Thursday, January 15, 2015

Are You Ready to Feel Better?

In July of 2005 I got a very bad headache.  A debilitating headache.  It didn't go away for a couple of weeks so I sought medical treatment.  Long story short, I still have it.  Lots of tests and doctors and treatments later.  No answers.  But that's not what this post is about.

I got the headache.  We tried a bunch of stuff, including Lortab.  It was great and made me feel awesome, but it didn't take the headache away.  And it made it difficult for me to function as a mother and an employee.  So I quit taking it and just didn't take anything for several months.  The headache intensity fluctuated.  If it got too bad, I just took a nap.  The pain meds weren't worth the trade off of being completely non-functional and the rebound headaches I'd get.

But in October of 2006 my headache got bad and stayed bad for quite a while.  I went to the doctor and desperately asked if there was something else we could try.  Wasn't there something that could help that wouldn't make me feel like a zombie?

He said it was time to go to the pain clinic.  Again, that's another story for another day.  But there's one element that needs to be told for this post to have meaning.

In addition to the regular medical stuff we would try with the doctors, they wanted me to meet with their psychologist.  I don't remember his name, and he has since retired.  Let's just call him Dr. Old Guy.

So I met with Dr. Old Guy.  He said we would work on bio-feedback and relaxation.  He gave me a cd and told me he wanted me to spend thirty minutes twice a day listening to it and practicing guided relaxation.  I may possibly have laughed in his face at the idea of two thirty minute relaxation sessions a day.  He said the fact that it seemed impossible to me was just a sign that we were on the right track.  Whatever.

So I did it and came back to meet with him again.  And as we walked into his office for our second appointment he asked me a question that has stuck with me ever since.  Haunted me?  Maybe.  He asked, "Are you ready to feel better?"

It kind of stopped me in my tracks.

Now it could very well have been one of those things that really doesn't mean anything.  It could have just been his way of saying, "Let's get started."

But I pondered it.  I analyzed it.  I agonized over it.

Was there something I was gaining from having this headache that made me resistant to healing and was that why I wasn't getting better?

At the time it seemed ridiculous.  What good was there in a headache?  It had caused so much stress in my life.  It had disrupted so many of my plans.  It would eventually be the reason I had to quit my job.  How on earth could anyone think I was choosing this?  Was I choosing it?

The reason any of this matters all these years later is because of my word for the year.  I chose HEAL as my word for 2015.  And I still hear this question in my head.  "Are you ready to feel better?"

And I still don't know the answer.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

A Time to Heal

It's a new year.  A fresh start.  Sure, there's no big difference between December 31st and January 1st, but there actually is.  People all over the world are taking this opportunity to examine their lives and decide what they want to change.  How they want to improve.

I love that!  It feels like a moment of unity for our entire species.  That doesn't happen often.

I don't do resolutions, but I do examine my life and look for a new focus.  I choose ONE WORD.  There will be one word that guides my year.  I never know exactly how it will play out.  Some of it is how I change my actions; some of it is the natural flow of life; and I believe God brings people and experiences into my life to help me, because I've opened my heart up to Him in that way.

In the past I've sometimes stewed over what word to choose for the next year.  Other times I just instantly knew.  This was one of the latter.  As soon as I thought about the new year and what I wanted to focus on, a word came to my mind.  Clear and strong and spoken.

Would I go so far as to say God chose this word for me?  Yes, I would.
This year God wants me to HEAL.

The word and a feeling came strongly.  But the feeling was an open one.  Heal is my word, but much of how I interpret that will morph throughout the year.  What I do with that word is largely up to me.

So when I was given that word the first thing that came to mind was working on my physical health (which I think is the direction most people who know me would also go with it).  I have some health struggles that I've sought answers for over the past several years - to no avail.  They interfere with the life I want to live.  They interfere with relationships.  They interfere with who I want to be.

Then I felt selfish.  Always looking at how my life will change.  Always focused on me.  Maybe it's meant to be an outward thing.  Maybe I'm meant to heal others.  Who would I want to heal?  My family, my friends, my parents, the world.  But I don't actually have the power to heal others.  I have the power to help others heal, but only God can truly heal.  And maybe He and I will spend some time working together to help others heal.  I'm open to that.

In order to figure out what God was really asking of me, I pulled inside of myself.  I took a deep breath.  I opened my heart.  And I asked, "What does this mean, this word heal, for me this year?"

And then I wrote:
 - finances
 - past
 - Christmas
 - physical health
 - food issues/habits
 - house
 - garden/yard
 - car management
 - Mother's Day/Father's Day/Parents' birthdays
 - my boundaries/obligations/desires for relationship with my parents
 - mental health separate from my past
 - spiritual health?
 - daily habits/time management
 - relationships?
 - from relationships
 - coping strategies
 - self-soothing
 - self-care
 - household
 - computer
 - writing
 - my relationship with my body*
 - wanting
 - codependence
 - control issues

So, not much.  (Just kidding on that not much thing.)

The question marks were because I'm not sure if He and I think that is an area I need to work on this year or if it's just something I felt I should add (seriously, a moment of allowing myself to be directed by societal expectations; sheesh).  The asterisk is because I felt added intensity from Him on that one.

I know some of these may not make sense.  Some of them don't seem to fit.  But they do.  And they do make sense in my head and my heart, even while they are still left free-floating and undefined - waiting to be discovered.

Because that is part of the magic of choosing one word.  My year is spent in discovery.  How and why does my word apply in this situation, whatever the situation may be?  How does applying my word to this experience affect my growth and my happiness and my peace?  How will this word change who I am?

It's a wonderful journey for me.  Full of magic.  And wonder.  And inspiration.  And challenge.  And failure.  And growth.

I can't wait!