Monday, July 13

Gratitude, Joy, Oneness and Service (Day 322 - 325)

Well, it has been a rough couple of weeks and I've fallen behind.  Partly this was because I've been sick.  Partly its because I've been under stress and that can sometimes paralyze me.  The response to threat (including stress) is fight, flight or freeze.  Since 9/11, I have tended to freeze under stress and since Friday, I have been frozen.  Up to then, I did keep track of my gratitude which I intended to write up on Friday but whammo - another thing happened.  So...before this gets out of hand, let's catch up.

It is no coincidence that when life goes catty wumpus, we fall off the wagon.  Any habit is easy when life is is difficult to keep up when things go awry.  What I will say is that I did not get off the gratitude bandwagon...I simply got off the writing up bandwagon....until Friday.  When I froze, I really froze.

Things seem to have turned a corner yesterday in the circumstances and so I've come out of freeze and am working again today.

Let's begin, shall we?

Day 322

Today I was still very ill.  The chest infection seems not to be going away, even though the fever has broken. 

1. I am grateful for my kindle app on my ipad mini.  I am also grateful for Bookbub which allows me to download books for free or for very little money.  I seem to have only the option of mysteries, romances, historical accounts of nothing I want to know about or bodice rippers.  I have downloaded a few romances and bodice rippers because they're easy reads when one is sick.  But, I am reading a thriller this time and it was nice to just read, sleep, read, blow my nose, cough up my lungs, sleep and read today.  The thriller is a Dan Brown-esque story and not at all taxing.  Perfect.

2. I am grateful for Canadian cold tablets.  I brought some Nyquil and Dayquil tabs with me and when sick, being able to sleep is the most important thing.  I love Nyquil for that.  I rarely take anything and if this isn't gone by next week, I will go to the doctor to get antibiotics.  But for now, Nyquil allows me to sleep at night.  Hoorah.

3. My Dad said he wanted to talk to me.  I was worried that it was going to be a difficult father/daughter talk about what am I doing with my life etc.  (I've had a few of those with him over the years because we are very different in our approaches to life) I am grateful it was an easy discussion and not about my choices in life.  I feel too unwell to have had THAT conversation today.

Joy - I would be lying if I didn't say it was a joy to just allow myself to sleep the whole day, punctuated with reading myself back to sleep again.  I needed the sleep.

Oneness - I felt compassion for someone today, from whom I am trying to disconnect, for my own wellbeing.  I resisted the urge to reach out to him and instead, just sat with my feelings of compassion and said a prayer for him.  We can be compassionate and experience our shared humanity with others even if they are no longer in our lives.

Service - I gave someone something they needed even though it involves sacrifice and risk for me.

Day 323

Today was my mother's 26th death anniversary.  Even though I should be in bed, I decided to go out and try to have some fun.  I didn't want to sit at home today and I decided to spend the day with my mom, doing things that she might have enjoyed (and that I would certainly enjoy).

1. I am grateful for the galleries of Mayfair and the art dealers who are always happy to have a chat with me when I come in and enquire about collecting.  I am learning a lot.  Oh and I am grateful to one of the dealers at the Opera Gallery that gave me a booklet from the exhibition of Rancinan in Hong Kong as well.  It was kind of her as it will be a little while before I could buy a piece by him.

2. I am grateful I got to see the Racinan pieces in the exhibition at London Opera gallery.  I am a great admirer of his work since I saw his triptych at Paris Opera.  One day, I would love to own one of his photographs.  I have good (read: expensive) taste.  I am also grateful I got to see the Lucas Cranach piece at Sotheby's before it was sold and to happen upon an amazing Lorenzo Quinn exhibition at the Halcyon gallery.

3. I am grateful for a lovely tea at Fortnum and Mason.  I think my mom would have liked to have afternoon tea there and so I enjoyed afternoon tea there, today.  Afterwards, I went for a stroll through Green Park and Hyde Park to see the sunset. 

Joy - It was a joy to find that a photo I posted of Lorenzo Quinn's piece 'Would you catch me if I fall' was liked by the artist himself.  He even commented that he loved my photograph!  That was pretty amazing.

Oneness - As I came out of Hyde Park, the setting sun turned the Albert memorial aglow.  I thought, as I always do, about the tremendous love that Queen Victoria had for her Albert and how tragic it was that he died so young.  I wondered if he really ever knew how completely she loved him.  He was her other half.  It is a romantic story and one that appeals to me.  I have always been a hopeful romantic, hoping one day to find her soul mate. 

Service - Last year was the 25th anniversary of my mother's death and although I took the day off work, I spent the day sleeping.  I did not want to do that again.  I am grateful that I chose to pay homage to her with a wonderful day out that I think she would have loved, had she lived to see me living in London and had visited me here.  I think I'd like to take her out more often to see the sights of London.

Day 324

Today was the last appointment for Group 44.  We have been discharged from the programme.  I think we all sat around not wanting to leave and wondering: "What now?!"  I know that I am not convinced of my diagnosis.  I believe we rushed to the diagnosis to help me get some lifestyle management assistance before I left my work and I realise now that we did not investigate some things that are far more likely and seem to run in my family.  Next week, when I feel better, I need to get back to the doctor and investigate further.  The programme did not give us any treatment and while it did give lifestyle management options which would be good for anyone to learn, I have never been convinced of the diagnosis, so let's see....

Still, it was nice to see the ladies of 44 and to hear how they are working their program.  We talked about what we hope for the future and my hopes were not about the illness but were about life.  Of course, getting on with these things in life requires my illness to either be cured with treatment or well managed. 

Next week, we begin again to look for an answer other than the diagnosis I have.

1. I am grateful for the ladies of 44.  Those in the programme might say I am in denial.  Its okay if they think that.  They are not on my journey.  Other doctors with whom I am acquainted are not convinced of my diagnosis either.  If it proves that there is nothing found in other testing then I will be where I am already.  I am not prepared to ignore other possibilities that do have a cure and are often misdiagnosed or missed in testing.  I know that no matter what happens, the ladies will be there for me.  We've been down this road for more than a year together.

2.  After our session, the ladies went for lunch.  We went to a pub where we've never been, somewhere up the road from the hospital.  I had been thinking about a former colleague JP- who lives in a neighbouring village while I travelled to the hospital in the morning.  I wondered how he was doing and thought perhaps I should have let him know I was coming to this part of England, in case he was working from home.  But I knew that I would be lunching with the ladies, so I didn't. 

And as I walked into the pub, I glanced around for the ladies and there was JP, sitting in a pub in the middle of the town next to his, on a day when he is normally in the office.  It was a shock for both of us.  He expected that I was living in Canada for the past year.  I never expected him to be in a pub near my hospital on a Wednesday afternoon.

I am grateful to have run into him and I promised to email him so we could have a proper catchup.

3. I am grateful that we found a super cheap lunch deal at the pub.  It was nice to catch up with the ladies.  The group is divided evenly between those who have children and those who do not.  I happened to be with the ladies who had children and found it was a little hard to relate to their stories.  But it was still nice to hear about their lives.

Joy - It was a joy to see JP and also, because I arrived early and got on the wrong bus (the S3 which went to the next town where JP lives) it was a joy, rather than a stress to see the surrounding villages.  The bus let me off at a part of the hospital I did not know and it was creepy.  Many of the buildings were boarded up and as I walked through unfamiliar lanes between the youth mental health and the mental health centre, I came upon police training attack dogs.  It was creepy beyond belief and when I finally found my way to the outpatient section of the hospital, I was joyful to be out of creepy town and to know that I would never have to go back to that gloomy awful world.  Anyone with a mental health problem would not be served well by that grim facility.  I am joyful that I am mentally healthy!

Oneness -  Being with group 44 was a comfort.  We all suffer from some of the same symptoms.  Whether mine is caused by something genetic or by the same things as the others doesn't really matter.  We all understand and compensate for the symptoms we all experience.  It is nice to feel understood and not judged for sometimes being foggy, sometimes being sick, sometimes being exhausted and not being able to do all that the spirit desires. 

Service - Several people are unwell and suffering and I have included them in my reiki service for tonight.

Day 325

Today there was a tube strike in London.  It was a pain for folks that had to get to work (lucky I live close to my work) but for me, I had to get to Richmond to see the doctor I used to see on Harley Street. No, for the love of God, I am not getting botox or facelifts - have you seen my face lately?  ;)  So, getting to Richmond without the tube was a long and arduous process involving travel through Clapham Junction but luckily I did not have to go through in the morning rush.  I was finished with the doctor just in time for the evening rush, so I decided to hang out in Richmond until after the rush. 

I am still filled with phlegm and still she of the chest infection so my energy is way low.  I did a little walking but mostly I did a lot of sitting in the sun.  Life could be worse.

1.  I am grateful for park benches.  I sat on one for lunch and after the doctor, I took a walk to the park where I lay on one in the sun.  For someone low on energy, the availability of park benches is a blessing.

2. I am grateful for fig and yogurt gelato.  When I was in Florence a few years ago, I tried all the best gelato places and found that no matter where I went, fig was my favourite.  Grom fig was the best.  I didn't really eat figs much before that time but afterward, fig and goat cheese salad became my favourite.  I managed to find fig and yogurt gelato today.  Yum.

3. I am grateful for the DLR and London Overground which allowed me to get to Richmond today despite the tube strike.  Bus travel would have been a nightmare.

Joy - it was a joy to lay in the park this afternoon and have the comfort of distant traffic sounds remind me that I am still in London.  It was also a joy to just make the decision not to go straight home and, instead, to go to Shoreditch and have a salted beef bagel for supper so that I wouldn't have to cook.  I also managed to take a few photos before coming home.  I know it was a bit of rebellion from feeling sick for so long and I may pay for it tomorrow, being out so late but to heck with it, I said.  The bagel was delicious.

Oneness - As I was laying on the bench, I found myself getting itchy to check facebook or instagram.  I wondered what it would be like to be without tech for a week.  Would it generate a feeling of more Oneness or less?  I suspect it would be more but let's see.  I don't think I can go entirely without tech (not if I write here every day) but I am going to work on being online a lot less in the next week and see how it feels.

Service - I chatted with a woman on the overground and she asked me for tips in a couple of cities in Europe.  I have itchy feet and am longing to travel - have been looking at options and would like to go to Italy - perhaps next week.  In any case, offering suggestions to the fellow traveller was my service for today.

A video from today and I will start another post to catch up the remaining days. 

A video posted by Tania Campbell (@pinkstarpix) on

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