I will be alright

26 10 2011

 

 

When diagnosed with chronic fatique syndrome / ME, the prognosis is not too optimistic and people would tell me that I had a long road ahead of me. When your body is hurting and you’re too tired to even unload the dishwasher, it is soo easy to believe that your road to recovery will be long and tiresome. And I was about to believe that when I heard this still voice ask me: ‘What do YOU believe? Do you believe that just because a lot of people believe something, just because the statistics say something, it is true for you?’ And out of that same stillness came a loud ‘NO!’. No, I don’t. I’d rather be viewed insane but healthy than sane and in the condition I was in. So I chose to believe what is best for me, what feels best to me. Longtime ago, I choose to view my reality differently. In the words of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, I believe I’m “a spiritual being having a human experience”, not the other way around. This basically means is that I believe that I am first and foremost an energetic being and that my body is the physical vessel that allows me to operate in this physical plane. Now it was time to act on it, because in the realm of the non-physical, things are not linear, nor time-bound, things can change in an instant, in the blinking of an eye. It is what we would call miracles. And yes, I believe in them too.

When I looked at myself, I saw this soaring spirit living in a body that did not in any way match this vibrancy. There was an enormous, visible incongruency. It was a pointer. I believe all physical illnesses are pointers. They create a possibility to let go of what we don’t need anymore in order to become more aligned with who we are. I knew that my fatigue meant that I was leaking precious energy, and I assumed it was through certain deep-seated beliefs. I knew I needed help to uncover them, because in the past decade of inquiry I had not been able to get in touch with them.

It has only been three weeks since I met with my therapist for the first time, but in the three sessions that followed amazing things have happened. With her help, I uncovered this overwhelming sense of powerlessness, and through EMDR she helped me reconnect the dots. Last weekend, I knotted my linden trees on Saturday, had friends over on Sunday, and then on Monday my daughter was able to have a friend over to play and I was still feeling fine. This is almost unbelievable when you imagine that three weeks ago I could not walk normally, because my joints and muscles were simply hurting too much. However amazing, the true miracle is in the power I feel, an almost unearthly sense of groundedness, it is in the absence of the fear I’ve carried with me for almost 39 years, it’s in my relaxed response where I normally would freak out, it’s this new, completely foreign inner voice that is telling me all this weird stuff, like ‘so what!’, ‘just try again’, and my favorite ‘you will be alright’. People have said these things to me for years, and so have I, but however hard I tried to believe them, I never felt their truth. Today, these words come from within and they make sense, perfect sense. The power they carry feels amazing, but I think I can get used to that, as well as this renewed sense of self.

 

image of the ‘tree pose’, a grounding yoga pose
image by Michael Lorenzo

 






It’s all about ME

13 09 2011

 

 

Almost two weeks ago, while visiting my family doctor because of a debilitating tiredness I’ve had for some time now, she suggested I’d look into chronic fatigue syndrome / ME. I did. I found several different standards and according to all, I fit the profile perfectly.  So yesterday, I called my doctor to make a new appointment to deal with the physical side of what’s going on. That means getting a diagnosis, which will involve tests as it is a diagnosis of exclusion. There is no treatment, but I want to learn ways to go with my body, instead of against it. As I said, that’s the physical side, it is what needs to be done, but as far as I’m concerned that is not the interesting part of what is happening in my life.

I thought I had made peace with being tired, but being confronted with a possible ME diagnosis, feeling physically very ill and emotionally drained, I discovered that there were new layers to be uncovered. Although this illness and its symptoms are very real in my daily life, I choose not to see it as a physical problem. Unexplained energy loss has been an issue in my life for the past 20 years and no exercise, diet or multivitamin has had any significant results. I would be stronger and healthier than any person I’d know and still, out of the blue, get immensely tired for weeks, unable to even brush my teeth.

What is interesting is that, as I have been growing spiritually in ways that I almost cannot fathom myself, my tiredness has been growing proportionally. And although this may seem paradoxical, it makes perfect sense. See, before, the image I had of myself and my actual life were the same, there was no discord. But now, my image of self has changed almost  180º, yet my life has not. I’m still moving in the same direction. That’s two bodies moving in opposite direction, creating immense tension.

Have you ever held onto something, because you were afraid to let go, even while you knew that you would be alright, that you would be better for it? That’s where I am now. I’m in this boat and I’m rowing against the stream. I’m so good at rowing and I’ve rowed for so many years that I’ve actually managed to row upstream. The current is so much stronger up here and by now I’m rowing like a maniac not be taken by the current. I’m exhausted, I really want to let go of the oars, yet I’m so scared to be taken downstream that I keep rowing. Did I mention that I’m a control freak? I know I need to let go and allow the stream to take me, to close the gap between me and Me, but I’m afraid of what will happen when I give up this illusion of control. Fortunately, my body is caving in, and it is finally dawning on me that I cannot beat the stream of Life, there is only one way and that is down. It is called gravity.

I can honestly say that I’m excited to be on this journey. What an opportunity! What an amazing opportunity! I can’t wait to see what happens when I will let go and allow this stream of Life to take me. I will use this illness as an excuse to catch up with my Self, to become more self-ish, in the purest sense of the word. Isn’t it perfect irony that it will take ME to become Me? Makes me laugh.

photo by Christa Richter

 

 





Extreme weather

29 06 2011

 

 

Yesterday, my psychological and emotional state resembled the weather in the Netherlands. The weather forecast had predicted unstable weather. The royal meteorological instituted had even had released an extreme weather alert. The forecast revealed to be rather accurate. At the end of the day, we had heavy rain, strong wind gusts and some serious thunder and lightning. Somehow, it felt good the weather agreed with me; it was time to release some tension.

 

I started my day rather absentmindedly, I somehow was unable to land in the now. At eleven in the morning, I finally had the clarity of mind to stop doing and listen to my body. It felt heavy, like the weather. I felt like crying and sleeping. So I went upstairs to sleep. In the middle of my sleep I was woken by a ringing telephone. I answered. It was my husband. He had two simple requests. My brain short circuited. It seemed I was unable to process requests with more than one variable.  Even one variable would have been challenging. After that I cried. I cried and could not stop. I cried because was stressed, frustrated and I felt guilty. Guilty for not being able to take some load of his shoulders. Guilty for not being able to be the wife I want to be. Guilty for being stressed over nothing, essentially.

 

I twittered about it. That was not easy, because I know from experience that most people only see a drama queen, having a pity party, fussing over nothing. But yesterday, there also were people who understood what was happening, who could relate to what I was saying. That meant the world to me. There was a sense of recognition, of connection. It was priceless. One lovely lady called it a ‘discharge’. And that landed me in the now. Because that’s exactly what it was. A discharge of tension that had built up for days. My easily stimulated brain was overstimulated and needed to discharge to get equalized again.

 

As the day progressed, with one drama after another, some small, some really ugly (I sweared like a fishwife at the idiot who through uncareful driving, almost hit my girl and her friend while they crossed the street using a pedestrian crossing), I turned my mind around. I was doing my best. Only today, my best was different than my best on any other given day. And that’s okay. I am not proud that I snapped at my daughter, but I am proud at the moments I did not snap. Proud that on a day with almost zero tolerance for stress, I was capable of caring and compassion. Proud I was able to put my daughter’s safety and emotional needs first (most of the time). Proud I was able to turn my guilt into pride. Proud I twittered about my discharge like other people twittered about the weather.

 

photo by Ronny Beliën





Little feet

2 12 2007

little feet

Only one day old, these little feet were ready to go. Designed to walk you through life, they’ll take you to your destiny if you let them. 





Many miles

14 11 2007

The feet of the heron,
under those bamboo stems,
hold the blue body,
the great beak

above the shallows
of the pond.
Who could guess
their patience?

Sometimes the toes
shake like worms.
What fish
could resist?

Or think of the cricket
his green hooks
climbing the blade of grass-
or think of camel feet

like ear muffs,
striding over the sand-
or think of your own
slapping along the highway,

a long life,
many miles.
To each of us comes
the body gift.

Mary Oliver