The dragon is old and always hungry—needy. Ages ago, alongside her teeth, her mouth fused splinters, blades, knives, and other strange objects—things your mom warned you. Her claws and teeth are now deep in my neck, and my muscles seize in response. I’m recovering from a recent Posterior Cervical Diskectomy and Fusion.
Pain is an annoying Dragon
Some moments I cry—weep like a baby. One morning, I was fixing my hair and make-up. While I was doing the mascara, my neck muscle knotted and seized. The pain was so intense that I went into the bedroom to sit. The tears flowed and flowed. After a few minutes, my body finally calmed, and I went to repair my makeup.
I wish I had a picture to show you how my face looked after that. It was a mess with black smeared eyeliner and mascara. I had hilarious raccoon eyes—a complete do-over on the makeup.
I chose to have a second surgery. I am no victim. My spine will heal stronger, straighter. I like this. I know this dragon isn’t going to hold me, keep me on my knees, beat me down forever.
Do you meditate and say, I’m just not good at this? Your mind drifts, and find yourself thinking about the movie you’d like to be watching. Might as well be sitting on the couch watching television. Right? Not quite. I was listening to a podcast earlier, which isn’t entirely related, but did make me think of this, and yes, I’ll explain.
Saints and Prophets – Real people
We love our gurus: pedestals and high statues. India is well known for putting its spiritualists at quite an exalted status. But there are those in other parts of the world who do the same. I hear people talk about how perfect someone is. “She never says a bad word about anyone. She helps at fundraisers and gives money to charities.” Blah, blah, blah. Usually, we follow with a self-deprecating, “Naw, I’m just not that good of a person.” If you come to that conclusion, you’ve missed the point. You can’t be good all of the time. You’ll miss. One day you’ll be tired and say the wrong word. Not good. Instead of being good, be real.
Games – There’s no scoreboard
Most of us grow up living life as if it’s a game. Level up. Goals to beat. Lives to live. School, job, marriage, children, etc. Somewhere in there, we throw in vacations as bonus runs, just for fun, and we call it a good game. If we think we need extra life points, we go to a doctor, a priest, or even a yoga studio. Some of us have gotten into meditation, thinking we can add even more health points. There’s some talk that it can give you some superpowers, or have you heard? Yeah, be careful with that one.
We aren’t going anywhere
The point is, we in the western philosophy are goal seekers. We want a prize. We get a trainer to get the abs to get the girl, or am I wrong? Let’s get this straight. I meditate to remember myself and to clear away the clutter of everyone else. I can do this by journaling if I wish. I could go for a long walk in the park instead. Anything away from structure and demands. Drawing, painting, sailing, biking, tanning. So if today my mind wanders a bit, it’s okay. In it’s walking, it allows me the freedom to release and let go. I relax. Then, I return to myself once again and slip out of the coils that the chokehold of daily life had held me in. And it feels so good to be me also.
The book Death on Diamond Mountain is just a glimpse into one of those moments when things go wrong. Take a glimpse. If you’re a Plus member of Mysterious Universe or want to be, they give you an interview with the author. Quite a trip, but the meditation that I’m referring to is remember your peace.
Traditions remind me of the monument stones ancient people used to mark borders. We start new traditions when our lives change in a big way. And habits, well they make our life easier.
I don’t think about my tooth care often. I was disciplined as a child, plus I kept those habits of brushing my teeth and seeing my dentist. We often view addictions from the negative. It controls us. I’m addicted to coffee. Truthfully addiction isn’t far from a habit. Only it’s internal—the shadow side. The craving pulls. Pleasure is the fun we wish all life held.
No place is a place until things that have happened in it are remembered in history, ballads, yarns, legends, or monuments. Fictions serve as well as facts.
Habits, traditions, addictions, cravings, and pleasures are whispers away from each other. I crave chocolate and coffee, but not always because they are suitable for me. The desire isn’t wrong, and neither is giving in to savor the coffee. These are choices.
I don’t remember how the habit started. It wasn’t a conscious choice like taking up jogging, but it developed as all do—progressively. One act of pleasure bumps into another until it’s a daily delight. A treat. And my oh my. How can something that brings a smile one day and on the next, seem to be wrong? Another one? Isn’t that excessive? No one else is involved. After all, I’ve got this handled.
At times, I stay up too late browsing the internet. I’m not reading a good book or researching my family tree, just browsing random crap. YouTube videos, current news, or shopping for things I’ll never buy. If I were reading, at least it would be beneficial for my brain cells, right? So down the trail and then turn right. Stop!
My one-year-old cat, Dot, is a hunter. He drags his “kills.” He attacks, wrestles, and drags small rugs and blankets around the house. They are gnawed to death. Usually, they are tugged to the food bowl, him growling the entire way. I see it as some instinct he has to bring in a carcass. His version of the gazelle is a brown Mexican blanket that he yanks by its corner. Sometimes he’ll donate his prey to the other cats while they sleep.
Dot has a Q-tip habit. He begs for them, even meowing and waking me at two in the morning when the rest of the world is sleeping. He needs a fix. It is nearly an obsession. Cat games. This cat hunts ear swabs. He hides his skinny, ear swab prey under a rug, then pounces, then discovering it again.
Creatures of nature are instinctive. Humans use instincts but also have developed habits. But we can update old practices. Thankfully we can learn. Whatever it is we want to alter, we can retrain ourselves. It feels odd at first. If it’s essential and we introduce it consistently, we can change. But Dot, the hunter, might forever be addicted to his human ear probes. I might forever be gathering them from odd places, like from my shoes.
There are too many passwords to remember. I carry a badge for work and a FOB, keys for my car and my home, multiple identification cards, money cards, and insurance cards of various types. The doors at work have levels of protection, so outsiders can’t enter. Has it always been so difficult? Have you counted the number of passwords you need daily now?
Are we safe yet? Or is this about something else?
When I came into the world, I met my first gatekeepers. I didn’t realize how much my family’s lack of acceptance disabled me, not until I peered back with adult eyes. I understand why my tiny self raged. I was stubborn and battling an invisible wall of resistance.
Many feel threatened by others who enter their area. It’s normal. Others change the way worship, the way we eat, and even challenge what we rights we have. Fear of others is a survival skill, but so is expansion and acceptance. Learning new skills can keep us pliable and young at heart. Consider before you react in fear.
If you find yourself not finishing projects and you want to retrain your mind, here is a tactic. Make a list and do one thing a day to keep yourself accountable. By practicing daily, we climb out of the ruts where we are stuck. We can make short, easy to complete tasks such as reading one paragraph or dancing five minutes. Continue until you relearn the pleasure that comes from your accomplishments. Feel the pride. It’s your thing.
Your mind will try to protect you from this but know you are safe. You’ll have enough energy left over, enough time, and even enough inspiration. You won’t run out of fuel. Your mind is locked in scarcity and is protecting you by holding that mode.
There are three cats in my house, and they love it when I receive deliveries. We have boxes to jump into and hide. Dot, the rascally kitten probably has the most fun making himself small at the bottom, then pouncing on his sister.
In and out, and the noise continues. Paper rattles from the packing supply. I often forget they aren’t children. All of this play and fun is what they do. This is their life. And I wonder if humans forgot how to play?
After a few days of chaos and I’ve had enough of the hidden cat game, as well as the thudding sounds in the night. I stack the containers, one inside the other like Matryoshka Russian Nesting Dolls. This is my game. It pleases me.
If you have pictures of your crazy pets, I’d love to see them. You can share on this site or on Facebook/ShowUp
I look back at work I wrote a year ago, and I don’t recognize it as my own. Yes, I know the piece. I wrote it. The characters are mine, and the art is authentic, but sometimes as if another person works through me.
I DO ME
Flow is the place we aspire to be. It’s a surfer’s dream. To lose the struggle and only know exhilaration and glory, man! That’s the ideal. We all want that, don’t we? Then why do I white knuckle it?
Losing control is not a feeling I enjoy. When I was younger, the coasting downhill on my bike was good. Not flying through the air and losing my sense of direction. But in my fear I find release. There’s a comfort—An “Oh dear gawd I’m going to die—Okay maybe not.” And relief that I didn’t. All is alright. It’s a time when I learned to let go of me.
The greatest benefit of being a solo performer is that it is seriously frightening, but at the same time very empowering. It’s just you and the audience. All the weight is on you to deliver the songs.
Some of the things I’ve done which scared the shit out of me, I leaped into them fully, feet first. I had an idea and started. Once I painted my kitchen cabinets. Yes, I researched the hows. I bought supplies. But I had no experience. I took the first step, then the second. Sometime in the middle, I realized there was no turning back. I was committed. I would finish this project. It’s at these junctures when you turn the music loud and get to work.
People talk of spoons. You only have so many spoons a day. To some, this makes no sense. Why spoons? What about being poor with no credit cards. No cash. And your tire is busted. You don’t have $10.00 bucks and some lint in your pocket. There’s not a credit card to charge it on because you can’t get one.
The story of pain is about restrictions. Woven inside it’s barbs are reminders to go slower. Ease up on the anger. And always remember to rest.
Another way of understanding pain is to know there’s something always in your field of vision. It’s like a floppy hat you bat away but it keeps crashing on your face.
The teen who started the spoon story had Lupus, which is a limiting disorder. On the outside, everything looks normal. It’s the inside where things are not functioning as they should. It’s as if you have water in your car’s gas tank. There’s sputtering and stalling.
Most who suffer pain, try to hide it, even though it’s with them regularly. I know it’s influenced many decisions. How hard do I push in exercise? Not to overexertion. If I allowed myself to become dehydrated and too hot, it could trigger a migraine and muscle spasms. I’ve taken a lot of effort to prevent those, so moderation is better.
There’s a strange way of focusing when you have limited resources. It frees you to decide on priorities. It also lets you say no at times. Unfortunately, there have been times I desperately wanted to attend events, and I couldn’t. Understand it’s not an Ace card up my sleeve. I never play it like that for a reason most apparent. When I need it, I want it to be real.
I try to live optimistic, thinking of my dreams, but I have to keep my limits in view, to know how much I can accomplish each day.
You’re not terrible if you forget to exercise. Or even if you remember and don’t get off the couch. Or drive to the gym, change into your shorts, and do all of those foreign movements for only 10 minutes. Unless these activities were already a part of your normal day, your body is going to scream, “unsafe!”
It’s not glamorous, but the way to win the exercise routine is to have a lifestyle which includes activity organically. Carry more packages. Walk a little further. Use the stairs. And yes, we’re familiar with this strategy, but do we live it? Recognize the small things. They add up.
Handicaps and hindrances
Oh, this is my sputtering out point. Believe me, I know handicaps. I’ve envied runners and great athletes all of my life. It isn’t happening with this body. My goal is health and not to become a lady with flabby arms.
Here’s the key: increase your safety zone. You have a standard comfort level and once you’ve reached that point each day, your body says, “level complete.” Tomorrow, try pushing the edge, but do it early in the day. If you wait until evening your resistance will be too strong. Besides, if you have an early win, you can enjoy the high all day.
How can we change our lifestyle to make them healthier? Is there a small grocery store we can walk to pick up a few items? A park nearby? Let me know if you have any ideas. I’d love to hear them.
I live upstairs. Yes, this was intentional. I also take the stairs at work. But, there’s always more.
Welcome to our online community of creativity, healing and self-exploration! This is a place to tell our stories with the intention to learn from one another. Please read and share your thoughts freely!