Saturday, December 15, 2007

In Which You (Meaning I) Learn Something New Every Day Before the vertigo hit, I knew so little about aneurysms and multiple sclerosis. Now I know more about both. And until I was mis-diagnosed with cervical spondylosis I had never even heard of it. Now we have a new term to explore: Conversion Disorder.
Formerly known as 'hysteria', the disorder has arguably been known for millenia, though it came to greatest prominence at the end of the 19th century, when the neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot, and psychiatrists Pierre Janet and Sigmund Freud made it the focus of their study. The term 'conversion' has its origins in Freud's doctrine that emotional stress was repressed and 'converted' into physical symptoms.
Is it any wonder I am more Jungian than Freudian in my understanding of the human psyche? I really don't know what more to say about this and after reading the article I have no desire to even think about it. Marc put up his Christmas tree and Rudolph is out. He did not come out last year so it is good to have him back where he belongs, lit nose and all. Our polar bear is out on the lawn. I had hoped to buy some lights for the bushes but it is hard to coordinate these things. Only ten more days? How did Christmas sneak up on me like this? I am not ready for the holiday. Far from it. Very far from being ready.

Friday, December 14, 2007

In Which I Am Being Intentionally Cryptic 1. I was a little hurt by your choice. And disappointed. Or maybe that's just sour grapes. 2. Congratulations. You sound so much more yourself than I've ever heard you. 3. If you had asked I would have told you everything you did to push things and make them go the way they did. I'm sorry you're hurt. I wish you had asked. 4. It was fun talking to you. I'm glad I'm not alone. 5. I am really beginning to think you're a bitch and wondering why I bother. 6. You scare me and sometimes talking to you exhausts me. 7. I guess now that you are happy you don't need to talk to me anymore. It would be nice if you were as eager to share your joy with me as you are to share your misery. 8. It's been 3.5 weeks. What is your problem? 9. Thanks for proving to me that you are an ass. I had hoped for better and I hope your wife never learns what I know. 10. What you heard in my voice I wasn't feeling. You confuse me with your ignorance. 11. I miss you most of all, Scarecrow. I really do. Aries Horoscope for week of December 13, 2007 "Everything absolute belongs to pathology. Joyous distrust is a sign of health." So proclaimed Friedrich Nietzsche. Note well that he used the adjective "joyous" to describe distrust, not "cynical" or "grumbling" or "sour." The key to remaining vital and strong while questioning every so-called absolute is to cultivate a cheerful, buoyant mood as you do it. That's one of your top assignments in the coming weeks, Aries: Practice joyous distrust.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

In Which I Finish Reading a Book I read Oriah Mountain Dreamer’s The Invitation because I enjoyed the poem so very much. I was a little worried that the book wouldn’t live up to the prose poem but soon found myself nodding as I was reading The same was true as I read the sequel, The Dance. I don’t like the poem for this book as much as I do for the previous one but the content is still strong. Oriah’s spirituality is different from my own. She speaks of shamans and other Native American teachings which are the foundation of her faith. She also shares her personal stories about her marriage, about her being a parent, and more. These details of her faith and her life are not the same as my own. Her divorce was more amicable, so much so that she and her ex live close by so that their sons can easily spend time with both parents. I can’t even say whether my ex is alive or dead. I have never been drawn to Native American teachings, in spite of my recent totemic dream, and she is obviously very much immersed in this spiritual path. And yet I am able to say with all confidence that I was nodding throughout the time. If I had to describe my personal life philosophies, I would simply point to Oriah’s books. Below are some of the quotes I collected from the book. Also, although the chapters conclude with guided meditations some of them are written meditations, journaling exercises to help reinforce the ideas presented in the chapters. (Although, I definitely would prefer to have the guided meditations available as recordings and not just via the audio book version.) The question is not why are we so infrequently the people we really want to be. The question is why do we so infrequently want to be the people we really are (7). At some point it occurred to me that pushing the edge for some of us was not about doing more or trying harder or going further or faster but about doing less, trying easier (75). The elders . . . do not understand how you expect to be able to talk with each other if you cannot be quiet together and listen to the earth. If people cannot hear the earth, how can they expect to hear one another? (118) This is what home is—not only the place you remember but the place that remembers you, even if you have never been there before (121). I want to say, “I don’t want to change the world anymore. I just want to learn how to love the world.” (139) It is not what we do but how we do whatever we are doing that makes a difference (140). I tell love stories because I want to learn how to love well (151). [New Age philosophies] deny the reality of our separation, claiming that it is only an illusion of time and space. But I live here, in time and space (157). I think our task—and this is sometimes very difficult—is to live with all that is hard in our lives without being able to know why it happens and still find a way to fully choose life, every day (169).

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

In Which I Write Some Quickies

1) I finished a not very good book and because I don't think it was very good I'm not going to spend any energy writing a review. Suffice it to say that I am not fond of fluffy writing (although I am clearly guilty of it) whether it is aimed at adults or adolescents.

2) With that said, this is the first in a series of six books and I really have to commend the author, Natalie Standiford, for coming up with something that was obviously marketable if not personally palatable.

3) I created a poll in my facebook where the votes for what I should study next have been slowly coming in and the winner is . . . drumroll please . . . Buddhism. I am still not sure what I will focus on but I am not resisting the outcome so I wouldn't be surprised if I were to announce that Buddhism is the final winner.

4) I have not written much about America's Next Top Model mostly because I relapsed and was not in the mood to watch the show. I would wake up the next day not even sure who was voted off most of the time and I figure I couldn't write intelligently about it if I couldn't remember it. However, spoilers alert below the banner so don't read below the banner!

5) Yesterday we picked up Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix which will be this year's Christmas Eve movie. We usually go to the theater for a movie but, because of my vertigo, it is just easier to stay home and watch a new dvd this year. I'm excited as are the children.

6) The conference for which I created the wellbeing blog is this Saturday and I will not be able to attend. This is hugely disappointing. I had hoped to at least see John Fox if not meet him. As it turns out, I won't be there and all I can do is hope that next year I can attend and participate more fully.

Spoilers: I was able to pay attention well enough to know that my two girls, Lisa and Heather, were both voted off and I never did get to see another lapdance. Also, the bitch of the bunch was voted off (finally!). The thing is, even when these girls seem "bitchy" they are just young, very young, and so they come off, thanks to editing and youth, much worse than I believe they are in real life.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

In Which I Need a Reboot You know how when your computer was old and you tried to do too much, open too many windows, etc., inevitably your computer would first slow down and then lock up? Too many mixed signals hitting the motherboard at once and STOP! That's me. Yesterday I found out I do not have cervical spondylosis. Yesterday I finally saw the doctors I've been asking my other doctors to refer me to since April. Yesterday I found out one of the tests I took back in March clearly showed something. Yesterday I found out that with six weeks of proper treatment, I will be fine. I am so angry, frustrated, confused, and whatever else that I cannot name right now that I simply cannot think/say anything about anything. I should be happy, relieved, grateful that I will be back to normal by Valentine's Day. And I am. Very. Underneath, however, is a simmering demand to know why, WTF, and what I can do to get some answers. I go in for more tests next week. Then two weeks later I will begin the physical therapy meant to help me with my vertigo. In a nutshell, I am having to reteach my brain how to think. Like a victim in a car accident who loses their ability to speak and has to teach a different part of the brain to process language because the old part has been damaged. It's viral. The physical therapy I will start doing I will have to do to some degree for the rest of my life. At first, aggressively and often. Eventually occasionally but always and forever. For now things are the same, unchanged. But by this time two months from now, things will be very different.

Monday, December 10, 2007

In Which I Am About to Turn a Corner Today I see my new doctor with my new diagnosis in hand. Odds are this is just the beginning of a new round of tests, questions, and hopefully answers. And new treatments, now that I have cervical spondylosis I'll have to begin seeing rheumotologist or something along those lines. This is just one change that I am facing, obviously, but it may be the determining one, the largest one, the one that either ends this vertigo experience or resigns me to it. Either way today marks that turning point. More often the turning points in our lives are less obvious. We meet someone and don't know that they will be a kindred spirit friend beyond today and tomorrow. We pick up a random book and read never realizing that this book will be the catalyst to changing our careers or even your spiritual path. So many turning points happen without our knowing until years later. Others are clear. We become engaged, pregnant, go to college, graduate. Turning points. Today begins a new turning point for me regarding my health. My health which has compromised my life, my career, my well-being. Today. A new beginning.
Aries Horoscope for week of December 6, 2007 This would be an excellent time for you to visit terminally ill patients in a hospice or go on a tour of a maximum security prison. To take maximum advantage of the current cosmic opportunities, you might also travel to the Slum Theme Park in Americus, Georgia, where Habitat for Humanity has built replicas of the leaky-roofed, earthen-floored, bug-infested huts that so many millions of the world's poor call home. In other words, Aries, I recommend that you give yourself firsthand exposure to people whose problems are much more demanding than yours. To do so at this juncture in your life's journey would provide a helpful shock that would inspire you to conquer the personal challenge you find most daunting.