Posts tagged: good medicine

Nope, slower than that~

By , January 24, 2013

In figuring out what works the best for each of us in our own lives, I think it’s helpful to sample the extremes through personal experience; we figure out what we do want, and what we don’t want.

I fractured a bone in my hand (my dominant hand, naturally), so I’m sampling the extreme of being-rather-than-doing. No art. No sewing. No major projects. Very minimal writing (I miss that especially). Minimal typing.

More reading…more sitting…more thinking and pondering. More time spent working around my hand to do things I want to, and have to, do — like preparing food. While it is an extreme — and I very much look forward to having my hand back — being forcibly disallowed to do much of what I’d normally be doing allows me to see, more and more, that I’m happiest when living a very simple life, conducted at a pleasant pace. I feel like I’ve said a variation of this so many times here before, I think I’m starting to sound like a broken record.

I’ve certainly sampled the other extreme — of living frenzied and stressed, always with one eye on the clock. And I sure didn’t like that. I’m learning, now, how to live a new pace of life that’s much more viable for me, and far less likely to result in general life burnout. My inclination has always been busyness and activity, with minimal lounge-around time, so pacing myself feels very strange sometimes. But when I downshift my whole pace, I arrive at the end of each day feeling more balanced and not so drained.

As I lay on the acupuncture table yesterday, words drifted into my head… I wish I could remember exactly what they were… something about “Learn to live comfortably in the slow, quiet moments. That’s when life’s the most enjoyable.”

And later as I mentioned to my acupuncturist that I often feel ill-at-ease during days of lower energy and minimal activity or accomplishment, worried that I’m not doing something concrete toward my future… she replied “There’ll be plenty of time for all that. And really, all we have is time.” All we have is time! I’d never had that thought before. It’s true. A long time, a short time, that’s not for us to know… But all we do have is time.

Let us make sure we are enjoying the time we have. Because otherwise, what’s the point!

(And let us try not to be worrying why this is the second bone that has broken, under only moderate impact, in under a year’s time…)

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Philosophy Friday: Bare feet on the earth

By , January 18, 2013

For many thousands and thousands of years, human beings had contact with the earth for the better part of each day. Walking barefoot or with shoes made from natural plant or animal materials; sleeping on the earth; touching plants, animals, trees, lakes, soil, oceans.

Wild animals have this connection, still.

I’ve noticed that children try to hang on to this connection as long as possible — preferring bare feet above shoes, and a trickling stream to splash in above even the most enticing indoor activity.

It tickled me to see children in New Zealand walking to school barefooted.

I’ve watched children throwing tantrums and have noticed that they will often throw themselves onto the ground during the tantrum. It does feel better to lie on the earth when you are hurting. I remember times of deep grief soon after losing my soul sister Sonja, where the only place I wanted to be was flat on my stomach on the grass in the back yard — and so there I stayed until the earth had absorbed all my tears.

Once, I was nearly hit by a car while crossing a busy intersection on foot; it was as if I had been invisible and the car simply didn’t even see me.  The close call really spooked me. Once I was safely across the street I was so shaken that the only thing I could do was make a primal beeline for the nearest tree and lean my whole body against its trunk. It wasn’t something my conscious mind even thought about — I had never actually hugged a tree before. I couldn’t believe how good it felt.

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If your winter weather allows you to be outside barefooted on the grass or the dirt or the beach (or barefoot in the snow as I remember doing as a kid!), then take advantage.

Put yourself directly onto the earth.

If it’s too cold for bare feet, or too snowy to sit on the grass…have you tried hugging a tree? Wrapping your arms around it and pressing your cheek against its bark? Mmmmmm.

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After some serious single-digit cold weather, we’re having a string of 50°+ days. So my cat and I go outside, each of us barefooted, to connect ourselves to the earth. And one of us particularly enjoys rolling in dirt.

Collecting celery seed yesterday afternoon

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Retreat

By , September 28, 2012

Well, after the completion of 10 months of my two heavy-duty antibiotics, I sensed that the time was finally right to receive some acupuncture. So I went for my first treatment on Monday, and woahhh!! The stuff is powerful. My body was still metabolizing the drugs anyway (it’s slow at that), but the treatment seemed to really kick things into high gear and now I can see why all this time I was getting the feeling to ‘just wait’ — because any sooner and I’d still have been on the drugs and it would have been altogether too much for my sensitive body. So I laid extremely low all week long, pretty much just ‘surviving it’ and resting and reading and sleeping and drinking mugs of tea and plain hot water, and finally today I’m feeling quite a bit better.

And I have to tell you about a strike of brilliance! It was cool, cloudy, and sorta rainy most of the week, and on Wednesday I had this idea to bring my electric blanket and down comforter outside onto the chaise lounge on the back porch. A heated outdoor lounge. OH YES! And so I was able to be outside all day long, and all evening too, with chilly air against my face but all cozy and toasty at the same time. The electric blanket went under me with the comforter over me. It was as decadent as it sounds. It also really helped to be outside; I have trouble being laid up inside because it just screams “SICK!” and that’s depressing. I love being outside!!

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View from the lounge:

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I was craving fresh juice, so I gathered apples that we just picked off our tree, as well as some celery and parsley out of the garden, and juiced them all. It was incredible!

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F ordered two storm lanterns and they arrived yesterday. They are awesome! We love the ambiance they lend. And I loved being cozy on my lounge past dark with the lantern light on the porch.

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I hope you’ve all had a good week. Happy Friday!!

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Waiting

By , September 19, 2012

The energies must really be flying; have you felt the intensity? I’ve had a rough time of it lately; “severely distressed” would not be understating it. I feel awfully uneasy when I begin brushing against the outermost edge of my sanity, feeling trapped on all sides by that which feels utterly hopeless, questions I don’t have answers to, have-to’s I don’t want to face, and complex decisions that need to be made which will have very real ramifications now and in the future.

But it’s a solitary experience that one can only resolve for oneself; nobody else can, or should, do it for you. So outwardly, while I quietly peel apples at the table, inside I feel blown apart amidst the deafening maelstrom.

And my poor Honey, too, is mucking through much, and we both walk around with furrowed brows, preoccupied with what weighs so heavily upon each of us.

Such intensity right now.

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At times it feels like the most that I can muster is to just wait. Wait, and hope that it please just starts feeling lighter.

So whenever I can, I insert into my day that which is as light and life-affirming as possible.

I make applesauce from the apples off our tree. I have tea. I sit outside and put my face in the sun. I go barefoot. I read fluffy magazines (because that’s all I really feel like doing right now anyway, cause I’ve just about been done in otherwise). I cook cool things in my solar oven. I sing to my kitty-cat and attune myself to her zen-like vibe. I hug F, and hug him again. I sit by the garden in the long shadows of the evening.

And slowly, I work through these decisions — pairing purposeful action with sitting peacefully within the unknowing (still practicing), and at the end of the day, simply hoping it’ll all turn out okay.

Slowly, the world feels a tad lighter.

And then the next day, maybe even a little lighter still.

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Calendula

Solar-powered sun jar

A cup of tea, thoroughly enjoyed.

Apple peeling

Applesauce making

The mice are active in prep for autumn, so Liz too has been active.

Waiting for mice

She caught a moth here near the light, and is waiting in case of another one.

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Soggy Morning

By , September 12, 2012

It’s a day for wool socks, tea, and putting off errands.

The rain began ever so gently last evening around dusk, stopped for a while, gained momentum, and is still going.

We haven’t seen rain in so long!

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A Resting Day

By , August 16, 2012

My plans for yesterday involved the doing of many things needing to be done, but the day unfolded on its own into something so much different — nicer and more appropriate for this moment in time. I woke up awfully tired, so instead of going back to bed, I transferred outside to the front porch with a blanket to rest in the cool morning air with some nettles tea. And as it ended up, nearly the whole day was spent lounging on the porch. What a shift from my usual! And how delicious to just let go and allow myself the time to rest.

I’m feeling quite good but I still tire easily, and my antibiotics do contribute to that (they contribute nausea too). I’d overdone it the day before (and the day before that, and I’m sure the day before that, too), and my body was forcefully insisting on a rest. I’d been needing to get some moneymaking work done, but it just wasn’t happening and I couldn’t focus. So instead of struggling, I gave in and decided it would not be a work day, but an all-around rest day.

I savored being in the lounge chair, hearing the morning begin — finches singing, clinking dishes from a neighbor’s open kitchen window, the whir of a lawnmower, blue jays calling in the distance, a dad jogging by with a stroller, a car passing now and then.

How peaceful.

And then later in the afternoon when I was feeling more alive, I packed up a picnic of nausea-friendly foods and met my parents at an outdoor venue for a little concert that was happening. After treating my body to a whole day of nurturance, I treated my spirit too.

Homemade Arnold Palmer, cucumbers and vinegar, peaches, and pasta with tomatoes and basil.

What a gift to give oneself!

I did nothing that was on my list, but who cares anyway because it was a very-much-needed pause.

I hope you’re able to do the same for yourself, to rest outside in the summer air, and to take a picnic to a local outdoor concert. Do! While it’s still summer!

I hope you’ve been enjoying your week~

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Summertime Manifesto

By , July 24, 2012

Different from a to-do list, a manifesto is the ‘long view.’ It reminds me of my priorities at present.

And rather than a lengthy list, I feel that simpler is better.

If you wrote a Summertime Manifesto, what would it say?

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Mine says:

– Slow. It. Down…

– Do more art.

– Above all, simplicity.

– Lie down more.

– Body first. Give it the chance to heal.

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Good things coming in!

By , July 3, 2012

Finally, the winds of change are arriving!

Literally, in fact — it’s been an unusually windy year. And finally, after feeling quite stuck for so long in situations that didn’t seem like they’d ever budge, they have.

First, our trip to Hawaii plopped itself into our laps — as things seem to do for me — very much out of the blue. Back at the beginning of the year I remember writing to my sister, half jokingly proclaiming that “After all this is done and I’m feeling better I need a flippin’ tropical vacation — like to Hawaii or somewhere benign where I can’t get sick again!” And holy cow, my poor hubby F needed a vacation even more badly than I did. And then a few months later, the chance offer to house-sit (in Hawaii, oh my!) arrived, perfectly timed, just as my big moneymaking project was wrapping up, I was really beginning to feel better, and coincidentally using up the exact number of vacation hours that F had saved up at his job.

We both knew we needed a vacation, but I don’t think we even realized how much we did until we got there. Both of our spirits had been running pretty darn ragged. I know at least for me, the utter enjoyment of our vacation — the nourishment my depleted spirit was receiving by being where I was, doing the things I was doing — made me do cartwheels and handstands and yelp for joy!

What a feeling of renewal. Of feeling so lighthearted again, so full of joy.

It drove home again, in a big way, that it’s excruciatingly important that you enjoy your life. Charles and Ray Eames, the famous American designers, said “Take your pleasure seriously.” There is such deep truth in that statement.

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And this incredible trip to Hawaiian Paradise wouldn’t have even been possible had I not felt up for it. As you may remember (or can read about here), I’ve been really very sick. So sick. 🙁 But after almost 8 months of heavy-duty antibiotics (I still have a month left of one of them), I am so much better! SO much better, it’s amazing. Still not quiiiite 100%… still maybe not completely out of the woods… it’s possible that may not come for some time… hopefully it will come eventually, and the damage done will fade away… but well enough to travel all the way to Hawaii for three weeks. Which is huuuuuge! Previously when I was so ill, I couldn’t have even done one single night away. So there’s that — that is a gigantic good thing! I feel like I get to start reclaiming my life. (It might, if it wanted to, happen a little faster, but somehow I’m thinking that’s one of the many lessons embedded in this big whopping health disaster learning moment.)

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And then — and this is so exciting! — we’re moving!!!! Not just moving, but moving into the urban oasis that is my folks’ house! (It’s also the house I occupied since the day I came home from the hospital.) It has my garden. It has a clothesline. It has an apple tree. It has my grandmother’s baby grand piano, so I’ll be able to play piano again any time I’d like. It has a beautiful front and back yard and luxurious porches — the private outdoor space my soul has been yearning so deeply for. It’s quiet!! So we won’t be hearing traffic noise every minute of every day. I also feel a lot safer in that neighborhood, so I can begin taking leisurely walks again without feeling uneasy. It’s closer to our favorite health food store, so we can start shopping there. It’s next door to Margaret, the wonderful neighbor who has been like a grandmother to me since we met over the fence that same day I came home from the hospital. It’s got some nice biking possibilities, which is particularly attractive to F. 🙂 And it’s 1400 square feet (3 bed/2 bath) — a big jump from the 650 sq ft (1 bed/1 bath) we have now. We really do go along perfectly well in 650… we really do… but I can’t deny that it’ll be a treat to have more space! There’s talk of a workout room… perhaps an art studio… we’ll see!

My parents are very ready for a change, ready to downsize and to not have a yard to care for, so they’ve gotten an apartment a few miles away. We’re all still not quite sure what our future plans look like, so we’re shifting around a bit in the mean time into something that suits us all better. It’s a temporary configuration, but one that’s so very right for where we all are at this moment in time.

I am so excited!! They’ll also be leaving behind some of their furniture that we can use if we want, so the place will feel less like a temporary college dorm setup and more like a real live home. Being a Taurus, making and keeping a home is a pleasure that sits deep within my bones. And my cat goes with the house, hehe, so we’ll have her there too!!

All of these good things!!!

I can’t sweep over the fact that life has felt very un-fun the past couple years. I’ve learned that when you’re that sick for that long, no matter how many people love and support you (I have many!), no matter how wonderful everything else might be, it’s ultimately a journey you must make alone. It’s your own journey and nobody else’s — no matter how dearly they desire to lighten your load out of love and concern for you. It’s also a very grave, lonely, and heavy journey. It’s hard. Immense. Inward. Dark. And incredibly depleting. Major, prolonged illness is not only depleting to your body, but also to your mind, heart, soul, spirit.

And as soon as you are able, you must do things to rebuild all those aspects of yourself, some of which may only be hanging on by a thread. I’ve mentioned it before, but when our spirits are strong, we heal better.

I’m not an apartment person. I can certainly make it work — and have — but there’s always the underlying “trapped animal” feeling. Some folks get along fine in apartments, and I’m not one of them. I prefer the earth beneath my feet, the privacy of my own yard or land, quietude, and no shared walls or floors with other families. And all that is coming… yahoooo! Good things are rollin’ in! Healing is taking place — first for my body, and now my spirit. Cheers to that~

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Aloha to you!

By , June 20, 2012

Just a little bit of a check-in today, as we continue to love our time here in Hawaii!! We have seen some incredible scenery here, and now that we’re settled into our house sitting ‘home-away-from-home,’ we’re really just kicking back and relaxing. It feels so good, and it’s something we’ve both been long overdue for. Mornings here for me usually consist of lying out in the sunshine on the grass and then taking a cold, invigorating swim in the stream at the bottom of the yard, and then taking an outdoor shower amidst the orchids and bromeliads that live outside year-round here. Then I’ll brew some tea, and drink it along with a bowl of local papaya with plain yogurt, lime juice (fresh from the tree in the yard!), and grated ginger. Or, a beautiful salad from their organic garden. It feels so good to be here; so healing to ones spirit. It’s a gorgeous house in an incredible location. A little piece of paradise, really. What a gift this is!

Here are a few photos of what we’ve been feasting our eyes upon:

Hanalei Valley, Kauai. Taro is grown in the fields down there.

At the north end of Kauai

Hiking on the Na Pali coast, Kauai

Our tropical fruit! All this stuff is local. Hawaii has some of the most incredible fruit you've ever tasted; I wish we got stuff like this on the Mainland. In the center there's coconut meat from a coconut I found on the beach and hacked into!

Reading about taro in "Edible Hawaiian Islands" magazine, with tea, out on the lanai (patio), with the stream in the background. This is truly the life...

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