When I came across the quote above attributed to Ciceroin the surprisingly well written,recently released book, Proof of Heaven, by the neurosurgeon, Eben Alexander, I knew it, not 21 days and counting, would be the title of my next post. (If any of you have read it, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it and how it did or didn’t affect you.)
It is hard for me to believe that over 3 weeks have passed since I was last able to write anything other than a few journal entries. Even though I got what I needed out of my trip to the mainland, the experience itself took a tremendous physical toll on my already pain riddled, nerve damaged, body. So much so that most of the last few weeks has been spent prone on a mat in the living room, and have been primarily about pain.
Figuring out how to best manage it, while also meeting both my daughter’s day-to-day needs– like sleeping through the night, standing long enough to take a shower and occasionally style my hair, go grocery shopping and cook meals until a friend could come to stay with us. Or worst case scenario, until my mother arrives at the end of March. This is when I’ll return to LA and have the surgery I need for the best possible odds of a full and complete recovery. As you might imagine it has not been easy. No not easy at all. There were times where the pain and lack of function in my back and leg was so intense that I cried and begged/wished for a shot strong enough to put me to sleep until it was time for the operation. My mind was so perturbed from months of unrelenting pain, lack of sleep, anxiety and occasional pharmaceutical medication that meditation was impossible, and I felt like a spinning top unable to come to rest.In other words, I had lost my center and my ability to engage my senses in the Beauty and practices that are my life line.
To find it again, I had to go to ground. In the past that would have meant a combination of meditation, breathing and yoga postures, time spent in nature and writing. Especially writing. But I was beyond the point of being able to recover my-Self through those means. One option did still remain for me and that was art-journaling.
At the beginning of January I participated in a small ritual in which we each chose words to reflect on as the year progressed. My words are patience, calm, passion, comfort, play, and joy. And so, little by little, I created a collage for my journal using some of my words to inspire and remind me of what I want to be and how I wish to live my life.
Below are of the front and back covers, and a small painting, ‘Be loved’, on its inner back flap.
So, while going to LA for medical care thankfully gave me the knowledge and hope I needed–there is an end to the tunnel of misdiagnosis and physical agony that I have endured for more than 3 years. The surgery needed to reach the end of the tunnel and the light beyond is still another 4 weeks away. While waiting, I’m doing my best to “Be the Beauty I Love” and to remember what I already knew, but couldn’t quite recall
“Our truest, deepest self is completely free. It is not crippled or compromised by past actions or concerned with identity or state. It comprehends that it has no need to fear the earthly world, therefore, it has no need to build itself up through fame or wealth or conquest. This is the true spiritual self that all of us are destined someday to recover.” Eben Alexander M.D. To which I say, there is no time like the present.