Thursday, July 29, 2010

Life Lessons Learned

Finding Self

“I couldn’t live with myself any longer. And this question arose without an answer:
who is the ‘I’ that cannot live with the self? What is the self?"

-Eckhart Tolle

I use to go to a Lyme disease support group once a month. I really enjoyed the group. It was there that I met Alix and Kim from SpiroChicks and Scott Forsgren, the Better Health Guy, as well as a myriad of other Lymies who I felt a camaraderie with.

Over the winter I moved and I hadn’t been able to make it to a meeting again until this past Tuesday.

The topic was the Mind-Body Connection. One of the ladies in the group had read the book Mindsight by Daniel Siegel.

Siegel combines Western neuroscience with Eastern meditation in an exciting exploration of how a troubled mind can right itself. Drawing on current science and case studies, Siegel, a clinical professor of psychiatry at UCLA School of Medicine, reinforces the idea that the power of reflection allows us to approach, rather than withdraw, from whatever life brings us.

The book itself sounded interesting. I have read about how stress and distress can make you physically ill. This is one of the things I explored with a psychotherapist before I was diagnosed with Lyme. She agreed it was an important aspect but she knew that there was more to my illness than just this. Gotta love the shrink who tells you, “You are sick, but it is not all in your head”.

It was the discussion that was opened up by the topic that had a profound effect on me though. The Self and the importance of Clan to your healing.

I was stunned by the realization that I give no time to my “Self” and I don’t have a Clan. 
 
The Self-
 
You may call this the spirit or soul, to me it feels right to call it the Self. What is the Self? This is the true you. The brain is an organ and the body is a vessel but neither is who you are.

Where does the Self exist? I have no idea. To be honest the whole idea is more than I can really comprehend. It is like the question, “Where does the Universe end?”. You know that the universe doesn’t end; it is everywhere and forever. At the same time you can’t really visualize that as reality.

Some people believe that the Self exists in the heart center. This feels right to me. Not only does it feel right, but feeling this makes me feel more grounded. I spend a lot of time living in my head. Living in that state makes me feel disassociated from my body, or maybe it is more than that, I am disassociated from my Self.

I am always trying to work things out, to figure and to fix. I rarely if ever take the time to just be and to accept.

You are probably asking what in the world this has to do with my health. By letting go of the frantic workings of my mind; the worries, the fears, the obligations… If I can just stop, just be, I feel myself relax, my mind becomes calm. The stress and the worry melt away. Miraculously things become clearer, my mind can function better. There is no doubt that this is a much better, much healthier state to be in. I need to learn to connect with and respect my Self.

Clan-

I have a lot of friends… on facebook. I have a good family, we all care about one another.

This is not the same as having a “Clan”. A true clan is having people you can depend on, who understand you and accept you. People you can open up to and really share your life and your feelings with. A Clan is more than just a few people, a Clan is a large functioning social network. The Clan needs to include people who exist physically in your life, not just online.

To be honest, I don’t know if I have ever had this in my whole life. Sadly I have always prided myself on not needing anyone. I thought I was strong. Now I can see that “strength” was actually fear and my pride was a wall to keep me from getting hurt. I realized this Tuesday night when the LLMD who facilitates the group told us to ask for answers from our hearts not our heads.

As we continued to talk about Clan, aura and energy came up. Recognizing the people in your life who fill you up and those who are toxic. We need to surround ourselves with people who give us energy and to avoid those who steal it.

This is a really hard realization to face. What do you do when you know without a doubt that your relationship with best friend or your family members are toxic? Can you really give up those relationships?

I remained completely open as the meeting went on , but I was a little in shock. I have some major things in my life that I need to work on. Pills and potions aren’t going to cure me alone. I need to take an active role in my healing. I thought I was but now I realize I was going about it all wrong.

I’m often commended for my positive outlook and for not letting this disease or life get me down. It’s true, I don’t, another thing I have always been proud of. Unfortunately what I realize now is that even here I am hiding behind that wall. Fooling everyone including myself. My attitude has come more from avoidance than truth.

So what do I do now? I am "little girl lost", I don’t know my Self and I don’t have a Clan.

Finding Self, I know how to do. Sticking with it is the hard part. I’ve had glimpses of my Self in the past. Sometimes the truths there are hard to accept. Perhaps that is why I have always given over to my mind which has allowed me to avoid the realities of accepting what my Self has to say.

As for finding a Clan, I have no idea where to start. I don’t work and I’m currently not the active person I use to be. Where am I supposed to find these Clan members? And then there is the fear of not being accepted. This is an issue that stems from my childhood and teen years. Suffice it to say, kids can be mean. You know that elementary school comeback “I’m rubber, you’re glue, what ever you say bounces of me and sticks to you”? I never had that rubber armor. I was just glue. Everything rubber said stuck to me and added to that wall.

I am determined to break down my wall. I can see how it is negatively affecting my life. I can also see how much fuller my life could be without it and how that in turn would positively affect my health.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Udi's to the Rescue, Sweet Stuff

Lemon Streusel Muffins

A few weeks back I was so excited about my new gluten free find, Udi's Bagels that I wrote a post about how much I loved them- I Love Udi's. Udi's read my post and because of that I recently had the opportunity to sample Udi's Gluten Free Foods line of muffins and cinnamon rolls. Muffins are one of the foods I've missed most with my gluten free diet so this was quite a treat!

Saturday morning my husband and I made up a platter of muffins a frosted cinnamon roll and mugs of Teeccino (a caffeine-free coffee alternative). It was a warm sunny day so we decided to take our amazing breakfast outside.

I realize not all Lymies eat sugar, but many do. I hardly at any sugars for the first year of my treatment. My biggest treat was a couple a squares of 85% dark chocolate. When my digestive issues got under control I did started eating sugars again, but I am careful about moderation. If I overdo it, I pay for it!

What we tried-
  • Lemon Streusel Muffins
  • Blueberry Muffins
  • Double Chocolate Muffins
  • Cinnamon Rolls
It was quite a satisfying breakfast. It felt so novel to be eating muffins after going so long without them. So many gluten free products look good but fail on texture and taste. Not so with these products.


What we thought-

All the products look and feel like the real deal. I highly doubt anyone would even know that they were gluten free. My dad came to visit before we finished all the cinnamon rolls. He hates all my gluten free foods and never holds back from telling me how terrible they taste. I didn't tell him the cinnamon rolls were gluten free and he didn't notice anything suspect about the taste.

My husband and I both agreed that the Double Chocolate Muffin was the best. It had the best flavor and the texture was the best of all the products. The chocolate chips throughout really make these great muffins.

My second favorite was the Blueberry Muffin. Like most blueberry muffins, I wish it had more blueberries, I like a lot of berries! My husband's second favorite was the Lemon Streusel Muffin. He thought it had better flavor than the blueberry muffin. I agree that it had more flavor but for me it was too lemony. Both muffins had good texture but it wasn't quite as good as the Double Chocolate Muffin.

The Cinnamon Rolls are yummy too. They aren't as ewie gooey as fresh cinnamon rolls but the texture is good and the frosting adds a super cinnamony taste. I love cinnamon so this was perfect for me, my husband thought it was a little too much cinnamon flavor.

None of the products taste like a sorry excuse for their gluten counterparts. They are all good when it comes to taste and texture.

I'm still more of a savory person. Udi's wholegrain bread and bagels are still my favorite of their line of products. I'm happy to know where to go when I get a craving for something sweet though!

Udi's products are gluten free, dairy free, soy free and nut free. 

Platter of Yummy!

You can find Udi's products at Whole Foods Market and at many Natural/Health Foods stores. Some larger supermarkets do carry the products. You can also order Udi's online from their website- http://udisglutenfree.com/products

If you are interested in Teeccino, the herbal coffee alternative I mentioned, here is the link to their website- http://www.teeccino.com/