Welcome to my World

wikipedia public domain

Two posts in one day! Well, I promised I ‘d be back soon so here I am. About five years ago I was diagnosed with Diverticulitis. There have been many different symptom presentations, multiple ER and hospital stays, numerous medications, way too many opinions, and lots of medical bills. I hoped that certain astrological transits would end my misery, but no clear pattern so far. I have enjoyed some long periods between attacks, along with several multiple episodes within days or weeks. I am experiencing a relapse today and have had about 4 episodes since Thanksgiving 2019.

I have learned so many things about myself and my body since then. In some ways, I am healthier and wiser. Stress is a strong trigger for me, often recognizable in the form of compulsive negative fear-based thoughts. I am a therapist, so trust me I know how this works.

But I did not return tonight to talk about my stressors. This planet is enveloped in stress right now. I rather emphasize the importance of becoming more flexible. I had to cancel attending a friend’s wedding right after my first episode and I waited until almost the last minute to decide. I was angry and sad and it sucked. But as time went on, I became adept at canceling plans and staying home. Eventually, resentment waned and I surrendered to my new reality. I told myself I will be present for all the events that I am supposed to attend. I will see the people I need to see and do the work I was placed here to do. I am not driving this train, but I can make the best of my situation. I actually enjoy my own company and adore reading, writing, listening to music, watching compelling TV or film, etc. Yet I realize that this situation is more than a mere recuperation period.

In the last couple of weeks, I have been teaching gratitude practice to my clients. In fact, I have been a bit relentless. I know I am teaching what I need to learn. We all have so much to be grateful for at any given moment and I truly believe that our perception of gratitude multiplies in direct proportion to a sustained gratitude practice.

How do I know this?

I am blessed to have two lovely nieces that are shining stars. I have been texting them to keep up with their news. The other day I was asking Lily how she has been keeping busy and she was excited to talk about all her passions. She is eleven years old. I asked her to show me some of her art. The piece above is the first one she shared with me. There are no coincidences here!

 

Split Sky

Lily gave me permission to post here and use her first name. I love the title split sky. I see it as significant in terms of how we process crisis. I am grateful for these wonderful souls who are full of love and energy. I am also grateful that I can work remotely from home. I am super grateful I can postpone paying taxes for a while. I will have more food now that I am eating less due to illness. I am over the moon that I got the last package of toilet paper while picking up my medication today.

I will be honest, it is a bit worrisome that I relapsed so soon, but I am much more aware of this illness five years in. But I have learned that I am really so much stronger than I ever imagined and quite certain I signed up to come to Earth for these times. It does not mean I like it, but I AM here now.

Loose Ends:  I tend to be an excellent commenter, but lately I have not been able to keep up with responses to comments on some of my posts. Allow me to take my time with this. I adore all of your comments and have not forgotten you, but I need to take more time.

Spring starts in a few hours in litebeing’s world: I concluded that the equinox ( Spring or Fall depending on the hemisphere) should coincide with Saturn’s ingress into Aquarius at 11:58 PM EDT ( right before midnight). Saturn rules our cosmic weather in 2020 and where Saturn goes, we should follow! So I suggest some sort of ceremonial practice to acknowledge this major sea change. I plan to do a meditation and perhaps pull a few cards. Saturn was last in Aquarius in 1994 during the Clinton years and the beginning of the internet explosion. Perhaps that will give us a clue about what this new transit will bring. In the meantime, please send some prayers, some to me for my healing and many more to all of us as we learn to be flexible throughout this “global reset. ” We are truly all in this together.

By Selbymay (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The Road to Resilience

This is a guest post I wrote for amberskyeforbes.wordpress.com back in 2013. I am hoping it may offer some support and resources during this time of extreme transformation. Will be back soon with fresh new material as writing is my medicine.

love, litebeing

Thank you Amber for having me as a guest blogger today. I want to share some thoughts I have about human resilience in the face of loss. Life is a series of continuous losses. After you take your first breath, you find your way on the path towards your final one. Our cells constantly regenerate. In fact, it is known that our bodies completely change every seven years. Typically people equate death with loss and sometimes use those terms interchangeably. Yet, loss is pervasive and incredibly universal. Here are some common losses to consider: loss of health, loss of youth, loss of innocence, loss of a relationship, loss of teeth, loss of weight, loss of physical strength, loss of vitality, loss of purpose, loss of  money.  Even if we live in the same home and work at the same building, our atmosphere is constantly changing. Quantum physics has proven that your favorite chair is really made up of energy particles that are not solid matter. Change, loss, regeneration, motion……. change, loss, regeneration, motion…… This theme is one of the few constants in the human experience.

So how do we cope when the human ego craves the status quo and desperately tries to hold on to what is familiar and safe? The first step is always the same ; acceptance. When one grieves a loss, it may take a while to come to acceptance, but once there, the path to resilience is within reach. Eckhart Tolle espouses that acceptance of what is will lead to inner peace. In his book The Power of Now , Tolle  says

Watch any plant or animal and let it teach you acceptance of what is, surrender to the Now.
Let it teach you Being.
Let it teach you integrity — which means to be one, to be yourself, to be real.
Let it teach you how to live and how to die, and how not to make living and dying into a problem.

The idea of non-resistance has been embraced readily in the East, but not as much in the Western world. However, the popularity of Tolle’s work , along with yoga, meditation, and mindfulness practices, has made this concept more palatable across the globe.

A receptive attitude towards life is also essential to the cultivation of resilience. To be receptive means to be open to new ideas and possibilities, even in the throes of pain and sadness.  It also includes the ability to look at situations in a new light and the awareness of a larger worldview. For example, deciding to move to a new city so that your partner can accept a new position may leave one feeling conflicted about giving up their current social connections and comfortable lifestyle. Yet, with a receptive attitude, one can see how this decision to support your partner may also bring them into alignment with a fulfilling new career path, nurturing like-minded friends, and awaken a dormant sense of adventure and vitality.

It is often much easier to make these behavioral changes in community. Community can mean biological family, family of creation, spiritual/ religious group, neighborhood circle, social media, or outside support system. For those who need additional support with the grieving process or making transitions, a support group or therapy group often can provide the community and treatment/support necessary to face the crisis in a healthy manner. I have worked many years as a therapist with people dealing with acute and chronic mental health challenges. The amount of loss and trauma many of these individuals carry is close to unimaginable. Often a history of abuse and/ or trauma is present in those with certain mental health issues, which can trigger substance abuse through self-medication. This choice can create more loss and trauma, along with the traumas inherent that many encounter in the mental health and criminal justice systems. The Mental Health Recovery Movement that is emerging in the US and Europe addresses these issues in a proactive , holistic, humane fashion. My work in a Recovery program gave me the opportunity to create and facilitate groups that embraces those values. I ran a Grief and Loss group that  gave the members the space to develop trust, improve communication, and begin the path to acceptance, forgiveness, and hope. We often examined ways to re-frame a situation in order to encourage attitudinal change and healing. We often discussed how we gained something positive in the wake of a loss. When a commercial began airing with the slogan ” What will you gain when you lose? “,  I began to wonder if the advertising firm was eavesdropping on our group!

I am not suggesting that resilience is inevitable, some people are genetically wired to be naturally more resilient than others. So perhaps there are those among us that experience less setbacks or regroup quicker from a significant loss. We all can make a huge impact upon our own destiny by increasing our awareness of when we need some form of treatment/ intervention in the face of depression, anxiety, extended grief, trauma, and difficult life transitions. Relief from suffering and recovery from loss is possible and there are many wonderful resources available. We all deserve the best possible life we can create for ourselves. Evidence of resilience is abundant both in nature and bustling cities, and everywhere in-between. Take a close look around you and you are bound to discover it in action.

Resources:

http://www.imhcn.org/

http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/

http://www.mentalhealthrecovery.com/

http://ncmhr.org/

https://netforum.avectra.com/eWeb/DynamicPage.aspx?Site=USPRA&WebCode=about

http://raysofhope.blogs.com/my_weblog/2011/04/resources-list-for-grief-loss-trauma-and-transitions.html

http://www.amazon.com/Power-Now-Guide-Spiritual-Enlightenment/dp/1577311523

http://www.amazon.com/Counting-Our-Losses-Reflecting-Bereavement/dp/0415875293

http://www.amazon.com/Mans-Search-Meaning-Viktor-Frankl/dp/080701429X

http://www.amazon.com/Resilience-Things-Bounce-Back-ebook/dp/B006NZ7HQQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1370381672&sr=1-1&keywords=resilience

http://www.amazon.com/Resilience-ebook/dp/B009GEY7WI/ref=pd_sim_b_5

header image by Selbymay (Own work) http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons