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Sunday, May 31, 2009

I love blogging

I love blogging. I like to pour thoughts and ideas out on the page. I love to be creative. I love reading what other people write. Alas, blogging takes a lot of time.

Lately, I find little time to blog the way I like. I dash off a post in 5 minutes so everyone will know I'm ok but I just have not found the time to really reflect as I write or to stop and read many other blogs. Fortunately, a positive change is in sight. This is my last week of teaching until August, so I will have a nice break to blog, refashion and pursue other artistic visions.

I am really excited to have time to dedicate myself to the things I love most. I will still be teaching my yoga classes and I am already signed up to sub a few times too.

My regular job search continues but I have accepted the idea of continuing to work at my current school. There are still prospects on the horizon but I am settling my mind into a state where I can accept whatever comes.

I have realized that my priorities lie in creating time to do the things I love most. I continue to push away obligations and thoughts that bring me stress and to try to find a balance in all things. This seems to be paying off healthwise. I am in the midst of one of the least trying menstrual periods of my adult life ( I know TMI but I have a point). Usually, I feel awful physically and emotionally for about one week out of the month but this time I am feeling pretty decent. Even my napping has changed lately. I still find I want a nap most days but now instead of needing over 2 hours, I nap 45 minutes or an hour and then I am refreshed. I am relieved to be feeling so much better these days. I think that summer break will reduce my stress even further and that I will continue to feel better and better. I can hardly wait!

P.S. I will be by your blog soon :)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Quick, quick update

It has been a very busy but fun last few days. I only have about 5 minutes before dinner is served but I have not forgotten you all :)

We had a great long weekend, a great party and a super anniversary on Tuesday. We got to see Nine Inch Nails and Jane's Addiction live at Fiddler's Green Ampitheatre.

Yesterday we played hookey from work and went out for brunch. Then we saw a cool exhibit at the art museum. Once I had taken a rest, we went to sit on the patio at a nearby bar and then finished the night by ordering pizza and watching old X-files.

Today was an action-packed day at work and tomorrow will be another but it's all almost over. When I get some more time I'll be back to the blog.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Holistic Approach # 2

Shortly after my diagnosis I posted five essential questions to my blog. In a previous entry entitled "The Holistic Approach," I wrote about my findings and experiences regarding #4 and #5. To refresh the memory of my readers, I have posted these questions below.
4) Can MS relapses be averted or minimized by life-style modifications, holistic approaches, exercise and meditation?
5) What regimen of diet and exercise works best for the majority of MS patients, or is it really about each individual finding what works for them?

Today I feel called to return to these questions and to modify my thinking a little. I have come to the conclusion that diet and excercise is an important piece for MSers but it is not the whole picture. I do think that no two people with MS are exactly the same and that each person will need to find what works best for them. For me, the most important thing seems to be moderation in all things. There is nothing I need to avoid but I do need to avoid over-indulgence and over-doing. The second is probably the biggest part of the puzzle for me. It is really important that I plan periods of rest after a flurry of activity. I function best when I don't plan more than three things in a day. I also function best when the things I plan are a source of joy and not something I dread or something that brings me too much stress. This is where I have begun to modify my thinking a little. I have come to the conclusion that a person can do a million things with diet, excercsie and supplements and still not produce the desired results if the mind is not in the right place.

I now think that a large part of health and healing is mental and maybe even "spiritual." I find that the more I allow myself to worry or to feel stress, the worse I feel physically. When I am relaxed and engaged in activities that bring me joy, I feel much better too. I think that taking time for meditation, yoga and stillness is really important for me. When I get upset, I lose connection with my body. I often realize later that I am headachy and nauseated at these times. Lately, I have noticed that if I pause to take some time alone to breathe and calm myself, I often feel better and more focused again. I can then sense myself in the body again. This may sound very strange but I imagine there must be other people who have this experience too at times.

Right now I am feeling very calm, healthy and peaceful so I am going to slip out for some early morning yoga.

To be continued...

Friday, May 22, 2009

This Week's Carnival

I just had a free minute to check out this week's Carnival of MS Bloggers. I am honored to have one of my poems up. I was aslo delighted to take in Nina's pictures and the latest exciting news from Diane. Check it out!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A free moment

Lately I have found myself very occupied, not in a bad way but just very busy. Right now, my students are watching a clip from the movie "Of Mice and Men" so while they watch, I type.

The year at school is wrapping up. The natives are restless but overall things are going well for this time of year. I have my classroom mostly packed for our move to the new school and my finals are written. I anticipate the year will draw to a close without major stress.

I am excited for the long weekend. I am going to brunch at a friend's on Saturday and we are having a party on Sunday. Then, I will have Monday to relax. Tuesday is our anniversary and we are going to see Nine Inch Nails and Jane's Addiction. Wednesday I am playing hookey with my husband and we will go to do something fun.

Health-wise I am feeling pretty good. I still tire easily but I have not felt really sick for a while.

Today I am grateful that everything is going so well.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Adventure in the Dunes

Spring in southern Colorado... The trees are in exuberant bloom. I can still imagine the smell of the lilacs in Walsenberg. With each storm, new things seem to sprout from the ground almost overnight. Every budding tree and awakening rabbit bush reminds me of home. Every creek blurs into one vision of my favorite childhood waterway and I am transported into a wave of pleasant memory.

We reach the Sand Dunes, nestled below bluish, still snowy peaks. Each piece of the landscape is a reminder of adventures I had in the dunes when I was less than ten years old. As soon as I can, I rush to the water below the dunes, throwing off my shoes. My senses still remember the feel of the soft, white sand beneath my bare toes. I balance myself against the currents that pour down the waterway, reminiscent of ocean waves. I don't remember the chill of the water but I remember hours spent playing in this waterway atop soft, squishy mud and sand. Even now it is magical.

I remember the softness of the dunes and the warmth of the sand beneath my feet. It still feels the way I remember it. The sand tumbles away with each step I take up the dunes, making it a challenge to walk. At the top of the dune, I pause because I am afraid to jump off, hurtling into space. I'm afraid I'll get hurt but I watch my friends and their kids leap. Then I shrug aside my fear and take a running leap. I fly through the air and let out a yell of exhilaration and fear as I seem to fall. And then I land in the soft sand of the dunes and I begin to giggle. Again and again I run at the peak of the dune and then leap. When I land, I lie in the sand laughing. I am proud of myself for losing my fear, taking a risk and enjoying the returns. It is a good day.

Night falls, chill and windy. Rain ends the evening early and I crawl into my tent. At night, the wind keeps me awake. Early in the morning, I am exhausted but at last I rest. I awaken to wind and rain outside the tent. I am a little disappointed but I make my way out into the morning. It is cold, windy and gray. The dunes look beautiful in the morning light but I am reluctant to wade the river in the cold. By late morning, we go anyway. It is a long, windy, uphill push but it's still fun because I'm with friends. At last, we crest the final dune, our desired destination. We find a hollow just beyond the crest and there we make a little nest to sit in while we lunch. The sun covers the dunes and the wind dies down. I lie on the warm dune and slowly shrug out of my layers of clothing. I watch my firends fly kites and ride sleds down the dunes. This is living!

The afternoon is lovely. We make our way down. I read a novel and then take a nap in the warm tent which is luckily, not too hot.

The evening is gorgeous. We gather for dinner around the campfire. We share some drinks, smoke some sheeesha (tobacco) and listen to one of our friends tell us stories. Everyone agrees that this was an amazing day.

I sleep soundly and wake to find that it is Sunday but I am still relaxed. Now we are home again but the dunes are still with me.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

This weekend

I'm taking tomorrow off and escaping town with my hubby and some friends. We are going camping at the Sand Dunes. It should be a fun time. I'm looking forward to a break from work and responsibility. I'll be back Sunday with an update.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The ups, the downs and the in between

I am at work on my lunch break so I have to keep this very brief. I'm not on the cloud 9 of last Thursday's "update", but I'm ok.

My interview on Friday went well but I was passed over for the job in favor of someone with more elementary experience. I was really bummed but the principal was encouraging. She said I had the right qualifications for a coaching job and that I did a good job on my interview. She encouraged me to keep applying for similar positions because she said I would do a great job. In that spirit, I did submit an application for an instructional coach job at the middle school so maybe I'll have another interview soon. In the meantime, I am trying to resign myself to sticking with what I am doing. One of my favorite authors (Marion Zimmer Bradley) always writes in her books, "The world will go as it will and not as you and I would have it."

So I suppose in this short narrative there are both ups, downs and something in between. Today I am grateful for what I do have.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Shadow Self

I long to be only as I am--
To let the voice of doubt in my mind

I swore I would give up this addiction--
My desire to find chaos where there is none
My willingness to see obstacles where none exist.

Shadow self,
Anarchist in my mind.

I am not you
I am not my fear
I am not just my shadow.

But you are real
Not to be ignored or denied
You will have your say--

There's darkness
But there is also creativity--
Layers of my being only revealed
In the mirages with which you fill my mind.

I am not you
But you are me
Something deep in my soul that stirs me

I never was silence
I never was tranquility
That too is not my nature.

I am bursting
But I cannot create without catharsis--
You are my catharsis.

I long to shrug you off
But you too have a place in my being
I cannot ignore your pull
You are a parasite
but one I need for growth.

So I battle you,
I resist,
I let you fill my mind with whispers of hate--
For my weaknesses

But you will not be denied--
Alone I shine briefly
But then go out--

Struggle as I may
I create nothing,
Grow nowhere without your shoves.

Without darkness
There is no light
Without either,
All things are cast in shadow

I can fight you
Or I can use use you--

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Update 5/07/10

I have little to report here at the moment. Things are pretty much routine right now. I no longer dread the challenges of work. Everything feels very manageable, including my health. This week I actually feel very good physically. Come to think of it, I feel almost the best I have felt since before my diagnosis a year ago. My energy level is good and I find that I have not been getting so exhausted lately. On Monday I skipped my regular nap, Tuesday I worked until 3:45 and then went straight to teach yoga. Yesterday, I only took a brief rest and then I got to read a novel and take a walk with my husband and the dog. Today I feel very good as well. I walked over a mile this morning and this afternoon I will teach yoga so I am quite pleased about the direction of things.

I am ready for the end of the school year but I am certainly not going nuts wating for things to end. My job is secure for next year but I am also going for a job interview in my district tomorrow. I am interviewing to become an "English Lanuage Acquisition Specialist" at an elementary school. I am uncertain if I will get the job but I am happy they called me for an interview. I hope to know more after tomorrow.

My little family is doing well too. My husband and I both seem to have pulled away from our respective anxities and bouts of depression and now we are just making the most out of the life right in front of us. The dog and cat are healthy and happy so we are all pretty content right now.

It is funny how a lack of drama makes for a very boring narrative but as they say, "No news is good news." Today I am grateful for my health and happiness.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Socially Awkward

I have long suspected my own social awkwardness. It's not glaring. In fact, it's a much subtler something but it's there. I am a Saggitarius and like most of my kind, I have a tendencey to be too blunt for most tastes. I actually prefer directness from other people but it is not the social norm in this country to be entirely direct. I have learned this, so I don't generally give an opinion or a criticism unless I am asked for one. When I am asked, I try to be honest but I still offer my honesty with a gentle touch.

In other areas, I suspect I am still quite awkward by most standards. I state this merely as an observation, not as a criticism of my own way of operating. One might ask why I even put forth these observations at all. Here it is in a nutshell.

Today I received an email from the head of my "academy" at work soliciting information about what each member of our staff has done this year that they are proud of. She also encouraged us to be positive and honest in our responses. I thought it was a nice request so I hit "reply all" and then patted myself on the back for all the things I have done since my diagnosis. I listed about four accomplishments and then hit send. After I sent my email, it occured to me that some people on the thread might not be interested in what I had to say or would see my list as braggery. Too late, it's out in cyberland. I noticed that the other reponses to the whole staff only listed one accomplishment and that the accomplishment each respondent chose to list had to do with work itself. Nothing I listed had anything to do with work.

Having made these observations, I am not troubled at all. It has been my recent objective to seperate who I am from what I do. I am thrilled that my own list had nothing to do with work. I typed the first things that came to mind and I feel very good about my list. I imagine that the less socially awkward may read my list and laugh at me. Let them laugh:) I feel free. Today I am grateful that this year's list of accomplishments really represents me and not my job.