On Friday I met my new Primary Care Physician. I switched over to the University of Utah clinic because my insurance covers it better than the physician I have been seeing for several years. I am kind of picky about who will take care of me so I was assessing him while he was assessing my health. At one point, I told him that my husband died 16 months after I had brain surgery. After he reflected, “You’ve been through a lot,” the first question he asked me was “How is your support system?” After I told him about my kids taking outstanding care of me, he commented on how difficult it must have been for the kids to see their parents’ health challenges so close together. He was very sincere. Well, that really impressed me, because he demonstrated a holistic viewpoint, knowing the psychosocial effects of two health challenges in a short period of time, for both me and for my family. He listened attentively and did not just focus on the physical domain. In addition, he shared with me that he lost his own wife to cancer, and understood how difficult is was to watch the decline of our loved ones. Needless to say, I’m pretty sure I picked the right physician, which adds to my strong support system. Now I just hope I don’t have to see him very often.
The time I spent at the International Association for the Study of Dreams conference was fascinating. Since I haven’t remembered any dreams since my brain surgery, one of my goals was to remember a dream while I was at the conference. Mission accomplished! I remembered three dreams, titled Wolves in the Neighborhood, Are You a Woman of Your Word? and Unlocking the Shower. Now that I have some dreams of my own, I really do want to start a dream group. It’s on my to do list.
One of the workshops I attended was about exploring metaphor through photography. We were told to wander around for 20 minutes with a guidance question on our mind, and find something that is related to the question and take a picture of it. I was happy to wander in the California sun with my question to God: What would You have me do?
Then I saw some beautiful white flowers and my heart gave a little leap of recognition. That was very surprising. It was like the flowers had a message for me. And here’s the message: Instead of asking the question, WHAT would you have me DO, I should be asking, WHO would you have me BE? White symbolized spirituality and patience to me. I am on a spiritual journey. It’s not about doing – it’s about being. Specifically, being patient, kind, and loving to myself and others. As I shared my picture of the white flowers with others, many of them noticed that there were buds in the picture, which I hadn’t noticed. What I saw was how the flowers were wide open to the environment. Open to the possibilities. The buds are leaning to open. To remember this lesson, we were asked to create an affirmation. Here it is: I am patient and kind and trust the unfolding.
I just love it when I go to a professional conference and learn about science and research and also learn personal life lessons. Perhaps I should treat every day like a professional conference…
I am in Anaheim, California attending the International Association for the Study of Dreams annual conference. My grandson and his girlfriend came with me so we could go to Disneyland before the conference started. We had an adventure on the way here. When we got off our plane at LAX we went to catch our SuperShuttle van to get from the airport to the hotel. We found the attendant to be fairly unfriendly, sort of ordering us to “stand over there. I’ll call you when your shuttle arrives.” When the shuttle came the driver said hello, stowed our luggage and then pretty much ignored us once he stowed us in the van. He made several phone calls while driving and his speed and weaving made me nervous.And the van was in need of repair. I honestly thought we would get in an accident and our whole trip would be ruined. We hit some major construction which slowed us down a lot, and he went to the wrong hotel which slowed us down further. Then as he was pulling out of a parking lot he hit an oncoming car. Well, as my grandson said, it was inevitable. The driver asked us if we were OK. We were. Then he got out of the van to talk to the other driver and there we sat. After a few minutes we decided to get out and walk to the hotel, which took about 10 minutes. Now here’s the fun part: We got to the hotel and the desk guy was totally unfriendly. Like we were bothering him to check in. What ever happened to California? Is nobody friendly here anymore? And why hasn’t SuperShuttle called to make sure we’re all OK? Whatever happened to customer service? On a lighter note, Disneyland was wonderful and the dream conference is fabulous. One of the attendees told me that when negative things happen at the beginning of a vacation, it’s a good sign that the vacation will be good because you got the negative stuff out of the way up front. Yeah, I’m gonna go with that….
On Thursday, June 15 I was able to visit my son and daughter-in-law while she was in labor to deliver their 4th son Henry. I had to leave for the airport at 6:00 to attend the dream conference so I was hoping Henry would arrive before then. Well. he arrived at 5:47 and I had already left the hospital so I just barely missed the big event. But it all worked out. My son and his wife were OK with me missing out, and I got a picture of Henry just before the plane took off. So my plan to “leap and the net will appear” worked out OK. I will see Henry when I get back from California. Mom and baby are doing well.
I was getting a pedicure a couple of days ago in preparation for my upcoming California adventure (Disneyland and the conference of the International Association for the Study of Dreams). The workers were all busy and I was chatting with other customers. An elderly gentleman shuffled in, using a cane and just sort of looking around, not saying anything. He was met with silence and staring. There is a barber shop next door and one of the customers said, not to him but to the rest of us, “He must be looking for the barber shop.” Still more awkward silence. The owner of the nail shop finally got up and approached him and asked what she could do for him. He said he wanted a manicure. Then everyone took a sigh of relief, and he got a manicure. Although the other customer said, under her breath, “I didn’t know men got manicures.” I said to her, “Well, they have fingers, don’t they?” She smiled at that.
I began engaging the man in conversation and found out that he needed manicures because he has peripheral neuropathy (no feeling in his hands and feet) related to diabetes, which he has had for 40 years, so he can’t groom his nails. He is 77 years old, has had 2 open heart surgeries and 17 grandchildren. His grown daughters take good care of him. I asked him what he did for a living before he retired and he said he was a state senator. As it turned out, he was pretty famous in the press when he was a state senator and I’m sure everyone in the shop had heard of him. So… what did I learn from this? I’m still ruminating, but basically I wonder why we jump to such quick assumptions when we see an elderly man shuffle into our space. We naturally assume he is confused and lost. Why don’t we naturally assume he is vibrant and wise and knows what he is doing? Is this what I have to look forward to as I age? People assuming I’ve lost my mind? Bummer!
Each morning in Palm Springs I stepped out of my hotel room and was instantly on a field of grass and surrounded by beautiful lush green plants in the middle of the desert. For three mornings in a row I practiced Tai Chi on a grassy little hill, right across the path from a duck pond and golf course. Since the temperature was in the 100’s in the afternoon, I got up early when it was still cool and peaceful. On the third day, as I was doing the gentle movements, a duck waddled right out of the pond and came to rest on the grass just a few feet away from me. I kept thinking he must be crazy because he (or she) doesn’t know me and I might be a dangerous human. The duck watched my movements and stayed until I was finished and then waddled back across the path and into the pond to join his paddling buddies.
I’ve given this a lot of thought and wonder if the duck was attracted to my calm yet determined energy. I am very often attracted to people with peaceful, calm energy (like Ellie Slette). I like being around them. It’s like peace is contagious and I want some. Things slow down around peaceful people and gives me time to think and ponder and learn. Was I exhibiting calm energy and peace? I would like to think so, because that’s a goal I have – to be peaceful and calm. I like the saying by A. J. Mustre: “There is no way to peace; peace is the way.” Or the duck was just crazy…
I had a wonderful time at the American Holistic Nurses Association (AHNA) annual conference in Palm Springs. I’ve been a member since 1992 and I just love seeing the friends I’ve made there through the years. I also like seeing how the organization has moved forward influencing the nursing profession to be loving and compassionate and person-centered. I presented a Dreamwork workshop and as I walked around the venue the following days, many of the participants told me how much they enjoyed it. The feedback was so sincere and heartfelt that I got re-energized about learning more about dreamwork. I looked up the International Association for the Study of Dreams website and discovered that their annual conference starts this Friday in Anaheim, California. Well, I decided that if I want to continue teaching dreamwork, it’s time for me to update my knowledge, so I’m going. And since the conference is just 2 miles from Disneyland, I’m taking my grandson and his girlfriend (Interestingly, we were just talking last week about how we want to go to Disneyland). It’s been a bit of a tickler to stick to my decision to go. My 12th grandchild (Henry) is scheduled to be born this Thursday morning, and I’m leaving Thursday evening. I will miss another grandson’s birthday party on Saturday. And I promised to watch my son’s dog while he is attending the birth. I know it’s important to my son and his wife that I be here for the birth, and I don’t want to hurt them or be insensitive, so I have been ruminating about this. Have I made the right decision? A nurse at the AHNA conference said, “If you’re meant to go to the Dream conference, it will all work out.” I prayed about it this morning and the answer came to me, “Just let things unfold.” So that’s what I will do. Instead of second guessing and fretting about making a mistake, I will be open to whatever presents itself. If my daughter-in-law’s labor does not go smoothly, or if something else comes up, I can simply cancel my trip. Since I am using the “let things unfold” approach, I won’t be disappointed if things don’t go according to plan. I am staying open to all the possibilities. As my dear Mom often said, “She who expects little is seldom disappointed.” And one of my favorites: “Leap and the net will appear.”
Here in Palm Springs at the American Holistic Nurses Association annual conference I ran into Ellie Slette. She was my mentor and advisor when I was president of the association. She stands out in my life as a wise woman, a source of strength and support, and a wonderful role model of a loving, caring, patient person. When I am with her I feel calm and peaceful. In one of our workshops we talked about giving students an assignment to write a letter of gratitude to someone they look up to. My letter would be to Ellie. And come to think of it, I could write lots of letters. So many people have made a difference in my life. It’s amazing how someone can just say something small in passing and it can have an impact. For example, just yesterday I was talking about retirement to another holistic nurse and she said that I was in a position to do whatever I wanted to do. My reflex reaction, in a whiny voice to myself, was to say, “Yeah, but what do I want?” Then it hit me – I AM doing what I want! And that’s good enough! Why do I search for more? Honestly, I think I have just been programmed to always think that I’m not doing enough and I need to be more definitive in what I want. DUH! I am doing what I want and it is enough and life is awesome!!! Thanks to the nurse who started me thinking about this.
I haven’t been blogging much lately because I haven’t been noticing things in my life that are worth blogging about. My purpose in blogging is to talk about metaphor and meaning on my journey of life. I’m not saying I haven’t had meaning lately. I just haven’t noticed it. I am in Palm Springs attending the American Holistic Nurses Association annual conference and a couple of people asked me if I was OK. Since I hadn’t been blogging, they were worried. This made me think about why I hadn’t blogged lately and realized that there is meaning and metaphor all around, but I need to be intentional about discovering it. To just say, “nothing’s happening lately” really means that I have been asleep at the wheel. When this life is over I want to say I found meaning and purpose. I can only do that if I stay awake and alert.
This week the LOVE theme is alive and well. I went to a painting class where we were supposed to paint a specific picture, but I didn’t like it. So what did I paint? Just the simple word LOVE. I thought I was the only one that would paint just a word, but when I looked around, several other students wrote just one word. They also didn’t like the picture that was chosen for us to paint so they painted an inspiring word. Sometimes when we don’t like what we see, a simple word can be healing and powerful.
My son Sid is the owner of Exotic Game Gear. He paints hoodies and t-shirts with a video gamer theme. I was driving around a few days ago and thought what other ideas might be good for him to branch out into. I thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool if he did some t-shirts with the LOVE theme? Like one from the ’60’s that says ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE, with flowers and paisleys.” I let the thought and image drift away while I was thinking about the fashion styles of the ’60’s. A few days later I visited Sid and his wife in Ogden and they said they wanted to make me a couple of T-shirts and had already picked out a few designs I could choose from. Guess what?? The designs they chose included a ’60’s LOVE theme shirt and one that said, ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE.. Now seriously, what are the odds of that happening? Life is such a mystery. There are no coincidences. It will be interesting to see where this goes, and what meaning it will finally have. We’ll see. Sounds like a new adventure has begun…