Growing with Our Founding Documents

So much controversy lately has me thinking deeply about the U.S. Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.  Many are dismissing both as products of slaveowners; because the writers were flawed, the documents are no longer valued goes the thinking.  With a lifelong tendency to see both sides — a product of constantly being in the middle wihtin my family’s arguments — I see a path down the middle.

I’m a person of words, so for me, even over the years since I realized our Founders were far more seriously flawed than our history books led us to believe, the brilliance of the words they crafted still shine.  Largely helped by my long-ago Constitutional Law class in law school, I see a Constitution that has been able to grow and evolve over time.

When you read through the landmark cases of generations you see how the carefully honed document left room to interpret broader truths and equities than the men who wrote it lived within.  They were bright enough and good enough at writing, I don’t think it was an accident that, even though they created restrictions about gender and color, many of the actual words of both the Declaration and the Constitution leave room to dream of literal equality for all, though they may not have foreseen where it led.

The stepping stones from one SCOTUS decision to another also reflect both how we have grown as people in our understanding of what “equality” really means and how the interpretation of the Constitution has grown too.  In those broad words about equality Blacks have found the inspiration to press for them to be true for everyone and that history is one every child should be learning in school.

As I reflect on Independence Day, I see room to reject the flaws of the Founders and still celebrate the brilliance of what they created and how they left a foundation with room to evolve.  At this moment we are in a new stage of evolution in making the notions of justice and equality for all, without exception, true.  Sometimes evolution in law drags us forward, sometimes thinkers who are ahead of the time push the law to change. Together we grow.  

Covid Gratitude 3

Garbanzos over sweet potato

Cooking Easy

 

My cooking habit has long been time-consuming complicated recipes, especially favoring French and Italian cooking and their many layers of flavors. For years I’ve been saying I wanted to learn how to cook some faster, easier things. But, other than a foray 15 or more years ago into Rachael Ray’s 30 Minute Meals, I’ve never developed a repertoire.

As I’ve figured out stocking the kitchen and thinking through what that means in terms of meals, I’ve been studying and trying quicker, easier meals to fix, especially since I”m now providing many more meals for my mother than I used to.  I’m grateful not only for a slowly building repertoire of easy, but I actually love some of the things I’ve found.

Baking and freezing potatoes, both Russet and sweet, has already become a standby. Two of my faves:

(1) Mash a sweet potato or two with a couple of dates, 1-2 T of maple syrup and a sprinkle of cinnamon. For breakfast, heat 1 to 1-1/2 cups in a bowl, add a spoonful of almond butter and a handful of homemade granola and stir up.

(2) make a batch of spiced garbanzo beans with spinach or kale, stir up a sauce of greek yogurt, fresh squeezed lemon juice and a T or 2 of honey or maple syrup, defrost a sweet potato, heat with a helping of the beans and then drizzle with sauce.

Yum to both. (and both recipes will be going up on the Scribblings blog).

Rachael Ray taught me on my long ago journey that chicken tenders are a great friend for easy cooking. I’ve been making a quicky and easy pesto chicken recipe using skinless tenders for a few years and now I’ve added a baked lemon chicken with asparagus thrown into the pan halfway through.

Still looking at recipes and making plans for expanding the list of easy go-tos — especially looking for toppings to pair with either kind of baked potato.  My stores include gluten free pasta as well as jarred sauces and frozen vegetables–which I never used to keep. I’ve learned it’s easy to make a batch of meatballs to store in freezer and then just cook up some pasta with veggies steaming in basket above, thaw and heat some meatballs and tada. So looking at more pasta sauce possibilities.

It feels a bit like a burden lifted as I’ve felt I “should” cook more but have not had energy to do the former norm of elaborate meals.  This new path of cooking easy and fast recipes means I’m cooking much more often than I’ve done in years and I’m really loving having more control over ingredients, choices, etc.

Another way in which the odd circumstances into which Covid has thrust us has paid off in a positive way for me.

 

Covid Gratitude 2

 

Full Pantry

I was never a cook who kept a pantry stocked for possible long term cooking.  Had an assortment of staples I’d keep on hand, usually enough to make one recipe of each.  And I’ve always tended to cook kind of elaborate dishes in big quantities. So I’d make a list of what I needed for that particular meal and get exactly what I needed.

In recent years, shopping, like most things, has been pretty hit or miss as my energy goes up and down. So when the pandemic hit and advice began circulating about stocking up for a couple of months worth, I quickly realized we were way behind the curve.

It became an interesting challenge, given all the panic buying, to get well stocked. I’ve been keeping lists going on three different grocery sites, checking in often to see who has what and which place on a given day seems likely to provide a fair portion of the list. But slowly built a store.

But, not having thought in terms of being that well stocked, I kept realizing more things that should have been on my list. And then that I didn’t really get enough of others. Slogging through order after order in which a number of things didn’t show up, I finally got us to a place of well-enough stocked to feel comfortable.  Not hoarding piles, just enough.

Quite a learning curve. While I can’t say I appreciated every moment of it, I am grateful for attaining a better sense of how to keep a well stocked pantry. That includes gratitude for a series of really good articles by various chefs in WaPo with their suggestions of items for a well-stocked pantry (some of which admittedly left me blinking and going, “Geez, wtf would I do with that stuff??? 🙂 ). Especially grateful for discerning what allows me to make which selection of things.

I’m so much more tuned in to shopping not just for the meal I plan to make tomorrow but for being prepared to cook from on-hand supplies.  Feeling glad to have acquired this skill. And I have to say, probably wouldn’t have happened without Covid-19.

Covid Gratitude 1

Gratitude

An interesting phenomenon has been occurring for me throughout the Covid-19 crisis — as the pandemic causes me to try different things, change old habits, rethink things, etc. I’m finding many reasons for gratitude. Haven’t decided if this will be weekly or randomly, but have decided to launch a Covid Gratitude series.

Immune Boosting

This one actually started before we knew there was a crisis, when my mother fell and broke her hip.  Because I knew hospitals are a breeding ground for viruses and bacteria, I took her a bottle of Aireborne chewables to take one daily and I started drinking daily (and then eventually every other day) glasses of the fizzy version.

We’d been bucking up for two months by the time the warnings started coming, just about the time she was coming home from skilled nursing.

I’ve used the Chinese anti-viral herbal formula, Ganmaoling, for years (close to 30!) to ward off colds and flus.  Long ago they used to put a preventive dose prescription in the instructions, 3 tablets, 3x/day for 3 days.  So as soon as she came home I put us through the preventive regimen.

Through the advice of some friends I also started us on elderberry gummies, taken every other day.  And I already have been drinking turmeric ginger tea every day for some years (and since Mom doesn’t like the tea, I make her a tincture she takes every day) — some studies have found it more effective than flu shots because of its immune boosting qualities.

So we have felt decently prepared for this crisis. The one time she had an in person doctor’s appointment after this started, we were stuck in the waiting room being sneezed and coughed on by a family of four who all had something. And amazingly neither of us came down with anything, which I attribute in part to our boosted immunity.

Feeling very grateful that not-such-happy circumstances led to us working on immunity before we knew there would be an emergency need for it!  And grateful that I know a bunch of alternative health/remedy stuff to assist. I’m not saying I think this makes us totally immune, just that I feel like we’re safer than we might have been and that gives me peace of mind.

Delving into anger

Angry, Frustrated Woman

Screaming it out

In my recent post I mentioned feeling angry and doing some exploring. The process of looking within has revealed some new pockets of anger and also circled me back to an old one, with new tendrils to explore.

I’ve been using the Steve Nobel meditation on transforming anger one or twice a week. Must admit I’ve been so tired I’ve fallen asleep during it more often than I’ve consciously made it through.  But it has been having an impact. Most of the time while doing it I haven’t been aware of specific issues, just a feeling of energy having shifted/moved when I’m through.

Part of the meditation involves looking for anger in your body. During one of my earlier sessions, I quickly focused on my left hip/pelvis area, where I’ve been experiencing a lot of pain.  And noted one of the central areas in the tight pattern revisited an old pattern body work had seemingly cleared.

When I was 9 or 10 and taking riding lessons, we went out in the countryside by the stables one hot August day. Hadn’t rained in ages and the ground was cement hard. We came to a place in the trail with a very short jump/fence across. I rode a gentle horse I loved, who usually needed encouragement to even move fast. We hadn’t gotten to jumping yet but the jump was so low the instructor said we should have no trouble as the horses could pretty much step over it.

My horse took a look at the jump and decided we were show jumping over a 5 foot obstacle. Broke into a gallop shortly before the jump and flew into the air, then galloped a few steps and came to an abrupt stop. I flew over her head and landed on my low back and hips.  The pain was horrible and I wasn’t even sure I could get up.

The riding master unsympathetically informed me crying and help were not allowed, I had to get back on that horse and keep riding. And that I wasn’t really hurt. Years later as I struggled with muscle issues throughout my body that accident turned out to have created a pattern that plagued me for years.

Remembering the story, I realized how much suppressed fury I held, not only for that incident but for a general attitude in my childhood of stoicism and sucking it up no matter how much it hurt.  And more recent fury as I’ve realized how thoroughly western medicine dismisses muscles as a potential source of trouble when there’s been an accident.  So many of my muscles problems started with accidents after which no one offered treatment of any sort for muscle trauma. [pretty much any accident to your body sets up the probability of muscles tightening around pain and if no one does anything, it will generally settle into a pattern that then becomes worse and also impacts other muscles over time]

Getting in touch with this pocket of anger seems to have helped relieve the issues in my hip — not gone, but well on the mend.

Looking directly at my anger over the lies so many Americans are believing with no willingness to look at contrary evidence, I began to note another childhood issue.  In my house there was often a presumption of wrongness. That I was doing something wrong, that if I weren’t martial-ed and monitored, I probably wouldn’t do well.  I’d hit other issues in that general bailiwick but not specifically this one. I could see that part of my anger has been having folks “from the other side” question my careful research and insistence on dealing in facts.

All that questioning of my abilities in childhood has left me always feeling I have to prove myself, have to work harder, and still will likely not succeed.  I’ve worked a good bit on anger over some of that, but seem to still have more. And a side issue of anger at being questioned in arenas where I have worked hard to know my stuff, to feel I’m “good” at something.

Still exploring at this point.  Since hip is doing much better and holding I’m hopeful I’ve cleared the anger in there.  Feeling there’s still some more anger to unearth, just don’t attach it so far to an area of my body.

Two of the best pieces of advice I’ve had on this path were (1) from the transpersonal therapist who set me on this path: it all operates in an upward spiral. You keep spiraling back to the same issues but each time you’ve moved up a level, its hold is less and it’s easier to release; and (2) from the facilitator of my Fischer Hoffman group: every issue is like a daisy chain with many other issues connected, some of which also connect to one another.  Unearthing one doesn’t mean you’re done, you’ve just started moving along the chain.

I think of those teachings often as I work my way through deep issues.  I’ve also been hearing we’re in a time when final aspects of old issues are rising up to be released.  The  back issue related to riding accident definitely feels like something old came roaring back for a final realization. The other feels like some combo of the spiral upward to see the same issue again and also seeing another tendril stretching out on the daisy chain.

For the first 8-10 years after doing the Fischer Hoffman process work, I regularly mined for issues and worked through the process to release them. Then a bunch of deep body work started opening issues from the muscles and I did less delving as memories and associated issues floated up as muscles opened. For a while now I don’t wind up running into issues as often, but I’m aware this is the work of a lifetime.  Always another level on the spiral, frequently another tendril on the chain.

Ripples from John Prine

7f2c74a4e7490cf06d99c83445d8dd47

Upon hearing news of John Prine on a respirator with Covid-19, I was surprised at how much it affected me. I don’t think I ever saw him play and I never owned one of his records. As the days went by and I read comments from people I know who knew him and read accounts of his life, heard clips of songs I could surprisingly sing along with, I realized his early days in the Chicago music scene touched a lot of places around me.

The more I looked around, the more I became immersed in memories of the fabulous music scene in Chicago at the time I attended Northwestern University, Amazingrace Coffeehouse, friends who were involved at Amazingrace, musicians with whom I became acquainted just by going so often to hear them play…  And even though I didn’t cross paths with him, there he was in lots of places. Partial list of concerts at Grace over the years: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/u/0/d/1jdo4ecZXxPpf3JSIGaBdwVudT_UtMUFnpxIS-zeJHOw/pub?output=html

It turns out he was considered part of a “big three” in the folk scene emanating from the Old Town School of Folk Music.  The other two were Steve Goodman and Bonnie Koloc and I saw both of them dozens of times, both at Amazingrace and various other clubs around Chicago. Prine played Grace often enough I gather they were all friends with him. I saw enough people there only once that it’s possible I saw him and just don’t remember as I know there are quite a few of those — at this stage with few exceptions I mainly remember the ones I went back to see many times.

The group that founded Amazingrace came together at NU the year before I arrived, part of anti-war/Kent State protests. The year I hit campus, the group got permission to use an area of the (then) student union, Scott Hall, to bring in music acts and serve food. I think that was where I first saw Steve Goodman and fell in love with his music. [Great piece in Rolling Stone last summer on Goodman: https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-album-reviews/looking-back-on-john-prine-buddy-steve-goodman-860284/ ]

Before long the venue moved to a quanset hut on campus.  The “Gracers” as we called them, were familiar to many of us on campus, both as activist leaders and front of house figures at the coffee house.  In those days, self-effacing, shy, and utterly lacking in self-confidence/worth, etc. I watched from afar but it never occurred to me I could be part of their –to me–lofty group.

However I wound up being friends with several people who were involved though not part of the central group. Out of those friendships I met some of the other Gracers, dated Steve Goodman’s road manager briefly, met John Burns (that’s him riding around with Prine in top video and playing some of the best guitar you’ll ever hear), who for some years played in Prine’s band… Amongst all those were enough Prine connections that I heard his music often (hence the familiarity with his songs), some stories on occasion, and now, in the midst of his illness and death, I saw lots of pained posts/commentary from people who knew and loved him who are devastated by the loss.

I never stopped listening to Koloc and Goodman, but something about this odyssey through so many faces from those days sent me journeying through those times.  I found Koloc playing with Steve Eisen (sax) and Howard Levy (harmonica) in the band (two more Chicago musicians I’d seen so many times with many bands) Jethro Burns (John’s father) playing with Goodman. (below Burns and Goodman performing one of my faves):

The music scene is so entwined with my NU memories… My time at NU always felt golden and for years nothing else measured up.  Then I realized the comparisons must stop and as I forged ahead on my spiritual journey I let go while still holding a sacred space in my heart for the friends, political awakening, musical journeys, etc.

In hindsight I can see how much more I could have done and been had I been as calm, outgoing, and confident then as I am now.  I don’t care much for regret, but if there’s anything that grabs me now and then, it’s sadness that my own inhibitions meant much more standing on the sidelines than I’d have liked.

Amazingrace has a FB page and as I read the many posts from those “on a pedestal” folks, I’m sorry I didn’t get to know them.  As I read every article my bereft friends posted about Prine, he seemed like an amazing guy and I’d have enjoyed being in the circle who knew him. 

The clubs and the musicians and the joy in the clubs, talking to band members, etc. circles around my love of music, which, at the time, had been a lifelong ambition.  Watching the ones whose music touched my soul, I kept trying to see what in them let them get up there and put out music from the depths.  Wondering what in me couldn’t quite do it.

[Koloc with Steve Eisen and Howard Levy in the band]:

The music dreams died when my one later band attempt went sideways and I found peace with just being a fan who sings in the shower. I’m grateful for the changes I can see, the many ways in which I’m more content, more happy with who I am than in those days.  But boy those were some magic times.  I’m sorry it was John Prine’s death that sparked this wander down memory lane, but there were a lot of lovely stops. Thanks JP! RIP

Tools for holding peace

I mentioned a while back that I’ve been struggling with the division and anger and finding myself angry much more often.  I keep hauling myself back to a place of equanimity and then suddenly there I am, screaming f**k you at a McConnell ad (if you live elsewhere, try to imagine being inundated with an ad in which he pretends the help for regular people in the stimulus package was spearheaded entirely by him…) or screaming and throwing things at the sight of the pumpkinhead.

I always know if I’m that angry, something in me is being triggered.  I also am figuring out I’m just enough of an empath that the huge amount of anger in the air affects me strongly as well. So I’ve been looking inward and working on clearing those things in me which contribute.  Two of Steve Nobel’s recent meditations have been really helping me bring some deep personal, ancestral and collective anger buried in me to the surface and also to release a lot of fear– especially that which others’ fear is engendering.

The one time I managed to get an appointment with Hanna for my hip issues, she began talking about this “Transforming Anger” meditation while working on one of the patterns and I understood she was feeling suppressed anger there. One of the times I did the meditation some of the stuck stuff in there released and, though it didn’t heal it all, it’s never been as bad since.

I’ve been alternating that one with another for releasing fear. Wasn’t sure I needed it at first, but I know there’s a lot of fear in the air right now, so thought I’d try it and realized there’s still some old fear from family stuff and some ancestral fear deep in there. Also that the energy of huge amounts of fear running through our society about the virus, the economy, etc. has permeated some layers of my being even though I don’t consciously share them.

I’ve had a very strong “hit” more than once that it’s really important for me right now to do each of these once or twice a week.  Along with a feeling this healing isn’t just for myself.

And for helping to raise my vibration and hold the space of love, I play this affirmation recording as I go to sleep both for naps and at night:

Soon I plan to add my old fave lovingkindness/Gayatri mantra chanting practice.

How about all of you?  What are you doing to hold the space of peace and compassion?  If you have a great meditation or other practice that’s on line, please throw in a link so others can try your faves.

 

The virus and the rabbit hole

As Mom moved toward the end of her stay in rehab and my hip/psoas issues were hitting a zenith, we started hearing about the coronavirus.  Things were revving up when we got home. But we’d been sent off with Mom having barely moved from diaper changes to being able to get to the bathroom with assistance and no home help coming for days, so I felt too overwhelmed by dealing with the transition to full time caregiver to do more than note it as a rising issue.

Before long, though, I was discovering that with Mom in the house I should be going out as little as possible — some say not at all but I have yet to figure out how to get everything done for her without leaving the house.  As much as possible I get curbside pickup or delivery, mostly curbside pickup, but for a couple of places I have to go in.

Otherwise I’m staying home. I gather this is a huge lifestyle change for many people but, having dealt with health issues for a long time, I’m used to staying home a lot, so I feel like life has prepared me for this moment very well.  Not to mention being an only child means I’ve spent tons of alone time since early childhood…

Not feeling huge fear except for my Dad, alone in Florida and not taking this too seriously.  One silver lining to all the time spent in hospitals, etc. is I had Mom and I taking Aireborne every day to ward off the many things that float around those places so we were more immune boosted than normal.  And I’ve had us keep taking some along with elderberry and preventive doses of ganmaoling. Sent some of all those things to Dad and he’s actually taking stuff! I don’t go quite as far as some about wiping everything down or quarantining the mail, but I’m careful and Mom is not going out at all.

The hardest part is watching our already-dwindling investment account go down and wondering how we survive on the other side.  Otherwise the adjustment to this new normal after adjusting to a life of daily hospital/SNF visits and then adjusting to be the only caregiver 24/7 just seems like part of the ongoing fall down the rabbit hole. Head over heels, down and down, dizzy and disoriented, heading for a new world.

In the meantime, I’m looking at the commentary on what an opportunity this is to decide to change the world and throw off the beliefs about wealth and striving and what drives economies to start anew from a different set.  Now is the chance to work on “people power”, for which I advocated in my recent series. Let’s dream and plan a new world. And I’m excited about that.

Oy the hip

Psoas

As mentioned in the last post, long-standing hip issues arose in the midst of the trauma and drama of my mother’s broken hip.  Several people noted the irony of my hip at the same time as hers and wondered if it was some kind of sympathy– while I think there was some connection, it’s the other hip and I’d been having some issues with this old pattern for quite a while before she fell. I’m giving a bit of extra detail because these kinds of muscle issues are far more common than Western medicine acknowledges and many people aren’t aware of the ways these things get started or are exacerbated.

Going way back, I was born with a twist in my left leg.  Over the many years of body work on my deeply ingrained muscle issues, we figured out the origin point for many of the problems all the way up and down was that twist.  Then at 25 I was in a car accident that injured the ankle on that side and, undiscovered by brilliant allopathic medicine, a ligament was torn away.

The injury exaggerated the twist and the instability caused by the lack of properly attached ligament led to my left hip constantly going completely out of joint and lots of extra pressure on the now-even-more-pulled-out-of-alignment knee.  As a result I walked with a limp and many days it was so painful to sit I squeezed up the muscles on that side.  There are more details but that’s the gist of why I have a deep pattern in there which keeps recurring even though body work has largely released it. (and for the story of my leg straightening out see here)

Something in how I sit and sleep at home had been causing some issues but the exercises I do for my hips have kept it at bay.  Until I wound up sitting in one ergonomically-poor chair after another for hours a day in one hospital or rehab room after another.  Suddenly my low back had problems and my hip was more “out” than it’s been since the original issue. On top of that some releases in my muscles snapped a chunk of my psoas and groin muscles too far open too fast on the same side.  Because of the proximity the two began impacting one another.

Many days I could barely walk from the pain.  I looked into the “meaning” of hip issues and found both (1) moving forward too quickly — which seemed to perfectly describe the fast track of opening/releasing my muscles have been on and (2) mother issues — which made me LAUGH!  So okay, metaphysical reasons.  But ow, after a while you just want the pain to go away and screw the “lessons”.  I got this one though: barely able to move=enforced slowing down.

Realizing I’d started the issue by not exploring enough about how I was sitting and lying.  I’ve had to change the configuration of my odd “nest on the floor” style of seating because of the hip numerous times, so another change was quickly called for.

It also sank in that as my muscles have been sorted out, my many-years habit of sleeping in weird pretzel positions to accommodate the aches and pains had been segueing into sleeping more normally, including sleeping on my side for the first time, maybe ever.  I knew about the advice to put a pillow between your knees but initially I just moved onto my side in my sleep so… not conscious enough to grab a pillow. But I bought one of the pillows designed for that purpose and am working on staying aware enough to use it when I’m on my side.

In the meantime I’ve been trying to use the yoga and Robert Masters’ triggers that have kept me going all these years.  However, the pulled psoas doesn’t like moving and pretty much everything I do for my hips moves it.  So it’s been an interesting challenge to find balance in how and when to do what in order to keep releasing the hip pattern while not setting off the psoas.

Everything has been better since Mom came home and I no longer have to sit in the chairs for a few hours a day.  But both patterns keep flaring and the extra demands on me for helping Mom and rearranging and cleaning house (our twice monthly cleaners can’t come –social distancing for Mom) make both worse, so it’s been an interesting time.

Because of the long journey through muscle issues, I’m much more hypersensitive to chairs and muscle impacts than most people.  But I’d bet some of the really poor chairs I sat in have started off issues for many people who just didn’t realize at the time a pattern started from the uncomfortable chair.  That’s how they go.  Set a muscle or two off by sitting badly for enough hours and they settle into a pattern and then that pattern begins impacting all the nearby muscles.

I wish allopathic medicine would wise up and start teaching people to get something done (body work) or to do something (possibly yoga or Feldenkrais, etc.) as soon as an injury has occurred or they’ve spent a bunch of time in an uncomfortable position or doing a repetitive motion.  If you keep the patterns from settling in, you can avoid getting to the point of spending months or years trying to fix it.

In the meantime, thank goodness for the Robert Masters work; I’ve been able to do the hip releases just often enough to work probably 80-90% of the re-ingrained pattern out.  I find it hard to heal the psoas since it’s involved in so many of our normal movements, it’s constantly getting flared.  A bit of stretching to keep the pain from locking it up but otherwise staying careful about how much I move…

And then in the midst of all this broken (Mom) and unhappy hip stuff, enter Covid-19!

A big twist in the road

I’ve been largely absent for a while now.  My 94 year old mother fell and broke her hip on January 24 and life has felt like I went down a rabbit hole ever since.

The first hospital failed to take proper x-rays and sent her home, being told to just walk on it. The second one the next day found broken hip and two days later she had three pins put in by a specialist.  All this launched what wound up being almost two months of daily trips to either hospital or rehab, trying to get the house completely rearranged around that schedule so she can get a walker everywhere she needs to, running errands around both of those activities…

In other words anything resembling “my life” pretty much disappeared as life circled around Mom’s health and well-being.  She didn’t like the food at the rehab place so it also included having to fix a sandwich and put together some other snacks — not to mention making sure she still had her daily doses of kombucha and a smoothie– on a daily basis.

After the first days at rehab another problem was found, sending her back to the hospital for almost a week which interfered so much with her PT progress that her stay at the SNF wound up being extended.

By the last week or so of her time at SNF the coronavirus was becoming a thing and the full force began hitting on the first week home.  We’d been left for days high and dry with no nurse’s aide to help and OT and PT in home being slow to start.  Already floundering as I shifted from the weird schedule of the daily visits, etc. to having to be up and down all night to help her and available all day, the worries about the virus initially didn’t really register with me.

In the meantime, sitting for hours in bad chairs at various of the places wound up setting off an old painful hip pattern which wound up intertwined with a badly pulled psoas, so the next post will be about the journey through all of this while barely being able to walk.  And then after that we’ll get to Covid-19.

Yup, I fell down a rabbit hole and I just keep falling past a new twist and another turn…  Must be a really big rabbit!

It was a pretty good year

My mother and I are not big fans of New Years Eve.  Have never really seen what the big deal about changing years is (for me birthday is more a time to think about that) and, having put up with her alcoholic sister for decades of our lives, neither of us finds hanging out in rooms full of drunks to be as much fun as many people apparently do.  So the big celebration this year involved making popcorn and both of us watching TV in separate rooms.

But this year I have been in a reflective mode through the latter part of fall, marking some bigger changes than most years for a while.

Finally arriving at a place where the inner journeying and physical healing are producing noticeable results outwardly — after years of constant inner transformation and physical progress that moved along but seemed to never end — feels worth noting.

I’m very pleased and excited at my work on the People Power series I’ve been writing here.  Feel totally magnetized to it and while I don’t yet see where this path is leading, I definitely feel it’s a path I’m meant to be on and for which SO many things in my life have prepared me.

It’s been a couple of years since I began noticing a bit more stamina.  For many years the chronic fatigue left me literally feeling no “there” there — a state one practitioner referred to as having “negative chi”.  No matter how much I slept (and for some years it was a LOT) I always felt shaky and exhausted.  Now even a moderately good night’s sleep leaves me with the energy to feel pretty normal for a chunk of the day and this year that became more sustained.

With some energy I can count on, this year has been one of trying to take back control of a few more things.  Perhaps the biggest change has been in reaching out to make some new friends.  I’d worked very hard at networking in my first years here but slowly the groups fell apart, people moved away and by the time my health left me pretty isolated, there were few people to reach out to.

I began with signing up to volunteer with Ahava Center for Spiritual Living’s God’s Pantry group, my first evening being the last Friday of December, 2018.  A number of friends are involved at Ahava and I’ve nibbled around the edges for years.  Through the volunteer group I’ve been meeting some lovely folks.

Eventually I inched a little closer and am now in a women’s group at ASCL.  Not much of a service attendee, I’m occasionally actually showing up for one; really nice to walk into a group of friendly faces.  I’ve pushed to attend a few other events here and there along with a few more lunches with old friends.  All still a little tentative, but it’s been nice to move out in the world a bit more after this long hibernation.  Feels like doors opening, life moving, etc.

The long unwinding of muscles in my face and head still continues, but this year there’s enough opened up to feel my face as SO different   There’s still enough tightness I don’t quite know how it feels to have all these muscles in their natural state but one increment at a time I learn more about what healthy muscles in my face feel like.  From steely and hard, many of them have transitioned to feeling spongy and flexible.  So cool.

Some of the smallest things are among those I note the most.  I mentioned a while back getting control over a few things like getting dishes done in the evening.  It’s around two years or so now that I’ve gotten it done every single night, never facing a pile of dishes in the morning because I was too tired to do it.  The last couple of months I’ve smiled and felt so grateful every time I soap and rinse, pleased to have a record so long I can’t tell you exactly when the streak began.

I’ve added in a regular laundry day.  The piles don’t always cooperate by being the right size on the right day, but a lot gets done every week on the same day and just that small regular thing feels so good.

The other big shift has been trying to take control of my schedule.  The unwinding, with accompanying sleeplessness, shifted my sleep schedule till it was pretty normal to go to sleep at 5 a.m. and get up at noon or later.  For a long time the exhaustion was so bad I just slept whenever I could and made no effort to corral the times.

In the summer I decided my increased stamina meant I could tolerate some even bigger losses of sleep.  I started off shifting the schedule by about 2 hours and then managed to get to 3 on a journey to make it 4.  Recently the unwinding around my eyes has wreaked such havoc I’ve lost ground back to the 2 hour shift but I’m counting it as a victory to have managed to hang on to that much of the change.

Some days it’s a little weird for me to look at these little shifts and changes as big victories, but compared to life a few years ago, this feels like a major unfurling.  Some days I’m still resentful at being handed such a long difficult healing journey.  But a lot of the time this year I feel so pleased to see these little changes slowly, slowly, carefully moving me to living a fuller life again, this time as a person with so much more emotional, mental, spiritual and physical health than I ever had before.

Looking forward to even more opening and LIVING in 2020.  Hope you all are starting the new year in peace and that this will be your best year ever.

 

The meaning of faith?

Lately I’ve been observing how very fearful a lot of people who say they have faith are.  It’s had me thinking about faith as I experience it and wondering how fear and faith can reside together.

Long time readers may remember I’ve mentioned previously that faith has two levels for me.  Consciously I have a lot and have been able to pursue a fiscally risky path of healing in large part because of my faith that it’s the right path and that I’ll be okay if I follow it.

As I dig into my unconscious, I periodically realize there are old issues that led to a lack of faith and on certain issues I struggle to get past the inner child who doubts.  But because my conscious thoughts include faith and I work pretty hard on transforming those old beliefs, I spend quite a lot of time in “the faith place”.

When I really center and check in, allowing myself to feel the divine presence and the energy of All That Is, I am in a space of calm and security.  In this place no fear exists nor does fear have a reason to be.  The only times I feel fearful are when I move out of the calm secure cloak of faith and into my issues.

So I keep looking at the folks on the right who are so vociferous about their great faith but nonetheless fearful of immigrants, of people of other races and/or religions, of new ideas, etc. and wonder how they can possibly be living in faith and at the same time be so afraid of so much of the world?

And since their faith is allegedly Christian, why do they believe in Christ, who taught love for all our brethren and yet exhibit so much hate for so many others? In that calm center where my faith dwells, I can’t find or feel hate anywhere.  Just can’t be there.  So I really don’t understand this.

Why does faith not bring them peace?  Why does faith not leave them feeling secure that all will be well?

I keep having a corollary thought when, say, a tornado strikes and some of these “believers” point fingers and claim it was because God was mad at the gay mayor –who was completely unharmed– or the liberal congresswoman, etc.

So it seems they have faith in a God who gets mad at a gay mayor and decides to aim a metaphorical thunderbolt but is so incompetent he hits 20 other people and misses the mayor?  I struggle to understand why anyone would ever believe in a god that inept.

I’m quite sure if the ultimate being of my faith decided to smite someone She’d hit the right person…  Or should I say, “I have faith in Her and Her aim?” Although I don’t really believe She’s so much into smiting.

Just stuff I’m thinkin’. No expert opinions or answers, just wondering…

Over too soon

I’ve so enjoyed this more relaxed version of national blogging month, I’m sorry it’s over.

As much as we reduced the requirements, I still didn’t manage to meet them.  I think with this one I’m two short on posts.  I did read blogs almost every day but commenting was sporadic and, since I’m only on FB and Twitter and fairly carefully curate what I put on each, the share on social media requirement was unlikely to be met from the get go.

But the last couple of weeks have been a rough go on the face unwinding/then not sleeping issue so I’m fairly pleased I managed to be in it at all.  Though I’m also sorry I didn’t hit the requirements, the pleased part mostly wins.  For a lot of the miserable years this has been going on, I’d have just disappeared from the challenge.

It’s been a treat re-connecting with a few folks from the past, finding some new people to follow, reading new and different things, etc.  I’m wishing we did this more often.  Not too often 🙂 … but more

Mashed Cauliflower and Parsnips with Spinach

Normally this would just be on the Scribblings blog, but since I’m participating in the blogging month with the Cheer Peppers and I only signed this blog up, you get to see it here too 🙂 A healthy way to have “mashed potatoes” for Thanksgiving

Scribblings from the Bluegrass

Cooking in water

Several years ago I saw a Rachael Ray episode on Thanksgiving for which she prepared a dish with mashed potatoes and parsnips with spinach and parmesan stirred in.  It sounded so good but I wanted to try using cauliflower instead of potatoes to make it healthier.

Substituting 2 cauliflower heads for the potatoes, it turned out great but was a lot of work. Since then riced cauliflower has become popular so I hunted for a recipe for mashed cauliflower using the riced version–so much easier.  Then I used aspects of both recipes to create this one.

Mashed Cauliflower and Parsnips with Spinach

  • 3 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 2 16 oz packages riced cauliflower (I used Trader Joe’s)
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 parsnips
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup reserved water from cooking cauliflower
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 6-8 oz fresh organic baby spinach or kale or 10-12 ounces fresh spinach…

View original post 229 more words

Just fillin’

As we get closer to the holiday, I’m spending more and more time on groceries and early prep (since i have trouble standing for long periods, I’ve worked out a plan for fixing things that can be frozen ahead, etc. so the dinner comes together in increments) and finding myself so tired I can’t think well enough to write.

I ran back into this video from the Voices of Service audition for the last round of America’s Got Talent.  I so LOVE their rendition of Katy Perry’s Rise — I’m only sorry that the time limits for the audition meant we don’t get to hear them sing the whole song!  Have fun: