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It’s a beautiful midday just before the summer solstice and I am exhausted. I make myself a cup of plain cocoa and water, my version of black coffee, and prepare to write. Sit and breathe…
My being feels pulled in two: positive excitement to be reopening the centre this fall—and anger with deep underlying sadness about difficulties that have erupted between my sister and me. The details need to be private to honour my sister. She doesn’t spread her personal life in blogs as I do. And yet, I still feel that it’s important to mention this as it isn’t unique and causes much pain in families. Witness this article sent to me by Sylvia McGee, which acknowledges that there is not very much written about sibling conflict. Or very much support. https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/201503/the-ties-unwind?utm_source=FacebookPost&utm_medium=FBPost&utm_campaign=FBPost
The issues between us go back to childhood of course and bring up so much emotion that I feel swamped, especially at night. I keep turning bitter thoughts around to opening my heart, feel better for a while, and then relapse into reactivity.
…Several busy days later, early morning. It’s the actual solstice and Father’s Day. Yesterday we celebrated the longest day with Trish Wall https://ecowellness.wordpress.com/2015/06/26/trish-shines-at-solstice/ and then attended the annual barn dance hosted by our MPP Jack MacLaren https://ecowellness.wordpress.com/2015/06/26/when-politics-is-heart-warming/. Then home to tend to an orphan skunk I found staggering around the main street in Carp on Friday evening, bewildered and dehydrated. https://ecowellness.wordpress.com/2015/06/26/cute-but-smelly-visitor/
…Now it is a whole week later. I have not been able to write in the midst of my turmoil. The good news is that my sister’s recent brain MRI was clear of cancer and she is doing exceptionally well. After speaking to my close friend Stephen, I see our process from a bigger perspective of family healing: the bitter old toxins need to leak out and as they clear, my love for my sister will emerge stronger than ever. This helps me handle the strong emotions by aiming to remain as neutral as possible, focussing on my breath instead of escalating the story, thereby allowing the process to move forward without getting stuck in it. I am grateful to have found a path through the clouds!
On the easier side of things, I am full of summer energy and using it to plan the new version of the centre. Today I had a delightful meeting with three young counsellors for the holistic summer camp which starts soon and I’m hoping to offer another week in August, then a full summer in 2016. We have a new member on our staff, Sue Hall (see link), with whom I am developing various programs, a unique online store and holistic services. More about that in the next newsletter. Finally, I am realizing my dream of holding free monthly healing circles at the Carp Memorial Hall where we held the Carp Dinner Talks last year, working with Reiki Master Sylvia McGee who was central to the dinners as well.
My personal health continues to improve and I feel younger than I have in a long time, despite the emotional distress. My joint pains are almost gone where before I could barely walk when waking up in the morning. My digestion is slowly starting to normalize after two decades of distress. My eyes are stable so I can continue to avoid cataract surgery. My energy is improving, allowing me to have sleepless nights and still be productive the next day. Even my hair is slightly less gray, something I’d heard could happen, but haven’t seen before. The breast reduction surgery is having some repercussions with a slow-to-heal sore and tenderness—but I am so delighted to be lighter in that area, it barely bothers me at all!
On the emotional and mental levels, I continue to work with EMDR therapist Mary Ann Carmichael. This is the most important factor in allowing me to spiral up even as I get older as stress is my weakest link and the cause of most of my physical conditions. Other than the family situation, my main challenge is not to do too much with my somewhat manic energy this time of year, grin…
Much reason for gratitude for sure, as well as the pleasure of being in a career where I can pass it on! Wishing you well during these beautiful summer days and looking forward to seeing some of you in fall.
It’s a brisk spring dawn. The flowers in my sister’s garden in upstate New York are starting to poke through the winter-weary earth. Everyone in the house is still asleep. I sip on chamomile tea with coconut milk and rally my tired brain.
My sister’s symptoms after chemo and radiation are still relentless, requiring frequent attention during the night for horrendous headaches and vomiting. Seizures are the latest addition and I am hoping they are within the German New Medicine paradigm of healing, meaning the first half of the healing phase is over and we are on our way up. The process is one of sheer determination and patience now. She has no tolerance for talking, reading, music or any kind of entertainment. No one is allowed to cook as the smells drive her crazy. We are plunged into her suffering with her—and the growth this brings.
I am learning how to pray for real. Not asking for anything, just expressing gratitude for every blessing, relaxing into faith and allowing a sense of space and light. This beats lying awake all night worrying a knot into my guts—my initial approach to the situation! And it helps the energy of the household. Of course I go in and out of this state, relapsing into fear and then remembering that it really does make things worse.
Childhood issues with my sister are triggered when I visit. It requires that I process them honestly in order to regain an open heart. Sometimes it takes me days and I need to call my brother who understands. Coming out the other end is warm and tender—and doubles the pain of watching her go though this. I am learning to breathe into it instead of shutting down. Our whole family is healing another step through this illness. We’re having this illness together. We’re lucky to have each other. Tears…
Tomorrow I fly home. I don’t want to leave. I hope I can continue the prayers and stay with my sister over the distance in growing faith and light-heartedness. More tears…
Thank you for listening. I feel better for writing.
until next month,
when i hope to have better news–
It’s a grey, chilly Wednesday morning from the kitchen window at the clinic where Felix and I now live. Beams of sunlight break through the clouds to brighten the day. A squirrel runs across my view and up a tree, scrambling to get ready for the cold season. The parking lot is empty.
I’m deeply tired but satisfied. Most of the last two weeks has been spent in New York state helping my sister with medical visits and a big move and she is recovering splendidly from her brain surgery in August, looking well with a new emerging beauty. Her process is facilitating healing for the rest of us!
My daughter Coral and partner Ashley have settled into my former house and now Felix can visit back and forth between Nana and Mom and Ashley. Coral and I go for counselling for family healing and parenting transitions.
Felix is in grade one French immersion at the wonderful public school in Carp and chatters away with great enthusiasm in his new language. We have dictionaries everywhere to look up French words.
The clinic has been vacated and Lori (manager), Gisele (bookkeeper), Jeremy (maintenance/drumming) and I are cleaning up, preparing the infrastructure at the centre for what comes next.
Internally I’m hanging on by the skin of my teeth. With little time for self right now and my emotional healing roaring away in my subconscious, I often feel disoriented and strange. By grace I’m able to continue my daily meditations/tapping/prayers, which take the edge off the anxiety that comes with old memories surfacing. Knowing there will be time alone ahead and glimpses of bliss nurture me through this demanding phase.
One lovely new activity that helps is that I’ve started figure skating again. Felix and I skate three times weekly with both lessons and free time. For me skating is like soaring and dancing all in one and feeds my soul profoundly. I used to be a skater as a child and my body is slowly remembering the spins, jumps and figures that I used to do. What a joy! My joints are still sore, but I refuse to let that stop me and am certain that this is part of my healing, not old age, grin…
My retreat in Quebec to learn more shamanic work with splendid teacher Ilka Marcenay was profound—and feels light years away. However, I’ve claimed the yurt at the centre for myself to practice “journeying”. It is insulated, has a stove and is in the woods. When time allows, I light a fire in the morning and then come back later when it’s warm to meditate, write, rest and enjoy nature. It reminds me of the forts I used to build as a child and makes me happy.
Finally, I made a decision about holidays. After another agonizing Thanksgiving, I decided to stop doing holidays after this Christmas. Until I’m emotionally well, I’m going to take that time to slow down instead of getting drained. Alternatively, I will do something else to connect with family and friends and give to charity. I’ll let you know how that goes!
in growing love,