360: The Ashes of Discovery

Photo on 3-31-13 at 12.07 PM

I pulled myself into church, today.

I have been searching within about where to take my next steps, in regards to my calling and passion for service. I believe spirit planted in my heart a connection that will lead me through.

Just yesterday, I was able to slip out of a depression brought on by PMDD, a condition I believe to be common with women on the autistic spectrum, and a condition that quadrupled my pain and quadrupled my thoughts of unworthiness.

I am recognizing that the first twenty-days, following my cycle, I have energy, renewed hope, an abundance of radiating light, and confidence in my journey. Interestingly, when sorting through my blog posts, I noticed a definite trend. Through my words, I can readily see how I become sad following a cycle of hope.

It is very surreal for me to step back and become the observer of self, to see what has transpired in the last thirteen months, and to reflect in the place and places I stood. The experience teaches me that indeed I am continually transitioning and continue to be increased in my faith and vocation, despite the set backs and the challenges, all which derive from my own self (ego, self-form, lack in faith.)

In recognizing this PMDD and how it affects my moods, and thusly my ability to remain steadfast in hope and courage, I am understanding I would benefit from putting support in place. As the last ten days of the cycle following ovulation, (I follow the exact cycle of the full moon.), I seep day-by-day into a greater degree of pain and disheartenment. I have found, though, through review, if I am surrounded by family and/or friends, I am pulled out of isolation, and therefore the depression is lifted and I am filled with love.

In seeing this, it makes sense for me to put into place a support system, in which my friends and family understand what is happening to me at a biological level. I am working on creating this space for me, of love and nourishment of soul, in the next weeks, while I am in a “good” place, not yet exhausted or immobile from the various “syndromes” I am healing from.

This has brought me much clarity, the recognition of the PMDD and how in effect I am not governed by my mind and/or spirit when the hormones shift rapidly. Knowing I am a part of the percent who feels an actual sensitivity to my hormones makes complete sense. And to a lesser degree has, much like the discovering of Aspergers, led me to several ah!-ha! moments, in which I review the past in flash backs and recognize that though I struggled repeatedly for answers to my pain and suffering, and dedicated my efforts to “controlling” my moods and pain through faith, that in fact, some things were beyond my control.

I see this as a direct parallel in how I searched for decades for answers about why I felt different from the majority (Aspergers), and wearily came up with few answers. In the past, increasingly, as I dedicated myself to finding solutions, increasingly I was disappointed, and sometimes shunned and criticized. My strength in self faltered in stability, as my hormones shifted, and I can see this in photographs of myself where I am bloated, discouraged, and have a sadness in my eyes that radiates lost and abandoned.

I now understand that why for some thirty years I have struggled monthly with a feeling of being lost to myself. To a degree I have been. For during these ten days, I develop a skewered view of my physical body: I believe that I am extremely fat, ugly, disproportionately put together wrong, and unworthy of recognition. I essentially hide from the world and the fear of judgment, becoming immobile and unable to leave my house, even to step into the yard. This confusion of my appearance is a trait of PMDD, and possibly a result of a variant enzyme in my body. This makes sense.

However, for so long, with both Aspergers and my mood “swings,” I blamed myself and my inability to rise and conquer my own mind and weeping spirit. How funny to think I was my worst judge and worst enemy, believing if I only tried harder and hard enough I would create the person I wished to be.

In truth it was the process of surrender and exposure of self that led to the underlying waves of causation, e.g., admitting weakness and loss of control led to answers. This recent last week of self-discovery was patched with confusion and doubt. Yet, I am thankful I gave up long enough to find the answers. Too, this past week, was filled with fear, which I am certain affected my pain-threshold and outlook.

The fear arose from illusion: that of death, illness, and surprise. I have carried with me, since a small child, the inevitable feeling that death will surprise me. Perhaps this dread surfaced from the dreams of prophecy I had in my youth wherein I predicted the death of my beloved pets. Perhaps the fear was constructed from the experience of continual change and loss of people in my life. Maybe, the fear took root when my kindergarten teacher died. Or just maybe the distrust and feelings of doom are genetically or spiritually a part of who I am at this moment.

Regardless, fear of death is a constant battle, an aspect of my life I am releasing continually. I have learned to recognize this fear before both feet are through my threshold. I acknowledge this existence of up most illusion.

“Fear,” I whisper.
“Fear,” I say.

And then I retreat back, a gentler part of self, and watch with much release as the messages spin and play, some forgotten record moved again by some forgotten will. In this way I survive. In this way I live.

Recently, in observing this fear all week, revved-up by the revelation of an inherent physical “flaw,”—that of PMDD—I was able to again and again surrender to my higher power and wrap my heart around the concept of submission. I feared, certainly, as the illusion came knocking again and again. But something remarkable has happened in the last months. In essence, I am so highly aware of fear’s calling that at first knock I am already removed, letting only a part of self dance and the rest set about to learn, as if placed in classroom by something beyond chance.

This is a level of transition from where I was before; and though I tremble and weep inside, experiencing moments of extreme bouts of forsaken soul, the rest of me, a greater mass, retreats into the echoes of truth, beckoning the light at the end of the bleakness to move forward and touch me before I step to touch light.

And this is glorious. For as I am in the mold of shadows, I also dwell in the light of goodness. And I know, with this flicker of hope, I will be alright. I am learning, slowly and steadily, to hold onto the glimmer, the slimness of glory, and learning in time, with the passing of days, I will return.

Is this still frightening, this purging of fear?

Yes, extremely so.

But am I growing and reaping benefit?

Yes, I am.

In all ways I am the embers in the fire pierced in pain, releasing to the cold black of coal, and then being rectified, removed from the flame ash, and brought back to the earth of goodness. And this is what I hold onto: The ability to continually rise from the ashes.

In saying all of this, I will release my fear, as I have been taught in vision that beyond fear is where I find love’s adobe.

When I abide in love, I am free. And so I tell you, my listener, what I fear.

I fear that I am creating a book and that in this book will be a history that is all of me, and that is to me frightening in varying degrees.

First is the judgment that will be set upon me, as writer, as woman, but beyond that as spirit. But this I can conquer, this fear is limiting and unsubstantial in its potency. For I know I am love and light, as I know you are.

The second fear is found in the process of building a foundation of support. I will be led, and have been led, in direction in regards to this journey; a journey which I now hesitate to call mine, as so many of you reading are affectively part of this journey now. In being led, I know I will hit walls and ditches and even waterfalls; I will tumble and fall; I am human and shall not be perfect. And in this fear, too, I am ready to breathe. I can breathe here, in this illusion of failure and wrong turns, possible deceit, and survive. I see this as only shadows and a necessary part of my path, much faced already and much climbed. So, yes, this fear I can release, too.

Thirdly, and perhaps the biggest fear, is found in the potentiality of being separated from others.

I am fearful I will non-intentionally create a path that others interpret as rigid, narrow, and religious. And that is not my intention. I welcome all walks of faith and walks of life. I have been shown in vision the discrepancies of spirit filtered through the falsehood of judgment and pride. I have been shown that my path is never the right path and never the right way. That my perception and my very comfort and haven of safety, have been self-created based on circumstance and what I choose to see and make my foundation and truth. In essence my truth can never be anyone else’s truth unless the all of us are one.

And in this way, I hesitate, in the way of a one wanting to be a helper to all and not a select group. I want to be a gift to all who need refuge and retreat, and not a one who would by appearance, and appearance alone, be an illusion of someone who segregates and isolates.

Thusly, in connecting any of my works to a title or an establishment, I also at the same time connect myself to a “label,” and to the judgment of others based on that label.

And it is in this judgment my fear lives. Here in the heart of me who weeps knowing that by choosing anything at anytime, others are automatically left out by their own doing.

But left out of what? Left out of what? Is what I ask.

In truth, I imagine, they are actually left out of nothing, beyond my own journey.

And so is this my fear: The fear of being separated by my perceived actions?

Is this fear not once again the same fear that is the irrigation and fertilization system of Aspergers?

The fear of being left out by another from his or her perceived judgment of my action. That of his energy shifting, his thoughts, his opinion, his view of me, in fact the existence of me (as I only exist in interpretation), being altered without my control.

Yes. This is the deepest fear. The loss of control.

In reviewing this with audience, I see that in stepping out and making choice in the direction for my book, I am at the same time creating a space for my deepest fear of separation based on others’ views. And thusly, I recognize that this, too, this journey to create my story into book form, like my genetic makeup, like my view of the world, like the way I communicate–literally crying and shaking in my boots—is yet another mirror exposing fear bred from the beast of longing to control.

And today, on this day of resurrection, I release, I let go of this part of self, who so longs to unite and join, but still hovers under the illusion and want of control.

I let go of this self who wishes to dislodge judgment and rigidness from her own being, yet still formulates and categorizes in hopes of solution.

I release this frightened child who thinks that like before the rest of the world will rebel against her way of existence. And I give to myself the gift of removal of control.

With deep breath and settling awareness, I set about to create a place for my mission that is not predicated by fear, not paved by intention beyond love; a path that circumvents all thoughts of separation.

In doing this, in proclaiming my truth, I again dismiss fear to the outer barriers, where he waits to teach me more. And I celebrate his fire, his flame, his ability to mold me again and again into the ashes of discovery.

I know not who I be anymore than another. I know nothing more than my brother. I know only that I am called, and in so doing will no longer hide in the shadows of fear.

Because I know by faith I walk, and in this way of the child with passion, I continue forward to meet the next imagined stranger who is already friend.

359: Call Me Crazy….an Aspie Rant

Call me crazy (I’ve always wanted to use that phrase in a sentence.), but I have a hard time reading a book or article about how to best associate with (e.g,. marry, date) people with Aspergers, when the authors writing the material don’t have Aspergers. I don’t know exactly how to describe this irkish-sensation…

however the scenario of a typical (non-aspie) “professional” announcing to the world how to help someone with Aspergers seems akin to an alien beaming down from a purple planet and telling me how to be more human.

Yes, I purposely did a spin on my example, as in most people’s eyes the “professional” would be the human and the aspie would be the purple-planet alien. (One-eyed-one-horned-flying-purple-people-eater entering mind.) But indeed, that is precisely my point; so much is written about how to help the person afflicted with Aspergers or how to get along with the person with Aspergers, but what about the articles and books that explain to the person with Aspergers how to get along with the non-aspie people?

Why is it that I, and my fellow non-aliens, are continually dissected in our ways, set apart, and then sorted by our inherent flaws, so the others can learn to live with us? I mean is this being done for other people with “special needs,” too. Or is it just us Aspies that need to come attached with a handbook?

If we changed the scenario, just a tiny bit, and turned this into cultural differences; I don’t know let’s say an entire book written by a Caucasian person about what it is like to be African American and how to adapt behaviors and implement strategies to get along with the African American, do you think maybe there might be an issue? Hmmmm.

Or how about if a Doctor of….let’s see…. How about someone who studies squids! Let’s call him Squidman. Well Squidman all of the sudden finds out there is a bunch of money to be made in writing a book about Redwood Trees (as they recently became 2% of the population of all trees!), and so seeing he has a doctorate degree in squids and all, he sets about to study up a bit on the mighty redwood. And soon Dr. Squidman becomes the leading expert on redwoods! Cha-ching, Cha-ching, and out he births book two. Redwoods of the Deep Sea.

Is this making sense, yet? I guess being aspie myself and all, I am just a bit weary when yet another book or freelance article comes out about Aspergers and not much attention is paid to the source, the credentials, and/or the personhood of the person writing the book. I’m certain this happens in all subject areas that suddenly become a hot topic and therefore a hot commodity, but when the subject is about an actual neurological condition with actual people who have the condition and are struggling to make sense of the condition, and the whole sharks-coming-out-to-feed transpires, the experience is just somewhat that much more frightening and sad.

I am a bit over sensitive I suppose (must be my lack of empathy or inability to process emotions the typical way) about trusting any “experts” in general, as they belong to the same clam (clan…sorry Dr. Squidman did the editing) who couldn’t figure out for the last twenty-years that I even had Aspergers and who couldn’t figure out my son had it either.

If I read one more time about how a person with Aspergers can’t read non-verbal cues, I am going to scream, have a huge aspie meltdown and run out the door naked! Because you know people with Aspergers do that. Every full moon they run out the door naked and yell at the Trees. They do, really (Squidman, 2013).

After fifteen years of being married to me, my husband is a leading expert of what it is like being married to a woman with Aspergers. With his help and my brains (and his brains, too; he is pretty smart), we could tell you how the whole marriage to an Aspie person works. And there ain’t no little book or one page article that will do the trick! It’s tons of work, tons of compromise, and tons of love; just like any successful marriage. There isn’t any secret trick or secret way to make it better or to make it easier.

I don’t need to come with a handbook that explains to my mate how to deal with me. He needs to come with one. He’s a man! All men need to come with one, and a woman should write it.

Every person with Aspergers is different and uniquely unique. We can’t be clustered into one type of person with a few easy steps to make life easier to get along with us. HELLO! I am a person. I am not a type. I am not Aspergers. And I am not a male with Aspergers, either. There is a difference, you know!

Of course I respect people trying to truly help other people; but it’s all the profiteering off of the new trend “Aspergers” that’s got me a bit concerned. All of the sudden everyone is claiming to be an expert, when the “experts” don’t even know what Aspergers is yet, what causes it, or how to classify it. I mean there are articles claiming brain imagining can now detect Aspergers. It can? Last time I checked it couldn’t.

People are so hungry for knowledge, which is a great thing, but it’s a time to be cautious too and to take notice of the wolves and deceit. People will regurgitate facts to push a book. People will copy works to make a dime.

People will do what they have always done: exploit a people to make a profit.

And that’s what’s so ironic; here are all these NT (neurotypical people) rushing out to claim fame through trickery, lying, stealing, or at the minimum claiming they actually understand a complex neurological disorder they have never experienced, while it is the people with the character traits of honesty, sincerity, no game-playing, and loyalty whom are being dissected and analyzed and spread out for display.

Seems to me I need a book about how to deal with the profiteering thieves!

I am by no means saying everyone who writes about Aspergers ought to have Aspergers. Some of the leading experts have done brilliant work and assisted thousands of families; but I am saying be careful of what you read and what truths you believe out there. There are many clichés being recycled, many which are not true and don’t apply to the female with Aspergers experience.

I am not a child. I am highly intelligent. And my husband doesn’t need someone else telling him how we can better get along. I am right here. Ask me! I know.

And since I mentioned it. Here’s my quick article on being married to a man. I have been married for fifteen years to one, so this makes me an expert! Also, I have a Masters Degree in Squidology.

1) He will watch sports a lot. Take time before the games to express your needs. He may seem self-absorbed and fixated during the actual game, but don’t take it personally. He may get overly emotional, sometimes shouting obscenities or displaying nervous ticks. Give him a timer and let him know after an hour it is important for you to receive his undivided attention. Suggest five minutes to start and slowly increase the time. Then in return let him express a need you can fulfill. You can use a timer for that, too.

2) Toilets might be an issue. Keep the lid down when you can. But if the toilet is continually left up by the man then give him gentle reminders. When he does remember to shut the lid consider leaving a sticky note with a smiling face. If he still doesn’t remember, give him a break, he has short term bathroom memory condition. This will affect the toilet paper roll being refilled and he may forget how long he has been sitting on the toilet. Be patient. His brain is different from yours and obviously he needs time away. Ignore the smells; they eventually dissipate.

3) As a man gains weight his snoring will increase. Also, he might be prone to binge eating and drinking, especially during social functions. This is a natural response to being around other people of his gender. Keep a bag of ice in the fridge, so he is prepared for unexpected guests. Invest in earplugs. He can’t help the snoring. And with all the fast food establishments, he isn’t to blame for the gain in weight. Hold tight. Reflect the behavior you want to see. Eat healthy in front of him and cuddle him when he snores. If all else fails take breaks on the couch and let him stretch out in bed. Remember his body is different than yours.

4) Socializing can present problems. Try to recognize his behavior does not reflect you as a person. Sit down and have a talk in a safe and calming environment. Provide him with notecards about appropriate conversation in front of your friends. Roll play scenarios and give him examples of how to build you up and compliment you in front of guests. If he already does this, you are ahead of the game. Show him what is appropriate to wear. But don’t throw out that old shirt no matter how ugly it appears; this represents a connection to the past and provides a sense of security. Now that he is married he may seem miserable, but be reassured he is not. You are.

(This is a stereotypical generalization of a gender. Kind of like a stereotypical generalization of a group of individuals who have the same neurological condition.)

358: Love or Fear? Learning to let go of behaviors.

Some of my personality traits are directly stemmed from fear. What I once thought were very much aspects of my “aspiness,” I see are/were merely coping mechanism in attempt to adapt to the way I see the world.

Primarily, from birth, the world has seemed an unsafe place. It was not until I risked my greatest self and outpoured my authentic fears and misgivings that I was able to unleash this fear that had for so long been my bed partner.

For decades, I carried fear with me, as if fear was my only shield. In fact, oftentimes I mistook fear as a friend. Looking back, I understand I chose fear and “he” did not choose me. I chose fear because, though fear be an illusion, at the time this emotion seemed the only emotion I could comprehend, in essence the only emotion I could feel. Fear was my feeling. Encompassing fear, virtually sprouting off of his imagined edges, were his dynamo of legions, his mutant henchmen, cloaked in garbs of: abandonment, not-enough, isolation, never good, ugly, stupid, crazy, and so on.

The illusions dangled in front of me, and, in so doing, led me to latch on to more fear, for as I was lost in the dance of unworthiness, I had no one to turn to but fear. Fear became my shadow, the very essence of what I projected outward and how I walked in the world.

People could sense this—my fear. What I thought were off springs of my love, e.g., smothering with attention, care-taking, continually checking in, over-sharing, creating, placating, agreeing, giving, being there, listening, etc., were in actuality further illusion. My love for another did not exist. My love for others could not exist because my love for self did not yet exist. And as I had no love for myself, the only thing I could find was fear, and the only thing I could manifest was fear.

Today I am only beginning to understand the concept of love because I am only just beginning to accept and love myself in completion. The more I do, the more I step away from fear; the more I step away, the clearer my vision becomes. The removal of self from the circus-ring of fear resembles the removal of residue from a glass-window. I spray the film with love, and the love washes away the illusion, revealing the beauty of existence.

Fear is more so a drug to me now than a partner. He is enticing and familiar; however I recognize the dangers. I loose myself in fear. When with fear, my energy is not my own, and I become unhealthy in behaviors which affect myself and those around me. I feed off the fear by attempting to suck up the love from others, perhaps in the form of approval. I feed off the fear by taking myself out of the picture and focusing on what is outside of myself.

In fear someone or something is wrong. Whether this wrong is assumed to be in a behavior, a projected outcome, a circumstance or in self alone, makes no difference, for illusion exists regardless. In attaching onto the illusion of fear, something neutral turns to something beyond neutral.

In applying fear, I judge. In a sense fear and judgment are one. Although I understand the two vary: fear is an illusion and judgment is a response to fear. Yet still, to see another openly without judgment can produce no fear.

People judge to understand, or so they think. They judge to categorize and make sense, or so they think. But as young children we survived without such categorization. We existed to play, to laugh, to feel joy, and to openly give without reason or intention. We loved.

When judgment slipped in, a behavior/reaction repeatedly mirrored by society, fear slipped in as well. This isn’t to say judgment is the only sub-product of fear, but it is a very large portion.

Fear often stems from the inability to accept self and love self. In fear, a person projects himself onto others, finding the others’ flaws and differences; or in cases of fondness, a person picks and chooses the character traits of another that he or she likes. What we forget is that inevitably everything and everyone will change and transition, for nothing is stagnant and no one remains entirely the same, predictable, and unmoving. To initiate friendship and/or love based on judgment and evaluation denotes eventual failure, unless the illusion of fear is lifted. In false-love various aspects are appreciated and various aspects are disregarded. And in so doing, an individual hopes in someway that the aspects he has chosen to appreciate will grow and the aspects he has chosen to disregard shall simply disappear. Furthermore, we apply the aspect of hope, hoping the other might change to our liking, improve, or learn from us. This is not unconditional love. This is love and/or union based on judgment. This is love based on fear.

To love fully one must remove him or herself from the equation, to remove the judge, and become less judger and more lover. This, the removing of judge, is an impossibility until the aspect of self-love is grasped. When one loves self, he or she sees the beauty in everyone. This is a truth.

When one loves self, he or she sees straight to the core of the other person and sees a reflection of self. He or she sees a person just as self; a person trying his or her best to walk in this world. The rest are illusions. The doubts, the fears, the misgivings, and even the non-trusting. A person who loves self recognizes these truths and a gentle knowing radiates from his or her being. People are naturally attracted to a person choosing to release judgment. There is a safety there, a familiarity of home.

In this knowing the onlooker accepts the other as equally one without judgment and without fear. This is true love and this is the only love possible. All other concepts are intruders and imaginary games.

Some of my past behaviors based on fear that I thought was part of “me” that I could not change:

1. Over analyzing what someone has written or spoken and trying to figure out the meaning. I was over analyzing in an attempt to protect myself. I thought I needed protection from the other person hurting me. I over analyzed to make sure I wasn’t misinterpreted, misunderstood, seen in the “wrong” light, taken the “wrong” way, and/or in attempt to catch hints of how the other person “saw” me. Basically, I wanted to try to make sure the other person liked or, better yet, loved me. The focus was on self and self alone. What did this person say that reflects me as a person?

2. Obsessing over someone. I mistook this as a physical and/or spiritual attraction. What was indeed going on was primarily bio-chemical fed by my fears. While I do believe in kindred spirits, I do not believe that when I am obsessing and/or acting in an addicted manner that this is an indication of love or even passion. I believe obsessive behavior about another person stems from not feeling worthy enough in the core of self. How can I make this person see and love me?

3. Talking a lot. When I first meet someone I tend to go overboard and over share. In a huge way there is something chemical going on in my brain, there is a need to verbally process and I feel release when I am done. I usually do what I would call “over-sharing” the first two or three times I am with someone in conversation, especially if one-on-one. I thought this was something out of my control, a part of my wiring. To a degree there are elements that present this as a truism: that indeed I do need to verbally process to relieve the pressure inside of me. I do not know if this behavior will stop completely but I know it can transition. I recognize when I feel at peace I don’t need to over share. I am recognizing too that I have the power to choose what I share about. I can withhold words that don’t benefit me or another. When I am coming from a place of fear, I am thinking: How can I make this person know me? Or look how smart I am!

4. Over-giving. When I find myself creating for someone else repeatedly in the form of poetry, stories, paintings, or the like, or in the form of service, such as cleaning or giving of my time, then I know I am over-giving because I am in need of love and recognition. When this happens, I am not feeling filled within self and think that if I give enough to another, they will 1) See how lovely and giving I am and 2) Eventually give back. This is again conditional love. This is love based on return. I am thinking: How can I get more love from them? Look how giving I am.

5. Being short or disappearing. In conversation I might not answer back or provide little responses, hoping the other person will notice that I am upset or need validation. To me this feels like game-playing. I am essentially wanting attention and wanting love. I am learning to ask for love when I need it, instead of hoping the other person will feel bad enough to give me something that resembles love, but feels more like pity. Love me, Pleaseeeee.

It is exhausting to always focus on self while at the same time fooling myself into thinking I am being loving and have the other person’s interest in mind. For me, it is far easier to just love self and then in return love others.

357: My Pain Conditions

I don’t often talk or write about my physical pain, mostly because pain does not define me as a person. Currently, I have several pain conditions. I suffer more in the winter months and do amazingly well in the summer. Sometimes I can get hit with flare ups from multiple conditions all at the same time, typically around my womanly cycle. That was this last weekend, and yes, that was basically hell.

The pain is not so intense that I require pain killers to function. In fact, I usually only take one over-the-counter pain killer (Tylenol) once or twice a month. I save those beauties for the super tough days. But the pain is always with me; it doesn’t go away.

In doing research about hyper-joint mobility syndrome (closely related to EDS, if not the same?) I discovered it is not uncommon for people with this type of condition to have extreme fatigue by mid-afternoon. That is me for certain. Each day at about four in the afternoon, I am ready to settle on the couch. If I sit, in the latter part of the day, then I will have a difficult time getting back up. Sometimes I have to move all day, e.g., standing, walking, cleaning, errands, etc. because more often than not, as soon as I wind down and take a rest, I won’t be able to move much anymore. That’s why I am prone to spend one or two days a month doing massive non-stop cleanings of the house. It’s the only way I can do housework: all or nothing. Housecleaning itself usually sets me back two to three days in intensified pain, but manageable.

When I take my three to five-mile walks, most days in the summer, and a few times a week in the winter, I am fighting through the pain. Pain in my knee joints, hips, and sometimes back. When I say, “I am taking a walk,” it means a lot more to me than just a walk. Forcing myself out the door means forcing myself through the pain.

Simple tasks, like opening a lid on a jar, bending to retrieve something from the floor, or walking up and down stairs, hurt. I don’t loosen up and feel better after stretches. Stretches actually make me feel worse. My pain feels very much like what I imagine a person would feel after he or she hiked ten miles up hill. It is an all over, generalized body-ache. Sometimes I feel like I took a huge fall or was run over by a thousand little trolls. There are also specific areas in my body that flare up, in the sense it hurts more. I don’t actually swell or get red in areas. Flare ups usually happen in my wrists, fingers, elbows, hips, spine, neck, knees, etc. I am sure I am leaving out some area, but you get the picture. The flare ups feel like a dull ache, not severely painful like a tooth ache, just painful enough that sitting here now, as I type it feels like parts of me are throbbing and/or burning.

I am thankful I can go through my days and still function. I can climb stairs with ease, despite the pain. I can clean. I can walk. I can drive. Somethings that are more jolting on my muscles are actually dangerous for me, as I never completely heal from injuries, and actually develop something similar to scar tissue where the collagen should be healing. Thusly, I still feel the three times I suffered whiplash from car accidents, the time I took a hard fall and landed on my left shoulder, and the time a glass-framed painting fell off the fireplace mantel and landed on me. Those pains won’t ever completely go away.

My children are used to seeing me on the couch. It’s what they have grown up with. What they know as familiar. It’s one of the reasons I find so much time to write. Fortunately, when I write, I can escape my body from time to time. I think my pain is one of the reasons it is hard for me to practice being in the present moment. I am fairly certain that the combination of sensory (bombardment) challenges, Post-Traumatic-Stress Syndrome, and constant pain, make it difficult for me to want to be present.

I wake up several times a night during the harder days, usually from the hip pain. I have to shift my body a bit, and then I am able to fall back to sleep. I consider myself fortunate. I fall asleep easily at a reasonable time of night and stay asleep for the most part. However, part of the reason I fall asleep is because I am utterly exhausted from doing relatively little all day. Just sitting on the couch hurts.

I maintain a fairly good disposition. As much as I hated hearing my mother repeatedly tell me that “Things could be worse,” when I was growing up, it is true, they could be. I do have some almost pain-free days. And on those days, I can truly appreciate the beauty of just being. And on my high-pain days, the longest stretch usually lasting five days, I can remind myself, or ask my husband to remind me, that this too shall pass.

I don’t worry too much about the future. My pain has been pretty stable; in other words, I have felt this crappy for about fifteen years and the crappiness hasn’t increased, at least.

I know NEVER to run; even a short fast sprint to catch my dog will result in body pain for several days. A tumble or a fall might keep me down for a week. And the only “minor” surgery I ever had, a small laproscopic “scraping” for endometriosis, took me a year to heal from. It should have taken two days. And, yes, I still feel the pain there, likely scar tissue that never will heal.

I am super thankful I listened to my angels about six years ago. I was scheduled for a full hysterectomy. I had the operation date, and was already setting up childcare when I heard a distinct and audible: “No.” I can’t imagine what would have happened if I had the surgery. I don’t think I would have ever been the same. If minor surgery took me a year to heal from, what would major surgery have caused? Plus, my acupuncturist at the time, a healer I still see when I travel to California, she gently had offered: “I would not take out any part of a body unless it was a life threatening condition.” In other words: keep all your parts as long as you can.

I think sometimes I accept my pain conditions too much, to the point I practically forget. I get super down on myself for not being able to get up and go, to run out the door and go toss a ball or shoot some hoops. Like other things in life, I sometimes long to be “typical.”

Sometimes I make a sacrifice and will do something I know will cause me days of pain, like painting or roller skating, riding a roller coaster, chasing my son, or climbing hills. Sometimes the sacrifice is very much worth it!

The pain has been a gift in many ways. Like I said, I appreciate the days of less pain. And the days of almost no pain are like heaven. And I have been able to spend valuable time with my children. If I didn’t have this pain condition, I dont think I would have left my teaching job (I am disabled.), because I loved teaching and brought income home for the family. If I was still teaching, I would not have been afforded the opportunity to be a stay-at-home mom and to homeschool my middle-son with Aspergers.

Because of my experience, I have gained empathy for those in physical pain and/or with chronic fatigue. And I have gained a remarkable awareness regarding my own body and my needs.

I also am blessed with a patient husband who never complains when I am down. And I get to experience his love demonstrated through service and support. I have seen miracles, too. Like this last month, when I drove over 1600 miles, in a few days time, and experienced little to no risidule pain. I kept asking my angels to relax my body and heal me. And when I do my automatic writing, much of my pain disappears, too.

I don’t know why I live a life with physical pain, anymore than I know why I experienced a difficult childhood or why I have Aspergers. I do know that all my challenges have made me a stronger and a more loving person. I know that I am capable of extreme empathy, because in this short life I have experienced so very much. And perhaps that is my gift: how my suffering enables me to love more fully and to connect more freely.

I cannot imagine my life any different. If one day my pain goes away, I am sure I will be delighted; but in the meanwhile, I am so happy that I know how to choose contentment over victimhood. And I am thankful that I recognize my pain is not who I am.

I wrote this post because there are other people who experience pain syndromes, and I want them to know I understand. And because I wanted to share a little bit more about my journey.

I think we all have special gifts to share with the world, and that if we can turn our trials into compassion for self and others, then we have already accomplished so very much.

In closing, I believe there is a reason for my life. I believe we have each been called to service and each given the tools necessary to answer our calling. For me, one tool in particular has been the continual humbling of spirit. I thank my pain for reminding me of my fragility and humaness, and for bringing me that much closer to reliance on something higher than self.

Diagnosed with:
Fibromyalgia
Chronic Fatigue
IBS
Endometriosis
Fibroids
Hyper-joint mobility syndrome
Lyme Disease (The test has an over 60% fail rate. The test results were questionnable; the doctor based this diagnosis on ongoing symptoms. I tend to think I don’t have this, though, and my pain is a result of the above conditions.)

Self-Diagnosed:
PMDD

Perhaps I have?
Classic Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (I haven’t been diagnosed with this, but it is so similar to hyper-joint mobilitiy syndrome; though I do have most of the symptoms)

356: Teaching the Teachers

I have been praying and asking for guidance regarding my future vocation and avenue of service, and the answers very much entered through slipstream full force this early morn.

At first, I was given the message (through my little knowing voice) that my husband would over-sleep his five a.m. wakeup call (alarm) and be late for work, unless I was awake to wake him up. Hmmm. That was troubling, as with my own dyspraxia/dyslexia, I had no idea how to reset my own alarm in order to wake him up, as he was sleeping in my son’s bedroom. (Long story why we were in separate rooms, but basically boils down to dinosaur snoring, if there was such a thing.) I could have retrieved my phone from upstairs I suppose, but I wasn’t awake enough to think of that. So I tossed and turned in a type of vision-state for a bit over an hour. Knowing enough I had to stay partially awake.

I was certain time stood still, as the leap between the time of four to five seemed to take the stretch of a day. During this time I was shown image upon image.

I revisited my time at the university, the place I chose to leave a little over a year ago, based on the way I was discriminated against for mentioning I had Aspergers Syndrome. I revisited it all, the whole of it—emotions, illness brought on by the stress, the mourning process, the wanting to prove my side of the event and expose the injustice, the sob-filled-telling to my therapist and her concurring I had been the victim of appalling behavior on said professor’s part, the anger stage of wanting to sue, the humiliation part of being set up in a mediation that wasn’t a mediation…and on and on.

How dare they, is what I thought, and I spun and circled in mind about pulling up the evidence—the emails from the witness who at the time of mediation froze up and remembered nothing, the notes from my therapist, even my therapist’s comment that this man had a reputation, hearsay or not, she knew of him well, the notes from the Dean’s meeting, the Dean of the department warning me not to ever bring up the word Aspergers in professional setting: “It’s not the appropriate place.”

I dug up so much old stuff: the confusion of being accepted into a Masters in Counseling program that didn’t even want to know who I was, who didn’t even want to know how my mind functioned. The confusion of being told I was creating my condition (Aspergers) and announcing to the world my son’s brain (who has Aspergers) is broken. The confusion of receiving lower marks on my papers after the mediation took place. The confusion of one professor offering unsolicited advice about me, once she found out I had Aspergers. The meltdown of my self-esteem, self-worth, and self-love that dissipated much like the wicked witch in The Wizard of Oz into a molten black. Why was it I who had to undergo such pain?

I thought back to the high marks I received as an educator. Always the highest marks. How my college classes previously, through undergraduate work to my Master’s in Education program had been a place of safety. How the professors appreciated my input and intelligence. At times how I became the exemplary “one” or the teacher’s pet. I remembered how with every endeavor I’d ever set out to do, I had excelled, even exceeded others’ expectation. And here, in the span of little over a semester, with the hearing of the word Aspergers, the others, a set whom were supposed to be my mentors, painted me with their own muted greys into something I was not and am not.

Suddenly, all of me became what they saw. Suddenly, I had lost all I had built. With one swipe they knocked the self out of me.

And as I processed through the events and corresponding pain, I began to wonder what to do with this surfacing anger. A damaging letter came to mind: “Look at what they did to me.” And I let those thoughts come readily and steadily and tear into me one by one. I bled in my bed. I bled and bled, the tears of my soul seeking vengeance.

And then, with the passing of deep ache and hollowed out chance, I let the feeling go. I let the anger purge through me and erase the fear. I let the anger dance and take flight. I let the scenarios play out. I let the other me who wished to be free escape. And this shadow side, she wept more. Her screams the own echoes of demise and lack of rescue. For she had tried so very hard at this University, where her dream of being a therapist was going to come true. She read all of the “extra” books, did all of the “extra” credit, spent countless hours, setting aside her dyslexia and dyspraxia, in hopes of impressing her professors, and hopes they would see her, see her brilliance, see her mind, see the gift she so readily wanted to share with the world. This part of her less-ego than giving spirit. See me, see me, see me! That is all she wanted. That was all she ever wanted.

In receiving her diagnosis the world made sense to her finally. She wanted to celebrate. Four-decades of not knowing made sense in a split-second. Four-decades of intense suffering realized and ended with the blink of an eye. In the mention of a word. This gem of Aspergers had saved her, had brought her home onto herself.

And in knowing this, she wanted to share. She had to share. She had to let others know. “Look, I found the key. Look!”…….

And instead I was made to think I was broken. I was wrong. I was made to be pushed back into a hole and remain uncovered. Not one professor wanted to hear, wanted to know about Aspergers. Even in the beginning of the second-semester of my group-therapy class I was warned, we as class warned: Don’t share the diagnosis stuff here.

Really? I was so beside myself, how could I share in group therapy without sharing the essential element of who I thought myself to be and how I thought myself to function.

Could they not see I wasn’t broken? Could they not see that Aspergers was not a disease, not an illness, not anything beyond the way I saw the world?

And the questions came bubbling: Why would I be hushed, unless indeed I was entirely flawed? Why would I be told I created this, unless I was entirely unaware of my own self?

So much damage done, in so little time.

Today, before the sun rose, I wept in bed, the whole of my body sweating and seeping out the poison. And I turned and turned, half in sleep and half in agony. Lessons, lessons, and more lessons.

And then the peace finally came. Right when it was time to awaken my husband, I was awoken.

The clarity seeped through me. I saw that I had detoxed the emotions. I finally released the torturous anguish. I finally set my self free and their falsehood to rest.

I awoke fully with a knowing. I knew what I was supposed to do.

I was to teach others, teach the teachers of the teachers, the educators of future counselors and psychologist, the parents, the caretakers, the women of tender-heart and soul like me. Teach them that Aspergers is nothing to be ashamed of and nothing to hide away. Teach the beauty of who we are to erase the darkness that once pushed me into hiding.

355: To the Professional

Take away the notepad and paper, take away the laptop, or whatever you are about to write on. I am more concerned with what you are writing and thinking than my own self.

I am uncomfortable looking at you. I don’t like your office, for one reason or another. Maybe you are messy or maybe too clean. It might smell in an offensive way or be too dark and cluttered. Then again the sunlight might be seeping through and displaying the dancing dust and pulling me in thought to germs and uncleanliness. If you cleaned, I am hoping you didn’t use toxins, and I am wondering how many people have sat in this chair before, and how they sit, how they position their body, but mostly how they position their mind.

I am wondering with each word I speak what you think and if I have answered to meet your expectations and intentions. I can guess half of what you will say and how you will say it, because I have studied you from the moment we met, and I have studied those like you before. I know more about the human language and the nuances and gestures and games than you can imagine. I can feel your energy, and I can feel how your opinion of me switches. I can feel you weighing in on me and my words balanced against your thoughts.

I am uncomfortable in all ways and trying to present myself as comfortable. And this you probably know, as I already know, and you are watching me closer, as if in watching I will grow in security and trust. But I won’t. I will feel for you what I feel for everyone. I will either like you instantly or you will make me want to run. And with the liking I will analyze why and if this is valid, this feeling of companionship and connection. I will linger here a short time, especially in comparison to if I want to run. If I want to run my thoughts will circle around you for a favorable amount of time, working inside and outside of your being and attempting to decipher the danger. If I distrust you, I will likely always distrust you. This may be nothing you have ever said or done; this is my natural instinct.

I have been preyed upon by predators and sought out by experts. I have been probed and prodded and measured one too many times. I do not like the way you measure me. Not one bit, and I want this time to end.

I want to like you, and if I don’t, I fear my own rejection; I fear the dialogue that will reach into the contours of my mind and debate the whys and hows of my own inclinations.

I will listen to you as best I can, but don’t count on me hearing all of what you say. One word will set me adrift into another place, one unusual sound or one ordinary sound from you or from the room that is silent. I will hear what you do not hear. I will hear the quietness through the silence. I will hear the pauses in your monologue, and I will question your expertise.

I will wonder if you like me and then wonder why I even care, and why it is important that you do like me, even if I despise you and everything about your space. I will still want to be your friend, and a part of me will still love you, like some pup you picked up from the alley while in a mode of rescue. I will seek harbor and refuge in this space you have provided, knowing I am paying, or someone is paying for this form of companionship that frightens me.

I will question your degrees, your education, your protocols, your knowledge, your booksmarts, and your conclusions without hint of regard. I will dive down corridors of your soul and wander about hunting out the darkness. And all this I will do as you sit there scratching away notes about me.

For I will have compiled a list a volume thick in the time you have taken for me to answer a few questions. And simultaneously, I will have composed my own representation of self to you, pulling out what is expected, and what might make you comfortable, playing the game so you can see me and not be swooped away by the real me that is locked away behind this tattered worn curtain of self.

You can’t reach in, as hard as you try, unless I know you recognize me. I won’t let you past, unless I know you are real, that you have felt the deepest pains and angst, that you, too, have been in the shadowed darkness weeping for reprieve, that you have been abandoned, ostracized, left for nothing, created into something others wanted you to be. I will not let you near, unless I know your heart has grown in the depths of the oceans and shoots out to save those who wither.

Your documented degrees mean nothing to me. Your schooling is lost. What you knew and what you think you know is not this me staring back at you. I am in no textbook and in no past discoveries. My experience is uniquely mine, and unless you have dived into the caverns of my mind, unless you can see the world of illusion, as I can, then I have no purpose or need for you.

Entirely, I sit. Entirely, I am. And I understand beyond measure what grips you and shakes you and what makes you spin. I can tell in your eyes when you are complimented you are lit, and when you are unsure you folly. I see you, like a master watching a child; I see your discomfort, your waverng, your questions. But mostly I see straight to the purity of your soul, straight into the core.

So don’t waste my time with man invented games and manmade questionnaires that nibble away at my character and personhood. I am beyond this, these guesses and marks, this test to prove something that needs no proving.

I am not this Aspergers. I am not this Autism. I am human in need of being seen.

I am not a test subject, nor am I confused. I am not sick. I am not ill in the slightest sense. I am a unique and special individual born out of the ashes into the phoenix. I am both God and Goddess and have so much to teach you.

So do not look past the secrets in my eyes to check off the boxes of your own design. Seek first in me the wisdom I carry, the answers, the knowledge. See what I have to say. Hear what my world is like, for unless you have lived inside of this me, then you are the one that remains alien.

Don’t pretend you understand my condition or my brain or my way of life. Don’t pretend you can help me. I already know your tactics and trickery. As innocent and as kind you be, to me everything you present I shall take apart and examine from source.

Present to me your own self, the deepest part of you, the part the rest of the world hides so readily in a game. Take off your mask and meet me in the playing field I recognize: one of pureness, naiveté, child-like heart and genuineness. Do not strip me of the very armor that sews my seams. Uplift my attributes and charm, the gentle grace that illuminates from the spirit I am.

Do not think that because you have a title or name that you are therefore anymore or any less than the others. You are still garbed in your fashions and mystery. Undress, strip down, bear your nakedness and show me your frailty. That is the only reason I am here. Not to teach you how to help me. Not to teach you how to change me. But to show you what truth and beauty is.

My way is not wrong. Nor is my mind hindered. My way is the one of the child of goodness and authenticity, and until you understand that what I carry is no less damaged than the stars in the sky and no less worthy than your very own heart, than you cannot reach me.

If you want to help me, if you want to truly help me, then become my student, so I can become yours. Meet me as one. And see that I am not your patient, your client, or your case study. I am me.

In all my uniqueness I am me. And in this, in being me, in being all of me, perhaps in your wanting to help me, it is truly I that will set you free.

354: Drunken Hostess with the Mostess

Photo

A few weeks ago I hosted a party and I was entirely wasted before the guests arrived.

This marks the second potluck in WA my husband and I have hosted since moving here, almost three years ago. The event was a big deal to me, and I loaded my grocery cart to the max to insure plenty of booze and munchies.

The last time I threw a party for my neighbors, which was also the first time, I was politely informed by my good friend’s husband that there wasn’t enough alcohol. He then left and brought back four bottles from his house. This time I was prepared. I bought the hugest bottles of Rum and Tequila I could find, and several bottles of wine. I am not a big drinker. No, sir! Never have been and doubt I ever will be. In fact, before the year 2012 I probably averaged between two and three glasses a year!

Since finding out I am aspie, the intake may have increased a wee bit.

My reasons for not drinking are multi-faceted; like everything else in my life, nothing I do is simple. I focus a lot of conscious thought and unconscious thought on the “right path;” even though I recently have come to terms with the fact there is no fricken right path and it’s all a big game, I still have that old “right path” mentality, much like a gag reflex.

Not following the right path, makes me want to gag and come up for air. Not doing the “right” thing feels like a recent ordeal I underwent at the orthodontist’s office, in which I was being fitted for a new retainer device. (The diagnostic x-ray revealed that I have unusually large sinus cavities; no big deal or of special interest. But I mention it just in case you are collecting random data about me.) At the orthodontist the lady worker gently shoved a metal contraption filled with cold grainy-cementy goop atop the roof of my mouth to take impressions for my new retainers. As she delicately shoved the banana flavored pink goop into my mouth she said, “Remember breathe slowly through your nose.” While my mouth airways were obstructed, I kept saying to myself: “You aren’t going to die. You aren’t going to die. You aren’t going to die.”

That’s how I feel if I don’t follow the right path, or rules, or guidelines. (A right I am very much aware doesn’t exist, but I have to find and try to adapt to nonetheless.) I feel like I am being gagged, out of breath, and will die. Makes no logical sense. I know this. But my brain has “follow the rules” tattooed around its frontal lobe. I am still working on the removal process of this tattoo; it’s slow going.

For me, the day of the party, the right path meant: Temperance. A word I had latched onto and deciphered and longed to apply in my life. Temperance meant no indulgences and no drinking alcohol. The party would be the perfect stage to practice my temperance and do the “right” thing. At least according to the recent “rules” I was applying.

The gods laughed at me.

For by the time the first guests arrived I had downed three glasses of port wine. But trust me, I had good reason!

In the end it turned out fine, except for the time the one guest mentioned how her memory is bad and then she laughed in jest saying, “It’s because I’m a genius.” Totally joking she was. And then I, being so very much beyond tipsy, blurted out: “The funny thing is, I am a gifted-genius, a professional just recently verified this.” And then, after slapping my knee, and elaborating about my big brain and Aspieness, I went into a full confession about how I was trying to release ego and be filled with humility. I ended this, I think, with telling my neighbor, a woman I barely see anymore, “You know you want take walks with me now; a gifted, published genius I be.” I’d thrown in the whole publishing story in there somewhere, I suppose.

As I have mentioned before, I don’t drink much. I am an extreme light weight. A half-glass of pear-cider at the local pub and I am saying to my husband in a very loud voice, “That guy is checking out my butt.” I try to curb my alcohol intake, not so much for the constant records that play when I am drinking: Destroying liver, destroying liver, destroying liver and/or you’ll become an alcoholic. But because I become a dang fool. I really do. I lose all inhibition and feel like I am freeeeee. One of my (drunk) relatives once got onto my aunt’s electric wheel chair and flew up the freeway onramp to take a ride on the freeway. And I think that’s me. I think when I drink I take a ride on the free-way! WEeeeeeee.

So I don’t drink much.

But that evening, an hour before the guests arrived, as I was putting the freshly made salsa into a pitcher, I began to burn. At first I didn’t notice. I just kept rinsing my hands under water, thinking the burn would pass. But, no! The burn did not pass. It grew increasingly worse, like my hands were in the snow without gloves and the frostbite was setting in; it was a deep, unreachable burn, penetrating and erupting from the inside of every finger, and the guests were to arrive in less than an hour.

My husband was not home, and I was in a pure panic.

I rationalized and reasoned, and then concluded the culprit was the Serrano peppers! I had used my bare hands to not only cut the Serrano hot peppers for the salsa, but when my food processor stopped working (as all electronics like to malfunction around me) I had dipped my hands in the freshly ground peppers to scoop out the remains and transfer the mixture to the blender.

Oh, my gosh! I had soaked my hands in hot pepper oil!

I quickly went to the internet for help. Google God to the rescue. I soon found other people who had been as dim-witted as me. The remarks were reassuring. There were some helpful tips to end the horrific pain.

Eventually I tried everything listed as remedies: butter, milk, yogurt, sugar scrub with olive oil, etc. But nothing decreased the pain. I thought for certain my flesh was going to peel off. I was going to have fleshless fingers! And still the pain intensified. At this point, my feet broke out in hives from the stress. Yes, with the guests arriving in less than a half-hour, I had burning flesh hands and hived up feet. Glorious!

When my husband came home with some cortisone cream the local pharmacist said would stop the pain, I shook my head nooooo. My husband insisted, and I gave in. Soon I was screaming at a high pitch and downing wine as fast as I could. The cream had only served to intensify the burn. Dumb pharmacist.

My husband at this point is saying, “You are like Lucy from I Love Lucy, you know?”

That didn’t help.

At last I found the answer in one of the comments online: “Called ER (emergency room); there is nothing they can do. The pain will last four to six hours.”

Really? No one could say that from the start.

What should have come up on the top of the comment section was: You are so screwed!

And that’s how it began, how I began slurping the port wine. The pain-relievers I took did nothing.

The wine really didn’t decrease the pain much either, but by the time the first patrons arrived, I didn’t really care. And eventually the margarita helped to ease the ordeal to a hilarious event.

As our first friends arrived, I confessed, “I am already drunk. Let me tell you a story….”

And towards the start of the party, to another couple I said, “I am not rinsing my hands under cold water every minute because of OCD, just so you know, let me tell you a story…”

And by the end of the night, three hours of hand rinsing later, shortly after my gifted-genius, I am zen and ego-less spill, I said, “And you know what the best part about being drunk before any of you arrived is and especially about being in so much pain?!” I paused, dipping my hands further in a bowl of cold water. “I really honestly don’t care what you think of me.”

And that was that.

(another funny story)

353: I couldn’t sleep

I couldn’t sleep. My mind was in a state of unrest and I had much physical pain. I left my chambers and came upstairs and wrote this in one quick sitting. I apologize for the visual appeal, as I know, for me, at times it is easier to read in distinct paragraphs, but this is the way the piece is meant to be presented and delivered. Having written this I feel emptied of anxiety and rescued from much of my pain. I do not understand where all of this comes from and why in a sense I am haunted by thoughts until I release them. But I have released, and in doing so I feel realigned, comforted, and home. I choose not what I write and for whom I write. I know only that this is what I was given. As I am tired now and ready to rest, I ask that you also forgive any errors I overlooked. Blessings and Love ~ Sam

Your pain is not a gift, nor is it a curse. You have not manifested your suffering or created or birthed it into being. Your pain is not more because you are chosen. Your pain is not less because you were not chosen. Your mission is not grander with pain. Your mission is not weaker in the absence of pain. To wear your pain on your sleeve is to say: Because I have suffered I am special. But we say onto you everyone suffers, everything suffers. When one suffers all suffer. When ones pain exceeds another the pain is not held by one alone; the pain is held by each body here, one upon the other taking in the pain. Pain breeds pain and suffering breeds suffering. This is not to say that the sufferer is to blame or in charge of his suffering. No one is in charge of his own suffering. Yet everyone is in charge of the suffering of one. We all suffer. No matter the witness or contest, no suffering is greater. There is no way to compare suffering, as there is no way to compare love. And in so saying, you cannot love without suffering. You cannot suffer without love.

Suffering occurs in the absence of love. Every type of suffering denotes a missing element of being. There is a string of events that will show you this suffering. Genetics mean nothing; nor does circumstance. All is merely oil on the canvas, paint applied to represent what is happening. No paint suffers more. Even if the paint depicts a horrible picture of torment and suffering, the paint does not suffer. The image denotes suffering. A representation of suffering occurs. An observer can find the suffering and behold the suffering and relate the suffering to this self in form, but the image painted feels nothing. We are these images. The suffering we feel is not our own paint, the suffering we feel is when one looks upon us and sees the image represented by the paint. If our image be grand through and through, the colors brilliant and bold, the semblance of happiness present and moving, even still the observer may suffer. For he may then sense lacking, the happiness pouring from the once blank slate and indicator of his own demise and inability to reach potential. It doesn’t matter the suffering or the imagined joy depicted in illusion; whatever the observer choses to see, he sees, and whatever the observer refuses to see, he misses. No two can set eyes upon eyes and see the same; this is impossibility, but still you insist reality is real. Well, whose reality is real? Whose view of the painting is adequately represented as truth? Which viewer’s viewpoint do you choose? Yours? Another’s? A beloved’s? An enemy’s? What if we were to say your enemy’s view is as equal to yours and yours to his? For whatever he holds true becomes his painting and whatever you hold true becomes yours. Therefore when two meet and behold the colors brought forth, your illusion is formed not once but twice, in the illusion you perform and the illusion you present as truth of your neighbor. Therefore when two meet four illusions are formed. The painting of one, the painting of the other, the viewpoint of one, the viewpoint of another. All is illusion quadrupled and multiplied in meeting, and still one walks away thinking he holds the truth. But what of the four is the truth? Which one? When one holds true the representation of himself is what he holds as truth, then what is this truth based on but not illusion after illusion built into storybook of truths. And further, when one holds a truth of another based on the view, does he not only counter the illusion of the first but intensify the illusion of the other. In seeing this there is a temptation to unravel the truth, to single out which of the choices is real. But this is the same, very much the twin, of choosing between the reflection in water multiplied thoroughly and deciding which reflection represents the truth of where one stands. In knowing this, we look back at where we stand and examine who is standing and we see it is this us, this I, this me, but who is this I that exists if not singled out and marked by the judgment and makings of the world. How can a being move in this world without absorbing the illusions, and thusly how can a being move in this world without being a rotating painting of illusions gathered? Life to many is merely a sponge of collection of mirages, the water sucked from the view, when no view is there. One illusion upon the other illusion we stare. And still we wait as the illusions unfold for you to see such common place as where the illusion bends. For what if I were to take a color with no color, say ye black turned white and then turned invisible and paint over the canvas once colored, until the blending is nothing but space. And what if then you stared into the illusion and peered willingly and came out with a satisfied grin, simply proclaiming I have seen beyond illusion. I have seen space. But no, we would say to you, you have not seen the space behind illusion. You have simply seen the replacement to illusion, the gap filled in with a substitute in an attempt to satisfy your appetite of discovery. Peer again and I shall resubmit the color as evidence of space removed, and then what say ye? Do you say the illusion has returned? If illusion returned than nothingness cannot exist; for nothing can take the place of nothingness and nothing can fill the void inside a void. Until the nothingness is removed than something remains. As long as there is a space, something can be filled, something can be altered, something can be changed, something can arise. It is in the space beyond space one looks then, into the realm beyond inquiry, stretching the mind in solution, the band made taught and heavy. Wherein where the fault lies is in the canvas itself. Within the painting. All searching is based on the paint of illusion. All decisions granted in the realm of illusion. Illusion has taught, say professed, where to look, and in listening to illusion the seeker finds only illusion. Seek not the canvas of paints, seek the painter. Who is the one painting the illusion and who is the one with the paints. Is this not the collective we? For who is to say the illusion of one is not the collective illusion of all who look upon. Exceedingly we look one upon the other, our brushes moving to create what we see. Not what we wish to see, for that would imply ownership and dictatorship, and even the power of creation, but that which we have taught one another to see. Each illusion a teacher to the next. Each mask painted with the colors of the soul that is supposed to be. Can you not see the illusion arises first not with you, first not with one, but in the making of all? For together we are scribe and painter writing the story of the moment, not with our thought and thought alone, but with the perception of thought. It is not enough to say: think these thoughts and all will transpire as planned, because in this way there is a plan, and in this plan is illusion. In this illusion is a false hope that the one and not the collective know the thought that ought be formed. But what then if one thought is deemed better than another thought? Then do we not begin the battle again. Painting illusions this time with paint dismissed and thoughts induced? Your thought, your word, is no less, better or worse than another. You cannot decide what word is just and which unjust, which word enough and not enough, without creating more illusion. The world will continue to spin in illusion, as one continues to attach to illusion. No answers can be found when one is set upon another. No answer true when searching in illusion. The search is not in self or outside self. The search is beyond the painting and the canvas. The truth is the paint and painter. So whom may we assign as this worthy painter if not we, if not truth, even if this truth be illusion? Who is this truth bearer? The one granted the role of leader and justice. Is this not you? Is this not your neighbor? Is this not your enemy? We say you know this truth innately; it is in the unraveling of each to find the substance of whole in where the truth bides his time, hidden in the controversy and friction between. And this is where we stand on the bridge between illusion and nothing. Not on one side or the other. No in right or in wrong but in the center, in the journey when love is brought out of the flames of illusion and one ventures across the avenue in search of nothing. There we stand in the bridegway waiting. But with blinders you pass us by, as your goal is to cross the bridge and not stay in the place between. For you have been taught by illusion that the place in between is passage way only, serving to get from one point to the next. What you cease to understand is there is no point and there is no next, and as soon as one illusion is reached another is formed. What you cease to understand is that there is no stopping point, just as there is no starting point. You are already there twice over, and twice over again, doubling your path to prove a point until illusion dollies in her own illusion and splits open leaving you centered in predicament. And there you sit both witness and observer. One standing and staring at the other. The two ones meeting. And there you merrily judge your ways, lost in the in between, stepped out between illusion and nothing, staring down your own brother, your own self. For you are not this broken hollowed isolated one. You are we and we are you. But still you stand in the half-way point of in between uncertain where to go. When there be no place to go but here. Throw down your villainess ways, pave the roads with the intentions naught. Take out your heart and lay it down to be crushed and observed as splendid. Bleed your love out to the world, a cross bearer of your own-making, not for His glory or your glory, but for the glory of knowing illusion standing still. Find the stopping point of illusion and tear down the stopping point of where and when. Believe in the absence of intention and fulfillment of love. Bring down your illusion and bring down your guard. Say to your brother I am love and onto him beseech him your goodness. For you are more worthy than the tenth illusion suffered, the levels laid out in fashion unbridled and unbroken. You are more worthy than the battles that came again and again to show the way, when no way exists outside love. All be said in the name of love. And here my brother is where illusion and nothingness depart, in the arms of love carried out by the masses rebirthed in glory and built bountiful by the journey delayed.

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

–Albert Einstein

352: Here Comes the Mud

Last night I dreamt two boys, my son and a friend’s son, had painted my stairs with clay-colored shit. On close examination, it wasn’t shit at all, but mud they’d dug out of the water-creek area centered at the heart of our house, the outside elements inside, below the stairs. There were shovels there; they’d been digging for water in fun, until they were scolded by my friend, the one boy’s mother, for spreading shit inside the house. She had climbed down and brought up a clump in her hand, smelled it and insisted it was crap. I, then, knowing this to be false, proceeded to the site of the wet muddy bank and scooped up my own lump. I held it to my face, with only a touch of doubt, and inhaled deeply. It was dirt. I was certain. Wet dirt. “It’s not shit,” I insisted, a bit irritated, but thankful feces were not smeared across my carpeted steps; but my friend, the son’s mother, she insisted it was shit. And that was that. The last words spoken: Shit.

I think my angels are telling me something. It’s actually quite clear. Where I am at right now, currently, feels like shit, looks like shit, and even, quite frankly, when I first wake up, tastes like shit; but a part of me, the analytical and hope-filled part, she knows it is just all mud, and like all mud, this too will be swept up in the rain, cleansed and removed.

This is all coming about, this feeling of “shit” because of my hormones and that “time of the month,” aka
“Hell.”

I have gained weight. The weight gain could be the result of the reduction of thyroid pill, or my binge eating from PMS, or reduced walking…… or just the cold winter season. Regardless, bodily changes freak me out. Really do, to the point I don’t want to wear nice clothes and I don’t want to leave the house.

Unless of course I deem the changes positive.

And it makes no difference how often someone reassures me I am still pretty or enough, or beautiful on the inside. It just doesn’t. I get comfortable when I weigh less. Not super skinny, just enough skinny so the fat doesn’t disgust me.

Now, other people, like my friends, if they gain a little weight, I don’t care! It’s so unfair. I really don’t care if they are ten pounds heavier or one hundred, as long as they are healthy and happy. They are lovely no matter what. (sidebar: In all honesty, I have to say with boyfriends in the past and in considering my husband’s weight gain or weight loss, I can be bothered, because I see that person daily and….clearing throat….naked.) And I mean that. Some people even look better with a little more weight. Especially as the female face ages and grows more gaunt. But for me I have a double-standard. I must be a certain weight or I am deemed “not enough.”

Truth be told, last I prayed, I wished to go head-to-head with my bodily issues and with my hang ups on appearance. To face the demons. So here it is! The shit, at least appearance of shit, being dug up and hitting not only the fan, but the stairs leading to advancement and a higher place…hmmmmmm Tricky angels I have.

I must be careful what I pray for. I must. I must!.

When I gain weight, I wig. I spazzzzz. I obsess. My “fatness” becomes my fixation.

For me, it feels like my weight is one of the few things in this world I can find familiarity in; something that doesn’t shift and vary with each ticking second.

I hate being me right now.. I would pay someone to take me ahead five years, preferably un-aged, to menopause. Don’t age my children though; I don’t want to miss out. I just can’t stand these spikes in emotions.

I blame some of this on the changes of hormones since I stopped the natural pig hormone for thyroid issues. The pig hormone, I concluded after much research, was causing peaks of progesterone and then rapid drops which lead to the muscles in my tongue responding while I slept, which led to waking up with sore throats, which led to a head cold every month for two days before my period. And cystic acne (which I never had before) caused by the imbalance of other hormones.

Even though I quoted 50 other people whom had cited cystic acne after starting thyroid meds, my natural path didn’t believe me; however, my gynecologist did. And I have been doing this ping-pong battle of rights and wrongs in my head for seven weeks. “Stop the thyroid pill for six months, and then get retested” ……words served by gynecologist. “Cut the pill in half”… words served by natural path doctor.
I stopped. All symptoms seized. Weight came on quicker.

Well I have grown not to trust my natural path doctor. Even though I adore her and have trusted her for the last two years.

She had me at thyroid levels well enough left alone and then upped the dose in August to decrease my levels more. And as a result I was in a state of hyper-thyroid behavior for months, e.g., hair falling out, heart beating fast, rapid thoughts, increased OCD and need to process, and not gaining weight, no matter what I ate.

Now, my body is confused, as I’ve stopped, or not so much confused, but readjusting, and the equilibrium they are finding is not to my liking. I hate feeling tightness around my waist. And I hate disliking my image, an image I already was uncomfortable with, but slowly getting used to before I began to change…again.

I do not like the uncertainty of the world. I can’t deal with it at times. I can’t deal with anything right now: no noise, no decisions, no nothing; and this is likely why I have been housebound for three days, entirely on the couch or at my dining room table, fixated on organizing my blog and talking to others, fixating on escaping who I am.

I don’t get it, and I don’t get me; and I don’t like how hormones happenings can change ME. I dislike health issues; they are my major tipping point, my trigger, a fear-based swampland. I don’t do well with anything related to sickness. But even in the fowl, muddy-mood I am in, I do recognize my fear of health issues has in the last two months decreased ten-fold…a miracle in itself.

Which leads me to my angels. I can feel them still, sitting back and watching me go through this mucky mud. I know they are there. I know this is necessary for whatever reason. But it doesn’t stop me from wanting to turn them into visible, little fairies that I can stomp on for pleasure.

They get that. They do. And I think I can hear them laughing at the joke, and even giggling in relief they don’t have to be human. But I do. And it sucks. It stinks like shit even though I know it “ain’t.” And that’s the hell of it: Knowing it’s passing mud, but feeling and believing it’s shit that sticks.

I don’t know what to do except to write it out, to pound it out, and hope that someone out there is touched and healed, or at least relieved in some way. Perhaps in the knowing that as hard as I try, as much as I do, as strong as my faith is, that sometimes through it all, all I see is shit.