Posted in Anxiety, Health, Life

Body, mind, and spirit (A confession to my body)

(painting by me)

Out of the blue this feels right to do as I realize that “you” and I did not always have a loving and accepting relationship. Today I acknowledge that the fault is all mine and that most of the time I couldn’t appreciate you the way you are, wishing you’d be different. I gave little attention, never realizing all the hard work you do for me in an effort to get me around and taking care of my daily business. We have been together for a long time and I should know you better than anyone. I should hear your words and warnings when you talk to me about your own struggles, but in most instances, I am selfish, making it all about “me” while finding little compassion for what you face on a daily basis. Today this changes and these words are dedicated to you, my body, because in the end it is you and me who are in this together. There is no separation and equal amounts of attention need to be given as we are a part of each other, body, mind and spirit. One can’t be healthy without the other and together we stand.

I’ve thought long and hard about what I wanted to say to you and there is so much. I could recount numerous occasions, and it is easy to see that I never gave you the credit you so much deserved. From little on, in my teens I had to go to physical therapy because a physical part of me wasn’t developing as it should. I was too young to understand and therefore didn’t blame you, but I do remember some of the excruciating exercises I had to perform to correct the issue. It was no fun to say the least and perhaps it was the beginning of us not being closes. Maybe in a silly not knowing way, through the eyes of a child that didn’t know any better, indirectly I did blame you and thought something was wrong with me. Funny how this feeling and false interpretation somehow became a theme song for me in many other instances of my life always looking for the fault within.

Years later while hitting puberty, I was a late bloomer and the pure pressures of school and classmates who were already visible further ahead of me, caused me to not be patient with you. I couldn’t understand your beautiful works, your process that couldn’t be rushed, that was turning me into a beautiful young woman. I put you under pressure and didn’t appreciate you for all the wonders you were doing for me. As long as I remember there was always something wrong with you in my eyes, although I should have always loved you. Even at my skinniest times, (which looks sick and anorexic to me now), I still found things not meeting my expectations, things wrong with you, whatever they might have been at that time.

I even went as far as evasively changing your appearance in a far cry to save my marriage. What was I thinking? I’ve fed you with junk food because I struggled to make ends meet in today’s middle class. Living healthy was not affordable and convenient. I did the best I could, but never realized how hard this must been on you, nourishing you with junk instead of the right fuel. I expected performance from you, but didn’t create the right conditions for you to support me. Still, you stayed strong for many years while I worked very hard. My jobs were demanding and physical, barely giving me enough time to eat a decent meal. Often there was no time for breaks and the junk had to be devoured with barely taking a breather. Unhealthy eating habits were formed and I still to this day I eat fast, swallowing big chunks without chewing properly. I constantly stop to remember myself to eat slowly, to chew well and give you bitesize little chunks to process. I know I create so much extra work for you having to break down a meal that must be lying in my stomach like a rock before it can be passed own through my system.

Stress and anxiety has been a constant companion in my life and we have fought more battles than we know to count together. You’ve always been a warrior and supported me for the longest, but time was taking its toll and I didn’t notice. You kept it all hidden for me and fought on to face another day. As a way to cope with it all, I fed you with smoke for many years during my smoking days. It couldn’t have been fun for you. I treated you like an ashtray, engulfing you in clouds of smoke instead of letting you breathe clean air, choking the breath right out of you. Luckily the day came when I felt ready and quit cold turkey after buying two full packs of cigarettes.

The damage was done and this all happened right around the time when I became sick with the RA. Everything went haywire and you were showing me what a life could look like, unable to perform the most basic tasks. I surely deserved it, never appreciating anything you did for me before. There were many painful lessons that crippled me over the next month and everything spiraled out of control. The once thought chubby woman (in my perception) was gaining weight I couldn’t get rid of. I found myself stuck in a vicious cycle of being in too much pain to exercise and no way of losing it. After month and month of suffering the RA finally went into remission, something I never thought possible, and still I could not claim a fully healthy lifestyle, balanced with my work and in line with body, mind and spirit. I had to continue doing what I had to and I needed you to support me and perform. I didn’t ask for your help and I didn’t thank you for allowing me to feel better, it just became the expectation. Surely I’ve been healthier by not smoking anymore, but now it was my weight that became my new struggle, leaving me feeling out of shape and challenged to get fit. I simply didn’t feel comfortable on many levels and once again it caused me to look at you negatively. How could I get better, I was still working physically demanding jobs with too little time in between to care for myself properly. But perhaps this just sounds like another poor excuse because where there is a will, there is also a way.

Looking back, it is clear that something was missing. I never fully learned my lesson during my first RA struggles. I failed to see how hard you work for me every day to accomplish all my tasks big and small. It should have been so easy to see, but I chalked it up to other things, such as the willpower to quit smoking, which ultimately you supported as well, through a state of body and mind. I thought it was all me doing it, but who am I? What makes me me? I am a combination of you and I never fully gave you any credit and thanks. It is now and many years later that I finally arrive at this realization. There is a sense of remorse for all the time that has passed, but there is also a sense of relief, of finally having come to that conclusion and seeing clearly. I am grateful for these lessons and the ability to learn them. I fear some others might never will and become bitter in the process of it, feeling like victims and life dealings of the short end of the stick. I say better late than never, and you have my word that positive chances are just around the corner.

What brought me to this point was you and a second reminder. It’s been months and months of struggling with physical pain. Physically I am at the heaviest weight I have ever been, regardless of what I try to lose it. Just thinking and worrying about it seems to do the exact opposite, and I only gain more. It’s quite unusual for someone who has always been thin, and yes as a by product and result of such, I haven’t been very happy with you. This experience has caused me to be very harsh and unforgiving to myself and to you. I see a picture I don’t like in the mirror, but I don’t see the weight you have to carry each day. I don’t acknowledge how hard you, my heart, and all of my self has to work each day, just to make me see another sunrise. I have been ungrateful and don’t give you the credit to make all those things possible for me, despite of thinking that I am a person that doesn’t take things for granted. I know that I have taken for granted some of the most important things in our life’s, not intentionally, but I have. Poor choices, or being stuck in a rut and routine, having to make a living, included.

It was on Monday where all this realization came into focus after a nightmare I had. A significant dream, dreamt by me who hardly ever dreams with my eyes closed. It took a second time around to learn a lesson I should have learned the first time, but I also know the circumstances were not right to fully execute the tools I had at the time. Again you spoke to me through pain, a pain that would force me to listen. You knew I wouldn’t otherwise and I would continue to go ahead on that same destructive path. Once again you rendered me helpless, with pains that took me to the very edge. Along the way you gave me enough glimpses and signs to figure it out, and one such sign was Germany and seeing the nice doctor that helped me. I was so sure that my pains were caused from an RA flare up, but according to him and a blood test he disagreed and said it wasn’t so. That never fully registered with me as the only intense pain like this could only be related to my prior struggles. I never put it together until now that there is such a thing as feeling physical pain through your emotional state of being. The good doctor gave me two shots, one cortisone and another to calm me down, allowing me to get some distance from the emotional dramas that were unfolding in my life.

It was Monday that it became clear to me that my pains are caused from an emotional state of being. From stress, from anxiety about issues in my life that remain unresolved. I don’t know how but I just know. It was then, that I finally stopped blaming you, and realized that I have some tools to make these changes. Your message was loud and clear and you showed me what it feels like to lose the things I never appreciated from you. To feel helpless and crippled, unable to perform basic tasks. Today I am here to say that I am sorry and it’s not nearly enough. I still want you to help me lose wait, but it is so we can have a healthier partnership together. I will never again underestimate everything you do for me, and I hope that through body, mind and spirit we regain full range of motion, without everything being such a struggle.

I still have a tough path ahead of me and the future will require some work, but it looks positive and peaceful, and you will definitely like it there. I will never rush like I needed to before feeding you with junk and not listening to you by pushing on in an unhealthy manner. Together we will work as a team and resolve all issues to put our best life forward. I need you help and support, and I ask you to please invest in me and forgive me. I give thanks to the days with reduced pain, the days you give me another chance to move with more freedom, while I make conscious choices to support our mission. Water included and you shall not run dehydrated again. I’ve long learned my lesson that it is not too expensive or impossible to live healthier. You either pay for it now or you do later, and sometimes it’s just a matter of preplanning and execution.

Tonight as we enter the pink full moon, I will celebrate these new beginnings and give my old self back to the creator. To let the past stand where it belongs and to set the intentions for manifesting a new future. 2019 remains a year of preparation and change. To get situated to where body, mind, and spirit can exist in peace and as one. Tonight this shall be sealed and sent to the universe as I shed the things that no longer serve my purpose and emerge in a clear path, united as one.

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Posted in Life, Self care

The analytical mind

How do the pieces fit together, was a question that came to mind today.

I talked to Mom both days, yesterday and today. She was in great spirits, actually a bit surprising to me, given that it was Dad‘s birthday yesterday. I think perhaps she felt good not having to share his memory alone, having someone (me) there to recall some of the stories. It was easy to stir her back to the funny times, and we found ourselves laughing instead of being overcome by grief. I’m sure Mom’s well-being and lighthearted mood on those two days certainly lifted a burden off of me. Even if just temporary.

It’s raining today and the barometric pressure has dropped. The humidity is climbing and I should be hurting. Yet I am surprisingly comfortable and it makes no sense at all. So what’s different?

  • I have been more active. Spending more time outdoors and using my exercise equipment. It’s definitely a plus and I am determined.
  • Since I dumped a whole glass of water in my bed, mind you that it happened at bedtime, I carry around a half gallon jug. Not only because I can close it tight, but it helps me gauge my daily water intake. I’m not where I want to be yet, but I have definitely increased the amount of water I drink. I wish water could always taste as great as it does when you are hiking, climbing that summit, being parched.
  • I have started to make a conscious effort deciding what I feed my body. Many more salads, no sweets, no soda, no processed foods, reduced sugar, and that kind of stuff.
  • I have been doing some crafting, felting to be more precise, that requires me to work more with my hands. Working with warm water and kneading the fabric has made a difference. I still have some ways to go, but it’s small steps I celebrate today.
  • I have stepped away from typing so much, which has also helped my hands heal. It is in those stationary moments and actually now, writing this post that I can feel my hands getting stiff and the pain returns.
  • I have started to take a few ibuprofens at bedtime. It has allowed a more restful sleep which is important for people with RA.
  • Last but not least, I laughed a lot today, thank you to the courtesy of one amazing soul sister. So much actually until my belly was hurting and I could hardly breath. We will be in trouble when we meet in person, and I look forward to that day with all my heart.

So how do the pieces fit? I am not sure, and no matter how hard I have tried to analyze and figure this out in the past, I just don’t know. Laughter and love are definitely strong medicines and powerful potions. Great friends and amazing people, a content Mom for sure add to the equation. Maybe it is chasing my dreams and being on the brink of doing something a little different. Can you believe it, I thought of a great name to represent what I want to do, and I ordered business cards? So exciting, and they arrive Friday with the next step in sight. Or maybe it is just finally time for this cloud to lift and better times to greet me around the corner. It just has to be….it’s time. 🦋❤️

Posted in Life

Unforgotten

Happy birthday Dad, I love you and miss you more than I could ever say. But you already know.

I love this picture of us and without any words I can see the love and bond we shared as father and daughter. A relationship that would have developed into a lifelong friendship and closeness. In a way it has, and although you are not here with me in the physical sense, there are times I feel your presence as if you stood next to me. I know your soul has never left us and you continue to watch over Mom and me. You are never too far away and you live on within our hearts, but it’s so hard not to hug you and laugh with you. You continue to do the best you can, feeling bad of having left us behind, and so many times I have wished we could join in a giant group hug and let everything be ok again. To be a family again, complete.

My life has never been the same, and 45 years after you’re gone, you are missed beyond words. You are unforgotten and your legacy lives on. Sometimes I don’t know how Mom managed to get passed you’re being gone and I look at her in disbelief of what she had to endure and conquer. She is one strong, tough lady, and you were the love of her life. The one that had to fight for her love with her playing hard to get, and the one that made her laugh and feel happiness to the core of her being. Sure other people have endured such pains before and made it past, but it becomes personal when it visits your own front door and makes you see things in an entirely different light. She loved you that much that she choose to be alone, although she had tried to fill her life again, twice, but she couldn’t get past the love she felt for you, and nobody could come close to you. Her decision is something understood by few, and most would see it as her downfall, as a result to her current situation. I can see way past that and I don’t know if I could be that strong. Perhaps I feel this way because I have been strong for too long and if I was in that situation, perhaps I too would have to find a way. I am just not sure if I would want to, and I am grateful that Mom had no other choice, she had me to take care of. I know it is here where her thinking comes in that it is my turn to take care of her, because she did for me. It is here that I wonder if she would even be here if I wasn’t in the picture so many years ago. She found her strengths because of me and because she had no other choice. I see myself in her and I know I have my warrior spirit from her. I know people would tell me that I have overcome incredible odds, that I have been strong in my own ways, that I had no shortage of battles myself. It’s true and it’s amazing how strong you can be, when being strong is all you have left. No doubt about it, but I don’t want to prove anymore that I can do it. I just want to be, understood or not, judged or loved, I am yearning for calmer sees.

Spending ten month with Mom, I feel she got a good glimpse of who I am. She saw, and met the person her daughter grew into, and it was an honor to hear her telling me how much I am like you. There are plenty of things I inherited from Mom, but most of me is a replica of you. The funny side, my way of being, the laughs and jokes, it’s all you and I think you worked your magic through me while I was there. For awhile life was getting as good as it could be for Mom. It was you she saw in me, and it helped her to get better when she was sick and near death. I can see the difference now that I am gone, and her face looks older, wrapped in worry and loneliness again. It is by far no comparison to how it was as I first got there, and I do my best to make her laugh when we FaceTime. Still it’s a drop in the bucket and not nearly enough.

Spending all that time with Mom brought us closer, and I loved her sharing a few stories about you. Stories I never knew and I think it was good for her to talk about it, and good for me to hear it. I have always had such a hunger to know every little detail about you and I hang on to every shred, every picture, every memory of you. Fact is you are missed and life has never been the same. Time doesn’t heal all, but it teaches us to go on, to live with the pain, and a heart that is left behind incomplete.

Happy birthday Dad….forever your girl.

Posted in Life, Mom

I wish you enough…

I came across a little article titled “I wish you enough”, that spoke to me on many different levels. It stirred back emotions, worries and fears, especially today, after a not so good conversation with Mom. I know there will be “those” from time to time, and I know that it is her own fear that is driving her behavior at times.

I wish you enough reminded me of saying goodbye to Mom the last two times I have been to Germany. Once she was in the hospital, sick, and the last time I left her behind safe, but in a place she doesn’t care to be. Although there have been many goodbyes over the course of nearly thirty years away, it is those last two that are burned into my memory. Easily some of the content of this article could be applied to those times, never knowing if it would be our very last goodbye. I can tell you that it weighs very heavy on you, and it will taint your soul with worry and fear.

Perhaps in our case the roles are reversed and it is me who is the one to say I wish you enough. Perhaps it is both of us and I know you care in your own way. You just can’t express love, because it was love and being vulnerable that has hurt you and broke your heart. Regardless of the reason and whether you say it or not, I already know, don’t worry. But today it is me to say to you “I wish you enough”….

I overheard a mother and daughter in their last moments together at the airport as the daughters departure had been announced. Standing near the security gate, they hugged and the mother said “I love you and I wish you enough”. The daughter replied “Mom our life together has been more than enough”. Your love is all I ever needed. I wish you enough too Mom. They kissed and the daughter left. The mother walked over to the window where I sat.

Standing there, I could see she wanted and needed to cry. I tried not to intrude on her privacy but she welcomed me in by asking “Did you ever say goodbye to someone knowing it would be forever?” “Yes I have,” I replied. “Forgive me for asking but why is this a forever goodbye?”

“I am old and she lives so far away. I have challenges ahead and the reality is the next trip back will be for my funeral”, she said. When you were saying goodbye I heard you say “I wish you enough”. May I ask what that means? She began to smile. “That’s a wish that has been handed down from other generations. My parents used to say it to everyone.”

She paused a moment and looked up as if trying to remember it in detail and she smiled even more. “When we said “I wish you enough” we were wanting the other person to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain them. Then turning toward me she shared the following, reciting it from memory-

“I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright. I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more. I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive. I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger. I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting. I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess. I wish you enough hello’s to get you through the final goodbye.” She then began to cry and walked away.

They say it takes a minute to find a special person. An hour to appreciate them. A day to love them. And an entire life to forget them.

You are not forgotten and I wish you enough….

Posted in Inspiration, Life, Motivation,

The Mountain

If the mountain seems too big today then climb a hill instead.

If the morning brings you sadness it’s OK to stay in bed.

If the day ahead weighs heavy and your plans feel like a curse, there’s no shame in rearranging, don’t make yourself feel worse.

If a shower stings like needles and a bath feels like you’ll drown, if you haven’t washed your hair for days, don’t throw away your crown.

A day is not a lifetime a rest is not defeat, don’t think of it as failure, just a quiet, kind retreat.

It’s OK to take a moment from an anxious, fractured mind, the world will not stop turning while you get realigned.

The mountain will still be there when you want to try again, you can climb it in your own time, just love yourself till then.

~Laura Ding-Edwards

Posted in Europe, Life, Photography

Tower entrance

One of the several entrances into my favorite medieval city, Rothenburg o. d. T.

With the anniversary of being home and spending nearly a year in Germany, there is no doubt that things were tough. But like with most things, not all was bad, and there are plenty of reasons that Germany will always hold my roots. I don’t think I can live there all year round anymore, but there will always be people, cultures, places and things that will always remind me of where I came from, and draw me back.

Posted in Inspiration, Life

Worry less

Worry is a total waste of imagination, and yet, despite of knowing this to be true, we just can’t help it sometimes.

It took awhile for serenity to return back to my system, and sometimes it was hard to be patient and see the light. I remember loved ones telling me to be patient with myself, predicting that I would come back stronger than ever, and sometimes it was plain hard to visualize. But I did it and I’m proud of it.

Before Germany I drew a tarot card that foretold me that the journey ahead would be one of the toughest things I have ever encountered. I had no idea and it was hard to bring into focus what exactly was awaiting me. I was also told that I could come out the other side successfully, but that it would take ALL the resources available, even the ones I didn’t know back then. I believe some of those resources were YOU, who stood by my side, shining your light when mine was growing dim, being strong for me when I was getting weak, encouraging me to keep going when I was growing tired, and being my eyes when I couldn’t see. You may never know about the important work that you have done, how much it has meant, and what impact it has had, but I on the other hand, I will never forget and thank you from the bottom of my heart. ❤️ Thank you…

There is always more work to be done, but instead of worrying about the uncontrollable, and the things that are not within our control, I choose to go with the flow and celebrate the successes I have had so far. I promise to choose “this” as often as I can, and not let the dark days cloud my vision. At least for today….and the outlook of one day at a time.

Posted in Life

As silence falls

I’ve been kind of quiet lately, with really little left to say. Beaten down a bit, almost a little defeated from the past 12 month, taking a break to gather new strengths. But this is not a sad song, and I can feel things turning around. The lessons are coming to an end and the metamorphosis period is nearly completed. The pin is ending and new possibilities are emerging everywhere.

Silence, we all have experienced it. Paralyzing or liberating, silence is powerful and a part of all of us.

As silence falls there’s nothing left but your thoughts. Perhaps a blessing when you need to rest your weary mind, perhaps torture when you have no choice but to let your ego point out all the various scenarios of “what if”. It might depend on your state of mind, to determine whether silence is golden or whether the sound of silence can be deafening. Silence can be bliss when recharging a tired mind, but it can also be a feeling of loneliness, loss and final chapters.

I remember back to the days when mom was upset at me and gave me what I called the silent treatment. There was an absence, a not wanting to talk to me, not wanting anything to do with me, that bridged a gap between us the size of the Grand Canyon. It was her way of dealing with her feelings, of teaching me a lesson and perhaps to this day I have not learned what the purpose for it was. Other than bruised feelings, a sense of pride and not knowing how to admit one’s own fault. Luckily those times have mostly past, and these days she forgets quickly what she is mad about due to the onset of dementia. On the other hand I will never forget what it felt like to run up against that wall she had built around her. Trying to jump over the gap that had built between us, and which seemingly widened with every day of silence, until there was no hope to ever cross it.

It taught me that silence and being passive is not always working in our favor. It made me adapt to the philosophy of resolving anything that needs to be clearing, and to never let silence take over into another day when it can be resolved today.

Posted in Life, Strength

Power Words

Recently I saw these two little words edged into wood while visiting Lake Tahoe. If you follow this blog, you know there has been much struggle in my life, especially over the last year. Overall I have always seen these struggles and pains as opportunity and a way for personal growth. It’s hard sometimes when things get tough, but I never stray too far, or too long from that concept.

Today, I was thinking about all the connections I have made here on WordPress since I began blogging. I was thinking about the reasons as to why blogs start, and the stories that we all have to share. There is a motto, a common thread, a likewise little something that keeps us thriving and holding on through the journey of our life. It is different for everyone and yet there is familiarity. I’m talking about a theme song, a belief that becomes our personal mantra that keeps us fighting.

If you could define what keeps you going into a single power word, a phrase or quote, I would love to hear it. I think there is much we learn from each other. To see what drives us and gives us strengths. Let’s inspire each other and share our story.

Oh, and for myself, if there has been a common thread throughout my life, it would be that nothing has ever been easy. I have fallen more times than I can count, but I have gotten up even more times. Because of it my power words would be “Warrior spirit” and it is as to why this blog is a Warriors Journey.

Thank you for taking the time. Bless you. ❤️