Gone Fishing, To a Psychic, & Illness Strikes Twice

Friday, I chose to rest, hoping to recover from the week’s emotional and physical trials. I knew now I’d need tests, which was additional stress, but stress I was prepared to endure if they meant answers and solutions.

Gone Fishing

Saturday, I finally allowed myself to feel sadness, missing my friend who left for Wisconsin. Learning to accept that friends is all we can be has been hard, but worth doing. He’s onward to amazing things, and so am I, I hope, but we aren’t moving in the same direction at the moment. On Saturday I cried, and took a walk. It was a beautiful day, and I was feeling a little sensitive but lively. Out with my Mom, we stopped to sit by the river, a bike-path and a park adjacent to it. While there, whimsy entertained us, and we met a boy, an aspiring herpetologist, who caught a well-nourished green frog, and he assured us he’d put it back as soon as he showed his mom. We also met an older gentleman eager to teach me to fish (I have been fishing before, but I’m no expert). I caught a small blue-gill which we promptly threw back after appreciating its gorgeous scales (we let the fish keep the worm, of course). The fisherman confessed that after mounting an impressive catch on his wall, he vowed to never keep another fish he caught again. He said the fish he’d treated like a trophy would’ve been a mature fish for its size, and that “you don’t get that big by being stupid.” He regrets it to this day that that fish isn’t still swimming where he caught him. In fact, the trophy he gave away to a friend, not bearing to look at it. Afterwards, I got home feeling generally better, and happy that I forced myself to see the world outside of myself for a while.

… To A Psychic

Sunday, I saw a psychic, an Angel Reader more specifically, the one I’ve been going to for a while. I see her quite exclusively, because in conjunction with whatever message she might receive for me, she accompanies that message with helpful advice and insight. She’s a calming person to be around, and I value her for more than her intuitions. She’s seen me through hard transitions, especially of the romantic kind, and she helps me without judging me. She is nurturing, and speaks to me like an equal. Whether or not you, reader, believe in psychics, I think a person like this in one’s life is indispensable. What I mean by that is she’s a person who helps me by providing an objective perspective, advice that helps me to keep a positive and productive outlook on my life, and she helps me keep in touch with my spirituality, and make peace with the unknown, and the greater scheme of things. A person like that, whether in a psychic, a teacher, a mentor, or a therapist is invaluable, each specifically helpful to individual needs.

Illness Strikes Twice

Monday, I came down with a swift and terrible cold, and so left work 15 minutes early as soon as I was done with what I needed to finish. And I slept.

Tuesday, sick and in bed, I meditated on healing thoughts, because I could not have a raging cold and take the last of my prescribed tests. In fact, due to my upcoming tests I could not take normal pain killers or cold medicines. I was limited to Tylenol, and help from the Universe. I needed to kick this thing.

Wednesday, I was substantially better than the night before, but had to prep for the next round of tests, and so was on a liquid diet for the day, and we’ll leave it at that to spare the details. My mood survived at a convenient neutral with the help of (Spoiler Alert!) Daphne and Niles, finally professing their love for each other on the 90s sitcom, Frasier. Guilt-free, I admit to watching all eleven seasons for the third time around.

Thursday, the (hopefully) last round of tests. The nurses were incredibly kind, and even found me funny, which always lightens my mood. My parents were also supportive, and gentle. In spite of the anxiety I knew they were experiencing, they did their best to hide it from me. So far, the prognosis is favorable, and I’ll know officially in about a week. Relieved that this is likely something manageable without long-term or high-stakes consequences, they ate hearty at lunch, and I ate light, now developing a habit of asking for a to-go box no matter the size of the serving, respecting that my stomach may be the right size, but the system might not be up for the challenge. I’m feeling optimistic, and comforted by the fact that so many of my friends have wished me well today. I guess that’s the silver lining of the storm cloud of illness: you find out that people you wouldn’t have guessed really do care.


Accept and Manage My Health

Sunday, I was recovering from feeling ill on Saturday, and so chose to pamper myself with a purchase of high quality shampoo and conditioner. A broke-ass millennial, my go-to’s are usually vividly packaged sulfates.

Monday, I made the most of time in between obligations. In the midst of dogsitting, and helping another friend move, I allowed time to gather myself, listen to music, and calm down. I also enjoyed spontaneity when my brother asked me to hang out on a whim. Our evening consisted of spamming our mother with Snapchats.

Tuesday, I got through a long workday, in which I had to attend an after-work event. Usually I enjoy these trips out of the office, but today was challenging. I had a headache that started out annoying at the beginning of the day and maxed out at horrendous towards the end. Long story short, I had to call in sick to work the next day.

Wednesday, I broke down, and finally went to the doctor after a year of dealing with digestive issues, which have led to eating less, which have lead to headaches, etc. etc. Yay for body changes that smack you in the face in emerging adulthood! Time to tackle the problem.

Thursday, another doctor’s appointment. On my way to figuring out what the culprit is, and how to handle it. Ironically, the stress of tests is less horrible than the stress of the unknown. I’m relieved to be on my way to a better understanding of what I’m dealing with, and on to a treatment plan/diet that will work, rather than the guesswork I’ve been doing for the last year. I’m ready for solutions.

This week, happiness has meant starting with accepting my situation and to find solutions, rather than grinning and bearing it, my usual M.O. I’ve got to take care of me.

Make the Most of Moments

These last three days have been far more busy than I had originally anticipated. I’ve been cast in a new show, and rehearsals started this week. Choosing happy these last three days has meant taking moments to absorb the present, and simply breathe.

Monday I physically felt horrible. After the previous day of cleaning and moving, I was sore, and had a headache with admirable persistence. In between things, I took a moment to do some light yoga, specifically poses with headache reducing effects, curated conveniently from YouTube. I avoid medication when I can, not because I don’t believe in it, but because I try to live by moderation. I breathed, and stretched, and fortunately reduced my headache enough to be functional, and even eventually enjoy the day, mustering up the gumption to visit with one of my close friends in the evening to wind down.

Tuesday was Day One of rehearsals past the initial read-through, which followed a full day of work, used to its fullest extent, as my office was in preparations for our annual conference. After a full day, on my way home from the theatre, I noticed the moon, hazed with orange, a bleak reminder of the wildfires in neighboring states, ash dying the air like a macabre Holi. Walking up to my house, I looked up at the moon again, whose face had cleared by winds, now brightly white, the ash now a halo pigmented with ombre hues of red, orange and pale yellow. In spite of the sinister implications, I couldn’t help but admire the ironic beauty of the scene. It served as a reminder that we are far closer to each other than we often realize, the wreckage from miles away drifting into my local lungs.

Wednesday, another busy day at work, and another rehearsal. While driving to rehearsal in the early evening, I felt guilty for neglecting my blog, and briefly debated whether or not I would inevitably let myself down. I briefly thought about abandoning the blog, questioning whether or not I’d be able to maintain momentum, or insight, if the quality of my writing would even be worth the read. Then I remembered the initial goals of the blog, specifically the goal to combat my tendency towards perfectionism. What was I doing at that very moment? Criticizing myself for disobeying the rules I had crudely assigned for myself. Why? This exploration of happiness was meant to be fun, to help me be more conscious of my own choices. By this point, I’d noticed simply writing on a regular basis made me happier. And, making the choice to be happy each day forced me to think about my needs as a priority, not as something to put aside in favor of “more important” tasks, or to demote next to someone else’s well-being. Truthfully, remembering to even take a moment to ground myself, simply because it made me feel good, was already making a difference, even if these moments only lasted a matter of seconds.

Upon realizing that I should continue the blog, if for no one else but myself, I gazed out my driver’s window to see the edge of a rainbow, and eager for a stoplight, I took a longer look to discover it was full, framed edge to edge by my window-frame. I took this universally hopeful symbol as a sign that I had made the right decision.

Day 6: Coming Home to My Body

After the last couple days of feeling helpless to the whims of the Universe, I was ready to take back some control. I needed to feel empowered in some small, easily accessible, instantly gratifying way. I needed to ground myself, and get back in touch with my body: the most tangible present moment.

After two months of haphazardly maintaining an fitness routine, I finally started up again with a 35 minute workout incorporating weights and basic calisthenics. I turned up my acoustic pop tunes, and began with dead lifts, moving down a list of exercises for a full-body shake down. Literally. By the end I was shaking. And it felt so good. The late afternoon made no difference to my sleepy muscles, weakened from two months of neglect, who started to peak out from their hiding places, and yawn broadly with a quivering stretch. It’s a new day, Katrina. It’s time to take yourself back.

After my final rep, I limply dropped onto my yoga mat. When I’m at my most exhausted, it’s time to meditate. For assistance, I usually simply search “meditation music,” and get some recordings of chants, and light bells, and a deep sounding wind instrument combination that I’m told is Tibetan in some way. Today, I felt like something different. So I tried some American Indian meditation music, which I found aesthetically beautiful, but didn’t calm me, or help me relinquish my mind to let it wander. It occurred to me, I should try some meditation music from a culture I relate to on a personal level, not just an intellectually artistic one.

I’m half Greek, raised by a Greek “off the boat,” who grew up on an island, and emigrated here as a student. My mom was born in the USA, and is northern European, with little connection to any of the cultures she embodies, except for her love of folk music, based in Celtic traditions, which I’ve definitely inherited. In spite of being essentially raised Greek, I feel a kinship with my under-expressed ancestry in music, even deciding to learn the banjo at a considerably late age for learning music.

In knowing this, I realized that meditation, though famously Eastern Indian, is a concept that also transcends cultures. The concept is to free the mind, and then gain better control of it. It’s an exercise in self-awareness, self-acceptance, and a greater understanding of the world. From what I can tell, most of the spiritual traditions I’ve learned at least a smattering about, incorporate these ideals to an extent.

For the first time, it occurred to me to search for Celtic meditation music. The familiar bittersweet birdsong of the tin whistle, in tandem with cascading waterfall harps, and light drums soothed my skull. I laid in Savasana, a Sanskrit term also known as ‘corpse’ pose, my palms up, focusing on sinking into the floor, grounding myself. I felt my mind empty of its contents, like it was being poured gently from a basin into a stream.

I started to cry, a single tear rolling down my right cheek.

And I let myself cry, gently, a release of the last week. I intellectually had made sense of the events. But, neglecting to empty myself emotionally meant the pressure had surpassed the limits. The levee had to break.

As I breathed deeply, and small tears rolled down my face. I thought of his name, perhaps naively hoping I’d be able to see him, or hear him in my mind’s eye, and find out how he was doing. I couldn’t impose too much via text, unsure of how much he’d even want to talk to me anymore, but I needed reassurance he was indeed at home, like everyone hoped. Finally, I relinquished control, and went back to finding that open-minded peace.

Shortly thereafter, I rose from Savasana to join the living, and checked my phone. The alert glowed in the darkness of my room– a message from him. One I’d been hoping to receive for the last several hours, with reassurance. Maybe he heard me call him, or maybe just coincidence, either way I sat with my legs crossed and surrendered heavy tears onto the floor. Relief, acceptance, gratitude, and grief. I let it all go.

I arose feeling less confused, more at home in myself, and at peace. My mind needed to unify with my body in order to feel more bravely me. The mantra I see is often the trite Instagram triptych, “Mind, Body, & Soul,” but in spite of its overuse and tendency to underwhelm, today it made complete sense. We can’t have one without the others. As physical existence is comprised of Earth, Wind, Water, and Fire, so too are we incomplete without all of our elements. I’ll spend my life trying to unite them, the gains in the trying itself. I’ve come to terms with the truth that there is no one-size-fits-all “right way,” there’s only the individual’s “right way” to find the balance. Whether yoga in a brightly lit class, or taking a walk in nature, we all need to find unity within ourselves, to find the solidarity we have with the rest of humanity. Then forgiveness becomes easier, and hurts become easier to overcome. Love is the invaluable remainder.

This song makes more & more sense every time I’m drawn to it.

“Awake My Soul” by Mumford and Sons.

“How fickle my heart and how woozy my eyes
I struggle to find any truth in your lies
And now my heart stumbles on things I don’t know
My weakness I feel I must finally show

Lend me your hand and we’ll conquer them all
But lend me your heart and I’ll just let you fall
Lend me your eyes I can change what you see
But your soul you must keep, totally free
Har har, har har, har har, har har

Awake my soul, awake my soul
Awake my soul

How fickle my heart and how woozy my eyes
I struggle to find any truth in your lies
And now my heart stumbles on things I don’t know
My weakness I feel I must finally show
Har har, har har, har har, har har

In these bodies we will live, in these bodies we will die
Where you invest your love, you invest your life
In these bodies we will live, in these bodies we will die
And where you invest your love, you invest your life

Awake my soul, awake my soul
Awake my soul
For you were made to meet your maker
Awake my soul, awake my soul
Awake my soul
For you were made to meet your maker
You were made to meet your maker”

Written by Benjamin Walter David Lovett, Edward James Milton Dwane, Marcus Oliver Johnstone Mumford, Winston Aubrey Aladar Marshall • Copyright © Universal Music Publishing Group
Source: https://play.google.com/music/preview/Tw7jb6m5w6dgkdw25hqxvjkio5y?lyrics=1&utm_source=google&utm_medium=search&utm_campaign=lyrics&pcampaignid=kp-lyrics