Friday, November 05, 2010

still here

I've been waiting to update for a time when I'm feeling better. I'm not feeling better, but I am feeling like writing.

This, right here, right now, is a difficult time. I've only written about tough times that have already passed. So easy to write about the past, even when it sucked: When I'm in a better place, and I can reflect and take stock with a clear head, a perspective at a distance.

So I'm going to try something new and write when I'm feeling the pain. My hands are shaking because I haven't had a lot of sleep this past week. I've also been so nauseated that I can barely eat anything at meals, which, you know, totally, totally sucks. I love food, I love eating. It's incredibly frustrating to prepare a meal and sit down, expecting to savour it, only to find that my stomach turns. I take a bite and it turns some more. A few months ago, I would eat quickly, distractedly,  trying to weigh down my own body and my anxiety. Today, I ate quickly, distractedly because I needed to get some nutrients into my system. I learned a Spanish proverb here that resonates strongly right now: "The belly rules the mind." I need to get to a place where I am eating and sleeping normally, and I know that the anguish will lessen.

Since this really rough time began last week, I've seen a Primary Care doctor, a holistic physician, and psychologist. Next week, I'm going to make an appointment to see a psychiatrist. I have a whole morning routine filled with meditation and oil massage and yoga and walks. But it is really hard to accomplish those things. Sometimes the thought of making lunch is so overwhelming that it makes me cry.

But I am learning things. There is something beautiful about this pain, something instructive. In a very bad spell this weekend, after I'd done yoga, gone for a walk, and yet couldn't still my racing, panicked thoughts, I had no choice but to sit on the couch, and let go. I sobbed. It occurred to me that I wanted to read Eckhart Tolle's The Power of Now. I read one sentence and looked outside at the trees. I wrenched my gaze back to the book. Again and again. It took me a half hour to read one page. The thought occurred to me that I was being given this pain to prove to myself that I could take it. That it wouldn't break me. Because I've run from fear and anger and sadness my whole life. And right now I'm feeling all of that because I couldn't feel them before. For a second, I was able to let go, to release all of my resistance to feeling the absolutely terrifying, paralyzing fear. And, suddenly, without warning, my entire body relaxed, and I felt my spirit lifted upward and outward. Warmth ricocheted through me and I sobbed hot tears of gratitude and love for the release of the pain and for the glimpse of what lay beyond it. I don't care how cheesy it sounds: it was transcendent.

When you hit a wall, you're forced to make a change. I'm exercising now not because I need to lose weight, or to make myself look better, but out of utter desperation.  I'm going to wake up tomorrow and meditate -- hard as it is -- because I know how strong I am, and I want to get better. Even at the darkest time, I can still sense a whisp of hope that this different life I'll be embarking on -- this healthier, more spiritual, connected life --  will be filled with unexpected opportunities to give of myself and -- most important to me right now -- deep, profound stillness and immeasurable joy. I know what that feels like, and, by God, I'm not giving up.


  1. Hi, thanks for the kind words on my blog. I'm still updating but life is making me take it slow. Hope you enjoy New Bedford. It's a tough city, but there is real beauty underneath it all if you're willing to look.

    I hope you find what you need. That was an incredibly sad (and I can tell, heartfelt) but inspirational blog entry. I've never had hardship to that degree, but I've been surrounded by those who have. My brother suffered from Leukemia at a young age and he lost most of his childhood to battling cancer. His will to survive and the fight he fought (successfully) is a continuing source of inspiration for me.

    I can only say that I admire your strength and hope that when I'm faced with significant adversity, I can take the same approach you are. Best of luck.


  2. Thank you so much for your comment, Jon. I'm so happy to hear that your brother is doing well now. I can't begin to know what he must have gone through, but I can completely understand how he remains an inspiration.

  3. I know what kind of courage and strength it takes to sit down at the computer and write when you're feeling like you are. And not just emotionally, but truly, deeply, painfully physically. So good for you. You won't be stuck forever if you can make strides like this in the course of a day.

    Big hugs and many prayers heading your way, sweet friend. Keep at it.

  4. I wish you peace with the process, even when it's at its most painful, physically and emotionally. I can relate to pain being beautiful and instructional so I hope you find some comfort it that.