Tag Archives: healing

disposable parts

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Post-operative wild dreams.

This morning’s:

Dreaming about going to buy some Origins face cream and make up, because I’m going for an interview.

I get a sample for the cream from the sales person, who seems to know I’m broke and isn’t all that quick to come and assist me.

Dreaming about talking with my mother, discussing how BC is alright but that we both miss Montreal, and though we wouldn’t want to go back there, something is missing from here, too, and an appropriate new place has yet to present itself. Pondering in mutual comfortable silence where that “other” is.

Dreaming of opening portals with sexual acts between unwitting participants and which didn’t really give the opener (who looks like a weary Alice Cooper) the expected/desired result seems to have changed and matured him in “good” ways. It was like a scene from Battlestar Galactica meets Big Fish meets [a film with a steampunk themed mad scientist lab].

The last bit of my dream has me shaking sand off of clothing I’d worn to the beach into grass just outside the patio door, the shaking off outside spurred by the bunch of sand spilling on the floor when I started unpacking my bag.

**end**

I’m moving better. This morning I was able to, for a time, nap on my left side while holding a pillow against my belly for support. I tried doing that a couple of days ago and was in too much pain to stay that way or to shift around much. Missionary position was the ticket. I’m looking forward to being able to sleep on my side or stomach again.

I stopped taking the pain meds, too – it seems that the discomfort is manageable in these increments and nothing I can’t manage. Resting helps. I’m constipated which is not anything highly unusual as it’s somewhat of a “normal” state for me. I have pills for that but I’m hoping for things to move on their own. ::sigh::

I stink and it’s time for a shower. I was holding off until the pain receded enough so that when I pressed lightly on the incision areas, it wasn’t hurting so much. Also, I wanted to be sure the incisions were well enough healed so that when I initially exposed them, they wouldn’t risk getting infected. They’re still tender but way better than initially.

I’m laying in bed and the birds are busily confabulating out front. The air is cool again but the sun seems like it’s out, and the raining has stopped.

I think I have a crush on my anesthesiologist, if only I could remember more about him than the kindness of his eyes and how gently and carefully he inserted the IV device into my hand.

Actually, there were two anesthesiologists… the one who I consulted with before and the one I met in the OR. That one was all Rock Star. Electric. Competent. Good to have on your team when you are in a bind. He probably has a new quarterly Budweiser Girl as his flavour du jour, and there was not a warm kindness in his eyes, only laser like focus and “win”.

I really should move… I’ve been up and made myself breakfast, ate while standing up in the kitchen in only underwear, and took the tea to bed, resting the cup on my belly between sips.

The stomach bloating is also abating – thankfully. When I tell people that I’m full of hot air, now I can really mean it.

I wonder if the doc kept my “pearls” so I could see them when I had my appointment, like I asked.

The body is a marvel.

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on grieving…

I think Western society (well – truthfully – most of them, for that matter) does not like grief. It’s uncomfortable and distracting, and essentially, when a person is grieving, they are not productive. So we feel compelled to internalize our grief and it eventually manifests as disease (dis-ease).

Or, when we are incapable of keeping it under wraps, we function within the same life framework we were in before but everything suffers; we truly are less productive.

This brings about a snowball effect… we become disengaged, our work quality suffers. Eventually the strain of the expectation of optimal performance during these times creates the sort of situation that exacerbates the already heavy stress that we are attempting to navigate our way through.

The only cure for grief is time – allowing for the healing process to unfold, hopefully helped along by people who can guide the process in a healthy and mindful way. Time heals all things.

Despite the fact that at one time or another most of us have gone through the process of grieving, people don’t know how to approach those who are grieving. I think this is due to the fact that the process of grieving is mishandled by society. The pain is not honoured. The transition is not respected. Pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps is probably something to do at some point in the process, but not when we are at our most raw; the expectation to be able to do so is ludicrous, and yet it is the norm.

So why am I speaking about grieving?

Well, if one was to take one of those psych tests which evaluates the external stressors in our lives which influence our internal lives, job loss would be one of them – and I am intimately familiar with this one point on the checklist, having recently lost my job.

Despite the fact that I had been mentally prepared to be one of the “staffing reassessment” casualties, I’ve been in a sort of tailspin since. Maybe it’s a midlife crisis kind of tail spin (I turned fifty yesterday). I wonder why I am having such a difficult time with “launching” at this stage of my life. The disparity with what it is and how I would like it to be (career wise) is so wide a gap that I can’t fathom how to bridge it. The thought of repeating the last thirty years of my working life is making me balk like never before.

All of this “free” time has afforded me some opportunity to check out what the rest of the world is doing these days. Not the one I was operating in, but the one *out there*… not the one that I was mistakenly assuming was drying up of opportunity but the one that is actually transforming into a more tenable way of living and working in this vast and quickly shifting world. Well, perhaps not so quickly, and this shift is happening with only a visible few, not the vast majority.

[Aside: So many companies are still working off of the industrial revolution SOPs. Evolving from full factory sized staffing to smaller crews, the thinking continues to be “lean and mean”, the mantra of the end of the twentieth century. Almost two decades in to the new millennium and they are still not getting, despite the fact that they conduct “engagement studies” and know the facts, that people must be engaged in order to thrive. To me engagement involves interesting work, and by compartmentalizing processes – particularly in an office environment – that equates to small bits of rote work effected by underpaid people. It may not be about the money, certs, but if people are not earning enough to live a comfortable life, they are operating in survival mode and can’t relax enough to unleash their creative brains – which would be irrelevant anyway, given the fact that any incentive to be creative is slowly being stripped away because of role uniformitization **this is an interesting article on technology and its sociological effects** … (more on all of this later, because this whole paragraph segues into a completely other thought that I don’t really want to speak to at the moment, and is tangental to the my initial thoughts on grieving).]

In any case, the common refrain I hear these days from my age group and peers is: it’s really tough out there; there are little opportunities for the young people these days.

(Which to me translates to: You’re fucked woman… you’re over the hill, overpaid, under-educated, a has-been… and if the kids can’t flourish, with all of their verve and vigour and downright enthusiasm, how do you think that you will?)

I don’t mean they are thinking this in relation to me per se. They are thinking it themselves in regard to their own prospects should they also find themselves amongst the rest of us in the unemployment line, and similarly wondering what the hell they can do to reinvent themselves at this late stage in the game.

I mean seriously… hipsters we ain’t. We’re not even hippies. Most of us are late-in-coming baby boomers or Gen-X’ers (who the hell thinks up these ridiculous naming conventions anyway?). We’re done with the baby ranching and the marriages (because most of them didn’t survive), and in the midst of being overburdened with debts and living expenses way beyond the comfortable quality of life “ratios” that were decided upon during different economic times, a shrinking middle class and a soft job market, we are now having to reinvent ourselves and our raison d’être in midlife, not necessarily by choice but because all of the structures that we had in place to ensure some semblance of security and material continuum are slowly but systematically being dismantled.

So there is much mourning going on at the fort.

Job loss. Mid-life. And, frankly, disillusionment – the realization that we must fight for relevance, but not of the sort that I’ve been waging a war for over the last three decades.

For many years, at least the first decade of my working life, relevance meant accumulating more job-specific skills in the area I was working in (which were obtainable on-the-job and considered valid training and education, perhaps even more so than a certificate or a diploma). That was the challenge that kept me reaching for greater responsibility, professional respect, and career advancement. I find that is not true of the job market and the opportunities for growth within companies today. They are stiff with their requirements, and even less flexible with promoting people into more challenging roles if they do not already have the set of skills and qualifications that the job requires, despite the potential of the employee or candidate.

Much of my career-centric views changed after the birth of my son. My priorities shifted greatly and I was focused on parenting and trying to keep our family unit functioning (and together – much of my marital challenges were present from the very beginning, and deepened as time went on).

I wasn’t thinking about career at that point – I was thinking about survival of the family unit; OUR family unit. I’m sorry that I didn’t focus more on myself and my higher needs, and demanded the support in a way that wasn’t negotiable. That was a huge tactical error. I self-soothed in all of the wrong ways, and lacked the ability to make my way through the forest, and likewise lacked a capable partner to accompany me throughout the journey.

All this rumination has made me realize that I am grieving. Despite the fact that I did not (recently) lose a loved one; that my marriage has been over for a long while and the divorce papers were filed last spring; that my job (for all intents and purposes) summarily sucked and I was not being utilized to my fullest potential (which, incidentally, I’m not even sure how to quantify anymore, because for me a good job has always meant room for potential growth and I’ve clearly maxed out on what that is in relation to what I am currently considering my “profession”).

So… what to do? I am seriously in paralysis mode.

I get up, and I do things: eat, sort and do laundry, load the dishwasher, make meals, sleep, (sometimes) get dressed, (sometimes) go outside, listen to music and podcasts and YouTube videos, intermittently shower and groom myself, read, occasionally talk to people for longer than three minutes, make some art, journal, dust, vacuum, scrub out the tub and the toilet and sink, (sometimes) make my bed, write. Mostly, though, there is a sense that my world has completely collapsed in on itself (think post-apocalypse) and I’m staring at the steaming ruins and wondering where to pick up the pieces – which things are salvageable from the piles of debris and which ones I just need to let be and walk away from. Throughout all of this, I beat myself about the head and shoulders for not moving on.

And so I ran across this excellent young woman’s blog, who had this post (excerpt follows), and I said YES! that’s it, that’s how I feel, and then thought that the letter, What To Say (To Yourself) When You Are Grieving, was… brilliant:

Dear Self,

I am grieving.

Grief is natural.

But I was not born to grieve — I was born to love, and laugh, and live.

Grief is only my waiting room — for the moment.

And one day, soon, I will step out of that waiting room, and back into my life.

I’ll take one small step today, right now, by {insert itty-bitty action step, here}.

That one small step will feel loving, and beautiful, and good.

And that one small step is all I need to do — for now.

Love,

{your name}

XO.

I’m grieving. Ha!

Society doesn’t know how to deal with grief (see above), ME included.

I’m learning, with every crisis and major life change – I’m learning.

I’m learning that the only way over is through, and that progress is slow, because *all the debris and shit* … and that I need to remember to breathe and pick small steps, because that is all the lizard brain that I’m operating from at the moment is capable of. Eventually, though, it will make the transition back to higher-order thinking and we’ll be in business again. Until then I’ll eat Scottish shortbread cookies for lunch and veggies and hummus for breakfast if I want to and be okay with it, keeping in mind that there will be a flip side. There always is.

on being vulnerable and open

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Blogging has once again slowed to a crawl. Between fits of writing (both poetry and prose) and shooting the odd photo when I am awed by my surroundings, I also fulfill other functions: single-parent mothering, full time office working, part time (and very novice) yogining, friend being (to many, far and wide, and close), and occasional knitting. (That Hogwartz/Gryffindor scarf is creeping along slowly.) And soon to be (officially) a divorcée. Weird, this final severing. Such a huge chunk of my life tied in to this now defunct part of who I was and identified with, still searching to pick up the threads of where “I” left off and veered off from so long ago, in order to reclaim myself.

My ex-husband has been in a relationship with someone for quite some time now, and yet I continue to be alone in my life. Not because I don’t wish to share it with another, but because I wish to share it with the right person, and we just haven’t met yet. I also continue to nurse past hurts; it is surprising to me how long they take to heal. I wonder, sometimes, if they heal better when you let them show and share them with others, allowing them to be loved away. Still, I can’t seem to do that yet, even though I long to be able to do so, to be able to open my heart again to another.

I am happy, though, in this simplicity. Each time I look around me I appreciate what I have, the beauty that I see, in nature and in those whose lives cross with mine. I see kindness and humour and fearless vulnerability. And love. I am blessed.

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I thought I’d begin the weekend, on this eve of the 21st anniversary of my father’s passing, with sharing an excerpt from a book I have been waiting to see and finally got to download a preview of on my iPad:

“Because, you see, when something bad happens that’s big enough to make you question your entire life, all the other hurts that are hanging around, all the wounds you’ve collected during your lifetime, will come out of the shadows and ask to be healed too.

It’s entirely possible to squash your pain down and carry on with your life, but one day it will catch up with you. One day a little tear will appear in the blanket and then, with an almighty rip, all your crap comes tumbling out. This is a good thing in the long run.”

excerpt from
this i know: notes on unraveling the heart
by Susannah Conway

Wishing you all moments of healing and epiphany and thanksgiving.

nothing doing

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Sometimes doing a whole lotta nothing is what is needed. This weekend I knitted, watched the rest of season 3 of Drop Dead Diva and read through The Prisoner of Teheran so I could return the book to a friend today. I also rewrote the notes from my first and second sessions with Joel Brass after relistening to the session recordings. I’m thankful for having found such a wonderful therapist… it was long overdue.

Earlier in the week I’d come down with a cold and it seems that advanced R&R was in order. This morning I awoke early, vacuumed and cleaned out the litter box (all before 7) and then proceeded to drive in to work, as I had a parent-teacher conference at my son’s school later in the afternoon. The normally hour long drive doubled due to traffic snarls, and my day did not get off to a good start.

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By the time the evening wound back around, I can only say I’m ready for some tea and an early night. We picked up some new boxes of Stash’s teas and this Yumberry Blackcurrent tea is YUM. Now for just a bit of reading and then I think I’m going to call it a day.

Today – free form poem of sorts

Silence broken by

the hushed hum of the fridge,

the shrill whine of a circular saw splitting wood,

the occasional sounding of a car horn.

In French it’s called klaxon

and it makes me giggle a little.

I’m tired and feel slightly off,

like barely curdled milk or overripe fruit

with the pip splitting open from the centre out.

My insides are roiling in protest at the one too many

scoops of hot salsa or the extra glass of rosé I shouldn’t have had,

or something else that I just haven’t quite figured out.

A nondescript bug.

I feel I’ve accomplished much, though, these last few weeks.

Sorting and organizing always cheers me;

it recategorizes possibilities,

resets my creativity button,

invigorates.

I’m finding I have a lot of stuff I don’t use anymore,

things I thought essential to my creative process

which now merely clutter up the pipeline.

I’m plugging away slowly at unplugging.

Seems my body is mirroring the process.

And now to rest,

as the sound of a plane engine

scrapes across the sky.

 

Did I say I didn’t hurt anymore? I was wrong.

Did I say I didn’t hurt anymore?  I was wrong.

For a little while the wound had healed, the pain replaced with a sort of numbness, like the kind that comes when nerve endings have been severed with a scalpel.

It took me by surprise this new onslaught, sharp and bright;

it caught in my throat and made my eyes hot with tears.

I was shuffling along the sidewalk, my back and shoulders laden with shopping bags, a back pack and a heart heavy with the pain of recurring loss.

Wave upon wave of desertion and reclamation finally unfurled the reknitting my heart had managed to do.

I surrendered to a monolith of a boulder that had beckoned to me as I was making my way home.

I thought I was done with the tears.  In this, too, I was mistaken.

So I let them come.

Flowing in rivulets from the outer corners of my eyes, they mingled with the rain drops that sprinkled my face.

For a moment I wondered whether the cars driving by noticed the lump of a woman spread out like an offering.

The rock was solid and smooth and warm despite the overcast sky.

Solidly it bore me with a strength that I seemed incapable of sustaining myself.

My sorrow settled, seeping from my body to deep within the stone.

I stood up after a while to resume my walk.

One foot in front of the other, step by step, I wove my way back home.