Under the surface

For the Daily Prompt: mope.

Mope. We think we should not mope. Go down, be down, downer, don’t go there… but sometimes we have to let ourselves feel, and feel deeply, even if it’s not the popular feelings.

I was grumpy four days ago driving with my daughter for a skiing vacation. She gently told me not to grump at her. By the next morning it was clear why I was grumpy: an awful cold had come to visit and I was not going to ski. And I probably got it from her, but maybe not, and it doesn’t matter. I moped a little, but was mostly proud that I rested for two days and did not try to push through it, power through it, feel the burn…. I’ve done that too many times and then gotten really sick. I rested for two days and slept for twelve hours daily and moped a little. And yesterday I did ski for part of a day. Then we drove home, my daughter driving most of it, and I hurt all over by the time we got home….

If every feeling is a gift, a visitor, sent from the Beloved, as Rumi writes… welcome them all. This body is a guesthouse, says Rumi. Welcome moping and treat it gently and with kindness and understanding, as we all long to be treated….

The Guesthouse.

 

Wean yourself

SoFarSoStu has tagged me for the three days, three quotations and tag three other people. This is day three, only I am a day late.

The rules are to post 3 quotes over 3 days and nominate 3 bloggers each time to carry on with the challenge.

Today I choose Rumi’s phrase “Wean yourself” and post his poem. This is one of my two favorite Rumi poems.

Wean yourself
Little by little, wean yourself.
This is the gist of what I have to say.
From an embryo, whose nourishment comes in the blood,
move to an infant drinking milk,
to a child on solid food,
to a searcher after wisdom,
to a hunter of more invisible game.

Think how it is to have a conversation with an embryo.
You might say ‘The world outside is vast and intricate.
There are wheatfields and mountain passes,
and orchards in bloom.

At night there are millions of galaxies, and in sunlight
the beauty of friends dancing at a wedding.’

You ask the embryo why he, or she, stays cooped up
in the dark with eyes closed.

Listen to the answer.

There is no ‘other world’
I only know what I have experienced.
You must be hallucinating.

_____________

I love this poem. To me it’s about our human development and I love that we go from a searcher after wisdom to a hunter of more invisible game. Have you ever had the feeling that you have figured some part of your life out, that aha! moment? Smooth sailing now, you think…. only to find out that new challenges present.

I use this poem in clinic. When I am talking to a new patient I have to find out where they are, what some of their medical beliefs are, what their level of education is, what their prior experience with allopathic medicine is, do they see a naturopath, are they taking ANY pills? Prescription, over the counter, alternative, herbal, homemade? I read Rumi’s poem as a discussion about our levels of development: we come out of the dark to be an embryo. Where do we go from there? I have to understand at least some of my patient’s background in order to communicate with them: I have to meet them halfway. Sometimes I fail. Sometimes my doctors fail…. we experienced that when my mother was in hospice. We were not given instructions for how to take care of her nasogastric tube at home…. and it got blocked. I think that the inpatient nurses made assumptions and the hospice nurses may have too… or just didn’t know.

This poem also relates to how my thoughts about healing and health keep evolving. Currently I keep reading on the internet and hearing from patients that they want a stronger immune system. There are all sorts of “immune system boosters” being sold. I think this is interesting and I think it is a wrong approach. Why?

I have gotten seriously ill four times. Each was triggered by severe stress in my life: mononucleosis at age 19, influenza in 2003, systemic strep A in 2012 and systemic strep A in 2014. So… do I think that my immune system needs boosting? No. When I got symptoms in 2014, my thought was “I am so stupid.” My father had died in 2013. His will confused me, the house was full of his things, my mother’s things, my sister’s things, my grandparent’s things, all dead. I would work in clinic and then go out there and try to get things done and mostly sit and cry. I did deal with the estate, but what is wrong with this picture?

I ignored what I would tell a patient to do…. I did not take time off to rest and to grieve and to take care of myself. Rather than a failing immune system, I pictured my immune system marshaling troops. “She won’t rest. We are going to have to take her down AGAIN. Won’t she ever learn to listen to her body? When will she learn to REST? Let’s see, who do  we have to knock her down…. ah, strep A! Great! Here, the door is open, take her out.”

And boy howdy, did it. I was out for ten months and ten months later am still on half time work. And I could have kicked myself! How stupid I am! If there is a major emotional loss in your life, cut back and rest and take time to let yourself heal!

So when people say, “I need an immune booster,” I wonder. I wonder what is happening in their lives, what their level of stress is, are they taking care of themselves. I worry that our culture thinks that we just need the right combination of supplements and then we can keep going and drive our bodies into the ground, instead of stopping and saying: “Oh. I am really cumulatively tired. I really need to rest, and sit at the beach and stare at the waves, or lie on the couch and read a silly novel, or just have a cup of tea and do nothing.” I don’t really like pills. I think that pills are often a band aid on a deeper wound than we admit. If I had rested, I would not have needed high dose penicillin: though I am deeply grateful to have another try at healing and health.

And three people to tag to do the three days of quotations if they so choose… everyone may be too busy at this busy time of year:

hargunwai

mindlovemisery

ohmyglai

The pink edged cloud looks like a giant paramecium or other bacteria, up in the sky….

the kind of people

my cousin’s husband said
I wouldn’t want to be around the kind of people who play paintball
which silenced me as I suppose he meant to as I stared at him thinking that since I was telling him that I had taken my son to play paintball as a celebration of my son getting a 4.0 in sixth grade and we were framing it as a celebration rather than a reward so that low grades would not generate in turn a punishment and I was trying to tell my cousin’s husband about the third round of paintball and I was the only woman there and definitely the only mother there and by then the sharpshooters in camouflage had asked why I was there and I had explained upon which one said “you are a good mom” and so in the third round when my son said that he wanted to be on the opposite team as his mother the guys giggled and we were on opposite teams and I am good at hiding in the woods but was having a bit of trouble with trajectory so everyone on his team was shot but him and everyone on my team was shot but me and I was trying to shoot my son with a paintball in a desultory sort of way since he was peppering the tree I was crouched behind when he ran out of ammo and we walked back to the safe area me with the gun held over my head saying “moms rule” and the sharpshooters in camo said we are going to shoot you next time and they certainly did
and I didn’t say any of that to my cousin’s husband
because I am one of the kind of people who play paintball and so is my son and I realized abruptly when my cousin’s husband said that that I really want to love everyone and so I still send love to my cousin’s husband but honestly I have trouble being around people who divide the world into us and them and didn’t Jesus and buddha and Muhammed all say essentially that god is love and Rumi says that the universe is the Beloved and so everyone is Beloved and we are all part of the one and there is no division and if god is love then there can be no hell
and I don’t really visit that cousin any more
and I still wonder why people want us and them and why people talk about that kind of people and I try to work with every kind of people that comes into my clinic that’s why I became a doctor really because I wanted to understand people and understand love and forgive things that happened when I was very little and thought that really, the big people were insane and loving but not trustworthy and obviously this is a fail in the end because I truly don’t understand how anyone could ever make assumptions about anyone else and ever say that they wouldn’t want to be around
the kind of people

Not yet adequately adored

I am wandering in the forests of emotion I am comfortable now mostly I don’t talk about it much though occasionally I am irritable I am thinking about love I have had my children going commando could also be going postmenopausal because there is no longer bleeding or if there is I would have to get checked for uterine cancer but it is hot and why wear underwear of course apparently things can still get wet which is a bit of a surprise since so many women complain of less libido once the hormones drop I as usual do everything ass backwards and want sex more than ever but not when I am working hard and tired and cursing the new server laptop printer program and the keyboard is spaced differently and more sensitive all this fucking equipment when what we really want is to be loved as we are I have only seriously dated two people in the last seven years and one said that what I want is to be adored he said he couldn’t and I thought why not and Rumi says the depth of the longing is our depth of longing for the Beloved and really it’s not a forest for me it’s the ocean it’s the deepest part of the ocean those rifts and I dive all the way and don’t care if I run out of air Beloved I am not yet adequately adored

I will go for coffee instead.

the photo is from 2006, one swimmer carrying the younger swimmer