for me. I will fade. I may be buried and I may even “look” lifeless. But as we know, it seems that things are just as they should be. And when that time comes again…just help me brush off the remains of  seasons past. Perhaps even honor those decaying leaves…for they protected me from the harshest of weather. Maybe, to you, they do not look pretty, but to me… those are the very things that kept me alive and warm through the storms.”

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“Please don’t be discouraged by my reluctant pace or my damaged and misshapen branches or blossoms. Instead…Sit in AWE of my tenacity, my resilience, my remarkable ability to survive all I have. To have survived and still be counted amongst the living!  I am my own unique miracle. So THANK YOU…thank you friend,  for not giving up on me and for giving me the time and the space I needed to grow and to heal. It may not be how others would do it …but it is the way that seems exactly right for me.”

“I do like it here on this side of the garden and believe it or not…I am even teaching the others that were born in just the right place, a thing or two that they may need to better survive these harsh, unpredictable winters.  In return…it seems, they may be showing me a little something…like how to not be so very afraid of such an abundance of all of the things that I had always needed…but didn’t even know I had been missing.”

And That Is What She Said.

So…as you can see…we all have something to learn. Lately,  it is me being the student and nature being the teacher. And that is just fine. As long as we remain teachable and open, you really never quite know, from where the lessons will come from.

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Blooming In Spite Of It All…

Remember…it was a rough winter…this was covered in decaying leaves, ice and snow… invisible for so long, maybe even considered gone forever.  Yet despite unfavorable conditions…this feisty flower said, “Not so fast bitches…I will bloom in spite of it all.”  And little by slowly, I am watching it happen. If you are struggling for hope or the conditions feel tough or impossible,  you too,  have the innate ability to bloom. Look around you…sometimes hope comes in unexpected forms. May you find some beautiful, tiny glimmers of light on this holiday weekend. As for me…things have been rough, things have been painful…but my plan includes some serious pushing up through the mud and the darkness and blooming the fuck out of this day.

Now…go ahead and look… and let me know those unexpected signs of hope that you might  just find.  garden3

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Now…this is a different determined little guy…but he too, refused to be held down.

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and her too!!

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SLENDER LORIS HELPS WOMAN COPE WITH CHRONIC PAIN

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Because sometimes…after having a night where you wake up in pain that is indescribable at 3:46am, tears flowing in your sleep… for the 297th time in a year, Ya just need to open your eyes to this guy.

He is all like “What’s the problem? I am just the cutest f’n 8 month old Slender Loris (that’s it’s proper name).  I personally think we shall call him “Frankie…who you callin’ slender Loris”.

I love him, He makes me happy…Pain sucks hard. Lupus sucks harder…but Frankie, does not suck at all. So If you are going through it today,  whatever that means for you, I know it’s hard. You are not alone. I  promise.

But come on.

Frankie. He’s gotta make things even just a teeny bit better and that’s gotta count for something.

“KEEP CALM AND LOVE A SLENDER LORIS”