As always, I value the kinship and closeness my family and friends mean to me at the season of gift-giving. These days of sharing our time, gifts and meals is an ingrained ritual in our Judeo-Christian cultures. I like it, as a chance to draw near and be attentive to each other, and for many to show reverence to their faith.
These past few days I have been observing how much healthier and balanced I am from 7 years ago, when Lyme disease had me bedridden and bereft. I was forced to sell my treasured, wonderful home in the woodlands to pay my treacherously steep medical bills. I had lost my vital career years prior, along with my marriage and well-being. My mind was shot, my heart vulnerable and my hope for recovery slim. Yet, so desperately I did not want to be an invalid forever. With the help of a savvy Clinical Nutritionist and Integrative Medical Doc I was starting my healing journey. It took 5 years, and I am well and thriving again! I am deeply grateful and also proud of my tenacity and perseverance.
With this in mind, I wanted to share a passage from my memoir, OUT OF THE WOODS, which helps to remind me and show others that personal inner healing tools are invaluable when moving through chronic illness. Please enjoy this portion of a chapter titled “Moving”.
Near Christmastime, Eli, Hunter, and I venture out to buy a tree. This is a first for us, as I’ve always cut a Charlie Brown hemlock from our woods in years past, adorning the tender finger-like limbs with the Delancey Street market, Hungarian ornaments of my childhood. Now, we mount a generously stout fir, its needles feeling brush-like and full, the wintergreen aroma filling our dollhouse in minutes. Hunter strings up colored lights, weaving the mass through the fragrant branches as Bing Crosby croons carols on the stereo. As woozy as I still feel, my energy dipping and rising with no rhyme or reason throughout the days, I feel a warmth of gratitude within.
After a very long struggle I sense that I’m marking progress in my healing. Three months on cat’s claw and I’m climbing up from the worst of its clutches. Small signs of improvement bolster my hope: a clearer mind, less stomach upset and a faint glow of strength in my limbs. The tune from “The Wizard of Oz” has been tumbling through my mind for weeks now: I’m out of the woods, I’m out of the woods, I’m out of the woods….
Santa arrives, leaving a slew of boxes. Eli’s eyes are star filled as he rips off the vibrant paper, new board games and ice hockey sticks cluttering the room. The quarters are so close we have the Christmas tree placed on top of the coffee table and pushed up against the wall. Teaspoon size snowflakes drift down outside the windows. Lucky is festively attired, coyly wearing a brown velvet antler headband.
“Mommy, Mommy, get the camera!” Eli chants. “Take a picture of Lucky and me.”
It is a moment of perfection.
We close the day with a banquet of food, family, and chatter at Hunter’s sister’s home up the hill. Children, grandparents, and adults with cocktails in hand gather around the burgeoning oak dining table, our number swelling to over twenty. There are smiles and warmth, the feeling of generous embrace from a clan other than my own. There is love.
Today, I take my first steps into tomorrow. I reach way deep down inside into the core of my being. From the pit of my belly I draw forth my formerly sagging will. Making a personal pact of intention, I close my eyes and see myself standing upright and strong like a broad-reaching copper beech tree. I’m smiling and radiant. I look and feel healthy and strong, confident and happy, successful and powerful.
I will heal completely, I tell myself. I will beat the Lyme disease. I will regain my health, strength, and stamina and be be whole, happy, and successful. Starting now I leave the past behind and step into a new and better future. I will be guarded and protected.
From today forward I begin to recite my pact of intention each day in my morning meditation, at first prone on the sofa, then sitting, and eventually standing. I refuse to slip back into the downward spiral of all the cataclysmic tailspins over the past five grueling years. I’m determined to heal. No one will stop me. It will be.
May your healing journeys bring you to the close concert of inner resources I discovered. Willpower, intention, faith, self belief, love and openness can create room for change and healing. I send you strength and grace.
OUT OF THE WOODS is Available at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Out-Woods-Healing-Disease-Body-Spirit/dp/1600700713