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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I whisper to myself…

Today in meditation I spoke with the younger me.  I asked her to dream big; dream wild and crazy and wonderful things. She looked at me with a huge smile and said, “Can I really dream big? How big? Can it really come true?” I replied with an enthusiastic yes! “What you dream I live; what you believe I become” I explained. She threw up her arms, tipped her head back and twirled while she whispered “I know exactly what I want, I can see it when I close my eyes, but I don’t know how to get it.”

Recognizing this fear, I took a breath and then told her the secret I had just learned. I explained that the path effortlessly unfolds as long as you passionately dream it. Dream big without hesitation or hindrance. Dream with faith and enthusiasm.

To this she was quick to reply, ” I want to do cartwheels, laugh and joke and make people smile. I want to dance and dream and be happy!”

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My little tap dancing self.

Tears welled up in our eyes as I held her hand and said “That is a wonderful dream! Your life is beautiful;even better than you could ever imagine. Please just keep dreaming, never stop, never let go of the joy of all that is and will be.”

After having that conversation with my younger self I felt a tapping on my shoulder and heard a whisper in my ear. I realized it was my older self. She said “I am thinking nice thoughts from a yacht in the Caribbean, glass of champagne in hand. You dreamed so big, you believed so much and I am so grateful. The time you are living now is the time when everything changed. Something lifted, a door opened and you took a fork in the road towards pure bliss love, passion and belief in yourself. This made all the difference.” She went on to tell me of the future I was headed for. It blew me away. It was the future I had been dreaming of but feared would never come to be.

With a lump in my throat I said to my future self “What can I do now to be sure that this all happens the way you say?” My future self told me to abandon all fear and replace it with faith. She said “When I look back upon our life I see the path wind around obstacles that simply weren’t there except in our mind. Walk slowly with determination and joy towards that which you really desire and I promise it will all come right.”

I told her my dreams and we had tears in our eyes. She held my hands and said “You already are all those things and so much more. You live a beautiful life that is even better than you could have ever imagined.”

In that moment I realized that no matter what stage of life, all I have to do is dream big and fearlessly allow all that will be. It all made such beautiful sense and filled me with a sense of peace I’d never known.

I opened my eyes and gently returned to the present moment. I smiled and took a deep knowing breath.

The time is now….

I once read a story about a man overcome with sorrow while cleaning the closet after his wife had passed away.  Married for more than 30 years they had two beautiful children and a great life together.  He reflected with fondness on the life they had shared and the gratitude he had for the woman who was his love.  The pang of sorrow he felt sprung from something he discovered in her closet.  There inside a small box he found a beautiful satin nightgown wrapped up in crisp tissue paper.  He knew immediately that it had never been worn.  He understood right away that his beautiful wife had long ago purchased this for a special occasion that never came.  The loss of that moment filled him with a deep sense of regret.  That box represented a tenderness that was at the heart of their marriage.  Their deep love and connection was always present but often tucked away while they focussed on the day to day hustle and bustle of their lives.  Gently unwrapping the nightgown, he wished for one more day with his wife; one day to stop, unwind and enjoy the simple love they shared together.

March 6, 2003

March 6, 2003

This story has remained with me since the day I read it many years ago.  Now married,  I have tried to honour the love that lives at the heart of my relationship with my husband, but I too have stood by as the busy work of the daily shuffle piles up and covers over what is really important to me.  In moments of reflection I look back on times when we were able to get still, and get back to the place where we began…back to the true intimacy that holds us together and makes the life we build together make sense.  The memory that often rises to the surface is one where we laughed and held hands over lunch in Mexico.  Invited to a destination wedding, we snuck away for a week together in the sun and I vividly remember feeling the bills and grocery lists drift away from my mind while digging my toes into the sand and staring at the sea.  Free from to do lists and errands  I was suddenly able to focus on the here and now.  This focus immediately landed on me….what did I want?  What did I need? How did I feel?  Having the freedom to allow these thoughts to come and go without restriction was a gift I gave myself.  A while later my thoughts wandered over to us…..what did we want?  How did we feel? What’s next?  These thoughts were so welcomed in my mind and felt so good to think.  The simple clarity they provided made me smile, then laugh.  I didn’t need to talk to my husband about it, he could see on my face that I was right there him and I could see that he was right there with me.  We had swept things out and there it was.

It is easy to let things get a little dusty, to get busy and distracted and put that special occasion off…just for a little while…just until I get that one thing done…  But the truth is that the time is now.  We don’t get up everyday to get things done.   As children we don’t dream of growing up to be super busy and tired.  The busy work we all get busy doing is meant to be the foundation of our life, not the definition of it.

For me, travel is the arrival.  It is the gift I give myself, the reward I get and the time I deserve to connect with myself and those I love.  Be it a weekend mini break or a tour of Europe, it always gives me what I want.  It is freedom to dust things off and really see what is important…and so often it comes with an incredible view and killer meals.  What’s not to love about that?

 

Emerald Bay

My place in time….

2015-05-29 11.52.34_resizedI remember walking through Venice in a trance.  As my eyes took in the overwhelming beauty of the city my mind reeled with questions of how history and culture had carved out this unimaginable place.  Around every corner the bridges and pathways laid out a labyrinth of intrigue and story.  Each doorway was an invitation to explore the nature of this way of life.  How did this place come to be?  Who envisioned this remarkable water lined community and how am I so lucky to be here?  As I sat alone along a quiet canal, photographing homes that rose straight out of the water, I was struck by an awareness that I too was now part of its history.  My own footsteps had been added to the record of time as Venice and I took each other in.

As I travel I inherit fragments of each place, and take them with me on my path.  Venice inspires in me a sense of awe at what the swell of humanity is capable of.  Lives and footsteps and stories combine through history, each impacting its course, resulting in the very moment that I experience here and now.  As the culmination of time arrives through my senses I accept that my contribution is underway, and smile at the opportunity to make my mark.  I believe that each of us are here to participate in the unfolding of time and the evolution of culture.  As we expose ourselves to the world we open within ourselves new doors of understanding of what it means to be alive.

My arrival in Venice in 1996, was by train.  Railpass in hand, and backpack as companion, I scraped Liras out of my pockets for cheap accommodations and dined on pizza truck delicacies drinking stowed bottles of Italian wine.  The shoe string of my budget could not diminish the deliciousness of the experience but my next voyage will be by sea.  I can hear the flap of the sails as I travel the coastline of Italy; taste the wine and feel the Mediterranean sun on my skin.  From Rome to Venice by way of the water is a dream for me where I will once again find my place in history.

Luxury-Brands-Directory-Windstar-Cruises rome venice map

“Vacation with Europe’s elite along the sun-drenched shores of Croatia, Montenegro, and tiny Capri. Let your imagination soar as you travel through time to discover the magic of Venice, the grandeur of Rome, and the stunning beauty of the Dalmatian Coast. From the Grand Canal to St. Peter’s Square, this is a voyage of superlatives. “-www.windstarcruises.com

Take a break without losing momentum (and save $367)

We all know that a white sand beach vacation is the perfect way to let loose.  We say good-bye to hectic work weeks and busy schedules, stop cooking and cleaning or studying and stressing and we metaphorically massage our own tired backs….ahhh it’s glorious.  The best way to indulge in this type of decadence and relaxation is to book yourself a trip to an all-inclusive resort.  It’s a gift we Canadians give ourselves after months of scraping ice off our windshields and searching the closet for the endless accoutrements of cold weather apparel.  We board a plane, flip-flops and sunglasses neatly packed in our suitcases, and let go!

For many, the endless trips to the swim up bar and buffet can be the greatest thing on earth but a nightmare for the waistline.  Coming home with a camera full of pictures, a great tan and ten extra pounds can be bittersweet.  For those who want to enjoy a beach holiday without losing work out momentum there is a trip designed for you.

http://www.palladiumhotelgroup.com/en/riviera-maya/grand-palladium-colonial-resort-spa/ grand-palladium-colonial Salt water pool

Faith Sproule at Dartmouth travel has partnered with Beach Body Coach Danielle Melanson to offer a week of relaxation and fitness at the stunning Grand Palladium Colonial resort Mexico.  This beautiful 5 star Resort and Spa is one of the top spots on the Mayan Riviera.

  • 252 Standard Rooms, 132 Junior Suites, 24 Mayan Suites and 6 Suites
  • 9 A la carte theme restaurants with a great selection of cuisines
  • 5 Buffet-style restaurants and other open-air services
  • 25 Bars located around the complex
  • 8 Freshwater pools and 1 Seawater pool
  • First-class Spa & Wellness Center
  • Sunset Boulevard Discotheque for adults
  • Baby Club for children 1-3 years old, Mini Club “El Ranchito” for kids 4-12 years old and Black & White Junior’s Club for teenagers (13-19 years old).

Danielle Melanson will escort the group and offer two free optional “Beach Body” classes per day.  She has had her own personal weight loss and fitness transformation and would like to help you on your path.

“In September 2006 I became a non-smoker! I had quit smoking for my health but became depressed and was gaining weight on a daily basis. Four months later I had had enough and decided something had to be done.

Then my sisters told me about Turbo Jam DVD’s and I was hooked instantly! I found my ‘soul mate workout’! With proper eating habits and daily workouts the weight began to fall off.  I took things one step further and became a Certified Personal Trainer in September 2010. I have been working as a trainer ever since and am now also an official “Beach Body” Coach. I hear of pills and “quick diet” weight loss programs, but the only true method of getting healthy is clean eating and daily activity! It truly works.

I am able to help people every day become healthy, get fit, and lose weight with the tools that started me on my fitness journey years ago. I am so grateful for this opportunity . I love my job!!”   – Danielle Melanson

If you’ve always wanted to treat yourself to an all-inclusive luxury vacation this is the time to do it.  Faith has arranged an incredible deal and partnered with an energetic Personal Trainer to accompany the group.  You will return from this one feeling extremely well…..mind, body and spirit.

Trip Details:

April 27 to May 4, 2014

Grand Palladium Colonial    http://www.palladiumhotelgroup.com/en/riviera-maya/grand-palladium-colonial-resort-spa/

$1,295 per person taxes included!

(That’s a $367 discount per person if booked and paid for by October 31st.)

To book, call Faith at Dartmouth Travel at 902-407-4567  .  She is extremely knowledgeable and friendly and loves travel as much as I do.  She wants you to see the world and will do all she can to ensure you’re trip is all you’d hoped for.

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