nothing.

if nothing ever happens to me, then nothing will ever happen to me.
Dory from Finding Nemo – paraphrase

“she kept telling me to relax!” I say to my massage therapist recounting a massage I had at a local day spa a couple of weeks ago…while at the same time leaning into her hands, kneading my tangled shoulders.

“she doesn’t know you, does she?”

I laugh.

“yeah, I’m a bit nervous all the time, huh? she wasn’t used to me like you are.”

she chuckles. “what you, nervous, I had no idea!”

“uh huh. I’m still working on that. clearly.” returning my attention to the table. to the present. willing my crabby shoulders to let go. they have been cinched tight since 2006, when I could no longer ignore the fact that I needed to see a chiropractor.

relax. unravel. not feel responsible for everything.

after a few sessions, my new chiropractor picked up on my nervous energy, and graciously handed me The Secret DVD. she said, “watch this, and watch it often.”

it was back then when I started to realize that I was definitely on the wrong trajectory for happiness; my high anxiety MO was showing up in my back. it still likes to make an appearance sometimes, unfortunately. why is the eternal question! because I let it. easy answer. hard to overcome.

fast forward five years. I’m doing better. I think. this year has been a doozy for my fears and stressors. and not just with MS showing up for me. for everyone. bad things can and do happen to good people. and for no apparent reason. that is life. and it is what it is. huh.

yesterday, I ate dirt. literally.

I thought I was in control, but I wasn’t. and gravity took over. and I released myself to what is.

I fell off my bike. for the first time in 24 years. yeah, I’ll say it: I’m not much of a risk-taker. period. shocker, I know.

I have been so caught up in being in total control, that I always make sure that I won’t fall. ever. by riding slowly. and only on roads that I know. braking carefully. and at the right time.

sidebar>>I biked 32.5 miles in 2010. for MS.

now I get why my husband was so eager to get me on a mountain bike. ha! riding off-road is a different matter. completely.

I hated it when we first climbed off-road and rolled down a gentle bunny slope. there was little I could do to control what my bike did. or so it felt. I was in full-fledged terror of flying over the handle-bars. but I still got on the bike. again. and again. I knew there was a greater lesson I had to learn. so I took it easy. learning what terrain is treacherous. how my tires like to spin in the sand. how to work my gears. how to brake gently if I picked up too much speed going downhill. or jumping off when it gets too scary. how to relax my arms, and feel the trail. and mark my line ten yards ahead.

we ventured on a new trail yesterday with one of our Chicago buddies. it was beautiful! for the first time (well, maybe the third time), I felt comfortable riding into the unknown. and I just let my bike roll. but as we cornered an ancient copper pond with the track becoming increasingly narrow, it was then that I knew I was going to fall. not yet though. but the thought was already there (funny how that happens, eh?)…

I manage to jump off my bike narrowly missing a plunge in the pool of slimy goop. My husband turns around and shouts, “what, you guys followed me!?” incredulous. I opt to back up my bike and return to flat ground. phew! our other riding buddy continues forward.

once both guys have circled around, we make our way back to the wider trail only to find ourselves riding through water and a thick mud. so far so good. after a slow mud splattered quarter of a mile I hear my hub, up ahead 50 feet, say “uh oh,” as the front end of our mini-peloton tries to pedal through four inches of swollen mud. I pause as I watch my husband and our buddy in front of me veer to the right…and follow suit. but then my tires lose all traction and start to slide. I stand up on my pedals to push them harder, but it’s too late. I am going over. and over I go – right into a thick bed of mud bathed in slimy water. I land hard on my right side. with my bike on top. like a newbie, I don’t follow the rules in situations like this and hang on to my handle-bars. the guys, used to my normal squeals know this one is legitimate. they both toss their bikes aside and bound over. to find me lying in the muddy water. perfect.

“are you okay?” my husband asks after pulling my bike off me. he extends his hand to pull me out of the muck.

I laugh. I can’t help it. “yep. it’s all good. I can’t believe I just fell off my bike!” I say in awe, as I feel the water and mud seeping through my clothes. I survey the damage: gloves, sweatshirt, bike shorts, leggings…everything is covered in sloppy mud. I faintly recollect 3rd grade, when I slipped into a puddle of muddy water. and had to return to class. dripping in mud. in front of everyone. one of my fondest memories. a mild burning sensation starts to surface on my right thigh. I taste mud in my mouth. and spit a couple of times. shooing away the thought of an impending bacterial infection. I hop away feeling the pain start in my right knee, as gracefully as possible…only to hop into three inches of mud again. both feet.

nature just won. I pull up my right shorts leg, to find a bloody scrape. on the opposite knee that I scraped 24 years ago in my last bike crash. go figure.

knee and bum are still sore. but I will get back on my bike again. and with less fear than before. because I have finally fallen off my mountain bike and didn’t die. check that off my list. yeah!

my husband came home from a ride with one of his buddies this morning, “I fell in the first five minutes, but unfortunately didn’t land in a nice muddy patch like you did.”

he shows me his banged up, bloodied knee. 😦

“oh, no, are you ok??” I ask, immediately feeling quite sheepish for my amazement of surviving yesterday’s fall.

shite happens. it’s how you react to it that makes all the difference.

though, despite my hub’s worse fall, I’m still proud of my scrape and banged up knee that is slowly turning green and purple. finally I have a match for all my injection bruises. yeah! 😉

side bar>>>my iPhone also survived a plunk in the muddy water!

xo

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grateful.

today, I saw a coyote.

the trickster.

but also the waymaker.

a coyote that crosses in front of you is a sign.

watch out for tricking yourself into believing, when it should be the opposite.

rely on your intuition. but be careful. don’t mistake fear for intuition.

the coyote is my totem animal.

and today, I received a sign. how cool is that?!

huh. pay attention. listen.

instead of being wary and always alert…and NOT acting when all intuitive signs are pointed to GO or STOP (my usual MO)…I’m going to take this as a good sign.

it’s time to make-my-own-way.

only I can do that. no one can do it for me.

I want to write. a book. many books. truth bumps popped when I wrote “many books.”

and give back.

had lunch with a friend the other day. also a writer.

we discussed my idea to post my pages on my soon-to-be-developed website. and request feedback while I’m drafting. it would be fluid. and credit would be given. where credit is due.

but then there are legal issues to consider. and feelings that could get hurt. maybe.

and inspiration found.

still mulling the concept. something will take flight soon. I feel it.

I already have 28K words on paper. and 50 different themes. and one new short story idea that just surfaced.

I watched this beautiful, sleek coyote make her way to a busy street.

she looked left, and then right.

and when it was safe, she sprinted.

I whispered to her. to me.

run, girl, run.

happy Thanksgiving everyone!

xo

new year.

whasssup 2012!!?

six weeks from today, it will be a new year.  wowzer.  what a wild and crazy year 2011 has been.  six more weeks to continue making it a good year…>>>sidebar—>we are already in the age of Aquarius (finally…it’s not just a song in that musical)…as if that’s not significant enough.  (seriously, how many peeps get to say they were alive during a shift in the collective consciousness?)

roll call so far for 2011…

signed up for life coaching with Martha Beck.

met some super cool peeps.

worked hard both at work and with coaching.

finished life coaching.  yeah!

had some good, life changing family visits.  yeah!

lost my mother-in-law.  😦

started writing again.

saw lots of doctors.  had lots of tests.

ms.

learned.  a lot.

been wowed over and over again.

hmmm…still lots to do in 2011…

resume yoga.

be kinder to myself.

get used to my new normal.

continue my new diet.  (gluten-free and sugar reduction.)

make a plan for 2012.

2011 so far has been the year of lots…I’m ready to slow it down.

so…what has 2011 looked like for you?  I would love to hear!  I know quite a few of my friends have made drastic changes in their lives…while I have watched from the sidelines…en-couraged by their courage.

what have you done?  what do you want to do in 2012??  would love to hear your ideas for next year!  (I need to start working on my list.  😉

doing nothing.

“looking good, Louis…” my husband says from inside the condo.

“feeling good, Billy Ray…” I reply from the balcony while working on a tree pose.

“seriously, I’m feeling good here.”

“huh,” he scoffs.  “I would rather be in Vegas than in this humidity.”

“whaaaat?  this is perfect.  we should move here.  I think the humidity is really helping.  even with the heat, my legs have hardly been buzzing at all since we’ve been here…”

“or it’s that you’re yoga-ing again and mellowing…or maaaaybe your meds are working….what do you think about that?”

I look through my legs in down dog, and stick my tongue out at him.

it then hits me…I really am feeling better.

the best I have felt since before July 29th when my legs crapped out on me.  when all I had to worry about was work and not having enough time to spend with my friends.

…maybe it’s the break from work.

…maybe it’s the stress-free life on Marco Island…where outside of my sisters, we are the second youngest couple on the island.

or maybe it’s just the fact that I’m taking a break. period.  a break to do nothing.

sometimes it’s hard to do nothing.  don’t you agree?

my therapist asked me on Sunday what I’m going to do while in Florida if I start to feel a wiggle of stress starting to squirm.

“breathe.”

she nods approvingly.

yes, I murmur to myself.  insta-follow up thought:  silly approval seeker.  note to self:  work on that.

“we will work on you being kinder to you, Erin. but for now, you don’t need to do anything. I don’t want you to stress about being nicer to yourself!  take it slowly.”

seriously, can this woman read my mind?

“that sounds good to me!” I say…though eager to fast forward six months and experience treating myself with utter kindness and mercy.

then I stop my thoughts as I see them starting to grow, and remind myself that all I can focus on is right now.

I breathe out.

I can do this.  turtle steps are just fine. 

therapy.

emotional wellness is my new focus (well, let’s be honest…it always has been) – but it is even more important now that MS has joined the party.  it is essential that I learn how to manage my stress.  (note to self – stress exacerbates lesions.)

I’m excited to share that I have found a new addition to my overall wellness support team!  she’s awesome.  I am so grateful to have found her!

she has MS, is my age, and gets me.  already.  after one session.

while life coaching helps when you are in a good place and shoots you to the stars, there is a place for therapy when it calls.  to get you back to your baseline.

it has called.

it is time to overcome.  for me.  for my husband.  for my health.

I’m a classic self-saboteur.  find something I love to do.  I will stop doing it.  huh?  find something I’m good at.  I’ll stop being good at it.  whaaaat?  this has been extremely helpful in life.  ha!

shocker, huh?  seriously.  I know I have issues, and have had them for YEARS.  huh.  they are part of me, some good, some bad.  some things need to be tweaked.  I know that.  and I know I can tweak as required.

that’s the first step, right? acknowledgement.

I have to admit that I have seen four mental healthcare professionals (since I was 14!), but none of them have fit.  until now.

the MS Society is providing me with 12 FREE(!) sessions with this amazing woman.  yeah!  as soon as I found out this was another available service provided by the MS Society, I was in.

I’m optimistic, though it will require WORK.  the option to move past is there.  for everyone.  if you want it.

I want it.

new favorite quote:  you can’t move forward when you’re looking back.  all the time (my add 😉

I talked to one of my guys today, who said that he is neutral.  not happy, not sad.  there is too much out there that can go wrong.  I replied and said that I go back and forth between the happy and the sad.  more sad of late – for obvious reasons.  but I have always been hopeful that there is MORE happy out there to be had.  ever since I was young.

I’m on a mission peeps.

xo

Chicago…

what an…

exhausting…

beautiful…

empty…

wonder-full…

sad…

happy…

few days we had with our family as we said good-bye to Maura and celebrated her life.

I miss them already (especially our nieces!!)…I want to hug them over and over again!

and our Maura.  ouch – it still stings.

I wish I had journaled while we were there.  all I could muster was a few FB posts. (or is it ‘were‘? please, someone help me out here!)

I’m exhausted now.  still.  words are escaping me.

love to everyone.  my mother-in-law is with the angels now.

xox

PS.  a couple great stories from the weekend:  turns out Maura had been buying Irish Waterford crystal pieces for the priest at her church over the past five-six years…and each piece served a specific function.  we used them all at her funeral Monday.  she also wrote a good-bye card to each of her kids.  for Tim, she said that she and Tim’s dad thought he would be a priest(!) or a politician(!)…she is so right on both counts…oh…and that he should take care of me.  yeah!  😉  God Bless her.  she didn’t even know how much I would need that.

in honor.

my fiery, sweet, red-headed mother-in-law passed away yesterday.

I still remember the first time I met her in September 2002.

I was twitchy nervous that morning.  I couldn’t talk as we drove over to her condo for the INTRODUCTION.  like everyone who’s been in love, I wanted to make a good, no…THE perfect impression.  because I really loved her son, AND because he was her youngest.  her googly.  🙂  and you know how moms can be with their googlys!

she opened the door.  hugged my husband (boyfriend at the time).  then she saw me.  looked me up and down before grabbing my hands, holding on to them hard.  and just looked into my face.  for a good thirty seconds.  then she hugged me with the tightest hug I think I have ever been given.  wow.  I’m going to miss those hugs.  turns out, she didn’t want me to be anything other than me.

it was time for her to move on.  she has been in so much pain.  but she hung on for as long as possible.  long enough to see her two oldest granddaughters head off to their first year in college this August/September.  and to know that her kids and her other three gorgeous granddaughters were all okay.

she loved all five granddaughters so much!  they were everything to her.  I love that.

the last time we saw her was in April.  when we said good-bye to her, my husband and I both knew that was the last time we would see her alive.  she knew it too.  we didn’t have to say anything.  utter state of wordlessness.

sadly, we were all right.

sweetest, longest hug, and farewell that day.

we will lay her to rest on Monday.  next to her husband.

she is at peace.  and with her Jerry again.  making her amazing soda bread and scones, while Jerry is cracking open an Old Style and watching the Cubs.  and keeping an eye on us all.

miss you guys.  have fun up there.  we love you both so much.

xoxo