Thursday, August 18, 2011

Meditation Challenge: Day One

I signed up for an on line 21 day meditation challenge through the Chopra Center.  I'm already behind several days.  I'm supposed to be on day 4 and I've only done the pre-challenge exercise.  This post is part of the Day One challenge.  I want to write about it here since it is so interwoven with CFS.

Here is my assignment:
"Before we meditate today, let's begin by asking ourselves Who am I? How do I define myself? By my experiences, interactions, friends, lovers, or loved ones? By my past, accomplishments, or dreams? Do I define myself by my affiliations, behaviors, or habits? By my body, appearance, or physical abilities or limitations? By my mind, intellect, education, awards, or degrees?"

I've already written about this a little bit.  If you use the tag cloud, hit "who am I" for prior related posts.  Illness has cast me adrift with regards to who I am.  It is too early in the CFS cycle to know if I am going to be one of the lucky ones that recover in 5 years or if I am going to be stuck like this for decades.  I'm totally resisting labeling myself as chronically ill.  I think this is in large part due to my husband having one foot out the door and I'm worried that if anything hints that this is a forever thing he is going to take off on me.

But I digress, who am I.  I know who I used to be.  Going by the above list I used to be:

  • An accomplished adult figure skater that had passed three tests and won two medals in competition.  I was on track for the USFS Adult National Competition in a couple more years.
  • I was one of the few highly accomplished fiber optic splicer on the east coast.  I understood fiber and could splice together complicated optic circuits that no one at my work place could duplicate.
  • One of my scientific papers had been published and I gave a couple of successful talks.  One of which was later used as a training video.
  • I was a mother that put the brakes on my career so that my kid would be able to have a healthy happy childhood.
  • I am a graduate of Mount Holyoke College.  I'm smart even though my GPA wasn't spectacular.  While I am very good at calculus, I stink at foreign languages.
  • I was happily married for twenty years.  This last year has been a bit of a struggle though.
  • I was best friends with my husband for 25 years.  We are still working on getting back to that point.
  • I come from a dysfunctional alcoholic household.  It took me years to sort myself out.  I was saved by the love of my husband, a good therapist and converting to Buddhism.
  • I was born in England and grew up on Cape Cod.  I still have sand in my shoes and am most relaxed when I'm near water.  
  • I was just getting my career back in gear when I got sick.  My son was about to leave for college and some opportunities were starting to present themselves for me to move up in the work place.  Management was taking an active interest in my work and were giving me more challenging assignments.  I was looking forward to the new work and a possible promotion.
  • At the same time I was contemplating retiring in five years and possibly moving to Santa Fe.  That would depend upon multiple factors, chiefly how my new assignments went and how my husband's business was doing.
  • While I'm good at art and music, I'm not very creative.  I can mimic and copy but not dream up bizzare novel things.  I'm better at putting odd ideas together in new useful ways.
  • I'm fantastic at research.  I'm a true Renascence man: I'm a serial specialist.  I get interested in a subject and read everything I can on it until I understand it pretty well.  I then loose interest and move on to the next subject.  This cycle is typically two years to four years.
  • Some areas I've delved into over the years include: finance, gardening, gourmet and vegetarian cooking, nutrition, yoga, figure skating, weight lifting, landscape design and currently CFS.
  • I've been a member of Toastmasters, United States Figure Skating Association, Backyard Gardeners, W. Climate Action Project and a national association via work that I can't remember the name of right now.
  • I've been over weight since puberty.  I've only gotten near my ideal weight twice and that required me to be in the gym three hours a day six days a week.  Something that isn't attainable as a married working mother.
  • I eat pretty healthy organic wholesome food.  A far stretch from the SAD diet.  
So in summary: I was a smart, active, married, working mom that had a satisfying work and home life.

Now I'm not sure what I am.  Mostly I feel in limbo.  Like I said in my last post I live in the In Between.  I can't work.  I can't exercise.  I can't mom.  I can't wife.  Mostly I'm waiting.  Not sure for what.  A cure?  A miraculous recovery?  My old life back?  My old husband back?  (I miss him)  I'm waiting for something to get a bit better/easier.  I certainly can't do much.  I'm thinking of tinkering with my diet again but I'm limited with being unable to shop or some days even to cook.  I'm waiting to see my two CFS docs.  I'm waiting for a tip table test.  I'm waiting to recover from my Maine trip.  I'm waiting for someone to visit to break up the monotony.  I'm not happy with my days.  They are long and lonely.  Not that I could do anything.  Staving off boredom is the hardest thing with long term illness.  The days start to run together only broken up with visits to the doctor and crash days.  It all gets muddled together somehow and the boredom seems to overshadow everything.   I'm really not dealing very well with being sick.  Probably because I'm fighting it.  I can't move forward because I'm in denial.  I keep thinking I'll get better if I just behave.  If I just rest enough.  If I just eat the right foods.  If I see the right doctor.  If I take the right meds.

So I wait.  And I'm still fat.

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