Monthly Archives: January 2014

Walking on a Tightrope

I wasn’t at all sure that I wanted to share this, yet somehow not sharing takes away from the essence of what I want this blog to be: an authentic look at life, the way I see it, so that it can create discussion and thought for those who read it.  I’ve thought about adding humor to it, however I find that humor is something that escapes me on most days.  It is not that I am avoiding humor, for I do look for it always, I just don’t find really funny things in my everyday life.  So for explanations sake here goes: I have Psoriatic Arthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis, Hypoadrenalism and Hemiplegic Migraines.  Lots of fancy words! I can sum it all up very succinctly: there are many days when life just sucks! Balancing the medications, I think I am up to 15 or so, with the symptoms and side effects is a full-time job; and yes, you got it, I can’t work.  At least not at anything that provides an income.  My “job” is battling disease which involves my immune system attacking my body to destroy it…not only my joints but my organs also.  To do this, I take medications that cause cancer and can kill me in other ways.  What a trade off! Yet it is the only way I can live, as the pain is way too intense otherwise.  Of course, the medications for the auto-immune diseases, Rheumatoid and Psoriatic Arthritis, have caused other diseases, like hypoadrenalism, and have made that seem like a larger issue than what I had when I started! It all gets very complicated and confusing. I will talk more about this as I continue to post, as it is an ongoing saga.

I try to stay positive. I try to say that these diseases will not define who I am or what I can do.  Yet I know in my head and my heart that they do each and every day.  Maybe this is why the humor is hard to find and why I have such a difficult time being authentic, the difference between how I see myself–capable and desiring–is very different from my reality–full of disease and unable to do the things I want. How do I find authenticity in this? I have tried to deny the diseased part and think of myself as only capable, however this leads to more physical pain as I overdo.  I have tried to accept the diseased part and give myself allowances for it, however this leads to more depression as I do not want to be diseased.  Many days, ok every day, I walk this tight rope hoping that I don’t fall off, as I don’t want to fall into the pit of depression.  Maybe this is why I cannot find humor, I am using all my energy to stay on the tightrope.  It takes a lot of concentration to stay up here, there is little left for anything else. Maybe this is why I am so tired all time…oh yeah, there is also this disease my body is fighting.  If only it was as easy as it looks on TV…

The Best in My Corner of the World, What About Yours?

Today has me thinking about all the genuinely GOOD people in the world. I’m not sure why this has come into my mind so strongly today, however it is here and it is screaming at me! Maybe it is because I am so very thankful for the people in my life who reach out to me.  But it is more global than that today, there are really so many great people in the WORLD doing really fantastic things for others!  There is so much focus on the negative crap that players are doing, that the positive gets lost in the fine print, if it gets printed at all.  I can’t write about all the positive things happening everywhere, so I will write about a few of them in my small corner of the universe.

Lots of people, I suppose, say they have the “best” friends. And I would hope that they are correct. For in my life I am sure that I have the BEST friends! I am very lucky indeed that I have such wonderful people in my life…someone who would drive 2.5 hours to pick me up, drive another 2 hours to an appointment, then turn around and take me home so they could then drive home.  And do this every week, or was that twice a week?  Of course, at the last appointment, my friend literally saved my life…something I can never repay! And, let’s not forget another friend who stopped her life a year ago to care for me…what was supposed to be a week turned into at least three, or was it four?  Many friends helped out at that time and I would not have made it without them…I am indeed very lucky.

Day-to-day, I have friends and family who call just to chat, who help out with projects I can’t quite handle on my own, or at all, and who stop by with smiles and treats when I need some of both.  I am very blessed in my life, even though there are times I get caught up in the negatives of pain and struggles that I feel I can’t control. So while I say “Thank You” so very often and I think I have so little to give back to all those who make my days brighter, I am hoping that I am a positive in their lives also. I hope someday I will be able to tangibly return their kindness to me, but if I don’t, I know that they will continue to do what they do! For that is their character and how they are made!  For that I am blessed!

My fervent wish for you is that you can take a few moments and clear out the negativity of your day;  to focus on the positives and the ways you are blessed in your life.  If you feel so inclined, I’d love to read about them in the comments below, as I find that writing them down makes them even more real.  It is very difficult to think about the negative when you are writing about the positive!

Responsible for Everything???

So, I’m perusing Facebook this morning and come across the “You are 100% Responsible for your Life” quote.  Now I know that. Everyone knows that, okay how about everyone should know that! But today it hit me: Holy Shit, I am responsible for everything!!! Like EVERYTHING! I’m ok with being responsible for my choices…but damn it, I don’t want to be responsible for EVERYTHING!!!  Like the house and all of its “inner workings.”  I don’t think the house is going to be responsible for itself! I mean, has your furnace ever quit, and the house just picked up the phone, called the repairman and paid the bill??? And then there is the car and its “inner parts.”  There are just too many of them and ONCE AGAIN, I don’t the car will decide when it is having “issues” and work to resolve them! And the bank account…do you think that just once, one time…is that too much to ask…that just once it could take responsibility for itself!  That it could watch its balance and make sure that it is not overdrawn.  Nope, that is way too much to ask! 

So it is all on me…100% responsibility for myself is feeling more and more overwhelming! No wonder people don’t like taking responsibility for themselves…this is scary shit!

Social Graces Gone Awry

“Cell phones only inhibit everyone’s social skills.”  “Smart phones are making everyone imbeciles.” And my favorite:  “Kids today can’t talk to anyone face-to-face, they can’t write in whole words and there is no use expecting them to have respect for anyone.”

Now, I think these are some pretty harsh statements, but I have heard them all within the past two or three weeks, and from different people. I agree there has been a profound impact on society since the cell phone, bur really, since the smart phone and social networking.  I see some huge advantages of social networking, and yes I will be posting this to Facebook when I its complete!  There have been days that my only interaction with others has been through Facebook, not by choice but by circumstance.  And I have met some very nice people through Facebook, that I would never have met in any other way. Of course, you can feel it coming, there is a downside.  Like getting together with friends and the entire evening one of them is on Facebook “chatting.”  It is curious to me…why would someone go out with friends, only to not interact with them?  Why does someone pretend to be interacting with the person(s) they are with, when in actuality, they are “with” their social network on Facebook?  Or, for that matter, why does someone  text others, surf the net or play games when in a social situation?  When this happens to me, it screams “You are boring me, but I feel I have to be with you, so I am going to ignore you and do something else.”

Maybe this is just because I grew up without these devices, although I am pretty much into all the latest gadgets. I had a cell phone as soon as they came out, in a reasonable size, in the early 1990’s. I cannot tell you how many I have had since then, but I know I’ve had at least three iPhones. I am on my second iPad, my third Kindle, etc.  I say this only to let you, the reader, know that I may not have grown up with “gadgets” but I have fully embraced them!  I feel lost if I leave my cell phone at home.  I’ve always put it on the table next to me so I would be sure to see it.  I’ve texted people while playing cards and, yes, I have gone on Facebook just to “see what’s happening.” And for all those times, I am sorry.  I never meant to say that I was bored or that you were not important. I realize now how it must have felt.   From now on, when I am with friends, I will leave it in my pocket. I will ignore it when it rings, text or call.  I know what it feels like when someone your with takes a call or answers a text…”this is more important that you…”

I have found myself taking my iPad, iPhone and whatever other “i’s” I can find with me to places I know I need them.  Places where I know, or at least history has taught me, that this will be the activity at some point.  I hate being the “if you can’t beat them join them” type…I’ve always been the “rebel,” and I am much more comfortable with that role. But sometimes, you know you are beat.  After all, I looked up one afternoon when I didn’t have my electronic companions, and everyone in the room was engrossed in their iPad or Kindle. After an hour or so of just watching them, I chose to go home.  It was only Christmas after all…a time for family and fellowship.  I’m guessing that has become something we do electronically now?

Dilemma In The End Of Denial – My Tree Is Dying

I have a tree in my front yard. Not such an unusual occurrence, as many folks have one or many trees in their yards.  This tree, however is one of, if not the reason,  I bought my house.  I spend many hours each day looking at my tree, for it has many patterns in its branches and I can see faces and facial expressions in its trunk.  At times, it seems that my tree is expressing what the Universe is feeling about a decision I have made or an action I have taken (or more likely have not taken).  The branches of my tree come out as if a gentle hand is cradling all of nature’s bounty–the sun, the rain, the snow.  It’s as if they are making a bed for anyone who wants to lay within them and, for awhile, become one with their strength, beauty and absolute love.  For there, one can contemplate the absolute power and glory of nature!

As you can see, I love my tree. I can not remember ever relating to a tree like this since my childhood.  As I stood looking at my tree during this recent “polar vortex,” I watched it become blanketed in snow and I was grateful that the snow might keep it warm from the cold winds that were shaking it and making it tremble.  Then I noticed what I had perhaps been pointedly avoiding, my tree had holes in the “v’s” of it’s branches.  I thought of all the frigid air rushing in and through my beloved tree and I realized, like a dagger hitting my heart, my tree is dying.  I’ve known this in my head for over a year now; but I have lived in that wonderful state of denial, refusing to believe that it would really happen.  Yes, there were far less leaves on it last year and yes, branches have to be cut from it so they don’t fall on anyone, however, denial is a strong ally! It struck me that I cannot be in denial forever:  my tree is dying, and then the sadness enveloped me.

As I allowed myself to actually feel this sadness, I wondered: Does it hurt? We know that humans and animals often have pain and suffering during the dying process, so do trees and plants share this trait?  They are living beings also.  Do they feel embarrassed by their shabbiness in the loss of leaves and branches? Do they wish their existence to be cut short as humans do, to save their dignity?  If any of these are possible is it humane, or “treemane,” to keep it alive just because I can’t bear to part with it?  I can’t bear to think of losing its strength that I can feel even when I sit inside, or its shade that cools me on a hot summer’s day.  When I feel so weak that I can no longer fight the good fight, I only have to walk to its side and rest my hand there, and my strength is renewed.  So the dilemma remains:  Is it “treemane” to keep a tree alive because I cannot let it go?  This seems rather selfish to me.  I’ve heard other people say “you can not cut it down, it is too cool” or “it’s not hurting anything.” I understand that it is not hurting anything else, but IS IT HURTING?

You see,  I believe that everything has its own energy given by the Universe/God/Source. I believe that everything has value and worth and I do my best to honor that value and worth in my daily life.  That also means that, for me, everything is equal.  Does that mean then that I should, in compassion, euthanize my tree? Or do I allow it to die a “natural death”?  An existential question perhaps, but one that I will struggle with long after the air warms and the snow has melted.  The “polar vortex” may fade in memory, but my tree, no my tree will be with me always.  For it has been written upon my heart, just as the tree from my childhood.  I still have no answer to my question, however I am, as I write this, becoming certain that my tree will give me the answer I seek.  For just as it seems to “comment” on my decisions, give me cooling shade on hot days and strengthen me when I am weak, it will also guide me as to its own existence.

What’s in a Name?

Isn’t the most difficult place to start always at the beginning?  At least it has been for me!  For every talk and every paper and short story and poem I have ever written, I have always struggled with the beginning.  But I am past that now and very cleverly done, at least I am hoping it was clever. I decided I would start this on January 1st, of last year, and then talked myself out of it.  Well, I did it for awhile, I just did not publish it, so I really did not accomplish what I wanted.  So today I heard that the 6th is the day most people give up their New Year’s Resolutions…my thought was I guess I should start one.  So here I am, starting one of my resolutions. So, What’s in a Name?  I entitled my non-blog “Musings” last year and I want to continue that.  I also want to add to it, but could not decide on the right word to put with it, and words are what this is all about.  After doing some research, I found that the word “mast” is defined as “food” in Old High German, according to Dictionary.com.  This fits right is with “musings” which is synonymous with “thoughts” according to thesaurus.com.  Works out very well, I think.  I am hoping to give all of you who read this blog, some food for thought.  I spend a lot of my day thinking about all kinds of things: useful and not so useful; amusing and frightening; and, for the most part, just things I observe as I go through my day.  I am very excited to share some of my observations and my thoughts with each of you! And I am also excited to hear your responses, so feel free to comment.