“Physician, heal thyself”

My heart is filled with gratitude today.  My…being has changed since moving up here to Western PA and there is one particular person I feel has a lot to do with it.  I am so glad to call her friend.  As she is a trainer at the gym I go to, a part of me does doubt.  It is her job to encourage, advise, and help support members.  But even if these activities have just been a part of her job description, she’s got me.  I don’t need to be convinced.  I will continue going to the gym just for the way the trainers make their members feel whether it is out of legitimate connection or just part of the job description.  In any case I am so grateful to have this friend.  I was lacking something, needing something, when I moved here and she has helped to fill a hole and has helped me to see that this hole can be filled.  It will take a lot of work and I doubt sometimes, okay, frequently, that I ever will be whole but she has helped me see the light at the end of the tunnel and has helped me to see that I can keep going.  I don’t have to settle for the darkness.  The effort, the task, the journey, as long as it may be is something worthwhile to be accomplished.  I just hope I can get to a place where I have genuine self-compassion and confidence before it is too late for me to truly enjoy…self-actualization.

Still as encouraging as I have found many of my associations up here to be I have this deep core of fear and anxiety that has not been greatly impacted yet.  I think of an allegorical story of a large brass ball and the dove.  Every thousand years the dove flies past this brass globe and lightly brushes it with its wing.  The story goes that when this brass ball is reduced to dust then that will be the end of eternity.  I feel the same way about some…deeply entrenched part of my personality.  But where reducing the brass ball to dust seems unimaginable I have the slim hope that one day I will no longer fear rejection.  I will no longer feel I have to justify my existence.  I will no longer feel I have to earn the things I have a right to simply by existing.  I will be sure I am loved for me.  I will be sure of my place in the world.  I won’t feel as if I have to apologize or make excuses for who I am.

But like many others I am looking for the quick fix.  Tell me what to take, where to go, what to do, so that I can feel better as soon as possible.  I did the work, the hard work, when I lost weight and I know that a quick fix or a detour around the hard work cannot be found when it comes to weight loss, no matter what the drug companies say.  But I suppose, for me, I want a detour around the inevitable pain that will come with putting the psychological pieces together.  I want to be whole, happy, and ready to go after what I want, right now!  The hard work scares me and discourages me just like those who seek weight loss.  “But it is so long and so hard, why should I even try?  It is just easier to stay where I am.”  Which is why what I receive at the gym from my friend the trainer is so incredibly important to me.  The support is essential no matter what the case.  Like another friend said, “It is time to decide whether it is more uncomfortable to stay where you are or whether it will be more uncomfortable pursuing who you can be?”  I had a very strong motivation/ motivator to lose weight.  I need to develop as strong a motivator to heal myself.

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Do we not bleed

To bait fish withal: if it will feed nothing else,
it will feed my revenge. He hath disgraced me, and
hindered me half a million; laughed at my losses,
mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my
bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine
enemies; and what’s his reason? I am a Jew. Hath
not a Jew eyes? hath not a Jew hands, organs,
dimensions, senses, affections, passions? fed with
the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject
to the same diseases, healed by the same means,
warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as
a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed?
if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison
us, do we not die? and if you wrong us, shall we not
revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will
resemble you in that. If a Jew wrong a Christian,
what is his humility? Revenge. If a Christian
wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by
Christian example? Why, revenge. The villany you
teach me, I will execute, and it shall go hard but I
will better the instruction.

“Sickness is a defense against the truth.”

These questions are questions I found on http://www.expressiveartworkshop.com

Good questions to ask yourself when you are sick:

1.) If I could name two hidden parts of myself that are in conflict right now, what would they be? What are their names?

Healing and productivity/ usefulness

2.) What does each side of the conflict want?

 The healing part of me wants this time to myself to do what I want and what I need to do.  It wants me to rest.  The productive/ useful side of me feels I have to, I need to, justify my existence.  I do not feel entitled to take this time for myself.

3.) How do I need to grow in order to resolve this conflict?

I need to learn to value my time off and give myself permission to heal, spiritually and/or physically.

4.) How am I needing to be loved right now?

 I always need reassurance from friends and family and to get “permission” to do things for myself/ put myself first.  “No” was not an okay word to say to family when I was growing up.  It was unacceptable.  I want to know unequivocally that I am loved and valued and worthy, that I don’t have to earn that love, that I don’t have to justify my existence, my worthiness. 

5.) How can I ask for that love or give it to myself?

I want a hug, a real hug.  I want a hug from someone I admire and value and I want to feel valued by that person and trust in that.  I don’t want to always second guess my relationships and the qualities of those relationships.  I want to know I am loved and I am special to that person(s).

 Give that love to myself?  That is hard for me to determine.  It cannot be something as superficial as aquiring an item I want or allowing myself to eat a food I want.  Even engaging in an activity I enjoy is not completely satisfying either.  It is difficult when much of my validation comes from external sources.  I like creating something I can take pride in, perhaps that is the way to give love to myself?

Duplicity

Okay, last Wednesday I slipped and sprained my ankle at the gym.  It’s been sore and unbelievably swollen since then but every day it is getting better.  I think I may try going to work tomorrow.  Even the day after it happened when I could stand but I couldn’t walk without holding onto things I thought seriously about going to work.  I’m a cashier, by the way, who stands for 7 hours at a time.

I am a little conflicted about healing.  I can recognize the serious crimp it would cause in my life if something were truly wrong with my ankle.  But I kind of like having something as an excuse to go a little easier on myself.  I like the offers of assistance I have gotten from friends.  I like the expressions of care and concern I have gotten.  I like feeling as if people are willing to take care of me.

Growing up, especially with Dad, getting over things quickly, physically or emotionally, was always a positive.  I posted on Facebook, the day after my injury, that I felt as though I should just “beast it out” at work.  My Mom once broke a couple of toes.  And what did she do?  She just stuck her foot in a sneaker and tied it really tight and headed out to work.  I felt, “Well I only sprained my ankle.  I can stand.  Surely I can do as Mom did and push on through the day.”  I had a friend who convinced me gave me permission to take the day for myself instead.  Recovering as I have been the past few days, I am glad she did.  Like I said, I like having friends who are willing to take care of me.  God knows I have a hard time taking care of myself.

However Momentary

A friend of mine posted this picture on Facebook this evening.  It contains what I feel to be a very important sentiment.  It is important for kids to be supported in this way.  While the picture is meant to be partly humorous it contains an essential truth.  I’ve said before that I’ve known intellectually my Mom loves me but that rarely if ever have I felt it.  I know Mom fought for my early education.  As I learned differently than other kids, Mom had to fight to make sure I wasn’t assigned to some backwater special ed classes.  She knew I was not stupid.  But when I faced hours of frustration over Math homework or expressed dislike of one thing or another or expressed enthusiasm for something, I never felt the support was there.  Dislike or frustration was faced with a ‘suck it up’ attitude.  Enthusiasm was faced with doubt and discouragement.  Support and more importantly comfort was simply nonexistent.  And so, as corny as it may seem, I say it is important for kids to know and feel the above sentiment to the very core of their being.  To not feel it breeds a foundation of deep hard core self-doubt and in many cases self-disgust.  It is hard, so hard, to take care of and love yourself if you are constantly in doubt of the legitimacy of your own feelings, thoughts, desires, hopes, dreams, cravings, and whims.  And so I say to the mothers out there, make sure your kids know they have your unwavering support.  As frustrated as you are with us sometimes, sometimes it is better to hold your tongues, recognize our dislikes and frustrations, and support our dreams even if you are in doubt of them.  Do not dose  our enthusiasms with your worries, fears, and practicalities, at least not right away.  Share in our joy, however momentary.