Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, living with chronic illness, Living with Illness

Oh the Weather Outside is Frightful

It’s the first day of winter and here in Denver we’re having a snow storm.  The area where I live has received 11 inches of snow thus far and it’s still snowing.  I look out and it’s beautiful, but then again, I look at the driveway and have this deep sense of dread.  The snow shovel has got to come out of hiding and I’ve got to get out in the blustery cold…yuk!

So what is it about the weather that brings me to write this post?  Just the thought that something so beautiful can cause so much strife.  Also, if I do nothing it means I’m  trapped in the house till spring, not a pleasant thought (although I do have enough food for quite a while in the freezer).

On the other hand, if the snow stops I often find shoveling to be quite a Zen experience.  I love when it’s very quiet outdoors and I’m out there, just me and the snow, going back and forth shoveling from one end of the driveway to the other creating mounds of snow on the lawn.  It’s one of those opportunities to spend time with the elements and know that I can go indoors any time I want.

So are you wondering where I’m going with all of this?

Nature is unpredictable and so are our lives.  Yours evidently surprised you when the doctor gave you your diagnosis.  I know that at times treatment can seem insurmountable, like the 12 inches of snow on the driveway, but we have to learn to take it one shovel full at a time.  Treatment for any chronic or life-altering illness is about pacing yourself and being methodical in your approach.  Creating a healing space will give you the edge, just as I create a Zen space when shoveling the driveway.  It’s about creating a space for personal reflection.

Getting through the angst of the diagnosis and the treatment often requires some mental and spiritual elbow grease.  We have to do the work on ourselves to help the body, mind, and spirit work more harmoniously creating a haven for health and healing.  When we provide the space for wellness we’re more inclined to make better decisions about our own well-being and that encourages the immune system to perk up and take note of your efforts.


Posted in art and healing, creativity and health

Ever Want to Runaway From Home? Listen to Twyla Tharp

I think every kid at one time or another wants to run away from home.  Unfortunately, some actually do and have a terrible time on the streets.  Overwhelmingly, kids threaten but seem to stay put and the crisis is averted.  I remember wanting to runaway as a kid.   I put my clothes in a paper bag, left the apartment, and walked down the street.  Only problem is I couldn’t get far because I wasn’t allowed to cross the street; I had to hang out on the corner until I was ready to turn around and head home.

As an adult there are times when we would like to runaway from home.  Stressful lives lead us to want a few moments of peace and quiet.  We want a sanctuary where we can’t be found so we can sort out the chaos in our body, mind and spirit.  It’s usually a time when reflection is important and yet we believe that “going away” is the only answer.

I love the great American choreographer, Twyla Tharp (If you haven’t read her book “The Creative Habit” you’re missing the creative person’s bible).  She says, “Art is the only way to run away without leaving home”.  A friend of mine had posted this on Facebook and I was awe-struck.  It was so simple and yet so profound.  It made me quickly reflect on every moment I spend in the studio, and how transformative and transported I feel when working on something that allows for my ultimate self-expression.

So what does that mean for anyone going through a difficult time, especially if you’re facing a health challenge?  It encourages you to runaway within your own being.  It lures you to a place where you can be seen and heard by your heart and soul, while creating something that allows others to get how you’re feeling.  Running away within your being gives you time to re-group and that’s most important when trying to deal with the chaos that comes with a health challenge.

Life is messy!  Even when things are going well; life is messy!  So when things become more out-of-control due to other challenges placed before you; the easiest way to face them is to runaway through art.  You don’t have to be Picasso; you just have to be willing to be honest.  Your creative endeavor has to be something that comes from the well of your being.  This is not a time to hold back because that undoubtedly is one of the reasons you’re probably pushed to the brink of running away.  It can be honest and raw.  It doesn’t have to be beautiful; this isn’t about getting into a museum…it’s about getting to your truth!

I encourage you to allow art to be your destination of choice when you want to runaway!

Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, living with chronic illness, Living with Illness

I’m OK…Bird Not So Lucky

I left Nashville yesterday morning where I have been working for the past four months.  I’m on my way home to Denver so I was on 70West last nite on the phone(I have a wireless, no hands…don’t worry not holding a phone) when something smashed into my windshield.  The windshield shattered and a fair amount of glass came into the car, but the windshield amazingly was still in tact.  It was obviously a surprise; I screamed and had to figure out my next plan of attack.  Of course, that’s when the light came on indicating I needed gas so I guess I was going to stop.

When I got out of the car I noticed feathers in the windshield wiper.  Easy deduction, I was hit by a bird.  I’m sure the bird didn’t survive, but fortunately I made it to Kansas City last night and I’m safe and sound.  I scheduled for a company to come out and replace my windshield so my plans had to change.  I’m spending an extra day in Kansas City delaying my arrival home a day.  Right now I’m sitting in my hotel room waiting for the glass company to arrive between the hours of 12-5…are you thinking what I’m thinking?

After I got past the horror of the event last night I started thinking about the ramifications of having a Kamikaze bird hit my windshield, other than the obvious past that the bird died.  Like so many of us that have been diagnosed with a chronic or life-altering illness this experience made me think fast.  It required me to make an assessment, come up with a plan, and then execute that plan.  I had to utilize the centering skills I have of deep breathing to get past the anxiety of something hitting the windshield with that much force.  I knew I had to touch base with loved ones so they wouldn’t worry and I could get words of encouragement and love since I was traveling.

These are the things that you have to take into consideration when facing a health challenge.  You’re obviously not going to be able to plan out everything that will take place during treatment.  You’ll have to learn to become a bit more flexible in your planning.  It will require you to always think about alternatives since you may have to change plans with very little time.  You will need to develop a practice that will center you enough so you can make what may be important decisions with a clear mind.  These are things I continuously work on and the practice seemed to pay off last night, even though it wasn’t related to my health (well I guess in some way it was…lol).

Today is a new day and I’m feeling good.  As I wait for the glass company to arrive the only thing I can think is, “It could have been worse”.  I feel blessed!