Grace…


In the week previous to a time that I needed grace as much as I can ever remember needing it, I was watching Oprah and Iyanla on Lifeclass.  Iyanla said… “if you need God’s grace, it’s there”.  It’s already and always there.  You just need to accept it.  (I’m paraphrasing).  She said, “If you don’t have it, you don’t want it because it’s right there”.   If you’ve seen Iyanla, you can imagine the inflection and underlining – capitalizing – those words with her voice and gestures.

That was an “Aha Moment” for me.  I had experienced grace to be a very elusive unknown.  When I needed it most, it seemed to be unattainable.

This is another one of those times when what I needed to learn came at exactly the right moment!  Another confirmation of how much I’m loved and protected.

I was in what felt like unbearable angst about a medical issue that I was being faced with…and I could find no peace.   My sister had come to visit and be with me and while on a walk with her, I mentioned what I’d heard Iyanla say and voila!!  I accepted grace and had complete calm and peace.  For the entire day.  It was comfort and it was restful.  In fact, I had it through most of that night.  It seemed really simple.

I awoke early morning with the angst again.  In my pain and fear, I forgot about accepting grace.  When I did remember, I couldn’t seem to get hold of it.  I was in tears and had one of my ongoing conversations with God.  I ask Him to please help me.  I explained to Him (ha) that I knew his grace was right there but told him that I was unable to reach out and find it, ask that he please help me out and deliver it to me.

Now I don’t know how to explain all of this other than report what happened.  It was instantaneous.  I had peace and grace again.  More than that, I felt a comfort that I couldn’t begin to explain in words.  When I’d start slipping into fearful thoughts, I’d experience not a voice, as such, but a definite conversation in that personal way that I hear God when he’s speaking to me.  He was right there with me on the way to the hospital.  Second by second, he’d gently remind me to hang in there with him and experience him.  As long as I kept my thoughts on that peace and grace, everything was tolerable.  It was truly a spiritually amazing experience.  Not to say that I didn’t have intense moments of fear and anguish, but was able to get through them pretty quickly.  At least until they started to wheel me out for the surgery.   And then, thank God, they gave me the knock out shot.  Smile.

One thing I learned is that my thoughts of fear and pain separate me from grace.  Because of this experience, I clearly learned that yes, I get grace because it’s there …if I guard my thoughts from the voices in my head.  If I let myself listen to those voices – and decide that they are me, they almost always take over with doubt and fear.  A long, long list of “What if’s”, wild imaginings…  My part in this is to remember what I’ve learned from Eckhart Tolle and Michael Singer (The Untethered Soul).  The voices are not me.  I am the observer.

Jill Bolte Taylor has written in Stroke of Insight, that physically, any emotion (or energy) – good or bad – takes 90 seconds to run through our body.  If we have anger, fear, joy…any emotion, longer than that, it’s because we’ve chosen to hold on to it.  Michael Singer, in The Untethered Soul (One of my favorite books, by the way), writes about the same thing.  That we need to constantly be open, heart, mind and spirit, keeping all chakras open.  And that means allowing every emotion, every energy to flow through us – immediately.  Then we can be open for what is happening each moment.  The now.   If that energy – the emotions – get blocked, held on to, then we live in that emotion – fear, distrust, emotional pain.  It isn’t something that “happens” to us.  We make a clear choice to live there.   Past pains can be released as soon as they appear.   Letting go of the past!    I didn’t know that’s how it works!   Relax and watch it flow right through us.  It only lasts for 90 seconds!   If it reappears, let it pass through again.  If you’re interested, you might want to read the books – they say it much better than I.  I’ve learned so much through the last few months that I feel like a different person.   I am so thankful for everything that I’ve learned and experienced.  Help is always right there when I need it!

About grace – I wish I could say these are my original words but they’re not… they’re from Caroline Myss when Oprah was interviewing her on Super Soul Sunday.

Caroline explained grace as that experience of the sudden knowing, a message that everything is going to be ok.  And then it’s gone as suddenly as it appeared.  But it left the knowing.  That’s grace.

Grace is the quiet whisper … “don’t say that right now”, “don’t do that right now”.  That’s grace too.  Our part is listening to the knowing and acting – or not acting on it.

Grace is that something that makes a moment better.

Bottom line…we do have choices.  And I really like options!  Now I know a little more about how to use them.

Once again, I’m SO grateful!

 

 

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Fear – How Do I Get It Out of My Life?!


Please PLEASE, Dr. OZ.  Help me!

I feel like I’m bordering on pathological fear and it seems to be getting a bigger hold on my life.  My physical symptoms are progressing and I want my life back.  How ever do I make this happen?

I’ve had test after test, including an angiogram.  Now my doctor wants me to have an MRI/MRA.  At this point, I think the basis of my physical ailments are fear about my health – and in some ways, for valid reasons.  I feel desperate – that I’m a time bomb in a race to find an answer before I have a stroke!

My blood pressure spikes are causing more consistent symptoms – the stinging pain in the top of my head, a droopy sensation at the temple corner of my left eye, and a stinging numbish sensation at the left corner of my mouth.  These areas  don’t look any different – but they feel very  different while my blood pressure is high.   They are new symptoms.  As is a periodic discomfort in my left eye.  I was checked by an ophthalmologist  at Devers Eye Clinic yesterday and he said my eyes are in excellent condition.  My eye feels slightly irritated and sometimes has a few seconds of feeling like it does when I have the flu.

My blood pressure normally runs great – 111-low 120’s/low 60s and on the low side in the night and mornings.   My pulse is usually in the low 50s (I don’t feel well when it’s in the low 50’s) to high 50s in the morning so I usually take my morning dose of Metoprolol 25 mg at 10:30-11 am rather than when I should be taking it at 9 a.  My blood pressure is usually in the mid to high 120’s  when I take my 9 pm dose.  When I try to go below this, I have a lot of palpitations/skipped beats.   My blood pressure has been up very high (190s-212/low 100s) at least 10 times this year – an unusual event for me.   The first few times happened in the night – woke me up.  No one has been able to figure a cause other than sleep apnea.   My symptoms include those of sleep apnea I’m told –  and from what I’ve researched.  It’s so difficult to be who I am with so little sleep.  I have no problems for a period of time and just getting comfortable with my body’s behavior and then it happens again.    I manage my blood pressure spikes with meditation and Lisinopril if it doesn’t come down with deep breathing and relaxation visualization.  I’ve been seen several times in the ER, admitted 3 times, had an angiogram as well as 24 hour catecholamine and many other tests.  Everything has been normal.   I have great doctors and they have deduced that I have sleep apena which is causing the blood pressure spikes, severe lack of sleep and anxiety.

I had a sleep lab study but couldn’t sleep enough to get a good report but did show hypopnea.   My doctor then arranged for a home sleep study which I had.   He told me that it showed apnea, hypopnea and very low oxygen levels which he feels awaken me.   Last night I had a sleep lab titration study but again couldn’t sleep enough to get a good report.   From research and a visit with a person at the sleep lab, I was told that home studies are very inaccurate.  I was told by my technician at the sleep lab that I don’t have apnea at all that he could see.  My doctor will have my report on Friday and I’ll ask my questions from him and find out the news.  I was so excited to have the study, believing that it would resolve the blood pressure spikes issue and that I could eventually get over my distrust of my body – and my fear.

I am so stressed and exhausted with all of this and I think the stress is keeping me from sleeping.  It’s a vicious cycle.  That is where my fear comes in – I’m terrified that I’m bringing on the very thing I’m trying to avoid.  I try every thing I can – medication regimen, meditation, read Eckhart Tolle’s books, in fact listen to them when I’m walking.  And I have a glass of wine now and then…

I’m a very strong and healthy 71-year-old woman with a wonderful life otherwise.   I have many reasons to live including 2 brand new great-grandchildren.   I have walked 10,000+ steps (thanks to your encouragement) every day for sometime, have lost over 30 pounds, gotten off my Metformin and now manage my type 2 diabetes with diet and exercise.   I’m so grateful to you and your show!

I watched your show about sleep disorders and learned a lot.  I’ve had difficulties sleeping since I was a child.  In fact, my Dad has told me that I had a difficult time sleeping as a baby and small child – that he used to rock and walk me half the night.  I had never heard of genetic insomnia but I wonder if that describes my sleep problems.   I hope we hear about her treatment.   I’ve been taking occasional trazadone when I can’t sleep, anywhere from a quarter of a 50 mg tablet to the entire 50 mgs.   Sometimes it doesn’t work at all.   I definitely prefer natural treatments but am fearful about trying something else right now.  I’m normally awake at least every 2 hours each night and routinely get 3-5 hours of sleep each night,  rarely six, very rarely 7.  I’m so desperate that I can’t even tell you – for sleep, peace, no anxiety, no more fear – for getting my life back.

My fear is such a problem for me that it’s interfering with my life.  It’s embarrassing to admit that I’m so fearful but am deciding if I’m going to get help for it, I have to talk about it.  There must be others in my situations.  As soon as I receive reassurance – reading my normal labs and other reports, I feel all right for a bit and then the fear starts creeping in again.  I no longer trust my body! What if my blood pressure rises again and I have a stroke.   I dread night time so much – no words – what if I lie awake all night and imagine the worst – despite my best efforts.  The less sleep I have, the more my emotional defenses are down.    I’ve had 17 deaths of family and best friends in the last 18 years, 6 of those (my Dad, two sisters, brother-in-law, and besties) in the last 5-1/2 years.   I’m still reeling from those deaths and definitely feeling my mortality.  My fear is beginning to include my husband and family’s safety.  It feels like fear is  taking over my life.  It is.  I pray.  I talk to my sisters and husband.  I journal.  I research.  I exercise the power of believing…

Have I missed one of your shows that dealt with fear?   Please schedule or replay?

Thanks!

Religion (Spiritual to me) and politics….


I know, touchy subjects I suppose. But this is my journal and I’m looking for answers.  Comments are welcome!

I’ve struggled with getting to sleep for years.  And struggle is an understatement in the last year.   My health has always been pretty good, however, a struggle this year.  I’m told by the guys with the stethoscopes that the only thing that they can deduce from my symptoms and experiences is a sleep disorder that is affecting my blood pressure and  these scarey symptoms are all part of it.  A lady doctor told me she thought my problems were about not grieving recent deaths.  Hmmm.   I sleep well about every other night when I’m exhausted from very little (and I mean very little!) sleep the prior night.

This leads me to my latest episode last night.   Yesterday was my “good” day, awesome, felt like myself, had fun.  My day was a great one actually.  Then in the late afternoon it hit.  My blood pressure took a hike – upward.  Way high again.  All of my ugly symptoms alerted me to what my blood pressure was doing.   I had taken my highest recommended dose of meds by late evening and they were not doing their job.  I continued meditating and doing the best blood pressure lowering breathing that I could muster.   It wasn’t helping.  In fact, my BP was going higher!   By 2 am, I was exhausted, considering yet another trip to the ER, trying very hard to visualize good things but ending up right back in my scariest thoughts.   I was, to say the least, desperate.  I had moved into sheer terror and fear.  And that was not helping my blood pressure – at all!  That’s when I suddenly got help.  I don’t say this easily or carelessly.  But it was nothing short of a miracle.   If you had been there you’d understand.

OK, this is the God part.

I think there are a lot of  different names for God if we believe in a higher power – I call mine God.  My belief is that there is no doubt – God exists.  In fact, I don’t even consider it a belief – it’s who I am.  Me and God.  I don’t talk about it much at all but it’s always there.  I don’t go to church, at least at this point, but I talk to him regularly.  My Dad was a preacher.  Yes, I’m a PK (preacher’s kid).  I enjoy good conversations about spiritual things with a few people but I rarely talk about being a PK to most people.  They expect me to know verses and have answers.  Uh…Not!  I’m not proud to say that I did more note-passing and day-dreaming in church than listening.   Not to say I didn’t have my spiritual experiences as a young person – a few funny stories about some of those.

Over the years, I’ve tried many times to read the bible but it’s totally confusing to me – I have a very difficult time understanding and applying what I read.   Those who can and do, amaze me!   I have read other easy-to-understand translations.  They’re interesting but even if they’re inspired, I question words.  They can be interpreted many ways – depending on many things – human perceptions and motives.  I would like to have a bible written by God – not translated by humans who may or may not have agendas.  I have my favorite verses but I rely mainly on my very personal communication with God.  Thus the spiritual and not religious comment.

I have huge questions of my own.  (I’ll be writing about those and comments from anyone who happens on to my questions will be welcomed!)  Most of the time I don’t want to think about my questions.  Not saying that’s smart, but it makes things simpler for me right now.  I’ve spent so much time in my life trying to figure things out.  Having faith, “just accepting” and believing are not my strong suits.  I’m working on that…in a lot of areas.  Balance Grasshopper….

Well, last night – in the night – in my desperation, I was talking to my Dad – in my thoughts.   I was missing him terribly.  Right up until his death, I could call him from wherever I was and he’d say a prayer.  It almost always – 99% of the time – helped me.   He’d invariably ask God to “renew my mind and my spirit”.  And God did.    It seemed that My Dad had a real connection.  My sister seems to have that connection… but it was 2 am!  Not a good time for a phone call.

Anyway, that’s when it happened.  It wasn’t my Dad but I felt sudden relief.  I felt God.   I haven’t experienced this – to this degree – except for one other time years ago when my best girlfriend was killed by a drunk driver.  I was deep in grief over my loss and suddenly felt the comfort of God. No other way to say it.  I had grown up hearing about “The Great Comforter” and that spirit was very real for those moments.  And it relieved my angst.  I don’t know how to explain the experience so I won’t try.  It wouldn’t work and would sound woo-woo.   But it happened.   It happened again in the night.  It was a complete surprise.  I sure can’t say that I used the power of believing –  “believed” it was going to happen and then brought it on myself.  But I’ll gratefully take it!!  It was quite the opposite.  I was in a “fear spin” and far from being able to be positive – even with my best effort.   I was shocked.  Very peaceful – immediate and sudden –  And very, very grateful.  That Great Comforter again – I recognized it immediately.  In my head I was singing “He Touched Me” (Gaithers).

I finally went to sleep!

I’ll work on the Politics part another time

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