Day 130 “Inner Silence”

The thoughts inside my head are debilitating right now, paralyzing me.  There is no silence, only a constant swirling of I should, what if, how, why, and don’t forget to……. 

There is no progress amidst all this noise.  Life is too in my face at the moment, and I feel like I can’t breathe.

I used to know how to do this:  feet on the floor, breathe deeply.

A vision of my husband, recovering from yet another surgery floats into my mind, and with it emotional panic.  I can’t help him like this, I remind myself.

And breathe again.

The clutter of the house closes in around me.  I have let things go.

The more the mind races, the less you get done…..I know, I know…..

Breathe.  Find your quiet place.  Let the extraneous go, for this moment, in this moment.  Breathe.

My chest expands, pushing through the tightness that has resided there these past months.  I follow the breath deeper, into my belly, reconnect with my core strength.  Surrender to stillness….

The sound of my breath, my heart beating, and the safety of a vast inner nothingness…..

Suspended consciousness….

ecstatic….

I float…..

ahhhhh……..

peace.

 

Day 128 “Gratitude”

Thor has fallen again.  It seems impossible to fathom, but there it is.  Ten months into his healing, he has re-injured his leg, requiring surgery once again. The damage is more extensive this time, and will take longer to mend.

My husband is angry and discouraged by this recent setback, and I cannot fault him.  He rallied through seven weeks of radiation, and maintained a positive attitude through the first surgery, but this time he is not bouncing back.  Everything he does seems to tire him.

As a caregiver, I too am exhausted.  This time has been emotionally, as well as physically, draining.  With the diagnosis of cancer, the doctors had warned us that our quality of life would change, but we could not have imagined this.

Yet, as I drag myself through the extra responsibilities that I have right now, I cannot help but recognize the gift that my husband has been in my life.   With each passing day, my gratitude deepens.

Thor is normally a high energy man, who unassumingly takes on many tasks.  He gets groceries, helps out in the house, and thoughtfully makes a point of showing he cares.  He has been a rock for our children, and tirelessly fights for justice for the many people who employ him.  He asks for little in return.

I realize now how much Thor does for all the people around him and hope that the little I am able to give back right now suitably expresses my gratitude to this wonderful man.

Day 127 “True Character”

Surrounded by family, friends, and the nursing staff, Thor hit the gong to signal his last radiation treatment on December 24th, then came to celebrate Christmas as usual.

Three days later, as I was leaving a gathering with some friends, my right foot hit ice, sliding out from under me, and sending me crashing to the ground.   My hip, then elbow, slammed into the solid ice and I writhed with pain, before willing myself to get up again.  Nothing was broken, but I had some work to do to heal.

A week later, as I was on my way to my first therapy treatment, I received a text from Thor:  I am trying to crawl up the stairs.

I stared at the phone, trying to make sense of the words.  Thor had fallen down the stairs and knew that the damage was serious.  He would need me to take him to emergency.

I couldn’t believe it.  As if he hadn’t already been through enough!  I rushed to the house, only to find him sitting in a chair, pale and clammy.  He had crawled up the stairs and onto the chair.

“It’s my quad tendon,”  he said. ” I’ll need surgery. ”

Now, I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it, but Thor is considerably larger than I am.  Getting him up and out of the house was posing a problem.  I found  crutches, and he got to the doorway, but our threshold is aluminum – as in slippery – and then there are two steps down.  In silence, we both looked at this obstacle and mentally noted the current impossibility of navigating it.

“What if we try a chair?” I offered.

It didn’t work.

“Get a cardboard box,”  Thor suggested.  “Flatten it and I’ll slide down.”

And that is what he did – down the porch steps, off the porch and across the snow covered lawn!

“You should video this,”  he kept repeating.

I was too concerned about his well being to comply.

He slid himself right to the door of our Crossover, and faced his next challenge.  I ran inside to see if I could find something to help.  When I returned, Thor was seated in the passenger side.  He’d pulled himself up.

Thor didn’t complain once through the whole ordeal.  He joked with the nurses before and after surgery, and nodded with acceptance as the doctor told him that it would be a good six months to a year for this type of injury to heal, and that he would not be able to drive for at least a month.

I looked at my husband and wondered about the unfairness of it all.  Here he was, immune compromised from the radiation, immobilized by the recent injury, and dependent on a wife who was also physically compromised.  Despite my best efforts, I burst into tears.

“How will we manage?”  I cried.

“Ah Honey,”  Thor softly reassured me.  “We’ll make it work.”

I don’t have the confidence about life that my husband has, but he was right.  It did all work out.  He is driving again, and with steely determination his life goes on.  Not much stops him.

And through it all, I learned more about the man that I love.

Thor has always told me that “what you see is what you get”, and now I understand.  Even under immense duress, Thor is still a rock.

And, I hate to say it, but he was right:  I should have videotaped the episode!

 

Day 126 “The Usefulness of Emptiness”

Sit comfortably, feet planted on the floor, back straight, palms up.

Breathe deeply, one, two, three, four. Hold, one, two, three, four.  Exhale, one, two, three, four.  Hold, one, two, three, four.  Repeat.

I breath deep into the bottom of my belly, imagining it filling up, then forcing the air out, and with it all my tension.  Emptying.

Did I remember to change the wash over?

Start again.  Breathe deeply.  Feel my feet on the floor.  Hear my heart beating.  Surrender to the calm.  Let go.

A heaviness washes over me.  It has been a trying time.  So many challenges.  I am weary. 

Breathe in, one, two, three, four.  Hold, one, two, three, four.  Release the tension.  Exhale, one, two, three, four.  Hold, one, two, three, four.  Open to new possibilities.  Breathe them in.  Feel the expansion.  Let go of the burdens.  Release the fear.  Make room.  Make room.  Breathe.

I am a vessel of light, empty, anticipating.

The phone rings. 

Hold on.  Breathe.  Let it all flow through.  Be empty.  Breathe.

There is room.  There is time.  There are no limits.

I am renewed.   All is well.

 

Mastery

“Why can’t I play hockey, Mom?”

John and I were watching boy after boy try to shoot a puck through a hole punched out of the middle of a cardboard goalie.  It was a fundraising event for his older sisters’ school.

Truth was, I didn’t have a good answer; I just didn’t like the violence that playing hockey entailed.  How could I tell him that?  At four-years-old, John was already demonstrating a natural athletic talent.  Did I have a right to choose sports for him?

“Tell you what,”  I offered, “If you can hit a puck through that hole, I’ll let you play hockey.”

The odds were in my favour.  So far no one had been able to do it.

John shot four out of five.

As a goalie, he excelled at shutouts.  His quick reflexes and ability to anticipate his opponents moves served him well.

My fears about hockey were never founded.  John himself dropped out once body contact became part of the sport.  He had found a new passion to focus on:  skateboarding.

For fifteen years now, John has practiced diligently, pushing himself through the fear and pain, to become an accomplished skateboarder.   To onlookers he is “The King”, gliding through any course with grace and ease.  He makes it look so simple.

Only John knows how hard he has worked to hone this skill:  hour upon hour, overcoming disappointment and frustration, always willing to try again.  He talks about a ‘zone’ – a state of mind – that he strives for, which helps him maintain balance and focus.  His art is very disciplined.

When John rides the board, he is free.  A freedom only someone who has mastered the art of movement can  understand.

Best Laid Plans

The man seated across the table pried me with questions.

“Who played Wendy?”  he asked.  “Was it you?”

I nodded.

“And who played the Hooker?”

“Also me.”

“Really,”  he drew the word out as if chewing on it.  “Both you?”

We were celebrating closing night at a local eatery.   My questioner was not a familiar face amongst our usual theatre crowd, but I could tell by the way others were addressing him that he held some position of esteem.

“Have you done a lot of acting?”  he persisted.

“High school, mostly.”  I loved acting, and had contemplated pursuing it at University.  Just recently, I had purchased a ticket to travel to Great Britain.  It was my plan to investigate theatre school there, hopefully Shakespearean.

“I am currently writing a play that you would be perfect for, if you are interested. You have heard of me?”

I recognized him now – playwright and critic.  He was well-known in our area, although this was my first meeting.

“I’m flattered,”  and I was.  “I am leaving for England shortly.”

“Of course you are.  It would be a shame to waste that talent locally.  If you have a change of mind, look me up, will you?”

The play had gone well.  Even though I had bit parts, apparently I had made an impression.  Maybe there was hope for me.  I looked forward to the future.

The date of my departure was fast approaching.  Disillusioned with life in my hometown, I was anxious to explore the world and embrace adventure.  To celebrate my move, my sisters threw a party.

Seven years older than me, Mae is a classic beauty with dark eyes, and a perfectly sculpted face draped with beautiful flowing brunette hair.  She stands 5′ 8″ and has curves in all the right places.  I was used to being eclipsed by Mae’s presence, but she made up for it in sweetness.

My other sister, Lily, was eleven years my senior.  Also a brunette, she was a fireball, who commanded attention and rivaled Mae for attention.

I shrank into a corner and disappeared into my dreams.  This was not my crowd.  Apart from a fellow I had been casually dating and a mutual friend of my sisters, I really didn’t know these people.  Just when I thought the night was a total loss, I heard a knock at the door.

I opened it to find Stewart at the door.  Stewart was one of Mae’s many suitors, and I knew he’d be disappointed.  Mae’s current boyfriend was also here.  I offered him a drink and some friendly conversation.  I felt bad for him.

“I’m headed to England,”  I offered.  Stewart had a very distinct British accent.

“When?”

“In three weeks.”

“Really?  I’m headed to England in three weeks.  Where are you flying into?”

“Heathrow.”

“Me too!”

“What date?”

“What date are you going?”

“The 19th.”

“Me too!”

“No way!  You are flying to England on the 19th!”

“Yes, I am.  We might be on the same flight.”

I have to admit, he had me going.  Turned out he was just playing with me.  Always fun to tease the little sister.

I busied myself in the kitchen, playing hostess.  Stewart made his move on Mae.

Last to arrive was the last to leave.  Mae had already left with her beau, and Lily was nowhere in sight.  I escorted Stewart to the door, where he paused before stepping out and turning around to face me, leaning in for a kiss.

“Good night,”  he whispered leaving me alone and slightly stunned.

What had just happened?

“Don’t pay it any mind,”  Mae told me the next day.  “He has a crush on me.”

I knew she was right, but it was me that Stewart invited out later that day.

Our courtship was a whirlwind race against the ticking of the clock and my imminent departure.  Stewart made me laugh, and caused my heart to flutter.  I couldn’t sleep, didn’t care to eat, and was certain that this was love.

He was all I could think of while in England, and I wrote to him everyday – long, lengthy letters oozing with mush.  When I’d received no reply, I finally called him.  He hadn’t received one letter.  I had sent them care of Mae, and she had forgotten to check the mail.  I couldn’t stand the emotional turmoil.

I came home.

Stewart and I would later marry and have three children, ending a seventeen year relationship in a bitter divorce.

I always wonder what might have happened, had I stayed in Britain, but I have never regretted the gift of my three children.

Isn’t it miraculous that life turns out the way it does, despite our plans to the contrary?

(Image:  afadedromantic.wordpress.com)

Dragon Energy

Referred by her priest, a young woman made an appointment to see me.

“It’s urgent!”

She arrived the next day, and I could see by her movements that she was in distress.   No more than thirty, the woman looked tired, and something else – afraid?

In keeping with my preferred practice, I had requested that she not reveal any details of her situation to me in advance.  I prefer to start with a clean slate, no expectations or assumptions to confuse me.

I asked her if she had ever had energy work done before.  She had not.

“I’ll explain as I go along,”  I suggested.  “First, make yourself comfortable.”

She chose to lay face down on the treatment table, and I began my preliminary assessment.  There was clearly a barrier of some sort in the field.  If you meet with resistance, it is usually yours, Delores Krieger’s words echoed in my mind.  I started again, this time moving my hands further from the surface of her body.  No change. Maybe I am too forceful, I thought.  Intentionally, I focused on being whisper gentle.  The energy bounced back at me.

“I’m sorry,”  I said.  “But this does not seem to be working.  Are you open to trying a different approach?”  I had just studied third degree Reiki, and while my experiences with it were limited, I didn’t know what else to do.

I moved her to a chair, and explained that whatever was happening was between herself and whatever she deemed God to be.  “The process which I am about to do, will help you make that connection, so that you can ask for what you need.   Are you okay with this?”

She nodded ‘yes’ and I instructed her further as to how we would proceed.  I invited her to close her eyes and breathe deeply as she concentrated on what she needed.  Then I began.

The ritual doesn’t take longer than fifteen minutes, and when I indicated that we were finished, she opened her eyes clearly revealing that she wasn’t convinced.

I didn’t know what else to say.

Two weeks later, she called again.  “That thing that you did, how often can you do it?  Is it too soon to have another?”

When she arrived this time, she was animated, almost excited.  With no preliminaries needed, we moved right into the treatment.  This time she had tears in her eyes at the end.

“I felt it!” she said quietly.  She asked to come back in two weeks.

“I can feel it wearing off days before I come,”  she told me on her next arrival.

“How does it feel?”  I was curious.  This was fairly new to me too.

“It’s hard to describe, but I somehow feel more vital, alive, and then I feel myself becoming tired again just before I’m due to come back.”

Then she really caught my attention.

“I was supposed to be dead by now.”

The woman explained that she had been diagnosed with a rare terminal ailment, and given two weeks to live.  A single mother and business owner, she wasn’t ready to give up, so she visited her priest, who then referred her to me as a last resort.

“The treatment for my disorder takes a month to work, and I was too far gone, so I needed a miracle.”

Reiki employs symbols that access different forces, one of which is the dragon.  I have never really been able to define what this energy is other than to note that is often connected to breakthroughs.

Last time I saw her, my client continues to run her business and enjoys watching her own daughter blossom into a young lady.

Wake Up Call

Cancer, it turns out, it is a powerful proponent of simplicity.

Faced with uncertainty, one is forced to exam the complexities of life and cull.

Our lives are reduced to three priorities:

– Making healthy choices

– Caring for relationships

– Reducing financial burden.

Necessity demands that any extraneous commotion be pushed aside.

Happy Birthday to My Husband!

To my dear husband, on your birthday:

You are my best friend, lover, champion, and rock.  On this day, I wish you only the best, and if I had a magic wand, I would wish you only good things for the rest of your days.  You deserve that.  Most of all, I wish that you knew how much I love and appreciate you.

I love our life together.  I love that you built our house, and that together we were able to design and decorate it.  I love that you value my opinion, as I value yours.  I love that we travel together and are good companions, no matter what we do.  I love that you care for all the children as if they were your own, and I love that mine will call you for advice and support, because you are always kind and helpful.  I love that you love our granddaughter as much as I do, and will love the next grandchild just the same.  I love that you can be spontaneous, and are always open to laughter.  I love our laughter.  And even though you will never admit it, I love how responsible and mature you are.

There is no gift that I can give you that expresses the depth of my love for you.

Enjoy your day, knowing you are loved.