Spiritual Hierarchy

I had a dab of feeling like I was at the bottom of the spiritual hierarchy this week. Some comes from the Ram Dass podcasts I’m listening to and some from real life experiences.

Recovering Yogi – Vanessa Fiola

So the questions become:

  • Is there a Spiritual Hierarchy?
  • Are there people more “enlightened” than others?
  • Was Ram Dass one of the Enlightened Ones? One that many strive to emulate?
  • What do I do when I feel people are pulling rank on me?
  • Do I ignore it and find my own worth without worrying about being a “rising star?”

I am pretty sure I am supposed to just not pay attention to people playing the, “I am more enlightened than you” game and recognize that as ego in themselves, but my ego feels like caca when being judged for my ignorance. I’m thinking that is what I am supposed to figure out, right? How to 1) not do that to others and 2) how to let go of others’ thoughts about me.

And here I am asking questions! Who am I asking? Myself? Other more enlightened people?

Reminder to Self

Each of us has areas of knowledge others might not have. I have a lot of midwifery knowledge and was asked questions for decades for my opinion and ideas so others could grow in their knowledge. Perhaps spirituality is the same way? Some people have a lot of spiritual experience and are asked their opinions and ideas?

5 Stages of Spiritual Awakening

As I was researching for this post, I came across this, something that made the most sense… something that I do. Alone. Independent of others. Without looking side to side, seeing what others are doing. Just stay in my own yard, tending to my own garden without worrying what my neighbors’ gardens look like.

Glimpsing: The call to adventure
Closer examination: Choosing a path
Seeking: Following the path
Loss of sight: Losing the path
Seeing: Merging with the path

I do believe I am off and running!

Ram Dass & Synesthesia

One of the assignments this week was to find an enlightened person with whom we could do “eye-gazing.” This was new to me, so had to look it up.

Something magical happens during extended eye contact (also called eye gazing or soul gazing). This moment arises when we forget that there’s a “you” and a “me” and we become engulfed in an experience of unity. Personalities, gender, social class, beliefs etc all melt away. And we are left with this recognition of the other as purely a reflection of ourselves.

Michelle Passmore

It took a couple of days for me to figure out into whose eyes I should gaze, but realized there really was only one for me: Ram Dass.

Baba Ram Dass

In 1978, when I was 17-years old, a dear family friend took me to see this guy, Ram Dass. I had no idea why, but she insisted I join her.

There were dozens of people there, patchouli reeking in the room (I have never liked the smell of patchouli) and lots of flowers in people’s hair and behind their ears. Hippies. Well, I have always loved tie-dye, so my eyes wandered around to look at the creative swirls and hearts of the tie dyed clothes around the room.

Enter Ram Dass

When Ram Dass walked in, I saw an old man… 46-years old. Now, of course, I know how incredibly young that is! Later, I would learn about agelessness.

Besides the “old man,” I was shocked by the glow of light around him! White light surrounded his body and his face was especially lit up with happiness and joy. I had never seen/met anyone who had this before. When I told my very enlightened friend, she looked at me and asked what colors were around the people around us. I started telling her, “purple, yellow… that one has red… that one has orange around everything but her arm which is dark blue.” Without any fanfare, she said, almost matter-of-factly, “Oh, you see auras.” I knew what an aura was, but did not realize everyone didn’t see them until that moment. When I was a midwife, I could see them well, but since I’ve retired, it is harder for me to decipher what surrounds people’s bodies. As might be expected, when I have surgery or am really sick, I can see them easily again. I believe it is in my relaxing into it, that they reappear.

Synesthesia

I also see words coming out of people’s mouths. That is called Ticker-Tape Synesthesia. It was great when I learned about that, also thinking everyone saw words around people’s heads. For me, they are fluffy if they are kind words, flaming red if words of anger and hate, the words changing according to the person’s mood. It is easy to see when someone is being disingenuous and I use the floating words, not their oral words, to gauge truth or not.

Not terribly long ago, I learned that seeing auras is a form of Synesthesia as well. To me, it makes sense since I can see moods and intentions through auras, a form of speech to my “vision.”

The first time I demonstrated my Synesthesia was when I was 5-years old having my tonsils taken out. As the mask was lowered on my face, I tasted blue and said it out loud. The anesthesiologist just looked at me and then I was out. I can taste it still today. I do not taste in colors now, though… but some people do.

Be Here Now

Looking into Ram Dass’ eyes has brought these memories forward. Not very “Being Here Now,” I know. I am learning there are different states of “Now,” some of which live in the retelling of stories.

What stories take you back to the present?

Ram Dass Revisited

One last note about meeting Ram Dass. When I went up to meet him, shake his hand… well, have my hands held in his… he looked at me… into me. His white aura was transmitted to me and my own hands glowed with his. I can see his intense blue eyes still in my mind. He really was a magical being.

He really IS a magical being.

Four Elements + One Question

Elements

Fire: What can I do to feed my soul?

Right now, I think I am feeding my soul by taking this class and reading books that explain what I am learning in class. Not sure that is answering the question, but it is a hard question for me.

Air: How can I calm my mind?

I thought I knew how to meditate (have taken the MBSR class twice in San Diego), but the class on Monday night showed I am very bad at meditating. I was so bored when I was supposed to be meditating that I did email. Wahhh! Not good. While I was there, multi-tasking (sort of), I recognized what I was doing, chuckled a bit and kept going back to the mantra I was saying.

First, the word I was repeating was Reborn, then Rebirth popped up. Then my word for 2021 showed up: FOCUS. And I chanted that in my head, but it felt like a directive, not a meditative state. When I talked to Aimee (my guru daughter), she suggested I try I Am instead. Alright, I will try that, but I asked, “I am… what?” Ahhh, but it will come clear eventually. Sometimes suggestions are mega-vague.

Often, I feel like Young Grasshopper.

Earth: What can I do to nourish my body?

I’m willing to bet drinking Diet Coke and eating Kraft Mac and Cheese are not on the nourishing the body plan.

Water: How can I tend to my heart?

This one is the one Untethered Soul is answering for me. I have felt a shift in my heart loosening up in the past couple of days, coinciding with visits from Aimee.

One Last Question

How do I connect to Spirit?

I am still not sure, but I am open to finding a way.

My Skepticism is Showing

I am reading about Chakras because according to Michael Singer in The Untethered Soul, they are a way to open my heart, which, I will admit, feels completely surrounded by a cement silo.

I was really woo woo back in the 80s and 90s. I read every Louise Hay book, read Women Who Run with the Wolves, practically memorized The Four Agreements and for awhile, even believed The Secret (“to think is to create”). Then I spent a long time studying Judaism, thinking that was where I would end up spiritually. Technicalities trumped my desires and I pretty much tossed out all “spiritual” needs and desires.

So now I am reading about Chakras and I cannot help but think, “This is hoo hoo woo woo.” I did find this image (below) in A Non-Woo-Woo Guide to the Seven Chakras and she had some decent stuff to say, but it was a tiny moment of setting aside my cynicism to read it.

This really is a challenge for me, this spirituality stuff. I am reading what I can, listening to YouTube videos, and even talking to friends and really feel I am struggling with the whole concept. Can someone so ingrained in numbers and science and a belief in chemistry find their way into this realm? Are there doctors who believe in chakras? Are there biologists who open their hearts when they feel fear?

Am I destined to live a soul-less life?

My (Confused) Altar

In the Initiation class, we were encouraged to make an altar that corresponds to a 4-sided wheel with a center. Each side represents an element: Fire, Wind, Earth and Water. The center asks the question, “How do I connect to Spirit?”

I have seen amazing altars in my days as a midwife, many families creating one for the experience of pregnancy and childbirth. I have had what one might consider an altar before, but I would not have called it that. I was just taking pretty things and putting them together on the shelf.

This is my first purposeful altar and I was feeling inadequate compared to other altars in the group and mentioned it to my youngest, Aimee (who is a healer-person) and she said to write about each object on my altar to see the importance of each object without judgment.

I did that and do see the importance of what I put there, but am confused why so many of the items have to do with sadness and mourning.

I have my wedding ring that I had to get cut off when Zack and I broke up on there.

I have items from my Disney days, times when I all but lived in the Disney parks on both coasts.

In rec.arts.disney.parks newsgroup, I was “gardenia” and the “Feral Mermaid.”
Florida and Disney World combined in this pin. Memories of my life.

I have several of my charms out on the altar.

Dragonfly: A transformational creature.
Lesbian symbol.
Manatee: Long how I have felt. Slow, but a water creature sometimes mistaken as a mermaid.
The visual representation of Om.

I have a weird voice inside asking if there is going to be any more transformation in my life besides dying. Am I lesbian without a lover? Can I see Om if I am not saying it? Why couldn’t I have been born a hummingbird instead of a manatee?

Back to the Wheel at the beginning of this post… I do not know how to answer these questions. I have spun around the wheel several times, tried to let my mind wander to an answer and it is silence. I seem to be in some spiritual never-world.

What happened?

Spirituality & “Soul”

I have been gifted a scholarship to a 7-week course in Initiations and in beginning, I realized I have not focused on my own spirituality in 30 years. My children were young and I don’t know if I just atheist-ized completely or what happened. During that time I was considering converting to Judaism, but there was very little spirituality for me there, mostly songs and prayers that did not resonate like I had hoped. I gave it the college try for a decade (or more), but it just was not the right fit.

Disney+ came out with the movie Soul a few weeks ago and I have watched it many times already. The gist is what makes a person a person… or a soul in a person?

“Quiet Coyote” from Soul

Without any spoilers, you know it has to end with beautiful reflections and realizations of what Life is all about.

And COVID-19 is still uppermost in my mind, my worrying about dying nearly every day. I was in the hospital for a couple of days last week and have 2 weeks to watch for symptoms, making me hyper-crazy worrying about every cough or shallow intake of breath.

Convergence

Héctor Pineda / Covid, Vagrant Deity of Discordia

The convergence of all of these at once has opened the possibility for me to find spirituality again.

In my life, I have searched, prayed, tried several religions, gone to decades of therapy, carried crystals, burnt sage, carried a “medicine bag” (before I realized it was cultural appropriation) danced under the moon naked, meditated for many years (to create Mindfulness and pain relief) and an endless line of trying to find The Answer. Remembering it all, I see why I abandoned it; there really was no answer outside of me.

That really must sound ridiculous to those of you who knew this all along and I wonder if I ever knew this myself… I distinctly remember telling others, especially when it came to birth work… but did I believe it? Did it have anything to do with me?

What Do I Have?

What am I going to find? Will I discover something I did not know before? Or will I be birthing new parts of myself instead. How have I been so stagnant for so long? Why has the mystery and glory of childbirth gone from my heart and memory? How do I reclaim joyful inner beings and bring them outward? Why is it when I am so near death that I finally am thinking about living? How can an atheist embrace the wonders of spirituality without creating a Deity?

I look forward to figuring this out.

“Breaking Through” by artist Deborah Nell

The Pre-Cell Telephone

100 years ago, when I was a kidlet in school, we watched a show on television about technology in the future. All of it was so out of the realm of recognition, I remember laughing about how absurd it all was.

One of the main ones was the idea of a video-phone.

My friends and I talked about the possibility and we all said we would NEVER use a video phone. How could we talk in the middle of the night when we looked our worst? Or when we woke up before we brushed our teeth?

The thought horrified us.

Yet, here we are, Zooming all over the place, using our phones as video screens, brushed teeth or not.

Amazing how phone technology has progressed in my lifetime.

Could scented phones be far behind?

Rec.Arts.Disney.Parks: gardenia’s RADP Memories

One of my Cinderella Castle photos.

There was a time, long before Google, long before cell phones, long before Zoom that there was something called Usenet newsgroups and that melded with DejaNews. In 2001, Google bought DejaNews. I’m going to put links for you to check out when you have time.

“Usenet is like a herd of performing elephants with diarrhea – massive, difficult to redirect, awe-inspiring, entertaining, and a source of mind boggling amounts of excrement when you least expect it.”

Gene Spafford, 1992

When Google bought DejaNews, millions and millions of Archives were not published, leaving those of us who were active in Usenet before the buyout, with our posts floating in the ether of the Internet universe. There was never a date Google said they would offer those archives, specifically from 1991-2001, but in October 2020, they came back online. With them came hundreds of thousands of my own words, mostly written in Rec.Arts.Disney.Parks or RADP (Rad-pea), obviously a Disney newsgroup.

gardenia

I was known as “gardenia” (lowercase g) back then (an explanation another day) and we all had taglines that came with our names and one I had shocks me: the beauty of movement is discovered in the momentum! Was I really that introspective back then? I guess the “Navelgazing” had to start somewhere, right? This one I kept for the longest time: TDC gardenia, aka Feral Mermaid, savage siren of the magic waters. The TDC means Trimobius Disney Cabinet (member), a faux “club” that anyone could join.

Posts & Words

I am stunned at how much I wrote on RADP, I searched “gardenia” in the (now) GoogleGroups and found my first post on page 1601.

feral mermaid
Nov 3, 1996, 3:00:00 AM

CS wrote:

I must warn you…beware of the veggie burgers at Cosmic Ray’s…they are most unsavory.

I answer:

As a vegan who has tried a number of veggie burgers, I enjoyed the option of a veggie (vegan) burger at Cosmic Ray’s… and I thought they tasted fine 🙂 Adding all your own goodies to it, too, was nice.

When I asked if they were vegan, the CM taking my order asked someone in the back and they brought out the package so I could see that it was, indeed, vegan. I appreciated that. You can also get veggie food in any restaurant with a chef… they will make you anything you ask for as long as they have the ingredients. I have often had baked potatoes with loads of steamed veggies and many of the breads are vegan as well.
Enjoy!
Barb aka gardenia

Orlando
gard…@magicnet.net

What I found were mostly comments, but often with complete Trip/Jaunt Reports as well. Folks wrote Trip Reports after their visits to The World. They were welcomed with awe and appreciation, helping people relive their own times in Disney World. Because I lived in Orlando for most of the time, I wrote Jaunt Reports.

Who’s Going to Read This?

I am aware that the people who give one whit about this are either those that are/were in Radp or Disneyphiles, but I want to share my writings and here is the best place to do it. So if you want a glimpse of Disney, mostly Disney World, through my writings between 1996 and 2001, I am going to write those posts here. I will always state Radp in the Topic so you can bypass it if you like.

But I want to say, I did some kick-ass writing during that, my most prolific, time. Hope you enjoy them.

Another Cinderella Castle photo I took.

On the Cusp of 2021

I remember last New Year’s Eve when we all thought 2020 couldn’t possibly get any worse, but it went further into Hell than we could have ever imagined.

I am begging for 2021 to be a polar opposite of 2020.

The only things that improved in 2020 were my kids, grandkids and my writing more. I did win NaNoWriMo, after all.

So many things need to change. Reality being the most important. Kindness, Love, Gentleness, Compassion… let’s find those qualities again.

Time to move forward.

When Sadness Hits Hard

My daughter Meghann homeschools and has a business where she provides curricula for homeschool families. Her website is Rooted Childhood and she is well-known in the homeschool world.

So it was with great sadness Meghann announced the death of another amazing homeschooling mom, Emily Mitchell. Em was the mom of 4 beautiful children, the wife of a loving husband and was an extremely loving Christian. She was also pregnant.

According to the GoFundMe page, Em, who had no complications and was a completely healthy woman, was eating her breakfast on December 22 and then collapsed, dying even with the help of everyone and EMS. An autopsy is being done to find the exact cause, but it seems to have been a blood clot that broke loose and zoomed to her heart, killing her instantly. Killing her and her unborn baby.

The homeschool community has been a point of much sadness this week, being reminded of the precariousness of life. COVID-19 has had a similar impact in too many families this year, but this death has hit even me (and many others) very hard.

How could a perfectly healthy mom just die? In front of her children? At Christmas, the most holy day of Em’s family’s year? Meghann thought about all the projects Em was working on for her kids, thinking about the stashes of presents, the Christmas dinner they were looking forward to. And now these kids’ lives are forever changed, Christmas now will be a time of sadness and mourning.

Please hold this family in your hearts and, if you pray, your prayers. Hug your children and your partner hard. Remember how short… how really short… our lives here on earth.

Art by Anne Cote

Addendum on DNR and COVID-19 Vaccine

The main book I am working on right now is (tentatively titled) Every Flower in the Garden, formerly In the Bushes. It’s an autobiographical novel loosely based on my life in the gay community from 1978-1988… immediately pre- and post AIDS.

Part of my research included reading How to Survive a Plague: The Inside Story of How Citizens and Science Tamed AIDS by David France. In this book, which was amazing for those wondering, I read how gay men fought for medications, that their rallying cry was “Drugs Into Bodies” (before morphing into “Silence = Death”).

The way the FDA tested medications could (and does) take many years to work through the vetting process and in the time it took them to approve medications for AIDS, hundreds/thousands died.

The group ACT UP protested everywhere they could find that someone might hear their voices to get them the medications faster and faster.

The men and women fighting for their lives wanted ANY medication invented that might save their lives, or prolong it… even if for only a couple of months.

My Do Not Resuscitate Order

It was in reading this that I had my mind changed about having a DNR hanging over my bed. If gay men who were so sick they could not sit up or even cry anymore, who went blind, who had horrific infections… if they could beg for a longer life, I should… and could… do the same.

Vaccine Reactions

In my previous post, I talked out why I would be waiting at least 6 months before reconsidering the COVID-19 vaccine. I forgot to add an anecdote about a relative of mine.

She got the Merck & Co.’s Zostavax vaccine to prevent shingles and within 12 hours was in the ER with the shingles. Zostavax came out in 2006 and this person got the vaccination in 2018, right before a slew of lawsuits about this reaction not being disclosed even though the company knew of the “side effect.” Zostavax is no longer in the United States because of the lawsuits from people like my relative who was so so sick with the shingles. The vaccine was removed from the shelves in the US November 18, 2020… half a minute ago.

It took from 2006 to 2020 to learn enough about the vaccine to remove it from use. What will we be seeing from the Coronavirus vaccines in 14 years?

Lady In Village Worried Painting by Paul Kasem

Pondering the COVID-19 Vaccine

When the kids were little, I was just shy of being an anti-vaxxer.

After research and thinking, I did selective vaccinations, spreading them out, individualizing them and then, as in the case of the whole cell Pertussis vaccine, eliminating it altogether. Meghann had a horrific reaction to the whole cell Pertussis vaccine, so I did not give it to her again, or to Aimee. When the acellular vaccine came out, I felt much more comfortable about it, but think the time had passed for them to get it anymore. If they had needed it, I would have given it to them.

Coronavirus Vaccination

So now that the Coronavirus vaccination has come out and I am in Phase 1c/Phase 2 (depending on the chart you choose to read) of the order of who gets the vaccine first, I am having to think about whether I want to get the vaccine or not.

I’m reading about HIV/AIDS for research for one of the books I am writing and after reading How to Survive a Plague: The Inside Story of How Citizens and Science Tamed AIDS by David France, I am left wondering… why no vaccine for AIDS almost 40 years after it became known. Yet, with COVID-19, a vaccine was created in less than a year!? I’ll give you that hardly anyone cared about gay men getting AIDS, many people believing the death sentence is what they deserved. But when babies started dying and unsuspecting hemophiliacs and women started dying, no one seemed to care enough to “Warp Speed” a vaccination for them either.

Should I Trust Science Implicitly?

Can I trust science implicitly? (I am speaking for myself because I believe each person gets to make the decision for themselves. Several people in my life cannot wait to get the vaccine. More power to them!)

There is a saying in the medical field to lay people: You just haven’t seen enough to know better. That is often true in birth. Doctors tell midwives they believe birth is so fabulously easy because they haven’t yet faced the split second catastrophes that can happen in the healthiest of women and babies. I have said that phrase myself to other midwives who thought I was being alarmist in my warnings to stay alert, not to become complacent in the “normalcy” of birth.

But in this case, I have seen enough to know bad things can happen with vaccines. I do not, in any way, believe vaccines cause Autism, but I do have concern about injecting the actual virus, a brand new virus, into my body hoping for an immune response that will re-attack at a later date when the virus jumps back into my body again.

Decision

I talked this out with my therapist and my girls, having them just be sounding boards and as I was able to discuss it, it seemed the right thing for me to do is wait. I am not going out, don’t have to go to stores, am not wanting to go to bars or anywhere crowded. I can stay in my space and stay safe.

The only people I miss in close proximity to me are my mom, brother, Aimee and her baby. I want to hug them all so badly. I miss my puppies, too. But I do not want to die… whether it is from Coronavirus or the COVID-19 vaccine.

I will sit quietly for at least another six months and see what goes on with the reactions. I know it will take some serious deciphering the truth from hearsay, but I am pretty good at reading studies and medical jargon. I will reevaluate my decision in June.

In the meantime, I am writing a book.

I Won NaNoWriMo!

The goal for National Novel Writing Month is to scribble out 50,000 words on a new piece of work. I did it! Actually, 51,000 words (204 book pages) by November 30, 2020. I am so proud of myself.

The Autobiographical Novel/Historical Novel (not sure which it would be considered yet) about life before and after AIDS took amazing turns as I was a Planster (someone who does an outline, but also allows the characters unfold as they want to). I have whole characters that birthed themselves and a relationship between mother and daughter was born. I don’t quite know what to do with them yet because that was not in the original outline. I have never written a novel before so I am reading everything I can about how to do one, but not sure I will find answers in someone else’s books.

We’ll see what happens.

In the meantime, I WON!!!

NaNoWriMo & More

Today was Day 12 of National Novel Writing Month and I am kicking ass at writing! I have met, or surpassed, my goal of 1667 words every day since Day 1. Today, I went over 20,000 words towards the required 50,000 to “win” NaNo.

President-Elect Biden and Vice President-Elect Harris won. I breathed for the first time in 4 years a couple of days ago. I cannot wait until the dumpster fire is gone from our once-beautiful White House.

My Fibonacci Therapy is AMAZING. I really do not know how to even explain it except a lot of “seeing” and “changing” things around in my mind. It is more than The Secret kind of seeing, it is seeing my own mind shifting.

I’ve relieved a great deal of my feet and right ankle pain. In 1996, I went to a pain therapist who taught me Biofeedback and Self-Hypnosis and I used that knowledge for decades, but as I have gotten older, I either have forgotten how to get in that healing zone or have become resistant, so this therapy is reminding me -and teaching me new ways I never knew before- to relieve the pain in my body.

Things are good. We’ll see what happens with the Novel I am writing. It is rather pornographic at times. I wonder if it will be sold in the Fantasy Adult Bookstore and Glory Holes next to the Four Seasons Total Landscaping.

In the meantime, I am writing writing writing!

NaNoWriMo 2020

Today is Day 2 of National Novel Writing Month and I am giving it a go again this year.

Project Shift

I thought I was going to be working on my Psychological Thriller about a serial killing midwife, but last year’s project demanded I regroup and work on her.

So, I am back to In the Bushes (working title). The book initially began as a memoir, but it is about gay life between 1978 and 1982 and I struggled with it last year because of outing issues, along with the drugs and rampant sex. Then a few weeks ago, I learned there is something called an Autobiographical Novel, using the outline of one’s life, but creating an entire story mixing fact and fiction and voila! All my concerns were gone. I wasn’t going to out anyone and I could talk about sex and drugs all I wanted without incriminating anyone.

Still Some Ongoing Issues

Between tropes and fetishizing, I worry what people will think. My life was very white, but for the sexual experiences with black men (several characters prefer black men sexually) and that will surely not go over very well.

The main concern is the religious right will, once again, say, “See? They got what they deserved” by having such indiscriminate sex and extreme hedonism.

But I am writing.

And that is a very good thing.

Fibonacci Therapy

I’ve decided to abandon Talk Therapy and have been led to a different type of therapy.

Through working on my Psychological Thriller, I found the book The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk. The subtitle is: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma. Within 2 chapters, I realized the book was not just for my character, but for me.

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Vastly Different Healing Modalities

Van der Kolk, in wonderfully scientific ways, explains how we now know that actual physical changes are occurring in the brain when there is abuse, neglect or trauma. Well-known in the mental health/psychiatric field, he’s found that people can heal their brains… physically and chemically… through Yoga, EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing), EFT (Emotion-focused therapy), neurofeedback (biofeedback) and activities such as theater and Tai Chi.  

He has done extensive research with Veterans, abused children as young as 2-years old, elder adults who thought they would never feel better, folks with PTSD and C-PTSD and any number of others with trauma histories.

Van der Kolk does not believe medications and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)/talk therapy are as helpful as therapists have believed for decades.

I concur.

So Many Strikes

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I’ve been in therapy since I was 18-years old, almost continuously. 41 years. I feel I am at the same place I started all those decades ago. I’ve tried CBT, DBT, sand tray therapy, art therapy, angel therapy, crystals and many more I can no longer remember, that’s how useless they were. I’ve been in a dozen different types of group therapies as well, most of which seem to have been created to see who can tell the worst abuse story.

DBT comes the closest to changing my thought processes, but that is because of the Mindfulness aspects. DBT has a lot of CBT in it, so it is all but negated.

Fibonacci

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Fibonacci: an integer in the infinite sequence 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, … of which the first two terms are 1 and 1 and each succeeding term is the sum of the two immediately preceding

Instead of singular modes of therapy, I want one that builds on another, lifting me higher with each step.

Fibonacci in Nature

Nautiluses have long been how I see healing… one chamber being worked on and when that section has been completed/emptied, it is time to move to the next chamber.

I began a new type of “therapy” yesterday. I am not sure how to even explain it except it was beautiful and after the hour and for hours afterwards, I felt at peace for the first time in so long I cannot remember when the last time was.

My body was not twitching. My aches and pains simmered lower than they usually do. My mind was able to focus on one idea at a time instead of a cacophony of many voices so loud, none were even able to be heard.

Finally, there is a shift.

Finally.

Therefore:

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The World Knows COVID-19

I talk to people all over the world. I have for a long time, especially at work, but also when I talk to Customer Service people on the phone or in chat.

Since the Pandemic began, it has been a global moment for me. I am no longer frustrated when I cannot get my point across because the person does not speak English as well as I need (and I am always very patient anyway). It is like there is now a leveling of everyone, all of us in the same space in the Universe. (Hope I am saying this right.)

Whomever I speak to, we talk, sometimes just for a moment, about how we are and how our families are doing… a checking in with each other’s humanity. I have never had this feeling of being on the earth with so many others as I do now. That we ALL know this stress, fear, sadness and isolation is quite the reminder that we are really all together in this space and time.

Very humbling.

Home Wax Fun

Oh, I don’t know how, but my facial hair has taken on a life of its own since the pandemic.

Wax Strips

A few weeks ago, I tried some strips and they worked well. Blessedly, I know the pain of waxing, so wasn’t too surprised by the yanking off of the strips that pulls the hair out by its roots.

Flamingo Wax Strips

Hot Wax

Not knowing which I would like better, I bought Bliss Hot Wax, again not caring about the pain involved. I’ve felt worse.

So yesterday, I heated it in the microwave like it said to, in 30 second intervals for about 5 minutes and then sat down to my prepared area at the dining room table.

All I can say was it was a wax debacle. 

Threads of wax were everywhere, reminding me of strands of cotton candy as it is being twirled on the paper cone. My dress, my face, my fingers and the prepared area on the table were covered with plops and strings of bright blue wax. 

I did get some hair removed, so there is that. But I am firmly of the belief that, for me, hot wax is best in the hands of professionals.

Back to strips!

Remnants of the Hot Wax Experiment

Talked to the Doctor

The surgeon was very kind and patient as I asked my questions and even sat quietly while I cried.

He explained how the decision is made to put a person on their side or their stomach… it is the anesthesiologist’s choice… and he said they made the wrong decision. He said next time he does surgery on my back, he will insist I stay on my side, which does have its own challenges, but he said surgery was fast and there was too much trauma to my body to make the stomach a good choice.

Underboob Slice

The doctor explained that when someone is going to be on their stomach, they use cushions to help the breasts not be smashed on the table and it looks like the cushion was out of place.

He said because the cushion was misplaced (which happened because I am a challenge to turn over, which I already knew), then trauma split my underboob open, something that can happen to “fragile” skin. I told him I have yeasties under there a lot, but not in a few months and he said that can make the skin fragile (the perfect word I had been looking for), but it was no excuse for not getting the cushion where it should have been.

I asked if next time we might put the cushion in place before I go into the Operating Room and he said that was a good idea, but reiterated that anything we have to do small, he will try and keep me on my side.

“I’m Sorry”

As I said in the previous post, what I wanted most of all was an apology. He said, “I’m sorry” twice and I thanked him and told him that was what I was needing to hear.

I told him I had zero desire to sue for anything and I wanted him to know that, that I trusted him and his team and since he explained it, and apologized, I feel better.

Crying

I cried talking to him. I am still crying two days later.

Artist unknown: The crying girl, Colored Ballpoint Pens Technique

Looking at the bruises on my breast reminds me of the ones I had on my breasts after I was raped in 1979. I didn’t remember getting those, either, so it is a similar emotional response.

I do not like things happening to me when I am not aware.

Another thing he said that made me feel somewhat relieved was he was in the Operating Room from the moment I got in there until I was wheeled out and into Recovery. I do trust the man. (Is that weird?)

Pathology Report

He told me the results; the margins were clear! (They got it all.)

Yay!

Follow-up in Clinic

When we talked in person, he checked my underboob and it is healing well, which I knew. He apologized again and I told him I wish we had done the excision in the office, which we had talked about. I said I had never regretted having a surgery until this time and that when we have to do this again, if he can remind me of what I wanted in a coherent moment, I would appreciate it. He said as long as I can sit still, that could be done. I told him I can sit still; I have tattoos.

He did say that the decision to do the surgery in the office or the OR can go either way. He said sometimes, when he does one in the office, he thinks they should have gone to the OR. I said I understood that and I would take his advice and we could make the decision together.

It was a very good face-to-face meeting.

My back is healing really well. I have steri-strips on. I am not itching anymore. I look forward to this one being done.

Art: Talia Shipman

Cancer Post-op Recovery

Surgery was Friday, August 21st and it went really well. The incision is much smaller than expected, so that was good, too.

I do not have the results back on whether they have all margins (meaning they got it all), but the doc is calling today so I can ask then.

Bruising

One thing that was really weird was I was way bruised after this surgery. Not on the site, but my upper arms and right breast.

They are healing fast, but that first day they were bright purple.

This was the weirdest thing, though:

This is an open slice on my right underboob, the one that is the most bruised. What the heck happened here?

Feelings

At first, I was amused. I think I was still high from surgery, though.

The 2nd day post-op, I began to cry looking at the bruises, especially the ones on my right breast, with the slice. I hesitate to call it “triggering,” but it definitely felt bad. What did someone do to me when I was under anesthesia that would cause these injuries?

More questions for the surgeon, whom I greatly respect and have zero intention of suing. I think mostly I want an apology.

Is that so bad?

Art by  turddemon