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What I learned last year from having shingles

From December 9, 2008

Farewell to what no longer serves me, and thank you for your service.

Starting about 10 days ago my system started undergoing a massive detox. I’d say it began with my emotional pressure that appeared to be extended PMS as my cycle stretched itself into a full six weeks. I had moments when I thought my head was going to explode and I began to turn more and more inward. Less wanting to talk to anyone. How to explain, no reason to.

Then as those last days of tension and pressure were pushing my being to the edge of edginess, I saw a small, red raised bump on my abdomen. Knowing how these human bodies sometimes get bumps, I hoped for the best and watched to see what might happen.

That was Monday. By early Wednesday morning, my sleep was disturbed by the eruption of an itchy and kinda burny rash. It was kinda freaking me out and I couldn’t figure what would have brought it about, and the itchiness and pulling of energy to that part of my body expanded my already pressured tension to amazing spaces. Oh, and my furnace wasn’t working right and the weather got cold. Oh and there was construction going on around the house, oh and … oh and … oh and

Then on Thursday (I finally started bleeding and) Francis told me the rash was due to the high levels of healings I’d been receiving and that I was detoxing. He also said I would experience emotional detox. I said, yeah, my period was two weeks late. Covered that.

Friday morning, I looked up “shingles” on the Internet, and I fully matched the description: isolated to one side of the body, usually on the torso, a regular pattern along a channel of nerves, painful, etc. I even matched the photos.

I’m telling more about the physical/medical part of this than I’d meant to tell.

And typing this stirs up the nerve aching in my back.

So let me get to my original point.

I’m finished with these things:

needing or wanting anyone else’s approval

doubting my instincts

doubting my calling and the “time” it takes to reveal itself to me

seeking outside of myself

questioning the “time” i take to “accomplish” anything

I’m sure there’s more.

My calling is clear to me, even in its mystery. It’s clear to me that I’m called and I don’t need to know anything else.

In Louise Hay’s classic guide, You Can Heal Your Life, she writes that the likely cause of shingles is fear, tension, waiting for the other shoe to drop. The affirmation she suggests is this:

I’m relaxed and peaceful because

I trust the process of life.

All is well in my world.

That statement is absolutely radical when you consider the physical discomfort that comes next in the above story. I lay in bed with painful spasms in my back, burning in my skin, emotional and physical fatigue, and yet, I was called to present, to peace, to breathing, to practice.

Look, I’m not saying I did anything perfectly or came to love any of that pain. I’ve cried about it. I still want it to be finished and pray that it doesn’t wake me up tonight like it has every other night for the last week plus. But it’s been a fascinating experience, and I’m pretty peaceful about it, overall. I mean, weird stuff happens on and in one’s body during such a vacation. It is a TRIP.

I realized yesterday in the acupuncture chair that I’ve been practicing all along with this ailment. There’s nowhere to go from it. There’s no running. It’s what I’ve got.

One acupuncturist told me that she usually sees people with shingles at crossroads in their lives. She said it’s exciting and that [I’ll] feel so great when it’s over.

The crossroads is between doubt and trust.

I’m clear that my body is working really hard to release what it no longer needs. Doubt. Negative self-talk. Questioning. It’s like cleaning out its internal closet, opening up even more room for grace, for peace, for trust, for God’s love to flow through me. What else is there?

I’m deeply humbled and grateful to the staff at the Neighborhood Acupuncture Project for their generosity and loving care. I trust them implicitly and know that access to such care is a clear sign that “I” am right on track. This is the way of the future. Community healing, available to all.

My Maverick coach some time ago asked me to write down three charities so that I would know clearly where I was going to donate so I wouldn’t have to spend time contemplating whether or not to donate, etc. and to know where I want to share my energy. During this malaise, I came up with them: Neighborhood Acupuncture Project, Francis the Healer, and the Austin Public Library. All deeply generous places and people who never bring money into the conversation.

Today at the library they gave me a tote bag.

My local branch is now closed on Fridays due to lack of funding.

And may I also recommend the Joni Mitchell station on Pandora.

Francis told me today to be grateful that whatever’s coming out of me is coming out. Surely much is. You should see it. It’s like a galaxy of stars crossing my torso. Beautiful in its red raging mystery. Not as raging as it was. A microcosm. There may be an entire universe in one pore on your nose. My body is the universe.

I’m grateful to my body for working so hard at this purging. I’m grateful for the messages of trust and expansion I’m getting. I’m grateful for my friend who brought over salve and put it on my skin. She’s brave. I’m grateful for the quiet time and for the continuing shift toward quiet. I’m grateful for the Vipassana training. I’m grateful for Netflix and for Seasons 2 and 3 of “The Office” that have kept me company this past week.

I’m grateful for the deepening of trust and clarity that this experience continues to cultivate.

And to you, reader, for being who you are.

As I finish typing this, James Taylor shuffles on my Pandora and sings, “Love has brought me around, yeah.”

I’m detoxing and purging everything but.

Thank you.

  1. whatamidoingup posted this