Tag Archive | help

Lighting the Unknown Path

inspirational-quote-light-a-lamp-buddha

As I have said before, it is the “unknown” that is always more difficult than the knowing. The waiting. The wondering. The wandering… of the mind as it tries to grasp on to something concrete.

My last several months have been spent in this suspended state. First we found out that our home of 15 years was suddenly being sold and we had to, in weeks time, find a (hard sought after one story) home, apply for a mortgage (which had become a Big Scary Monster in our heads), sort and pack through years of our life and family “heirlooms,” find the means to buy (and fix up) said house, move and settle, the list goes on.

The only way I survived this process was JUST doing the next right thing.  Nothing more. My husband’s anxiety would reach new and alarming heights and I would have to remind us both, “okay, let’s take a breath. Now, forget ‘The List; ‘ what’s Just ONE Thing we can do in this moment?”

And you know what? One (baby!) step at a time, we walked our way right through the scary terrain of the unknown and into our brand new home.

These are the lessons and skills I so desperately need to remember to apply to my life now.

Because just when I thought I was leaving the path zig zagging through The Woods of Uncertainty, I fell into a Bog of Burdensome Worries! (Didn’t mean to go all Tolkien on you!).

I’ve known since fall that my body was heading into unknown territory again. It’s both a blessing and a curse that I am so in tune with my physical being after years of severe illness and trauma, that I can tell as soon as I start to go off-kilter.

This time, I knew somehing major was brewing.

So, instead of going to the doctors with these worries  (although I didn’t sugar coat my concerns at my appointments either), I turned to internal pep talks, such as: ” Hey, dear body of mine, I know you are giving me warning signs that you’re failing in new and different ways, but could you just please hold on until March? And then I promise I will attend to all of your needs with the upmost of care!”

That wasn’t too much to ask, was it? Guess it was!

Because my “gift” for Christmas Eve was to wake up without the use of both my legs. Totally and completely, from the hips down (yep, includes the bladder, too!). What fun!! For two days, I could  not walk and afterwards, I had complete numbness, like my legs had fallen asleep and could not be stomped, shakened or rubbed “awake.”

Yet, did I go to the hospital? Nah! I had a host of “good” excuses… “It’s the holiday; it’s a weekend” and the creme de la creme: ” I just don’t have time for this right now!”

So my body went from flashing yellow to a blaring red : STOP!!!!!

A little over a month ago, I was reading when half the page disappeared. No joke. I could only see half of every word. A very strange and scary experience. So I shook Dave awake with a, “Honey, I need to go to the ED.” Complete resignation. No questions anymore.

The details since don’t matter as much as the lessons I’ve learned. But in brief, I am in an even deeper state of limbo… not quite knowing the true cause of my weakness and Optic Neuritis (the partial blindness ) yet (MS? CIDP?) and therefore not able to receive the right treatment aside from high dose IV steroids to abate my symptoms.

So nothing left to do but Surrender. Wave the white flag of blind faith (literally this time!).

And to reach out for help. I already feel physically vulnerable, so why is it still so hard to completely crack open and be emotionally vulnerable, too?

If anything, this move was a great practice lesson. My husband is the first to open his door to others when they need a helping hand, but he latches every bolt when it comes to receiving help for his own needs. This time I didn’t let his fear of “not seeming like enough” dictate our choices and I threw open every door and window wide with a sign hung proudly, “HELP NEEDED WITHIN.”

And my friends and family showed up. They packed, they listened, they moved, they cleaned and scrubbed my new abode. All with a smile and an encouraging hug. No expectation of return payment.

This move would not have been possible without this team!

So why should my health be any different?! I need to throw out the old skipping records that get stuck on the refrains filled with shame. Shame over my diseases, over my needs and inability to “do it all” for myself; shame over what I used to be like vs what I am like now; shame over always needing more.

But, most of all: FEAR. Fear that I won’t be able to give back. But we all have our own gifts to offer to the world. And for a long while, mine were coming in the form of my words; of being completely vulnerable through my stories. Through sharing with others and having them, in turn, share with me.

But as soon as life became overly tangled, I stopped writing. Which essentially dammed up my River of Grace… the universal energy that flows into, through and out of me… on to you… connecting all of us on this divine journey of life. So that WE ARE NOT ALONE.

So I think of Buddha’s quote, “if you light a lamp for someone else, it will brighten your own path.” And it helps me remember that whenever someone “allows” me to help them, it always feels like I am the one receiving the gift!

So while my path is now being illuminated by the inner light and energy from other’s  (as I write a dear friend is coordinating meal help for us; fulfilled by those who know me and others who are doing so purely as a random act of kindness); I am holding out my own candle in hopes of lighting just one other’s dark path of the unknown.

There is so much going on beneath the surface of each of our lives.  Let’s look just a little deeper inside.

I know I’m grateful someone stopped and did so for me. All while holding a candle to help light my way, as I take just one next step forward along the path. For as long as I’m moving forward, I’m heading in the right direction.

Namaste.

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I Am One Big Ball of Raw Nerves

Mihail -Miho- Korubin ; Oil, 2012 ~ "It Is Over"

Mihail -Miho- Korubin ; Oil, 2012 ~ “It Is Over”

I am a bundle of nerves; raw and jangly, the all of me is on edge.  I just went to my pain doc to try and get some relief from this “nervy flare” and had to not only explain it all to a medical resident who spoke broken English, I then, one hour later, had to repeat the same info to my doctor!  It’s hard enough to communicate what is currently going on with my regular physician, let alone trying to explain it to someone who speaks a different language with me!  Can you hear my frustration yet?

But, truly, I am exasperated with my on inept body; at this flare that was triggered almost two weeks ago and won’t let up. (see: Paying a Steep Price for Admission) I feel like every nerve in my body is frayed and hyper sensitive! And I mean sensitive!!  How to describe this pain?  This electrical, bug-crawly, burning, tingling, spasmy, hot, numb combo?   It’s the Nervous Wreck Cocktail, that’s for sure!  It’s like my body has decided to revolt against everything!  Touch=Bee Stings; Breathing=Fire; Walking=Hot Coals; Just Being=Buzzing Electrical Wires.  And the strangest symptom of all?  My histamine system jumps on board and starts reacting like I am being attacked by a horde of allergens; I start sneezing uncontrollably, eyes water, face puffs up.  I know, sounding crazier by the minute!

And if I can’t clearly explain it to myself, how do I expect others to understand?  I guess I just hope.  I hope that the doctor won’t look at me with that slightly confused visage, wrinkled brow, sad, concerned eyes, downturned lips… I can almost see the wheels in his head screeching to a halt, not sure what direction to turn next.  He’s very empathetic, that’s a positive.  He kindly puts his hand on my knee and apologizes for my pain.  He tells me how strong I am in the face of so many difficult situations, but that he can tell how much this current scenario is negatively impacting my life.  OH, really?  Were the tears a clue?!

And apologizing for my pain?  Shouldn’t he be apologizing for not being able to figure out how to treat my pain?  I know he feels bad… I do too!  But, the pain is there, so what are we going to do about it?!  Can’t do any of the typical treatment modalities, because I’m either already on the highest dose of a medication or have tried it and stopped for some reason or another.  He finally comes up with a “new one:” Nortryptyline at bedtime.  “If we can at least get your sleep better, than hopefully the pain will follow suit.”  Like I haven’t heard that one before!

And I hate this.  Because it’s so not like me to rant!  I don’t know if it’s the freedom and acceptance of this blogging world that has opened up this damn of pain or what.  It’s these damn nerves!  They set everything afire!  Uh!

None of this is really helping the pain to go away.  But, to know I am no longer holding this space alone (see: A Cosmic Connection) helps to diffuse it, even just a tiny bit.  Thank you for holding this pain with me.

I do believe that this is the greatest gift of this forum:  A sharing of energies, a collective soul.  We are all going through our own struggles, yet by bringing them out into the open, we are no longer carrying the burden alone.  And, selfishly, I think I hope deep down that someone out there will read my post and understand: truly “get it.”  And then I won’t feel so alone anymore!

And that’s what I forgot for a moment.  I’ve been afraid to let people all the way in right now.  To let them see how severely I am hurting.  I’ve been afraid of sounding “crazy” (I mean, come on, who says they feel like bugs are crawling under their skin?!).  I’ve been afraid of getting more of the “sympathetic, she’s sounding a little wacky, but I love her anyway” looks.

I don’t need your sympathy.  I need you to say, “Wow. I can’t imagine what you’re going through, but that must be really hard;” and to hold the space of pain, confusion and fear with me.

I don’t need you to try and suddenly change our relationship in order to make me better, to “fix me.”

Because I don’t know how long this flare will last.  And I have to remind myself; I don’t need to figure that out.  I just need to get through today.  I just need to remind myself that this will pass; and, that, until it does, it’s okay to reach out to others and say (scream?), “I’m hurting!”  And to admit that I can’t engage in activities right now, but that doesn’t mean I won’t always be able to.

Just for today… I need your love.

Just for today… I don’t need you to understand exactly what I’m going through, I just need you to accept me.  To accept the all of me.

Just for today… I need to feel like I’m not crazy.

Just for today… I need to cry.

Just for today… I need to count the minutes, because I don’t know if I can make it through the next hour.

Just for today… I need you to know I don’t mean to be short with you, I’m just on edge.

Just for today… I need you to know I may feel fine one moment and horrible the next.  I’m not trying to be inconsistent; my disease is inconsistent.

Just for today… I need even more of your love (and maybe some extra hugs, too!).

A Cosmic Connection~All Through the Power of Prayer

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Creator~

Help me spread your light wherever I go.

Flood my soul with your spirit and life.

Penetrate and possess my whole being so that

my life may only be a radiance of yours.

Shine through me and be so in me so that every soul

I know will feel your presence in my soul

AMEN

The other night a friend called me in deep despair.  She was coming undone and I felt useless as to a means in which to help her.  I listened to her.  I made gentle suggestions.  I validated her feelings.  Nothing seemed to help.

She hung up suddenly.  “Oh, I’ve got to go.” Click. And silence. I sat stunned to my spot, receiver still dangling from my hand.  Did I say enough?  Could I have done more?  Is she okay?  I was filled with doubt and worry.  My husband came in at this moment and upon inquiry I shared my concerns with him.  He reassured me that I did the best I could.  That unfortunately no one can take away another’s pain.  That growth comes at the edge of despair, change at the end of our comfort zone. 

I knew all this.  And yet … wasn’t there something else I could do?

I sat there feeling utterly helpless, when the answer tickled my mind… “pray for her,” this thought whispered.  It was the simplest of solutions, yet the one so often easily dismissed; an abstract, intuitive way instead of an “I’m going to grab a hammer and nail your heart back together” way!

So here I sat, feeling completely powerless, when I realized I did have control over something.  I couldn’t reach across the phone lines and “fix” her side, but I could take immediate action on mine.

I knew that the best gift I could give her in that moment was to just hold the space with her.  To let her know she was not alone.  I did not even know the details of what had triggered this onslaught of emotions, but I could understand the feelings that had gushed forth.  I could create a space where she didn’t have to stem the flow of this tsunami alone.

What happened next still gives me chills…

I quieted my mind and centered my heart and spirit.  I set my intention and asked the Universe for help.  I pictured my friend, curled up in a tight ball, waves of anxiety, fear and loneliness radiating from her.  I focused on this auric ball of clashing colors and slowly transformed them into a harmonic circle of light and love, pulsating in soothing hues to the rhythm of her slowing heartbeat.  I pictured her blanketed in a quilt of comfort, woven from all the love of the Universe, God, Goddess, her spirit guides, angels, friends and family.  I poured forth deep healing energies from my core; picturing my own Soul Beacon enlightening hers; highlighting the path back to her own center.

Sometime during this meditation, I became so deeply relaxed that I actually fell asleep.  My dream was filled with warmth and swirling threads of gossamer light circling around me.  When I awoke, I felt as if my friend and I had rocked each other to sleep.  I felt her strength grow.  I pictured her feeling grounded and cared for.  I breathed my wish of peace for her into Goddesses’ ears and I closed my prayer.

The rest was now truly out of my hands.  But I now had faith, knowing that I had done my part.  She would be carried through whatever trials were in her way.

It wasn’t until 3 days later that she shared her experience of that night with me …

I had texted her a message similar to above about “holding the space for her,” but that was all.  She told me she had received this much later that night, but upon checking the time stamp, was stunned to learn the synchronicity in timing of my prayer, coinciding with her miracle; one that occurred in the midst of her anguish:

After she hung up the phone with me, she laid her head on her window sill and sobbed.  She felt desperate.  She felt ill-equipped to care for herself in that moment, let alone for her two young children that were in the house with her.  All she craved was for someone to take care of her for once.

Her wish must have been carried on the winds, for her prayer was answered.

A short time later, she was sitting in her chair, despondent.  She heard someone come into her room and assumed it was her youngest child.  For she was the intuitive one, and would often respond to her mother’s needs and emotions, offering up comfort and cuddles.

But as she looked up, she discovered it was her older daughter; a child with sensitive needs who would most often pull the emotional tide in her own direction.   But, not this time.

This time, she came to comfort her mom.  She told her she loved her.  She offered her a hug.

They wound up snuggling on the bed together, honestly expressing their feelings, building a new layer of trust between them.  And they both fell asleep.

My friend awoke off and on and in the end found a book to read while she stayed wrapped up in the warmth of her daughter.  When her child awoke, she looked up, and lovingly smiled.  That’s all it took.

My friend told me that this was a turning point for her.  She felt like a miracle of insight had occurred. Over the next couple of days, she realized that she had been living in a frantic state, hovering on the chasm of chaos.  Yet when she took a back seat and let God guide the way, she provided for her.  And when she let go of the expectations of “how” she wanted her prayer to be answered, she became open to embracing the unexpected way in which God did heed her prayer… by providing the gift of compassion and love from a daughter to a mother.

Once she finished her tale, I shared with her my prayer experience.  Our timelines were in perfect sync.  All that could be said was silence.  We sent up a small prayer of gratitude for this gift of cosmic connection.

So remember, when someone you love is suffering (physically, mentally, financially, etc.) and you feel like you can’t find any tools in which to help them,  everything you need is already with you, at any time:  The Power-tool of Prayer. Reach into your heart and mind and pull it out, dust it off and try it out for a change.  You don’t even have to pray to a specific god.  You just have to set your intention and ask for help, guidance and insight.  Don’t imagine the outcome, only the processes of embracing whatever gifts or messages that will be presented to you.

All you have to do is help hold the space.