The Magic of Energy…The Kind You Can’t See

ButterteaThis picture was taken in Sherabling Monastery north of Dharamsala.  I was blessed to experience the powerful spiritual energy transmissions while chanting with the Monks.  I have also been fortunate in having powerful spiritual teachers in my life instructing me in the importance of energy…spiritual, vibrational, healing..we are all nothing more than energy molecules moving at different speeds.  The chair.  The words I’m writing.  The desk I’m sitting at…all energy.

The most important of course is love and life.. as breath.  The words “qi”, “prana”, and spirit are all related in their respective languages to the verb “to breathe”.

Have you ever been in the presence of something or someone so magnetic, so full of life, so selfless and radiant you couldn’t take your eyes off of them?

Sitting in the Monastery chanting I could feel that energy vibrate within my soul.  Even in sitting alone and chanting, the force of spiritual energy flows freely.

I don’t intend on writing chapters about energy as there are many kinds and everyone has different experiences.  What I want to do is remind myself and others that our thoughts are energy as well.  Our words, our thoughts, our hearts, our breath.  If you knew,  really knew how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative one again.  They create our destiny and the world around us.

This post comes about from holding my book, writing the words inside the book,  signing the book and..the specifically chosen necklaces worn while doing the above.  Yes,  books hold energy if you are asking!  I wore a specific yak bone mala each time I sat at my desk.  Call me crazy but I know the power of energy held by that particular mala.

Daniel Goleman became aware of spiritual energy three decades ago in Asia.  He is the author of Emotional Intelligence.  He was there studying meditation and noticed that most seasoned practitioners exuded “a special quality, magnetic in a  quiet sense.”  “You always felt better than before you’d spent time with them and this feeling lasted.”

I bring this up because of the necklaces I have worn, the meditations and chanting I do and  the awareness I have of others around me when negativity is present.

Of course, in the adoption world and the mast cell world or any other group where pain exists, negativity is difficult to stay away from.  People are hurting and in pain both physically and emotionally.  The thing is…it perpetuates and creates the environment and builds momentum taking everyone’s energy into a whirl of angst.  Not that I don’t think we need to vent.  Of course we do.  Each of us is different in how long and how we grieve..what is..what has been lost, and where we are right in this moment.

IMG_3522The top pendant requires a special blog all of its own.  Most adoptees will recognize it and tomorrow, if my mast cells behave I will write about it.

The bottom pendant is an energy pendant of wild stallions done by an energy artist.  I thought it fitting as I was signing Finding Heart Horse and needed the extra boost of having wild horse energy with me.

The essence of this blog is about connection through energy.  We can do that by focusing on gratitude.  When you do that, automatically a stream of energy, of blessing, is flowing from the universal source as blood pulsates from the heart.  We can create a network of grateful, energetic living..we can.

Another way is self acceptance, beginning with kindness to what is.  I’m working moment to moment on this one, in relation to progression of my mast cell disease and worries about abnormal blood smears.   This compassionate quality is a reminder of who we are.  As we rest in this energy with others…they become our mirrors.  With this connection we gravitate towards peace and acceptance rather than negativity and destructiveness within ourselves causing suffering.

Energy.

Connection.

Together they resemble Love.  The kind of love that radiates unconditional warmth that arises naturally.  The embracing, unstoppable love I felt sitting with the Monks chanting as I was drawn in towards its own radiance.  We have access to this in our everyday lives with the connections we create with others, with the words we speak or write, with the energy of compassion that passes from me to you, within our communities.

 Change will come.

 I believe that.  In adoption.  In child abuse.  In world violence.

   It starts with each one of us.

So, as I re read this blog, I am aware that in this moment, my mast cells have most of the control over “my energy”,  my  rambling words that spill onto this page.  I’m posting it anyway.  Perhaps it’s my way of warming up the neurons for the next blog.

Does it Ever End?

I’m feeling conflicted as I write.  So much in the adoptee world this week about adoptive parents killing their adopted children, keeping them in basements to abuse, selling them on the market for sex, and then, “rehoming them” when they get tired of the responsibility or have outlived their use.

After writing the review for The Declassified Adoptee’s book “Essays of an Adoption Activist” I felt the increasing need to be fighting for change in how the adoption system  works.  The conflict comes, for me, in my own physical ability to do just that, energy wise, because of being ill with Systemic Mast Cell Disease, then I realized that I am, in my own way, fighting as hard as I can by writing Finding Heart Horse and The Wall of Secrets  and putting my words, my life, my trauma out in the world for all to see.  It is because of adoption and abuse that I entered in to such a world of trauma.

My heart breaks reading about the last few little babes who were killed and how helpless they were to do anything, say anything.  We have to be their voices.  We can’t be silent any longer.  Each one of us must find our own unique way to advocate for change, foster education, end violence and abuse in the system.

I will be speaking with kids at Covenant House, street kids, adopted kids..kids like i was at age 15.  This will be my activism, practicing compassion, listening to stories and sharing hope.

Taking Wing

This photo by Robin Toma was taken in Vancouver, Downtown Eastside.  A place where I once roamed for a brief time after hitchhiking out west as a young teen.

TAKING WING

For those of us who have taken the journey of search and reunion know that what is lost can be found, but never fully recovered.

Most of us at one time hoped that we would experience a recovery of sorts, find a family, be part of, at last belong, be loved.  What we were seeking may return in many forms but never  the shape of  what might have been.

I’m sure the integration process is ever quite complete, never quite finished, never whole.  We may feel more grounded because we now know our story, or part of, but our lifetime will be spent grabbing onto brief flashes of insight that fly by with the wings on the wind.

Each  flash brings with it tears, grief, loss, sadness.  While reading  this past weeks news in adoption land I was overcome with a wash of sadness and compassion for all of us, for little Hyun-su and those who are still encased in the system

The Buddha taught that a person needs to develop two qualities: wisdom and compassion.  These two qualities work together like wings allowing us to fly or two eyes, allowing us to see deeply.

 Those of us who grew up without love, without a mother, or those stifled by abuse, rapes or violence find it extremely difficult to love ourselves.  Adoptees suffer from the primal wound and of course, if your own mother didn’t want you or love you….  How could you possible love yourself.

IMG_2548_0018

In this picture I was just a bit younger than the latest victim of adoption violence..Hyun-su.  His death twisted my guts in a knot and I felt ill, chills ran down my spine.  Even now when I look at my picture above I get the chills. It could have been me.  I have that blank stare, the detachment, the clenched fist.   Adoptees feel a visceral response to  an others pain.

 Why then is it so difficult to have compassion for ourselves, for our inner child that suffered just like Hyun-su.

It never ends…

It’s important we all work on our own self compassion first.  For many of us that means going back to that frozen place.  That place of abandonment where the other self waits, in tears,  yearning for his/her mother to soothe and love.

  It’s a must if we want to heal and be able to offer our compassion to others.  It all goes back to our deep-seated belief systems and our belief that we are separate from each other, from the universe.  We aren’t ..we are part of…If you hurt, I hurt.  Collectively we all hurt.  If we start being kind to ourselves, speaking with compassion and tenderness to ourselves and others, the world will indeed change.

A subtle form of Activism yet so powerful

Self-Compassion means to be fully aware and to fully BE with yourself in a deeply aware and non-judging way.  As I was writing these last 8 years I have had to relive that little girls pain of the primal wound, the teens pain of rape, the adults pain of not belonging, of not knowing love.  I had to sit with myself with care and concern, solitude, sensitivity, tenderness, acceptance, kindness.

I was terrified. It was so difficult to do.  I shed many tears just holding myself in that place that was so full of pain.  To see myself from a place of non-judgment and feel the pain without covering it up or trying to fix it has been the most difficult journey of all.

 It never ends.

At the core of every wound is a belief that we are not worthy of love.  It’s a belief. Ask yourself if it’s true.   Look at that little girl above.  Is she not worthy of being loved.  Absolutely.  It’s a belief, a belief only I can change or you can change. Self compassion=change.  We have the ability to change beliefs once we recognize they just aren’t true.

We all have our triggers.  As described in A New Earth, our pain body carries our triggers.  Any circumstance that triggers emotional pain is an opportunity to practice self compassion and sit with ourselves in tenderness on a deep level.  If we sit long enough, dig deep enough we find the core shame that is buried in the rubble of beliefs.  It’s an opportunity to heal…use it.

Accepting the circumstances surrounding our triggers is needed to move forward.  All the should have’s, would have’s, why me’s, are a waste of energy.

 It happened.

Ultimately, we are responsible for everything that we’re feeling, thinking, saying, or doing..not the other person.

No, it never ends, but we can make this world a better place by telling our stories with compassion and grace.  One by one.. we are doing just that.  There is a shift happening, not only with our adoption system but with the world and it starts with you, with your own self compassion.

It never ends…but it gets better..Find your Wings

Living with a Rare Disease – Support Rare Disease Day 02.28.14

Rare Disease Day is coming up in the next week.  It’s an annual day recognized around the world to help raise awareness among the public and decision makers about rare diseases and their impact on the lives of those that live with them daily.

This year, CARE is the theme for 2014 and oh my, they couldn’t have picked a better theme than that.

www.mastcellaware.com

This is the logo from http://www.mastcellaware.com, a great resource for anyone wanting to learn about mast cells, what they do and how they misbehave in those of us suffering from this rare mast cell disease.  I was looking for a video, and had in fact planned on doing one of myself this week but unfortunately, the mast cells won.  Even a simple picture of what I looked like this week would not do justice to how I have felt.  It’s a  frightening place when you live alone and are too ill to think clearly and make the proper decisions for your health.  It took me being in severe pain for several days to recognize, with the help of my mast cell peers and my Respirologist that I either needed to be in the hospital or take a few large doses of prednisone to break the reaction.  You would think after this long and having experienced this debilitating muscle spasm type pain before, I would know that.  It’s a deceiving process this illness.  You always think you can manage until its at the brink of anaphylaxis.  My O2 sats having been running low, in the 70’s and my iron keeps dropping.  I know that has some bearing on my thinking processes but ultimately, I’m the only one that has to make those decisions and I’m here to tell you it’s not easy.

There are many great links to learn if you go to any of the sites I have posted previously: http://www.tmsforacure.org, http://www.mastcellaware.com, http://www.meandmymastcells.com, mastocytosis.ca and many others.

word cloudI was going to list the symptoms but last night all I could do was play with word cloud letting it create an artistic list.  There are so many, so different, so unique to individuals its almost impossible to describe.  When I had the last nasty chest wall muscle spasm my immunologist said it wasn’t related because he wasn’t familiar with it. Of course it arrives with various other mast cell symptoms but is a new one for me and the most prominent in these flares.  Well, I’m here to tell you it totally was related, just another way my body was telling me loud and clear that my mast cells had exploded spewing forth hundreds of chemicals into my body, and this time my upper body muscles couldn’t handle the load.

I was in so much pain (and I know I have a high tolerance to pain) that I couldn’t move.  Each movement was excruciating and only the must do’s got done..the rest of the time was spent with a heating pad, medication, and meditation trying to just get through the moments.

We all try so hard to stay positive and caring.  I can say, that besides adoptees, I don’t think I’ve met a kinder, more compassionate group of people than those that have touched my life through mastocytosis.  I have never been my diagnosis and I’m not going to let my life disappear into the abyss of labels.  Some days are harder than others and the mast cells win.

A rare disease is defined differently in different countries.  I the USA it is defined “rare” if it affects fewer than 200,000 people.  The issue with rare diseases is the lack of scientific knowledge and the quality of information often results in delayed diagnosis.  I have lived with this my whole life and I can identify each and every escalation point where my disease jumped up a notch.  If you read my books you will know there were many traumas, each one setting off another step and cascade of symptoms and finally with the discovery of my biological family my mast cells went over the edge due to the stress.  It took many years of putting the puzzle together myself to finally find the answer to both biological and genetic factors leading to a diagnosis.  Unfortunately, I had to go to the states at the time for accurate testing which brings up the need for increased funding for testing in Canada and quality care resources.

I often wonder, what my life would have been like, had it not been always tainted by the “outward” signs of mast cell disease.  The emotions that had nothing to do with depression, the surgical complications, the many heat/exertion related physical disasters nearly killing me one time in the Jungle of Thailand.  I wonder how my adoption reunion would have gone if I had known what was going on besides the normal reunion roller coaster ..was that my mast cell disease had taken over and i was beyond exhaustion and in such a place of physical reactivity. It’s too late now to go back and change all of that but I often wonder. What if I had had proper treatment?  Would things have gone differently? Would my organs be fully functioning now if I had known 25yrs ago?  The answer to all of those questions is of course things would have been different.  Looking back I can see clearly, unfortunately, that’s looking back and I can’t allow myself to go there to often as it can’t be changed.

It’s important that those who care about people with “different” illness’ ..be it in mental health, addiction, rare disease.. support not only the person but the fight for better support and care.

To live with systemic mast cell activation disease is frightening, isolating, confusing and frustrating.  I’m sure I could list many more things.  Isolation is difficult, friends are lost in the shuffle from being active to having days dictated by how you feel.

 Reach out and let people know you are thinking of them.  Pay attention if you don’t see or hear from them.  They may be in trouble with no one around to notice.

I refuse, on okay days, to let this get me down, to let this define what I am and what I can do and be…..on good days.

Treatment

Above is only a partial list of treatments we must deal with .  I feel like the nurse I used to be, when each morning I line up my pill cups and pour the daily meds, only this time, they are all for me.

The purpose of this blog is to educate, to encourage everyone to become aware and knowledgeable about rare diseases and the people who live with them.

Kindness

Self-Love Challenge….Kindness

ImageThe Buddha Maitreya’s name is derived from the Sanskrit “maitri”.

 “The very name “maitri” means “loving-kindness”…..Now, in today’s world, we really need maitri, Maitreya, loving kindness.

Dalai Lama

As I was sitting having my coffee this morning reflecting on the painful events of the past week I couldn’t help but notice the aroma of lavender and roses.  My plan for todays blog was actually going to be about Mast Cell Disease of which I have and have been fighting with all week.(it won this round but not the next)  I have MCAD, just one of the many mast cell activation disorders characterized by accumulation of genetically altered mast cells and/or abnormal release of these cells’ mediators, affecting functions in potentially every organ system.  The symptoms are debilitating and life limiting in many ways.  This morning i was in a great deal of pain and my eyes were blurry and crusted in disgusting substance rendering me almost unable to see.  My plan was, as I said to talk about my life with this horrible disease and what a difficult week it has been…my awareness of the wonderful smells told me different.

I just sat, eyes closed and took long deep breaths of the aromas and opened my ears to the delightful eagle conversations as they passed by my deck.  In the background the lulling music of Deva Premal played softly and I smiled as I recognized today’s blog wouldn’t be about how awful I felt, but how grateful I was to be surrounded by such peace.

Right in front of me, sitting on my mantle was the evidence of kindness shown to me by a good friend.  Above you see the Roses of Kindness.  I wish you could smell them as I am…a hint of lilac and rose mixed in with essence of love.

So, what is Kindness?

It is synonymous with Love, except that Love is a state of Being and kindness is a state of  Doing.  If you can create each human interaction to be a moment inspired by Love, you are practicing Kindness…..  Love gives us the ability to see people on our path as the perfect buddha beings they are, and then kindness allows us to bless them with loving acts or deeds.

For many of us that have experienced adoption or PTSD from other traumas it’s very challenging to accept acts of kindness, in particular when they come unannounced and from a place of love.  It all boils down to that basic belief, that ugly core that stores the information that we aren’t worthy of such generosity, such love.  

I tore my rotator cuff in 05 and was in excruciating pain for 2yrs plus.  I didn’t ask, more than the first time, for medication because I had admitted that 30yrs previous I had used drugs…back in the 60’s…Horrors.  I was judged by the physician so never asked again.  I didn’t ask for help to do anything even tho’ it was my right shoulder and the slightest movement would bring me to tears.  I was in the beginning of a reunion and wanted to be there for everyone as the “good little adoptee” would be.  Surgery was far away and I began taking cortisone shots to allow me to move and manage day to day.  One day, my orthopaedic surgeon was away and I was in such pain I had to find another doctor to do the injection.  Not many GP’s are comfortable doing it but finally I found one and sat in his office waiting for any relief.  I was so grateful for him doing this he was already top notch in my book.  After the injection into the shoulder joint he helped me on with my shirt as I sat.  When I got up to leave he reached up to my collar…pulled it slightly and arranged it neatly with a smile and pat on the shoulder.   I was so taken aback by this small gesture of kindness that came out of the blue, I burst into tears right there on the spot.

Kindness given freely with love overwhelms me, touches my heart in so many ways.  It’s something new and takes me into uncharted waters of my soul.  I have given it freely all of my life and now, at this time in my life I am open to receiving fully,  feeling fully the love that it carries.  

Kindess begins with respect for ourselves.  As an adoptee and survivor of many trauma’s and abuse it’s a lesson that takes years to practice.  On the outside, in the mask of whatever role we are playing we are respected, as I was as a RN, but it’s the hidden self that once set free after reunion that needs to relearn…respect for self.  When we experience difficult emotions, we can hold them in gentleness or we can beat up on ourselves in ways that erode our confidence.  If we make kindness the basis for our daily spiritual practice, we can contribute serenity, compassion and happiness to our complex world.

Today, may I mindfully cultivate compassion and understanding for myself so that through kindness I can add happiness, not pain to the lives of others.

 I will always remember my Kindness Roses from a garden just down the street…thank you Bill

Day 9 of Self-Love Challenge

No matter what I sit down to write it all goes back to that Primal Wound.  I know that adoptee’s don’t own exclusive rights to “feelings” of any kind or beliefs, or thoughts.  Everyone experiences these things to different degree’s.  There is something so deeply ingrained within an adoptee’s psyche that until you peel back the layers and are willing to do the dirty work you will never understand why you do the things you do.

I have spent many years peeling back the layers.  Like an onion, there have been many.  As I mentioned in a previous post it takes 21 days to change a habit, maybe longer if it is one that is so deeply ingrained we don’t even recognize at the time where it is coming from.

Today’s self love challenge turned out to be something other than I had intended.  I’m flexible, and as I began to realize the error of my ways I decided to once again challenge myself.

Growth is all about challenging the self we are comfortable with, the old habits, the old thoughts.  All old..and although I have been deliberately challenging myself these last few years I’m down to the core now.  That’s a deep, dark place that wants to hang on to the old beliefs.  It’s comfortable down there.  Nobody knows about you, thinks about you, cares about you.  The thing is, if you want to grow and be free of the old restrains you have to dig around in that dirt and pull out the diamonds and shine them up.

 i have been doing this for some time, and actually have found some shiny things down there.  Imagine that!  By shiny things I mean the dirty ol’ tapes and beliefs about me that not only came attached from birth but from a life of abuse and neglect which just reinforced what was already there.  I want to shine.  I want to feel joy and pleasure that I know intellectually.  I want to feel it in my heart and soul and to do that…well, ya gotta go deep.

It is my journey to dig in the dirt.  Maybe I was a gardner or miner in my past life.  My plan is to do as much digging as I can now so I don’t have to do it again when I return.  

We are all born with a buddha spirit, or a core of goodness and perfection with a side dish of self worth.  Well, some of us are.  They have proven now that a babe in utero actually feels and learns energetically from its mother.  If the mother is stressed and the babe not wanted, it knows it before it even enters this world.  If the babe is loved and cared for and anxiously awaited that too is transmitted.  Okay, so an adopted person then is one that is not wanted for whatever reason.  Energetically that passes to the babe for 9 months and then when you do take your first breath that is taken too.  The umbilical cord is cut and your mother disappears.  Even if she didn’t want you there still was a connection energetically and the Primal Wound has now occurred.

Some may not believe in energy.  If you are a non believer do some research.  We are nothing but energy, our thoughts, our bodies, our surroundings,  all energy running at different frequencies/speeds.

If you sit in a Monastery the energy is palpable, penetrating and wonderfully warm and all encompassing.  If you sit in a bus station, it too has energy of a different kind.  Chaotic, cold and impatient.  You can feel both and I know which one I choose.  That’s why I want to shine up my own diamonds so I can be in total chaos and yet be peaceful and centred.  So dig in the dirt I will.

I always, from a very young age considered myself independent.  I would imagine that was because I had to look after myself.  This independence followed me throughout the years becoming stronger and more tightly woven in it’s rational.  I didn’t need anybody,  I never asked for help.  I survived on my own and was sure I could survive anything without assistance.  I was rather proud of that fact.

What’s the saying, “No man is an Island”?  Yeah..sure…not in my world.  In my world you can’t trust anyone.  They always leave, or hurt you.  You can’t depend on them to be there when needed.  I mean, come on….If your own Mother didn’t want you, how could you be worthy of anything especially someones time or care, besides….I was good at being a survivor, of being a loner, of doing it myself.

What I was so proud of then, the independence turned out to be a lack of self worth.  Plain and simple.  How could I be worthy when in utero, i wasn’t wanted or loved and then given away.

The realization of this fact came in a rush of pain one day.  To think that all those years I was proud of my independence and in reality all it was….was that i felt i wasn’t worthy.  What did that mean then?  What did that have to do with everyday life as i lived it.  A lot, in fact, a huge part of life.

It’s been quite the process uncovering the layers of protection but as each one comes off I feel lighter, truer, more authentically the real me and I quite like it.  I have a few friends that I can thank for seeing me through the learning curve.  Small moments of kindness out of the blue bring me to tears and touch my heart in ways i never thought possible.

Small moments that most people take for granted and never give  another thought, I sit and think and analyze and question and quite often cry.  In my 6th decade I feel blessed to be digging deep and shining up my diamonds.  Some never find them, while others never look.

I am worthy of receiving.  I am open to breaking habits that don’t serve me well.

Cognitive Dissonance is what it’s called. A battle of the two worlds and the good guys are winning.  Not without a lot of discomfort mind you.  It’s warm and cozy to live in the world of old beliefs.  I’m breaking free and shining my diamonds as I dig in the dirt.

Thank you Bill.  I bet you didn’t expect to be the topic of today’s self-love challenge.  I graciously accept your offer.Image