In the early mornings we watch the night sky brighten
From Prussian blue into azure; now flaming horizon.
In the early mornings we watch the night sky brighten
From Prussian blue into azure; now flaming horizon.
A long time since the last on this blog, but it’s easy to learn why when you see what happened during the accident that changed everything last October. Here is a glimpse at what happened, and why, and how you can be a part of the healing process and ultimately, the book’s success.
Penobscot Island Air offers an intimate view of Maine’s islands everywhere there is an airstrip.
For places without a
runway, two of the company’s five Cessnas are equipped for amphibious landings
yacht side or dockside. These are the
same planes that fly in Alaska’s
outlying territories, best known for taking off and landing in places with
short runways. The Cessna 206 and 207
can carry about 1,600 lbs of cargo and up to 5 passengers. The Cessna 208 can carry 7 passengers and
carries about 4,000 lbs.
When pain hits you, do you feel powerless?
When pain is ruling the day, the first thing to do is take a break. Pain is your body’s way of saying – “Hey! Don’t push so hard!” But with FMS, the pain is relentless. It creeps in when we least expect or plan for it, it’s just there, suddenly in a huge way.
Were we so busy ignoring our body’s needs that it had no choice but to say WOAH! Did we push, push push to do something that we really did not need to do?
I remember when pain ruled my every waking moment. I remember riding in the wheelchair at the grocery store, and feeling so wiped out after the trip that I couldn’t manage the groceries, get them in from the car, or even think of making dinner. I remember the frustration of not being able to walk very far because the handicapped space in the parking lot was like a long distance sprint to me at that time.
Now that is different. I normally park way out away from the handicapped spot – knowing that walking will do me good. It will kick in some endorphins and overall, make me feel better. I continued to make choices like this until the little changes added up to a big healing over a long period of time. The changes did not happen overnight, but day by day.
Going through that healing gauntlet was a giant lesson in how to work with my body, how to listen to it, and not view the message of dis-ease as a betrayal, but as a teacher with an important message.
As I have focused on what makes me feel good, there is less time to think about what makes me feel bad. What distracts me from pain is different from what distracts you. It’s part personal and clinical, these distractions. Humans have created powerful ways to distract ourselves from pain.
To disassociate from the unpleasantness of now in order to persevere through the present, and move forward beyond the overwhelming NOW into the future. The distraction trick works well in times of acute pain or stress that are so intense that you may wonder how you will ever get through it. It’s about not letting the pain distract from the beauty of life, and instead, finding ways to let the beauty of life be one continual distraction from that which is unpleasant. It’s an allowing game as well. “Ok, I’m in the most pain possible, so what can I do to trick myself into forgetting about it – even for a moment?”
Sometimes, one must employ multiple distractions to get through a long term illness. It’s tough to focus on healing, when there is uncertainty of cause. The cause and the symptom(s) don’t always seem to go together. That’s the puzzle.
Illness isn’t easy. Western society demands short term healing. A headache is not a reason to rest, it is a reason to take medicine. We pointedly use and abuse our bodies repeatedly in this culture. It’s built into our way of life.
The mind is ahead of the body; it has to be. The body doesn’t always respond as quickly as we’d like. Sometimes it takes a while to develop illness. It arrives in such miniscule amounts that we don’t really notice. Sometimes it arrives in a jolt. Coping skills at first are wobbly at best, they only become stronger with the exercise of use. Once coping becomes a way of life, it’s difficult to separate what one does to cope with what one does to live joyfully.
Distractions allow the pulling away from that which is most unpleasantly dominating and instead, focus on something more fun. It’s a way to disassociate from what is unpleasant and park yourself in a better spot.
The earliest memory of a lesson in distraction involved quick thinking on my Dad’s part. At the sight of his four year old weeping and knashing her teeth over the ruined swimming pool, he grabbed his Tulane issued Modern Physics textbook and flipped to the Ben Franklin page. His ability to distract me with the fascinating story of electricity lessened the shock of losing both my favorite tree and our swimming pool to the lightning strike. It also lessened my fear of the close call we had all experienced as the winds howled into the night.
This is what holding a camera did for me from the start; I can choose to lose myself in the fascination and beauty of the moment; it gives me something to focus on. I can think about light, shadow, and composition of the shot rather than the demanding symptoms that are rudely ruling the rest of the day. For this moment in time, I’m not thinking about pain.
Later, the images bring a new sense of gratitude as they flash by in a slide show. They bring surprises and wonder that I didn’t see when the shot was taken, even though I was the one shooting! Then a sense of gratitude comes, just for being there, in the moment. It’s captured, never to be the same again. The good feeling that was created when I made the image, is repeated as I view, edit, post and play with it. I was there for that moment, lost in it, not consumed with pain. The image is proof of the moment, it reminds me of the feeling I had when it originally happened. And I can tap into it every time I see that image. One moment adds up to a lot of tiny moments of distraction. It’s like buying a penny stock and finding out you’ve made a zillion, only the currency is joy, beauty, light, wonder.
As I create, I think about creating healing with my creations. Healing inside, healing the pain, healing what needs to be cleared before forward movement can come. It’s easy to get off track, we are often so “busy” surviving that we lose the tiny joy drops along the way. We’re moving too fast to notice them.
Illness and pain, are also messages to slow down. There is a reason for being in turtle mode, healing takes time and attention. It has to come first. We forget that so easily.
Creating art is also one of my distractions. Every collage, card and image I make is because I’m working on distractions.
Photographing beautiful landscapes and viewing the images is peaceful. Soothing music helps sleep to come when otherwise it would not. In fact, this is the reason I host Tribal Vibe Radio Show, because of the relaxing effect the music and poetry had for me during times of extreme pain. It was one of the tools I used to learn to meditate with in the tub, to let my body relax, to loosen the pain layers.
As I focus on healing, I focus on creating new works and tap into the joy of creating them.
Somewhere along the way between motivating myself to get up and get on with life and figuring out what distraction may work best, I get into the zone and forget about pain. The joy of creating temporarily eclipses pain, rendering it to a less dominant position on the day.
There are new things to look forward to as the healing comes.
A publicist for creative people, L. Jaye Bell now uses her artistic talents to create positive publicity for creative clients. Her articles have been published in newspapers, magazines and online. L. Jaye hosts the Destination Maine Radio Show and the Tribal Vibe Radio Show. Her work is available online at www.gypsyblondemedia.com and http://l-jaye-bell.artistwebsites.com/
|Claudene Christian on the HMS Bounty|
“When the heart weeps for what
it has lost,
|At the Memorial Service. Photo by Rick Blood.|
It’s time you knew her too.
And when she did, you knew without a doubt that you had just met your newest ally.
|Claudene and I in Boothbay after the HMS Bounty was hauled out.
Photo by Steve Frederick.
Claudene was living her dream.
|With the Mounties in Halifax, NS July 2012|
|Painting the hull in Boothbay Harbor with Jessica Hewitt.|
With Laura Groves in Boothbay Harbor, ME
While Old Man Winter’s winds may screech and howl, stay warm inside with a pot of Mainely Yum!© Organic Vegan Black Bean Soup.
Maine is famous for her community Bean Suppers, gatherings where everyone brings a pot of something yummy to share with the group. Take this hearty and healthy dish with you the next time you go to a party, and it will be a sure hit.
Garnish with a slice of avocado (instead of sour cream) and freshly chopped cilantro. This soup is a beautifully simple way to warm up a frigid winter day.
This recipe calls for using fresh vegetables and dried organic beans. With the recent media spotlight shining on studies researching BPA levels in canned foods**, it’s nutritiously savvy to take the time to make this recipe from scratch. If needed, the bean preparation can be done the night before, and the soup put together the day of the meal.
Trust me, there isn’t a canned soup on the market that can compare!
Organic Vegan Black Bean Soup
Use Organic Ingredients for Best Tasting Results!
1 lb Organic Dried Black Beans
1 sweet onion
1 leek stalk
4 large stalks celery
5 cloves of Garlic
1 organic red pepper
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 large Bay Leaves
2 Vegan Bouillion Cubes
2 TBSP of Organic Coconut Oil
Sea Salt to taste
Cayenne Pepper to taste
Mixed Wild Rice
1 Vegan Bouillon Cube
Freshly made Picante Sauce
1 Avacado, sliced
Rinse the beans in a colander and drain. Place them in a bowl that is four times the size of the space they take up in the colander. Pour heated water over the beans, until there is an inch of water over them. Let them soak for an hour. Stir and add more, again to 1 inch over the top of the beans.
Meanwhile, chop the onions, leeks, celery, garlic, red peppers and carrots. Starting with the garlic and onion, saute in the coconut oil on low in a large soup pot with the vegan bouillon cubes and Bay Leaves. Heat one kettle of water and add to the saute. Keep the heat on very low so as not to overcook the veggies.
Once the beans have soaked up most of the water, drain them in a colander. Rinse well with water. Rinse, rinse rinse! This helps to get the chemical responsible for making gas out of them before they go into the soup. Put the beans into a saucepan, cover with water and simmer for an hour or until they soften and begin to split. Let cool. Again, pour them in the colander and rinse, rinse, rinse them!. Add the beans to the sauteed vegetables. Pour another kettle of water over them, and simmer on low for 1.5 hours. Low heat keeps the broth clear. Just prior to serving, season with Sea Salt and Cayenne pepper to taste. Careful! A little goes a long way.
While the soup is simmering, it’s time to make the grains to serve with it. I use a blended mix of Organic Wild Rice, and Red Quinoa. Measure 1 cup of the rice mix and 1/2 cup of Red Quinoa. Add the last bouillon cube, 3 cups of water and stir. Simmer on low for 20-25 minutes, until the Quinoa grains ‘pop’ and the rice is done.
Fill soup bowls 1/3 with cooked Rice/Quinoa mixture. Ladle soup over the top. Add garnish of Tablespoon of Picante Sauce, Avacado slice and top with chopped Cilantro.
Have a Mainely Yum!© Day!
**BPA is a low level hormone disruptor, affecting the health and formation of reproductive organs in babies to reproductive health later in life. Canned foods are lined with a layer of BPA to help in forming the metal seal on the can. The online article published by The Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine details the ways that BPA affects the body. Check it out here: BPA levels in canned foods.
Got a freezer of Maine blueberries, and need a quick healthy and refreshing frozen drink that will get your day started right? Try making a Kefir smoothie.
What’s Kefir? Pronounced like “Kee-fur” It’s a cultured milk much like yogurt, but has more of the beneficial bacteria so important for good digestion. While it is more widely available pre-made by the quart in the grocery store, these tend to be loaded with sugar, in addition to the being $5 a quart. Yikes!
It’s fun to make it yourself with just about any kind of milk. It can be made with rice milk, goat’s milk, even almond milk. It takes a day or so to set up. Get a kefir starter package from your local co-op. Fresh off the Farm in Rockport and Good Tern Natural Foods in Rockland carry Yo-gourmet. Look for it in the refrigerated section.
Kefir made from scratch is one way to do better for your body and save money, besides being very satisfying. Once started, you can always add more milk to the last cup of kefir to create 10 more batches from each starter or more. It’s a renewable resource that is easily made at home.
To make kefir:
2 qts any kind of milk
1 pkg keifer starter.
Follow package directions if desired. I deviate from heating the milk up as directed, but it does form faster that way. I simply open the starter package and sprinkle the starter grains into the milk container, close the lid and shake. Leave it out to ‘set up’ for about 12 hours. On a warm day, it will set up quickly, so check it every few hours. It’s done when there are curds forming in the liquid that are about the size of a large pea. When the container is bulging a little, is also an indication that it’s ready to use. Shake before pouring.
The kefir is somewhat sour when it forms. Adding frozen fruit in a blender really turns it into something yummy. The frozen bananas taste a little like ice cream, and add a creamy texture to the smoothie.
To make a kefir smoothie:
1 1/3 cups of kefir
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
2 frozen bananas, peeled and chunked
Dash of Maple syrup
Blend all ingredients together in a blender until smooth. Pour and serve. Makes enough for two large or four small smoothies. Share with a friend or freeze in a plastic cup for the next day. Be sure to wash glasses and blender immediately, because dried kefir adheres to the walls of the glass very well.
This post inspired by a camping trip where the high bush blueberries grew like a vineyard on an island in the lake. And thanks to Brother Eagle who watched over as 4 gallons of marble sized berries came back with!
May you have a Mainely Yum day!
brings another unwelcome gift:
The desire to just stop doing anything – or really – the absence of desire to do the things you used to do. The things that used to jazz you just no longer trip your trigger. You know what I mean. It’s like you’ve checked out of yourself, and in place of the person you used to be is a not so happy soul who would rather be elsewhere. No one wants to be around you, even you don’t want to hang with yourself, because well, it’s depressing.
This was after a pastor emphatically told me to “pull myself up by my bootstraps” several months after an extensive, 4 hour laser surgery failed to bring relief from the chronic pain of Endometriosis. The ONE thought that stopped from following through on that thought was, “My kids will think it was their fault.” That’s all that kept me from ending everything at 29 years of age.
I’m SO glad I didn’t end my life story there.
About 5 years later, after being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, I was undergoing more extensive challenges with chronic pain everywhere in my body. This time, I was attending my son Wryen’s middle school orchestra holiday concert. It was all I could do to get out of the house and go see him play.
As he beautifully played the cello, I simultaneously felt proud of him, yet the tears started slowly pouring down my cheeks. Reminded of the holiday season by the gorgeous decorations in the church, and moved by the deep, poignant sounds of the cello, I wondered, “Where is my faith and my irrepressible joy of life? Where did they go? They had disappeared under the heavy cloak of pain that adorned my body. I could not even sit in a concert and listen to my child play in orchestra for the pain that raged under my skin. It was all I could do to sit still, silently, and not scream because of the unrelenting pain.
The adjustment to a different level of activities, social events and opportunities to participate in events diminishes drastically with the chronic pain of FMS. Hearing people ask, “How are you?” without really listening to my reply was, a real downer. They’d say, “Well, you LOOK good.” and make excuses to dash away. How could I look good when I felt like crap? That really depressed me for some reason. Not knowing how to manage the overwhelming pain, and not having a compassionate physician were also part of the depression picture. Family members cannot possibly understand what I was going through – unless of course they are also diagnosed with a chronic pain dis-ease, which can happen, but more often than not, we are left to feeling alone, as if our bodies are betraying us with every throb and ache. It’s an invisible, chronic disability that millions suffer with on a daily basis.
So if you are humming along while you’re moseying down the Rainbow Trail, guess what happens? Things start to clear up. One thing leads to another, and before you know it, the black clouds of pain, the depressing mists of uncertainty give way to the unexpected beauty of a brighter day.
That’s just one way to work with the dragon of depression.
It’s the week after Valentines Day, and I’m still in love. It’s a different state of being for me, but I’m going with it. I’m infatuated, head over heels for the sound of someone new in my ears whose music has taken hold of my heart.
We talked for a while after the show, about his life and experiences in India, and how he came to be in Rockland, Maine. We’ll hear that on the podcast, but you must know that for the last 4 days I’ve spent the better part of the day and night baptizing my ears with his music.
There’s nothing worse than a new convert, but after 72 hours of aural pleasure, I’m hooked. The more I listen, the more I grow into it, relax with it, and let it tumble gently to splash into my soul. Yep, the signs are all there. This is what happens when I fall in love with music.
The layers of Harry’s songs are an intoxicating, transfixing, an eagle glide medicine vision into higher realms, a 3D glance into at the larger picture to experience what human eyes won’t envision in real time. It grooves, it lives, it breathes on its own, powered by the classical traditions of old and the courage of new.
For 12 years, he learned to make sense of the music, studying under spiritual Masters and gradually learning to unlock the mysterious vault of East Indian music. He also learned to meditate and to figure out “who” was within. Harry continued on to play music for the commune when his teacher left his body. After several years, He met and studied with his second Master, classical musician Vishwa Mohan Bhatt. The best teachers know when the student is ready to operate on lessons learned. In 2000, Bhatt told him he had taught him all he knew, Manx went to British Columbia to pay his dues on the streets. While making living playing blues-infused Indian rajas on the corners of Vancouver, he gathered enough funds for a one day studio session, an investment in himself that eventually netted 50,000 sales of his first CD, Dog My Cat, and the Canadian Independent Music Award for Blues Album of the Year 2002. Not a bad response for a 45 year old first timer.
Ten years, eleven CD’s and a DVD later, he’s spending time on the touring circut with the likes of Richie Havens, traveling the globe from British Columbia to Australia, and Quebec to Nova Scotia with an occasional dip down to U.S. Northern states. He’ll go further South to appear at Merlefest in May. If you’re lucky enough to be in a town where he’s onstage, do whatever you can to make the show. If not, head to his website online store right now and order up so you won’t miss out.
Harry’s website is http://www.harrymanx.com/
Bread and Buddah – 2009
Harry Manx & Friends Live at the Glenn Gould Studio, 2007
In Good We Trust – with Kevin Breit – 2007
Mantras for Madmen – 2005
West Eats Meet – 2004
Harry Manx Live: Road Ragas 2003
Jubilee – with Kevin Breit – 2002
Wise and Otherwise – 2006
Dog My Cat – 2000 – Winner, Canadian Independent Music Awards Blues Album of the Year
Wild About Harry: Live at the Basement – DVD – Recorded live in Sydney, Australia
Fresh pineapple, and wild caught salmon have pain relieving properties. I also have a hankering for comfort food: grits, goat cheese and red potatoes. Cherries are good collagen builders. Let’s see what we can create.
Enjoy A Mainely Yum! Day!
Walk in Beauty,