Mantras

“Wounding and healing are not opposites. They’re part of the same thing. It is our wounds that enable us to be compassionate with the wounds of others. It is our limitations that make us kind to the limitations of other people. It is our loneliness that helps us to to find other people or to even know they’re alone with an illness.” ~Rachel Naomi Remen

When I was on the road to recovery from Briella’s birth, I had a series of stints placed within my body to aid a few of the organs damaged in her delivery and subsequent emergency surgeries. My body was not very happy with these long vessels extending from my kidneys through my ureters and into my bladder. I read somewhere along the way that some people don’t even notice the presence of these implanted foreign objects. Other people have bodies that make it known that they are not happy at all with the intrusion. My body was in alignment with the latter camp. I was in near constant pain as my nerves shouted and convinced my brain that the insides of my organs were being perpetually stabbed by these straw-like vessels that allowed urine to flow through my impaired bodily system. And then there were the constant infections, the evidence of my bodily resistance to it’s need for assistance. I would take three to five baths a day in an effort to minimize gravity and relax my confused and frustrated body. Every single day was a struggle and it left me completely depleted.

My mantra, repeated over and over again in those days, “This too shall come to pass,” carried me through. And that’s just it – I knew that inevitably the pain, the infections, the tubes both in and out of my body, the fixation on my injured urinary system, that it would all move toward some semblance of resolution. But I often wondered in that season about people who experience chronic pain. What must it be like to accept that there may not be an end to the pain? What must it be like to know no cure? What mantra could carry one through the open-ended days of pain? I shuddered at the thought back then. I felt my heart grow heavy and weary with empathy for those who carry such narratives. And I would marvel too at the realization that so many humans find the strength and resilience each day to bear their own stories.

As life would have it, those months of unrelenting pain and those wonderings that increased my empathy for individuals who contend with chronic pain were a clearly a primer for this current season of life. I am cautious to share too many details in this space, mainly because it’s not really my story to tell, though it undeniably intersects with mine. What I can share is that much of our life over the past 16 months has revolved around sorting out and tending to the health issues of our 15 year old daughter, Bailey. Though we seem to have ruled out any life threatening conditions at this point, chronic and unrelenting pain has been a significant part of this chapter in her life, and ours as we all bear the impact day in and day out.

BaileyWe are trying to figure out individual and family mantras to get through the hardest days. Instead of anticipating and hoping for the passing of a season (because we’re not sure that will ever be the case), we are learning how to search for beauty, and laughter, and delight even in the midst of the cloud of pain that follows her everywhere she goes.

Some days are way harder than others. Somedays the cloud pisses me off. Somedays the cloud rages and pours down on her…and us too. Somedays I remember that a cloud that rains periodically and diffuses our access to the source of light is not the same as having no sun at all. The sun is still there even if I can’t always find it, or feel it. The clouds and the sun can coexist. Maybe that will be my mantra.

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Little Women Marching

It’s already a little difficult to recall my personal feelings leading up to the Women’s March on January 21, 2017. So much has unfolded since that historical day. But I want to at least try to catalogue some of the movement – both inner and outer – before the chaotic and dizzying twists and turns […]

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4

It seems fitting that I’ve been mostly bed ridden with a nasty virus these first few days of the new year in anticipation of Briella’s 4th birthday. I had no choice but to be present – present to my body and how it aches right now with sickness, but also present to the memories of […]

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The Knowing

I have had three mystical experiences in my life. The first experience, or encounter, led to a spiritual conversion as it occurred in the midst of an alter call when I was 16. The second occurred as I was being frantically rushed back into the operating room after barely surviving an earlier c-section and emergency […]

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Seeking and feeling. Feeling and seeking.

It’s been nearly a month since electionpocalypse. I am still searching for understanding, for words, for dialogue and for insight in this post-election season. The search feels like a massive and daunting expedition. But this is what I do. It’s what I’ve always done. I lurch toward meaning and understanding wherever I can as a […]

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Reflections from a Woman Who Has Been Grabbed by the Pussy

“Grab them by the pussy…” I heard him boast. Immediately, a wave of nausea pulled the blood from my face and disrupted all contents within my stomach. It was an all too familiar indicator of past trauma. In the days that followed I watched woman after woman courageously find strength enough to come forward publicly […]

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No one told me

No one told me it would feel like this, I thought as I let the hot water wrap around me like a blanket. I looked down at the scar from where they pried two of them from the embrace of my womb. That same womb was taken too from this body that worked so hard to […]

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Facing the Pain Together

There we were, the three of us sitting in Faith’s room coming undone together. A day of reacting, of crying, of hurting led us each to our own discoveries. Faith was the one first able to get at what was going on underneath the reacting, the irritation, the symptoms. When she started to name how […]

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Rage Rising

The topic is never far from my mind. I wonder if that is true for most (if not all) women. Perhaps my own awareness of the topic is intensified particularly because of my work and training as a therapist alongside my own history of past sexual abuse. But then again, the current statistics suggest that if […]

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16!

It’s true. We have a 16 year old in the house now. I haven’t been able to write much about what that feels like as a mama. The words are still trying to find their way to the page. But I wanted to share the words I was able to share with her this last […]

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