January 22, 2015
Little by little
Moving past your chronic shame and humiliation: when you are dealing with long term,life altering disease, you can easily spend as much time fighting emotion and anxiety as you do facing your symptoms & fighting for your life. After over a decade of living with chronic disease, I am now able to recognize and maybe even recover a little on the mental and emotional fronts...
What I have found enormously helpful is sharing these feelings. Some people do well with support groups, AA, NA, online groups etc - I have benefited from the process of creating content for this unexpected journey into web journals which I had no personal experience using, let alone writing prior to the day I began. Literally I had never read a blog to my knowledge and had no idea how to create a page or post or get anyone to read it and that's a good thing ... if I had any knowledge of what I could end up with or how many people would show up to read my posts on average... well I would have tried to do it all perfectly and probably would not have launched the 1st post until I felt I had things organized and looking good and professional and everything else that I am now ready and able to focus on the writing process. I struggle to stay on task, on topic and in touch with the world off screen.
So blogging on Between Health and Wealth Avenues was never planned. I had no prior experience with, or awareness of, what would go into it other than the writing and picture uploads. I thought it was going to be a short term hobby with few readers and little interest from others besides a few friends, family members and chronic lymies. I was mistaken aparently. It's one of thoise times when being wrong is actaully pretty great!
Sometimes the process of writing with the intention of helping, helps you learn how to help yourself in the end. Weird huh? But that's exactly what's happening - little by little I learn, little by little I teach, little by little I move forward, little by little I move away from the life I've wanted nothing more then to leave in my wake for over a decade now - and no I do not leave my illness behind or my mistakes and suffering and the total devastation to my self esteem, faith, pride, personal goals, physical and mental strength and of course my independence. It may not appear like it to others but I am fighting the effects of these losses in my personality and perspective, to this day - and I do so because I have regained enough of my health and mental clarity and have made some real headway in many ways this last year to warrant sharing my story. I spread good news to those who need it most - but more importantly I spread hope and truth - neither of which we can live without.
I am trying to shake off the negativity and uncertainty that comes with being ill long term. I am trying not to focus on it, not to feed the ornery little devil. I need to distract myself, or direct my energy elsewhere. I am still spending time, quite a lot of time, feeling these things so strongly and so often that I don't know how to ignore or forget it except to stay busy and keep trucking along with the reader in mind. My past is chock full of horrors and harmful thinking - and now it's like a ticking clock that keeps you awake in the night when the rest of the house is able to sleep through it... well that's the way it feels regularly and that is why I share it tonight - just to let you know dear friend if you are in the fight of your life or feeling like there's no fight left in you that you are not alone. This is the bizarre world I am living in? This is what it feels like to survive - to begin again? Apparently. Not at all what I'd have thought but most of life has gone differently than I would have believed, wanted or sought. It doesn't mean it's not exactly what I need.
I am waiting for the time when I am at peace with this lifelong disease- if and when I am able to find peace - I know I am closer then I was in my 20's. Not close enough to fool my ego apparently. I should know I am not in control of this life or this Lyme by now... I do recognize this on many levels, but the damn ego continues to go on as if the last 13 years had not occurred. Sigh - perhaps that is the root of my sadness and sense of misalignment with my own emotions, experiences and intellect. They say seek and ye shall find - I am finding the opposite at this point in my life and I think all things consider, I'm doing pretty well with it- I'm trying to listen, learn, accept and admit the things that are the hardest - darkest and most imprisoning... especially since I am all too aware of how much of a prison the Lyme and co-infections is, and will be in my future most likely: improsoning me physically, neurologically, emotionally, and mentally... but that realization of being imprisoned by something neurological and diagnosable was what sent me on the path of seeking mental summits and sustenance again. I couldn't handle my own reality - nobody could I'd venture to guess - and no explanations came forward, no Doctor sat us down and explained it all. No epilogue was written, year after year it simply was... in various phases of misdiagnosis. Even after it was found and diagnosed and treated, it was still being misdiagnosed in ways that are too complex, political and absurd for the average semi-healthy western reader to believe until they live through it year after year. Take my word for it - Lyme is going to go down as one of the bigger medical tragedies in this century because it is chock full of cover ups, denials, and mistakes --- which aren't made by mistake --- if you know what I mean. Typical government bureaucracy and b.s. which has it's reasons for whatever travesty it creates or covers-up
But that's better left unsaid I suppose - oops - never was good at keeping my opinion to myself. I am trying to recognize an intense reality without painting a bigger, brighter target on my back and truth tellers especially those with imagination often end up walking right into the line of fire - am I right?
Thankfully I have regained a significant amount of strength, and immune health since I started Juice Plus and that's a fact. Yet, I have 13 years of toil, heartache, and active daily Lyme disease which consists of literally hundreds of symptoms after years without treatment because it infects anywhere your blood goes including our brain, muscle, and even burrows into skin and bone using it's spiral shape; like a corkscrew... hence the term spirochete.
Little by little we move on - little by little we find answers. It just may be the answer to a question you had never before asked.... it may be an answer you didn't consider before. It may be too much of an answer for your small delicate human brain and immature soul to handle or accept. But little by little the answers come - not all answers. Not when you seek them necessarily. Not when you wish for them and rarely in the language you speak fluently... answers come down to us like ancient artifacts unearthed slowly, painstakingly on an archeological dig. You may wish to use a back hoe and go for it - dig til you hit pay dirt but if you take a week to sift through an area carefully and in coordinated efforts then you may stumble on the items you are seeking. More likely you will find things that you weren't looking for and they will be answers to questions unasked, unconsidered, unthought. That's how I need to look at my life this year. And last year... and probably the year before - who knows what deep dark desires and despairs I was feeling and fighting at the time of regular hospital trips and ambulance rides and suffering in solitude or seeking solace in anything, even the things I didn't like or want, but when you face the kind of turmoil and pain and life or death decisions I did to survive the disease, the flare ups, the medications, the lack of medication, the side effects and sickness from the medications, well at some point you realize if you're not keeping your eyes wide open you will never come to terms with your own reality. Reality is chaos. Surviving it must revolve around something else.
I move onward. I begin again.
Little by little
I help and hope...and heal.
Little by little -Right? So friends I am putting my faith in you - that someone out there is with me - gets my train of thought and references and puns and follows without harsh criticism... is that so much to ask? No. And dear friend if you should be in pain, sick, friendless, stuck etc. - know now I am here for you. I may not be the best of company or the wisest. I may not be what you sought but perhaps I am what was needed? Perhaps I helped in some small way - helped you, helped myself --- who knows. When in this depth of emotion and driven to write the uncomfortable things - the unhappy thoughts, the difficult and uncertain posts, the ideas based on honesty which you don't want to write per Se yet it needs to happen... I am here in thought and mind and deed for you.
Maybe the answer you need will come on the next dig. Maybe we can find answers together?
Little by Little we'll get there.
And so I find myself sharing my thoughts, experiences, hopes and fears with the world in a manner of speaking and helping myself and others at the same time. It's quite overwhelming - taking such responsibility. I may feel embarrassment, insecurity
I wish you a happy, healthy and healing day full of sunshine and hope! Y'all come back now ya hear?Much Peace, Audrey
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HAVE A HAPPY AND HEALTH DAY MY FRIENDS. Y'all come back now ya hear?
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January 12, 2015
An extra large order of forgiveness- with a side of slaw please... (Ritual and Release: Part I. Forgiveness)
Howdy folks! I hope everyone is doing well. I have been sporadic with my posts I know - due to travels and technical difficulties which seem to be a chronic illness in and of themselves. Today I wanted to share some notes I took this week on the process of forgiveness. This is something I seriously need to work on especially when it comes to forgiving myself but we all have our weaknesses I'm sure. I decided yesterday to start incorporating more rituals into my life when it comes to the areas on which I need the most work and the anthropologist in me is saying "why didn't you do this earlier? Surely you know the importance of rituals!" Well nobody said I was the fastest when it comes to self realization and implementing methods of self care and growth... but at least I'm finally getting there.
It is going to take serious work on my part I know and that's why I share it here - I usually write what I need to remember the most - the lessons I am still learning and discovering - the tasks at hand - the ideas I need to put into action and not just store in the "good idea" or "great advice" folder of my life. No this is the ongoing "to do list" for myself and others and I'm so glad to know others are with me on this journey. Thank you for joining me here once again friends. Together we can become better versions of ourselves. That I believe wholeheartedly. But I admit I need a lot of assistance with forgiveness especially forgiving and moving on after my own past. I've always been incredibly hard on myself even when it served no purpose. Even when it made no sense - like when I got Lyme disease and the slew of horrors that have occurred with my health... I have always felt if I tried hard enough I could control it - I could undo the damage to relationships and self esteem and physical limitations. I still have not learned in my heart and mind that this approach is foolish. Intellectually I know this. I recognize and analyze and comprehend on as many levels as possible but emotionally, when it's just me, myself and I - well, I continue to feel guilt and shame, and despair over the absolutely uncontrollable aspects of this life. Absurd? Yes. True? Yes. Such is our human condition I suppose. And this is one of many reasons I need to work on forgiving myself, and others in this lifetime - starting right now.
Even as I write I begin my normal routine of criticizing myself for not having done this sooner, earlier, last year, last month, yesterday. Like I said - I'm a work in progress. We all are.
Nope. It's not. It's easy to say and commonplace to agree with when another reminds us to do so. It's much different when you put this idea into action. Remember above all it's an investment - it's a process and if you're intelligent and inspired - well it will be a process that never ends. Sounds fun right? I mean who does not want to begin something else with everything going on in our daily lives - who among us has the time to spare? Well if you're smart - if we're smart that is then we will all make the time. It's a process but it doesn't begin until you do, and nobody can do it for you.
Start with this simple outline - I always find when I have a plan it makes focusing on such tasks a lot easier and more beneficial to me. I may be old fashioned by recommending a pen and paper but is there anything so personal as your own handwriting? I mean it leaves so much room for interpretation by you the writer - long after you put the pen down. It's a gift to yourself later on too. I can tell a lot about myself based on what color pen I decided to use and how legible the writing is after the fact. If I'm struggling with my neurological Lyme I notice the shaky hands and difficulty I had with spelling and writing straight and I am realizing now it's healthy to see this when the words reflect my own personal work. If I find a piece of writing, a blog post idea, a to-do list from 6 months ago and compare it to my lists from 6 years ago I can congratulate myself - I'm actually writing, reflecting, my mind is working and I'm making a lot of progress with the inner me. I sometimes get emotional when I see how much I struggled with simple tasks but seeing it and acknowledging it is healthy and reminds me on the good days to work a little harder, stand a little straighter and smile a little brighter. No matter what I Face today I have faced worse before and that's not a cliche in m y life. It's a simple truth and one I'd do well to remember. This is why I encourage you, if you are able, to forgo the computer or tablet with these inner explorations - and don't worry most people find the process takes less time, and feels "complete" sooner when they do it by hand. At least that's been my experience with those who tried this exercise out for me over the last 2 weeks - they all had positive and encouraging things to say and felt it was worth a little time and effort. One friend told me she felt lighter and hopes to do this at least once a month now. You go girl! (And remind me to join you lady...)
Start here: Write this at the top of your paper - "I acknowledge and release the lessons of my past. I release my shortcomings. I forgive. I forgive you. I forgive myself. I forgive my friend(s). I forgive my family. I forgive the human race. I forgive God." (Note: The last line raises some eyebrows but I think it's important to say because many of us carry grievances in our heart against God, or entities or spirits or energy and without acknowledging this we can not begin the process of self love and forgiveness. If it offends you leave it out.)
Now pause and read what you just wrote allowed. Then continue where you left off...
"I forgive myself. I forgive others for their actions and shortcomings too. In order to go forward in peace I forgive and look for inner and outer peace and harmony."
Now insert your own specifics here - things you want to be forgiven for - it can be general or specific. If you're going all the way back to the candy bar you stole in 3rd grade then you're probably getting to specific and working yourself up which is NOT the point of this. Guilt is not going to help us heal but it is a symptom of the sickness in your heart and soul - a sickness that can be healed if you allow it, accept it and welcome it. This is your chance.
Take your regrets and sorrows from the past and when your brain shifts to making lists (and it will I promise) that's your sign to start a new page. Trust me. Start a new page and know it will be a list not a prayer, or a paragraph or anything like that - it's short, sweet and to the point. Take your regrets and guilt and sorrows from the past, LIST THEM on the left of the page. Give yourself a couple of lines in between as I've found most of us get less neat and tidy when doing this, and sometimes the item listed is a sentence or two long even if you meant it to be shorter. That's fine. Get it down on the page. You can mix your personal items with those offenses done to you by others. This is not a test. The more you let things flow, the better. This can take some people 10 minutes. One person ended up writing for almost 3 hrs apparently - no it wasn't me but on a different day in a different mood it well could have been. Don't judge or criticize others or yourself to the best of your ability. Your examining wounds - expect them to be sore for a moment or two but remember this is the ointment to heal these wounds and you'll feel so much better when it's done. If the idea appeals to you that's your soul telling you to get to it! Why wait? This baggage is heavy and unnecessary - why carry it another hour or day?
Now if you're like some folks and want to give up after 2 minutes I encourage you to really invest in this for 10-15 minutes without your phone, or TV or email open. Just you, your thoughts, the pen and paper. It'll be okay. It's 15 minutes. Breath.
When you are done with your list, or when you need a break - emotionally - go through the items on this list and one by one write in a column next to the items " I FORGIVE MYSELF." or "I FORGIVE THIS PERSON"... as appropriate. This is the most important part. Don't rush this but do focus on finishing the exercise. You're close afterall. This is where the payoff will be.
IF YOU CAN'T YET FORGIVE THIS OFFENSE OR THIS PERSON CIRCLE IT. CIRCLE IT AND KNOW YOU WILL COME BACK TO IT IN THE END.
Okay stay with me. Nobody said this was easy - just that it's worth it. SO WORTH IT!
Re-read your opening paragraph please "I acknowledge and release the lessons of my past..." and then come back to those circled items. If you still feel the same - like you can't forgive yourself, or this person etc YET - then start your 3rd and final sheet of paper. Write out the offenses on the left side of the paper once again - only the ones you couldn't forgive on page 2 - and on the right side of the paper make a list of actions you may need to do, or words you need to say, or confessions you want to make, or apologies you want to hear which you think would allow you to forgive this event and release your grip on it. Now don't get carried away. This is not the time to start calling people and picking fights nor is it the time to chastise yourself and let your guilty conscious carry you into an emotional black hole. And if you are invested in yourself and in the process this is something you may feel momentarily but still be able to walk away from. Remember to focus on ways to forgive, not get even, or atone necessarily. This is about releasing the baggage of past regrets and sorrows because it's good for you. It's good for your soul and spirit. It's good for the self. Therefore it's good for others as well. If you have written down actions and ideas for how to forgive yourself for offenses against another - you can start implementing them later today or tomorrow. You want to finish this but not overwhelm yourself. Some wounds are deep and as long as you're working on them you're progressing. It's your work and effort here though not another's. So if you have written down anything that involves someone else taking actions or speaking the words you want, expect, or feel are necessary to heal then I'm sorry to inform you - that is an item on the list to circle AGAIN. As long as you see it for what it is and circle it you'll be able to finish today's excercise. The items you have circled twice are things you can not yet forgive in yourself or others, and have now acknowledged you need to work on again - perhaps tomorrow or the day after. Give yourself some time and then start this exercise over, don't just pick up on page 3 where you left off - that gives the whole thing an unfinished feel and I promised you this would make you feel better. It will if you acknowledge how many things you just released instead of focusing on the items you still have to work on. SO Go through that list and look at what you just accomplished. You have started the healing process for how many painful parts of the past? For how many grievances, shortcomings and sorrows? Be proud of yourself! Remember it's a process. It will never be finished which is why it's all the more important to get started now.
Tomorrow you start again - and I bet the list will be much shorter and take less time to get through. Congratulations you have officially begun to heal your soul.
WHEN AND ONLY WHEN YOU FEEL THIS LIST IS COMPLETE, BURN IT! YIPEE. FREEDOM FEELS FANTASTIC. WAY TO GO FRIENDS. Way to go.
HAVE A HAPPY AND HEALTH DAY MY FRIENDS. Y'all come back now ya hear? : )
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