We are a whole being

For years the common thinking among physicians was that anxiety and depression caused digestive symptoms such as IBS, constipation, diarrhea and possibly even Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis. Now the pendulum is falling the other way. the Brain/Gut connection is becoming more important in treating people with such problems. I have long realized that my IBSD causes anxiety and if bad enough depression. I am glad that treating the whole person is becoming part of how medicine thinks.

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We are definitely complex beings and anything that affects us physically or mentally cannot be separated out into one or the other. Physicians have divided up into specialties and seem to focus on that area. It is understandable as medicine has become so complex. You can’t know everything about everything. We need a different specialty the “wholeness doctor” who tries to put the pieces together. I know that there are now DO’s and other categories of people who look more at the whole person but we need more of it.

I hope that in the future we have those physicians who take the information from all of the specialists and put it all together. This is what Internists would like to do but getting the reports and information from other doctors is like pulling teeth. This has to be worked out also.

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We are not parts stuck together but a whole just waiting to be understood.

 

Sunflowers seek light. Do we?

The other day I read…I don’t remember where…that sunflowers, if they can’t turn to the sun, will turn to each other. There is a real story in that. It seems that is something we do as humans. If we can’t turn to our important source of light (people) we turn somewhere else to seek comfort. We have to lean somewhere.

sunflowers

Applying that thought is up to us. It can be applied to God or another source of strength. Maybe we turn inward and if we don’t find what we seek there we may be lost. We each need somewhere to find solace and will seek it out. We are like the sunflowers.

Absorb and take time

It is a beautiful day. That frequently happens after a storm. The air is clear and everything seems so much brighter. The yard is clean. I am tired but I am brighter too. It was hard just sitting and waiting for a storm that was determined to stay in place for so long. My heart cries for those who have been so hurt by the storm.

strong but tired

I think I am physically and emotionally drained. It is actually not a bad feeling but I know I need rest and time to refocus. Some time spent in silence and meditation will do me a world of good.

 

It is so important to allow ourselves time to regroup. Too often we leap into the next thing without time spent in absorbing what has happened. In this case nothing really happened and that is the odd part. How does one absorb nothing? Maybe by understanding that much emotional energy was spent waiting for nothing. And so, there was something after all. The emotional battle of waiting takes it’s own toll. Just because it was intangible doesn’t mean it didn’t matter.

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We often think that we don’t have to restore ourselves when it it important to do so. Take time to understand before again taking on everything else.

A “holy” task

I'm having trouble breathing.

 

Today I have been down. When I worked in the garden the other day I carried around a sprayer that was quite heavy. It was slung on my right shoulder and now I have a pulled muscle next to my shoulder blade in the back. The strange thing is it has caused some anxiety since I can’t breathe deeply.

This minor problem has made me appreciate what it must feel like to not be able to breathe properly. It is scary. I know that I can breathe just fine but a deep breath hurts. That make you want to take deep breaths.

Everyone has their physical problems. Some more than others but each of us has some part of our body that is weak. There is so much research that shows that even our mental health is physically connected. I wonder when everyone will realize that we are whole people and that our physical, mental and spiritual health is linked Medicine has grown in such a way that doctors know mostly about their own area. It is nice to see some practitioners using a holistic approach to treatment.

whole ness

 

We all must take care of our whole selves. It is a “holy” task.

Seek the infinite

A “better” world is one in which we recognize that all people possess an incomparable value that we are morally obliged to respect . . . in social, political, and economic terms. Honoring the humanity of your fellow beings means that if they are hungry, ill, or oppressed, you must exert yourself to help them. . . . But this . . . runs up against our inherited instincts of self-protection, greediness, and desire to dominate others. . . . If we could rearrange energy from within—if we more often nurtured our companions and promoted their well-being, we would suffer much less. Rearranging energy from within is what mysticism does.                    Dr. Beatrice Bruteau (1930–2014)

Whenever-you-want-to-produce-something

This quote from the meditation of Richard Rohr really speaks to what we must do to make the world a better place. Each of us has to dig deep and find that core of humanity that allows us to respect all beings.

She is so right. Our own instincts of survival, both physically and mentally, get in our way and keep us from becoming the humans we can be. She is calling us to seek that inner place where we meet the intangible, infinite spirit….no matter what we call it.

Finding pleasure

bakerI have been cooking a lot lately. Mostly desserts. I have given a great deal of stuff away as we don’t need to be eating everything I make. I have been baking bread for years but am trying to hone my skill and make some different things. Some successes …some just so so. No real failures but I was not thrilled with them.

There is something creative about cooking. Most of my life was spent cooking for a family. Now there is just my husband and I most of the time I am not energized by our dinner menu. Nobody’s fault but mine. Breads and desserts are more fun.

I think this cooking has been therapeutic for me. It is better than just house and yard tending although some of that has suffered from my time in the kitchen. Oh well, it will still be there.. no genie will be coming to clean.

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Finding things that give you pleasure are important for maintaining physical and mental health. Being creative makes me feel good and that is a big plus. You may not find it in a job but find it where you can. Take the time to fit it in. Your demeanor will improve and life will just be better.

To “see” more

f anmysticd why I struggle to spend more time in silence

I have always been a fan of the mystics. They have such a deep connection with the “unknowable.” This piece by Richard Rohr has helped me to see that my thinking is totally non-linear and more in sync with the mystics. I have never seen things as totally right or wrong, left or right. I have always had an issue with totally scientific thinking. I don’t think it is wrong I just think that there is more. There is the intangible piece that I see (much more dimly than the true mystics). I think most of us have had a moment when the “unknowable” has broken through and we see “beyond.” It is what I seek to see more of and why I struggle to spend more time in silence and meditation and listening. In order to “see” more I am the one who must reach out.

and meditation and listening. In order to “see” more I am the one who must reach out.

julian norwich“When I use the word “mystical” I am referring to experiential knowing instead of just intellectual, textbook, or dogmatic knowing. A mystic sees things in their wholeness, connection, and union, not only their particularity. Mystics get a whole gestalt in one picture, beyond the sequential and separated way of seeing that most of us encounter in everyday life. In this, mystics tend to be closer to poets and artists than to linear thinkers. Obviously, there is a place for both, but since the European Enlightenment of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, there has been less and less appreciation of such seeing in wholes. The mystic was indeed considered an “eccentric” (off center), but maybe mystics are the most centered of all, which leads them to emphasizing love as the center, the goal, and the motivating energy of everything.

The word mystic is not a title of superiority. It’s rather that mystics see things differently. Mystics are nondual seers. They don’t think one side is totally right and the other side is totally wrong. They can see that each side has a part of the truth. When people on either side of any contentious issue cannot love one another, it means they don’t have the big message yet.”                Richard Rohr

Choose life

It is difficult to face each day thinking that whatever chronic problem you have will never change. Yet, there are people who do and live fully each day. Their “fully” may not look like yours and mine but for them it is enough.

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How do we learn to live in the “enough?” I do wonder. Could I do it? I don’t know and I have to say I don’t want to find out. Maybe the stressors that have been present in my life would have swamped someone else. Maybe each of us can best manage our own problems. I have mentioned before that at a conference the leader asked everyone to write their biggest and most pressing problem on a sheet of paper. Those were passed forward and put in a jar. She then asked if anyone would like to come and draw one out and take it on. There were no takers.

Our expectations of life can be so extravagant and unreasonable. I know that those who grew up in problem homes may not have seen things that way but many of us did. We want everything to go exactly the way we want. We don’t look for life to knock us down. When I grew up with IBSD I thought it was normal. In those days people didn’t talk about it. For that reason I just accepted it and moved on with my life. Fortunately, I had some breathers between episodes so I coped pretty well. I just battled through when it caused anxiety and depression. I guess in some ways ignorance was bliss.

I know so many people who are living with issues that seem insurmountable to me. I think I would be crushed by them but they are living each day. On Word Press I read someone who has ALS and writes about his faith and love for his family. I used to visit a lady who had lived her whole life with Cerebral Palsy, in an electric wheel chair. Part of it was spent in a nursing home as a young adult. (imagine having to live with only the elderly for company in your youth) She was able to live in an apartment after changes were made in disability coverage. She was always cheerful and grateful for her life.

Today I will choose life notebook-500x500

 

It is people like them who help us to see that life is about choices. Will I choose to live a life of “poor me” or one that is grateful for each day no matter how difficult. We are entitled to get down but not to stay there. We have to learn to continue learning, being grateful for life, coping and growing.

 

Saving from pain

When my mother died and then my aunt a year later I was tasked with cleaning out their homes. This was not an easy task. Not only were there things that hadn’t been seen in many years but also things that brought back memories and tears. This was back around 2003-2004. I still remember the agony of that job.

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For this reason I am trying, little by little, to make cleaning out my things easier on my family. I have written about getting rid of things but this is the underlying reason. I am moving slowly but making progress. This is another thing that strangely enough is on my bucket list. I know, this is not a fun thing but it matters to me.

Little by little, bit by bit I am going through papers and personal items. Many things can be discarded but others need to have a place, with explanations, where they are kept. I hope I don’t die soon as this may take me until my death to do. For my children’s sake I hope not. For me this is not a macabre task but a loving one.

do i need it

It seems that we spend the first half of live accumulating things, the next quarter enjoying them and the last quarter letting them go.

Each part of life has its demands. Too many people leave a huge disaster for others to clean up. I hope I can do better than that.

We are a whole not parts

It has been two weeks since I was so sick with IBSD. I have been so well in general that the episode completely blind-sided me. Now I am experiencing the hangover. Since these particular episodes always occur between 9 and 10 in the evening I get anxious each night around that time.

The irony is that this kind of episode only crops up, at the most, once a year. It will take weeks for it to fade from my mind and then I will be fine.

journey-to-wholeness

It is so amazing what we can do to ourselves. I am fine physically but my mind clings to the latest event. So what to do? I have increased my prayer and quiet time, continued my regular routine and let that event become a memory that will fade. Learning and using coping skills is such a critical piece to our health and wholeness. We must remember that we were created as whole beings….not separate parts. Everything that we do affects our entire being.

One of the problems with out medical systems today is that we are not see this way but as different parts managed by different physicians. Not only do they not see beyond their specialty but they seldom communicate with each other.

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We must learn to be our own advocates. Even if a physician ignores or puts you down for your concerns and conclusions about your care remember who sees the end result. Don’t ever be afraid to speak your mind and if you have someone who can’t accept that change to someone else. Never let a caregiver dismiss you. Each of us is just a important as the person caring for us. Never forget it.