Poems, Prayers and Promises

Image from miriadna.com

Image from miriadna.com

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”
~ Mary Oliver

 

I saw a new lyme doctor yesterday. Why a new doctor? It goes like this:

The first doctor I saw diagnosed me but wouldn’t treat me because ‘lyme was contentious and he was trying to fly under the radar’. My second doctor treated me aggressively with antibiotics and herbs, saving my life. The AMA put restrictions on his practice and prevented him from offering treatment to lyme patients. My third doctor – highly respected as a lyme physician here in Australia – had one appointment with me, where he prescribed a new and intense drug regime, shortly after which he took leave of absence for health reasons. I waited and waited for him to come back to work, and then found out in late December that he was no longer treating lyme patients as their immediate physician.

Meanwhile symptoms I’d not had for a long time had flared up, new problems had emerged, and I was keen to find someone who knew what they were doing and who could offer me continuity of care. After realising there was no-one in charge of me and not likely to be for some time I’ve been winging it, with a little help from my kind and courageous GP, and my own intuition. Winging it, I think I’ve done quite well, but still, I’m no doctor.

As you might imagine, I woke apprehensive. Discussions with other doctors had suggested that this year I’d have an even more harsh offering of drugs to take. That this year would need to be hard-core to make up the ground I’d so recently lost. I’d been told I’d need to see this new doctor and follow her own strict protocols as well as conventional lyme protocols for at least a year to get results.

I’m so tired of the pain, the brutality, the isolation imposed by both the disease and the treatment. As I lay in bed yesterday I offered up a prayer to the Universe. Let me get my answer today, I affirmed. I promise that whatever I am shown, I will honour that path.

In my mind I’d already decided that this doctor would be the last one. Intuition had led me to her. I’d already been given guidance in my channelled sessions that this year I would eventually forgo drugs. I would eventually forsake the last vestiges of traditional medicine, and I would find a way to heal, thoroughly and well.

This is it, I thought. My last roll of the dice.

But it didn’t feel like luck. It felt like I was standing on the edge of a cliff, from which I would either fall or fly.

Paradigm shift. They were the words that kept playing in my head. Those words and the fragment of a Mary Oliver poem, Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

Image from Terri Pope

Image from Terri Pope

I knew I was missing something. Some vital thing. A  key that would unlock this whole mess. A clue that would break me open and in the same breath begin to piece me back together again; gently, gracefully and with meaning.

I sat in the doctor’s office and we talked shop. Drugs, stats, bloods, symptoms, history. The usual. All the things she’d asked for.

‘You’re psychic,’ she said, reading my file, where for once I’d been bold enough to list that as my occupation. ‘That’s a real gift. Intelligent too, I can see. No-one would have developed this complexity of treatment protocols for themselves without deep intelligence.’

She looked at me, and held my gaze. ‘This isn’t my usual approach. But I assume you’re good at what you do too. I can see you have most of this under control. I don’t need to spend time discussing diet and nutrition with you. You’ve done most of the things I would recommend. I can see how sick you’ve been. How sick you still are. And you and I both know I can’t heal you – that healing comes from some other place. So, what do you need to heal – quickly, easily and with grace? How could you love your dis-ease?’

This wasn’t how I’d expected the session to go. I’d expected that she would tell me.

‘It’s funny,’ I said to her after pausing to gather my thoughts. ‘I fought so hard not to be psychic. But lyme stripped everything else away from me until it was the only thing left that I could do.’

I thought a bit more, and a realisation came to me like rays of light penetrating a deep dark forest. ‘You know,’ I said, leaning towards her, ‘when I do my psychic work, no matter how ill I might be, I move into a different space. A higher vibration. For that time I operate as if I don’t have lyme. And the effect lasts for a few hours afterwards, before I eventually come back into this disease state.’

She kept looking at me, holding that space for me, and suddenly I knew. Words tumbled out of me…

‘I’ve been so ashamed to be who I am. To be psychic. I’ve felt so guilty that I did not turn out the way my parents and teachers expected. The way society expected.’ I knew it to be true as they were coming out of my mouth. Guilt. Shame. Judgement. Such low vibration words. The complete opposite of the way I felt when I was firmly in my truth, owning my gift and living as a psychic, a shaman, as a spirit woman, guide and teacher. There I was open, I was light, I was in flow and everything in the world was beautiful and good. I was everything and everything was in me, and it was all as it should be. Peaceful. Blissful. Oneness.

There was more. I realised that I’d always held an expectation that when I eventually became well, that I should go back to my corporate life – the life in which my family and I had been so invested.

How could I ever be well when being well would mean walking away from my soul truth and my integrity to go back to living a life path dictated by others?

The shift in me was strong and immediate. Peace surged through me and calm lit every cell.

All I needed to do was own who I am. The beauty and the power and the strange rightness of this life. Of my skills and talents. Of my passion and my gift.

Image from wallarthd.com

Image from wallarthd.com

We both decided I need a light amount of drugs for a mop-up of one of my co-infections. A little retweaking of this and that, some healing and rewiring at an energetic level. I’ll keep using my herbs and essential oils. I’ll keep using my meditation and energetic healing. We’ll play it by ear, listen to my body’s own wisdom and see where that takes me. There’s some rebuilding to be done, some repair. But it is all fixable. It’s already shifting.

Finally, I have found a doctor who speaks my language and who can respect and mirror back to me what I most need to hear.

When I got home there was a message in my inbox. Dana, my PA, had forwarded me a poem sent by a lady called Illona. Thank you, Illona. It was so very timely.

It’s no coincidence that it’s also a Mary Oliver Poem.

I present the message in its entirety below:

Message: Nicole, I see this so much as who you are:

 

Today again I am hardly myself.

It happens over and over.

It is heaven-sent.

 

It flows through me

like the blue wave.

Green leaves – you may believe this or not – have once or twice emerged from the tips of my fingers

somewhere

deep in the woods,

in the reckless seizure of spring.

Though, of course, I also know that other song, the sweet passion of one-ness.

Just yesterday I watched an ant crossing a path, through the tumbled pine needles she toiled.

And I thought: she will never live another life but this one.

And I thought: if she lives her life with all her strength

is she not wonderful and wise?

And I continued this up the miraculous pyramid of everything

until I came to myself.

And still, even in these northern woods, on these hills of sand, I have flown from the other window of myself to become white heron, blue whale,

red fox, hedgehog.

Oh, sometimes already my body has felt like the body of a flower!

Sometimes already my heart is a red parrot, perched among strange, dark trees, flapping and screaming.

— Mary Oliver

 

big hugs

Oh my goodness how that validated everything I had seen and felt and known earlier that day. It was as if the Universe herself had turned up in my inbox to reflect to me the truth of that insight I was finally brave enough to own in my heart.

There is such wisdom and grace in the world when you open yourself to it.

Bless xoxo

Lit up like a Lyme Green Christmas Tree

Image from Thinkstock

Image from Thinkstock

“You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching,
Love like you’ll never be hurt,
Sing like there’s nobody listening,
And live like it’s heaven on earth.”
~ William W. Purkey

 

Well, you know by now that when I’m quiet there’s a good reason.

This time?

My doctor recommended a new combination of Lyme drugs.

Result?

A night of small seizures and a misbehaving brain.

The drugs are well prescribed, but the dose was too high and too many lyme bacteria and their associated friends died too fast, releasing toxins into my brain, after which I did that herx-induced shaky-limbed, sweat-soaked seizure dance all night.

I also woke with my voice totally gone.

Two days of sleep, no meds and lots of binding agents to remove all those toxins and I’m almost back to normal.

Normal for me, anyway. Normal right now is: my hands and feet are burning and yet strangely numb, there is a pain behind my ear that won’t shift, my vision is blurred in my left eye, I get intermittent stabbing pain in random parts of my body, feelings like electrical shocks get me up in the middle of the night, and after I eventually sleep I wake soaked in sweat. Don’t let it get you down though. I don’t. This is nothing compared to some of the Lyme-induced misery I’ve suffered.

It’s actually okay for me. I can deal with most of these problems, and it’s far better than where I was a year ago. Two years ago. Back then I was just this side of dead. My improvement since then has been legion. I mostly have a wide smile on my face. Because? Progress!

It humbles me, the power of these tiny critters who have wrought so much damage in my body. I no longer under-estimate them or think that simply taking drugs will be an easy fix.

While at the doctor’s on Monday I also got my latest bloods back. After two years of targeted high-dose antibiotics, herbs and essential oils I have the best blood and hormone levels and organ function I’ve enjoyed in decades. The upswing in my body is amazing. And I can feel it!!!

I can honestly say I’m winning now. Battle weary as I may be.

Best Christmas present ever! 🙂

But oh how sad that I have had to fight for thirty years to get a diagnosis, that lyme disease is still not acknowledged by most of the Australian medical community, and that effective treatment is something I continue to fight for rather than a right, as it is for so many other diseases and conditions.

If I must live in the Lyme Light, then at least let me help others to know that there is hope, that there can be healing, and that things will change. I will keep pushing for that change. Hang in there, Lymies!

20140510-175237

For more information on Lyme disease go to: 

Lyme Disease Association of Australia

Karl McManus Foundation Australia

Lyme Disease Association, Inc United States

The Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation

A Moment of Perfect Peace

Crescent_Moon_(2558144570)

“Spirituality is not to be learned by flight from the world, or by running away from things, or by turning solitary and going apart from the world. Rather, we must learn an inner solitude wherever or with whomsoever we may be. We must learn to penetrate things and find God there.”
― Meister Eckhart

Very late yesterday afternoon I had a sudden urge to go and water my vegetable garden.

It had been a difficult day, after a series of difficult days. I’ve been in tremendous pain from my current lyme medications, and doing my best to just simply sit with that pain. I’m not fighting my pain. I’m merely breathing and being aware of the pain within my body. The pain is so intense that normal functioning is a challenge. Instead I have given in to what is. I am riding each wave until I am thrown up onto the shore once more.

It’s been an enlightening journey, and when I have the words I’ll share some of that journey with you.

But for now I am tired, after so many days of so little sleep. So let me instead tell you about watering the garden.

It was late afternoon. You know, that soft afternoon light, just before dusk comes creeping over the horizon. I uncoiled the garden hose, turned on the tap and walked down the hill to my raised vegetable beds. My feet were on the bare earth, and the grass beneath them was soft and cool. The air was filled with the song of frogs and cicadas, and the last of the birds. Mr Grunty, our resident male koala, was grunting and barking and being noisy from his spot high in the gum tree just outside the home paddock fence.

A bat flipped past, so low that I could hear the flap of its leathery wings.

All this time I am wracked with pain. My face is contorted and I can’t see out of one eye. My ears pound, and my bones are on fire. Every so often my nerves jangle as though I have been tasered.

I am standing in the garden in agony, tears streaming down my face, trying to hold the hose steady on my young plants. I wonder for a moment why I have bothered to drag myself out here at all.

The air becomes scented with mint and nasturtium. I can smell the fragrant sun-warmed tomato foliage as the water hits it, scattering cool drops onto the mulch beneath.

Image from Goodness Is

Image from Goodness Is

Above me, a crescent moon has risen. Almost directly above the old hoop pine that shelters our little farmhouse.

In that moment, hose in my hands, feet in the grass, sounds of the close of day, moon above my head, body on fire, ragged breath, head full of pain, a great peace descends upon me.

A peace so profound, a connection so complete, that more tears spill. The pain is still there. Nothing about my physicality has changed at all. But beyond that, encompassing all of that – all of me, is a wonder and awe at the beauty and grace of this universe, and of my place within it.

My pain doesn’t matter. My illness becomes irrelevant. They are merely what’s happening to me at this moment. My soul, connected to everything and everyone, is always at peace. Even in great pain. Even when it feels like my world is undone.

The knowledge fills me up. The truth seeps into my very cells.

I carry that peace back into the house, and it quietens my mind. The pain is still there. But now there is also this other presence. This great comfort.

I feel like I have touched the face of God.

Or perhaps, God touched my face.

Or it was all the same thing…

And that presence is still here with me.

All of it, every breath, every moment, is love.

The Golden Light  by bnilesh

The Golden Light by bnilesh

 

Breathing Through The Pain #LymeWarrior

A Breath of Freedom by Iladya Portakaloglu

A Breath of Freedom by Iladya Portakaloglu

“Your breathing should flow gracefully, like a river, like a watersnake crossing the water, and not like a chain of rugged mountains or the gallop of a horse. To master our breath is to be in control of our bodies and minds. Each time we find ourselves dispersed and find it difficult to gain control of ourselves by different means, the method of watching the breath should always be used.”
~ Thích Nhất Hạnh, The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation

 

Pain and I enjoyed a pretty intense relationship when I began my treatment for late stage Lyme disease at the beginning of 2013. My regime, which will last a minimum of three years, involves intense rotational use of various combinations of antibiotics, as well as diet, herbs and a myriad of other support tools. It’s a long road I’m walking, in order to regain wellness.

Recently, things have settled down a little. I’ve had more energy. I’ve been sleeping better. Pain has become an occasional thing rather than a stealer of breath and life-force. I’ve finally begun to feel good on my current meds combo.

That is, of course, until I brought in Drug Number Four.

I’ve slowly built up the intensity of three other kinds of antibiotic, anti-malarial and anti-bacterial that are the drugs on my current rotation. This combination was brutal to begin with, but I’ve reached the stage where I am now handling them well. Part of my treatment plan is to then bring in this fourth drug. It’s one I took earlier this year. It gave me fabulous longer term results, but it created a firestorm within my body while I was on it.

I’d been dreading bringing it back in. But of course I kept up this optimistic patter with myself, “You’ll be right, Nic. It will be heaps easier this time. It’ll be nothing like the last round.” I delayed taking the drugs too, because I wanted to be my best self for my recent retreat. So I took my first tablets on Sunday, seemingly without incident. I worked Monday, took all my drugs and didn’t skip a beat.

Then it hit me. About six pm on Monday night.

Oh God, I’d forgotten how intense the pain could be. That I would feel like I was dying all over again. That it would take all I had to bring my ragged breath back to some semblance of calm. Over, and over, and over again. All day. All night. Without cessation.

Quote from BullyVille

Quote from BullyVille

The good news? I’ll only need to take these drugs two days out of seven. It will get easier. It always does. Eventually. So, I’m breathing, and counting hours and minutes and moments.

I know, from previous experience, that the pain won’t kill me. That knowledge is my secret strength. I can endure this. One day, the pain will end, and I will be stronger, closer to healed, and I’ll have learned more about myself and the world.

It’s Friday today. I managed a few hours sleep last night. Today I’m a little better. Stronger. More determined. Sunday I’ll go Round Two with these drugs. Hopefully next week will be better than this week has been.

But it doesn’t matter. I’ll breathe my way through it. I’m in the killing zone. The bacteria that have made my life a misery are dying, so they can kick and scream all they want on their way out – just as long as they go.

I have things to do. Places to be. Trails to walk. Books to write. A husband who has his whole life on hold while I heal. So I’ll keep staring these squirmy little suckers in the eye until they back down.

Just watch me!

Image from Quoteko.com

Image from Quoteko.com

 

Are You Giving Yourself Space To Heal?

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.” ~John Lubbock, The Use Of Life

I’m on a fairly savage regime of drugs and herbs for my Lyme disease just now. Both the treatment and the illness place a burden upon my body, and so doing what I can to support healing and detoxification is paramount.

To cope, I’d developed quite a routine, actively including everything I could to detox myself. The routine itself was exhausting, and I was earnestly looking for whatever else I might add to make the process even better. Did I mention I’m in a hurry to heal?

As I was lying on a treatment bed with needles protruding from me, and a smoking box burning on my belly, I asked my acupuncturist for his advice. What was I already doing, he asked me. Dutifully I rattled off my long list, feeling rather proud of myself.

He paused for a few minutes, feeling my pulses, tweaking a needle or two. He was quiet. Thoughtful.

Do less, he said.

Image from Full Her Life

Image from Full Her Life

Less? That threw me. Shouldn’t I be doing EVERYTHING I can to get better?

No, he said. Being so busy, so consumed with wellness, puts a stress upon the body too. I had made healing a job. Withdraw a little, he said. Read a book. Have a nap. Sit quietly in the sun. Make things easier for yourself.

He’s right, of course. Sometimes we think that doing all we can is better, when really, less is more. Healing happens in the quiet spaces, the down time, the growing sense of ease.

How about you? Are you giving yourself space to heal? Maybe you’d be better off having an early night, a slow weekend, a simple diet, more rest.

Here’s to wellness and balance in our lives. Be kind to yourself this week. Bless xoxo

Image from My Peaceful Soul

Image from My Peaceful Soul

Two Steps Forward…

 

2014-07-21 09.45.26

“Progress, of the best kind, is comparatively slow. Great results cannot be achieved at once; and we must be satisfied to advance in life as we walk, step by step.” ~ Samuel Smiles

 

It’s been a frustrating few days for me.

I’ve recently changed Lyme doctors, and begun a new regime of drugs and herbs for my Lyme and co-infections. I’m filled with optimism for my return to health, and although I’m tired it had all been going well until the tail end of Monday.

I’d taken the first dose of a new drug that morning, and been fine.

But suddenly on late Monday afternoon my speech began to slur, words vanished from my brain, my eyes blurred until I could not see at all, I walked like a drunk woman and I forgot how to do the simplest tasks, like cleaning my teeth. My night was filled with hallucinations. I was sure that lizards (Lizards? Oh, Nicole!) were hiding in the bedclothes and coming out to bite me when the lights were out. Of course there were no lizards, just the sting in my nerves and skin from the herxing as the bacteria within me died and flooded my body with their nasty neurotoxins.

A little bit scary, but also a familiar road. This happened last time I took this particular medication too. But this time my reaction has been less severe, my pain less too.

All my symptoms are finally settling down again, but it’s a good reminder that with Lyme treatment it’s so often two steps forward, one step back.

And you know, two steps forward one step back is STILL one step forward when you do the math. 🙂

PS – Don’t you love that photo of Bert? He looks how I feel!

Image from Inspirably

Image from Inspirably

Nurture in cups and bowls

Pumpkin soup

“I think that women just have a primeval instinct to make soup, which they will try to foist on anybody who looks like a likely candidate.”Dylan Moran

 

It’s been a hard two weeks for me. Meds issues. Doctor issues. Mobility and pain issues. Crushing insomnia. Nausea. And a myriad other bothersome things. Ah, the joys of Lyme disease and all that entails… It’s like my body decided to rifle through the junk drawer and bring out all the remnants of crap I thought I’d dealt with by now.

I’m back to two finger typing again, so that means blogging is back on my agenda!

Thankfully I am home at my farm, and it’s a farm with a freezer full of kindness I had made as gifts for other people. All things my husband has been able to defrost and reheat for me:

Pumpkin Soup (That’s it in the photo above!)

Chicken Soup

chicken soup

Bone Broth made into easy meals with noodles and vegetables

bone broth soup

Spaghetti Bolognese

spaghetti-1

Lemony Slow Cooked Lamb Shanks with some mashed potato and vegetables from the garden

lamb shanks lemon

Nana’s curried sausages, made with homemade stock

curried sausages

Easy Thai Chicken Soup

thai chicken soup

I’ve also enjoyed a few meals of simple but delicious Soft Boiled Eggs and Toast Soldiers, which Ben has made his own signature dish. (Eat your heart out, Master Chef!)

soft boiled egg and soldiers

If friends and neighbours have come round for a cup of tea we could still offer them some tasty Easy Date Loaf or a piece of Moist Boiled Fruitcake as I had both of these in the freezer as well.

scones-and-fruitcake

By the time I’m back on my feet I think I’ll have eaten everything I’d put by, but gee I’m glad  took the time to do that cooking. Ben’s a wonderful husband, but let’s just say that cooking’s not his greatest strength! 🙂 We’ve both been grateful for all of those frozen and easy-to-put-together meals.

Maybe there’s a recipe here that you might find useful too – either to make for yourself, or to take to a friend or family member who could use a little extra kindness and support right now.

Lastly I’ve been enjoying a little Warm Spiced Turmeric Milk made fresh each night to help me sleep and to kill more Lyme bugs. I heartily recommend it!

turmeric milk

I have missed you all very much, but I’ve held you in my daily prayers and meditations, so we’ve not been that far apart from each other.

I’ll record you a guided meditation today too, as I have a couple to catch up on, so watch out for that on the blog tomorrow. Lots and lots of love, Nicole xx

Slowly Slowly Better…

Image from Mental Floss

Image from Mental Floss

“I saved a man’s life once,” said Granny. “Special medicine, twice a day. Boiled water with a bit of berry juice in it. Told him I’d bought it from the dwarves. That’s the biggest part of doct’rin, really. Most people’ll get over most things if they put their minds to it, you just have to give them an interest.” 
~ Terry Pratchett, Equal Rites

“Though the doctors treated him, let his blood, and gave him medications to drink, he nevertheless recovered.” 
~ Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

 

I’m off to see my Lyme Doctor today. Another date to tick off my calendar, another date to record my progress, update my meds and share my journey with a physician who truly cares.

Slowly, slowly I feel like I am being returned to myself. I’ve made a few short solo trips this past week, driving myself in the car. That’s a major breakthrough. I’ve begun a slow return to work. I’m having fewer terrible days, and more stretches of consistent energy. I’m writing. A lot. And that’s the most exciting thing of all.

There’s still a long way to go, and I’m still exhausted easily and often, but oh, how hopeful I am that this slow journey will take me back to the flow of life, where I can be fully immersed instead of simply cheering from the sideline.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress. Thanks again for your love and support, and for being here with me through all of this. Much love, Nicole xx

 

Update from Lyme Land

Image from Norway Street

Image from Norway Street

“Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb.”
~ Winston Churchill

 

It’s been eighteen months since my Lyme diagnosis, and fourteen months since I began treatment with an intensive regime of antibiotics and specifically targeted herbs.

On top of all of the other good things I was already doing that had sustained my life, but not healed me.

For those of you who’ve been following my journey, you’ll know it’s been a long and tough road. And I still have a long way to go. Perhaps another two years of treatment yet. Maybe more.

But truly, I can FEEL the progress I’m making now. Little by little I am beginning to reclaim my life. I am having, on balance, more good days than bad. The bad days are bad, but not nightmarishly so. I can cope with them.

I am still suffering pain, and insomnia. I still suffer from periods of intense fatigue. I have days where I can barely lift my head from the pillow and the night brings only more pain and no relief. But on a good day I have a sense of returning strength. My brain works – almost all the time. I have the energy to do a little housework, to do a little gardening – and not be completely wrecked afterwards.

I’m writing. And writing. And writing.

I am beginning to think in possibilities. There is once again room in my life for dreams.

Above all, I want to say thank you. For sticking with me. For sending me messages of support. For helping me hang in there when I truly didn’t think I could go another step.

I have no idea what ‘well’ will ultimately look like for me, but I’m excited to have the chance to find out.

Much love to you, Nicole xoxo

PS: I love the wisdom of the quote below:

When-things-fall-apart-consider-the

Me and That Owl

Clothes line owl

“Turn your wounds into wisdom.” 
Oprah Winfrey

“The unexamined life is not worth living.” 
Socrates

 

Last Monday, in my Doctor’s rooms, I received the best kind of news. Although I am still unwell, I have definitely turned the corner in my struggle against Lyme disease. I am no longer dying. I am healing. My life is once again unfurling a sense of possibility.

On Tuesday we came home from the city to our little farm. That night I stood in my backyard and communed with an Owl. An hour earlier my computer had locked me out, and my other one had powered down, unable to be recharged. I couldn’t blog. I couldn’t write. I couldn’t work. I couldn’t be all ‘business as usual’. I managed to get one last message to you. I’m taking time out, I said. In my head were visions of relaxing, laughing, sleeping, a little crying, and complete replenishment.

This is what really happened…

As I stood outside with the Owl, I felt as if somewhere upstairs God, or at least someone with a plan, slammed shut another door in my life, leaving me standing in an empty corridor.

Behind me were all the doors I could have taken, and all the doors I thought I should have taken.

Behind me were all the doors that will never open for me again.

For a moment I felt peace. Relief flooded over me. Not dying. Healing.

And then, and I must be honest here, I was consumed by panic. I looked behind me at all those closed doors.

Oh, I knew that wasn’t the best of plans. But I couldn’t help myself. Even if I hadn’t turned I could feel them. The weight of them. The sound and space of them.

What should I do? Where should I go? Was it too late? Could I rush back down that corridor into the dark and salvage a few things?

How was I meant to do this next bit? What was my life meant to look like?

I couldn’t see any open doors in front of me.

Image from Frontview

Image from Frontview

The Owl on my clothesline hooted, getting my attention and pulling me out of the maze of my mind.

What should I do? I asked her.

Breathe, said the Owl.

It was good advice. I stood barefoot on the lawn under the moon, letting air fill my lungs and then empty. Over and over again. Eventually I calmed.

The Owl was still there.

What shall I do now? I asked.

Sleep, said the Owl.

Tearily I put myself to bed.

On Wednesday morning I was bright-eyed with excitement. My new life! All the things I might do.

I made a cup of tea. I sat at my desk.

I unravelled.

All of the doors that were closed…

I shed a few tears.

I became angry. I shouted at the walls. At the bigness of the sky, and at the stupid smallness of me.

I pulled myself together.

I busied myself tidying things and making lists. These are the old ways I have fallen back on time and again to soothe myself into that sense of control, although I know it is an illusion. I am fine, I told myself. I am coping. Better than fine. Better!

That night the Owl was there again.

I stood outside with soft rain falling, misting my hair and skin with its gentle caress.

Owl, I pleaded, I don’t know what to do.

Rest, said the Owl.

I put myself back to bed.

On Thursday I breathed out. I mean really, really just let it all go. I felt myself break into a thousand pieces.

They glinted and shone up at me from the floor. It was not frightening. It was simply real. It was what it was.

I knew then, that I had actually been broken for the longest time, but my sheer stubbornness and momentum had prevented those crazy shattered shards of me from falling to the floor. I had only looked intact. That too, was an illusion.

I am not coping, I said to my husband. I am not coping, I said to the Owl.

I know, they said. Rest, they said.

I woke on Friday. Still broken. But knowing that too was an illusion. How could I be broken, surrounded by tiny glistening shards as I was, when part of me was still so solid and whole?

Awareness came. Just like all of the characters in my favourite books, my life hasn’t gone to plan. I have been tested and challenged. I have faced torment, loss and pain. So many of my dreams have been thwarted. There is still a long road ahead of me as I move back towards wellness. But the beauty is that the story of my life isn’t finished yet.

My dear friend, Kim, helped me to put things in perspective;

“All those things you missed… I know they seem real to you, but you have done other things that some of us can’t dream of. I’m reminded of Odin, who gave up one eye so he could “see” and know the mysteries of life. So he has crap depth perception but he can see things nobody else can.”

I am okay, and this is just how my life is, I told myself. And it was true. I was gentle with myself about the grief and sadness still within me. Life touches us all with some suffering. I felt the truth of my friend’s words, and acknowledged my psychic experiences so few others get to share. I laughed at myself a little, for the crazy ambitious plans I’d held for so long, for when I was ‘well’.

Those plans exhausted me just to think about them. I let them slither through my fingers and fall to the floor. I watched those plans streak off to find others to help them with their becoming.

The Owl was sitting in a branch of the old teak tree outside my window, eating her breakfast, as I sat at my desk, sipping a cup of tea.

What do you think? I asked Mistress Owl. This time I was comfortably empty. There was no neediness left inside.

Write, she said. Write.

Write what you know.

Oh, I thought. All the things? That’s a bit provocative. How might people react?

But all the while I was thinking yes, yes, I can write what I know. Who cares how people might react. I shall write. It’s something I can do while I’m healing. It’s a way to contribute.

Even more than that, as I sat with my decision, and this gentle new direction, I found a place of understanding within me. The things that I might write? I wish someone had written that book that for me. To hold something like that in my hand, at the times where I was breaking, reforming, emerging, well, it would have been an enormous comfort.

Beautifully brave Hermione Granger, with her head always in a book. Image from 100 Classics

Beautifully brave Hermione Granger, with her head always in a book. Image from 100 Classics

And then my lovely friend Sally sent me this:

“Yet, I get to tell my truth. I get to seek meaning and realization. I get to live fully, wildly, imperfectly. That’s why I’m alive. And all I actually have to offer as a writer, is my version of life. Every single thing that has happened to me is mine.” ~ Ann Lamott

To help others make sense of their journey, through the sharing of mine. That’s something I am well qualified to do. There has to have been a reason for all of this. My job now is to reflect deeply upon that, and to turn my wounds to wisdom.

Last night there were three Owls. Teach, they said. Share. Help the others.

Mistress Owl is there in the tree outside my window again this morning. We went flying together last night, the Owls and I, and I had a vision of what comes next. There are no doors involved at all. We’d risen way beyond doors to a clear, open space. And it was beautiful.

Bless xx

Image from the Matinee

Image from The Matinee