You are currently browsing the monthly archive for April 2012.

In 1985, I became pregnant. I know the exact moment it happened (sorry Jordan). I felt a pain in my kidney and knew it was a kidney infection. I went to my OB/GYN and his son was covering for him. I told him I had a kidney infection and needed an antibiotic that wouldn’t affect a fetus because I was two days pregnant. He asked me if I missed my menstrual period recently and that’s how I knew. I told him, “no, I conceived two days ago.” He was shocked and amused. He clearly didn’t believe me. After a pregnancy test he was a believer.

Nine months later, Jordan was born. There were already four powerful people in our household: his father, me, my daughter and his father’s daughter. Two sisters in one household, that’s a lot of fire energy.  What was also true was that there was a presence in that powder blue and yellow room next to mine. He did not look like a Gerber baby, as his sister had. It reminds me of that commercial or that comedy skit where people look into a stroller and see this midget in a baby bonnet. Everybody who met him made the comment that he was an old soul. Everybody. Even people who don’t speak of souls. When I was sent his astrology chart, I was not surprised. The goddess would not put a whimp in that household to fend for himself.

I think Casey thought that this was her baby. She had been asking me for a brother or sister for years. She was seven when he was born so she was very capable of holding him and feeding him etc. She disagreed with my laissez-faire parenting and she pushed to get her way a lot. I let her get her way, and in retrospect, that was a mistake. Not only did she feel overly in control, but she also felt overly responsible. Whether the latter is a common trait of the firstborn child, my collusion exacerbated it. It is interesting, the mistakes we make as parents and how we cannot see them until they cannot be reversed.

Jordan’s path was neither linear nor direct. He had a lot of corrections along the way. It’s easy to feel responsible as the parent–should I have corrected more? Nevertheless, Jordan has a huge heart. His ego needed to be tamed a bit to allow that heart to lead.

Living with a chronic life-threatening illness, I never know how much time I will have with them. This blog is affording me a creative way to leave them more of myself. I thank the blog gods for that.

The last time I went snow skiing, it was in Colorado with my former stepson, me on skis and him on his snowboard. We must have made over thirty runs up the mountain. As always, it was a very euphoric experience for me and reminiscent of my childhood, where I skied weekly with my high school. This time however, there was a compulsive nature to my skiing, almost as if I knew I had to get all the skiing in today for the rest of my life. At the time I wasn’t aware of this driving the experience, but this was the last time I snow skied and it was around 2005. When I wasn’t snow skiing, I was water skiing.  When I wasn’t snow or water skiing I was riding horses. When I wasn’t doing sports, I was renovating buildings or creating my garden. When I first met Mark, my friend Diana’s future husband, she brought him to meet me and I was on a ladder trimming my fig tree with my power saw, with power cords all through the yard into the green house. I physically threw myself into my avocations. That was just how I rolled.

When Eric and I got together, we began renovating buildings. He and I demolished a two-story camelback in a historic area of New Orleans with a hammer and crowbar. I remember single handedly pushing an old sofa out of the second-story window with Eric cheering me on. When David and I got together, he lived in a camp with no running water on a cypress swamp with Spanish moss everywhere. We quietly paddled in a pirogue (Cajun canoe) tracker-style looking for wildlife. We swam in the swamp, hiked for many miles and camped out for weeks at a time in the mountains. My life was inextricably interwoven with being physically active and constantly in nature.

Professionally, I worked at a community mental health center for forty hours a week specializing in children, their families, and women’s issues. I carried a pager after hours for emergency evaluations. These contacts were usually people who had just attempted suicide or were metaphorically on the “ledge” and needed to be talked down. These were probably my favorite evaluations, because people this desperate were, ironically, also open to change. I found it easy to give them a sense of “the bigger picture” at a time when they most needed it.

Around this time I passed my boards and started my private practice. I was able to stop doing emergency after hours evaluations which had left me sleep deprived. Nevertheless, I had a very full professional schedule. In addition to my vocation and avocations, I raised my children as a single mom. During this time my son gave me a mug as a present for workaholics that read, “thank God it’s Monday.” He was able to use humor, but he clearly felt frustrated that I was so “busy.” He told me straight, “I want to spend more time with you.”

Being torn between this level of activity and the desires of my son, I began to look at what was driving this excessive behavior. What was I running from? The more I was working, the more desperate I became to stay in motion. The greater the desperation, the more determined I was to understand this behavior. I knew it was multigenerational. My family is replete with addictive behaviors, from workaholism, rageaholism, prescription drug use to the misuse of food for self soothing. Both of my brothers are in recovery for addictions.

I finally built up enough courage to give notice at work to face my fears. During my final week of work I noticed that my thigh was numb. Were the symptoms an attempt to keep me locked into the status quo, like a child who is acting out? I chose to keep moving forward, numb thigh and all. I don’t want to give you the impression that I was stoic about this. I was terrified. As courageous as people see me now, the complete opposite was true then. I was committed to changing the family pathology for two reasons: firstly, I felt that my body was screaming at me to get my attention, so maybe the symptoms would lessen and secondly, I felt that I had a Sacred obligation to change the pattern so that my children did not have to carry it into the next generation.

We lived in a modest house on Vine Street during the first three years of my life. I have quite a few memories from that house, surprisingly enough. I remember trying to teach my Polish grandmother how to speak English without an accent. I remember sucking the candy coating off of a whole box of Aspergum. I also remember standing in the room that was called the  den wondering if I was going to be pretty when I grew up. In retrospect, I think that’s a strange inquiry for a two and a half year old. I wonder what that even meant to me at that age.

As I grew up, especially after puberty I was told that I was pretty. Actually I was told that I was very pretty. This seemed odd to me because what I experienced inside was not consistent with what other people saw. I eventually learned to accept people’s reaction even though it was not consistent with my internal experience. I learned to accept it kind of how one might accept a collective hallucination. When is it that the self-hatred begins? Does it start before the age of three? What two-year-old child has an investment in how others perceive her?

When I was studying transactional analysis during my intensive group therapy era, I remembered a “game” Eric Berne called Creeping Beauty. Creeping beauty described the emotional predicament a woman can find herself in as she ages and desperately tries to grasp at her disappearing youth and beauty. I remember feeling that I was at risk, considering my attachment to my external appearance and I wanted to be careful to avoid that pitfall.

In her earlier years, my mother was considered a beautiful woman. She had a long neck like Audrey Hepburn. I think the men in my family had an attachment to women being beautiful. It’s interesting that at three years old I would feel the pressure.

What I came to learn over the years was my attractiveness to other people had nothing to do with my outer appearance. This knowledge was hard won. In college, after a very disappointing relationship, I gained forty pounds. I weighed as much as when I was pregnant. The depression from the grief and the weight gain were inexplicably entwined. I began to understand that extra weight was like armoring, protection against what felt unsafe. It was perhaps in my forties I realized that what people were attracted to in me had nothing to do with my being thin or pretty. I started to realize that, contrary to common thinking, what people were actually drawn to what my teachers referred to as a “light.” This is a quality that everybody has, but I bet creeping beauties never get to find this out. I suspect this is the primary pitfall.

The  women in my lineage have carried a lot of unexamined self-hatred. I’m sure being raped by Cossacks didn’t help. During the time of pogroms and concentration camps, the oppressors didn’t discriminate between genders.  The way I think about it, the experiences of my ancestors paved the way for me to do the self exploration necessary to increase my quality of life. Because of them, survival was handled. My children and I could now create our lives using what we’ve been given.

I really had no idea how to be a disabled person. I’ve had to learn on the job so to speak. David and I were just making it up as we went along. That was probably not the best way to go about it in retrospect, but being self-sufficient individuals, that’s how it went. People still say to me, “you live alone?!” They can’t believe it. After my last vascular procedure in Brooklyn, Dr. Sclafani told me in recovery that he couldn’t believe I lived alone and that he had told his wife about me. He was the one who said to me the first time he saw me, “you are frail, but tough.”  That was before my last trip to India, which I have not written about yet, when I was almost totally unable to breathe. I never thought of myself as frail, until that moment. I e-mailed him a picture of me on the elephant.

Unfortunately, his procedure didn’t help stop the progression as we had hoped. That is like almost everything else I had done. I believe in turning over every stone and if it feels right to do it. Hearing about the MS pharmaceuticals early in the disease process made absolutely no sense to me. Suppressing my immune system to lessen the symptoms to me was like the engine light coming on in your car and disconnecting the fuse. I wanted to know why my immune system was going haywire. I wanted to help my body, which was struggling at the time. I didn’t want to give it expensive pharmaceuticals that were most often used for prostate cancer or hepatitis C. I didn’t care that it would be covered by my insurance. And now, studies of those same pharmaceuticals are showing a reduction of relapses and gray matter in the brain, but no lessening of the progression of the disease whatsoever. Other pharmaceuticals, developed since then and having shown great promise, have been causing brain infections and worse.

The medical community is still very far from understanding the  etiology of multiple sclerosis. There are segments of the medical community that understand lifestyle choices have a lot to do with how illnesses develop. There is a doctor in Iowa who was extremely disabled and, in her research, found that the mitochondria of her cells were dying. She developed an approach using supplements and a Paleolithic diet to support them. Her initial research study involved nine people and seven of the nine improved greatly in the area of fatigue. She used neuromuscular stimulation to increase muscle strength. I was on her program for much of the last two years with no improvement. I remain on her program because I feel it is the most loving thing to do for my mitochondria. Opportunistic infections are other serious stressors on the immune system. I’m exploring food sensitivities at the moment, but frankly, I’m running out of time.

What provided the most improvement was my adventure in India with embryonic stem cells. Separate blog entries have described, or will describe, my India experiences.

Everybody has an opinion about what I should or should not have done, and I know that that is because that everybody cares. Nobody has more opinions about it than I do. At the end of the day, I believe that we get exactly what we need for our ascension and everything that we need can change in a moment along with our karma.

After I returned to the US in July, 2010, I continued to improve. I began taking my clothes off by myself and continued to strengthen. In October, I attended my daughter’s wedding. It had been my hope and prayer to have more strength for that blessed event, and it was everything I hoped for and more. Ironically, the ceremony was half Hindi and half Jewish, which seemed very fitting now that I had Indian stem cells. And, in true Indian tradition, not only were the my daughter and her new husband united, but the two families were as well.  I had experienced yet another Indian tradition from the inside out.

With a degenerative illness, one has to return to India every three months to stop the progression and reverse the illness. Especially with Lyme disease, it is important to stop the infection from mobilizing the immune system. I was scheduled to return in November. My core was beginning to weaken again, and I was ready to return.

Something very strange happened when I was packing to leave.  Usually when I was packing for a trip, my great dane, Basha, would jump in the car. When she wasn’t coming with us, we had to be sure to keep the doors closed while getting ready.  This ritual had been going on for years. However, this time when I was packing, she slept. When I got in the car, I looked at her and, instead of trying to join me, she walked next door with a sense of resignation. I thought it odd, but I was glad to not feel the overwhelming guilt and grief I usually felt when leaving her. In retrospect, I realize that there was something else going on, outside of my awareness.

My girlfriend, Lynne, from college accompanied me on this trip to India. She is someone who agreed to take a month out of her life to work her hindquarters off to support me on my journey. That is an enormous amount of love to give, as well as to receive, and I’ll never forget it. She and I had many adventures through the years. So we went to India together and I was open and ready for more improvement.

What seems to consistent in life is that I never know which way the winds will blow. When in India, I got an e-mail about my precious, beloved Basha. She was not eating and we wondered if it had to do with me being gone. Then I received an e-mail that she was going to the veterinarian and she needed emergency surgery for a uterine infection. I sat up all night with my computer on my lap while she went into  surgery. After many hours of waiting, I got the word that she never recovered. The mixture of feelings that welled up in me was extreme. My body shut down and the grief could be felt within ten feet of my body. The medical staff worked with me as best they could. I could see their faces–“don’t do this,” they seemed to say. I didn’t know how not to. It is still extremely difficult. I started another post on my beloved dog a few weeks ago, but I’ve been avoiding it.

I know, like everything excruciating in life, there will be a resulting experience of liberation. (I wonder if I can curse in word press)  F––– liberation! And that is precisely what happened. I developed a lung infection so severe that I was on constant antibiotics and nebulizer treatments for the rest of my stay in India. I did manage to go to the Taj Mahal and to Jaipur to ride an elephant.

Unlike my first trip to India, I did not experience any physical improvement. But the way I see it the stem cells helped me stay in my body long enough to release my best friend into Spirit.

After following a lyme disease protocol for many years with no improvement, I had read about some lyme disease patients having success with embryonic stem cells in India. Due to the controversial political climate, the United States was way behind in research. Even in India the treatment was controversial. In fact, controversy seems to surround the doctor who developed the process. The medical establishment is closed to areas not controlled by pharmaceutical companies, in my opinion.

The second area of controversy involves the use of an embryo. The doctor in India was a fertility specialist who had a donated embryo from a couple who were going to discard it. This one embryo was processed in such a way that multiple cells were harvested and used on over seven hundred patients. I heard a story in the hospital that the process was developed as an accident in the laboratory. I have already established my belief that there are no accidents.

In 2010, after careful research, I wrote a letter requesting treatment at the hospital in India. I personally spoke to a few patients who had gone there for treatment. I believe that after attempting so many different areas of healing and finding little to no progress, I was clearly bumping into something that was unconscious. I felt that if I were going to find whatever was in the way of my healing, that India would be the place to support this inquiry. Mother India.

As I prepared for the two-month trip, I began experiencing vertigo for the first time. When I feel fear my body goes haywire. Nevertheless, I got to the hospital in India. My first night there in a meditation I saw an Indian man and a woman in a sari. I thought they were doctors, but I realized that they were the parents of the embryo. It was clear to me that they supported the process.

During the first two days, I was sent to other hospitals for diagnostic baseline studies. The results were reviewed with the doctors, and I knew where I stood. The lesions were all through my brain and thick on the cervical and lumbar areas of the spine. On the night of my second day in India I received my first injection of stem cells. With each injection I felt an increase in anxiety. The infusion of life force seem to be bumping up against something very dense and amorphous. I was unable to eat, unable to sleep and everywhere I went I carried a bag in order to throw up. During the second week of an eight-week stay, after a fitful night of insomnia, I saw an apparition. I had been thinking about my son Jordan. Jordan and his father had many parallel experiences in their lives. His father once told me that it felt like he was looking in a mirror watching Jordan grow up. Suddenly I realized that Sid’s mother had died tragically when he was in his twenties and I saw the parallel with Jordan’s experience. I saw the trajectory of the storyline and realized that I did not have to play it out. I saw how the old woman archetype had taken up residency and that it did not have to be that way. There was an existential shift. I no longer felt anxiety or fear of any type. I knew that breaking the script of the old woman needed to be central and going back to Pennsylvania to do this would be where this work needed to happen.

As most of the anxiety went away, it was replaced with feelings of liberation. During the remaining weeks, my strength and range increased as well as my dexterity. I began wheeling myself in the wheelchair from physiotherapy to my room. The atrophy in my arms began filling out and I was showing off my biceps on Skype sessions with my children. At the end of the eight weeks, I repeated the scans and found much improved blood circulation in my brain and the MRIs now showed lesions around C5 and the lumbar area only.  My brain was clear and the vertigo was gone. The doctor told me that this was the most improved MRI he had seen of someone with MS.

Interestingly enough, when I returned to the states and I told many different doctors about the experience, they were totally uninterested in seeing the scans. People are not comfortable shifting paradigms. When I see what I went through, why would I expect that they would be any different?

When I was a child I watched a movie called Brigadoon. My fifty-year-old memory of it was that in order to be able to enter this mystical city, one had to alter her consciousness. If she wasn’t in the right frame of mind, she couldn’t find the portal. Actually I just checked Wikipedia and my memory is more mystical than it really was in the musical. It was mostly a mediocre movie, but I’d like to go with the mystical concept that I created as a child. That is more representative of how I feel about my new home site.

After Katrina, I felt like it was time to leave Louisiana, where I’d lived for thirty years. The heat and the hurricanes were way too difficult for me to deal with. We were interested in finding a sustainable community where people were conscious, progressive, and where it was no more than two hours to an airport. I had been to Crestone, Colorado, twice before to see a naturopathic doctor who was a friend of mine from the breathwork community. The mountains were beautiful and they were no different from the other side of the mountains, where we had camped for many years. So we were familiar with the area. We also had close friends who were looking to relocate from Abita Springs, Louisiana, out West. They had traveled around south-central Colorado and happened on a charter school in Crestone. Instead of having a transportation system or a sport program or cafeteria, students travel out of the country to study under world-renowned teachers regarding such topics as natural farming in Japan, ashrams in India, etc. The ten-year-old son of my friend visited the progressive and intimate classrooms and told his parents that he would commute from Abita to be able to go there. That sealed the deal and they moved to Crestone.

After the hurricane we visited our friends there and fell in love with the town and the community. It was my dream to be able to sit in the dental chair of the local dentist as elk or deer walked by the window and talk about astrology. When the local UPS man, daily Dave, would drop something off, he would always ask if there was anything he could do for me.

Most of  significant spiritual centers are represented in Crestone and many process groups have formed around various subject matter. It is like a candy store to me. Should I choose to study Course of Miracles or should I study Marshall Rosenberg’s nonviolent communication? Should I go to the ashram or should I go to the Buddhist community and meet the local Tibetan lamas? I was invited to a nonviolent communication group and joined immediately. I’ve been in the group for two and a half years and began facilitating a new one before I left Crestone for Pennsylvania. If anybody gets to participate in nonviolent communication, it is a huge challenge and this practice will help propagate world peace. After two years, the process continues to challenge me.

Some of my friends and caregivers in the Crestone community are midwives, bodyworkers, artists, nurses, etc. Many of my new friends participated in the very progressive end-of-life project. The community had open air cremations. When my neighbor passed, his horse and dog were in the procession to the fire pit. The family prepared the body in a sacred way. A carpenter in the community made plain boxes to place the body. Local wood was collected and placed around the body. The community came together at the cremation pit and said our final goodbyes. For the people in the community, it was an honor to play any part in this collective sendoff.

There is something strangely intimate and close to the earth that feeds a very deep part of me with the rituals practiced in Crestone.

Shattered, like a window pane.… Something deep inside of me is shattered.  –Linda Ronstadt

In a previous blog entry, I described the ankle accident. What is it about transitions that makes them wrought with so many complications? What is it about MY transitions? Just to name another example, in 2007 when I was moving to Crestone, David and I were driving with our artwork in the horse trailer. The horses were shipped separately, thank goodness. We were parked at the side of the road and my wheelchair went down a hill and shattered my femur.

In working with breathwork so long, and having become a holotropic breathwork practitioner, I was trained to look at individual birth processes. The theory posits that how a person enters this life creates an imprint that recurs during every transition in one’s life. The imprint is not meant to be static. The more you bring awareness to your birth process, the more it can transform. Without going into too much theoretical detail, there are stages during the birth process which elicit certain feelings.  Inducing a birth makes the process more difficult for the mother and the child. One can say that there is an overlay of interference at a time that could be very empowering for the mother and baby.

Having calamities when I’m on the precipice of something new could represent an imprint that can be worked with when brought to consciousness. What is also significant is that both incidences happened with a caregiver participating in the calamity. This connection must reflect an archaic pattern. I’ve come to believe that with chronic illness and life altering accidents, there may be an unconscious expression that can lead to a very deep form of healing.  Contrary to much of the new age pop psychology theories, sometimes an illness or an accident can lead to this deeper level of healing that the soul desires.

Stephen Levine, who worked many years with Elizabeth Kubler Ross, teaches that of the many people he has worked with during their illnesses, he has seen many of them find a cure. And many times the person with the cure can be so difficult that they alienate the people around them. He has also seen situations where, as he describes it, the person heals, the heart comes to completion and the body dies. Perhaps the vehicle is no longer necessary once the healing has occurred.

The idea of birth-process imprinting may seem far-fetched to some, but I’ve experienced it over and over again, and I have the stitches and casts to prove it.

I have always felt like an alien, not the undocumented kind, but the kind from another planet. I was a very sensitive and demanding child and my mother was emotionally detached. I was raised by a loving nurse named Mamie Dorn for three years. If my mother was mean to me I told her, “I’m going to tell Dorney on you.” My mother laughed at that.

When I entered graduate school to become a psychiatric social worker my life experience was pretty thin. Maybe my experience was not as thin as was my understanding of it. But as I began to find my footing as a psychotherapist, my very foundation began to quake. That’s when I became an avid consumer of psychotherapy. I began to sort out attachment issues, grief issues, sexual abuse issues, and the unraveling began. My course of study and field placement only made my curiosity and intention to make sense of my Story that much more pressing.

In my late twenties, I was in a very difficult marriage, had my blessed daughter, and I was strongly persuaded by my former roommate to see her therapist. Actually, she begged me. She couldn’t stand to hear me complaining one more minute about my husband. So I interviewed the therapists involved and entered intensive group psychotherapy. I attended group at least three times a week and went to the beach in Florida for five-day marathons. I developed very strong bonds with this new family, so much so that to this day, almost thirty-five years later, I am close friends with three women that I communicate with on a daily basis.

When I began therapy I was out of balance and highly anatlystica. To say that I was out of touch with my feeling self is an understatement. The pressure was building for me to be authentic with my emotions. This was way too intense an environment for inauthenticity. A turning point happened during a marathon when the group contained me with pillows on all sides. This was called a banana box. It was constructed to allow the person to go bananas, and I did–thank God.

For many years, this community was my family. I believe this experience gave me the foundation that my professional self needed. I was no longer the nubile person who entered the Tulane University graduate program. I had explored every facet that was accessible in my unconscious mind. And watching other people do their own inner exploration, the learning was synergistic. This community ended when the facilitator moved to Lake Tahoe. Nevertheless, my internal journey had begun in a big way and would continue for the rest of my life.

In 1985, my second husband began therapy with a psychiatrist in New Orleans who gave up his psychiatric license to become a guru. Did I hear the word “unconventional” again?  Yes, his work was unusual, but in all fairness, the community we developed was comprised of doctors and lawyers and artists. None of us were slouches and John was actually quite brilliant and gifted aside from his eccentricities. This work was my initiation beyond the parameters of ego. This is where my path diverged from others and my development on a spiritual level began and accelerated. I just tried to hold on to my hat and even that was hard to do much of the time.

When I joined the group psychotherapy community in my twenties, I was an agnostic/atheist. Being totally pragmatic, God just did not make sense. I remember the day on the Gulf Coast of Florida when the light bulb flipped on. I looked at the diverse group of people  gathered there, who I totally loved and accepted, and I knew they totally loved and accepted me, no matter what. I realized that in their core everybody just wants to be loved. I knew this was something much larger than me or them. I knew that this was God.

During my work with John the guru, I had my first direct experience of God. From the beginning, there were issues that I disagreed with John about. He talked about exclusivity and having been raised Jewish, but I rejected exclusivity for inclusivity. Contrary to his teaching, for me there was not just ONE WAY. I knew this in my soul and during those first few days with him he prophesied that I would leave him because of this issue.

If I tell you that the Ilene we all knew and loved could not exist within the teachings of these communities. I was changing exponentially. It was not a straight trajectory. There were times that I prayed to die the pain was so great. And what I’ve learned repeatedly is that when the pain gets so great, the rebirth always follows.

My next unconventional teacher was an older German woman in Taos New Mexico. She facilitated a form of breath work that she developed after studying under Stanislav Grof. I had done my ego and emotional work, then my spiritual work, and now I was putting it all together, which allowed me to drill down into the depths of my unconscious to find many of the pieces I had disowned, feared, or clearly could not stomach. This is also known as the Shadow. In a previous blog I mentioned that the Shadow work was the most difficult inner work to do. The physical symptoms had started a year or two before working with this new teacher, so my pipes were primed. I was willing to discover what needed to be uncovered and loved. There was a whole community that formed around this breath work as well.

Around this time I went to a heart retreat in Galesteo, New Mexico, and there were two women, myself being one of them, named Ilene. They asked if one of us had a spiritual name and for years I had been hearing the word Aliyah so I claimed it. Aliyah is a Hebrew word that means to ascend, or to go to Jerusalem (which is on a mountain, so you must ascend). My new name stuck in my spiritual community and Aliyah was born.

At my third wedding in 2003, one of the three women friends I had made during my first therapy experience stood up and declared, “I have known Ilene for over twenty years and her life has always been about transformation.” Whether I came in to this life primed for this work or I was led to it, the work has changed me. I can no longer relate to in the person that I was. There have been very few people who could maintain an intimate connection with me through all these changes. Other than family, there has been one friend from Scranton who has maintained a connection. She moved with her family to Jerusalem and perhaps that has made the difference. I believe that is the natural order of things. There is grief for the old life, there is no denying that. However once the genie is out of the bottle, there’s no going back.

When you have a chronic life-threatening illness, are prone to calamities, but determined to keep your eyes wide open, life can be quite the rigorous teacher. Throughout my journey, life has required it all. My tendency toward complacency gets challenged on a minute-to-minute basis. Perhaps it is my hardheadedness; perhaps it is my nature to blast through my self-imposed limits; perhaps it is the selected curriculum. Whatever it is, I seem to be in it for the long haul.

I left the nursing facility with my wings spread wide. It wasn’t five hours until my ankle got caught in the bottom of my power chair and was mangled. With the fractures, bones that are in fragments, the metaphoric deck of cards has been scattered and I am left to make sense out of it. It took me three days to work through the trauma, but this morning it became clear that I needed to spend another month stabilizing my ankle. Traveling for thirty hours with this broken ankle does not feel like a respectful thing to do to myself. The orthopedist informed me that I am at risk of throwing a blood clot. It is clear that as much as I don’t like it, I need to CARE for my ankle. Logistics will be  a nightmare. I still have to move out of my apartment for the new tenant to move in.

So life presents a new curriculum. I get to sit with this new circumstance and contemplate its relevance in my process. In 2007,  when moving to Colorado with David, I had an accident in my wheelchair and broke my femur. In both situations,  I was relying on a caregiver.  I’m sure in time I will understand the reasoning. That is usually what I hear in my meditations at times like this–“you will understand in retrospect.” Sometimes I really find that aggravating.

The internal “hit” that I get has to do with the word CARE. Caregiver, care-giving, self care… It seems like the lessons always come back to SELF LOVE.


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Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. more...

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