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Archive for the ‘The Journey’ Category

Nothing Better

“I feel like it’s time to clean out,” I say.

“You mean like a cleanse?” He says.

“No.  I mean like closets,” I say.

That’s what started it all.  About six weeks ago at Mountain Dove Chiropractic I was on the table; Dr. Marc Viafora was adjusting me.

“A cleanse could be good.  Change the chemistry in your body. Three days.  Do juices.  And if you need to eat, eat fruit and veggies,” he says.

I certainly wasn’t going to do a cleanse.  Didn’t need it.  Didn’t want to interrupt the love affair I was having with cooking and eating great food.  So, I didn’t.  The thing was that I had been eating red meat, potatoes, sweets, raw tomatoes, peppers–all things that I usually avoid because they exacerbate the arthritis I have in several places.  But, I was having such fun!  Until…

A month later, with pains and aches in my neck, shoulders, low back, left knee and right elbow, I decided to give the cleanse a try.  My partner was going away for a week, so on departure day I started: two days, I said to myself, two days will be good.  The first day was hard: I drank delicious organic Apricot Nectar, ate sweet and juicy Utah peaches, figs, and watermelon, but by noon I was dying for tortilla chips and white bean hummus!  More juice and a green salad.  Dinner: dying for a dish of pasta with Marinara sauce!  Nope, cooked haricots verts, skinny green beans that I love, dressed with oil, balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, and salt & pepper (maybe I wasn’t supposed to have that, but I did) and they were delicious!  I made it through the first day, and I had energy to spare.  Slept like a baby, long and deeply.  Woke up the second day so hungry.  I’m eating today, I said to myself.

But I got up and felt so incredibly good physically and mentally that I decided to give it a go for a second day.   I had cleaned out several times the day before and could really feel the difference: unclogged.  So, I resumed my cleanse.  It was easier this day.  Not thinking about other food much at all.  Made a smoothie of pineapple and peaches with a little water for breakfast, cooked some beautiful red beets to add to my haricots verts and zipped through the day.  Felt great, had tons of energy, and, again, slept like a baby.

Third day:  okay, I can do this three-day thing, I said to myself.  And I did!  Same regimen of food and juice.

By the fourth morning I had lost 3 1/2 pounds, had NO aches and pains anywhere, and felt better mentally and emotionally than maybe EVER.  Holy moley!  This was a miracle!

I introduced grains into my diet gingerly for the next few days: polenta first, then couscous, then rice.  Kept on the fruit and veggies.  Added some rice chips and eventually beans.  It’s been two weeks now, and I still feel great in all ways!  I tried to eat a chicken breast without skin and got a little indigestion from it.  Might have ruined myself for meats!  Oh, well.  For my A+ blood type, I should really be a vegetarian in order for my system to function best.  I read that a year or so ago but refused it.  Now, I feel the truth of that from the inside out and am going with the flow because there is NOTHING BETTER than feeling this good!!

Rock on with your glorious selves!

Love,

Susan

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Let Me Not Be Tempted…

Today’s the day.  Wednesday.  My friend and I get in the car and head for Flagstaff to pick up my Toyota Highlander, which is receiving a new fuel reading apparatus at the dealership.  We plan the day around the 11:00 a.m. ready time; we hit Kohl’s Department Store first for a big sale with my additional 30% off coupon; then, we go to Barnes & Noble for a scrumptious hot chocolate in the cafe and some delicious perusing of the books and music.  We arrive at the dealership at 11:05.  My friend has a 1:30 appointment back in Sedona, so we need to leave here by 11:30 to give her time for lunch.

I go in to the Assistant Manager, who is a lovely, competent, considerate, and kind woman, to let her know we’re ready to take the car.  The atmosphere is charged with business and overwhelm.  I say hi; she says hi, without her usual sparkling grin.  I say she looks stressed.  She says it’s been a day already.  Other car owners are standing around waiting to drop off, pick-up, learn the fate of their vehicles and how much it’ll cost them.  I sit in the chair in front of her desk to secure my position.

She says that the mechanic is putting on the second new part now, and it will be ready in a few.  Ten, twenty, thirty minutes go by.  My friend comes in from the parking lot worried about the time.  I explain.  She hits the restroom and goes back to the car we rode up in.  Five minutes later the Assistant Manager comes in from the work bay and tells me the people at the parts place have sent them the wrong part.  Mouth open, I stare at her, stunned.  “So it’s not fixed?  ”

“No.  Maybe tomorrow.  I’m so sorry,” she says, with more than a little trepidation–remember, it has been a day.

I laugh, say okay, and stroll out to the car.  I tell my friend that we can enjoy a lovely ride home together.  She looks at me dumfounded.  I explain.  And we head home, munching delicious fresh rice cakes and yogurt sauce from New Frontiers Deli Case and laughing about the whole plan, which has gone awry, but afforded us a beautiful drive and a great time in Kohl’s and Barnes & Noble.  Something we would have done anyway, car repair or no car repair.  Something we may just do again on Friday morning when we really do pick up the Highlander.

The moral of the story is this:  I could have, and would have in the past, gotten mad, bitched about coming all the way from Sedona for nothing, taken it out on the Assistant Manager–who was kind and faultless–heaped more stress on her, and turned my experience into a negative, anger-charged affair.  But, I didn’t do that.  I remained joyful, grounded, flexible, and grateful, and showered that on the Assistant Manager, visibly lightening her load.  Instead of storming out of the place I gave her a warm hug, said thanks, told her to hang in there and that I’d see her soon.  It felt so much better than the other thing!

What helps me stay grounded, joyful, flexible, and grateful is a prayer, one of several, that I say every morning.  It is a prayer written by Marianne Williamson and contained in her gorgeous volume entitled Illuminata, published by Random House.  I will quote  a few lines from Morning Prayer:

Dear God,

I give this day to You.

May my mind stay centered on the things of spirit.

May I not be tempted to stray from love.

The prayer goes on and is glorious.  It’s how I start every day of my life and it makes such a HUGE difference in the way I experience everything.

May you go into this day centered in spirit and not be tempted to stray from love.

Love,

Susan

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Summer used to be my favorite season: trips to the seaside or Lake Tahoe, sunshine, the beach, shorts and tank tops.  But these days, I dread summer.  In the desert, even the high-desert, it is oppressive: biting gnats swarming every time I go outside; fires blazing too close to my home, humidity in July and August that saps my energy.  I retreat into the cooling arms of my home’s blessed and much appreciated air conditioning.  The shades are drawn when the sun’s heat starts penetrating through the windows, and it becomes a cave-like existence.  I love my private time, my uninterrupted daily life, but this takes it to the extreme and, after a couple of months I feel isolated.

It is now monsoon season in Northern Arizona and lightning and thunder crack and roll around the heavens, frequently without forcing a drop of rain, but last night we had a tremendous storm!  Rain pummeled the roof, the windows, everything for hours!  It was thrilling.  And this morning I took a walk in 64 degrees of fresh, verdant, cloud-streaked valley, meeting several friends and neighbors.  “Susan, isn’t this weather beautiful?,” one neighbor says with a huge grin on his face.

“Oh, yes,” I say, “And only two more months until fall!”

“Yes, I’m with you there!” he says.

Another friend, her eyes sparkling, “Wow! How gorgeous it is this morning!  The rain was extraordinary last night!”

Another, dressed up and ready to go, “Did’ya hear that rain?  Maybe we’ll get another one today…” she says scanning the sky.

I arrived home feeling joyous and grateful about something as ordinary–yet impacting–as the weather.  Feeling re-united with friends, community, the outside world.  And excited to tell you about it!

Julia Cameron says that taking a walk can clear your mind, your heart, your attitude, your anything!  Can inspire you to begin a creative endeavor, to find solutions to creative blocks of any kind as complex as the ending to your novel, as simple as what to make for dinner.  I find it to be true.

Take a walk all for yourself as soon as you can!

Love,

Susan

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The Magic In The Making

I have been captivated by a song, a performance, and a legend.  The song: “As If We Never Said Good-Bye*.”  The performance: by Elaine Paige: Queen of The London Musical Theater.  The legend: Norma Desmond, the faded movie star in the film and stage versions of Sunset Boulevard*.

To summarize, Norma Desmond is past her prime and has been forgotten by Hollywood for years.  She somehow convinces herself that her former director, the great Cecil B. DeMille, has requested her for a part in a new film.  The song speaks of Norma’s trepidation, nostalgia, and excitement for the whole experience of making movies and being a star.

In a stunning performance, Elaine Paige sings from the heart of Norma Desmond: “I don’t know why I’m frightened; I know my way around here…  There’s a world to rediscover… The atmosphere is thrilling here, as always…  Feel the magic in the making.  Why, everything’s as if we never said good-bye.”

On the table during my bodywork session today, the song plays in my consciousness, the legend appears.  Norma’s world is the movies: she plays scenes, chooses which part of the character to expose, to express, to develop; which road to follow, which not.

A new level of understanding surfaces: I live scenes, the scenes in life that present themselves everyday.  Consciously or unconsciously, I choose which part of my own character to expose, to express, to develop.  I choose which paths to follow, which not; which people to include, which not.  I choose everything–inside and out.

And, I have trepidation: I don’t know why I’m frightened; I know my way around here.

And nostalgia, longing to reunite with lost loves: As if we never said good-bye.

And excitement: There is a world to rediscover; the atmosphere is thrilling here, as always.  And today I absolutely feel the magic in the making of my own life!

For all this, I give thanks to the power of a song, a performance, and a legend.

Love,

Susan

*Sunset Boulevard The Musical: Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Book & Lyrics by Don Black and Christopher Hampton

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I am sitting on the table at Mountain Dove Chiropractic in Sedona, AZ.  Dr. Marc Viafora, my Network Chiropractor, asks me how I am today, and I say, “Struggling with the neck and shoulders, Doc.”  He checks my neck and spine, tells me to lie on my back and do ten deep breaths at the throat, heart, and navel, and goes on to treat another patient.  When he comes back to me a few minutes later he says, “Susan, the neck is origins,” meaning the neck is where in our bodies the origins of our stress have settled.  “Oh,” I say, “that’s good,” meaning good that after almost a year of treatment, I have cleared enough away to be getting to the source of things.

Physical pain has been a constant in my life since the age of 18, when a driver rear-ended my father’s car while I was at the wheel, certainly sending my neck on the journey that has led me to this table today, 45 years later.  I’ve spent time, money, and energy trying to get rid of the pain.  Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do?  Not according to my healer and mentor Dr. Marc, who says,  “We need to listen to our bodies.  The pain is a communication.  It’s there when you need it.  You’re ready to change–physically, mentally, emotionally, or chemically.”

Something is going on at a level we are not even aware of, and our bodies are screaming to be heard.

Has your body been sending any communiques your way?  Have you been listening?

Wishing you love, laughter, and a wise and gifted bodyworker!

Susan

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Heartbeats Part II

I start out for the grocery store, in the car, driving.  I get about a mile down the two-lane rural road when my chest tightens and my heart starts to fibrillate.  Hmm. I keep going.  It continues.  Better pull over. I do.  Recline in the seat, deep breaths, bear down–no relief.  I lie there.   Haven’t had one in so long…why now? It crosses my mind that this morning a very important person in my life is, for the second time, having a procedure in UC Medical Center, San Francisco, to try and shock her heart out of continuous fibrillation.  My gaze is drawn to a white SUV coming down the road in my direction.  What’s that bundle on the roof of the car? It gets closer and I see the bundle is a dog poking his head up through the open sun roof, and he is enjoying himself completely.  Oh, how cute! At seven minutes into the fibrillation I turn the car around and head for home.  I am right behind the white SUV and gaze upon the long, lean, tannish-grey body of the dog up on hind legs between the seats, head through the roof, his sweet innocent ears flapping in the breeze.  How adorable is that! I giggle my way home.  Fibrillating all the way.

Halfway through the door I announce to my partner, “I’m having a fib, gonna lie down.”  At 14 minutes, the fibrillation subsides.  My partner takes my blood pressure: 99 over 62; heart rate: 70.   “I’m gonna just rest here a while,” I say.  I lie there and try to figure it out.  It’s only a moment or two before the words echo in my head: “Don’t die…please, don’t die.”  My friend in UC Medical Center.  I was afraid that the shock would somehow go awry and kill her.  I call my partner in and share my epiphany.  My whole being relaxes.

Being aware and conscious of our feelings is a big step on the road to healing.  I find that voicing them to someone whom I trust and with whom I feel safe takes me farther down that road.

Do you have someone, or several someones, to listen with compassion to your feelings, and share the road with you?  I hope so. If not, who in your sphere may be waiting in the wings for just that opportunity?

Would I have received the joyous gift of seeing that dog in the sun roof if I hadn’t been stopped on the side of the road waiting out a heart fibrillation?  I don’t know.  What I do know is that happy flappy dog will stay with me always–a bit of heaven, I say!

Enjoy each moment,

Susan

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Let ‘Em Flow

Why are we so hesitant to cry?  About our own stuff, I mean?

I can cry at the drop of a hat while reading a Hallmark Card, or watching a movie, or even while reading newpaper article aloud to my partner!  But when my own sadness shows up, I tend to say to myself, Oh, no, not now; I’ve got things to do; I want to be happy today; or, the one that works most often, I don’t want puffy eyes and a stuffed-up nose! Vanity always wins in the end.

Not so long ago, shortly after one of these internal discussions, I had a heart fibrilation.  I have them on occasion but hadn’t had one in a long time.  After hearing that info from me on the phone, a dear and wise friend said, “Susan, the next time you feel sad and want to cry, do it.  Let yourself cry.  Your heart needs the release.”  Oh.  Yes.  Okay.

Just do it, friends.  Let yourself cry–all day if you must.  Our hearts need the release.

Love,

Susan

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