Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I'm Unraveling

“It may be that when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work, 
and when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey.”

~ Wendell Berry 

   Here is where I am, and frankly, it’s a bit uncomfortable.  Look over there, up and to the right…on that side bar.  See what it says?  I only wrote in here one time last year.  Once.  August 2011.  That kind of blows my mind, and reminds me of being a kid, when adults would yammer on about how time passes more quickly when you’re older.  It’s so true.

It’s also true that I’ve been experiencing a sort of inverse writers’ block.  I haven’t been lacking in ideas; in fact, I’ve been inundated with ideas, but the more I let pass without writing, the more overwhelming it became to find a place to begin.  Yet, unraveling all the thoughts in my head isn’t something I’ve had the energy for this past year and a half.  I’ve been a woman of action, leaving zero time for anything else.

I’ve been doing a lot of unraveling lately…oh-so-slowly unraveling my thoughts.  It’s a rather powerful act when you really take the time to do it.  I was sort of forced into taking the time when my body did a total system shutdown, and here I find myself, in the midst of a medical-leave-of-absence from work.  It’s been eight weeks today, which is shocking because I thought I’d be better in two.  But I started out in a rather deep well of denial about my health.

Every issue is far more complex than we first give it credit for.  The spiral that ended with an elegant crash and burn in January, was precipitated by a perfect storm of events, one of which was a decision I’d made to explore the idea that Fibromyalgia isn’t real, that I just needed to grow up and “handle things” like other adults.  I’d also entered a state of manic obsession in my cooking adventures, leading me to utterly ignore the signals my body was sending.  And it must be said, much of my final collision can be traced right back to turning forty in October.  I’m sure you know where this is going.  It is so cliché, but I found myself in a bit of a mid-life crisis, and I acted out in some pretty typical ways, and blah, blah, well, you get the idea…talk about unraveling. 

So, here is where I am.  I acknowledge that I have a health condition. I’m attempting to identify what my body is telling me without judgment, while embracing the woman I am at forty.  At the same time I’m working to unravel the mind-body entanglement that compounds my health issues, so I can live well, and with authenticity.  My lifestyle is so mellow these days; it’s just crazy that I’m not getting better faster.  I go to bed obscenely early, a bit after 8:00, and I read.  I am in bed for ten to twelve hours most days, asleep for eight if I’m lucky.  My diet is healthy, I exercise daily, and I do relaxing things like read, write, garden, chat, and pet my cat.  I drink little alcohol; I rarely eat sweets.  I almost never drink coffee.  I go to therapy twice weekly, I see a physical therapist, and I get the occasional massage.  This may seem a bit extreme, but I really want to get better.

And yet, here I sit, eight weeks into my leave, pain discouragingly coiled around my shoulder and back while I write.  But, this is where I am.  And I am improving, but at a pace out of my control.  In all my recent unraveling I’ve learned I’m really good at packaging things into pretty little boxes.  Pushing through, meeting goals, and setting timelines…these are my tools of choice.  I’m not as adept at sitting still in discomfort or pain, allowing things to resolve in their own proper time.  I’m not that great at sitting still at all, actually.  So here I am: quite still, trying to be present, slowly unraveling my way forward.     


  1. May God bless you and keep you, my dear.

  2. It has been too long, Jen. Thank you for writing. Keeping you in thoughts and prayer.

  3. Very well put! And all sounding a bit too familiar:) Love you and keep up the unravelling until the truth appears...

  4. Hi cousin. I was in the same boat several years ago, until I did 2 things: ditched oral contraception, and changed my diet to whole-food, plant-based. I was a 'healthy' eater too, but the animal foods, dairy especially, really mess with our system. Oils (even olive!) and other processed foods do as well. I don't even get colds anymore, and the only pain I have is structural in nature and I'm working through that via Bikram yoga (which is helping!). I do nutrition coaching if you ever need help. Be well.....