May Awareness Month: EDS and my life

May Awareness Month: EDS and my life

May is national Ehlers Danlos Syndrome awareness month. EDS is a genetic connective tissue disorder that affects many different body systems. The international symbol for EDS is the zebra. EDS is a rare disorder, like a zebra is rare compared to a horse.

I struggle with a hypermobility syndrome, most likely hypermobile EDS. Most of my joints move beyond a normal range of motion, causing injury and chronic pain. I also have gastrointestinal symptoms, respiratory symptoms, and eye problems. I have made a list of some of the ways EDS affects my life. I especially struggle with severe chronic pain. I want to help raise awareness of this syndrome for better medical treatments and public understanding.

1. My bendy joints help me to move.

My joints are flexible, and I have always enjoyed stretching and yoga. It is easy for me to get up and down from the floor. I am quite comfortable sitting in lotus for meditation. My hypermobile ankles give me a good, strong kick when I swim. Swimming is one of my favorite exercises, soothing my sore body.

2. Sports injuries are a constant struggle for me.

My hypermobile ankles and feet hurt when I run. I have suffered countless sprains because of the weak connective tissue in my ankles. Sometimes I sprain while walking around during my daily life. I have undergone complicated ankle surgery that left me still in pain. I have spent years in physical therapy. But I can rock a pair of crutches! Ehlers Danlos means that some days I walk and look normal, other days I have to use crutches or a cane to get around. read more

The Empty Room

Photo used freely, courtesy of iprole on sxc.hu
Photo used freely, courtesy of iprole on sxc.hu

I just quit my day job at the preschool where I have worked for the last year. The situation became very suffocating, and I have better opportunities ahead of me. Here are my feelings.

The Empty Room

I look upon the empty room,
A room exhaling silence
             memories
             of child voices

The room sees
Eyes pour over lesson plans.
All the educational demands.
A told B and B told C
about the spontaneous ecstasy,
the momentary lessons be
of childhood wonder.

The room measures
Tick-tock hours measured by
laughs and tears and fears and smiles.
Days that measure, dress themselves
in colors of artwork upon the shelves
in water play in yellow sun
in raking red-gold leaves that run
with tiny footprints in the white.

The room sighs
Teachers silenced by harsh demands.
Take the pain upon their hands.
Fix the room, scream the theme
do the project, the curriculum means
but don’t you dare stay on the scene
just a minute late.

The room cries
Children sob the rules they dread.
Don’t make a mess, stay on your bed,
don’t put that bucket on your head,
too much noise behind the door,
be always ready for the Tour.

The room hurts
Teachers broken under stress
contradicting rules, duress.
Mental wounds leak out their bodies
while trying, trying, trying hardly
able to do it all and not get hurt
again.

The room suffocates
I. Can’t. Breathe.

The walls of the room come closing in,
exhaling sickness, a volcano explosion.
Struggling to inhale the stale air,
the room echoes the silent terror.

The room dies
I. Quit.

Two words fill the empty room
I turn my back, I leave alone.
I must hide all the memories saved
to bury them in my mind’s grave.
I leave the room to the hands of God.
And breathe a prayer for my beloved
children.

I think upon the empty preschool room,
A room exhaling silence
             memories
             of voices of pain
             spiritual death

The Journey of Holy Spirit Reiki

The Journey of Holy Spirit Reiki

Reiki is a journey.

Reiki is a healing practice, but Reiki is also a lifestyle change. Reiki is an invitation into a healing dance with the Divine, a gentle tango with the Holy Spirit leading each step.

I so often see Reiki advertised as a quick solution to pain, like taking an aspirin, or, even worse, as a weight-loss method. Reiki is not a flippant “New Age” healing modality. Reiki is a powerful divine energy, the ancient practice of the laying on of hands. I believe Yeshua used Reiki as he healed the masses of people. But he didn’t just give them a quick fix; he often preached about the hard road, the lonely road, the trials to enter the kingdom. Reiki brings healing, yes, but Reiki also brings spiritual responsibility.

A Reiki session is just the beginning of the divine journey. If you contact me for a session, I will lead you into the dance with the Holy Spirit and leave you in her loving embrace. Your earthly cares and pain will melt away as you learn to flow in the healing dance.

I am a Reiki master, so I have followed this path for a long time. As a born healer, the Holy Spirit taught me this dance from a young age. As a child, I explored the world in wonder, learning secrets from the buzzing of the bees and the whispering of the trees. I have also felt the pain of others from a young age. I am an empath with a heart wide open to experiencing the pain of others while I lead them on their own path. I also learn new things from my Reiki clients and friends every day. The journey is eternal.

I believe that YHWH created us with a deep need for each other. This is not a popular idea in our individualistic, ego-driven Western culture. Compassion, sacrifice, and empathy bind us together. That is the power of Reiki healing, the Holy Spirit Reiki journey. Competition and ego drive us apart. When Reiki is sold under the spell of this energy, the result is dangerous. There are many people who tell stories of harm from negative Reiki energy. My heart cries for those wounded souls.

I invite you, friends and strangers alike, reading this blog to join me on the healing journey of Holy Spirit Reiki. It is a mystical, wonderful path, full of joy and sometimes heartache. But the end is true healing and true enlightenment.

Work Stress: Meditation as Medication

work stress graphic
Picture used under Flickr creative commons license by GDS Infographics

I had a few tough days at work last week, and I am mentally preparing myself for the beginning of a new work week tomorrow. I know many other people are struggling with the same stress of work, whether they see their job as a fulfilling career unto itself, or as a day job to pay the bills while they pursue deeper interests. There are some startling studies that show the high level of work stress around the developed world. If you click the picture I posted, you can find a larger view of this information. This post is for all of us.

I see myself primarily as a writer, healer, and spiritual teacher and student. To support these interests, I work a day job as a preschool teacher. I love the children, and I have fun playing with them, learning with them, and trying to see things through their imaginative gaze. Young children are close to heaven, and I learn new things from them about the spirit realm, a place of carefree imagination and playful child-like understanding.

My job is with a corporate early childhood center, and the business side is hard for me. There is so much pressure from above to try to perform long lists of rules which conflict each other, and to create a quality program out of less: less money, less time, less staffing. Everything is about The Bottom Line. All the normal corporate heartaches created by foolish human hierarchies.

I want to succeed, and I want to create the best environment I can for each of my children and their needs, but the pressures create a lot of stress and sometimes even depression in my life. I am learning how to overcome this. I think the key is to live a life of meditation. When the conflicting rules and confusion feel like dark storm clouds suffocating the atmosphere around me, and when the lack of support and recognition make me feel like an egg boiling in hot water and about to crack, I need to recreate the picture and imagine the peaceful still rivers living deep within my soul.

Meditation is my hiding place. Meditation is my medication.

When most people think of meditation, they imagine a yogi sitting for hours in lotus position, eyes closed in blissful stillness. They think that meditation is a specific activity to be scheduled and practiced at a certain point in their day. This is not entirely wrong. Indeed, scheduling a time to sit in meditation is a good practice for anyone’s health and sanity. Meditation is taking our gaze off our physical surroundings, problems, stresses, and refocusing our gaze to the inside, our spiritual surroundings. This does take practice.

But meditation can happen anytime, anywhere, as a relaxing, dreamy hour, or as a second of peace in the middle of the chaos. Meditation is more than a practice; it is a lifestyle. When I am surrounded by stress and pressures and human strife, I need to remember, if only for a moment, to refocus my gaze to the inside, the spirit realm that transcends all of these temporal concerns. Meditation is a great antidote for stress.

I have also been exploring recently how to use meditation as medication for my body. My job is physically demanding, so the constant lifting and walking cause my tendinitis to flare, especially when combined with the stress. I have so much chronic pain that sometimes I turn to pain drugs to calm the fire and help me get through the day. Sometimes this is the only way I can work my day job at all.

I don’t like these medications, though, and I don’t think they have great long-term effects on my body. I am learning to meditate for a short moment every time the pain strikes. This lessens the sting. In these moment-by-moment meditations, am also learning things about the origins of my pain and how to let go through my spirit and energy body. I believe that much, if not all chronic pain, exists in the spirit body as much as the physical body. I will explore this more in a future post.

I invite you to join me on this journey of learning to live a life of meditation and using meditation as a medication for your stress and pain, physical or emotional, at work or at play.

Gaining New Sight

 

Photo used freely, courtesy of Brybs on stock.xchng
Photo used freely, courtesy of Brybs on stock.xchng

I have often said that I am a healer in need of healing. All of the best spiritual healers in the world have suffered many ailments. It takes deep empathy to learn the art of healing. I often pray to walk a mile in another person’s shoes so I can change my world.

Right now I am in great need of healing. I have developed a cataract in one eye that is progressing very rapidly. The diagnosis shocked me, because I am only 32 years old. As much as I know about medicine, I always thought of cataracts as only a disease of advanced age.

I have been near-sighted most of my life, so, ironically, my problem started when my eye suddenly got much better and my glasses were uncomfortable. I went to the optometrist, and she had to change my glass prescription three times in a month, ultimately cutting my prescription in half.

Unfortunately, with each prescription change, I noticed a cloud starting to descend on my vision, like looking at the world through the spreading fog of a bathroom mirror after a hot shower. I also started to lose my near vision, even as my far vision got better. This hurts me because I love to read and write, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to do so. Working on my websites has also become a challenge.

I have an appointment with another opthalmologist, but they have already said that surgery may be my only option. I do not want to follow that path right now. I had a horrible experience with ankle surgery, and I am not eager to have surgery again. I know that Western medicine has its place, but I want to pursue holistic healing first.

I am practicing Reiki and meditation with my vision. Maybe this is a life lesson for me on my spiritual path. Perhaps my spiritual vision is affecting my physical vision; a temporary foggy patch as I ascend the clouds to another level of the mountain. I also think I need to learn to rest my eyes more, just rest in general. I have a high-stress day job, and maybe resting my eyes is a way to help me learn to calm down more and let all my worries fly away.

I am also learning to empathize with those who struggle to see in any way. I have thought often lately of the story in the Bible about the blind man whom Jesus healed (Mark 8). When Jesus first put his hands on the man’s eyes, the man said he saw “people looking like trees walking around.” Jesus then put his hands on the man a second time and he was healed completely.

I always thought this story was a bit odd. Why did he see people like trees? Now I can empathize, because the blurriness and fogginess that I am experiencing looks somewhat like that description.

This story also reminds me that healing takes time. The miracle may not happen completely or at all on the first attempt, even for the greatest Healer of all time. Maybe the man was not quite ready to see. Maybe he still had fears. After all, if he had been blind for most or all of his life, learning to see, although a great gift, would completely change his identity.

This principle is also true of the first week, or the first year, or the first decade of the healing process. Healing is a soul journey as much as a physical one. I want to participate fully in this journey. I believe that I will come out the other side with my vision restored, and even better than it was before.

I bless you on the healing journey, friends, and I would appreciate if you could send a little Reiki and healing energy my way as well.

The Life Cycle of the Dandelion

dandelion
Photo used royalty free, courtesy of anitab0000 on stock.xchng

As I slog through a cold, wet Minnesota spring, I am encouraged to see the signs of life all around me. Neither the depths of the dark, frigid winter nor the downpours of the damp, tempestuous spring can prevent the excitement and life of summer from arriving.

I walked to work this morning with my umbrella plastered around my body, guarding against the beaded wetness of the May sky. I turned my eyes toward the ground, and suddenly I noticed a spark of yellow. A dandelion braved its way through the storm to reach for the hidden sun.

This hopeful little flower reminded me of another, brighter day in which my young son picked dandelions. The sun dappled his small hands as he delightedly scooped up the flowers, their yellow heads transformed into cotton balls of white. The white of wisdom. The white of weathered seasons. The knowing of life and death, and the gift of those seeds to the next generation.

Such is the humble dandelion. So many people call it a weed, but it is a miracle. Its flower has a short life, only a few precious weeks. Yet beneath the yellow youth and the white seniority hides a rebirth. You see, the dandelion plant lives a long life, or many lives. It throws its roots deep and it flowers many times.

Our life is like that of the dandelion. We live a short time on this earth. Like the grass of the field, the Bible says. Here today, gone tomorrow.

We start out our journey here with joy, little babies basking in the yellow sunshine of life. We grow and we see sorrow and joy, pain and healing. We end our journey with our hair cotton white, our minds full of wisdom, and our seeds to offer the next generation.

Too often, we anxiously pack our days full, a brimming suitcase ready for another opportunity that we think will bring us joy. Or, perhaps, we keep a full suitcase just in the hope of impressing others. Busy for the sake of busy.

Rarely do we pause to consider the end.

But is it the end? Like the lowly dandelion, our roots are deep. We are spiritual beings, throwing forth a flower and seeds into this sun, while our tap root firmly anchors us to the other side. We pack our suitcases for this journey, but we neglect to prepare for the splendors of eternity. In vain hope, we throw our seeds into the winds of earthly fame and glory, but we forget to save some of these seeds for the inner world, the world of understanding and wisdom.

No matter how much we call it a weed, the dandelion knows itself. It knows the wisdom of inner beauty and a life reborn. Do we know the same?

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