Tag Archives: Chronic Lyme Disease

“Finding the Flow”

“Finding the Flow”

Today’s Words of Wisdom:

“The sword is like a bird. If you clutch it too tightly, you choke it. Too lightly, and it flies away.”

~ “Scaramouche”, Perigore of Paris

The Foda’s Take: I guess that’s why they call it a “happy” medium. Because in this scenario… well, overcompensate and you’ve got yourself a dead bird.

The year was 1997. I was in junior high, and it was a cold winter night. My father, known in this galaxy by his alias Dobiwan, was standing in front of our ridiculously antiquated microwave, finger hovering over the timer button. We were watching “Scaramouche,” a 1952 film starring Stewart Granger and Janet Leigh. It was toward the end of the movie, right before the protagonist and antagonist were about to engage in an epic fencing duel, the length and intricacy of which made it the longest dueling sequence to date. And we were going to time it. (To my recollection, it clocked in at around 7 minutes.)

This movie was one of my childhood favorites, and I remember well the advice delivered by fencing master Perigore: “The sword is like a bird. If you clutch it too tightly, you choke it. Too lightly, and it flies away.” (It’s actually stolen from 19th century French fencer Louis Justin Lafaugere.) Great advice, right? It applies to pretty much everything. Relationships. Running a business. Holding a spoon.

So then why did it take me so long to realize that “muscling through” a tough time was, how shall I put this…. STUPID??!!

You see, I’ve recently started a new protocol for my chronic Lyme disease. It’s part of a new study combining three drugs, and they were super upfront with me. IT. IS. INTENSE. Like, “people calling in crying because they feel so awful” intense. (It’s a “feel bad to feel better” kind of situation. Like chemo. Or getting your teeth cleaned. Or doing lunges.) So in the days leading up to beginning this treatment, I was in preparation mode. Stock the fridge with easy meals. Load the Netflix queue. Take care of all important business, bills, and paperwork I’ve been avoiding. I’m not going to lie, it was very much a “last supper” kind of mentality I had going on.

Which I may have mentioned to my father Dobiwan the day before beginning the treatment, stating I just had to “muscle through it.”

To which my wise and learned father replied: “Or flow through it….”

<Picture a light bulb popping up over my head and rapping my skull repeatedly, yelling, “Ding-ding-ding!”>

Yes. In this scenario my light bulb is talking. (Shut up. It’s my imagination.) Why was the light bulb blatantly shaming me? Because I’ve worked really hard over the past four years to better myself, my mind, and my spirit while my body deteriorated. And learning how to relinquish what isn’t mine to control and approach each day with a flexible and mindful spirit was one of the first big lessons I learned. But some lessons you need to learn more than once. (Or twice. Or… a lot.)

When life gives you a traumatic situation, most people’s tendency is to try and gain control over it, kind of like a burly bodybuilder at an arm-wrestling match. Problem is, trying to arm-wrestle life is kind of like– how shall I say it– a premature baby trying to drop kick the heavyweight champ. Alternately, we also can’t sit back and throw our hands up, relying on fate or time to do the work for us. That’s called letting your life pass you by.

So as I embark on this new path, I’m reminded once more to channel the strength and intelligence of water: Strong enough to erode any obstacle over time, and yet smart enough to flow around the jutting rock instead of fruitlessly trying to knock it down.

Or as we kids used to say back in the 90’s…

Go with the flow, yo!

<Swwwwiiiiiiishhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!>

The Foda

“Jump Back, Socrates”

“Jump Back, Socrates”

 Today’s Words of Wisdom: 

“Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.”

~Chinese Proverb

 Shhhhh. Okay, come in quietly. No sudden movements. Why? I just realized that I’m on a very precarious teeter-totter, and I must remain perfectly balanced. Or. Else. I. Will. Go. Boom. Just take a seat, nice and quietly, that’s it, roll heel to toe… wow, you do that so well. Were you in marching band? Oh, right, the teeter-totter. Well since you’re here and being so obliging and all, I guess I’d better explain.

I’ve just come upon a frighteningly deep discovery. Super existential. Insanely philosophical. And I wasn’t even wearing my what-does-it-all-mean fedora. (Very different from my fooled-you-into-thinking-I’m-a-hipster fedora.) GAH! Almost fell. Well, that’s what I get for segueing from my profound revelation to festive headwear. But I digress.

Okay, here it is. My discovery. My Luke-I-am-your-father of all plot twists. And I’ll tell you right now, I’m not entirely certain it’ll make any sense to anyone who isn’t in my head right now. But here goes.

I have gone my entire life thinking that if I can’t logically, verbally, succinctly describe and define who I am, than I must not know who I am. Now compound this by the fact that I’ve spent the past three plus years trying to discover and redefine who I am now since my life was turned upside down by Chronic Lyme Disease. So this is an equation I’ve been working on for over three years… balancing on this damn teeter-totter, trying to figure out where I need to land, how I need to look, to think, to act to make my life matter… and here’s the kicker: I’ve only just now realized that I’ve only been considering HALF of the equation! I’ve been super serious and all tense and focused on the brainy analytical side of it all, focusing on all these unanswered questions… without once considering that I have, perhaps, fundamentally, despite sickness or health, never changed at all.

I know. Jump back, Socrates.

Which means all these pressing questions? Are only there to satisfy the logic center in my brain. Not my spirit, soul, or any facet of my emotional being. Which means I’ve put all my eggs into the brainy puzzle-solving basket, and none into that place of knowing that has nothing to do with what’s in your noggin. I’m talking about intuition. The feminine energy we rarely acknowledge as valuable in today’s society. (The big brain gets all the attention these days. Spotlight Hog.)

Yes, what I do has changed. How I spend my time and days. My goals and outlook on life has adapted, sure. But I’ve been so preoccupied trying to discover who I should be in the midst of this debilitating illness (re: strong, inspirational, warrior woman) that I never stopped to think that just because my brain is telling me that since my circumstances have changed, (meaning I must, naturally, agonize over what this means for my life purpose) doesn’t mean that I don’t know myself. Step away from the spatula, baby! This hunk of clay is here to stay.

So, I guess you can move around now. Because I think I’m finally ready to get down off this tiny point I’ve been balancing on, trying to work out who I should be in light of all that’s happened in my life. Because what you do isn’t who you are. That’s backward. Who you are drives what you do, and how you do it. And what you are may not be definable. And what if the only one demanding you define it is YOURSELF?!!

Meaning me. I mean me. I’m the only one demanding I figure out the mathematical solvency for chronically thriving. Which means… I made my brain the boss. And ignored my gut. And now that I know I’ve been working for that incessant workaholic, I don’t have to devote every minute to appeasing it. And golly gosh darn, doesn’t that just sound like the most relaxing breath of fresh air I’ve ever heard.

After all… what if it just doesn’t have to be that hard?

Off-To-Enjoy-Newly-Mandated-No-Analysis-Hour,

The Foda