26 December 2009

Living in Gratitude 84 : Go sweep out the chamber of your heart

Go sweep out the chamber of your heart
Make it ready to be the dwelling place of the Beloved

When you depart out

She will enter it

In you
void of yourself,
She display her beauties

Shabistari 13th Century

poem found while cleaning up my desk today

Got through the Christmas festivities OK - knew my limitations so kept the celebrations within the zone of not getting myself too tired.

Now, it's 26th Dec, hung out with my little brother today, showed him how to make his first sushi and tonight I sent him off to a Jazz concert with Australian friends who are usually based in Gaza/ Jerusalem+ have an appartment on the other side of the park (I have understood now after being back in Paris for 2 weeks that if I don't go out, I don't over-tire myself... it's simple but imagine, a city like Paris and not being tempted 20 times a day to do an activity!!!)


I'm clearing and cleaning the appartment, as while I was sick, I didn't have the energy to do anything for six months... after being in India, material objects seem so superfluous, although I do like the comforts of a warm bed, soft sheets, hot water in my bath, music to listen to.. I look at my huge bookshelf and think of all these books, my archives, catalogues, my photo collection... it all seems to be so much unnecessary "extra"...

I live fairly simply (on the material level) and I'm interested to live even more simply...

18 December 2009

living in gratitude 83 : 6 month check up


On my way home through the park on Wednesday, the day before the snow arrived... gloves made by Syl Lot from the sleeves of a beautiful cashmere sweater which shrank in the wash...

the snow came and created such magic and beauty

I was so grateful to Mother Nature for bringing me the snow this week... it helped soften the process

layers of winter clothes as I dress and undress for various exams...

my boob as seen by the ecography

This week has been rather testing ... have had appointment after appointment : osteoporosis test, mammogram, pap smear, lymphatic drainage massage (that is pleasant), physical therapy for pelvic floor... and today IRM, liver scan, blood test at Institut Marie Curie where I had my radiotherapy ( a place I don't like to return to)...

Physically it's been exhausting. And I'm in bed by 9pm each night ... this has never happened to me in my paris history! (waking up sometime in the night ... but managing to sleep well.)

The snow in Paris has added a layer of poetry to the week.

11 December 2009

living in gratitude 82 : woke up in paris

I woke up this morning and had no idea where I was, I touched my thick feathery pillow, felt the soft eiderdown... it all felt very comforting, I looked up and saw the blue morning light of Paris and understood I was in Paris... I pulled the eiderdown over me and fell back to sleep.

It is really lovely to be back in my appartment, feels like such a luxury to be in my own space. And it's so warming also, to see how much better I am... last time I was in this space was almost six months ago... there are loads of memories of that time : the medication, the betadine, the support cushions... I can really see how much better I feel compared to then! And that makes me feel very full and smiling inside. It feels like a huge gift.

photo: view from my window - the disney land looking structure on the hill is the sacré coeur, a church which sits on the top of montmartre... All the time I have lived in paris, I have always had a view of this church.

09 December 2009

Living in Gratitude 81 : leaving India

After 5 months, I leave India today. I cannot believe so much time has passed... what happened to 2009? A lot happened when I look at the details but it also feels like time sped by.
The usual busy phase of packing, saying good-bye, finishing things has been in place over the last few days.

My last posts have been about the fustration / courage / surrendering... and I see that this has helped me focus on accepting where I am at... and that, for an impatient Leo, is a huge step.

I need to constantly remind myself, but when I am in that space of accepting where I am at NOW physically and emotionally (not wanting things to be different), the reward is a feeling of peace I have never known.

07 December 2009

living in gratitude 80 : a path of surrender and courage

text : a path of surrender and courage
so much change
OM namo narayani

Someone had written to me asking if my time in India was full of bliss (as I am going to a lot of puja and doing meditation), I replied that no, this present path was not one of bliss... she responded that my present path sounded like one of surrender and courage.

this drawing was done last week

text : 7 months after surgery
8 months after radiation
feeling so flat
i can't stand all these changes in my body
hormone treatment still doesn't feel right, in need of something different, i want a natural therapy no more synthetic hormones
have put on weight
legs numbing
always tired
I don't know how I feel
I cannot recognise this body and how it feels

this drawing dates back to october...
text : 7 months after radiation and I still have symptoms of post-traumatic stress
the trauma is still in my body

05 December 2009

living in gratitude 79 : learning patience

text: the pain
the trauma
the trauma is still in my body

This morning I sat in my meditation and spoke to myself softly, saying "Nathalie you are really going to need to be patient here. Patience is really required."

I have been so fustrated over the last weeks that I am still in recovery mode, and yesterday after a conversation with a friend, reminded me yet again of that point of patience and acceptance of this is where I am at and to be grateful for this. Sure I still feel numb in the lower part of my stomach/ pelvic area and I get numbness and pain in my legs after walking and I get tired really quickly but this time next year I will feel different, I will heal, and to remind myself to be gentle with this traumatised body rather than curse it for feeling weak or numb or in pain.

So tonight I went for a walk, as usual, I had a lot of pain and numbness in my legs. Usually, I stop to sit and wait until the pain and numbness subsides but tonight I kept walking, talking to my legs, saying to them "I know it's painful, but if I can just keep breathing into you, keep giving you energy, and one day you will feel better, it won't feel like such a huge task as it does right now..." The pain seemed more manageable.

Nicole also said to me, just the fact that you have survived this, that you will be well one day, you'll be a living testimony which will help others. This feels like a long long way off... it's helpful to be reminded.

The slowness of this road is remarkable in how it's teaching me to be patient...and to learn to be kind to myself. I've never given myself time like this before. And here I am, quietly forced to...

these drawings were done with pencil last month

text : 7 months after surgery
still feeling vulnerable
coping level is low
in need of tender loving care

text : not coping with interaction

I have no sense of what I would like my future to be. This year I died a thousand deaths. Dying is lonely and it isn't. Still in Shock.

04 December 2009

Living in Gratitude 78 : fustration and surrender

These last two weeks have been a real challenge - sometimes I get so impatient with still feeling unwell, still feeling exhausted, still being so physically limited with what I can do within my day ... sometimes it drives me so crazy, I end up in tears out of sadness and fustration. I can hear myself saying "I should be feeling better by now!".... "why I am still feeling this tired?"... "when am I going to start feeling that I can do things more normally?"... "I feel so foreign in this body ..."

And those questions just DO NOT HELP ME.... it pulls me in tighter and I become more fustrated and upset. Which, of course makes me more tired.

And then I try to remind myself of the gratitude of having been so ill,of this slow recovery process, of what it is teaching me. I lie in bed or on the floor on my yoga mat and remind myself how this illness has stopped me in my tracks to teach me stuff that I would never have stopped for. Because I was always running. Running after something or running away from something.

And when I get into that space of surrendering to the physical limitations I have now, it's a whole new feeling. It feels more peaceful, more accepting, patient and kinder.

photos from boy's orphanage - we visit an orphanage each Saturday night and bring a good hearty meal. Last saturday the boys greeted us with music and stilts.... the stilts reminded me of how I feel a lot of the time.