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Hope – Four Years Ago

This time four years ago I was discharged from Whangarei Hospital to come ‘home’ to celebrate a friend’s 30th who had driven up from Auckland.

After one of my biggest tummy flare’s, due to the most heavy pressure that I put myself under, I developed a peri-anal abscess. My flare had finally been controlled with oral antibiotics and my fissures healed with fresh aloe vera leaves. A few days later though, I became aware of this intense pain in my bottom area. When I stood up, the throbbing was so concentrated I had to lie back down. I had no idea what it was. I began waking up in the middle of the night to take painkillers. Eventually on one particularly bad night nothing helped. At 1am an ambulance came to pick me up.

A tiny hope flickered, that these months of unwellness might be coming to an end…that I could get on with things…

I hated having to give in and go, but the pain was so unbearable I hoped they could take it away. An hour or so later the doctor on call confirmed a peri-anal abscess and I began IV antibiotics. I spent the next day in Kaitaia Hospital (an hour from home), wondering what all this meant. At the time I didn’t have a smart phone, which is probably a good thing, so I wasn’t trawling the internet for all the possible outcomes. That night I was driven to Whangarei Hospital (2 hours away) in an ambulance, with a large strapping teenage boy who had just had his foot run over by a truck. His pain was palpable. I watched the stars rushing past, branches reaching up to meet them, feeling my aloneness expand and grow.

Long story short I got prodded and poked and examined by young male doctors for 6 days in hospital, still while on IV antibiotics, dragging a stand around with me to the bathroom and back. I was so keen not to risk a surgery near my sphincter muscle that I led myself to believe it was starting to feel slightly better. I still couldn’t stand for longer than a few minutes, but I told myself the antibiotics would take it all away. And I’m not sure if I convinced the doctors and surgeons, or if they really had hope it would go away too.

That small hope gave me an out…

My dad drove me back home. While I had been away Harlan had moved some of our stuff out to a friend’s beachfront cottage, where we stayed for 3 weeks while I recovered. A few friends were already there for the birthday weekend and I had a station set up in the lounge on my massage table. That way I could socialise without moving or having gravity work too hard on my bottom.

I’ve always put on a brave face. A protective shield of strength and independence to guide me through my tough times. But here, in this lounge, a little bit of that toughness was stripped away. I could hide so many of the confused painful emotions, but I felt bare and vulnerable and useless. I had to argue with that need inside myself to always be doing something. Preparing dinner, cleaning, helping. I had to try and let go, even just for a little while.

A week later I had to admit to myself that nothing was changing and my dad drove me back down to Whangarei Hospital. I was operated on overnight – the abscess drained. At 12am I emerged from my anesthesia haze begging for more morphine, and finally by the morning I could stop pressing the button for regular hits into my bloodstream. The pain eased, and with it came a trip back to the beach cottage that day. Erin, a district nurse, was booked to visit and attend to dressings.

This was the beginning of the end I told myself. With the abscess drained, I could fully heal and ‘get on with my life’. A little hope bloomed in my belly…

“Do you think I can book my flights for Australia in a few weeks?” I asked Erin about a week after the surgery. It felt like things were healing nicely and a lot of the pain had gone away. I had planned on heading back to the grain silos in South Australia to earn some summer cash.

“Just wait and see,” she replied, “wait for it to get better before you go and do that.”

Wise words. Hopeful words. Imagine if she had known the future.

Imagine if she had said: “No way don’t book those flights, you ain’t going nowhere. You’re going to think this is all healed, and then you’ll realise it’s created a fistula. You know, that condition you’ve read about, but tried to push out of your mind? You won’t be able to sit, standing will be tricky and walking won’t really be any fun for months…kind of almost years really…”

That’s where hope and optimism is a good thing. If someone had actually told me what was in store for me. All the pain and anguish, disappointment and raging emotions I’d have to experience, I would have given up. Right then and there. As we left the beach house and I could feel a bigger pain starting in my bottom again.

But no one did and so I kept hoping. I kept visualising and praying and doing whatever it took to give me moments of courage that this would pass quickly. That life would return to ‘normal’…

And now, here I am four years on, still with a fistula. It turns out I had to learn to get on with my life as it was, not how I wanted it to be. Not how I thought it should be. I had to learn to live it as it was. I had a new normal. An ever-changing normal. These last four years have been a rollercoaster ride of note. I’ve had such highs of goodness and hope, and I’ve had such deep dark lows that I’ve wished the lights would go out.

But through it all, somehow…hope.

I’ve used that sheer determination and strength that used to hide away that vulnerability, to navigate this journey. To keep going, one foot in front of the other. When courage collapses, I pick it back up and shake it around. Sometimes I yell at it and ask it to let me give up. But in the end I need it there to help me grow, journey and transform myself along this exploration of life and self. I want the courage, because what a path we’ve walked!

When I say I’ve had hope, I suppose it’s been more like my bedrock. I haven’t always felt like it’s there, but some part of me must…

Hope, stubbornness and determination have led me to a place of freedom. I may not have freedom to sit and travel the world and do those sorts of things right now. I used to pin a lot on those, but now I look elsewhere. There is now a deep flowing freedom in my soul that I never thought possible. Freedom from so many ties and expectations, criticisms and comparisons that kept a firm noose around my neck all those years. That noose sometimes choking me of the ability to breath in life and enjoy it as it was.

So here’s to hope.

And here’s to freedom. To letting go. Sometimes we go looking for freedom and find it in unexpected places. Other times we hope-letting-gohave a very clear and firm picture of it, only to learn that it looks totally different. It actually feels nothing like we imagined. It’s even bigger and better.

I know hope can bring disappointment. That I know more than anything. But I also know that hope brings with it the ability to carry on and navigate and move, even when you have no idea what’s in front of you.

Right now, in this moment, I honestly think that the most important thing is to hold onto hope, but to let go at the same time. Keep moving forward, but don’t limit yourself with rigid expectations and shoulds.

Let life unfold without you fighting it and constantly reimagining the life that is happening to you in this moment.

The Desperation to be ‘Fixed’!

The fuel of desperation

Desperation was my driving force, my momentum for the first 2 ½ years on this journey with a fistula. Every possibility, every magic pill, potion and lotion I would dive at it, desperation fuelling my direction, my hope. I searched, tirelessly for natural cures, balms, miracle stories on the internet and the next wonder worker in New Zealand, heck in the world.

It was exhausting. Desperation is an exhausting place to be in. Gentleness and desperation don’t live together too well, and so life was full on in an excruciatingly slow kind of way.

desperation-shores-insanityLife as I knew it had been turned upside down. Ideas had been crushed. Insanity often crept into my peripheral vision, lurking there, waiting for me to let down my guard. Sometimes I couldn’t help myself and I dived head first into the murky mess of it, flailing, sobbing, wishing for another world. Luckily I am a good swimmer and I would eventually get myself out of those currents and beach myself on the shore, exhausted, with nothing left to give.

‘They’ said “Acceptance is the biggest healer. If you can accept your fistula, accept life as it is, life is going to be a hell of a lot easier.

God I knew they were right. I knew if I could just accept my lot that struggle would reduce and I might find some peace in my monkey mind. But it’s easier said than done I’m afraid. I tried. You can’t accuse me of not trying. I tapped on it for days, for weeks. I mean even the basic tenant of tapping is to ‘deeply and completely love and accept myself (just how I am)’.

I don’t know what came first. A lessening of pain and struggle or the work of wonderful healers, an accumulation of tools in my toolbox and the amazing journey I began with my counsellor in Canada. Or maybe it was the perfect synergy. Does it really matter? Either way, under a year ago desperation’s fuel light came on. I didn’t realise. You know how when you’re on a mission to get somewhere in the car and it takes you ages to actually realise there’s an orange fuel tank glaring at you? That’s what happened to me. On some level I sensed a change, but it was subtle and unexpected. Plus, don’t we get used to the status quo so quickly?

On empty!

Desperation began to stutter and choke. I wondered what all the fuss was about and then one day I suddenly realised I felt a gentleness in the periphery. I would read something about an amazing cream and not start pulling my credit card out, ready to have it sent on the next courier. People would tell me about healers or links or books and I wouldn’t pounce on them for more.

It was a novel change. Unexpectedly, instead of feeling this desperation to be fixed, I felt a hunger for change and growth. The soul searching I did with Debra made we want to find more of the inner peace that was beginning to take form.

change-directionsMy relationship with myself grew to a whole new level. Of course I still wanted a healed bum. Of course I didn’t want to have to spend the rest of my life sitting on my haunches hurting my very patient knees. I didn’t want to have to wear a panty-liner every. single. day. of. my. life. But the majority of the time I had changed direction on my journey. I was seeking peace, I was catching moments, right here and now.

There were still the bad days. Days where I would find myself on the carpet (because that doesn’t require pressure on your bottom) rocking myself from side to side begging. Begging the angels, begging the Universe, begging Mother Earth to just get this over and done with already. How f%@#ing long was it going to go on for?

A gentleness

The great thing is, these times passed quicker and also more gently than before. I didn’t wallow in the feeling, desperately trying to feel positive, desperately looking for solutions. Instead it was easier for me to just be with my emotions. Watch them like a wave and know that they too would pass.

The reason I write all of this, if you’re still with me, is that I have a semi ‘ultimatum’. The surgeon has proposed a draining seton on the 30th of June if I don’t feel a heck of a lot better. You see, just before I went to see him, with the idea of taking myself and this seton to explore kshar sutras in India or Austria, I decided to try my body with Ayurveda. finding-gentlenessNot out of desperation but curiosity. And it’s actually really loving it so far. I’m only three weeks in, but hey who knows where it may take me.

So, 95% of the time I feel really calm about it all, I trust that my body will do exactly as it has to, and I will be very clear of what direction to take closer to the time. My body and I are pretty in sync these days, so our communication is great.

A sip of fuel…

However, I think this ultimatum must have put a cup of fuel in desperation’s tank, because I feel the odd lurch and cough from it at the moment. “Oh my gosh, I’ve got to heal before the 30th of June.” “Oh my gosh, I don’t even know if I want to go the seton/kshara sutra route yet.” “What else can I do to speed my healing even more right now?” “Who can I call on? What can I take?

Thank goodness these are very fleeting and far apart. I have time. I have choices. And deep down inside my inner wise woman knows the answer. So instead of falling into a desperate flailing mess trying to find those answers, I relax back into that gentleness and remind myself that I don’t need fixing. That I don’t need answers now. That what my mind body and spirit need most right now is calm. Peacefulness, gentleness and that deep deep love that every human craves.

Balancing business and a body breakdown…Bee Sensual

balancing-business-healthI wrote a tamed down version of this for my actual business blog but then decided to post it here first as is, because after all, it’s been a HUGE part of my healing journey and the lessons I’ve learned along the way and continue to.

As you can read from Our Story on my Bee Sensual website, out of the desire for no nasties on my skin, I’ve been creating natural skin care for years (a lot of that time for myself). However, when Harlan and I moved back from Australia mid-July 2011, I decided that as well as starting out a huge new business as beekeepers – pollinating, rearing queens, honey – why not throw in a little extra challenge of starting up a natural skin care business. That’s how I’ve been known to roll at times…self pressure to the max!

In those early months is when my logo was born. I found a wonderful designer to work with who brought it into computer form for me and from there the steps began to be taken:

Website…

Labels…

Product development and testing…

Tears…

Creating and refining final products…

Mistakes…

Big mistakes… (but I’ve learned a lot from them)

Beautiful scents…

Fear…

Excitement…

honey-bee-pohutukawa-nz-natural-skincare

I placed so much pressure on myself, and having been born a perfectionist, everything had to be’ just so’ otherwise I’d pull the whip out and start abusing myself. You can guess what came next…a body breakdown. My body was like, ‘what the…, are you serious, we can’t deal with this constant level of stress…’ And like many people, I took only a little time out (because physically I had no choice), and then I was back in there the moment I saw any signs of improvement…not only determined to get Bee Sensual launched by a certain date, but fighting with my body on its healing journey at the same time.

Anyway, that is a whole story unto itself, but the basic point is that since Bee Sensual has been running I have been on a rollercoaster with my health because I didn’t listen to my body back in 2012. I literally didn’t listen to my gut crying out for a break and some emotional kindness and one thing led to another and I developed a fistula (I’ve done a lot of EFT around releasing the self-blame around that one). I wouldn’t be here writing this blog if I hadn’t stressed myself into a pickle back then 😉

This health journey has been gruelling at times, yet throughout the process I have been learning. More and more. Slowly sometimes, and with my body needing to remind me a number of times before I get the point. And those who know me will tell you that I’m always keen for more learning and research, so I suppose in that regard it’s been a good thing 😉 Bee Sensual has been like a fire burning inside me. Sometimes when I’ve been in my darkest hours I’ve just wanted to throw it all in and douse it with gallons of water so that I don’t have to deal with the pressure of business, other times it has been like a guiding light. Pulling me out of a hole because I had things I had to do and focus on besides myself. And, anyway, the flames looked so pretty and enticing!

business-fire-health

Most importantly, though, through this journey my dream for Bee Sensual has changed and blossomed. It grew out of a dream for natural skin care, using no nasties and the wonderful healing products of bees; ‘sensual’ for the self connection opportunity it would create. Then I began exploring the word ‘sensual’ more and tied in with that ‘mindfulness’ and how necessary it is to simply live in this one moment as often as we can. And I saw Bee Sensual products as a way to remind us to become mindful in that moment we gently apply them…taking in the smells and textures and sensation on the skin.

And from that came the most important of all…gentle self-love.

Realising how much I’ve berated myself in my life and beaten myself up, in younger years seeking perfection and a body that only airbrushed models have, seeking a type of persona that I thought I ‘should’ have. I knew it was vital to change this.

There is a saying:

You cannot truly take care of that which you do not love.

So, if I look at my skin and feel frustrated and disappointed by the wrinkles around my eyes, or I curse the scars from the teenage days of picking pimples, or I want to hide away the too many freckles or mingled discolouration, am I really loving myself? Am I treating myself the way I would a friend?

The answer is a big NO!

So how can I expect to truly take care of myself? How can I expect my body, which is only doing its best (always) with what it’s presented with, to feel energetic, vibrant and healthy? We need to send our bodies love. Let me say that again…it is essential that we send our bodies and ourselves love. By creating stress in our systems around what we see in the mirror, or how we should be acting, we only further deplete our energy and resilience. We’ve got to love what we see first and the rest will flow. We can’t wait for the day we find a magical miracle cream that takes away wrinkles, or an injection that paralyses our skin into non-expression. This may bring a few moments of happiness, but then we will simply find the next thing to hate or berate.

We need to love. Simple. Yet not so simple at all! Self-love seems to be one of those really tricky, confusing concepts that gets thrown at us at some point in our lives. How do I do that? you may ask. Well, I definitely don’t have all the answers (or any for that matter), but I know that through necessity, practice, constant reminders and perseverance, I love myself a lot more than I did when Bee Sensual first began.

blossom-in-business-love

One of my dreams now, is that through our beautiful Bee Sensual products, made with love, those using them will find moments to be still and present and send their precious self some much needed love. Remember this…even if it’s only twice a day when you moisturise, that’s all it takes…it is the simple act of planting the self-love seed that, over time and with regular nourishment, will grow into a beautiful self-love plant that blossoms in ways that you never thought possible!

Love and healing,

Kali

 

 

 

 

 

Showing kindness to your body…

showing-kindness-to-your-body

I recently listened to Ahlea Khadro’s interview with Jessica Ortner on the Hay House World Summit 2015, called Befriend Your Symptoms: a Path to Radical Health and Happiness. 

It’s the first time I’ve heard about her, but she sounds wonderful! Basically what I took out of it is the importance and the value in showing kindness to your body. This ties in perfectly with where I am at on my journey at the moment because I recently started talking to my body! (Thanks to suggestions from a healing practitioner).

It’s so easy when our bodies hurt or play up – menstrual cramps, sore achy knee, crook gut, cold, allergies etc – to feel frustrated and annoyed with that part of our body, or to simply pop a pill that removes the niggle. So easy…I know the frustration well. Maybe we could take these niggles as an opportunity to actually listen to our body and offer it some love and kindness instead? Ahlea believes that in the same way that we feel frustrated, scared and annoyed about various body problems, our body/organs might be feeling the same, and by giving them the opportunity to be heard we can relieve a lot of physical stress and discomfort.

One of the interesting parts of this talk for me was her touching on auto-immune diseases, which Crohn’s is for those who don’t know. Just a few days ago, when I was writing about my tendency to beat myself up, I thought ‘Hang on – if I’m beating myself up mentally, then surely my body is mirroring this and beating itself up!’ Light bulb moment 😉 As you may or may not know, an auto-immune condition is when the body pretty much turns on itself.

auto-immune-crohns

So if my mind turns on itself and on my body, then it makes sense that my body is going to follow suit! I have also met other people who have Crohn’s and they are usually very hard on themselves…interesting thought!

Following on from that to a state of kindness…when talking about mirror work and the idea of being kind to yourself in the mirror, Jessica told about her sister-in-law who created a fun enticing mirror with her daughter that hangs in her bedroom. Every time she leaves her room she says something nice to herself in the mirror! Yes please! Isn’t that the most beautiful thing to instil in a young being? I am so going to adopt that idea for myself (never too late to start something new right?)!

Happy body to you 🙂