Psychosomatic

With much delight and warmth of heart, I have resumed what my dear friend and I call “artist’s way.”  Actually, it started out using Julia Cameron’s Artist’s Way, but in the five+ years since, it’s been many things — mainly our soul time.  A phone call a week, some quiet time, conversation, feedback — what every woman needs.

This time is sacred and confidential, but with an open heart I believe I can share lessons I’ve learned with sincere thanks given to my friend for her insight.  This week’s lesson: psychosomatic illness.

psychosomatic (per Merriam-Webster):


1
: of, relating to, concerned with, or involving both mind and body <the psychosomatic nature of man
— Herbert Ratner>


2
: of, relating to, involving, or concerned with bodily symptoms caused by mental or emotional disturbance <psychosomatic symptoms> <psychosomatic medicine>

Friday I was stricken with a migraine, one like I hadn’t had for about five years.  Encouraged to look at causes for the killer headache, I realized there are many factors that could be at play.  Among the culprits:

  • hormones
  • post-holiday stress relief
  • change in weather
  • dehydration
  • break in a hectic schedule
In my weakened state, of course, I didn’t seek out the causes.  When we are down, we lack the energy to look beyond where we are in the moment.  When we are down, we are very much aware of our present state and what we must have to survive, even if it’s simply a place to sleep in the dark and quiet.  Pizza delivery can be a blessing.

There can be medical reasons behind a migraine.  If I go to a medical doctor, I’m certain I could come away with a prescription and repeat visits until a diagnoses is made.  But I can also listen to my body, keep a journal of the onsets, be aware of my surroundings and circumstances and see if there’s not a pattern.  I can take into account where my mind and emotions are and see how they might be playing out through my body.  After all, isn’t that what holistic care is about?

Undoubtedly I needed some rest.  Two a.m. is not a sustainable bed-time.  There are aspects of my life I need to be more aware of.  There are aspects of my life I need not take for granted.  I hope that in your life, you don’t have to be stricken before awareness is yours.  Our bodies are wise.  We need to listen and take care of them.

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Take a Load Off

(I, too, dabble in the fiction realm.  Enjoy, and pass along to others you feel might benefit.)

I wander through the woods.  The thicket scrapes against me, and my laden vest pulls me down.  It’s so heavy.  I can go no further.  I fall to the ground.

I watch the glimmer of light come closer, flicker before my eyes, dancing around, it seems.  Suddenly, it poofs into a fairy, more like a fairy godmother.

“Why have you stopped, dear?” she asks.

“I can go no further,” I say in despair, feeling the sweat all over my body, clothes soggy and clinging.

“Nonsense,” the fairy replies.  “You have all you need.  Now, get up and get moving.”

I protest, and she keeps telling me to move.  Finally, her little pixie body yanks me up, pulling me out of my pit of despair and into her full attention.

“Empty those pockets,” she orders.

So I pull out the wipes, tissues, diapers, toys, the snacks, drinks and medicines.  I pull out more toys and crumbs.  I carefully remove the sewing machine and sewing box, the computer, about half a dozen cookbooks and a small bag of make-up.  I look at the fairy pleadingly. 

“Isn’t that enough?”  I ask.

“Is it?” she asks me.

I feel lighter, but there’s still more weight than I feel I can carry.  So, I empty more pockets.  Out go all the CDs, a shelf worth of books, fancy garden tools and kitchen gadgets.  Out go the fancy planters and delicate vases.  I take the vest off for a bit and realize I have layers of clothing on.  I peel the layers off until finally I’m in a simple dress over my pretty yet practical undergarments.  I take off large rubber boots and large clunky boots until I’m left with just my sandals.  I even had extra socks on, so I take those off altogether.

I pick up my vest and put it on.  It slides on easily and hangs loosely, comfortably.  I smile.

“How’s that?” I ask, looking up at the fairy.  “Fairy?” I call out.  I look for her in all directions, but I don’t see her.

“Check your pockets now, and leave the rest behind you.  Enjoy the journey.”

I look around for her, but I only heard the voice.  Was she out there or just in my mind?

Looking in my pockets, I find a needle and thread, wooden spoon, a spade and cultivator and a pen and notebook.  There’s a mound of things around me, and I was tempted to pick some of it back up.  I love that so much; that comes in so handy; I paid so much for that . . . But my pockets now are too small.  I wasn’t sure how I had carried it all in the first place.

So I leave it.  I turn and don’t look back.  Just over the rise of hill and around the bend, the woods clear and give way to a beautiful, enchanted woodland with a rippling spring and flowers and everything I love about the forest.  No more would I feel I didn’t have room to enjoy myself, my life.

I sit on a carpet of moss by the creek, eat from the berries I picked from a nearby bush and pull out my pen and notebook.  The possibilities are endless.

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