Tag Archives: Wampa Snow Beast

“Wampas and Probe Droids and Ferdinand, Oh My”

“Wampas and Probe Droids and Ferdinand, Oh My”

 Today’s Words of Widsom:

 “Everything you want is on the other side of fear”

~Jack Canfield

 The Foda’s Take: This quote makes me think of that awesome scene with Richard Gere as Lancelot in the movie “First Knight” where he defeats the formidable obstacle course that had- quite literally- given the old heave-ho to all who went before him. When asked how he accomplished it, he said it was because he wasn’t afraid to die. To which King Arthur replied: “A man who fears nothing is a man who loves nothing.” Soooo in conclusion… if you love something… today’s Words of Wisdom apply to you. BAM! Foda-ed. (Foda-ed! You know, like “Lawyered”… sigh. So not funny now that I’ve explained it. But to be truthful, you would have really needed to hear me say “Foda-ed” to get it right away… stupid inflectionless print!)

 Hello, friends! So, ever since I saw this quote a week ago, I haven’t been able to get it out of my wee little brain. Mainly because it is currently very relevant to my life. And it may be very relevant to yours. Living through an extended chronic illness, personal trauma, or intense struggle, changes you. It widens the world, banishing all perceptions of teenage invincibility or “that can’t happen to me.” It opens the door. (You know which door I’m talking about, people.) That  door. The one with the monster behind it. That’s right. The Wampa Snow Beast of Fear, all yowling and drooling scarily.

And it makes sense, doesn’t it, that you’d have more fear in your life. Something really bad has happened to you, and now you’re on edge- alert- your radar has suddenly been switched on. You’re like the Empire probe droids dropped on Hoth, scurrying around babbling nonsense as you search for signs of trouble.

Sidebar- anyone else like to try and mimic that monotone robotic dribble from time to time? Just for fun? No? Just me? Ah. Right. Moving on.

So, the point is, when you’re going through a lot, it’s a natural side effect that there will be more fear and more anxiety in your life. After all, you’re probably spending a huge amount of energy every day tamping down those pesky feelings that accompany whatever ails you. And it makes total sense that this wears your down, allowing fear to play a bigger role than it would if you were all fresh out of the bullpen.

Am now thinking of the book “Ferdinand.” Great book. But I digress.

But you’re not fresh out of the bullpen. You’re probably tired and worn down and now you’re scared- scared of what this is doing to your life, scared of how it’s effecting your loved ones, scared that it won’t be over soon. And by you, I do mean me… just to be clear…

So lately I’ve been coming back to this quote. Because I’m not going to stop the fear from coming. It’s a natural response to what’s happening in my body and my life right now. But somehow just recognizing it, remembering that there is a path past it… helps.

And I hope it helps you too.

<Empire Droid Babble>

The Foda

Imagination is a Heart-Shaped Journey

“Imagination is a Heart-Shaped Journey”

 Today’s Words of Wisdom:

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”

~Albert Einstein

The Foda’s Take: Well, if Einstein said it…. ‘Nuf said.

 There is one word I have a love-hate relationship with. Acceptance. Those older, wiser, more in-tune than I would tell me that I must accept my current position. For any newer readers to this blog, that position entails not being able to leave my house due to multiple debilitating chronic illnesses. And while I understand that accepting one’s reality is completely different than giving up the quest for a better quality of life, which in my case translates as healing, it’s still freakishly hard to do. So I had to ask myself. What, given my current position, makes any of this remotely acceptable? You know, just so that I don’t turn into a howling, incoherent Wampa Snow Beast.

Sidebar. Am now wondering if anyone has ever created a mini film special dedicated to finding out the Wampa’s backstory so that we find the pulsing button behind all that mad anger, yo. Fairly certain there was some fan fiction where Luke goes back to Hoth and learns more about their history. Cannot remember which book. But I digress.

So, what is it, eh? What space can I live in while my body is so irrefutably stuck? (Pause while you go, ooooh, good word, Foda!) Well folks, I kid you not, this is what I came up with. My imagination. 

Okay. At this point, I should clarify. By imagination, I don’t mean I’m going to start dressing in costume and calling myself Princess Leia or anything- although that might be fun- I mean that due to the fact I can’t travel, the only places I CAN go are through my imagination. I’m sure this is why I’ve been writing for hours each day; why I was able to finish a fantasy novel throughout this experience. Because when I struggle to move from the couch to the kitchen sink, living in my imagination is the only place I can go.

Am now hearing just how sad that may sound. Kindly get that pitying look off your face. We are searching for silver linings here, and you have all just become my apprentices! Kneel, Padawan!!! 

Now, due to my recent ramblings on “analysis paralysis” you may be wondering why I’m advocating for living more in my head. Why, that’s because I believe that imagination doesn’t come from the head. It comes from the heart. That’s why children are so much better at it than we are. They don’t over-think it. And I suspect that’s also why so many of us yearn for things like comfort food, animated movies, and “the good ol’ days” at times of stress. Because they remind us of the child-like zeal we had for life before we had, well, more life than we ever bargained for. (You know I’m right. Yeah, you who just booked another Disney World trip for your “kids.” Don’t lie. You’re totally giddy inside. You can’t wait to put on those Mickey ears. Don’t be ashamed. You can totally rock them.)

So this is my small piece of acceptance I’m nourishing this week. The opportunity I get to develop and cultivate my imagination. Maybe, just maybe, the product will be something so precious and beautiful, it will surpass everything else. Cynic in me just raised an eyebrow. Shut up. Let me try pie in the sky.

Mmm. Pie. So what do you think? Is it possible to find acceptance in the dark?

I Heart You,

The Foda

Episode XXVIII: Walloping Your Inner Wampa

Episode XXVIII

Walloping Your Inner Wampa

 Today’s Words of Wisdom:

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer.”

-Frank Herbert

 The Foda’s Take: I remember reading these words for the first time in Frank Herbert’s “Dune” chronicles, and it’s as profound for me now as it was then.

 Fear. It’s what makes us human. A lot of us probably question why we’re hardwired to even have this emotion, since it has a tendency to run rampant and wreak havoc on our lives if given free reign. However, fear is historically there for a reason: to tell us to RUN! Run awayyyy!!!!! when a rancor is about to chew our heads off. Only in today’s world, there are no rancors. (That we know of. Wink.) And for most of us, it’s not very likely we’re going to have a face-to-face encounter with a bengal tiger any time soon. Which is why people get so mad at fear. Why do we need it? Or, the question I’ve been quandering: How do we tame it?

You see, for me, I view fear like a Wampa Snow Beast. (Click link for picture.) All huge and primal and bloody teethed from chowing down on an afternoon snack of Tauntaun-on-ice. Remember that part in “Empire Strikes Back” after Luke cuts off its arm? He’s all WAHRRRAAAAHHHHHRAHHHH!!!! flailing around and making all that racket?

To me, that’s what my inner fear looks like. A big white snow beast making all that fuss over a threat that’s halfway across Hoth by now. And I’m sad to say, that snow beast with the pea-sized intellect made a lot of my choices for me for a while. (Pause for moment of silence while I sheepishly duck my head into the neck hole of my sweater. 3… 2… 1… ) And we’re back!

So, yeah, it’s true, at first I was afraid, I was petrified…

……Kept thinkin’ I could never live without you by my side….oh, Wampa Snow Beast….. But then I spent so many nights thinking how you did me wrong and I grew STRONG…..

Whoa. What do you MEAN that sounds awfully familiar? PLAGIARISM? Psssh. Plagiarism, my Bantha. (Calm down Aretha Franklin fans, I’m totally kidding.)

But I digress. The point is, I lived a lot of my life being afraid. Afraid to tell people I was sick, afraid to put myself out there, afraid to go after the things I really wanted, even when my body was healthy enough to get them. But the amazing unexpected part of this whole chronic illness? Is that years of trial and isolation have forced me to face my inner snow beast and tell him to SHUT THE HOTH UP!

It’s the best outcome of this whole struggle. I’m not afraid anymore. (Except for spiders. And snakes. And bears. And pretty much anything creepy or that could legitimately kill me.) But so far as life goes, yeah. My actions are no longer dictated by fear. Hence, the publication of this blog a mere two months ago. (Which was a big deal, seeing as for the three previous years, I couldn’t even say the name of my illness out loud.)

And you wanna know something incredible? Since I stopped letting fear hold me back from putting myself out there, all of a sudden, these… THINGS…. are happening.

All of a sudden, when I’m having the most horrible of days, praying for some little nugget of hope or love to help boost me up, things are happening. A get well card from a former student showing up in the mail. A bouquet of flowers from co-workers who haven’t seen me since I got too sick to work. An e-mail from an old friend sharing a personal story with me containing her silent struggle. Little things. But as we’ve discussed in The Small Things miniseries, the small things sometimes mean the most.

I always wondered why, for all those years when I cried out for help to the universe, I wasn’t getting anything in return. But now I believe that the reason why is because my rampant Wampa went all willy-nilly on my brain, blocking me from putting myself out there “AS IS.” (No substitutions, exchanges, or refunds!)

So today, I want to share with all of you who are battling your own Wampa Snow Beast: once you realize the voice in your head that’s holding you back is a primitive fictional character unable to even use the gift of legible language? It makes it a LOT easier to shut it up and put yourself and your dreams out into the world.

Because just like a boomerang, you have to throw it out there to ever get it back. 

And if you’re still all, I don’t know, Foda, this sounds kinda iffy… Just picture your fear like a lumbering white nincompoop getting hit in the head with a boomerang. And if you do that right, you really should be laughing right now, which is a WHOLE other type of totally fear-canceling emotion…

(Ha! Take that, Freud! Or some other psychologist who didn’t maintain the problems of mankind always stem from a woman’s desire to be anatomically male… PEJORATIVE PIG.) 

Now Go Wallop that Wampa!

WAHRRRAAAAHHHHHRAHHHH!!!!

The Foda

Episode VI: Words, Words, Words!

Episode VI

Words, words, words!

Today’s Words of Wisdom:

 “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me.” 

– English Nursery Rhyme

 The Foda’s take: Yeah. If you’re a robot.

 Greetings, friends! Foda Here. Today I’d like to explore the conundrum of words. Harmful words won’t show up on an MRI or CAT scan, but they do damage just the same. Anyone who’s ever been teased, ridiculed, or unfairly persecuted knows this- which is pretty much everyone alive EVER. Words may not rip your arm off Wampa-snow-beast-in-Hoth style in the literal sense, but they can rip your heart out. (Figuratively.) So when you’re dealing with a chronic illness, discouraging words from other people can seriously mess with your head… but in my opinion, it’s the words we speak to ourselves that can hurt us the most.

Now I know what you’re thinking… I know worrying and stress is bad for me so I try to stop, but then invariably, I worry anyway, and then I beat myself up for worrying because it’s stressful, and I’m causing the stress by worrying, so then I worry about how my worrying is making me sicker! Yeah, that’s a killer. Or in more elegant prose: “Ah! There’s the rub.” (Love. Shakespeare. Such a bawdy rascal.)

So, what do we do? Welp, it’s kind of like trying to fall asleep. If you lie in bed at night wanting to fall asleep and trying really hard to relax so that you can fall asleep, chances are, you’re not falling asleep any time soon, because your brain is so busy trying to relax that you can’t, in fact, relax. Like when you try not to think of a purple elephant. (Try it. It will be ALL YOU CAN FOCUS ON.) So, again, what do we do? I’m a big fan of self talk, but I also recognize when the self talk can spiral into that nasty quagmire of endless questions and worry. So now that I’m aware that I do that, when it’s no longer productive thought, I do a few things:

Number One: Pick a few mantras and say them over and over to yourself. You’re more likely to believe something if it’s in your own voice. My favorite is: I can have what I want. 

Number Two: Focus on something you love. I feel best about myself when I’m creative, so when I start to spiral, I pat myself on the back, and nourish my soul by thinking of/working on projects that make me feel proud.

Number Three: Sing a song. Music Therapists use this technique all the time. It is almost impossible to continue worrying when you’re singing a song. (Earth, Wind, and Fire is a guaranteed mood lifter.)

Number Four: Let Go. You have good reason to be stressed and to worry. Trying to shut it down will only make it worse- like a giant T Rex looming over your head, its freakishly tiny arms waiting to pull a snatch and grab. (By the by, did you hear of new research that suspects the T Rex looked more like a chicken? Or maybe my friends are just lying to me about that….) Anyway, the point is, sometimes you have to allow yourself to feel the way you do. Oftentimes, I find that if I just acknowledge what I’m freaking out about, and tell myself I have every right to be freaking out, I stop freaking out. Odd, I know, but it works- because then, when I’m ready, I can let go.

And if I can’t, there’s always carbs.

Namaste,

The Foda