Living naturally, most of the time.

Seeing the light, in the dark

It was a day when every hour looked like 5 p.m.

Grey. Rain. Then rainier, and windy.

My boys, on their way home through the hurricane. (Alternate title: A visual representation of the fog I've been feeling in my body and mind for weeks.)

So why am I feeling better than I’ve felt since, like, June?

One guess is the yoga. I did about 20 minutes alone upstairs in my bedroom this morning, after 5 minutes using the chi machine. Post-juice, pre-breakfast. And pre-arrival of babysitter who was to spend four glorious hours keeping the kids entertained. The wash of ooh-ah-um after even a short bridge pose is amazing. The high is so obvious when you don’t do it for a while.

Yes, yoga probably helped. But what else?

Last night and this morning I used some Bach flower essences. Olive for exhaustion. Scleranthus for indecision. Elm and something else for responsibility/burden and blaming self. Or maybe I chose the one on forgiveness.

Speaking of forgiveness, last night I brought up an unresolved hurt from last weekend with my husband. I wouldn’t say I have zero fear of the same kind of thing happening again that I initially got upset about, but I did feel reasonably heard. So that probably helped. As did some Tivo’d Saturday Night Live we watched after clearing the air. (Thanks, Tina Fey and Maya Rudolph for the opening monologue/duet on the Mother’s Day episode).

Reading about letting go and being mindful in Buddhism for Mothers: A Calm Approach to Caring for Yourself and Your Children and Hand Wash Cold: Care Instructions for an Ordinary Life has probably helped my mood (and my willingness to drop last weekend’s scuffle once I’d had the chance to shout about it).

Though I find myself often slightly annoyed at the authors of these books — with a crabby, “Yes, I already know that’s how I should be. But how? Map it out for me in my actual life!” —  I also notice that just the act of reading about Zen makes me breathe more slowly and deliberately. Chew more. Pause. All important things. All possibly due some credit when it comes to my improved mood and energy.

On a more physical level, some changes might finally be taking effect. It’s Saturday night, four days since I saw a chiropractor/healer who adjusted me, muscle-tested me, gave me two doses of homeopathic remedies and loaded me up with supplements. I had so much going on, I sucked up my daughter’s appointment too, taking almost two full hours of this doctor’s time!

My thyroid is low, and my cholesterol super high. My adrenals are a wreck. I’ve felt not just depressed but fatigued beyond my years since early July.  Some bodywork a few weeks ago might have helped, but I was banking on a visit to this healer to get me on the road to recovery. Some Standard Process supplements and others should help with my fat metabolism problem, which is probably the cause of my high cholesterol and thanks to  my thyroid disorder, which is probably exacerbated by my adrenal fatigue, which probably also messes with my digestion and means I’m not absorbing nutrients. I’ve got supplements for all those issues, at least for a short time until I round a corner. Maybe the new pills I’m popping — or the extra food-based B vitamin with dinner — are starting to take effect.

Just before the earthquake started, the doctor was muscle-testing me about sleep, coming up with the prescription for 8-10 hours and a bedtime as close to 9:00 as possible. The rumble of the ground, I believe, was the universe hearing the doctor’s pronouncement and pounding exclamation marks over and over like a teenage girl’s note about a crush.

Okay, I get it. I need to sleep.

One of the tidbits of wisdom in the Buddhism for Mothers book was a quote from someone else to the effect of: it’s not at the gas pump that you actually use gas. Right. Store up the good to use later, or pay for it if you run on empty. I believe I’m now — one year postpartum — feeling the effects of doing too much after A’s birth, not napping with her at all (like I did daily with my son back in the day), and having even more interrupted nights very early on postpartum (thanks to my champion newborn night pooper!).

No wonder my digestion got so wonky. No wonder my skin is scaly and red. No wonder I bruise if you breathe on me.

And now the hair shedding has begun. And my belly has the look of an ad with the headline “Is your thyroid making you fat?” And since July, it’s been all I can do to walk around the block by myself, or up the stairs carrying the baby. Whose body is this?

Today, it feels a little more like mine.

Maybe the fact that my house is finally getting back in order after a kitchen remodel has helped. I can see the floor of my office again. Drywall dust has been wiped off the dining room table. The kitchen is usable enough to go from clean to messy to clean again several times a day, just like normal (except with more room, and prettier!) I got to inhabit my home all alone for a short time today, and it’s so much prettier and happier. Me too.

As Hurricane Irene pounds the coast and darkens our skies, there was nowhere to go this afternoon. Nothing to do, so we moved the couch and did yoga together. It was one of the rare times I’ve looked around and though simply, without any qualifiers, “This is my life.” And I smiled.

After my husband checked the gutters, we all went for a walk in the pouring rain, happy in hats and summer heat. Soaked enough to peel off everything upon our return. I washed my hair for possibly the first time this week.

Power may be lost soon, but for now we all have bellies full of delicious roasted chicken. Pathways have opened in my home.

Thanks be to my babysitter, who took kids outside before the rains came and to a rec center after they descended.

Thanks also to my husband for earning the money to build a kitchen I can love.  And to my doctor and everyone whose skill and hands have helped my weary bones.

Thanks to wise mama writers and wise-cracking mom actors for reminding me to smile.

And thanks to the threat of natural disasters for helping me see clearer priorities, for shining light on this darkest of summer days.

May the world look familiar tomorrow.

The sunflower that wasn't eaten by deer. Just appeared this week. Maybe I should give it some credit for the sun in my heart.

2 Responses to “Seeing the light, in the dark”

  1. Thank you for your words. I’m doing many similar treatments to your on my own healing path. It is nice to hear how they are working for you. I’ve come to appreciate writing and reading blogs for the simple reason that it’s an extra reminder to notice the little things I might have missed, even while trying to be present with them. So, thank you for the reminder. It’s the little steps.

  2. Patricia says:

    Oh, Jessica, this is a beautiful essay on happiness, the body, family, being. I hope you stay in the light, and if darkness comes again that you remember that light is just a few yoga poses, rainstorms, babysitter hours, roasted chicken dinners away! I can’t wait to spend some time with you!


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