The in between stage ... the 'ole moon phases ... that has just passed (four days of them) prove to be hard won times of reassembling life for me. The broken bone in my arm is healing, I am writing this with both fingers on two hands. Remedies and diagnosis helped: noni fruit leather and ti leaf compresses eased the original pain, arnica montana a homeopathic blood thinner has helped with the pain too, and then a blend of comfrey and other botanicals concocted for tissue and bones soothes the aching joints and shock to the rest of my body due to the fall. The sling given to me at the clinic is too stinky with dyes and petrochem smells to use, so it has been in milk and vinegar baths and now hangs outside on my bike handle airing out. A thrift store table cloth bought and destinked last year serves as my sling. And, after a week theNoni has turned my skin to rash...for just a while, and only for a time, the fruit did help. Breaking bone and falling at 62 years is at best an inconvenience and a spiritual wakeup call ... at the other end of things as I mend physically and emotionally, I am met once again with old, old "hungry ghosts" who taunt me from places of long ago vulnerability.
Throughout my life, I have been a seeker. Even now I am not always sure what I seek, I mainly know I seek. Astrology has offered me the satisfaction of grand tools of explanation for things that I cannot undertand in the daily practicals. For example, as I chatted with my friend Lois yesterday, about my progress with the fall, this old friend (Pisces) can lay out an explanation that would take me paragraphs to explain. She is different than I, yet she can attune to me and to her self. When we are chatting like this its primal nourishment ... I feel known and I know she 'sees' me. The contradictory reality of our friendship (she uses many toxic cleaners and likes her fragrances) means being a self-regulating adult who can set limits and boundaries that are best for me .... I stay clear when the dryer is filled with bleached clothes and don't get near her when she's freshly from the salon or made-up. Where do you put the differences between one and the other? How does a person living with multiple chemical sensitivites learn to express needs and values while maintaining true support? It's not a simple or one-dimensional answer. What does matter though is the daily and real commitment to love one another. There's no end to the things that one person does that is contrary to me. I've lived more than fourteen years of trying to put distance of safety between others choices and the others I believed right for me. Where has it led?
I think it important for me to describe the very real experiences that include facing and making peace, over and over again, if necessary, the hungry ghosts that are part of my life of origin. Medical doctor, Gabor Mate of Vancouver, works with the addicts in the skidroad section of downtown Vancouver. My life includes very early & genetic memory of addiction, so at low points I slide from grace and try again to change the unchangeable(the past/yesterday) and slip from the STEPS of a foundation of recovery that serves us who are family of addiction. The links throughout this post will take you to more about Mate's work, and his recent book.. The first book I have attempted to read is his newest book In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts. Amy Goodman from Democracy Now (see our sidebar for a link) interviewed Dr. Mate on at least two ocassions and I listened to this man describe the interconnection of early adaptive behavior and on-going addiction in our culture today. Astrology has other ways of spotting legacy or past life inheritance. Among them, the nodes of the moon The South (the soul's baggage) and The North Node (where the soul seeks to evolve) offer clues and still I must act or think differently even after I am informed to evolve. Anyway, flipping gingerly, since sensitivity to print and book binding limits my once obsessive love of books, through Dr. Mate's sizeable accounting of first-hand experiences with both his own addictive nature and that of his addict clients from the Downtown Eastside Vancouver clinic, I gleaned a bit of information to consider as part of my seeker's kit.
Though I know the MCS is an organic and environmentally triggered "diagnosable" physical condition/illness, I know through my own experiences, and write this from that perspective ... when stressed e.g. to overflowing with an injury on top of daily survival, I will be visited by the patterns of primary loss and that will take me to my earliest personal history. The bits that marked with bright post-it notes from In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts are these:
"For human beings most stressors are emotional ones. Anyone wanting to gain mastery over their addiction process must be ready, through counseling or some other means, t look honestly and clearly at the emotional stressors that trigger their addictive behavior ..." p. 398
"the release of addiction's hold requires awareness...we ignore our emotions, restrict our expression of who we are, frustrate our innate human drive for creative and meaningful activity, and deny our needs for connection and intimacy..." p. 399
The greatest light found in Mate's writing was (my) reminder of the power and value of working the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. The last chapters of his book offer "thoughts and suggestions concerning the healing of the addicted mind (although) this book is not a prescrption..." p.3 Dr. Mate describes the Steps and in particular Steps 2 (turning your life over to a higher power) and Step 10(continuing to take personal inventory and taking actions daily). That foundation of 12 Step work gave me hope twenty years ago when addictions simply would not allow me to deny its effect on me. I stepped into the rooms of Al-Anon, found a trusted human my sponsor to this day, to share and witness my journey and my personal inventories and found that Higher Power waiting to do for me what I could not and still can not do for myself. MCS has diverted me from that spiritual course, only in that I can not go into the rooms. My maturing value as a human being of grace is tested with each and every exposure to toxics (emotions, other people's attitudes/beliefs and other people's choices). The metaphoric and real-life lesson/break in my actions and my bones-joints-muscles has led me back to my roots of recovery and place of grace. Pain is definitely part of my life. Suffering has joined in and given too much space, it will suffocate me. Fortunately, my higher power has other plans for me and leads me back to the light, over and over again.
I've a brand new style today ... six inches dropped off my hair this morning. A spring-like do does a gal good. It's Friday, and I know not where the rest of the week has gone. In the swhirl of daily doing, I give a nod of thanks for the incredible journey, grateful that, as Pete remarked this morning, helping me off the futon, "At least, you know you can still heal." Ain't that grand! Today is all I've got, geez let me enjoy the bits of it by attending to them in the now.