Sunday, May 29, 2016

Humpty Dumpty

Practical advice on coping with chronic illness to stumble across when needed
Where all the king's horses and all the king's men would fail, when the bleak whisper of you're broken and you will never be well swirls these things will help:

Breathe. It will not always feel this hard. This too shall pass. Go on swear at me, slap my smug face. It's still true. I know it's the last thing that seems possible but batten down the hatches and just get through this storm by letting the breath connect you with your body. You're in this together.

Listen. Your body can tell you what will make it feel better, one step at a time. Believe it whatever your ego wants to tell you about what is 'healthy' or 'best' or 'right'. You don't do healing, you allow it.

Sleep. Yes, you can go back to bed after you just got up. Yes, you can have as many naps a day as you need. You will not always need this much sleep, it is not a bottomless pit, you can fill it up.

Water. Drink it, bathe in it, sit by it.

Friends. If you can't get to them, email them, phone them, reach out and let them talk to you. Let them listen to you ramble your way back to sense. Laugh and cry with them. They want to show you how much they love you. Receive.

Trees. They're your friends too. If you can't get out of bed yet go to the woods in your mind. Get close to them as soon as you can.

Breathe. Keep coming back to deep belly breaths. Ground in your body and feel your way. There are no rules. There is no right way to do anything. Let your body guide you. It's not about what you do or don't do it's about how you do or don't do it.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Dotting and dabbling

Dawn chorus bird walk from the Earth Trust with Ben Carpenter

Bluebell woods at Aston Rowant Nature Reserve

May oak tree canopy at Nettlebed
What am I doing here?

It's a question more for life than this blog, though the layer of dust I just swept aside makes me note the relevance here too! It's a question that has got undue airtime so far this year. I think it came to the fore when I decided I was healthy, over the ME and then rather than revelling in the luxury of feeling healthy I somehow jumped to the story that I'd better get my ass in to gear and do something to demonstrate my spectacular awesomeness to the world.

Is it a coincidence that I've had one niggly illness after another since the end of January? I've felt like crap and all the while loaded more hurt and stress upon by body as I battled the fear that the chronic fatigue is not behind me. It's a sad fact that not recovering well from a cold and then finding yourself locked in the joy that this is chronic sinusitis replicates a hell of a lot of the symptoms and worse: the feelings - the doubts - the questions about what is the 'best' thing to do, what is the 'right' thing to do.

This little ship o'mine rights itself a little more quickly these days. Bailing those toxic, unanswerables out when I get the perspective to observe them.  It all drags though. Takes energy. To find the acceptance of where I am today, to draw back in the spiralling thoughts and let the focus come to the next thing. Then when a flicker of energy arises feeling so bored with plodding through the familiar furrows, till the energy is spent in wondering what am I doing here?

Oh cycle of doom! I seek release from you in letting go of that silly question, remembering beautiful words from Rumi. Stopping and watching nature unleash majesty all around me, finding the space for wonder instead of brick walls. Dotting and dabbling, a bit of this and a bit of that doesn't make a cohesive narrative in the moment but one day I'll look back and join the dots, or swim deep in a pool that I found by dipping in my toe.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Today I love...

Blossom, blue skies and bees

It's been a sticky sort of a week - aches, fears and frustrations swirling and if you'd asked me what I loved on Monday or Tuesday I might have struggled to find an answer. So the first thing I love today is that I feel fondly enough about life to make a list of loves!

I'm also loving - warm sun paired with cool April breezes, birds in flight, my new stack of library books calling out to me to be read, making lunch plans with friends, yoga, vanilla rooibos tea, feeling visible, my four colour biro, being at the start of a season, knowing that it is a full moon tomorrow, jacket potatoes planned for tea, soft cat noses, blossom, blossom and blossom, Artweeks soon, online shopping, the thought of tucking in to bed tonight.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

24 hours of Glastonbury

Walking up Glastonbury Tor 9th April 2016

Tree with offering ribbon at Glastonbury Tor

Journalling and researching St Michael

A week on from an overnight blast of Glastonbury I'm just starting to feel into where that magic place has created some new spaces to explore. My favourite time was spent with the Tor. It's a wonderful way marker of health, of vitality, of a trust in my body that for so many years evaded me. It's also right on the St Michael leyline and if my psychic reading is to be believed he's a spirit guide of mine.

I'm in two minds as to whether that last sentence needs an exclamation mark or not. Having a psychic reading was my "gently stepping over boundaries/living the willingness to be open to new experiences/exploring my magic" part of this fun trip. Before the reading it definitely would have had an exclamation mark; after, it feels out of place. It was such a gentle, straightforward experience. Much as I know better, I guess there's still a lot of Hollywood, Madame Zelda type associations in my mind when the word psychic arises. The lack of gold hoop earrings and tall, dark strangers was pleasingly compensated for by some very sane advice. Lots of gentle, practical things to explore - most of which centre around finding a real sense of peace and home within my body. This makes such deep sense to me. Years of chronic illness burn through any easy relationship between mind, body and spirit. I'm slowly rebuilding and letting magic be a part of that feels very important.

There was a moment when Sabrina and I were chatting where I wondered whether I should be telling her so much, as if I wanted to test what she could pick up from my soul without my conscious participation. That is such an illustration of this wrestling within me - the need to see it to believe it versus the deep longing for more than the surface. I take so much of 'science' on trust that, as with the moment when I committed to being open to allow her the best insight in to 'me' as a whole, I am committed to having some faith in the unseen, the mystery, the Divine.

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Letting go of what and where and when..

Overwintered pelargonium as a metaphor for making it through the winter
...and how and why and probably who.

I'm a curious orange and spend so much time in my head with the serving men as the mighty Kipling called them in The Elephants's Child:

 I Keep six honest serving-men:
       (They taught me all I knew)
     Their names are What and Where and When
       And How and Why and Who.
     I send them over land and sea,
       I send them east and west;
     But after they have worked for me,
       I give them all a rest.

It's the last bit that trips me up, I spend so much time working them that I often forget to give them a rest. I have that poem on my pinboard at work, as a researcher it pleases me greatly to come back to those questions when I've been sidetracked off in to a blind alley. As a human Being I often try and use them to stop me getting in to blind alley, even though I know that getting somewhere you don't ultimately want to be can actually bring the greatest learning. I spend time trying to think my way through instead of moving my way through.

I am deliberately underscheduled for a week of leave from work, I have carefully chosen the few engagements for the week and actively cultivated hours of white space to try and tune in to my intuition, my body's wisdom and to play. To try and give that overwrought mind a rest and find some space within. From the bustle of the weeks leading up to this, dragging through the end of winter, picking up a stinking cold to weigh me down further, the thought of lots of nothing felt like the most wonderful mirage. All of the week and weekend before I could see myself step one side of the exhaustion line or the other - either facing down a spiral of despair that leads to me, unwashed on the sofa with only the internet and cats for company. (Maybe not even the cats or the internet when all money has dried up). (Wait, no sofa or house either come to think of it). Or Happy Moments when the promise of the Week of Sarah had me climbing up the spiral into the blossom cushioned blue sky.

On Monday when I was on my own all I wanted to do was sleep and I felt very in the despair and convinced that a mere week would never be enough. From that place of deep weariness I found it so hard to let go and sink in to sleep, even though I logically knew that it's the greatest healer, even though my body was crying out for it, Even Though I Had Nothing Else I Had to Do - the serving men were jumping all over the place measuring what was happening up against my hopes and expectations. My mind was so busy with what I should be doing, how the week could be maximised to bring the greatest rewards to my health and happiness. I watched my poor brain get knottier and my spirit sink lower as the inner toddler got more and more overtired and overwhelmed. Sleep by now having fled the crazy I did what I have gradually learned to do and kept on offering soothing solutions from my bag of tricks and eventually managed to calm the scared little down enough to nap and bathe and take a restorative yoga class. A good night's sleep saw me open Tuesday out feeling no more physically sparky but just enough this side of overtired to feel much more peaceful about the rest. To feel that change of perspective is the best evidence to my mind that the catastrophising of the day before was just a hysterical story and many weeks of doing absolutely nothing would not actually be required to make me feel half human again.

So it goes, round and round, the same challenges but each spiral around I am a little different and can play with the story to find new pathways. It's not been a smooth linear progression this week but the sparkle is definitely coming back. I feel I am very much like my little overwintered pelargonium pictured above, I've lost a lot of leaves and am a touch dishevelled round the edges but from this place today I can feel that my roots are in place and the new leaves are coming.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...