Rabbit Holes…


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Have you ever felt that you’re getting back on track with everything in your life when another rabbit hole appears in the road and swallows you?

It happens.

I enjoyed the holidays.  I kept it very low key this year.  Quiet and reflective celebrations were the order of the day.  I did have a few days, however, where I just felt sad.  I just let myself feel it regardless of where those emotions were emerging from.  They could well just be echoes from the past moving through me.

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Time to get back to the grind and get back to life and living.

Pain still exists from the car accident that occurred close to a year ago.  I need to take my health back .  All of it.

I have concerns and more than anything these days I feel tired.  And I’m not going to hide behind the mantle of my age as the notion of this is poppycock!

Age has nothing to do with how I feel.

I’m mulling the previous year’s trials and tribulations over in my head. Oh, there are definitely a few things that I would have responded to differently but as with everything in this life it’s about moving forward not back.

There are times when how I feel scares me.  I’ll have moments of anger, moments of hurt, moments of painful conflict.  There are certain things I don’t like to feel.  I do understand why as well.

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When I was younger I had no handle on my emotional self.  Indeed, I was something of a loose canon that seemed to self-combust on far too regular basis.  It’s those extremes that haunt me and perhaps create the knee-jerk reaction I sometimes experience at an overwhelming emotion.  Hence, I try to distance myself and push it away.

I am trying now to get back to optimum health.  This is something that, in all honesty, I’ve never truly experienced.  Optimum health to me is experiencing wellness on every level of being physically, mentally, emotionally, intellectually, sexually and spiritually connected.

Balance.  Being present, aware…

I’ll feel a bit of fear creeping in and try harder still.

Ultimately that freakin’ rabbit hole appears and I find my balance in jeopardy and rather precarious.

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Still I keep taking more on and the expectations I hold myself to are perhaps a little bit too much at times.  I stare across the landscape of my being and see a tapestry of repairs and quick fixes as ideas and thoughts assail me from every angle.

“Don’t eat white food.”

“Don’t eat carbs after 12 noon.”

“Walk 10,000 steps daily!”

“Just move!”

“Live in the moment…now!”

“Don’t panic!”

“That person I saw in the blue car had an interesting face.”

“Put everything out to the universe…surrender.”

“Just breathe!”

“Good energy…good energy…good energy…”

“Positive energy will come back in abundance.”

“Just love…love dammit…Just Love!”

“Will this be returned?”

“Don’t think like this! Be positive!”

“Why do I feel like crying?”

“I should be happy, shouldn’t I?”

All of these things ran through my head in quick successeion as I took my Christmas Tree down, boxed up everything and cleaned.

Odd what moves through my mind at any given moment.

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I wanted to get the house ship shape so to speak and stopped when the pain in my back was unbearable.

Still I did manage to get quite a bit done.  I pushed forward focusing on some other things that required my attention.

It was back to work and the week has been a productive one.

And I sitting here feeling disenchanted, heavy, obtuse, irrelevant and foolish?

Why?

Placing my fingers against my temples I gently rub my forehead.  “Please, just go away.  I don’t want to feel these things.”

I just want to live and do so fully.

I checked out Banyen Books events page.  They have some interesting spiritual talks coming up.  Perhaps I need to start there.

Often we think that if we start with physical self the rest will follow.  Perhaps I’ll start with repairing my spiritual centre and work on the physical aspect at the same time.

Onward.  Namaste.  Peace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Look Back and the Promise of 2014


I have had this blog going for two years now.  When I began this process it was simply to be a little exercise in the discipline of writing on a consistent basis and to focus on wellness and optimum health.

At some point it turned into something of a diary of sorts, a place where I could spill whatever happened to be on my mind.

Some of the posts are very well written.  Others, well, there is always room for improvement.  Despite the fact that I have at times wanted to explore improving the traffic on my blog, I am content with things as they are.  I have also explored a few varieties of writing.  Comedic, poetry, fiction and of course, my typical diary posts.

And thanks to all of you who’ve hung in there and followed this odd little journey with me.

I was moved to begin this blog the day after having had heart surgery.  And here I am two years after the fact.  The heart is in stellar condition.  I no longer have any of my female organs as a result of cancer and as I write this my hair is growing back as are my lashes.  And there are those odd hairs that I had hoped wouldn’t grow back that occur as you age.  I have a long white hair that grows from my chinny chin chin.

I gained about 30 pounds through the process of chemotherapy and radiation.  My mid-section as indeed been assaulted mercilessly over the last six months.  Now I can put that behind me and begin the quest once again of having a healthy body, mind and spirit.

There have been times when all levels of my person have been sorely tested over this past year.  And it began with such promise, as years often do.

I signed on to run my first 1/2 Marathon and lived like a nun on sabbatical for the first four months of this year.  Yet the goal of optimum health once again alluded me.  Instead of becoming the trim and fit running machine I’d imagined, my energy began to seep from me and I was bloating up like one of the giant balloons in the Macy’s parade.

Something was wrong.

I toughed it out though and ran the race.  My time was 2:56.  I had wanted a time of 2:30 but considering that I ran the race with Stage 2 uterine cancer, I think that’s a decent time.

And yes, just four days after completing the race the cancer was revealed to me.

A month later I had surgery and now I was being swallowed by the vortex known as cancer treatment.  It is an enormous business and a volatile machine designed to purge any and all cancer cells from your body along with a host of good cells as well.  It is merciless, intimidating and at times incredibly frightening.

As is my nature, I asked a lot of questions.  I didn’t receive answers for the majority of my inquiries.  I guess the thing of it is you don’t really have time to consider much in the way of options.

Upon being informed that I had uterine cancer, I wanted to rip my uterus out of my body.  I wanted it gone.

I have, of course, chronicled all of this over the past several months so I’ll not delve into this once more.  This is more or less just a few observations of the year that is about close.  It’s been a challenging one and not just for this gal, but for many people that I know.

And any challenge, regardless of its origins, should ultimately help you become a better person.  At least that’s my take on it.

The promise of 2014 now beckons.  I have planted the seeds for a year that will no doubt have its challenges.  I will release my book.  During treatment I finally accepted that releasing it during that time was likely not a very good idea.  I will continue on my health quest.  My body is bouncing back remarkably fast, or so I am told.  I am just three weeks past finishing off the radiation treatment.  Over the holidays I decided to just let the body rest and recuperate.

2014 will be a transitional year.  I will embrace the year to come just as I have years past.  And always I will make the best of what is given me. 2014 though will see me commit to my passions in a way I’ve never done before.

Bring it on!

 

 

The Napkin’s Odessey….A Christmas Story Part 3


There will likely be five installments as I wanted to pace it a bit better.  I hope you are enjoying this little story so far!

Part 3 – The Power of Suggestion

Christmas Napkin 3Lisa watched the woman leave and picked up the bill fold from the table.  She’d liked the woman’s gentle nature and wry sense of humour.  Walking to the cash register she opened the tab and took the cash out.  She looked at the napkin and opened it briefly.

Smiling she tucked it into her leather case that held her tips.

“I will read you later.”  Completing the transaction it was back to work.  It had been very busy and showed no signs of slowing down.  Lisa didn’t mind.  With all the courses she had lined up for the New Year every little bit helped.

At 23 years of age she had big plans and even bigger dreams.

Her shift should have ended at 8:00 PM but Elsie wasn’t feeling all that good so Lisa agreed to cover the rest of her shift.

At 10:00 PM Lisa finished up for the night.  She ordered a burger and John poured her a beer.

They chatted while she cashed out her tips.  She smiled when she saw the napkin and set it aside.

“When are you leaving for Halifax, John?” she asked.

“I’ve got my flight booked for the 21st of December at 8:00 AM.  But I gotta tell you, I hate flying at this time of year.”

“Yeah, never fun with all the delays and stopovers, is it?”

“You’re not going home this year?”

“Nah.  Can’t afford it.  I’ve got all my classes lined up for next year and have most of them paid off.  I’m just going to get as many hours as I can over the holidays.  My mom’s bummed about it, but hey, I’ll shoot for a summer sojourn.”

“Traveling during the holidays sucks to boot.” John reiterated once more. “The things we do for the folks…”

Lisa laughed.  “How are you’re studies coming along?”

John had been in law school but was finding that he really didn’t like it all that much.

“I’m gonna get together with a career counselor in January.  Think I’m going to change my major, but to what I’m not sure.  As it is, I’ll be in debt up to my asshole for the remainder of my days.  I don’t know how you manage to pay for everything, Lisa.” He commented shaking his head.

Lisa smiled and let go an exaggerated sigh. “I don’t have a life, remember?”

“Right!”  John grinned and took her cash and counted it.

“Damn, you did good girl!”

He took the required 30% that was divided among the bartenders, hosts and kitchen staff and Lisa still had over $200 to take home.  He gave her the cash back in $50’s and $20’s.  Then he reached for the napkin that was off to the side.

“No.  Don’t touch that just yet.  A woman was in earlier.   She wrote something in it and I plan to read it now.” Lisa informed him.

John laughed.  “Probably a love letter.” He teased.

She scowled at him, “Fuck you.!”

John laughed harder. “Well, I’ll leave you to it then.”

A moment later the burger was in front of her.  Lisa took a long sip of her beer then she opened the napkin and she began to read.

The burger was held suspended as Lisa stared at the napkin.  Suddenly her eyes began to fill with tears.  She put the burger down then reached for another napkin.  John walked over having seen the shift in mood.

“Lisa?  Is everything okay?” he inquired.

She nodded. “Yes.  It’s just really beautiful what the woman wrote.”

John raised his brows in a rather dubious manner.  Must be a girl thing he decided.

“Here, I’ll read it to you.”

“Give me a half sec. Finish your burger and I’ll finish up with the two at the end.  Be right back.”

Lisa took the opportunity to eat the burger and she read the napkin through once more.  The place was almost empty now and they closed in another half hour or so.

Lisa cleaned off the area wanting to make sure the napkin didn’t get wet or stained.

She sipped her beer and a few moments later John walked back over.

“Okay.  I’m listening.”

Lisa picked up the napkin and began to read.

A simple Christmas napkin,

This is all I am,

Designed to look festive and pretty to grace a table fair,

I’ll take the stain from your face,

Sticky fingers will come clean,

You’ll dab spilled wine from the table top,

Then toss me in the waste.

But what if I told you, I had a dream?

A Christmas wish so grand!

No other napkin will shine a bright as me across this great land!

Slip me in a plastic sleeve,

Take my picture if you like,

Make me a star like the ones in the heavens,

If only for one night.

Then lay me to waste as I surely I must go,

But before you do one last thing,

Take one more Christmas napkin,

And on the inside fold,

Write at least one word, if you will,

Of what Christmas means to you,

Then pass it forward with instructions at the ready,

Why we could fill a wall!

And before I depart just one last thing,

Peace to you and Merry Christmas to all!’

John just stood there.  He wasn’t an emotional kind of guy but like Lisa there was something inherently beautiful in this little poem.  Before speaking he made certain that the emotion in the moment had passed.  An idea popped in his head.

“I’ll be right back.”

He came back a moment later with a big Ziploc bag from the kitchen.  “Here.”  He handed it to Lisa.

“Don’t you just love this?” Lisa asked as she slipped the napkin into the bag.

“I do actually and I’m surprised.”  He leaned against the bar.  “So what big plans do you have for that little napkin there?”

Lisa sat back and looked at the bag. “Can I get another?” she asked holding up her beer glass.

John smiled and went over to the taps and poured her another.  When he came back Lisa was smiling rather mischievously.

“Okay. Spill.” He instructed.

“We could use this with the customers.  I can take a picture and Photoshop it.  We can put this little guy on top of the tree.  I’ll make a few banners and we could ask our customers to write down a word or two.”

John looked at her rather contemplatively.  “We would have to watch the wording.  Might have to adjust it to ‘What do the holidays mean to you?’” he began, “And we could make up little flyers asking patrons if they would like to participate and if so to ask their server…”

The two were now deep in thought.  John brightened “Hey!  We have those cork boards downstairs!”  We could bring them up and put them in various parts of the restaurant  so people can post their napkin.”

Lisa grinned. “I love it!  Is Dennis around tomorrow?”

“Yup, I think so.  I’ll leave him a message.  What time is your shift tomorrow?”

“I’m in at 2:00 PM again but I can come down early.  I’ll have the banner and flyer laid out.” Lisa replied.

“Cool.  What do you think we should call this little venture?” John offered.

“Hmmm.  Let’s sleep on it.”

Lisa finished up her drink then headed home.  This was going to be so cool.

 

 

Exposure


The radiation therapy is really beginning to wear on me.  My energy level has dropped significantly in the last couple of days.  I have completed eleven sessions and still have fourteen more to go.

This treatment has been by far more difficult than chemotherapy was.  The pelvic region is now beginning to feel quite distended and I am experiencing minor cramping.

I’ll be seeing the doctor tomorrow and will have a few more questions.  One is do we have to do the full 25 rounds?  And when should treatment be halted regarding symptoms?   I know that I’m not close to reacting to the extreme but still, as I have confessed, I am a lousy patient. Plus I would really like to know.

I took the hemp oil last night and it did help so I will continue with this as well.  I have been encouraged to eat a low fibre diet for the remainder of treatment.  It will, I am told, take about 2 weeks for my body to right itself in terms of its daily functions and likely about 4 to 6 weeks before it has healed up completely from these abuses.

I need to modify my workout schedule because as it stands right now, I can’t make it to the gym in the morning.  It has become a battle to get out of bed these days.  Once up and awake I’m okay but it’s been tough.

I think I will focus on going for walks and try to get some activities happening on the weekends.  This may be more advantageous than trying to get up and go to the gym.  I’m just too exhausted these days.

Just another 17 days to go and then I have 2 weeks off as well.  I am totally looking forward to some down time.  I will start back fresh in the New Year.

The cancer is gone and it’s not coming back.  Of this, I am certain.

This has been a rough year.  I know many who have found it to be a real challenge.  I am optimistic that the year ahead will be a breakthrough one on many levels.  I need to really focus on not just healing physically but to feeding the soul and ensuring that my spirit is rich.

At the moment I am so out of balance.  I really need to get some serious meditations in.

Still, the end is at least very close now.  I just have to take a deep breath and will the body, mind and spirit to pass through this storm.  Then its done.  The payoff…good health for the next 40 or so years.

Enjoy your day.  Namaste.

 

 

 

In Training


This is the third official day of training.  I am sure I have mentioned that I signed up for the BMO 1/2 Marathon on May 5, 2013 here in Vancouver.  I have just under four months now to whip myself into peak performance.  I also mentioned that for me this is a culmination of all that I have been working on the past few years.  It’s not just the physical aspect of it.  I don’t want to get too long winded on why I have operated as something of a fractured being for the majority of my life.  Let’s just say that I have been working to connect all the parts.  Developing those all important neuropathways and re-writing the programming.  Not easy to change the operation system on a 54 year old woman.  Some of those programs were pretty deeply embedded.

I am making personal growth and expansion of self sound rather technical, I know.  But in many ways, that is precisely what happens.  If you are told during your formative years that you are never going to amount to anything and that you are worthless, chances are that is how you will see yourself.  And behaviour patterns are developed at a subconscious level to support this.

You will indeed begin to live up to or perhaps I should say live down to those expectations that have been put forth.  Now this doesn’t happen all the time.  How each of us responds to negative and/or positive reinforcements varies widely.  How many times have you heard it said that someone was just a bad seed, that they were given everything.

Then you have someone who lived through virtual hell and they turn out to be a shining example of humanity?

What we see from the outside looking in can be very deceiving, yes?  How trauma, regardless of its severity, affects a person is as individual and unique as each of us are.

What it comes down to is choice.  To have that cognitive reasoning that you are a certain way because of certain events in your life, does one remain in that cycle or move out of it and grow?

I made my choice.  I didn’t like who I had become.  I saw a pathetic woman mired in pain and hurt who just couldn’t seem to help herself if she tried.  I buried myself in poor eating habits and continually looked for someone to come and save me from myself.  I lived in fear as it was all I had known.

With the decision to break down some of the walls I had built to protect my fragile and vulnerable heart, what I began to find is the heart wasn’t all that fragile.  It was in fact the head that was fragile.  The heart was strong and beckoned for me to listen.  I did and I found a strength within that just blew me out of the water.

For the last 18 years or so I have been steadily tearing down walls  (I built a whole hell of a lot of them!) and opening self to a new way of interacting with this world around me.

And now I am at a place where with the discipline of training for a half marathon, where sitting in meditation, where really listening to my heart centre will bring me to a place of wholeness, a place of wellness, a place where I feel complete.   Sounds like a tall order, doesn’t it?

Well, there was a time when I didn’t think I would ever be able to run again and I have done a 14k.

This run is about freedom.  This run is about every emotion you can imagine.  This run is about ascension.  This run is about every aspect of self.

Over the next few months I will be letting you know my progress on all fronts and I have no doubt that I will likely have a few emotional echoes pop up as well.  But you know, I can say that I really have a vision of who I am coming to be and so I will just move into what I always have been.  I just didn’t allow self to experience it previously.

Peace.

Choices


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This is an anniversary of sorts for me today.  One year ago on this date I was admitted into hospital where an angiogram was performed and later an angioplasty.  Which means, for those of you not familiar with the terminology, I had a heart blockage that was investigated then had a stent inserted to open up the artery which we discovered was 95% blocked.

And the thing of it is, I had virtually no symptoms.  We  kind of stumbled upon this through some other tests.  A year ago I was feeling far too human and far too fragile by the day’s end.  But what I realized in that moment as I laid in the operating chamber, very much awake and watching as the doctor moved his instruments inside my heart, was how little time on this planet we actually have and how much we take it for granted.  It was the day after this event while I sat curled up on my sofa, ruminating about all of the things that I had been through in my life time that I began this blog.

I have always wanted to write and I want to be a good at it.  Don’t get me wrong, I have always written,  not always in a particularly coherent manner, mind you.  At this time last year no one had ever read any of my writings.  I had been working on a memoir, which last year was still a compilation of emotional writes in several notebooks.  I embraced the New Year with a vim and vigor never quite experienced before.

I found a writer’s group that focused on offering positive critiques for ongoing novels and/or short stories. My first meeting with them was rather intimidating.  I can recall thinking ‘What if I’ve just been kidding myself all these years and can’t really write very well at all?’  To this little offering of doubt that presented itself, I smiled and decided that I best learn the craft then if I want to write, yes?  And so began the exploration of learning to become a decent wordsmith.

I joined yet a second writing group which tackled different issues regarding the world of publishing and all the little intricacies and nuances and gave me insight into a world I really knew nothing about.  I have been a sponge, wanting to take in as much as possible.

Sanctuary Photowalk 087This is my 219th post over the course of this past year.  I have had emotional highs and lows.  I have challenged self consistently and have moved forward steadily.  To where, I can’t say just yet.  What I’ve been doing, I realized today,  is that I have been laying down a foundation of sorts.  I have become far more disciplined in the task of writing on a daily basis.  The appetite to read, to explore, to research is at times voracious and difficult to satisfy as there are only 24 hours in the day.  In that mix I work two jobs, run, workout, do Yoga, write, cook clean, socialize.  I punched it up into high gear and just ran with it.

Over a four and half month period I put the book together.  And other ideas began to blossom in this fertile head of mine.  I participated in Rick Hansen’s 25th Anniversary of the Man in Motion Tour.  And now not only do I want to write, but I want to contribute in a positive way to this world that I belong to. And I guess that has been one of the most exceptional realizations is that I do belong and that I matter right along with all my other beings on this beautiful planet.

For so many years I looked out at this world from a carefully constructed shelf.  As this year began I jumped into the fray and woke to this world of so much splendor.  I wondered why I had not done this previously, but then decided no point dwelling on a point that was now moot.  I run now into a presence that encourages as much as it challenges.  I no longer have the attitude that I can’t do something.  Now the neurons are firing and assembling thoughts and ideas at a pace that I sometimes can’t keep up with.  And so I sit, meditate and slow the thing down.

It’s not about me, the individual any longer.  It is about me, the participant.  What can offer to the grand design?  How can I be used by this life source that feeds me and give back?  Those are the questions that dance through the head now.

flowerI do consider myself a writer now, not just a person who likes to write.  I have made several choices in my life…some not so good…some not so bad.  But the best choice I made over this last year was to live and live well.

For those of you that have followed my journey over this past year,  I thank you and hope that you will continue on with this evolution of mine.