Day 9 – Cease to Exist

I had a really busy day and didn’t think I’d manage to meditate at all.  Just as I was about to flick on the television I decided instead to light a candle, burn some incense and slap on some headphones for a twenty minute romp with Deepak and Oprah.  It was incredible how quickly I was able to tap into my breathing and let the buttery tone of Chopra’s deep east indian voice wash over me.  Shreem…he said…shreem….shreem….shreem….

The blackness of the void surrounded me and I though no thoughts.  There were no words, no shapes, no colours, no feelings….just floating in the nothingness.  It hung there for awhile until I though “oh I feel like I’m floating” and it was gone.  Identifying with words had brought my mind into the picture.  Breathing in and out, feeling my lungs fill and drain, my chest rise and fall….and again I was floating in the abyss.  Longer this time, I avoided naming the experience and just let it happen.  I rose and fell on the surface of an invisible pool of water in the deep darkness without end.  It was beautiful.

Day 4 -Cease to Exist

It’s a much better day…like fresh air coming in the nostrils as soon as I woke up this morning.  My dear love bounced out of bed (after his customary grope) and left for work before the kids even woke up.  He is on fire.  We’re opening a new business and it lights him up.  Despite all the difficulties and pressures of this venture I can see so clearly that it is his calling.  It is incredible to watch and liberates me to do what I really love to do, which is love my children, be a good friend, wife and mother, sit in stillness and write.

Today in meditation I was quickly drawn in to feel deep love and respect for my body.  I felt an urge to thank first my toes and feet for always being there for me…for letting me dance and carrying me forward each day.  Then I thanked my ankles for never giving me any problems..for being so flexible and strong.  I was suddenly flooded with memories of snowboarding, tap dancing, running, jumping, and travelling where my feet and ankles provided the support I needed.  Then my shin bone spoke up and said that it was proud to support me, then the knees chimed in with their thoughts and I silently thanked them for allowing me to sit and stand and walk.  I told them I’d take better care of them and they laughed…silly knees.  Then my femurs grew warm and I had to thank them for helping me stand tall(ish).  I suddenly realized that I am like a house of cards and my legs are the bottom, always carrying the weight, and I’m grateful for that.  At this point my hips started groaning and I had to stretch a little to acknowledge them.  I felt a deep love for them as I realized that they cradled my baby boys before they were born.  They moved and shifted to accommodate them as they grew and then went back to the way they were after I gave birth.  I thanked them for that and felt overwhelmed by the love I have for my children….how fortunate I am to have them in my life.

Next up was the spine…I could feel each vertebrae as if someone was walking up my back like a ladder.  I realized just what a complicated puzzle I have beneath my skin and was filled with wonder at how it all fits so perfectly together without my having to do anything.  Spine told me it too has had a tough year since the car accident.  It asked me to listen to it and work with it to heal and I listened.  About half way up the ladder the ribs beamed with joy.  They said hello! and I suddenly saw them as a protective bear hug surrounding my heart and lungs.  It made me feel so loved and cared for to think of ribcage as being so loving and taking such good care of me.  Inside the warm hug was the heart…it beat strongly as I paid it some attention.  I thanked it for providing the rhythm of this dancing machine I call my body.  It was silent…only beating…there was a profound moment of calm.  Then the lungs drew in a huge breath and asked me to scream out as we pushed the air out again.  I could see them pink and alive and clear.  Stomach got in on the action by telling me everything is good down here…just send down some warm lemon water so they could do a little housekeeping.  I could hear a chorus of cheers as my intestines heard about the lemon water.  Again, I thanked them for all they do for me.

My shoulders begged for attention at that time and I suddenly sat up a bit straighter.  I could see that the arms hang of those strong bones and the weight of it all was something to bear.  My shoulders told me to sit up straight so the weight could be more balanced.  Then my ams chimed in and I saw myself holding my children.  I nearly wept.  Hands got in on the action by showing me how they help me do just about everything (even type this and raise the coffee to my mouth).  I’d never spent a single moment of my life being grateful to my hands and now I was unable to stop.  I kissed them gently and imagined myself touching my children’s beautiful faces.

At this point my neck and I had a moment.  I could see that it was damaged in the car accident and was working so hard to come back into alignment.  I thanked it for never giving up and it promised me that it would find its way back to health.  As I focussed on my skull and brain, I kid you not, I heard loud and clearly, music and all,  “This is ground control to Major Tom!”  I giggled out loud.  If my brain is ground control who is Major Tom?  This thought rolled around for a while and the answer still makes me smile.

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My beautiful little boy painted this for me.

 

Day 1 – Cease to Exist

I have been a closet meditator for a while now.  I tell myself that I meditate, and even do so on occasion, but it hasn’t really become a full practice.  I tend to imagine that I don’t have time…or I’ll do it later…or I’ve got more important things to do.  But the truth is I’ve been struggling with an inner void or emptiness that I can’t understand.  As it often the case the universe delivered something to me that has finally kicked me of the couch of ‘putting it off’ and onto the floor of meditation.

Kyle Cease began 100 days of meditating for 2 hours per day.  Each day he posts a video of what revelations he discovered during the stillness.  I was really enjoying my spectator meditative practice until one day when he said “You can do this too!  As much as I am getting huge results from this practice you can too.  Nobody got buff by watching someone else work out”.  This got me.  It resonated.  I want to experience the divine….to connect to my higher self…to live with ease, purpose and freedom.  Kyle’s transformation, or Evolving Out Loud as he calls it, is inspiring and a call to action!

You can watch it here:  Kyle Cease 100 day self-connection

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Today I began my 100 day journey.  I didn’t just think about it or plan it for another day, I did it.  It was hard…then easy…then hard…then beautiful…then painful…then inspiring.

One thing that came up in mediation was the value of time in nature.  In stillness I realized that the value of time in nature is that it asks nothing of us.  It gives of itself freely and asks that we do nothing in return.  It does not require us to be smart, or beautiful, or productive …it is just there.  It doesn’t ask us to move quicker or to slow down. It doesn’t push or pull and just is.  You can not make a tree grow or a river flow.  You can not stop the rocks or slow movement of the sun.  The only thing to be done in nature is to experience it…to observe and to appreciate.

Namaste.

 

May 2016 be f@cking great!

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I’ve had a rough go of it this year.  2014 ended with a car accident and 2015 was filled with fall out from that.  I’m on the mend though…no more needs to be said about that.

There’s something about this photo of Jack Nicholson that makes me feel like it is time to lighten up!  So, in the spirit of New Years I am going to do just that.

May your new year be filled with moments where you  simply smile and acknowledge that it’s good to be alive.

All the best,

Jo

 

 

 

Expect miracles

I am going to live rather than die
To recover rather than receed
To rest and rejuvenate without guilt and loss
To take it easy on good days despite my urge to run and play and dance and do
To cry without going to the bottom again
To know my symptoms are messages from a brain that is working like hell to fix itself
To see myself well and strong again
To know,  without a shadow of doubt, that I will make a full recovery.
To love myself unconditionally through this to the other side.

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What about the bone?

I went to the doctor the other day. I needed a note to give to the insurance company to apply for wage loss benefits. Before going I made a pact with myself that I’d stay calm, present the facts, get the note and wobble on home. I’ve seen so many doctors, told my story so many times and hit so many brick walls that I’ve learned to be unemotional and have no expectations.

She asked me how I was doing and inquired into my symptoms. I started to relay the months of suffering, the difficulty walking, the confusion, the eye issues, the sensitivity to sound and movement. I began to cry.

I cried because I know what I’ve lost; my job, my ability to be the mom I was, my money (treatment fees anyone?), my identity, my energy, my lifestyle, my physical abilities. I cried because I am tired. I cried because I am scared. I cried because I feel like I’m dying and the medical community seems to be knitting at the gallows. I cried because I don’t know what else to do.

I wiped away my tears and took a deep breath. I looked at her and saw compassion. My spirits lifted. Maybe I had finally found my care provider; someone with the keys to the concussion treatment Kingdom who will offer me a way through this hell. Maybe I am not so alone in this after all.

“I’m going to prescribe antidepressants”, she said looking at her computer. “I’m also going to refer you to the public health office for counselling. Have you heard of celexa….”

I retreated back to my shell. I stopped listening and returned to the inner voice that believes me. We can do this it said, we will find our way back to wellness.

“Isn’t that like putting a band aid on a broken leg?” I replied. “Sure it stops the bleeding but what about the bone?”

She did everything but shrug her shoulders. That was the end of the conversation. I’m on my own.

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The thread that pulls me through.

What does strength look like? How does one fight? In the midst of this struggle I feel weak and lost, not strong and determined.

You asked about the wobble and I’m so glad you did. I’ve told countless doctors, specialists and friends and they all cling to the pain, offering remedies to kill it. But the physical pain, as horrible as it was, left months ago. Its departure seems to have left empty caverns in my brain that fill to bursting with fluid that sloshes around when I move. The electrical current in there sends sparks all over my head which fizz when I touch my face and hair. Thinking makes my eyes move unnaturally at times which makes my stomach drop and my nerves jitter.  

There’s a channel that runs from my right shoulder, up through my neck to a spot inside my right hemisphere – this is the point where the ‘feeling’ began. It was like a tiny bug was burrowing in there for about a week before the crushing headaches began. This sent me to bed for weeks with near daily trips to the hospital or clinic where doctors would stare blankly at me and say ‘migraine’. One doctor connected me to monitors and injected me with propofol to ‘put me out’  for an hour to ‘reset my brain’, another ordered twice daily injections of torridol and gravol which zombified me terribly. Tests of all varieties,  including CT scan, MRI and blood work,  all came back clear which ultimately led the doctors to prescribe “therapy” and ask about my mental state. One Dr told me to ‘enjoy it’  which was the end of the medical road for me. 

I came to my parents house with the boys for a week after seeing a neurologist who took 20 minutes to diagnose ‘migraine’ and tell me to quintuple the amytriptaline I was already taking. It was only meant to be a week, just a little time to give Adam a much needed break from the pressure and stress of being a single parent and caretaker to me. As a last ditch effort to save my brain my mom took me to see her chiropractor. I was so ‘gone’ by that point that I felt invisible and floaty. I couldn’t talk to people and walked as if pushing through lava. When they gave me an intake form I wanted to just write ‘help me’ but instead dutifully circled my whole head as the ‘problem area’ and checked the little boxes like it was yet another fruitless request for understanding and support.  

With NUCCA treatment for ‘axis sublaxation’ over 6 weeks I’ve had a total of 6 days where I bordered on feeling well. The clarity is like seeing again after being blind. In those moments I begin to think of the future and let gratitude for the miracle wash over me. When the wobbly brain comes back it’s like being in the dark again. So scary and hopeless. I scratch around for clues to what I did wrong to break the spell, wondering when I’ll see again.

So I ask what strength looks like? People keep saying I’m strong but inside it feels like deep crumbling, loss and failure. It feels like powerlessness and rage, resignation and depression. I know of that thread you spoke of, I feel it whispering to me that this death will at last be followed by rebirth. It is the only internal comfort I have. It saves me from the self hatred that threatens to blame me for this whole fucking mess.  It’s the living through the transition that is so unbearable and chaotic. 

I keep thinking of butterflies. Does the caterpillar cry when it disintegrates into cellular mush? Does it hurt? Does it lament the loss of its hordes of tiny legs? Does it struggle against the transition or release itself with some inate faith that soon it will fly? 

This is happening. It is real and it is now and I am alone inside trying to survive with as much grace as possible. 

Thank you for letting me in and offering me a safe place to land in all my fractured vulnerability. Please know that the tiny thread is strong. It will pull me through. 

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Fabulous Friday #4

These regular posts of inspiration and determined focus on what is fabulous are like buoys in the ocean. They are like little guide posts on the path towards the good life.

In the inevitable ebb and flow of existence I’m going to admit to feeling a little less than fabulous today. My recovery from post concussion syndrome and whiplash is taking longer than I ever anticipated and my capacity to remain calm and centred is eroding.

Gloria Steinem said “The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.”  I guess my current truth is that I have had to let go of control of my body. It has pissed me off to the point of total surrender. It is not fun. It does not feel like liberation. It does not feel like awakening or any of that good stuff. It actually feels like failure if I’m totally honest.

So in this place of surrender, with a looming feeling of failure, I offer it all up. I let go of it all. Like leaves in the river I will let the current take me away and have faith that it will all work out.

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The infinite dance

I wake from a restful sleep in a beautiful breezy sun-filled room. The chrisp white sheets crackle around me as I stretch out like a happy cat. I hear laughter downstairs as my family makes breakfast and prepares for their day.

I roll onto my side, push up to sitting and compose a grateful smile before touching my feet to the ground. I have such wonderful ease, joy and abundance in my life and I savour it for a moment before rising. Taking a deep cleansing breath I walk purposely to the ensuite bathroom. I glance at the claw foot tub and notice the empty wine glass and spent tea light candles resting on the tile floor beside the tub. This invokes a memory of gentle self love and pampering from the night before. I love the way I treat my body and nourish my soul. It fills me up and provides me with so much more to give.

I turn on the shower and disrobe. Before stepping into the steaming water I glance at my lithe, strong naked form. This body is a gift that has carried me through the many phases of life and brought two incredible souls into the world. I’m grateful for its strength, grace, renewal and figure. I treat it well and we are good friends. Stepping into the shower I let the water cascade over my head and feel the warmth drain down my back. I say a silent prayer of thanks to the water spirits and ask them to guide me to my higher self.  I feel how blessed I am and I know exactly what I want. It is awesome to let it happen. Each day is an opportunity to allow my dreams to find me; a chance to receive the abundance of life with warm welcoming hands.

As I dress I take note of the gorgeous wardrobe I’ve put together. It’s fun to adorn myself – like a walking canvas I display through the day. Descending the stairs I smell strong, rich coffee and hear the boys talking to their dad about their plans for the day. They are truly happy, supported and free to be exactly who they are.

My husband hands me a cup of coffee and our eyes meet. We know what we have and it makes us both smile. He grabs his keys, calls for the boys who eagerly bob out the door behind him. He’s off to the work he loves, dropping the kids at school en route. He’s good at what he does and it lights him up. We have more than enough and it’s a thrill to invest, spend and share our wealth.

As the house grows still and silent I take my mug of hot coffee outside. From the back patio I see the lake shimmering a playful invitation to commune. I let my mind receed and enter into the infinite abyss of pure potentially; the quantum field that surrounds me patiently waiting for my instructions. We are one and the creative dance is never ending.

What is next? I smile and let it happen.

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Find me on Twitter @tallerthanilook

Fabulous Friday #3

We are bred to be diligent, told to be persistent, required to keep going. We are fed a rich chum diet extolling the joys of conformity all the while simultaneously offered a buffet of fine tuned, well-salted snacks of fear masked as sanity. We munch it all down and wonder why we feel sick (there’s a pill for that).

I think the antidote lies not in medication. There is liberation in dropping the gloves, letting your body relax, tilting your head back and saying fuck it.

Fuck it to prescribed living
Fuck it to waiting
And a big, inflatable-donkey-in-the-Macy’s-parade sized FUCK IT to fear.

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May your Fridays be Fabulous.