This is a very important time. I can tell by how uncomfortable I am. Remember last month when I could barely move? WAY more comfortable than this. (i’m not sure if i wrote much from christmas through the Super Bowl. i really have no idea. but i was the worst i’ve been since the onset of the disease (70+ mostly agonizing days), i couldn’t hold a water bottle that was more than half full, and my quite light comforter was too heavy for me to be able to tend to my own bedlinen. It was rough. So much so that it became untenable and i finally just went to the ER and got my first steroid shot. Wow. 85 percent better in a handful of hours. the miracles of modern medicine.
but what did that represent?
a shift, most certainly
I’ve spent the past decade avoiding western medicine. I don’t want the side effects. and so i carved a route exploring diet and lifestyle choices, energy healing and deep personal work, trauma and connectedness… and these 10 years have re-steered my life so gorgeously, I feel enormously grateful. This last decade, my choices worked for me… even when they didn’t. and they often didn’t. but i was relentless in exploring avenues of wellness. and giving them a fair try (60 days as written is my rule). this, i’ve explored ad nauseam. so back to the discomfort…
i wish my memory for greek mythology was sharper. but, I know this: there’s a point where what worked for the hero- somewhat reliably up until now- stops working. and when that happens, you really want what used to work to continue working and it SUCKS SUCKS SUCKS. All that time developing some mastery and that skillset just became obsolete – and not just a dead-end path, an obstacle to the new skillset because you are thrown in to overcoming any sense that you know anything at all.
I spent a decade with alternative therapies to the exclusion of pharmaceuticals. i am currently out of my depths. None of my reliable flare-up relief remedies could touch the trajectory of worsening inflammation. That steroid shot shifted things I couldn’t do on my own, or even with the help of several gifted body modality health practitioners.
Coming to the Rheumatoligst’s office, humbly, but also skeptical. and curious. and hopeful. and afraid. a whole lot going on. And of course he wants me on the DMARD (disease modifying anti-rhemetic drugs) that will hopefully halt the disease’s progress, if not even perhaps reversing it. it comes, as all things, with risks, including prominently disclosed lymphatic cancer warnings (what my father passed from) and of course, because it supresses my immune system, I’ll be needing the shingles vaccine and a few others because risk for infection goes way up…
now, this feels like cascading capitulation.
I will admit, I am skeptical about pharmaceutical solutions being necessary as often as they are prescribed. and i don’t want to discount the remarkable shift in quality of life that the pharmaceutical industry has provided for countless people. But i’ve also noticed that once a person starts taking pills for one thing, they often begin to have to add to that arsenal to counter the side effects. The healthiest older women I know (both 83) don’t take a single prescription. I would really like to try to address my health by diffusing the source of the inflammation, not covering it up or trading it for another source.
But what I’ve been doing doesn’t work anymore.
I am at that moment in the hero journey
and i’m pretty sure the hero (heroine… buddha…) doesn’t just pick up a new roadmap and start following it.
no, no, no.
the hero (heroine… buddha…) takes a breath. surrenders to the vulnerability and finds her place in it. Where is the center of gravity? where is the connection to earth and nature and life itself. in our balance and in our breath.. and from there we can begin to access our resources and the flow of life itself. from there we can reimagine our skillset to reveal whole other dimensions of our gifts. Chasing security doesn’t offer that kind of return. Chasing security is an endless chase after an elusive (if existent) target. Operating from the center of our being, in acknowledgement of our connection to all of life, and with willingness to open to the new, whatever that might look like (not a natural human tendency) – this is the hero journey.
and i’m in that moment that i don’t know what my next step is or should be, what the new looks like, or if i can find my place in it. Part of me wants to retreat into another diet protocol for at least a month before I jump into a very expensive and somewhat unnatural pharmaceutical dependency. Part of me wants to just start taking their cascade of prescriptions and vaccines. I have no idea what is going to happen (probably something in the middle, but even that prediction assumes the future like the past and I really want to take this opportunity to blow the doors off that assumption for once and for all – however else can the new truly present itself and be recognized?)
I feel proud of how well I’ve managed RA these many years (and the wonderful influences that supported and continue to support my wellness). I feel ashamed that I couldn’t beat the disease (or at least even get it into remission!) with the power of my attitude and outlook. I failed as a natural self-healer. Of course, the first rule of bodyfulness (or the second) is ‘healing happens in relationship’. and our primary relationship is with the present moment.
and i think that’s what the hero (heroine, buddha) remembers. all this prognosticating doesn’t serve. “what should i do? what should i do?” “should i go this way or that way? this way or that way?” All that is a distraction, and a most disconcerting one because it spends all kinds of energy without really garnering anything at all. Hardly a sound investment.
What is the orientation of the hero in that moment? To be in the present moment. put down your weapons and assumptions, pick up sensitivity and listening, and see what this moment brings and what it evokes deep in your belly, which calls on every insight you’ve ever gleaned and says, “sing to me now, this song of you, here, in relationship to the world bursting with potential and offering to take you home.”