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“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there!” -Rumi

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I am calling hospice today to see if I qualify for their services. Living in the wilderness, there are few services available in our area. Even the home health organization cannot provide outreach for our area anymore. Although I am self-sufficient, occasionally there are issues that are beyond me medically. For example, a few weeks ago my heart rate went to 152 while I was standing, so I was exerting. I didn’t know who to consult.

Making the decision to call hospice came from me. Nobody referred me to them, not the home health organization that regretfully discharge me, not the doctor who agreed to be my primary care doctor, not my caregivers or friends, some of whom are nurses. I don’t think anybody wanted to connect me with THAT organization. So it really wasn’t a matter of neglect or oversight, but perhaps it was more a matter of denial, denial and grief.

We called and although I don’t qualify for their short-term program (hooray), I qualify for their long-term palliative care program. Palliative care is defined as multidisciplinary approach to providing medical care for those with serious illnesses, to relieve pain, symptoms and stress. The administrative person explained the program and said with a doctor’s order, I could sign the paperwork. I explained that I cannot use my hands and she suggested a power of attorney. A power of attorney to me suggests deferring power to another. Doesn’t she realize that is what I have done my whole life?! I refuse to do it now. My suggestion was duct tape, but she didn’t seem to appreciate that.

There is a part of me (by the way, who is in charge much of the time) that really does not take this seriously. When you have a life-threatening illness for as long as I have and have moved through the state of acceptance to a state of transcendence, it is hard to take these circumstances too seriously; I would be way too serious, way too often. I had to give that up.

I feel like someone who is about to go on a beautiful journey and is excited about the adventure. Thinking about my place of departure is not really the point, when you are going on a “pilgrimage.” There is much I will appreciate to not have to deal with, like my in floor radiant heat, the physical discomfort I deal with on a daily basis and the enormous energy it takes to stay proactive, just to stay alive. When I think of my greatest grief, it is in leaving my children and grandchildren. As I open more to the belief that I will not truly be leaving them, what’s the point? It’s not like I can go skiing, swimming or riding anymore. After all, once we all make our transitions, we will be together again.

So I have the dubious distinction of being a member of a group of which I didn’t really want membership, but I am a member of a broader group, a group formed and expressed through LOVE, and I embrace that membership.

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Lynne Kaplan Artography

Lynne Kaplan Artography

“Love motivates service, and service gives form to love.”–Robert Schwartz

There is something that happens during a caregiving scenario, when the level of disability is so extreme, that the caregiver needs total focus for keeping the individual’s life from being in jeopardy. This is the quality that develops between myself and my caregivers. The level of disability I experience is profound. I cannot move a limb in order to avoid a potential catastrophe; my caregiver is vitally important for the most basic skills.

Fortunately, only a small percentage of people with multiple sclerosis ever experience my level of disability. I have come to believe that the degree of disability is not arbitrary, but it is commensurate with what is required for a necessary outcome, the evolution of one’s higher purpose. This understanding is not held by the majority of people, but I believe it is a necessary understanding when one accepts that the universe is perfectly safe. In order to accept this premise, one must subscribe to love over fear. In order to arrive at the state of Love, I needed to move through much fear. As they say, “the only way is through,” and this was surely true for me. Surrendering to this illness was a way for me to learn to accept being cared for on many levels.

Something magical can happen during caregiving when a certain level of oneness is achieved through this intense level of focus. The potential for this to occur became clear while I was being showered in my outdoor shower. Allison is my caregiver for this blissful endeavor, as we have been working together for over two years. The level of focus required to keep me safe is not a minimal feat. There is the full transfer to the shower chair, the slippery soap consideration, and the flying insects during the Colorado summer. Yes, we have an inundation of mosquitoes, gnats, noseeums, horseflies and any other bug you can imagine. Fortunately, my alkaline diet seems to provide a deterrent for the little ones, but not for the more aggressive types.

Contrary to popular understanding about multiple sclerosis, my body is not numb. When there is a fly walking across my skin I feel every sensation. When a mosquito stings me, I feel the intrusion. Actually, my bodily sensation is to a degree, heightened. When I felt the horsefly on my leg, without hesitation Allison swatted the bug full force. In the moment, the insect was as surprised as Allison when she didn’t feel the sting in her thigh. That is how heightened the caregiving symbiosis can become. It can be a curriculum in transcendence, or oneness. Once I was able to go beyond the profound fear of the illness, to understand the bigger picture rather than feeling victimized by the loss of body functioning, I was able to open to relationships where I could receive care on some of the deepest levels.

My ego would never have chosen this degree of vulnerability and from the ego’s perspective, these circumstances are a tragedy. From the bigger picture perspective, I am learning unitive consciousness, or Oneness on many levels. Loving interactions with my caregivers are some of the more significant teachings, for which I am tremendously grateful.

“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river in you, a joy.”–Rumi

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Without my two grand boys, I would not be a grandmother. I cannot write a blog of love and regeneration and not include my beautiful boys River and Luc. River was born in 2011 when I briefly lived nearby. We drove two hours to the hospital in New York City and I saw him when he was a few hours old. Luc was born exactly two years later; in a mysterious and unseen way, despite being in Colorado I felt as if I were present, experiencing the blessed event with my children. What an amazing feeling to see our families meld into one little being with so much promise.

I wondered what sort of grandmother I might be confined to a wheelchair with so much disability. I always saw myself throwing them up in the air and flying them in the air with their stomachs against my feet, like I did with my children. What sort of grandmother could I be to my grandchildren?

One day, when Casey was pregnant, I posed that question to them during a state of vulnerability. Feeling a relapse into the belief that I am my physicality, my son-in-law broke through my mood with, “It’s like, you offer a register of consciousness.” In that moment, it was like an electric shock wave sped through me that reminded me of who I truly am and what my Sacred mission is.

So my beloved River and Luc, I will not be sitting on the floor with you, I will not be holding books to read with you, but I will hold a frequency of Love and I will follow your lives, wherever they will take you. I will be in the wind if you listen closely, I will be in the water tickling you, and I will be in the sun’s rays warming your skin. You can learn to listen closely and you will hear my words of love and encouragement. You will never be without me in your hearts. And that will be true for any other siblings or cousins in the future.

My life has always brought many surprises to myself and others which has provided an opportunity for deepening. I hope that we can meet together in that field of Love and Depth.

“Should you shield the canyons from the windstorms, you would never see the beauty in their carvings.”–Elisabeth Kubler–Ross

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Lynne Kaplan Artography

When I was a child there was a rule of thumb; rarely would you have two girls visit if you could at all avoid it. That could be a recipe for disaster–three girls together. I don’t know what it was about three when I was young, but it surely could elicit conflict. I wonder if it is specific to our culture or if it is a human characteristic. Triangles surely offer an evocative relationship dynamic. In relationship theory, there is a term called triangulation where a couple draws in a third person to relieve anxiety in the original dyad. Anxiety is usually a symptom of tension that is building when the couple needs to undergo change for greater authenticity. The tension increases when being confronted openly and takes much integrity and spiritual developmentto make the necessary shift, but this is the high road for which most people are not prepared. Often drama is engendered when the couple cannot meet the level of authenticity required.

Another manifestation of triangles is when the energy of two forces becomes polarized. As the two forces move toward changing to a greater equilibrium, the polarization escalates. When a mediating third enters the field, transformation can happen. The art of mediation is an example of this process.

When I went to the Grof Transpersonal Training I met many wonderful people who became my sacred community for three years; two of the people would help me to connect the dots from significant relationship traumas which would lead to my deepest relational healing. I will call the couple X and Y to preserve their privacy. In order to fully communicate the level of healing this represented, I need to describe the circumstances that ended my second marriage. This marriage held a great deal of love and an equal amount of childhood trauma. Although we worked tenaciously to heal the trauma, the wounds were too great and we were losing ground. My neurological symptoms had become evident and were slowly progressing. Intuitively I knew that if the circumstances didn’t change, I could die. All life choices were made from this perspective at this point in my life, extreme as it may sound. Unfortunately, at the time I didn’t understand the level of pressure I was under, nor did I know how to relieve it. Part of our attempt to heal childhood trauma brought us to Galisteo, New Mexico to work with a healer named Rick. Rick and I made a deep connection which was destabilizing for me for my marriage. I attempted to work with his wife, but found her to be emotionally distant. Suffice it to say that I was not developed enough to deal with the tension in the relationship and drama ensued and my marriage ended in a devastating way, with much betrayal and shame.

During the transpersonal training, I connected with X at the beginning of my training as a massage therapist which was very grounding for journeying for the next three years. Little did I know how auspicious this would be in healing my most primal trauma. Her husband, Y and I connected deeply as well. We became breathwork partners for most of the modules during the next three years. One auspicious day, I entered the training module late which was unusual for me. I claimed the only seat left in the large room which happened to be between and slightly behind the two of them. While I sat there this overwhelming wave of emotion overcame me. Sitting in a triangle with the two of them brought up my trauma from the New Mexico couple. Unwilling to repeat a scenario which brought so much pain, I asked X to talk with me. I told her the whole story of the last triangle and the pain it brought to all concerned. Contrary to what I expected, she was enormously empathetic and acknowledged MY pain, something I had not acknowledged through the shame. In her wisdom, she got the significance of the devastation. Her empathy in the moment provided the alchemical heat needed to transform lead into gold.

It was due to my honesty and her love that I was able to clear the shame I had been carrying all these years. This validated my belief that the only true elixir is love. I was able to understand the primal trauma that was being healed, the triangle with my parents. My mother, with her wounding from childhood, was unable to offer me the love and nurturance I needed. Unconsciously, I had wanted to heal this pathological pattern with Rick’s wife. When she was emotionally unavailable the old pattern kicked in exaggerating the importance of the man, a pattern I had unconsciously played out over and over in my relationships. When X offered love and empathy, she metaphorically offered to hold the kite string. Despite knowing my history she trusted me. These leaps of faith require courage and a commitment to love. Her generosity allowed for the most significant relational healing of my life.

The late Maya Angelou used to say, “when someone knows better, they do better.” Sometimes, knowing better can take a great deal out of you, but the alternative of living unconsciously is much more painful.

Y continues to be my doctor to this day. They came together to deliver supplements yesterday and I again thanked them for their wisdom and their love. With tears in our eyes we acknowledged the healing power of this triangle.