The Alphabet of Right Now

A blogger friend of mine wrote a post like this last week, and I thought this would help me summarize the last month I’ve taken off from the blog.  It’s been a full, hard month, but also transformative with many new experiences.

 

 

A-Amino Acids– I receive this wonderful nutrient with my monthly IV’s at Dr. Guyer’s office.  These help with detoxing, energy, mental clarity, stable emotions, and quality sleep.  These were on national backorder for 8 weeks now and my body has suffered.  I’m exhausted, and spend many spare moments lying down, trying to find energy for my next task.  I’m glad these got into my doctor’s last week!

B-Beauty and the Beast–  A lovely re-make.  I waited awhile to see it in theater.  So on my Spring Break, during the mid-afternoon, with a group of middle school girls behind Chels and I, we watched, and laughed and sang along in whispers.

C-Cash-Chels has gotten busier with school and stays up later doing homework.  So many nights of the week I get a little extra cuddle time before I fall asleep.

D-Dwelling Place-A wonderful place to celebrate Good Friday and Easter.

E-Easter-My sister, Laura, and I made Easter lunch together at her apartment before the food coma hit.  She let it be nice and healthy so we weren’t making two meals!  But eating bacon while we cook isn’t too bad!

F-Fortune Academy– I spend 4 mornings/week here now.  It’s a lovely, calm place to work.  Still, it feels solitary at times, but I am forming quality relationships with my students and helping them grow.  (But it’s after Spring Break and they are so antsy right now!)

G-Giver-I am reading this beloved children’s classic with two of my students right now.  Such a great book!

H-Haircut-My hair is a lot shorter now and I love it.  Very low maintenance for spring and summer!

I-Intuition-I keep returning to the wisdom of my intuition.  Answers are already inside me, but many times I’m afraid to ask the question.

J-Jars-I have so many glass jars.  And I’m still saving jars from salsa and sauerkraut.  I probably should stop, but I don’t!

K-Know-Right now, I’m spending more time getting acquainted with some recent past events that hold both beauty and immense pain.  I want to know myself in these places in a deeper way.

L-Lawton Loop– There’s this beautiful loop in Lawrence, Indiana right where Fortune is located.  Now that it’s spring many mornings I walk this loop before walking into school.

M-Meditation-I’m learning more about the importance of meditation for my own life, and for the lives of those I encounter.  I took a meditation workshop hosted by my yoga studio last weekend!

N-New grocery store-So the close Aldi is undergoing renovations, and will be closed until Memorial Day.  So for a few weeks I will need to drive to another Aldi!  I don’t like change that much 🙂

O-Omaha-Over my spring break, I took a weekend trip to Omaha to participate in a silent retreat hosted by the Gravity Center.  It was hard and delightful, and full of yoga, silent prayer sits, spiritual direction, massage, and ended the day with the practice of Examen. I also had enough energy to make all my food ahead of time and drive there alone.  Some big steps in the healing journey for me!

P-Patience and Perfume-On Easter morning, I braced myself that I probably would need to walk out of church, but that I wanted to stay.  Only the moment can tell me how to act within that tension.  A holiday where people dress up for church normally means perfume.  And I got hit pretty hard with brain fog (also, there wasn’t much reserve because of the lack of amino acids!).  So I’ve had the opportunity to practice patience, to cancel plans, to let my brain have time to heal, which usually means no reading 😦

Q-Questions-I’m writing a lot less, but asking more questions.  I have people asking questions of me that I don’t know the answers to.  Both of these are good, in their own way, even if tears follow!

R-Return-This anchor word has found me recently.  Its invitation is to return to God, return to others, myself, to the present.  Its invitation is to quiet my mind’s chatter, to be still and to stop.

S-Starbucks-I’m here a lot lately.  Various ones around the city depending on my schedule.  I’m being listened to well.  I also recently sat outside drinking Passion Tea with a new yoga friend before yoga class(good accountability to actually make it to yoga on a Friday!)

T-Therapy- Recently, I’ve gone back to therapy.  There has been much relief already that this is the next right step for me right now.

U-Unwind-The experience of my Spring Break.

V-Vacuum-A new vacuum has made all the difference in the cleanliness of the apartment!

W-Writing-I’ve backed off a lot.  I didn’t really know what to say.  And that’s okay.

X-not gonna try-

Y-Yoga-My yoga studio is my second home these days.  I get stronger and my mind gets clearer and I’m making new friends.  A great combo.

Z-Zip-I’m driving a lot these days.  I-69 has seen many miles this spring.

 

 

A Blessing for the One Who Listens

 

Sit quietly, plant your feet flat on the floor,

and take a few deep breaths.

Settle your anxious mind.  Do not let thoughts

run circles in your imagination.

Let your breath guide you to a deeper place of seeing.

Let your solitude linger. Try to not be afraid of where

this quiet journey takes you.

 

And when others enter your company,

they will recognize this sturdy ground you stand on.

They probably will not have words to describe your presence.

Yet you are marked by a quiet self-confidence, listening,

attentiveness, tranquility, and joy.

When others spend time with you, they feel honored.

 

However, this is an act of returning to the quiet,

and learning to listen to the daily whispers of God.

 

So return, and keep returning.

The quiet will soften you and make you

open to the world.

Open enough to realize there is someone

always yearning to listen to you.

A Blessing For My Soul

May you continue to show me all the ways you have stayed alive,

even thrived.

Invite me, coax me at times to follow you,

especially when it doesn’t make sense.

Show me the wild, spontaneous side of my nature that hasn’t died,

even after a long descent into grief.

I commit to nurture the tender side of you,

the part that is slow to come out of hiding.

I will share you with trusted friends who exercise empathy and compassion.

Guide me out of my head, and into what is most real about me.

Keep on ploughing greater depths, that I may inhabit a deep solitude,

that heals without me saying a word.

A Blessing for My Body

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For so long I knew you to be my enemy.

You were attacking me, as my health continued to decline-

or so I thought.

Now I know you were just trying to keep me alive.

You gave me warning signs that all was not well-

and you were compensating the best ways you knew how.

 

And so today, I honor you.

May you keep restoring me to balance,

day by day.

Bless you for teaching me how to care for myself.

Keep me in tune with your signs, that I can accept

the gift of equilibrium.

Remind me when I wander outside my capacity

that not everything is my job.

Allow me to experience the fullness of my breath,

that I am alive:

no matter how great fatigue’s presence is today.

A Blessing for My Mind

Over the next few weeks I’m going to share some blessings I’ve written recently.  The theme that has surfaced in all these blessings is gratitude.  Gratitude for this journey I’m on and those on the journey with me.  I’ve written these blessings to myself, but also knowing that the blessing extends to others as well.  May you join me in blessing your integrated self: mind, body, and soul over the coming weeks.

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A Blessing For My Mind

May you keep growing in me dreams and wonderful thoughts.

Enlarge my imagination so I may perceive new worlds.

May some ponderings surprise me, leading me to new places and people.

When you get cloudy and exhausted

lead me to nurture my body once again.

As I sink into my breath, may your rattling thoughts cease.

Allow me to inhabit my body fully.

When anxious thoughts take over,

bring me back to my breath in silence.

May you know your limits, that sometimes what you say isn’t true.

May you know when to step aside, so the body’s knowledge

which never lies, can speak.

 

On Cutting Back and Simplifying

Last Wednesday I started a cleanse.  Most people set a New Year’s resolution to change their diet, but my birthday is in January and so I never do that.  February is a good month for me, and this year I waited until after Valentine’s Day!

Some people ask me, “Why do you do this when you cut so many foods out anyway?”

And my answer is, “I want my body to function as optimally as possible.”

Because I have a chronic illness, this takes a lot of work.  Throughout the year, I reintroduce new foods to see if my body can handle it.  Then some coconut milk ice cream, tortilla chips and popcorn slip in.  To many people these little changes are no big deal.  And yet for me, it’s helpful when these foods are purged for a complete month out of the year, for my body to reset.

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It’s helpful to eat very simply again: meats, vegetables, soups, healthy fats and minimal fruit.  No baking. Eating out less often.  Declining some people’s invitations.

I used to think these decisions felt like “missing out.”  Now my body’s wisdom just tells me that simplifying is what it really wants.  And the benefits of the cleanse can be felt within a few days: less brain fog, deeper, more restful sleep, greater concentration, and more energy.  And if I’m honest, these are the gifts I truly long for.

It’s scary to cut back at first.  I know that the first step is facing into how tired I actually am, even with all the improvements in my health.  There’s still fatigue there, and some days it’s still a lonely reality.  Yet healing does start with observing, noticing, and lingering with reality, in whatever form it chooses to be.

So for the next four weeks, I’m intentionally making room.  Making room to focus on myself, to be present in my fatigue, to celebrate healing and to say no.  I’m choosing to be more still, to move more slowly, to sink into yoga more deeply.

I thought that when I started this healing journey, that healing meant back to doing more.  It’s actually come to mean, making space for doing less.  Simplifying actually brings greater layers of wholeness into my life.

What’s Saving My Life-Winter Edition

Quite simply, this winter, learning to practice yoga and meditation as a regular practice are saving my life.

I’m learning to be still, to breathe deeply, to be present to this moment, which is a gift I so often look past.

At this place in my healing journey, I expected my life to become faster-more health, more vitality, more relationships, more things on my calendar.  And yes, I can do so much more than two years ago.

And yet the transforming parts of this season are in the stillness, often on my yoga mat.  My life is getting slower yet.

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My prayers are quieter.  There’s just not as much to say.  I’m less reactionary in my conversations with God-not because I’m lessening my honesty or the intensity of emotions.  But instead, because if I’m actually present to a moment of solitude, not much is happening.  Through meditation, my brain is changing (and if you’re a doubter, read this), and I’m practicing paying attention to my body and my breath.  I’m re-teaching myself, that my true self is not necessarily the thoughts I think.

What may be more true about myself is how I breathe and the messages my body is telling me.

It’s not been an easy process (what process is?!).  When I started, I could not touch my toes, and my mind would wander constantly.  After six weeks though, I’m seeing small changes.  I come to a place of stillness more easily.  I’m gaining more flexibility and my posture is improving.  But I’m not practicing yoga for the quick changes.

The most powerful, subtle change has happened in my mind.  Yoga and meditation has helped reduce anxiety.  It has allowed me to take a more receptive approach to life.

I’m learning to see more kindness, rather than threat.

More safety, rather than violence.

More love, rather than hate.

More acceptance, rather than self-destruction.

More friendship, rather than exclusion.

More inclusiveness, rather than competition.

 

I want to be someone who views myself and the world from a place of compassion.

A person who can be still enough to see reality for what it actually is.

A person who is gentle and empathetic, and yet isn’t afraid to speak honestly.

My life is being saved in the daily moments, and I’m grateful.

What is saving your life this winter?