Category Archives: chronic illness

go only as fast as your slowest part feels safe to go…

Nov 14 revised Go Only Cover_Reduced

 

I can’t wait to get my hands on this book.  It’s ordered and on its way.

The full title is  Go Only as Fast as Your Slowest Part Feels Safe To Go: Tales to Kindle Gentleness and Compassion For Our Exhausted Selves written by Robyn L. Posin Ph.D.  If I hadn’t had the enormous good fortune to have crossed paths with Robyn before I knew of her book, the title alone would have been enough to have grabbed my attention. My soul seeks out and especially loves words like this.  Safe. Compassion. Gentleness.

You see, I’m a slow person in the ways that most of our world deems important to be fast.  I drive slowly, like an elderly couple on a Sunday afternoon, I’m the one who is leading the parade down Main Street, holding up traffic and keeping folks from their ever-present tendency to rush.  Yes, I get honked at a lot and am okay with that.   I like the feeling of peace that travels with me now instead of the gut tightening experience of rushing from one destination to another.

My movements are slower now also as I’ve come to realize that my serenity lies within me.  No longer am I chasing the carrot dangling in front of me, going ninety miles an hour inside, always reaching, grasping for the unattainable that is out there, somewhere out there, just slightly out of my reach.  I now know and try to practice a mindful lifestyle based on the innate wisdom that resides within.

But it hasn’t always been like this.  It wasn’t until my body broke that I fell into bed and took stock of my life.  Perhaps through lack of any other choice, I acquiesed to the cruel fact that I had fractured and splintered, used and abused, pushed and prodded myself almost to death.  I quit my job, dropped out of life, accepted the AMA’s diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Immune Dysfunction and slept for an entire year.  Summer, fall, winter, spring.  When I went to bed, my daughter was a high school freshman.  By the time I began to come out of my physical fog, she had nearly completed high school.

But this conversation isn’t about my poor choices or the ramifications of traumatized children or even the physical effects of abuse.  This is about a woman, who is a part of a movement, that exists to open our eyes to the possibility of acceptance and compassion in relationship to ourselves.  It is about physical slowing and emotional stillness.  It is about granting ourselves permission to honor the parts of our psyches that are smaller, littler, slower or feeling unsafe.  And taking that recognition to a level of loving acceptance.

Even though I haven’t read her book, I’m certain the gentleness of her words will blow me away.  I’ve found that to be true when I’ve visited Robyn’s website, For the Little Ones Inside.  Her writing and art struck a chord and I felt the immediate desire to slow down, let go, relax my body, relax my soul.  My exhausted self needed her. We exchanged a few e-mails, she’s on my blogrool and I’m on hers.  Perhaps I just needed to know that beliefs such as hers really exist.  That we can, in fact, lovingly accept our smallest parts and don’t have to hide or push them away. That it’s okay to be confused, unsure, distracted, cautious.  That it’s okay to just be.

 

Suggested Link:  Words, images and tales created by Robin Posin, Ph.D. at Compassionate Ink 

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but you will be better soon….

“But you will be better soon.”

“But you are getting better.”

I’m so weary of this phrase chirped over and over to me, friends and relatives refusing to see me, to really look at me, skimming along the surface like water bugs.

So what if I eat slower than I used to or sometimes lose my thoughts easily….they will eventually come back or they won’t. What’s the rush?  Where does everyone need to be?  Does me getting better mean that I join you in a world of injured souls eating bad food and ignoring the pain in their neighbor’s eyes just because you are in a hurry and have a million things to do?  No thanks.  Instead I will accept this illness with grace as the gift that it was given to me that I can know the world in a way that most folks can’t or won’t.

I know Emma’s favorite cracker to make bread crumbs; she reminds me often when i see her at the market and I thank her each time.  She tells me with such a gleam in her eye that her husband loved her cooking when he was alive.  I know that Barney the dog prefers the green treats to brown ones and that he will sit up on his hind legs when he sees me coming around the corner while walking Rosie in the evening.  I know that the pierced kid who has shown up for drama every day this semester, who doesn’t speak much, looks so surprised when I compliment his artwork that he wears on his skin.  What’s the equivalent of that knowledge mean to you in your world?  Masters or PhD?

Your efforts to entice me back into your crazy empty world do not go unnoticed, its just that your currency holds no value. Conversations on your latest purchase/home remodel/trip abroad/over entitled children’s latest example of lack of gratitude sour my stomach.  Who decided that your way was better?  You don’t seem that peaceful to me.

My dogs will wait patiently, accepting, sniffing, while my erratic gait interrupts our walking pace.  They don’t ask or care about my creditials or bank account balance.  I prefer their company these days as I tune into their frequency instead of the skimming water bug people.

I know I’m tough to look at these days.  Illness has that effect on people, I get it.  So I scare you a bit and you have to glimpse at yourself and your own mortality and yes, it will freak you out.  Seeing your reflection always does when your psyche is mirrored back to you for the first time.  Especially so when you don’t want to look.

But you will be better soon, you are getting better they chirp.  I say “what’s wrong with me the way I am?”  

“What’s wrong with me now?”


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