Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Energy levels



 Recharging my crystals at Spiddal beach


One of my favourite soaps



I see that my last post is from August. In September I had another check-up (a chest x-ray, and it was fine. My next set of CT scans - brain, thorax and pelvis - is in December), interrailed through five European countries, swam in the sea between trains, and spent a lot of time preparing to return to work, which I did at the beginning of this month.

I just finished reading Mark Boyle's The Way Home about his life without technology, and while I am not quite ready to go to the lengths he does (although a lot of the aspects of his way of life appeal to me), I am tempted, as I so often am, to give up all social media or even all online activity. I do not like having a mobile phone and only use it when necessary. My laptop I open every day, though I limit the time I spend on it and have started writing more letters and cards again instead of e-mails. But then I still come back here (and to Instagram).

A lot of people assume that I must have been bored while on sick leave for 18 months, but I genuinely don't know what boredom feels like. In the past twelve months (obviously it was a different story during treatment when I wasn't able to do much and we had a lot of help) I have painted more than in the two previous years, read a lot of books, prepared food from scratch almost every single day and tried a new recipe every week, started learning Irish and brushing up on my French, looked after the housework and grocery shopping, spent hours every week gardening,  participated in life outside our home to some degree, visited family and friends, taught a few casual art classes at home with a core group of loyal regulars, dealt with various workmen (we are still renovating / fixing a lot of things), and so on. I have kept up a routine of daily exercise, yoga, meditation and energy healing that I am now worried I won't be able to maintain. And while I have learnt the value of community and know how important it is to be connected to others, I also love my own company.

During the times when I was too weak from the treatment to do anything (for a while all I could do was lie in a dark room; I couldn't even read), in pain and full of fear, I got a taste of what despair must feel like, but underneath it there was always that core sense of being ok. One of these days I will write more about the inner work I have done, with the help of some amazing healers, that got me through all that and continues to help me deal with this diagnosis.

While there is still the uncertainty, with scans every three months, I feel lucky and grateful to be in a position to do things, to work, to live life. When I was first diagnosed I couldn't imagine this time, and I have seen others (including my dad) die within weeks of being diagnosed.

So the challenge now is to keep up my self-care and healing routines and this slower rhythm while also being back - albeit part-time - in the world of work. My older sister has the 24/7 job of being a mother to two small boys and still finds the time for what is called slow living, making everything from amazing meals and bakes to her own homemade cosmetics* in addition to all her sewing, knitting, crochet and other creative projects, and she doesn't own a dishwasher. My younger sister somehow musters the energy to do a set of intense TRE at the end of a day of looking after a baby and a 4-year-old and also puts together beautiful photo books** and translates difficult texts all on the side, among tons of other things. While I do not know how parental fatigue and cancer-related fatigue (or residues thereof) compare, I am inspired and energised by my sisters.


*She didn't make the soap in the photo, but 50% of the beauty products I am using these days are made by her.
 ** Sibylle - I didn't know there was a second Aidan book! It's adorable!




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