Friday 29 July 2016

You Have No Clue

You have no clue what it’s like..
to be raped as your entrance into womanhood
to shove food in your mouth followed by fingers, emptying all but that one thing that won’t budge
to run into the arms of a cult for stability
to suffer and beg with stifled tears at the foot of your husband
to graduate with honors against all odds
to succeed in a profession stacked against you for being a woman
to fall into the vice grip of a pit bull illness tossed about like a rag doll
to gain then lose each and every thing and not just things
to crawl back.. once more..
to lose it all over again because no one understands

You have no clue what it’s like..
to have a hand and heart held out to you across an ocean steadily and calmly pulling me to shore, to higher ground..
my best friend..

You have no clue..
I do



The Meaning of My Name and My Aspiration

I did something remarkable yesterday. I laid down on a bed of tall grass, in a graveyard. I gazed up at the sun sparkling through the trees. I closed my eyes. When my time comes I won’t be resting in the earth. I will be riding on the waves of the sea with my beloved Bo, a golden, an angel.

Friends may carve a stone or have a memorial. I only care that there is joy. I only care that there is kindness. I only care that there is freedom, the meaning of my name and my aspiration.



Tuesday 19 July 2016

Work Work Work

Stressing, striving, and straining never got me anywhere but sick. I was totally committed to my goals and achieving them at all costs. And I did. I was very successful as an electrical engineer, loved my work. I had the car, the house, the mate, the life. However, I had no balance, no boundaries, which basically translates into no wisdom. Inevitably, coupled with sickness, I lost it all. After many years of thrashing and grieving, beauty appeared. I found that tiny bit inside that was true. I listened to that and it grew.

The same philosophy of striving can be applied to healing. Getting fixed, getting normal, getting free of whatever ails you. At all costs. There are a lot of people who are not shy to tell you what to do. I listened and clung to every word until I hit the wall with no money and no cure and was once again only left with that tiny little bit. This time I accepted my illnesses, even embracing them. I now saw them as teachers who were merely showing me how to care for myself and to rely on the wisdom within. Living from the inside out rather than forcing my lovely spirit into an external mold of ego. Trusting in that process is not easy but it is transformative.

We even strive with playtime. We operate under FOMO (fear of missing out) rather than JOMO (joy of missing out). I live in a beautiful place with abundant things to do, see, and eat. It has been a very long road to let go of having to do everything. And seeing everybody. And eating everything. My illnesses help guide me to choose, where my no’s are, where my yes’s are, and the stuff in between. If it’s not at least 51% it is definitely not happening. I’ve learned to choose that which is rooted in my higher values and freely and thankfully let go of the rest.

We are Americans. We are about work, play, success, the American Dream. Yet when we fall short of that expectation we get really silent. We feel like failures. We want to hide. The bigger truth is that we are human, and we are beings. What is inside of us is more precious than anything outside of us, no matter what money can buy. When I realized that I became free.

Letting go of preconceived ideas of work, play, healing, and just about anything allows room for them to evolve and blossom from an original and creative space.



Tuesday 5 July 2016

I Don’t Take Vacations Away from My Friends

I’ve never been one to cut myself off from my “normal” life when I am on vacation. I know people who turn off their mobile phones and put their emails and social media on hold when they are away. It’s not a matter of right or wrong, but that’s never worked for me.

Connection is important to me and I’d feel I was denying myself something enriching and valuable if I were to turn my back on it all. As I like to say, I don’t take vacations away from my friends—I take them with me!

I’ve always loved photography, and with my smartphone and a decent internet connection (a prime consideration when I am looking for new holiday destinations and accommodation) I can share my experiences more or less in real time, instead of having to wait until I return home to process and post my photos.

It’s also important to me that I keep in touch with friends, especially those reciprocal relationships which benefit both parties and which have established regular, often daily or near daily, rhythms. Email, instant messaging, and social media allow the flow of energy to continue, enriched by the different perspective that comes from new places, people, experiences away from home.

It is especially important to me to maintain contact with Fran. She does not have the liberty of taking a vacation away from her bipolar disorder, her chronic fatigue syndrome, and fibromyalgia; nor is she able to put them on hold while I take a holiday. Being Fran’s best friend, primary support, and caregiver is not onerous, nor is it ever a chore. But it is a role and a responsibility I take seriously. When either of us travel it disturbs our normal rhythm of connection and support, but we both work hard to maintain frequent contact in whatever ways present themselves. That is as true on a short break as it is for a week away—or as it was during 2013 when Fran spent three months travelling in Europe with her parents.

Right now, I am in the middle of a week’s vacation in the English Lake District with my wife Pam. We ate breakfast this morning at the cottage we are renting, and then drove out for the day to Keswick. From past experience I knew I’d have an adequate data signal on my phone, and found a lovely coffee bar in the centre of Keswick to take my midday Skype call with Fran (seven in the morning for her, on the east coast of the United States).

We spoke last night and I knew Fran was struggling with fatigue and pain, depression and some suicidal thinking in there for good measure. We talked at midday for fifteen minutes (about average for our first call of the day) and I left her to sleep/rest before a morning appointment with her Care Coordinator. As I do for Fran’s regular appointments, I’d emailed her a short “status report”—a bullet point listing of her mental, physical, and emotional standing as I saw it—early this morning before heading out.

It is now 6:40 p.m. and I’m hoping to connect with her again this evening to see how her appointment went. She messaged me to say it had been good, but it helps me gauge how she is doing if we are able to talk. It is also valuable for Fran herself. The regular nature of our calls is itself stabilising, no matter what we get to talk about or do together.

On top of all that, we enjoy each other’s company! I’m looking forward to sharing with her the great time Pam and I had in Keswick today. I have posted photos to my social media already but, as they say, it’s good to talk. That’s how friendship works for us.

No matter what is going on for me and Fran health-wise or otherwise, we are friends first and last. I neither want nor need to put that on hold when I take a vacation, and the same goes for my other key relationships. At home or abroad, it’s good to share!