Archive | March 2016

The Dark Night

There is a time in life that most people go through.  It’s not about hitting bottom, it feels worse than that.  Its more than a rough patch, it seems endless no matter what you do.  Weeks and months go by and it doesn’t seem to get better.  Every thing you touch turns to shit, people get tired of helping or holding your hand.

More and more you don’t want to be a drain on your loved ones so you withdraw, a little more every day.  If you do go out, go to work or run errands, you are just going through the motions.  There is no rhyme or reason for the way it is, and you run out of ideas or energy for making it better.  It doesn’t  seem to change, or end.

Dark Night1

It is called  The Dark Night of the Soul.  If you are very lucky you may have a handful of loved ones who will stick by you.

Sometimes I think my whole life has been one long dark night.  Then I remember some pretty good times, years of happiness and prosperity.  That is what the Dark Night does to you, it makes you forget the happiness you have known.  In reality I have had periods of great happiness, wonderful contentment, and many periods in my life that I call the Dark Night.

This current Night started around 2007 and is by far the longest night I have endured.  It crept up on me quietly and misled me by disguising itself as progress.

The company I was working for had been bought out some years before and in 2007 they started making some serious changes.  At first I was assigned some traveling, which I thought was fantastic.   Then I was given some special projects and opportunities to advance myself and help to reshape the department.  Fantastic.  Hmm, lots of unpaid overtime. The more I did for them, the more work they gave me.  In my personal life I was attending a lot of spiritual retreats and classes.  I really thought this was all a new and exciting chapter in my life.

The stress started to get to me, though.  I developed an anxiety disorder.  Then I started having random pain in my body for no apparent reason.  I hurt my back working out at the gym and it never got any better.   I ended up on anti-anxiety and pain medications.  In 2008 I hit menopause, adding an anti-depressant.  In 2009 I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, had to take 6 weeks leave of absence, and more medicine.

dark night3

I never really returned to work full-time.  I had to take off several days every month for rest and pain management and often just because the fatigue was overwhelming.

Then the other shoe dropped as a result of all the time I had given the company to restructure our department, they decided to move the location of our office from Texas to Michigan.  I was not making that move.

In September 2010 I was laid off.  I was able to get a temp job in March but it only lasted a few weeks due to my need for days off to rest.  I applied for early retirement through Social Security, beginning another long process that I am still muddling through.  I was no longer able to leave the house for shopping or able to clean house and do my laundry.  I only made it through those months because of 3 dear friends. One came to shop and clean and wash, one came to spend the night several times to keep me company and the other one took me out to breakfast once a week.

In December 2012 I lost my house and had to let my dog go to foster care.  I moved in with my parents and applied for medical care through the county.  Lots of pain pills.  The oblivion was so alluring.

I was no longer involved in church, or anything really.  The new doctor began rationing my pain pills and eventually took me off them.  I still have pain but at least I am awake.

Things seems to even out after a while, but living with elderly parents and fighting depression and anxiety, emotional upheaval became the norm.

And all along I have been fighting the Darkness.  Begging the universe to bring an end to it, looking for ways to find the Light again.  Its exhausting.  Fighting anything is exhausting.

In spite of my efforts to make things better, it only got worse!  I was fighting with every one in my life. Finally this past summer I decided that enough was enough and that I was ready to check out.  I wrote a note.  I texted it to 2 friends and saved it in my phone.  Then I got in the car and went to visit a friend in Arkansas.  It’s only 6 hours away and 1 tank of gas.  It was the beginning of October and I planned to live only until the 13th.  Russ’s birthday would be my day to leave this plane.

Well, my friend became seriously ill right after I arrived.  We made a pact: that as long as she would fight for her life, I would not try to end mine.  I hate to say that her illness saved my life, but I felt needed and useful.

dark night2

After returning home, I started thinking about this Dark Night and why it wasn’t ending.  I was reading a lot of memes on Facebook about resistance and attraction and other metaphysical stuff.  I had tried the constant gratefulness route before but nothing really got better so I had given up on that.  I began to think along the lines of letting the Universe have its way.

One meme really resonated with me, “what you resist, persists”.

One morning it just hit me in the forehead.  Why am I fighting this Darkness anyway?  Is there something inherently wrong with being in the dark?  Isn’t darkness part of universal balance?  Could there be a real reason for being there?  I made a decision right then.

No more resistance.

I accept the Darkness for what it is.  I accept that this is where I am right now.  I will embrace it.  I will enjoy it.  I will open up to whatever I can learn from it.

I will make it my friend, and maybe it won’t kill me.

Instead of viewing it as a black bottomless pit of despair, I am seeing this Dark Night as a friend who is walking along a path with me while I make decisions about what I am going to do with the rest of my life.  I am recording my thoughts in my Book of Light, so that I will remember this struggle and so that I can teach  my grand-daughter how best to handle her Dark Nights when they come, as they will, as it seems they must.

After all, it is only in the darkness that we can see the light of the stars.

stars at night

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Returning

Hi Everyone,

I have been away from the blog for several months in order to grieve the loss of 2 dear friends.  I am back now with lots to share!

In this journey of profound grief I became interested in natural ways to achieve and maintain physical as well as emotional and mental health.  I have met some cool people and old and new friends have been so supportive.

I am going to be sharing with you the methods I have adopted for improving my health in future articles.

One item I want to share today is fruit water!  I have moved away from artificially sweetened drinks, but I have a strong sweet tooth nonetheless.

I started by replacing the diet drinks with Sierra Mist which is sweetened with sugar and stevia.  I love the taste and after a month or so away from the sucralose I did notice some improvements in my body.  Less dryness, fewer headaches, etc.  But my weight started to increase.  So I have cut down on that drink although I still enjoy a couple of cans a day.

What I am doing instead is making my own fruit water.  It’s really simple.  So far I have tried a strawberry lemon cucumber mix, pineapple mango cucumber mix, blueberry pomegranate cucumber mix and blackberry pomegranate mix.

The cucumber seems to bring out the flavor and sweetness of the fruit, but you only need a couple of slices otherwise it can be overpowering.

My favorite so far is the blueberry pomegranate cucumber.  Last Fall I bought 3 huge pomegranates on sale and seeded them.  Then I portioned the seeds into 1 cup zip lock bags and tossed them in the freezer.  To make the water I put a couple of slices of cucumber in a large glass, added about a half cup of frozen organic blueberries and a quarter cup of the frozen pomegranate seeds then filled the cup with filtered water.  Screwed the top on and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight.  The next afternoon I transferred the concoction to my Yeti cup which keeps drinks cold all day long!  It was a wonderful elixir and I have enjoyed it several times this past week.

handful-of-blueberries

Helpful tip:  to seed a pomegranate easily do this, slice off a little from the bottom, just enough so that it will sit flat.  Using a sharp knife cut out a circle from the top making it like an inverted cone and pull that off.  Then score the pomegranate vertically along the natural ridges.  Placing your thumbs in the opening on top and your fingers holding the bottom, gently pull the pomegranate apart into sections along the scoring.  One section at a time pluck the seeds out!  It’s really simple and fast.

Pomegranate

My least favorite so far is the pineapple mango cucumber, mainly because it gave me indigestion.  I will have to work with the proportions and see if I can make it work because it does taste pretty good.

I am working on trying different things for healthy snacks, and I have spent the past year learning about and using essential oils for physical and mental health.  I will write about these very soon.

I am also growing an aloe vera plant!aloe vera

What are you trying in order to make your body more healthy?  What other healthy food topics would you like to hear about?  Please let me know, I want to make this interesting!