We Are Energetic Beings

We Are Energetic Beings

There is a sphere around us.

Translucent and weightless, it encases our every movement, clear as cellophane, invisible to all except the inner eye of our sixth sense.

It constricts around us like a second skin under times of duress, clinging to our forms as fear, anger, and pain sucks out the air cushioning the space around us until our brilliant sphere is flat and concave.

There it stays, stuck to our skins, until it can be filled again by hope, by love, by a breath of peace that gently expands our sphere like a bellow, giving us room to grow, to breathe.

And yet throughout this dizzying melee, this dance of ins and outs, we cannot see it. We can only feel it.

We feel it in the urge to step away when a stranger steps too close, their sphere pressing invasively against ours. We feel it when we enter a room and sense immediately the fight that just ripped the air with its violence, although no words have been spoken. We feel it when our loved ones approach, and everything around us gets bigger, lighter, more precious.

We live within these energetic spheres. And when they constrict, when pain or illness or death or life impedes our ability to love and live openly, we feel trapped within our own skins, our bodies becoming a prison from which we can’t escape.

This is when we must fill ourselves with love, with friendship, with purpose and passions that excite and entice us. This is when we must consider what fills our sphere, what stretches it wide with visceral energy, fizzing brilliantly around us like champagne, encouraging us to reach, to grow our sphere even further out into the world.

This is when we must name the draws, the energy thieves that pull from our sphere, making it smaller, crushing it on top of us like an avalanche. We must name them so that we can refute their hold on us. We must tell them: You no longer serve me. You are not welcome in my sphere. You take away from me, so that I, in turn, have less to give myself, my beloveds, both that I have met and those I’ve yet to meet. You constrict my world, hold it closed like a snake’s embrace, and my world is too beautiful to tarnish with your smallness.

We must name them all: people, places, objects, actions, thoughts that spin unchecked in our heads, scripts we’ve not yet learned to change. Ones that tell us we deserve less than we do, that we’re not miraculous, sensational creatures just the way we are, deep-seated beliefs that refute the undeniable truth: that we have an extraordinary gift to give the world.

We must reclaim our spheres, omitting all we can that no longer serves us, consciously feeding and filling the space with love and wonder and gratitude for the wide-open future, so full of beauty and possibilities.

We are energetic creatures. And as such, we can choose to be depleted by holding onto parts of our lives we have the ability to release. Or we can open our arms and choose to be filled, so that we may bestow our unique genius onto the world: our greater, collective sphere.

Let us choose to fill ourselves, and by extension, this sphere that holds us all, uniting our world as one.

 

** Many thanks to the incandescent Tyler Bel for providing the inspiration for this piece.

7.7.7 Writer’s Challenge

Hi all!

This week I got tagged in a writer’s challenge called 7.7.7, designed for authors currently working on a novel. In this challenge, you are asked to go to the seventh page of your novel, scroll down to the seventh line, and post the following seven lines of text… and then tag seven other writers to do the same!

Which… in point of fact… feels to me like it should actually be called 7.7.7.7… but I digress.

So without further ado, here is my 7.7.7! …..(7.) <— Had to do it.

On page 7 of my YA Fantasy novel Elements, my leading lady, Amy Wells, is sitting alone in a bustling coffee shop, having just met with a trauma specialist regarding the three month fugue state she went into following her mother’s death.

 

Amazing how sometimes you can feel loneliest when you’re in a crowd. My throat tightens, and I look down at my hands, blinking furiously. My mother’s voice rings in my ears. Wells don’t cry, Amy. Wells never cry. I obediently focus on slowing my breath, looking upwards until the hot prickliness of grief retreats back under my eyelids. A girl’s loud, garish peal of laughter invades my concentration. It’s so free and full, it burdens me with bitterness as I’m reminded again of all I’ve lost. I have to get out of here.

 

And there you have it! My 7.7.7! (Why yes, I did indeed whisper another “seven” in my mind just now.  Ah, dear reader, you know me so well.)

Many thanks to Fumbledore over at Words from the Sowul for tagging me! I’m off now to tag me my seven!

(I may have just imagined myself swirling a lasso over my head, all John Wayne style.)

Giddyup!

The Foda

I Am Dawning

Today I got up before the sun

Breathless

My heart clanging high against my ribs in a rhythmic dance

Like the pots my parents would bang on my return after some great achievement

Fear lurked in each shadowy corner of my room

Stinking like milk left out on the counter

I didn’t know why

My heart clanged high and I didn’t know why it stretched me wide with wary fear

Up I stood

My naked feet padding against the rough nubs of my ancient carpet

Fear following close behind

Why, I asked him

Why are you here

He said nothing

Which only served to remind me that silence can be the scariest sound of all

I emerged into blackness

Turning on lights throughout every room

In hopes the glow would chase him away

The morning air blew frigid from my kitchen window

Trees outlined against the opaque sky like hulking demons

A practice in shadows

Bewitching me

As I floated in the hour between dusk and dawn

Feeling wrong, all wrong

And then at 5:54

The cock crowed

And Fear fled from its cry

As the indigo sky slowly flooded with light

Transforming the heavy canvas into a pale blue sea

And I realized as I sat there

Hot folds of steam wafting from my tea cup and painting my nose and cheeks with its warmth

That I

Trapped within the confines of my mangled body

Ravaged by illness

Have felt proverbially waiting in that witching hour

Frozen just before the dawn

Breathless

As my broken body shudders and transforms into something utterly new

And a smile perked my cheeks in tandem with the rising sun

Words so clear and long forgotten reverberating into the clean morning air

That it is always darkest

Just before the dawn

I took a sip of tea

The soothing liquid cascading down my throat

And I watched the sun rise

Bringing with it a new truth in my heart

I am not my Fear, lurking, obscure in untold shapes

Abstract and unknown

I am the rising sun

And I am

Dawning

What No One Tells You About Asking for Help

What No One Tells You About Asking for Help

What no one tells you about asking for help when you desperately need it is that most people? Actually REALLY want you to.

I know. Step back. You’re probably remembering your friend Shirley right now who scoffed in your face when you asked her something painfully mundane, like, to pass the salt, thinking, “Shirley definitely doesn’t want me to ask her for help!” Well surely there are Shirleys out there who are shameful charlatans when it comes to helping humankind. (Yes, I do enjoy dropping alliterations behind me like a trail of bread crumbs, thanks for noticing!) But Shirleys of the world aside, most people are good and caring at heart. (My most sincere apologies to any readers out there who are actually named Shirley. I’m sure you’re lovely.)

So if people are so willing to help, what is the real issue? Why do we all feel that lump of pride sheepherding our pleas of need back down our gullets before they get within two inches of the atmosphere?

I have news for you. It’s not them. It’s you. (Okay, sometimes it’s them. RE: Shirley.) But most of the time it’s because we don’t know how to ask.

This past week, I needed help. My husband Mandalf was leaving on a much needed respite, and I had no one to help take care of me. Ugh. I still retch in my mouth a bit at that thought. Needing someone to take care of me at thirty. But I digress.

So I swallowed my pride and reached out to an amazing group of women, plainly asking them to take time out of their busy lives and come stay with me. I had not one, but THREE “hell, yes!” responses, and a fourth couldn’t take off work, but generously loaned her car since ours would be hanging out at JFK airport.

Flash forward a week later to when they arrived, and I found out they had always wanted to help. They just didn’t know what I needed. Because I NEVER ASKED FOR IT.

Immediate interior monologue: “You mean all this time, all those years when I felt so isolated, so cut off from the world because of a disease that kept me housebound, it was all because I didn’t know how to plainly put out what I needed? Gah! Pesky pride! A pox on your house… wait. I am the house. Scratch that…. Be gone, ye scallywag! Pesky pride. <Snort.>” 

Asking for help is hard. When you’re chronically ill, you’re assailed with tsunami-force waves of guilt. Feeling like a burden. Feeling like you should be able to handle it on your own. Feeling angry at yourself that you can’t swallow this life-altering illness with complete ease and grace.

(Newsflash: You’re human. Not a droid. Although I suspect C-3PO wouldn’t be able to handle it either… super whiney, am I right? I, myself, am a die-hard R2D2 fan.)

So think about what you really need. And if you’re ready, try opening up. Be vulnerable. Let the world in. I promise, it won’t run shrieking like a kid from a haunted house. People really DO want to help. You just need to tell them how.

Until next time,

The Foda

Nature, I Reclaim You

“Nature, I Reclaim You”

Nature. I reclaim you.

I reclaim your sweet smelling grasses, your sappy stalks.

I reclaim your golden, radiant warmth, and cool, refreshing breath.

I reclaim the musky scent of earth beneath my feet, the balm of your salty oceans.

I reclaim it all, all your majesty, majesty I have quaked from in fear of one life-altering parasite, the one that stole my health without so much as a thank you, and left me bereft in the dark.

Too long have I let fear keep me from your life-giving beauty.

Too long have I denied myself the restorative serenity of your face.

Today, I reclaim this right.

I will be incarcerated no more.

I will feel your life on my face.

I will let your breezes fan my skin.

I will imbibe the ancient and breathtaking beauty that is you.

Nature. I reclaim you.

…..Bug spray. You’ll come too.

You Have a Gift to Give the World

I have a gift to give to the world. 

Say that out loud. I have a gift to give to the world. Now spin around three times in front of a mirror and when you open your eyes, you will see…

Han Solo standing roguishly next to your very own Mini Cooper!!!

Just kidding. You’ll see you.

But if you do see a royal blue Mini Cooper with white racing stripes, well, DIBS! But I digress.

I’ve been MIA for the past month because my stomach- forevermore dubbed “the Sarlacc”- decided to turn into the pit of Carkoon, and not accept anything other than broth and bread without violently spitting it back out. This caused me to go off all my medication, with the exception of two lovely bicillin shots a week (which, if you don’t know, go straight in your rump. Yowza!) And yet, as the huge quantities of medicine fled my system like Sand People spying a Krayt Dragon, my head began to clear, and I- despite the whole living on broth part- began to feel more like, well, ME.

Which is great, because on top of my newest affirmation “Surrender is Freedom”, as mentioned in my last post (click here to read), I have a new one.

I have a gift to give the world.

Now, this one is huge. Because to give a gift, you have to have something to give. And when you’re struggling with a chronic illness, you often feel so depleted, so desecrated, that you have nothing left even remotely worthy to offer the world. This usually spurs a kind of self-loathing. And I am going to be really honest with you, folks– until attending a transformative conference at the Omega Institute, I had a lot of that self-loathing.

Enter interior monologue: I am weak. My body is crippled. I am a burden to all around me. I have nothing to offer. I am helpless. Useless. I will never be of value again until I am healed. 

Feel the indignation as you read those words? You probably wanted to smack me upside the head and say: “now, wait just a dang minute! That’s plumb crazy talk!” (Oh, you’re also a character out of a Clint Eastwood Western… apparently.)  And you’re right. It is crazy talk. But it was the tape running through my head, until I realized…

Just because I’m sick doesn’t mean I can’t love myself. Because I have gifts to give the world. And they have nothing to do with whether or not my legs work. They have nothing to do with whether I need a wheelchair to go out, or my husband to drive me places. Because who I am– my purpose, my value– transcends far beyond my body’s limitations.

I have a gift to give the world. And you know what? You do, too.

Well, dang, don’t that feel good. So go on. Find yours. Give yourself a celebratory hand gun salute. (Literally. Literally hand-gun. As in imaginary guns made out of your thumb and index finger. Just to be clear.) So ask yourself. What is your gift?

Yee-haw! (Pshew, pshew, pshew!) <—- Firing into the air

The Foda

Surrender is Freedom

Surrender is Freedom.

A month ago, surrender was a dirty word. Filthy. The kind that makes your mama wash your mouth out with soap. “Surrender?!” Month-old me would scoff, brows knit together in disgust. “I’m not a quitter,” I would have stipulated vehemently. “I will NEVER give up.” 

Because that’s what the word surrender meant to me. Quitting. Giving up. Letting this Lyme disease win, giving it free reign to decimate my body piece by piece like a blood-crazed Wampa snow beast.

And then I went to a weekend conference at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY, called “Living Well with Lyme Disease.” Believe you me, I was terrified. I had no idea how I’d make it through a whole weekend when I was too sick to leave my house most days. How would I survive? So I swallowed my pride, and climbed into the wheelchair I abhor, knowing it was the only way. So much happened that weekend, which is a whole other post in itself, but a huge take-away for me was how to heal my heart. How to put the pieces of my shattered identity back together, so that when my body does recover, I won’t still be broken; a wounded warrior.

I’ve tried for years to do all the tried and true methods: meditation, positive affirmations, etc. They never stuck. And I realized, it was because you can’t use just any positive affirmation. You have to find YOURS. And mine was not remotely what I’d thought it would be.

Surrender is Freedom.

WHAT??!! Are you crazy? Shouldn’t it be, like, I am loved, safe, and cherished,  or I am getting stronger every day, or something like that?

No. Surrender is Freedom.

<At this point, a stern Yoda puppet comes and raps me on the knuckles with his staff, muttering, “You must un-learn what you have learned….”>

And suddenly, surrender isn’t a dirty word. Because it doesn’t mean I’m going to roll over and let this disease take me down without a fight. It means I can see what actually belongs in my realm of things to work on, and what is just a waste of time and energy, because it will never, and can never be mine to control. It means I can stop berating myself for needing a wheelchair to get around, or judging myself when I can’t accomplish as much in a day as I’d like. It means I can be kind to myself.

Surrender is Freedom.

Now, you may read this phrase and viscerally reject it. You may, as I did, have the urge to spit on your screen, or yell all Luke Skywalker style: “That’s not true! That’s impossible!” But that may change. Because we all hold onto things that aren’t serving us anymore. Things that hurts us, that we’re scared to let go of, because we’d rather feel a familiar pain than the unknown. I don’t surrender my fight for health. But I do surrender what is no longer serving me, the thoughts that judge me harshly, the worry that keeps me from doing things, that paints my world in tones of fear, that crushes my spirit.

Surrender is Freedom.

And perhaps, there’s something you’d like to let go of, too. Go ahead. Throw it up. Let it go. I promise you. It feels freaking amazing. Just don’t let it hit you in the head on the way down.

<Whoosh!>

The Foda

“Will Power Hour”

Will Power Hour

Today’s Words of Wisdom:

“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.”

~Mahatma Gandhi

The Foda’s Take: Gandhi, man! A gift to the world that just keeps on giving. For example, today he taught me a new word. Indomitable: Impossible to subdue or defeat. Which may have prompted a moment where I went to brush my hair and yelled at the baby-fine locks at my temples: “You cowlicks are indomitable!” But I digress.

Good morrow, fine people! Today we shall dissect… <drum roll, please>…..

Will power. Not to be, ahem, conceited or anything, but I’ve got it. I’ve had to have it. As anyone with a chronic illness knows, you have to commit yourself one hundred percent to doing everything within your power to get well, no matter how unpleasant. Like drinking activated charcoal. (Which– for those of you who don’t know– tastes, I’d imagine, very similar to bantha fodder.)

So with such a plethora of finely honed will power at my disposal, you can imagine how frustrated I can get when– like yesterday– my brain is set on GO-GO-GO but my body is lying prone on the couch, stubbornly refusing to move its “feels-like-they-weigh-ten-thousand-pounds” limbs. Which naturally spurred me into a state of “AAARRRGGGGGG!!!!” all Charlie Brown fumbling-the-football style.

But then today I woke up. (Yes, I’m being both literal and figurative.) Because as I shuffled to make my morning breakfast, body already feeling like the tin man rusted over, it suddenly dawned on me. Why have I only ever correlated will power with my physical accomplishments? Why not use my abundance of will to empower my brain? And why did that thought bring dread to my very soul?

Which is when “Legally Blonde” Elle Woods popped into my brain and quipped: “What, like it’s hard?” Um… YEAH.

Oh, yes. I’m talking about MINDFULNESS, people. That old nugget.

So this week I’ve decided to incorporate a practice my mother– referred to in this galaxy as Professor Momgonagall— calls “power hour.” It’s something she does once a week with the sole purpose of accomplishing all those annoying “I don’t wanna do it but I have to” kind of tasks. Like the annual cleaning of their basement, where my parents graciously store items for us that won’t fit in our tiny place. (This is significant, because in addition to being allergic to pollen, dander, and dust, my mother is also deathly allergic to clutter. And yet she routinely consents to storing my larger seasonal goods. Which this year prompted the making of an adorable video wherein she displayed my things all Vanna White style to see what I’d like to keep.)

Only the mind can’t just be trained once a week. It needs daily attention. (Needy noggin!) So instead of one power hour per week, I’m going to try logging 10 power minutes per day. Then 15. Then 20. My theory is that with time, I will eventually be able to live mindfully throughout the day.

You see, all the will power in the world is not going to get me better faster. I’m already doing everything I can to heal my physical form. But the mind… that I can work on. So here goes. Power up, people!

Activating Cranial Thrusters,

The Foda

Once Upon a Lyme: Animated Children’s Book

Hi, everyone!

I’m overwhelmed with how well my animated children’s book “Once Upon a Lyme” is doing! Today, a doctor in Virginia reached out to me and asked for a version of the video without the added author’s note feature I included in the original. I was more than happy to comply, and wanted to post the remastered version here. This is just the children’s book. Please feel free to share it with your schools, family, friends, school districts, and any other organization where children mingle and mix and play.

Cheers,

The Foda

A New Hope