Monday, August 26

surprise holiday in august {and a pianostool diy}

I’ll never forget my first holiday with illness, because it was a major let down.

I thought the holiday would be a reprieve and a chance to get refreshed, and I thought I needed it more than ever before.  But I soon realised that the best thing about holidays is leaving the hard work at home...and when the hard work is your own body, it comes with you. I could not believe it had come; I couldn't believe my body wouldn’t let me have a few days off. I know it is super naive/illogical, but I truly thought I'd feel better while I was away. I spent the whole holiday shocked that even the cruisey life was difficult.

All the old ‘leisure’ activities had lost their leisureliness. Reading a book was not so easy, and watching a movie hurt my head. A trip to the beach was exhausting, and catching up with friends was a demolishing task.

But I've been given a couple of weeks off just recently, and I've been experiencing the crazy goodness and beauty of leisure which actually feels like leisure. The necessity of showering and dressing hasn’t taken it all out of me, so I can enjoy my book thoroughly. I made my own lunch and baked a cake afterwards. I saw two friends in a week and didn't end up in bed. And Ben and I did a project (as in, outside, standing up, kindof-manual-labour) that we’d wanted to start two years ago but never could because the basic things used up my everything.

I’m actually on holiday from my body at the moment, and it’s so good I'm weepy. 

We got this piano stool for $10 in a garage sale two years ago. And it was gruesome brown paint with stained yellow satin. We sanded it by hand, painted it cream, re-upholstered it with natural jute from Spotlight, and now it's feeling fabulously shabby chic. 

Tuesday, August 20

words for wednesday {page 16, laughter club}

" For peace of mind, resign as general manager of the universe." 

Larry Eisenberg

"Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished."

Lao Tzu

"Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine."

Lord Byron

Yesterday I went to the nursery and came home with baby Daphne, who smells like lemony spring and looks like my wedding bouquet. I keep sneaking out the front door to bend down and take in her fragrance (i.e. nearly every hour). I think Lao Tzu articulated one of the most restorative things about creation - it's never rushing or stressing or worrying. 

This Saturday, I am hoping to try the most wacky bizarre unconventional thing I've ever done.

I thought going back to ballet as an adult was courageous. This time I'm going to go along to laughter club.  I have no idea whether I will find it mad and crazy as I am inclined to think, or refreshing and freeing. I feel as though I am a crazy lady for even deciding to try it. I asked my other half if he would join me after he was quite positive about my decision to trial it, but he wasn't so keen for himself and cited concerns about co-workers seeing him there and having to explain himself {the 'laughers' meet at the Waterfront}. He doesn't want to be associated with 'hippy healthy nutters', which is quite understandable. My main concern is that I will laugh uncontrollably in the sections where we supposed to be quiet. I have this difficulty, bordering on disorder, where I lose the plot in serious situations, and struggle to stop laughing at a socially appropriate times. I might share my laughter experience next week.

Have you heard of Norman Cousins? 

He was diagnosed in 1964 with a connective tissue disease and given a very slim chance of recovery. After getting progressively worse in hospital under conventional medicine, he became active in his health and decided to put himself on a course of vitamins, and.....laughter. He knew that stress could cause harm to the body and wanted to see if positive emotions could help with healing. He tested his sedimentation rate before and after laughter (achieved by watching the Marx Brothers) - and found that afterwards it would drop, and he would be pain-free for two hours of sleep. After recovering, he went on to study the effects of humour on the body.

Thankyou cfsjourney for the Eisenberg quote.

Wednesday, August 14

words for wednesday {page 15, happy healthy resolutions}

I have been topsy turveying around feeling perplexed in relapse land. I lose the plot emotionally when I relapse, so it's double trouble.

I decided: time to give my body a chance to snap out of hazy land into energy land and hopefully driving land again soon. Ben is such a great taxi, but it really does make our lives more complicated. I am on Day 7 of quitting fructose – I know, bye-bye fruit, dried fruit, honey... caffine had to go too {and I said bye to processed sugar a long time ago}. No more midday date hits and crashes, and hopefully a move towards a sharper brain and more energy. If you know me, you will know how much I love my English Breakfast tea - my sacrifice just proves how much I want to get well.

But despite saying bye to my frienemies, I feel excited. Buckwheat pancakes, peanut butter chocolate truffles, hummus, leafy greens, nuts, jasmine green tea, and healthy granola. It’s actually a delicious feast, thanks to recipes from Sarah Wilson’s blog and beyond. 

I’m also doing breathing exercises/mindfulness to help calm my ever stressed self down. I trialled my new ‘belly’ {which I prefer to call tummy} breathing at the hairdresser this week under that sneaky black cape, and I returned without having felt anxious, told a lie, or having developed a headache. I didn’t even lie down afterwards! I can’t express my delight at finding a technique which helps conserve energy.

Ben and I also realised that in the kafuffle of moving and ‘settling,’ {which is really code for ‘not feeling settled at all’ and 'missing Melbourne'} we haven’t been doing things we enjoy very much. We used to have happy little family traditions; daily walks to the Parklands to watch the dogs play, going to buy incredible gluten free fruit loaf from the bakery on Saturdays, watching romcoms. Lately it’s all been survival, and not much enjoying – and I have a strong feeling that if we did more enjoying and just being content here we might settle better. We have re-committed!

It could be a placebo effect, which is fine by me, because I don’t care what makes me feel better, or it could be a combination of eating great food, breathing, enjoying walks outside and being positive...but I’m feeling a tiny bit better. I appreciate this little step forward.

{the other night I went to youtube for a laughing/cute animal fix, but I cannot beat this hair accident one which naturally went viral.}

Wednesday, August 7

words for wednesday {Page 14, being a Somebody}

“Like city dwellers who no longer notice the polluted air, we breathe in the atmosphere of ungrace unawares. As early as pre-school, and kindergarten we are tested and evaluated before being slotted into advanced, normal or slow track. Test papers come back with errors, not correct answers, highlighted. Ford Motor Company grades employees on a scale of 1 (clerks and secretaries) to 27 (chairman of the board). You must be at least Grade 9 to qualify for a parking space: Grade 13 brings with it such perks as a window, plants and an intercom system: Grade 16 offices come equipped with private bathrooms. Justice departments and mortgage companies cannot operate by grace. A sports franchise rewards those who complete passes, throw strikes, or make baskets, and has no place for those who fail. Fortune Magazine annually lists the five hundred richest: no one knows the names of the five hundred poorest.”

Philip Yancey, Grace

It’s not really surprising that I question my existence now that I am fully dependant, and meritless. I feel like a Nobody because every Somebody in our world has to earn their way to Somebodiness and I can’t anymore. I can't, and it doesn't feel good. I’ve always defined myself by my achievements, and now that I can’t achieve, I wonder where on earth I fit in?

But then there’s this bizarre and wonderful grace thing, where things aren’t earned or strictly fair. I have a meagre grasp of it. I just know that grace doesn’t care about what I can do, and that we need more grace in our world because there’s enough ungrace. Grace seems to me a lot like unconditional love.

I was looking through HONY and a wizened face appeared, a man playing a wooden flute. The music drew me in, but then I read what the man had said and it seemed to sum up every confused thought I have had regarding me and how I fit into the world now that I am ill.

“Don’t look to other people for validation. Your birth was your validation.”

I was born a little red squishy 7 lbs of girl. I was loved for just being a human being, even when Mum first discovered that I was in her womb, barely formed, barely functional. I didn’t acquire my validity to exist once I’d done something impressive, or sacrificial, or beautiful. I am not valid because of what I do - but because I was born and I make up one of the millions of souls who exist because they were created.

“Your eyes saw my unformed substance;

in your book were written, ever one of them,

the days that were formed for me,

when as yet there was none of them.”

Ps 139

I only discovered Humans of New York a couple of weeks ago, but it was love at first sight and every sight since.

I am overwhelmed by the beauty and uniqueness of every soul captured. When I trawl through the photos and hilarious or sobering quotes I feel less alone because there are thousands of humans going through highs and lows simultaneously. I feel community.