I went to a practitioner I really enjoy chatting with yesterday. I didn’t feel well at all. I’m still under the weather from the flu - it, of course, just compounds the weakness from not eating enough and all the other aches and pains. The reason I rarely mention having something like the flu is because, it’s so temporary! I’ve been dealing with some health issues for years now. Something that lasts a week, maybe two? Meh. That feels like a jog around the block to a marathon runner. Not even worth bringing up.
BUT I am bringing it up this time because it’s coming at a time when I’m already feeling very weak. Very tired. Very frustrated. Very annoyed with our fucked up medical system.
There are so many aspects of my existence that I can’t always get written down. One of them is the feeling I had yesterday before and during my practitioner appointment.
I told her that I’ve been struggling to stay connected to the outer world. My mind has trouble focusing on basic tasks. Thank fucking goodness I got my crew lined up when I did…they are such angels. I’ve never had this much trouble focusing. Well, that’s not true. During chemo, I was not a sharp cookie. I guess I can’t say things like that anymore. I just don’t have the memory anymore to make statements like that. I can’t believe where the last 5 years have gone. It’s like being on a bad acid trip for years, my brain.
Back to the story. There is a reason why people often fast when they are endeavoring spiritual experiences. There is a reason why Buddhist monks live an austere life. There is a reason people will kneel on a hard floor for hours when meditating in an Ashram.
These things can crack open our consciousness.
Unfortunately, I’m having all this shit happen in a round-about way. One of the ways I manage not letting it totally break my psyche, is allowing my psyche to bend as much as possible when I’m going through a particularly difficult time.
Resistance is suffering according to Buddhism, right?
Again, a lot of this is just happening, and I often do resist it! Because it fucking hurts! And I’m hungry. Tired and cranky.
But when I get so weak to resist, that’s often when the interesting shit happens.
The last couple of days, I’ve been in bed, probably a bit feverish on top of everything else. Definitely hungry. I’m hyper-vigilant about hydration - been giving myself 2 liters per day while ill - so I don’t end up dehydrated. Dangerous. Food, meh. Hydration? Crucial. I think I look so “normal” so much of the time because of those IV bags. The medical system not rewarding the proactive patient….
I told my practitioner, I’m in this white space. There are no walls, no floors. Not floating. I’m just there. This is the second time I’ve seen this space - the last time a few months ago, also during a very difficult time. She then told me a story about working in hospice - she gave massages to people who were about to die - and her experience with white space.
I won’t tell her story because it’s not my story to tell. Mostly, I think I need to ease everyone into those kinds of conversations. I’ve been patient for so long. I can do it awhile longer.
For me: the white space is in between. It’s not death, of course. It’s not where I reside normally. When I’m in that white space, it’s very challenging for me to think about appointment times, doctor calls, insurance referrals (as I’m writing this, I think of at least 10 phone calls I need to make). That part of my life feels very far away.
Now to some, this may sound dangerous. It probably is. Or maybe it isn’t. I read somewhere that Pema Chodron purposely stuck herself in an ice cave (??? something like that) in order to achieve spiritual elevation.
Uh yeah. No ice cave needed here!
Stay with me. I need to figure this out and the only way I can figure these things out is to write about them. I’m finding that the daily writing is really good for me to make sense of everything happening to me - so much occurs so quickly, I need this space to process even a small percentage of it.
I don’t know why I wrote stay with me when literally no one I know is reading this except for me. Maybe it’s too myself. Stay. Julie. Stay.
In the white space, I don’t necessarily feel a sense of peace and calm. But I definitely feel less agitated and anxious than when I’m working on my medical case, or waiting in a doctor’s office. I’m not gaining any amazing perspective while there, or seeing anything terribly interesting. Maybe that’s the point of it. It’s no-thingness as they say in Buddhism. It’s not good, or bad. It’s not hard or soft.
It just is.
Or maybe, the good stuff hasn’t happened yet….?
I don’t know. Why the FUCK didn’t I ask for a stupid nice house and lots of money when I was 25 years old!?!?!? Nooooooo I had to ask for spiritual evolvement.
Dumbass kid. I remember watching Super Soul Sunday with Oprah and she was interviewing some dude. He said, “I asked for spiritual enlightenment and wow! What a crazy five years that was.” I was sitting in my apartment in San Diego at the time - no idea why the memory is so strong but gosh damn I loved that apartment so much - recovering from having three cancers and probably going through chemotherapy around that time. 42/43 years old and already had four cancers. I still had my independence and career back then too - but still, all I could think was: five years. FIVE YEARS. YOU HAD A CRAZY FIVE YEAAAAARRRRS!?!?!!?!?!?!?!?!?!??
I’ve lost count of my crazy hard hectic almost-died a bunch of time years.
So. Now there is white space showing up in my life. Why am I able to write through all this? Even when cognitive function is impaired. No fucking idea. Ask the people who have all kinds of medical issues and/or cognitive limitations how they paint. How they work through math problems. How they do all kinds of things. I often wonder what was the final thing that drove Sylvia Plath to stick her head in an oven. The last straw.
Elizabeth Gilbert wrote in her book Big Magic - back when I was reading full books like a regular person - that an artist doesn’t necessarily have to suffer in order to create art.
Hmmmm…can we get me on that track please? I’ll take all the entry level courses, totally fine with me. Just get me off the suffer train PA-LEASE.
I’m beginning to wonder if the writing will be easier now that I am NOT focusing on such minute details - well I still am but I have people helping me. OHMIGOSh, having my new driver / doctor escort me during an appointment. today was…well, I’ll save that for tomorrow. Like I said, I could easily write 3-4 posts a day, with photos and one life story per day also with a photo - and never, ever run out of things to share
Yes, it’s exhausting. Let’s see if I can keep figuring out ways to get the content out of my head and into the world. Daily here. Podcast is weekly. I almost feel it’s imperative. The words are running up and down inside my body, trying to get out, and wearing out my insides too quickly. I need them OUT. Or I’m not sure what will happen.
This body. So perty on the outside and so fucked up on the inside. (I’m allowed to say this shit on my own website right? I mean it’s fucking objective data. I love millennial women and how confident they are, they’ll compliment themselves without batting an eye…my age and older…? We’ll explode like on Amy Schumer’s show when it was truly funny.) How warped our culture is, thinking that I’m lucky for any reason whatsoever. It’s probably why I got the package I did. So that people could finally see how absurd it is to think everything is ‘good’ just because the outside looks ok.
Rubbish. So much of it.
I need to finish my tasks so I can get to bed at a decent hour. I ate 2 eggs again today so I must walk. I took three days off from my evening “movement routine” because, obviously, FLU. So I finally had to walk last night because my back hurts SO bad if I lay in bed without stretches, etc.
Then I flopped over to do a standard stretch last night and felt an entire muscle pull, right glute, I believe soaz muscle? My life is AweSOME! Thankfully it’s not too bad. No acupuncture needed. But I know I gotta move again. Too much bed is baaaad for me. In so many ways.
The only way to improve any of that is to keep walking, keep strong. The weaker I am, the less likely I can do ANY OF THIS.