Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wishcasting Wednesday - Investing

Today is Wednesday, which means that over at Jamie Ridler Studios there is Wishcasting Wednesday! This week our question is:

What do you wish to invest in?

I wish to invest my time and energy in shaping this little cottage of ours into a place of refuge from the worries and cares of the world, a place where we are eager to spend time, a place where we can go to heal and renew ourselves. With my depression and other physical illnesses our home has become a place I would rather run away from, so as I am recovering from surgery my mother has been gracious enough to come out and begin helping me chip away at the layers of buildup keeping me from being able to even know where to start. So far it has been a fruitful apprenticeship for me, learning the little tips and tricks that I didn't care enough to bother learning when I was still under her roof and finding that I really do care if my house is clean and tidy.

I also wish to invest in my future. This one is a lot more vague because it doesn't really have a shape or a name yet. I only know that as I have been trapped in depression and physical illnesses I have also been in a cocoon of transformation. I cannot go back to the person I was at this time last year. I could try, but I would know how unhappy that life was and how it was slowly killing me. I am investing time and energy to discover my truth, to live it, and what that looks like in all areas of my life. In many ways I feel like the worlds biggest toddler. So much of my identity that I had taken for granted is slipping away from me to be transformed into something truer and more beautiful than I ever dreamed.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Wishcasting Wednesday - Daring

Today over at Wishcasting Wednesday Jamie asks us

What do you wish to dare?

I am just home from the hospital where I had emergency surgery to remove my gallbladder. This was the latest in what I knew were obstacles to my blooming into my greatest self. I have been so fettered by pain and frustration that I could not see the sky or the earth supporting me. I could only see the smallest part of what makes me me. While I still have pain, my range of vision is opening out wider again and I wish to dare to embrace the daringness of my new life. I hear whispers of it calling to me as I work with Reiki and herbs, healing and creativity, crochet and cooking.

I wish to dare to embrace my new life as it forms itself around me in this clarity of space that is being left as the illnesses are healing. I wish to dare to bloom and live so fully into my truth that it is no longer a vague dream but a grounded and whole reality. I wish to rival the vivacity of the blooms that I saw in the municipal rose garden where I had a picnic lunch with my honey on Saturday. I am daring to bloom!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Wishcasting Wednesday - Gentleness

It is Wishcasting Wednesday again and this week the question is:

What do you wish to be gentle with?

I wish to be gentle with myself. A couple of days after my lumbar puncture I was able to go to the class and receive the attunement for level 2 in Reiki. I can honestly credit the preparation that went into the pre-treatment that I was even able to go at all. In the past a lumbar puncture would mean 9-14 days flat on my back with an agonizing headache. This time I was able to sit up to eat late the next day, even though I was mostly flat the rest of the time.

But back to Reiki. Since it was a class of two students I was easily able to accommodate my need for lying down and still get the information. (I was able to sit up for the attunement, however!) I find that this latest opening and infusion of energy has made a difference in how I am willing to see myself. This particular shift is of seismic proportions in my life. There is an ongoing struggle with a very negative self image which Reiki is helping me to re-frame.

Most of my life I have had a rather unpleasant view of how I measured up in the eyes of others, which translated to how I saw myself. There has already been a great deal of healing in this area but there has been a great deal of difficulty not falling into the black pit of negativity in the last year or so. With all of this medical stuff going on I have tended to see myself as a burden on others and quite frankly, rather useless. Not the best way to look at oneself, and certainly not a constructive visualization image! With Reiki 2 I have started to shift that to a view that is more acceptable and supporting of where I am at this time in my life. That doesn't make me any more patient with the waiting for a return to full health, but it makes my image of myself friendlier.

So I wish to be gentle with myself - not only through the medical and physical healing, but through the deeper spiritual and emotional healing that will give me the foundations I need to stand on my own and be true to myself.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wishcasting Wednesday - Blooming

With all of my medical stuff this week forcing me to limit my computer time beyond what little I can usually handle, I wasn't going to take time to participate in Wishcasting Wednesday until I saw the question:

How Do You Wish to BLOOM?

Since bloom is my word for this year, I just couldn't pass this by! Once my surgery (May 19), Spinal Tap (tomorrow), and a plan for how to handle my big nasty headaches (in ER on Easter) are under control I have big dreams of blooming out all over! I will be getting my Reiki level 2 attunement this Sunday if all goes well - meaning that if my spinal doesn't spawn another headache from hell - and I am looking into various other modalities that will complement Reiki and allow me to develop a healing practice where I can help others. Soon my house will be a little better, at least to a point where I can find things more easily, and I will be able to pursue my dreams with a fully open heart. I have struggled for so long to find myself that it is amazing and a little frightening to me to see myself blooming out so quickly.

I have to get off the computer now, but I will be wishing for all of you even if I am unable to make it to each of your posts!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Easter Vigil and Easter - Not the Holiday I had Planned

My journey through the rest of Holy Week and Easter did not turn out as planned. I last wrote on Good Friday, and though I had the best of intentions of completing my meditations on Easter Vigil/Holy Saturday and Easter, a big thing got in the way. Easter Vigil began like any other Saturday before a Sunday holiday - preparing good food, enjoying the time puttering in the kitchen with my husband. I wasn't feeling my best, but not so bad that I could point out that I was feeling any worse than usual.

We gathered up our bells and went to church, where I realized something might not be right. The Easter Vigil service starts in the dark, out on the porch of the church where the priest strikes the new light of Easter and lights the Paschal Candle. The congregation lights their own candles from this great big special and beautiful candle, and then turning to share that light with their neighbors before filing in and filling the church. The first part of the service is then conducted solely by candlelight, as we read and sing together of the salvation history, from creation through the resurrection. Just before we read the Gospel, the whole church is lit up, we sing a beautiful Holy, Holy, Holy while ringing our bells and removing all of the black drapes that have covered the flowers and dressing the altar and clergy in their glorious golden Easter vestments. Easter has arrived!

With my uncertain balance, I waited inside for the rest of the congregation and choir. I had a bit of a headache, but nothing too horrible. I did notice myself flinching from the brightness as the lights came on and we completed the service, but I put it down to being tired and late at night. Joining the feast after the service I still felt a little odd, but again put it down to eating a light supper at 11:00 at night which is totally outside of my usual routines.

I went to church on Easter morning with a headache, thankful for my Easter bonnet that shaded my eyes from the direct glare of the overhead lights, even though I was still staring into the bright stained glass window that forms the wall behind the altar. Later, at brunch with my parents I noticed that the headache hadn't eased and that I did not eat as much as usual.

It hit that afternoon after the earthquake. My husband and I had gone back to our bedroom to lie down for a while and enjoy the quiet. Suddenly the quiet was shattered by the unmistakable sound of the house shaking with an earthquake. No big panic, but the intensity kept growing and the shaking kept going. At one point I stood up, thinking that it was over. No dice. It just kept on, and I began to feel a bit of panic as all of my childhood "earthquake preparedness" stories bubbled up, and the terrors that I thought I had put away came with them. Finally it ended, and we lay back down (after spending quite a bit of time looking it up online!). I stoically rode through the aftershocks, privately waiting for "the BIG one" that my childhood fears told me was still coming - especially since the cat was still crammed into the few inches between the floor and the bottom of our bed!

Shortly after that I noticed that my headache was ratcheting up in intensity. My husband was ready for dinner, but I was starting to get a bit nauseous so I passed. By six or so I called the nurse line to find out if I should be going to urgent care. Around seven the lovely nurse called back after conferring with a doctor - with my symptoms I should go to the Emergency Room.

By eight my mother had joined us for the wait. I had blood drawn and a couple of other tests. By that point I could barely walk. Finally, a bed was available and I was taken back. I've never been so happy to have drugs that work extremely quickly in my life! Unfortunately, they seemed to wear off quickly, too. A second dose and they sent me home around one in the morning.

It didn't do much beyond make me feel sick to my stomach. I think I slept a little, but not much. I listened to the rain and my husbands breathing until the alarm went off. My mom was coming to sit with me while my husband went in and got things started for the week with his staff so he could head back home and not have the phone ringing off the hook. I was in agony. The neurologist was called, and decided that we needed to try a migraine medication. Migraine? I've never had anything anyone ever called a migraine before, but I'll try it if it might help. I'd probably try anything at that point. It helped. Immediately.

So now I am working on yet another possibility for all of this pain and frustration. Migraines. In the meantime, we will still be doing a spinal tap to at least get a baseline reading if not a definitive diagnosis on the intracranial hypertension and removing my gallbladder as soon as we can get it set up. I'm so tired of being in so much pain!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Friday

It seems odd to me that today dawned clear and bright. Good Friday is a day of deep darkness for many, for this is the day our Lord was crucified and buried.

It has been a personal tradition - learned from observation in my childhood church - to wear black today, as for a funeral, and to fast as much as I can without creating a medical issue for myself. I will spend the midday hours at church, where we will be spending time focused on the events of the cross.

Noon is the preferred time for services today because biblically it was at the noon hour that Jesus died. There was a solar eclipse, an earthquake, and the curtain in the temple that hid the Holy of Holies was torn in two from top to bottom. All creation recognized what we in our humanity did not.

Good Friday is a solemn day. A day of death and sadness. A day to reflect on what it was and is that put Jesus on the cross and what that horrific death granted to us.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Maundy Thursday

Today is Maundy Thursday - the name comes from the latin for commandment, and recognizes Jesus' commandment to his disciples after he washes their feet to love one another as he has loved them and us. On a more literal level it is the institution of the Last Supper as it has been passed down to us in the Communion Service. To take bread and wine, bless them as Jesus did, and to share them with those gathered around the table with us in love and charity. This loving of community is a hard commandment to follow. It is even harder when, just a short while later, he is betrayed by a kiss from one of his own.

I believe today gives me the greatest glimpse into the foundations of the Christian tradition as I understand the day-to-day living of it. To serve those around me as generously and graciously as I would serve Jesus. To wait patiently and expectantly for the outcome, even when it seems that all is lost. To bask in the loveliness of each moment as it comes, full of the power and presence of the divine, even knowing that the loveliness may be hidden in what appears to me to be a heap of mouldering refuse.

Within the tradition I was raised in, today is the day to celebrate and remember the Last Supper, the Washing of the Feet, and the Vigil in the Garden. The services this evening throughout the Anglican, Episcopal, and Roman Catholic world share similarities in that they will, to some extent, re-enact each of these events. The Last Supper is communion. The washing of the feet often brings people to a point of discomfort, for who wants to have the priest (or bishop) kneel in front of them and wash their feet? It is even more uncomfortable when one realizes that the person kneeling there so humbly before you is there as the hands of Jesus, not as themselves only. My favorite part comes after the service, though. The vigil in the garden.

Growing up, my parish would decorate a special altar of repose, where the consecrated host would be placed with reverence and surrounded by white linens, vases of white flowers, and as many candles as we could fit onto the small portable altar. The church was left silent and available to any and all who wished to come and keep vigil with Jesus from the ending of the service on Thursday until noon on Good Friday, when that service started.

I loved to sit in the dark silence of the little church, steeped in the aroma of years of incense and candles, and watch the small flame of the red votive candle dance in the reflection of the immaculately polished paten beside it casting a rosy glow onto the white of the consecrated Host. This was holiness. Me and God, waiting for who knows what. As I grew older and went to a different church there were other traditions. I tried to keep the vigil, but without an altar of repose and with the church stripped bare in preparation for Good Friday I felt bereft. No candle shining through the dark, no aura of incense to remind me of the holiness of this place. There was no presence to wait with me, and I was plunged prematurely into the darkness of Good Friday. I wanted to bask just a little longer at the feet of the living Jesus, to offer my presence back to Him in His hour of agonized prayer as He had been with me in mine.

Tonight I seek again that moment of close communion with Jesus. The depth of the beginning time of the Triduum - the holy days of Eastertide. I am going to a different church, one that is a bit closer to the traditions of my childhood. But not only do I know that the church is different, I am different. I, too, am in a time of waiting for my trials to be completed. I, too, am suffering still from the sting of betrayal. I feel ready for this season this year, and I am throwing myself headlong into the rituals as I know them.