Purple May or Lupus Awareness Post

May is a month of mixed emotions for me.  Not that the month itself gives me mixed emotions, rather what it represents is what creates the odd mix.  You see I adore the way Spring comes so fully to life in an exuberant way.  May  is pops of colour from flowers and leaves unfurling.  Nd now we come to the mixed emotional part, the color purple.

You see friends purple to me is lupus and May is Lupus Awareness month.  This is a big deal to me,  it’s a chance to take an invisible illness and turn the spotlight on it.  It’s a way to take the hidden struggles and put a face to them.  And yes, it’s a chance to put my face to some of the struggles that I hide most of the time.  The thing is, I’m not a spotlight kind of girl, but it’s so important to find a way to cure this illness that I push myself into the light.

Lupus may be the color purple, but just as there are a million shades of purple, there are a million different ways lupus impacts your life.  Sometimes lupus is a mild lavender resting while I carry on having a typical day.  Other times lupus is a deep, dark purple full of hot passion and my typical day is lost to the turmoil.  The thing is, dear friends, lupus is not the color black.  It is not death, it is a change though.

So the next time you see a splash of purple in May please stop and consider that someone you know has lupus, including me.  And if you have questions about the illness, ask because the answer to the mystery that is lupus may be hiding within your mind.

Been A Long Time

Its been a long time since I’ve felt completely  comfortable with being here.  It’s been a long time since I’ve felt as if this place is a part of my home.  There is no one to blame for this, it’s just the way things are. 

 I struggled to find my place here, to find my own way and identity within this strange land.  What makes it harder, of course, is how Beloved settled into everything here so easily.  But then he has friends here and has done some guest lecturing at the university so I believe it made it easier for him. 

It’s been a long time coming, this sense of self within this strange city. Finding my own favorite hangouts, cafes and haunts.  Frequently I can find a sense of home or comfort within a short period of landing in a city.  Perhaps because Beloved already had his places and that’s where we went I was unable to find any sense of home or comfort here for the longest time. And this realization has also made me realize it’s been a long time since I’ve allowed myself to relax, to settle down and feel at peace. 

 I am so used to flitting here and there, perching on a branch for a short period and telling myself I’m home.  But the reality  is different.  The reality is I have been afraid of finding home and favorite places here because it might just mean settling.  And to settle means I’d be a long time before I’d head back to the place that holds my soul as a home.  

We all have at place, a space that calls us home, feels familar and embracing.  Sometimes it’s a place from our childhood, or a favorite vacation.  Sometimes it’s a place we stumble upon, perhaps on a whim.  Regardless of how we discover it, we all have these places.  And now matter how long it’s been since we last visited, or if we’ve never been there, it is home.  And home has been a long time coming, the sense of it within my stay here.

Slowly Now

I was asked to write down the first animal that came to my mind during a session I attended for work. After I wrote the down the animal on a piece of paper I was informed that it was my “spirit animal”. According to the facilitator this meant that it was the animal I was most in harmony with through my actions, thoughts and beliefs. She suggested that if we weren’t’ humans we would mostly likely be this particular animal or some variant close to it.

Now some of the people at my table apparently were more vested in this exercise than I was because they became upset at basically being told they were the animal they wrote one. Our table had the following animals: dog, cow, lion, elephant and a sloth. The ladies who wrote down dog and cow were offended and the man who said he was elephant become confused about how he would be an elephant if he were an animal. He saw himself as more of a lone wolf.

It wasn’t until after the session when I spent some time thinking on the animal that first came to my mind that I realized in a lot of ways it does represent my current life. In case you are wondering I chose the sloth.

This doesn’t mean I live in trees, or come down from the trees once a week to heed the call of nature. Nor does it mean that moss grows upon my hairy body (not that my body is hairy either). But when I compare my lifestyle now, since lupus decided to become a part of it, from what it was I can see how the sloth fits. Things happen slower for me, I move slower at times. I watch my friends dash off only to have to wait for me to catch up to them. By the time I’ve caught up, they are ready to start walking again and I haven’t had a rest. And some days all I want to do, all my body will let me do, is rest.

In some ways, as I’ve become more like a sloth as the wolf has become almost a part of me. I used to be more like a curious animal, into everything and going everywhere. I didn’t have to plan my next move because I could simply jump here or run there if it was needed. Obstacles were really just opportunities to show of my skill or at least coordination.

But in acquiring this slowdown of my life I have also been afforded an opportunity to consider what I value and expend my energy and efforts on those areas while not wasting it with frivolous and meaningless things. Now I can weigh the value of outcome against the energy, effort and time that needs to be expended and do so without worry of how people judge things. Unlike some people my age, I realize that everything has a cost to it, even something as simple as washing and conditioning my hair.

So yes I guess in some ways I am the sloth.

Never Anticipated This

I never anticipated that where I was born, what I did for a living or who I professionally associated with could result in me being unable to freely travel to countries.  Now I can’t change where I come from.  And I will be hanged if I will let anyone tell me who I can and cannot associate with.  Same goes for what I do for a living and I’m fully aware that what I do is something that a lot of people feel is unnecessary.

Perhaps if I had been born in a different country I wouldn’t feel so strongly attached to having had the freedom to choose my career. I may not even feel so strongly about keeping my career, but I was born in a country where the government did not dictate my choices.  And I was blessed to grow up with parents who didn’t tell me I couldn’t do things because of my gender or such.

I cherish my freedom to travel, to speak and to associate.  I also cherish the position I’m in that allows me to help others, to be a voice of the voiceless.  And now it is rather possible that I will have to consider which of these I value the most.  Or perhaps it’s a case of which of these is the best to continue to use for now so I can hold onto the others for when I need them.  At the same time I have to consider if it is possible that I may not be able to ever regain back that which others which to take from me.  And this time I know I’m not the only person in this situation.

That’s My Dog Or…

I was positive that my four-footed one was a purebred.  As in 100% dog.  All dog.  So red she has odd behaviours such as slithering across the floor like a snake.  I’m pretty sure she enjoys the feeling, and perhaps the confusion it creates for me.

I’ve come to notice another trait with her.  She seems to be part cat, in that she is constantly grooming herself just like one.  I’m waiting for the day she brings up her first hairball! 😕  Or is that fur-ball?  😮 Either way I’m just waiting for this moment and it isn’t await I am carrying out with joy either.  Or perhaps she will demand a litter-box next.

She has shown great curiosity with the litter-boxes on the shelves in the pet stores.  If they were filled with  litter and other stuff, I could understand her curiosity.  But litter-boxes that are still in cardboard boxes? This I do not understand.

Is this because I have been feeding her fish?  Has this triggered some dormant cat gene within her background?  Or is this part of her personality?  Not that it matters in the end, other than for her health.  If she is part cat or just a slightly odd dog it doesn’t matter, I still love her unconditionally.  Just as she loves me.

In The Still Of The Mind

I was invited to a meditation session by a one of Beloved’s friend’s partners. She had learned through her husband that I have never been able to wrap my mind around the idea of silence.  She had found a way that worked for her through some meditation sessions with a group of people who meet twice a week every week.

Now I’ve been open about my inability to meditate, I have yet to figure out how to get my mind to find stillness.   I know it’s possible, and I suspect if I just got out-of-the-way of myself and allowed myself to simply try in small steps it might happen for me.  But I can’t fully grasp a silent mind, perhaps I’m a bit afraid of it.  So I accepted the invitation.

When I arrived I was approached by a stranger who told me that she “normally never does this, but I am compelled to talk to you, to offer you a free reading”.  I don’t think I had even gotten much beyond the door when she made this offer.  It was clear that I was the only new comer based on how everyone else was interacting with each other.

It turned out that the leader of this session was the stranger who approached me.  She walked the group through a series of visualizations complete with drumming music.  Now in my area of study, drumming music has the potential to take a person into a trance like state so I was curious as to why there was a need for the drumming to go with the visualization.  She also changed the tone and volume of her voice as she went through the exercises, which is also common for putting people into relaxed or trance like state.  There was nothing odd with her exercises, nothing bad or wrong.

my curiosity was peaked as to why the need for these techniques when the sessions had been explained as gimmick-free etc.  I was also curious about my reading, which this stranger decided should be completed immediately after the session.  It turns out that most of the women in this class had been offered free readings.  Free readings which lead to discovering there were books and courses for what was missing in their lives.  And yes this leader just happened to have the books and the training to lead the classes for these very things.

To me that’s just a little too convenient. So I did what comes naturally to me, I asked her how she was able to do such clear readings?  And how she just happened to be so well suited for the needs of these women?  Needless to say, I am not welcome back.  And while I have no issue with people believing what they wish, when you start to create a need in others based on their vulnerabilities, I’m not going to be able to sit still.

Through some questioning and digging around, talking with others who had attended these sessions I discovered that each woman invited in was offered a free reading which resulted in the offering of counselling , coaching our courses. Of course after the free reading everything comes at relatively steep price and time commitment.  Some of see woman willingly and openly accepted the additional courses, counselling or coaching.  Others were pushed into it, as a means of being a better woman.  How the heck is this helpfulness? How does is help people be human?  How does this enhance anyone’s life other than the person who will benefit from it financially?  How is it not a form of cultivating easy money sources?





Your Dream, My Nightmare

A friend of Beloved’s recently announced he had been chosen to be part of a research team going to study a specific species of spider in Peru.  Up until this announcement I didn’t really know what this man did for a living.  After all he simply said he was a “biologist” when he was introduced to me years earlier.  He certainly never talked about his work, saying most people found it “unsettling”.

And now I heard he was going to Peru to study a spider those of a dinner plate.  A spider affectionately known as a bird-eating spider.  A huge tarantula of sorts.  With great big fangs.  That feasted on birds.  He was correct, his line of work was unsettling and to be honest a bit disturbing.  Simply because spiders that size?  Yikes!

Apparently there search station has the kind of WIFI signal that says “ha ha, fooled you” as just when you think you have connectivity, you lose it.  But he promised to send interesting emails when he could as well as pictures.  To show us the spiders are beautiful creatures.  Amazing animals even.  I will be happy as long as he comes back safe and sound with no spider bites or hugs from an anaconda.

To me, this isn’t really a dream, more like a nightmare, but he is so enthusiastic about it that it’s hard to not get cut up with his joy.  And I am truly excited for him.  I’m thrilled he has this opportunity.  It’s just not for me. But that’s what makes life interesting.  We can interact with people of al different interests and learn from them in a way that is comfortable for us.  And who knows, I may come to appreciate the spider that eats birds.  But I doubt I will ever call it cute.  Shame he isn’t off to study sloths!