Mind versus Body

Hey strangers,

I know it’s been a long while.  Just thought I’d jump in where I am, rather than trying to catch up.

Came across this today, and it was just what I needed to hear.  Thought maybe some of you needed to hear it as well.  The anger I feel when my body isn’t functioning the way it is *supposed* to, is intense, it’s absolutely hateful and unfair.  I can only recognize this and gain a healthy perspective by asking myself how I would advise a friend that was suffering with chronic illness, because well… these things with me can be quite the double standard, as I tend to have a rather abusive relationship with myself, and would never treat anyone else that way.  I know (intellectually), that it makes things worse when I dish out negative self talk, self sabotage, etc, however, it is so deeply engrained as my “go to” response to feeling poorly, that changing this habit is like turning the Titanic.  One of my goals in 2015 is to treat myself with respect in this regard, and take better care of myself.  In order to do this, I will have to work on forgiving my body for not doing what it’s supposed to, acknowledge that it is suffering, and come to some sort of peaceful relationship.  Not going to be easy, but I will persist!  Hope this encourages you to do the same.

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Reblog: The Comfort Found in Asking for Support

This one is for all of you out there that are struggling with asking for or accepting help from others, and see it as some sort of failure or lack withing yourself.  I know you are out there…because I am a part of your club.  We can do this. Hope you enjoy the article, and this is another encouraging blog as well from the perspective of a Yoga lifestyle.  Hope you enjoy.  xoxo, Aimee

The Comfort Found in Asking for Support.

The Blob

So, I am such a big believer in facing and working through things in my life in a healthy way, at least to the best of my abilities and awareness.  A part of this comes from seeing the damage that can be done in the lives of our loved ones when we refuse to ask for help or seek out means of self improvement.  It is my goal to be in constant motion as a person.  By this, I don’t mean running around and over committing myself, but rather in this kind of internal motion, where I am working to grow, learn, and build upon my experiences versus allowing myself to sit still where it is comfortable and familiar.  So here I am, again, stumbling upon completely new territory that is terrifying for me to face and acknowledge, and consciously choosing whether to work through it, or package it back up in whatever box it was hiding in so neatly within me before I became aware.  It is sincerely a conscious choice that I am making, and I know what is “best” for me, but the feeling that you get when you start to contemplate facing traumatic events or difficult experiences, is a lot like the feeling of free falling.  And, as much as I would like to think of myself as a thrill seeker…the truth is…I prefer both of my feet to be planted on the ground.

So here I am.  I am standing on the last little bit of crumbling ground on the edge of this cliff.  Every time I even step into the general vicinity I become overwhelmed with emotion and panic, so instead I have been pacing here, back and forth.  I walk far enough away to feel that I have control, and then slowly look back the direction of where I know I need to go.  What I am beginning to see very clearly is that the more that I do this back and forth game, the more exhausted that I feel, and I really don’t think I am ever going to feel absolutely enthusiastic or excited at the thought of jumping off of the edge.

I am remembering about 5 years ago that I attended a youth camp as a group leader to about ten 10th grade girls.  Throughout the camp we spent our time hiking, climbing rock walls, rappelling down the sides of cliffs, zip lining at incredible heights, and pushing ourselves physically through fears and working to build confidence in the lives of these young ladies in the power that they have to move beyond that place when fear kicks in.  Well, I should re-write that last sentence…what I should have said is: I spent my time watching these amazing young ladies, who were completely terrified, sometimes even physically shaking and breaking down to tears, pushing themselves through those fears and accomplishing what they never imagined that they would ever do.  I watched.  I encouraged.  I observed.  And I remembered how I used to have a desire to do these things.  And I laughed internally about how I didn’t even have a single ounce of desire for these activities anymore. 🙂

Finally, after completely avoiding every single activity that we faced each day, and managing to successfully find reasons for doing so, we came upon one last challenge.  It was called “The Blob”.  Doesn’t sound so intimidating huh?  “The Blob” was a blow up type mat that was sitting in water, which the kids could jump onto from above.  Way above.  Way, way, way, freaking above!!  As I considered this activity, I thought, “Hey that really doesn’t seem so bad.  I can do this one!!”  So, I proudly walked out onto the wooden deck that was several stories above “the blob”.  I yelled out to all of my kids, and asked them to cheer for me.  I was feeling pretty good as they were yelling my name, and giggling with excitement that THEIR counselor was actually going to get involved and participate.  Why I needed to make sure to have everyone’s attention, I still have no idea, but I did, and there I was.  So I thought that I would get a little bit of a running start and get this out of the way.  I ran all the way to the edge, and then suddenly I felt very much like my entire body was being physically restrained and I could not move.  But see, had that been the case that would have been a good excuse for why I was just standing completely frozen on the edge.  But that was very much not the case.  It felt so so completely unnatural for me to throw myself off of the edge of this platform, that I could not get my mind to let go and release my body into this motion!!  I cannot tell you how long I stood there (that might very well be embarrassing).  I counted off in my head several times, and nothing.  I told my feet to jump, but they were very happy feeling the platform beneath them, and my mind was pretty convinced that this was just not what I meant for my body to be doing!  After a while of this “Ok, jump on the count of three” dialogue that I was having in my head, I finally even considered having someone push me off!  No one was nearby, and the thought was ridiculous really, and finally…finally…I um “jumped”.  I am using the quotations here on the word “jumped”, because I want you to understand that in all of my past usage and knowledge of the word jump, the motion that I was in at that time, would not really have qualified as a jump.  But somehow, I was in the air, and I quickly found myself hitting “the blob” with a thud.

I really wish I could say that I was thankful that I made the decision to “throw” myself in the air that day.  I really wish that I could tell you that it was so exhilarating that I ran back up the ladder of the platform and did it again and again.  The truth is that this was nowhere close to what I was feeling.   Come to find out, the lovely people facilitating the camp had over-filled “the blob”, and when I landed what was supposed to be a rather cushioned impact, well to my surprise…it was not cushioned.  At all.  I felt pretty much like I landed on a similar surface as what I jumped off of.  Aaaaand, well… you see… I, um, got whiplash, and it turned out that I had to try to hide a limp for the remaining days of the camp…fun stuff (have I mentioned that I have a chronic illness and usually wake up sore from head to toe on a typical day??).  J  But, hey, I jumped (ehr, well, let’s say “flung myself”??) off of that platform that day, damnit, and it was for a good cause.  Not only was it to give the kiddos in my group a little motivation, but of course, it was probably pretty important for me to leave that camp having proven to myself that I can also push myself further than where I believe my limitations to be.

So often when we find analogies about reaching goals in life, overcoming obstacles, and taking risks, the point of the anecdote is usually that we waste way too much time being apprehensive about taking the plunge, and that what we find on the other side of that cliff turns out to be immediately rewarding and fulfilling, and there was nothing to be afraid of after all.  Well, sometimes that is the case.  But the reality is that a lot of times, there is very often a “blob” on the other side, over-filled, and waiting to “embrace” you like a soft hug from a concrete slab, and that’s gonna sting a bit.  Maybe even leave you feeling sore for a good while.  But here is what I am learning lately.  In that moment before I face something, whether it is something huge and life altering, or as simple as making a phone call to a client that I am dreading, fear does not mean stop.  Fear does not mean I am going the wrong direction, even if what I am about to face is the most difficult challenge that I have yet encountered.  Fear simply means that I am human, I am scared, and I am on unfamiliar territory.  But the message I am really trying to have sink into my spirit is that even when I am afraid.  I am still ok.  I am ok.  I will overcome.  I will survive.  I will learn, I will grow, even if there is pain in the process.  I AM OK.

So let’s do this.  I honestly have no idea what is on the other side of this cliff.  I may jump off to find that there is about a 6 inch drop below and my feet land comfortably underneath me, and all of the anticipation was unnecessary.  Or, I may very well  begin a free fall (for what feels like an eternity!!!), and come to an abrupt jolt when I hit “the blob” below.  But I am gonna get through this, and I am going to be thankful that I faced whatever it is over there that I am avoiding, because I am going to get up again, limp and all, and I am going to be more knowledgeable, more aware, and stronger than I was before I made that choice to “fling” myself over the edge.

What are you avoiding today?  A ledge is not a place to build a home.  Even if you try to hang pictures on the wall, or throw up lovely floral curtains…it is still a ledge, and it can be the end of your growth and the ceiling for your future progress, or, it could be what launches you into something unknown, something you never thought you were capable of or that you could handle.  I personally am gonna close my eyes and, um, “fling” myself.  Wanna hold my hand?  At least if we do this together we can laugh about it all later, once I get done crying about my whiplash that is.

Here goes…

I think…

 

Salvation in the Sea

What was it about that day?

I saw the shore, but kept pushing away

I heard the voices of my past

Calling me home – but the ocean so vast

It pulled me in, it pulled me in

I didn’t understand what was drawing me in

Is it possible that I was aware

Of the potential for me there

I can’t explain what came over me

But I know that though I was lost in the sea

A part of me could see clearly.  Some part of me, could clearly see

I remember hearing a familiar sound

I looked back at you and started to drown

I remember that you were calling me back

I remember you there, were you scared?  Were you angry?

I woke up, became aware

The rope in my hand was keeping me there

If I strained to see it, I could see the sand

I remember the thought “open your hand”

Water over my head, and I couldn’t stand

I remember the fear of going back

Was greater than that I felt right then

I let go, I gave in

Why, and where did YOU come from?

Momentary relief, tempered quickly to pain

Drowning my soul, from the inside out.

You thought you were saving me.

But sometimes salvation means “let it be.”

Please just let me be.

My home and peace were in the sea.

That’s where my future was supposed to be.

You took salvation away from me.

And led me back to misery.

The embracing arms of misery.

Salvation it was in the sea.

Salvation was in the sea.

Delicate

I had a dream last night

You and me in the warm sunlight

You smiled as you watched me dance

I sang a song and you clapped your hands

And we laughed, and laughed, and time stood still

 

I snapped back into a memory

You watched as he yelled at me

I saw a tear on your face

You turned your head and wouldn’t meet my gaze

And we cried, and cried, and time stood still.  For me.

 

Here now, in reality

You can’t even look at me

We talk only pleasantries

In your own world of make believe

And my heart, it aches, to hear from you

 

But here we stand

Side by side and yet miles apart

And though I long

I know you’ll never fill my heart

I am whole now

I can’t wait for you

Because time stands still no more

 

Isn’t life just a fragile thing?

We must hold it carefully

It’s all made up of yesterdays

Future seeming so far away

And we watch, we watch, as time goes by

 

Do you ever recreate?

Ever wish that it wasn’t too late?

Do you go back and meet my eyes?

Grab my hand and sacrifice?

Do you ever put an end

To the sickness that crept in?

Ever wonder what would have been?

What would have been?

 

Isn’t life so delicate?

Like handful of falling sand

But I still think it’s beautiful

And you know I’m going to spend it all

And I’ll live, and love, ‘till there’s no more. For me.

Perfection

Someday I’m gonna make some money

And when I do I’m gonna buy me some energy

Take things back to where they used to be

Back to the days where mornings began

With joy and zest and a refreshed plan

Or maybe I’ll buy a magic wand

And make my body young and strong

Lift this fog filling my head

Set a fire to this damn bed

Someday that’s what I’ll do

I promise I’ll buy what you want too

 

Someday I’m gonna find my stride

I’ll pick you up and we can go for a ride

I’ll bring along a little happiness

You can drink it up & then we’ll laugh at this

You’ll look back & you’ll forget

What it once felt like to have regret

Maybe I’ll bring a little freedom too

And I will pour it all over you

I’ll brand this day with my new tattoo

Someday that’s what I’ll do

But today I’ll just be sad with you

 

I would never have created this

This structure that I perceived to be the end of me

But now that I’m here I clearly see

The girl I wasshe was killing me

No one should have to hurt that way

The pain I feel now pales against that day

You can torture me with this make believe

But I’ll be fine after I grieve

I’ll shake that off and I’ll wear it well

And the ghosts from the past can stay in hell

Because that’s a place I no longer dwell

 

Yes, sometimes I read history

But I leave it where it’s supposed to be

And they are still there, it’s plain to see

Sad, it’s true, but it has to be

Some of us are satisfied

To live our lives with narrow minds

To close our eyes to the pain we’ve caused

Bound to our choices, bound to what was

But I’m not sorry to say that I’m moving on

I’ll miss them there, but they’ve withdrawn

I’m gonna go on… and on… and on

 

So here’s to the ones who have overcome

The pain, like a loss, will fade on its own

As long as we walk, as long as we’ve grown

The past gives us strength to make a new home

I think I’m going to paint the walls

Plant a garden, dance down the halls

And ya maybe I’ll make some money

But I don’t need it to make this place sunny

Maybe I’ll just open the doors

Give what I have to you and yours

Use this peace to subdue the wars

 

And friend I think I’ve found my stride

So ya, let’s go ahead and take that ride

I’ll leave behind the magic wand

It’s not perfect, but there’s more beyond

I’ll still give you that happiness

We’ll still throw our heads back and laugh at this

Please don’t forget…let’s just reminisce

Just steal a glance in the rearview

But know that it’s all a part of you

And without you, what would we do?

It’s not perfection but let’s see it through

Change

I’m feeling some change coming on.  Not just because it is a brand new year, (but that certainly is inspiring to me), but I’m just in a new place in my life.  My goal in beginning this blog was originally intended to give voice to my inner and external struggles and create transparency by doing so.  Hoping that by exposing the things in my life that people would typically much prefer for you to keep tucked away, that someone somewhere might connect and realize that they are not alone in their struggles, and find encouragement/inspiration in that.  My specific focus being initially on sharing my goal and experience of living well with chronic illness, as well as the healing journey that I have had through my personal experience of dealing with verbal abuse in my childhood.   Now that I have been blogging for a little while and also transitioned to some new places in my life I am feeling that I would like to expand beyond these topics though they might still be the predominant factors in my life a lot of the time, or of course the “undertone” throughout my writing.

The very first line on my “About” page currently starts with the very point-blank statement “I am sick.”, and that is a very accurate statement and one I needed to make at that time for a number of reasons; First being that I wanted to make sure to be completely candid about the fact that a Chronic Illness has completely turned my life upside down.  It affects just about every choice I make and filters through every part of my life.  Every day.   Another reason I felt compelled to make this statement so clearly was because I wanted to make sure that I didn’t allow myself to fall into denial of what I am dealing with and I wanted to force myself to stop acting like sickness is something that I needed to hold my head down for, to be ashamed of.

Now I am writing from a very different place.  I HAVE accepted that I am sick.  I don’t try to deny it or pretend that it isn’t there.  I don’t feel ashamed that this is something that I deal with.  It hasn’t stopped affecting my life, it hasn’t resolved, gone away, or even gotten better.  But I am different now.  I am writing from a place of wholeness.  Being sick is not WHO I am.  It is a part of who I am at this time (and likely always will be), a BIG part, but I am more than just sick.  In so many ways I am WELL actually.  I have healed from so much that had been holding me back for so long.  I see growth and learning where there were formerly open wounds, confusion, and self loathing.

I am an entrepreneur, I am a devoted mother, I am a photographer, I am an employer, I am a friend, a sister, a daughter, a wife, an artist, a writer, an advocate for many causes, and of course there are more facets to myself that I am leaving out and many new areas that are in formation that I have yet to uncover (scary isn’t it?? J).  I am more confident than I have ever been, yet of course still learning and growing in many many ways.

I am…

“Becoming”. 

Not yet at my destination (should we ever be?), but in constant motion and on an introspective journey to apply what I have learned thus far, (phew! And this is certainly a challenge to go from recognition to action!)  that I am sincerely loving and embracing as my mission and purpose in life.

That being said, I am feeling the need to revamp my blog and write from THIS place versus as someone who is sick, or someone who has been a victim, though these are included in the whole that is me.

So…will see where this goes.  Kind of exciting to watch things evolve.

Thanks for being along on the ride.

Transparency

Here it is

All of it

No holding back

Not the slightest bit

Here I am

Judge and throw stones

Embrace and applaud

Do what you will

I am here still.

 

Transparency, this is all of me.

There is none to gain, from hiding pain.

I know I risk it all.  But either way I’m gonna fall, either way I’m going to fall.

So take it.  Leave it.  Walk away or pull me close.  In the end it’s all the same.

There is none to gain, from hiding pain.

 

Your words

Well they sting

I’m not going to lie

Your eyes say it all

But go ahead and continue

To fill your mind with superior thoughts

That is your right

Do what you will

I am here still

Your smiles

I do take pride

Like you owe them to me

Your accolades

I desire them

And approval is a deep craving

But I know they all fade

So please… just do what you will

And I will keep being.  I will be here still.

 

Alone in My Principles… ;)

There is this scene in the movie “That Thing You Do”, that I often think of when I sit down to blog.  There is a little confrontation taking place between the lead singer and the bass player in a band and in the middle of the argument the singer exclaims “well I guess I am alone in my principles” and leaves the room.  The bass player then quips “Oh, there he goes off to his room to write that next hit song “Alone in my Principles.”  Though it’s not usually social confrontation that gets me to this place, but more an internal debate, I often hear this quote in my head when I isolate myself and start to spill everything on the page, kinda makes me laugh at myself a bit.  Which is good… sometimes it gets too serious in this over analytical mind of mine.  It seems it is in my darkest times, my moodiest times that I turn to my blog as a place to express myself.  When it comes to feeling well and loving life, I am more of a “doer” than a writer I guess…

It seems I’ve had to call a “T” recently.  Had to have the dreaded conversation that any type A personality can creatively procrastinate for the longest amounts of time.  Yup.  You guessed it.  I had to ask for help.

Sigh.

I hate this moment.  This moment when after having a season of going strong, feeling productive, embracing “normal”, that I have to see, speak, and acknowledge the three words I avoid.  I am sick.  Ugh.  Just writing that causes a deep sense of disappointment to form in the pit of my stomach.   It’s not that I forgot, or that I would give anyone else any shame for saying those words…I just want so desperately to “overcome” this.  Like, it’s and obstacle that I need to surmount, overtake, and check off of my ever growing to-do list.  And sometimes… just to give myself this little pat on the back, I pretend that I’ve done so.  Sometimes I can pretend for an hour, sometimes for a week, and sometimes I have pretended for months on end.  But when it comes down to it I AM sick, and it shouldn’t be something I take as failure.  I know this, but of course there is a big difference between knowing something intellectually, and accepting it emotionally.  You would think after almost 5 years of dealing with physical limitations of this nature that I would be an old pro!  But the back and forth, the up and down…it never truly becomes normal, maybe just a bit more familiar.

After the initial fight with the facts (I’ve been pushing too hard, not taking care of myself, avoiding the dr…etc), I have begun to see these times as an opportunity to not only rest and restore myself physically, but also to indulge a bit artistically, maybe do a little spiritual seeking, a little mental/emotional health inventory.  I want to use this.  I am NOT down and out.  I may be physically stuck in bed, but my mind, my emotions, my relationships, and my creative energies are going to be stimulated and stretched, and I’m going to keep growing damn it.  And when that moment comes (that is also a pretty tough moment for me to accept), that I start to admit that I am strong enough to take on a little more and more physically… I’m going bring this new strength with me.  We are more than just physical beings after all, and I have too much to do in my life to waste any time waiting on the sidelines.

 

Health of a New Kind

I’ve been waiting for the blog fairy to pay me a visit and sprinkle a little inspirational dust my way, but it’s been a while and I am beginning to realize that she may just not show.  So with or without her, I shall proceed.

Today I find myself feeling hopeful as I look towards a new week and what I also believe is a new chapter in my life.  I realize that I have been in a very lengthy “waiting period” as I have been waiting to find solutions, waiting for recovery, waiting for healing, for answers.  And life, as it tends to do has continued to go on around me and has not waited for a moment by my side.

So that brings me back to today.  Today I recognize that I have been neglecting a number of areas in my life.  Areas that contribute to making a person feel like a person, a woman feel like a woman,  an individual feel like an individual, and I know that is not acceptable and nor is it helpful to me as I try to grow and go forward.  This realization didn’t actually start today.  I move way slower than that!  I have been processing and analyzing these feelings for a number of weeks and am just now beginning to give all of this a little shape and meaning.

I have been taking some new steps with my health, which I will write about in another blog, but the bottom line is that I am beginning to see little glimpses of hope in the possibility of becoming stronger physically.  As I began to let this hope slip in (which for the record, at this present time “hope” has to be very persistent to get through the walls I have created over the years in this area in order for me to even acknowledge it slightly), I simultaneously,  gradually began to feel more and more unsettled inside. In fact, I felt so absolutely conflicted and unhappy with my present circumstances and longing for newness that as I was walking out of a store with my daughter I suddenly and impulsively grabbed an application and applied for a job there!   Mind you – Intellectually I know that a new job is not the answer, and particularly one with such limited flexibility, but the need to feel qualified and capable, and the need to feel   human was becoming so strong that I just wanted to grab on to any change as if it were a string tied to a helium balloon and just float away with it.  I actually went on to apply and get offered several jobs over the course of the next few weeks, only to be reminded that the opportunity for income and the flexibility that I require is at best where I am, in my own company.  I am thankful for the gift of being able to do what I love to do and do it in an environment that is accommodating to my physical limitations, but if not a job… what was I looking for?

So here I am, after several weeks of this unsettled search for something, and I am recognizing that neglect is in fact the source of my deep agitation and dissatisfaction.  I have slowly learned to make my health and medical care a priority and though that requires our financial resources and time, I have a greater feeling of peace about this than I have in the past.  Not guilt free yet, but maybe a little less guilt than I previously inflicted on myself for watching these resources be used.  This is progress, and I am going to continue to try to invest in these areas and do so with more confidence and peace.   I have however, failed to notice that as this one area has developed, I have slowly decreased the value and investment into other areas in my life.  It’s as if I made a trade in order to ease my conscience.   So the remaining parts of me and the balance in my life have become quite depleted and off kilter.  Even in the very simplest of areas.  No wonder I have felt so unsettled.

I have recently resorted to merely existing and taking up space, but not actually putting value into that existence or treating myself with the respect tending to other areas in my life.  I am aware that I don’t have unlimited resources to make up for lost time and take care of everything in one fail swoop.  But I do have some resources.  And in the same way that my two beautiful girls have their hair cut, their clean & presentable clothes, are current on their dentist appointments, & have plenty of “extras”, and just as my husband feels confident in his clean, dependable car and his personal appearance as he goes about his day, I have a need within me to be respected in this way as well.  And the lack of respect has not come from those around me.  The lack of respect has begun within me, and will only begin to change with small adjustments, little investments and acknowledgements, until it becomes a new habit and perspective.

So today is a new day.  It is Monday, A start of a new week, a start of a new awareness, and another step towards health of a new kind.