Grateful for small steps

In my ongoing musings on thankfulness, lately I’ve been feeling extremely grateful for small but noticeable areas of progress in my long slow healing journey.  I’m back doing some regular tasks that most people would perform without a thought; and many would (or have) consider it shocking that some of this stuff went by the wayside.

But when the unwinding muscles and bursts of energy were keeping me from sleep 7-9 nights out of every 10 –on top of chronic fatigue and muscle issues– my ability to move pretty much disappeared.  Even simple household tasks were constantly procrastinated.

The main example that’s been having me grateful every morning is dishes.  With only two of us who don’t do a lot of cooking, the dishwasher doesn’t need to be run daily but there are items of daily use that need washing plus things not safe for dishwasher. It isn’t that much from one meal so I generally accumulate through the day so I can just run hot water once and do it all.

At the worst of the fatigue, I would be so weary and shaky in the evening that it wouldn’t get done.  Then in the morning I would get up not feeling much better than I did before sleeping and wander to a kitchen with the dirty dishes waiting– many of which had to be washed before I could fix breakfast.  Man is there something disheartening about facing dish washing first thing!

Somewhere in the last three years the sleep shifted a bit so now there are more nights when I get a decent amount of sleep and nights of only 2 or 3 hours are far less frequent.  When the shift occurred and I started trying to do stuff, I realized I lost incredible amounts of stamina during those do-nothing years.  So I’ve been slowly trying to work up more staying power.

Laundry gets done more often before the piles need to be divided into more piles.  More areas get picked up more regularly.  Errands get run in a timely fashion (and in the interim I now have to run all my 93-year-old mother’s errands as well).

Lately as I’ve wandered near the pristine and empty sink each day I’ve been realizing that I’ve been spry enough to do the evening dishes daily for so long I actually can’t tell you when the last time was I had to wash dishes before breakfast!

The house needs much more work — hours and hours of clearing and sorting.  I need to build more physical energy as I’m still startled by how little activity can leave me feeling drained.  But right now I’m just grateful for the small steps of doing more that have become normal.

My concentration for so long has been only on accomplishing the healing, it hadn’t occurred to me that there’d be such a long transition to accomplish from being too ill to do anything back to being a person who gets stuff done.  But it’s in process and that feels so good!

 

Feeling thankful

As so many of us do I’ve been reflecting on thankfulness and gratitude in honor of Thanksgiving.  Lately that always includes an especially strong feeling of appreciation for the friends I’ve made through this blog.

As I’ve pondered insights about being ahead of the curve in much of my thinking I’ve realized the great gift the Universe offered in nudging me to this blog and to finding others who are out there in the advance guard on compassion and peace and love.  I don’t know if some of you felt as much like you were out there alone and offering messages which fell on deaf ears but I sure did and having this group has meant the world to me.

So thanks my blogging pals, you add community and warmth to my life every day.

Outage blessing: a shift

A couple of weeks ago a big storm took out electricity for a couple of day (previous post) and then our phone/tv/internet service went down for a week.  When the electricity came back but the other stuff was still out I pulled out some DVDs to have something to watch.

I’d been drawn for a while to re-watch some “positive” stuff, like Louise Hay’s “You Can Heal Your Life” or “What the Bleep”.  But you know, have to remember how to get in DVD mode and find the stuff to watch, so it kept getting put off…  But with DVD the only possibility, the draw became compelling.  So I started with the Louise Hay.  As I watched for what was probably the sixth or eigth time since i bought it, I suddenly felt like a switch flipped.

Having been aware of her mirror work for years, I finally actually went through all the exercises in one of her more recent books about it a couple of years ago.  I enjoyed it and felt like it did some good, though years of work on similar things meant it didn’t feel like a big change happened.  But I’ve long been aware of a gap for me between my intellectual understanding about positive thinking and my ability to hold on to positive thoughts.

Many people I’ve known over the years have seemed to just flip a switch upon encountering Ms. Hay or Eckhart Tolle or whichever “you create your reality” guru they found.  It’s always amazed me that someone could turn it around so fast.  Sometimes I realized they became very good at saying only positive things but it didn’t necessarily mean they’d really cleared the negative thoughts or explored their origins…

On my journey I realized in increments over many years that lots of old personal and ancestral issues created endlessly looping negative tapes in my thought patterns and that I didn’t know how to turn them off.  It’s taken years of release work, self-examination and creating positive thought loops to progress slowly into a more positive mindset.

But suddenly as Louise and friends discussed loving yourself and mirror work, something in me went, “yes, of course, I love myself.”  I’ve been smiling and looking in the mirror to repeat variations of loving myself affirmations daily ever since and spontaneously looping positive thoughts through my mind at intervals each day.

I’ve waited a while to write about this, wondering how well it would stick.  Must admit the constancy of it has faded a bit over the course of a couple of weeks (probably time to watch the video again?), but by and large I’m still finding myself running affirmations through my mind and smiling into the mirror daily.

It feels like a big shift.  One that was fed by all the work on shifting, sorting, examining and changing that went before, but a shift nonetheless.  Quite a blessing to receive from an outage!

The week+ with no Internet or t.v. has also changed my viewing and on line habits a bit, as I actually watch instead of half watching more things, take more time away from computer and t.v. to read, cook, weed, etc.  I have to say, frustrating as it was, the blessings were greater than the inconvenience.

The Blessed Project 2017

Susie at Susie Lindau’s Wild Ride has invited us all to create a post about our blessings and link to her post by Dec. 19.  Since I’ve been practicing gratitude and noting blessings, seems like a perfect project.

 

Another view from my spot

The last couple of years I began making a concerted effort to spend more time on our sun porch.  I love lots of light and our tree-surrounded house tends to be on the dark side except for the sun porch which not only has lots of windows and skylights but is blessedly the only area not shadowed by a big tree.

This year I managed to be really faithful about setting up for an hour or three of computer and/or reading and/or writing time out there most days and the light and airiness have really been a blessing!  Lifts my spirits and keeps the positive mojo working.

Ever since last year’s (U.S.) election, I’ve been focused on living from a place of lovingkindness and compassion.  I’ve been blessed to have learned many great tools for such a journey over many years and from some great teachers.  A number of teachers made videos and books available for free this year and I purchased some books that have helped as well.

As a long-time fan of Sharon Salzberg’s Lovingkindness:  The Revolutionary Art of Happiness, I was pleased to add Real Love.  Louise Hay offered me a book on mirror work and I meditated with Deepak and Oprah too.  Blessings all.

Coffee Love

When the coffee revolution began in the 70’s, some of my college friends pulled me into the world of fine coffees. Honed over the years as I lived in the land of the original (and far better) Starbucks and was privileged to spend time hanging out in cafes in Europe, my taste is pretty picky and I LOVE a great cup of coffee.  I’m able to order really good coffee from La Coppa (founder originally worked for Peet’s and then founded San Francisco’s Spinelli’s –which I loved when I lived there) and my daily pot of espresso is one of my most treasured moments every day.

After seeing Paul Hawken on Charlie Rose (not a blessing, btw, to have lost the pleasure of watching his show…), I got his wonderful book, Drawdown, which outlines the path to ending the climate crisis and, most important, argues that the seeds have already been sown.  I found it so uplifting and encouraging, I recommend everyone to read it.  Truly a blessing.

For some years I’ve talked about heading to Henry’s Clay’s estate, Ashland, to take a walk once in a while.  This year I finally made it something like 4 times (hey, better than the 0-1 times previously 🙂 ).  Childhood memories link me to the place and my love of history finds satisfaction in walking the lovely grounds of this historic place.  Blessed that it’s so close to me and each walk was its own blessing.

L Perfume

One of last year’s Christmas presents was this little perfume with a prominent scent of tobacco.  I wrote a longer post about it,  but the short version is:  it reminds me of driving around Lexington in my childhood at certain times when tobacco dried in lots of barns and the sweet scent filled the air.

Blessed healing journey

Sunset2 Dec 3 2017

A couple of friends recently commented on my ability to tune into patterns opening in my body.  It’s always nice to hear, but initially I didn’t give it much thought.  Last night, however, I was reflecting on this long healing process in light of their thoughts and noticed how I’ve mostly considered it and written about it as torture.  Now, I often look for the up side and I’ve written posts indicating some positive thoughts, but over all I must admit the general misery and discomfort of unwinding muscles and sleepless nights for the most part fill my focus.

Suddenly I could see more blessing in it.  Not only that the process has forced me to pay more attention to my body than I ever would have given it.  Not only that I have been able to mark progress on many fronts even while many people don’t quite believe healing in this form is happening.  But also a blessing because I seem to be on a very unusual path in this whole unwinding/healing muscle thing and I’m seeing that I’m in the privileged position of being a path finder.

When I first began complaining of fatigue and issues with my muscles, western medicine was swearing up one side and down the other that neither chronic fatigue nor fibromyalgia existed so their diagnosis was that I should see a shrink.  Period.  Alternative practitioners began providing answers and naming the two major issues they found [fyi: when western medicine acknowledged fibromyalgia they also defined it so my symptoms didn’t seem to fit although alternative therapists have often felt my muscles and said I have it…].

According to my first serious therapeutic massage specialist every muscle in my body was wound up like a steel cord, all the muscles in every muscle group were glued together and the groups were also glued to my bones.  Eventually, after many of the larger and surface muscles were in much better shape and most unstuck from the bones, another practitioner saw and helped me realize the underlying intertwining and complex patterns remaining in the smaller and connective muscles.

I’ve been at it for three decades. Some practitioners have been dismissive of what has gone before because they felt it should have all been resolved quickly – and then they failed to resolve it.  I had to accept a long time ago that my muscles were in trouble at a level that was way beyond most practitioners and too complicated to resolve speedily.

It has taken many types of body work, inventing my own exercise program (combining the Psychophysical Method with yoga), emotional release work, past life work, ancestral healing work and more to reach a point where I can see the light at the end of the tunnel pretty brightly.  The process has taken me deep within, led to multiple transformative experiences, taught me a huge amount about how we hold onto the past – not only our own but our past life and ancestral pasts as well – and changed the trajectory of my life dramatically and overall I would say for the better.

After a few decades of being told by one practitioner after another  they’ve never seen this, that, or the other thing as bad as my… psoas, neck, hip, whatever, I know most people don’t have physical issues of the same magnitude.  I also know from learning to move and to observe how others move, that millions of people walk around with tight muscle patterns interfering with their movement, their ability to process emotions, their capacity to feel energy, etc.  And I feel as though talking about my journey and process might help some of those people to open some channels and pathways for their own lives to receive more healing.  In fact, I hear every now and then from someone who says it has helped them take better care; what a great feeling.

As I survey this history, I feel this glow of blessing.  For once, instead of viewing it only as a burden I have unfairly had to bear, I can see the Universe entrusted me with an unusual but important journey and what a gift it is that I have been able to explore all these nuances and share my experience.  Which is not to say I won’t be back whining about my uncomfortable muscles or being kept up all night 😊  But more than ever I also feel gratitude for being sent on this journey of healing.

Thankful… Thanksgiving…

fresh cranberry compote from another year

fresh cranberry compote

Here in the U.S., Thanksgiving just started.  Since I made things ahead and bought most of the side dishes, a lovely dinner will be had and I can have a pretty leisurely day leading up to it.  (you can see my main recipe over on the other blog, here)

I’m so grateful to be able to buy the food for such a meal, to have the wherewithal to make such a meal and for having a nice home in which to eat it.

Although I’m glad NaBloPoMo is almost over, I’ve also enjoyed it and am so thankful for the news friends I’ve made.  And even more thankful for the blogging friendships here that now stretch years.  Love you all!

And I ask for prayers for the protesters at Standing Rock.  Some of my local friends are about to head off to join them, so if you can add thoughts for a safe journey for them as well, I’d so appreciate it.

Whether you’re having a holiday today or it’s just an ordinary day, I wish you peace, happiness and love.

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Thankful Thursday — struggling for gratitude

I’ve missed posting for Thankful Thursday quite a few times now.  Been back on the yanking muscles, no sleep schedule* and, besides being kind of out of it about schedules in general, I’ve been feeling a little “grrr” about it all.  Tends to make me a little blind to the many things for which I might feel gratitude every day.

Finally managed to remember on a Thursday — barely, but hey, that counts!

  1. Yesterday it was warm enough to open windows for hours.  I love having fresh air blowing through.
  2. Found a new dish to love yesterday at one of my favorite restaurants. Parmesan Tilapia.  Uh oh.  Gonna be even tougher to decide what to order every time.  That’s a problem for which I’m very grateful
  3. While my smoothies are always pretty tasty, some just come out with an extra somethin’, somethin’–my usual thought is “I want to make that into a dessert” — healthy and YUMMY.  The last two I’ve made have been in that extra good category.
  4. Grateful I can buy all the stuff to make those healthy smoothies.  And that I have a house in which to drink them.

And now I’m thankful I stopped to be thankful because I feel better.

Check out Thankful Thursday to see more of these posts.


 

* You can click on the “Healing Journey” tab above for info on the health stuff