Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Healing Horizons

I used to be a voracious reader. Sunlit libraries and book stores with the aroma of coffee drifting between the shelves are some of my most beloved indoor haunts. Then a year ago I went through a phase where I thought I was done. You know, if I read any more non-fiction spirituality/healing/self-help books I was going to throw up/jump off a cliff (again)/remarry. But reviewing my book list so far for this year (emerging from a breathless dive into fiction) I discovered a familiar theme:

Defy Gravity ~ Caroline Myss. Awakening spiritual grace in healing ourselves, and from there, giving grace to the world. Mind opening detail of the struggle between the ego and the soul, in the no nonsense way Caroline likes to deliver her message.

~ David Elliott. Loving yourself in all your aspects, leading to loving everyone and everything else (hello universe). In depth, insightful exercises to unearth your creativity (not for the feint of heart or lazy, which I am these days but am willing to suspend to see where this road goes). Down-to-earth and heart-opening.

Bastard Love Story
~ Linda Lou. A healer at heart using humor in the spoken word and writing to heal the world. From successful professional writer, to hospice volunteer, to teacher to stand-up comedian, she knows how to work through the bullshit with heart.

Green Smoothie Revolution ~ Victoria Boutenko. Her second book on green smoothies, which I'm pretty sure she invented, details the quickest, easiest, most delicious ways to garner your daily greens. Brimming with taste-tested recipes from readers of her first book along with her family's own, this is seriously my one way back to raw foods for crazy vibrant health.

Lined up for February: Momma Zen: Walking the Crooked Path of Motherhood ~ Karen Maezen

Love, Light, Laughter -- The New Spirituality Owen Waters

Not sure why healing is on the horizon again, and I so thought I was done with seeking spirituality (22 hardcore years as a Mormon convert can do that to you, not to mention the large group awareness training) and I'm so not looking to replace old belief sets with any other, thank you.

I have traveled the seekers path too long, even as a kid yearning for spiritual connection, and thinking it lay in the realm of religion (which I was raised without, except for the influence of my German grandmother, who wholeheartedly embraced a Jehovah's Witness program--as opposed to the witness protection program. Get it? Okay never mind). Probably the closest I got to feeling deeply connected to that part of me was in my middle teens, when I fell in love with yoga and fasting and health food (can anyone say henna? which my mother said made me look like a hooker--so, what? a hippie hooker?) which made me kind of a freak in my family (possibly still does).

I'm still not sure whether believing in something is fooling yourself to make life a little easier or whether it's the path to enlightenment, having really savored the work of Eckhart Tolle and Adyashanti and Byron Katie (still close to my heart), but I can't seem to let it go.

So these days my spiritual path winds along the switchbacks of nature, a healing heart and laughter. As Karen Maezen said on her blog,Cheerio Road, "Laugh. It's the only medicine you can afford, and it may be the only one that actually works." Well good then. I'm on the right track.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Happy 101

Linda at Wander To The Wayside passed along a Happy 101 Sweet Friends award this weekend. Thank you Linda! It says "Add kind words; Mix in sweet thoughts; Enjoy good times". The rules are that I tell you about ten things that make me happy, then pass it along to fellow bloggers. It's a great way to start out the week, especially discovering there was so much that pushed my happy buttons.

Happy Buttons:1) My children laughing and my grandson's smile. And my downstairs neighbor's baby's chortles. Okay, pretty much children laughing make me giggle. Unless they're creepy. Like Chucky. But he's not real. Right?

2) Creating ~ writing, photography, crafts, a new life.

3) Golden sunshine against a blue sky with white clouds skittering by.

4) Flowers ~ gardens, pictures, window boxes, but especially in the house. We used to have a gardenia bush when I was growing up in Florida. And I miss the roses I grew in Arizona, big as my outstretched hand (thank you, Miracle-Gro).

5) Birdsong ~ I don't even need to be hiking. Birds at the deck feeders, outside an open window, just please not pooping on my car.

6) Any good book I can't put down. A recent favorite contributing to my grogginess is Linda Lou's 'Bastard Husband--A Love Story'. It's a funny and heart-warming memoir of an amazing woman/comedian/writer/healer (that's my assessment).

7) Sugar in all its nefarious forms, especially if there is frosting involved. And coconut.

8) Checks in the mail and packages from (more books!).

9) Decorating: our home, a cake, my kids, the farm(ville)--sigh.

10) Comments on the blog!

And here are just a few of the fun blog friends (blognutians, according to blognut at More Mindless Rambling) I like to hang out with. By no means is this list complete as ALL the folks on my blog list know how to rock it--whether you are looking to connect with beauty, insight, humor or heart:

Anna at Nature Trail

Deb at Catbird Scout

Linda at Linda Lou, live from Las Vegas

Julie at Midlife Jobhunter

Kim at Yellow Trash Diaries

Jelisa at The Typing Makes Me Sound Busy

Michel at Facts are Strictly Optional

Debbie at Suburb Sanity

Julie at Prairie Thistle

Blognut at More Mindless Rambling

Hilary at The Smitten Image

So I'm grateful for the nudge to think up happy buttons and savor my blog list. It made for the best start to a good week. I invite you to put on a cup of tea/coffee/rum-n-coke and cozy up with them when you get a moment to get to know some really good people. After all, visiting your sites is where I've found all my blog favorites!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A People Changed Forever

Stand With Haiti
First let me thank those of you who have been checking on me since the Emergency-room Episode, happy to report that le stone has come to pass. I never got to see it, but that's what the cat scans illuminated, and because of the three scans in one week, crossing my fingers that my insides stop glowing soon.

I was speaking with my mom recently about the devastation in Haiti, and she said it got so bad for her she had to stop watching for a time. She donated to orphanages, but suffering became too much to witness. I told her that I felt that same sense of helplessness, wanting to do something, anything, to help.

I ended up donating to Partners in Health, and one of the things I have appreciated since is their e-mail updates on what they are doing for the people and the progress they are making. ( Don't know why but that is comforting, seeing what's being done and that there is progress, however slow it might appear. And there are so many tireless agencies out there working hard to help. I'm including a shameless plug for PIH here for anyone looking for a way to donate.

Having just recovered from the kidney stone trauma, this Haitian earthquake quickly put things into sharper perspective for me. I cannot get over how much I have (not a lot by western standards, perhaps, and I'm happy that way) but compared to the poverty around the world and seeing what the people of Haiti are now enduring and overcoming, I can't get over the disparity.I mean food, shelter, western amenities like phones/televisions/computers/cars--it's a lot. I have all my children if not a husband, and family and friends alive and well.

But like I told my mom, there's more to this than the aching pain for a people who have lost so much. I feel hope and wonder and gratitude, watching the way the world has literally opened up its collective heart to embrace the people of Haiti, sending help and support and love in whatever way available.

As one of those folks who believes in the power of prayer (I call it good love, a phrase borrowed from Sandra Bullock as she accepted a Critics' Choice award last week, after she donated $1 million to Haiti--God I've always loved this woman's good-hearted nature even if she can't keep her lips off Meryl Streep) in whatever form you call it. I see it as the coming together of the hearts of all for the good of all in the form of the One -- love is universal energy connecting us at our deepest level.

So for me this last week has brought hope that there is still much good in this world, and that we do as a people care about each other, willing to lend a helping hand across political, religious, racial and cultural divides. I am hoping that with all this support, the energy of reform will come to Haiti as it rebuilds into the best possible version of Haiti, like Japan arose out of the ashes of a bomb so long ago. I'm hopeful with the guidance and support of the international community Haiti will be better than ever, as they pick up the pieces of their lives.

My heart continues to go out to them, for the courage they have shown in the face of their losses, and for the love they provide each other in these times. It's not an easy road.

So I continue to watch the Haitian struggle from my living room, sending good love and whatever else I can, and hope that they feel the care of their world-family having their back, finding amidst the debris, the loss and the recovery and rebuilding, a decent measure of...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Romancing the Stone

 Apparently I'm dedicated to enduring a life of pain. I have no idea what I did in my earlier life to earn such karma, but for dear-god-in-heaven's sake I say, "Uncle, uncle, already!"

This week kidney stones decided to pay a visit. Early one morning, after the pain woke me up and wouldn't go away, I found myself, in escalating worry. I told my dear daughter, who recently earned her driver's permit that she might need to take me to the emergency room. Eye's wide, head clad in a turban after her shower, she's all like, "Okay..." I hadn't even said "Good-morning-how's-it-going-get-dressed-you're-taking-me-to-the-hospital", I just sprung it on her, just like that.

To her credit, she not only got herself ready to go, she got her brother up and told him he needed to get himself to school today. And to his credit, he did.

I've had two kidney stone episodes in the past, the first one two days after giving birth, oddly enough, to my third child--this particular dear daughter. The other one four years later. Kidney stones are worse than childbirth because at least with labor pains you have a break in the contraction (unless of course you are foolish like me and opt to have your last child naturally, only you are induced, forgetting that induction means one long contraction with no relief. Well, no one explained it to me beforehand because if they had I would have sensibly asked for the epidural--which I'd had with varying degrees of success with the others and was tired of that nonsense, but I digress).

With the stones I tend to hyperventilate--to keep from screaming and freaking out the innocent around me, so my leg tends to seize up like an ironing board and now I can barely move. Plus if anyone touches the leg it's like a board made of iron. And that hurts after awhile, plus it makes sitting in a car very difficult. Not to mention walking, dragging it along uselessly like some sort of injured zombie.

Dear daughter follows directions well and gets us to the hospital, parks, and drags me into the emergency room which was pretty empty. This was in our favor, unlike a previous time where I had to sit in a crowd and provide information in between hyperventilating gasps and moans of pain before they were convinced that maybe someone ought to check me out.

Here they got me on a bed and started doing whatever it is they do. I'll spare you the embarassing details, but there were CATHETERS and cat scans involved, and (what's with all the cat references? My kitteh--were I to actually have one these days--would be insulted). and of course, inadequate dressing gowns that cover nothing and which in my distress I didn't bother to tie so it covered even less.

The most embarrassing part of all though...was the drugs. I don't do drugs well, according to the male nurse that was tending to my hyperventilating distress--which by the way, probably looked remarkably like Bella writhing on the floor after James bites her in the teen hit Twilight. In fact, the trio of doctor/male nurse/dear daughter could have easily been Carlisle/Edward/Alice discussing treatment, while Bella/I convulse and make scary sounds while silently screaming JUST !@%$#* DO SOMETHING ALREADY!!!

The ever helpful nurse mixed quite a painkiller cocktail, since much of it didn't work at first, and after awhile, he tells dear daughter, chuckling, "This is your mother, high". I'm hopeful that witnessing that may have seared the thought, "NEVER, EVER DO DRUGS" in sparkly neon across her brain and count myself lucky. If that doesn't turn her off forever to the joys of highs, I don't know what will.

The hospital/doctor/nurse/catheter person kept me there all day, but unlike previous kidney-related hospital visits where I had to beg to be released to wait out the stones, this insurance is a tad finickier so they were more than happy to release me. In fact, they insisted I leave (except for the male nurse, who was having too much fun keeping dear daughter entertained with my loopiness). And this time, single-momming it, I wasn't ready. I'm all, are you sure? In previous attacks they didn't dream of letting me go! I stopped short of PLEASE, PLEASE DON'T MAKE ME LEAVE YET, probably because I was still too high to make much of a fuss. But somewhere in there my reptilian brain was hissing and lashing its scaly tail, let me tell you.

So off we went, dear daughter following instructions to a local pharmacy to pick up my very own cache of drugs. They even threw in an antibiotic. After some fun times there, she got me home and up three flights of stairs, and finally, into my very own bed. And that was the kindest thing the hospital did do for me after all, banishing me from their cold, overly bright room to mine. Quiet, comfy, and welcoming dark.

And that's where I spent the next pain-ridden day or so, in between drug dosages. No food, lots of water (mainly during the drug ingestion, when I bothered to come around) and finally decided I couldn't endure the nauseating semi-hallucinogenic-making pills anymore. I stopped the pain killer and anti-nausea pills (how ironic, I know) and did some homeopathic thing which for your sake, I'll spare you. But it cleared my head and the pain is only a twinge as now I wait for the passing of the stone. Which I'm sure, close-up, is a pretty little thing, after all. Too bad I'm not fully in the mood to appreciate it's crystalline glory.

So for now, until I meet with a urologist for a follow-up and have another cat scan with contrast--whatever that means--because they found something on a kidney in the first scan which ought not be there, I will rest.

Wishing there was at least a real cat as consolation. But willing to settle for a moment or two of

Credit: Scanning Electron microscope photo of a kidney stone crystal found at

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Journey Into 2010

Waving my last good byes to 2009, I'm not terribly sorry to leave it behind. It was a great learning ground, lots of experiences and some accomplishments while enjoying the company of amazing people along the way. Fellow hikers on the trail. So thanks 2009, we're still standing, and now looking forward to wandering into the possibilities of the days to come.

This journey we're all on. I've been listening to the dramas that have crept into our holidays, and reading the dramas that visited my fellow blog-and-Facebook friends; and it's somehow reassuring that we are not alone. It's heartening to see we are actually so very much, ONE. I like that. I used to say the Earth is my home and humanity is my family. Sometimes it becomes too much to bear, having a family so big and feeling all their pain and suffering, but it also is fun to celebrate their joys and laugh at the absurdities and foibles of the human condition that simply make the trip so worthwhile.

I look forward to traveling this road with you in my life, one step into one day at a time. No matter what lies ahead for all of us, I am here with you and love that you are here with me. Together this journey will be won. Why do I keep picturing The Fellowship of the Ring, with Frodo and Sam and Legolas and Aragorn, Gimli, Gandalf, Merry and Pipin, and Boromir? I'm not sure, since I prefer the visual of the traveling gnome much better--it's lighthearted and funny. And if I have any resolutions this year it's to lighten up and laugh more. To really appreciate the human condition. What a brave lot we all are. And what fun.

So thank you 2009 for the gifts you left, and welcome 2010 for the gifts yet to be shared.

What say you, is your passport current?