Maribeth Wilder Doerr

Shades of Healing ~ Creating a Wholehearted Life

Interview with Square-Peg Karen!

I know – it’s been forever since I’ve posted anything.  I AM alive, and it’s been an interesting 2013.  My health is slowly coming back after two surgeries in February, a week long retreat in March, and a new diagnosis of pancreatic insufficiency.  I’m working with that in several ways, and I plan to be back to work July 1.

In the meantime, here’s an interview I did with Karen Caterson of Square-Peg People.  Karen is a hoot and oh so wise.  Our interview was a gigglefest and I hope we get to do it again sometime (with me interviewing Karen!).  I’d be honored if you checked it out and feel free to post a question if you’re so moved.

http://www.squarepegpeople.com/2013/06/interview-with-maribeth-doerr.html

And thanks Karen! ♥

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In This Moment

frustrated

It’s been nearly four months since I’ve gotten sick.  I am much better than I was two months ago but this is one of those days where the brain fog is thick and everything I eat makes me sick.  EVERYTHING.  I am tired and so frustrated.  Life would be easier if I never had to eat.

It’s so easy to fall into a pit of despair on days like this, when I wonder if I’ll ever be able to function normally again.  Is my brain forever compromised by the summer of medication, painkillers, and anesthesia?  I get cranky that my coping method of comfort food is gone (and it’s a blessing that that coping method is gone but it still makes me C R A N K Y !!!).

And then I wonder . . . can I get curious enough to figure out a plan for days like this?  I’m a creative grief coach; it’s time to get creative!  Can I don my lab coat and just notice without judgment (as Janice Lynne Lundy so wisely advises)?  Yes, well, let’s start with the fact I’m not a bad person for feeling frustrated and whiny over this situation.

I took my new J.K. Rowling novel out to my deck and sat in the sunshine – those last few rays of summer.  But my brain is too foggy to read.  It’s making me more nauseated and the construction noise is distracting.  What can I do in this moment that would make me feel better – another wonderful question Jennifer Louden suggests.

So I took a shower and rubbed lotion on my very dry legs.  That felt so nice.  I stepped onto my yoga mat, but I knew a lot of movement would not be good for the nausea.  I sat down on the mat and breathed deeply.  Eric Klein’s removing obstacles MantraWave flowed into my brain and I breathed . . . coughed (asthma seems to be cranky today too) . . . breathed . . . coughed . . . relaxed . . . breathed . . . breathed . . . breathed . . .

Meeting myself on the mat, right where I’m at, without judgment . . . that’s loving-kindness.  And I’m okay.  Right here in this moment.

I won’t think about the next moment or the one after that.  I won’t think about my filthy house which hasn’t been cleaned since I got sick.  I won’t think about the massive to-do list that is crushing me.  I won’t think about our shaky financial status.  I won’t think about how I’ve failed my business.  I. won’t. think.

Breathe . . .

I’m okay.

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Friday Finds – MantraWave

MantraWave from Eric Klein

One of the things I want to do with my blog is share resources that I think are extraordinary.  There’s so much “stuff” to weed through on the internet and it’s hard to know what’s worth it and what’s best to skip.  I’m going to share some of my gold mine finds, and today’s priceless gem is MantraWave.

I have been a fan of Eric Klein’s WisdomHeart.org site for the past year.  He produces products that speak to my soul, and his newest, MantraWave, is probably my favorite.  I’d like to share my experience with you.

In late July, Eric launched MantraWave, and I purchased it right away.  He has three programs:  Removing Obstacles, Love, and Wealth.  I was looking for one for health as I was, at the time, experiencing severe pain and illness.  I was in the hospital in June and was released without a diagnosis and with prescriptions for pain killers and anti-nausea medicine.  By mid-July, I was feeling desperate.  The medication wasn’t working, I was spending hours curled up in a ball in excruciating pain and unable to really function very well.  I decided to purchase all three of Eric’s programs because I needed to remove the obstacles to my health, I needed to cultivate love for myself and the doctor who misdiagnosed me, and I wanted a wealth of health.  It seemed to me all three programs were for me!

For a week, I listened to them, selecting whichever one spoke the loudest.  I didn’t sit in meditation with them very often but I did lie on my bed with headphones, cradling myself in such gentle notes and chants.  Within that week, I started to experience a change.  My pain was still there and escalating but when an attack would hit, I could hear the mantras enter my consciousness and the result was a soothing I hadn’t been able to find before.  It was something for me to grab onto and gently flow with the wave of the mantra instead of grabbing onto the pain and collapsing onto myself.

On August 8, I was admitted to the hospital again.  The next day, I had surgery on my bile duct.  As they wheeled me in my hospital bed to the pre-op area, I was constantly vomiting, which from a laying down position does terrible things to stomach muscles and neck muscles; I pulled them all out!  The anesthesiologist met us in the pre-op area and was trying to come up with a cocktail of drugs to stop the vomiting long enough for him to knock me out without risking aspiration.  It was a tense time and then the mantra for removing obstacles started flowing through my brain.  It just came to me without any conscious thought whatsoever.  I focused on that sweet sound and my poor traumatized system calmed down on its own.  The anesthesiologist and nurses asked me what I had just done because the difference was night and day.

As I regained consciousness in the recovery room following surgery, I awoke to hearing the MantraWave for love.  I was bathed in such self-acceptance at that moment that I knew I would be okay.  I’ve had a long recovery but MantraWave made it faster than it would have been.  I am absolutely sure of this.  The way the mantras come into my consciousness without me calling it in, is amazing.  It’s always the MantraWave I need to hear most.  It is, in short, a blessing and such a gift.

So what is MantraWave?  It’s sacred sound meditation.   The mantras are set to beautiful relaxing music.  On Eric’s website, he says, “Each program is designed to awaken – within you – a specific quality, awareness, and capacity.”  This is why the mantra I most need at the time floats into my consciousness without me calling it.  You can sit in meditation and listen to them or you can play them wherever you are.  When I listen, my heart rate slows, and my heart just opens wide.  I often find myself saying or singing the mantras silently as I go about my day.  I might go a few days and not think about them, and then suddenly, always when I need them most, they’re there.

The programs come in 10 minute sessions, 10 minute guided sessions, 30 minute guided sessions and 60 minutes.   I think perhaps they should come with a warning . . . peace starts here.  🙂

Please visit WisdomHeart.org and learn more about MantraWave.  These programs have had such an incredible impact on my life.  Thank you Eric and Devi!

P.S. – This is not a paid endorsement.  I receive no remuneration for my comments here.  I just want to share information about an extraordinary product that truly helped me.

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Getting REALLY Personal – Cultivating a New Body Image

Mari at 15

Me at 15. I thought I had the fattest thighs on the planet.

Anyone who has known me since before I turned 50 knows I struggled dearly with my body image. It probably started when I was little, and my mom enjoyed telling me stories about the aunties coming to visit us when I was a baby just see the size of my thighs. I know lots of you have similar stories of growing up thinking you were the biggest/fattest kid on the planet. I was the first kid in my fifth grade class to hit 100 lbs (boy or girl!). I can’t remember how tall I was because nobody cared; I weighed 100 lbs that’s all that mattered! When I graduated from high school, I was 5’ 5” and 118 lbs. Yeah, real fat. But those old stories were so embedded in my psyche that my mirror told a different story.

When I was 23, I had an emergency c-section. They had lost the baby’s heartbeat while prepping me and all hell broke loose in the operating room. Suddenly I was being ripped open from navel to pubic bone (I felt it since they hadn’t had time to knock me out yet) and my 9lb 13oz son was born not breathing. He was resuscitated and taken to NICU where he died 5 ½ days later. The incision was long, the baby large and putting the skin back together was messy. Too much skin, not enough space to make a flat scar without the baby to hold it up. It healed, but it looked bad by anyone’s standards. Every time I looked at my body, I saw a scar that was a potent reminder of how I had failed to bring a healthy baby into the world. Losing Mark Adam was my second loss; Andrew was lost at 19+ weeks three years earlier. Not only did I think my body was ugly but I believed it had betrayed me in the worst possible way, twice.

More losses, another baby in NICU (he survived!), a hysterectomy, constantly yo-yoing weight, and in 2004, I nearly died from pancreatitis and a gallbladder infection. More body betrayal. Was I broken or what? I started wearing baggy clothes and forgetting what I looked like naked. It’s not important if you have a guy who loves you, right? (Don’t buy into that, okay? We look good for ourselves, not others, and we also can look bad for ourselves. I was making myself look bad because I thought that’s how it should be.)

As I hit 50, I began to make peace with my body. I think that’s a common denominator for women over 50. Maybe it’s an I don’t give a rat’s ass mindset or maybe it’s just realizing that life is too short to worry about the size of our thighs! It was a VERY slow process for me but it was progress. In February 2012, I started the Creative Grief Coaching Studio’s certification program. One of our “tools” was to create a body image painting (on our body!) and video the process. It was optional but I felt it would be a wonderful opportunity to really make peace with my body. It was amazing! It was truly life-changing, and I don’t say that lightly. I had a huge aha moment at the end (and making the video was fraught with so many technical issues I nearly abandoned the project several times!). I shared my video with my classmates, and they were so incredibly supportive. I am taking a leap by sharing it here with you now which also shows how much I’ve progressed with my body image. Gulp.

This is the video and the password is markadam.  It is a HUGE leap for me to share this video publicly so please be kind. ♥

Since this video was made in March 2012, I have lost over 30 lbs, unintentionally. I posted about my illness here. I was hospitalized again in August, had a surgical procedure on my bile duct, and am doing much better. My intestines and liver were very traumatized by the illness and vomiting for over two months so it’s been a long road to recovery since the surgery. I’m getting there. I still battle nausea and some pain but it’s much better. I’m still detoxing and the medications really do a number on my head. Sometimes I feel like my brain has completely atrophied! I am starting to get some quality sleep finally, which helps immensely with my thinking abilities. I hope to get back to work full-time sometime next week or at least a solid part-time. It will depend on how many mistakes I make the first day 😉

Through this, I thought about body betrayal a little bit.  It used to be such a huge thing in my life and it’s not a surprise that it would pop up again.  With everything else going on, why did I have to lose my health as well?  However, most of the time, I think about how this experience has taught me many things . . .  good self-care, patience with myself and for those who are tired of a very slow me (sorry StorkNetters), that there are ways to comfort myself that don’t involve food . . . I have to eat a rather restrictive diet but I’m learning to accept what a gift that is. I can’t put preservatives or poisons or processed food into my body anymore. My allergies are amazingly better when I don’t consume grains! Who knew?! I’ve been on allergy medication for 30 years and now I don’t need it.  Maybe my asthma will go away in time as well.  I have to be honest though and say I did fight this HARD. I wanted to eat what I wanted when I wanted because food was a comfort and with everything else going on in my life, I felt entitled to that one thing and damned if it wasn’t taken away too!!!! Whine, snivel, moan and COMPLAIN.  When that feeling fires up inside, I’ve learned to sit quietly somewhere and just sit with it – no judgments – just leaning into it a bit (not falling into it mind you). It would seem that feeling just wants to be heard and when I acknowledge it without judgment, it quietly moves off into the sunset. It tends to come back, but I just wash, rinse, repeat . . .

In case you’re thinking I’m lucky to have lost 30 lbs quickly, please don’t. I made a very short video on that too . . . meant to be silly. I can be VERY silly. But, this is also a sign of how I’m learning to embrace my body, bitch-slapping arms and all!

Because I have lost so much muscle with this weight loss, my strength and energy have much to be desired. I started a weekly yoga class to start building back some of that muscle. I do my best to keep up but I also honor where my body is at so I don’t overdo – another exercise in listening to my body and good self-care.  I tend to sleep for two days after a class!  Yesterday while we were in a supported shoulder stand, I looked up at my legs and a few tears started to flow down my cheeks. I was struck by the feeling that I LOVED my body. I’ve NEVER said that to myself – EVER. It was such an overpowering feeling. Despite the losses, scars, illnesses . . . it’s MINE and it has served me well.  It’s a beautiful body, warts and all!

And so is yours!

So please remind me of this post when I forget 😉  I would love to hear your body image stories and how you’ve cultivate love for your beautiful body.  ♥

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A New Challenge and Gratitude Revisited

If you’ve followed my blog for the last year (or tried to – I know the postings have been sporadic), you’ve been aware of a very stressful period for my family along with my deep-seated need for gratitude. Now, 12 months since my mother’s death and 8 months since my father’s, I’m finding myself looking towards gratitude with almost a sense of desperation . . . It’s my light, here in the middle of the tunnel, where the end isn’t really in sight yet.

I am still working on closing my parents’ estate. It’s been complicated by many factors that I’ll share at another time. My husband hasn’t earned any commissions since August 2010, and my business income goes down every month. How can a business thrive with such a lack of attention? In short, my family has been caught up in a lot of STUFF that sounds rather like a bad country western song. We ALL have a lot of STUFF from time to time; I’m certainly not unique in that but it’s been a year I don’t care to repeat!

And then when I felt like I was about through that tunnel . . . I woke up one night in mid May feeling like I was having a gallbladder attack. My gallbladder had been removed 8 years ago so obviously that wasn’t the source of the problem. It was painful but I didn’t get sick and it didn’t escalate. I was that way for two weeks. Just as suddenly as it came on, I woke up one fine day with NO pain, NO bloating, and an amazing joyful attitude. I was thrilled because I had planned a little retreat for the upcoming weekend – 4 days and 3 nights on the beach at Lake Tahoe. I haven’t spent more than one night away from home in over 12 years!! Waking up that morning feeling great meant I could really jump into catching up my business work and home chores so I could go on my getaway without any guilt. Oh the cheap thrills that gave me! I started answering emails and updating content, feeling SO productive . . . and then I started to feel some pain. I ignored it and kept working. Within 30 minutes, I was in so much pain I couldn’t sit still. I asked my son to call my husband. By then, I was moaning and starting to cry. By the time my husband got home, I had one terrified son and I was screaming. It’s a good thing the hospital is only 10 minutes away from us when the lights are all green.

I had lots of tests, the doctors had lots of theories which were all disproved by the tests, the massive amounts of medication they gave me irritated my liver and made me sicker, and they sent me home three days later with no diagnosis and a prescription for heavy duty pain medication. It’s been two months, and I’m still having pain attacks followed by days of nausea and vomiting as my body works out the pain medication. It’s a vicious cycle. I haven’t been able to work very much, and that is ruining my little business of 16 years. I feel exhausted and nauseated much of the time while trying to cultivate patience with myself and those who keep nagging me to update this or do that. I’m sorry StorkNetters . . . I’m really doing the best I can and I am SO grateful to the many many of you that understand and tell me to take care of myself first! I’m a staff of one and I don’t have the funds to hire the work out so . . . it is what it is.

That’s a lot of whining and complaining, isn’t it?! And that is why, in the midst of this additional upheaval in my life that I have to remember what’s good. It would be so incredibly easy to get sucked into depression right now. I don’t need that on top of being sick.

To keep me reminded of my gratitude attitude, I decided to take this year’s November gratitude month and make it into a separate website. I had the domain name picked out and when I went back to register it two weeks later, it was taken. So what did I get? What I most need now – healing and gratitude. So sometime this fall, look for healinggratitude.com! Thinking about and working on this website will help me focus on what’s good in my life, and there are many things.

Truly, there are positive things arising from this challenge as well, and I’ll be talking about them soon. It’s an amazing learning opportunity but I won’t lie – I’d rather not go through this. The pain attacks suck the life out of me, I’ve lost 30 lbs, and not knowing when the next one is coming is scary. I’d rather be caught up with my StorkNet work, starting my creative grief coaching practice and spending time with my family this week enjoying Reno’s Hot August Nights classic car festival. But as I said before, it is what it is and I have a tentative plan as I take my health into my own hands. My business work will all get done at some point. The timing isn’t really up to me so as I cultivate patience for this, thank YOU for being patient with me.

He who knows patience knows peace. ~ a Chinese proverb

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