Wednesday, January 31, 2007

February Flowers

The month of February is synon- ymous in my mind with flowers. Blossoms or bulbs, they show up in my home in great abundance.

It is a big birthday month, you see. And Valentine's Day is celebrated with flowers, sometimes, too. I think how lucky I am to have a birthday in February; flowers brighten up an otherwise still wintry month.

And my oldest daughter celebrates her birthday the day after mine, so we have always combined our special days, having one dinner instead of two back to back.

When my daughter was small, my birthday would usually be taken up with parties that involved, what seemed to me, an amazing amount of food and other people's children. During my daughter's childhood, there were years where celebrating two birthdays, with presents and parties, were just too expensive.

It was not until later, when I had time and money to indulge myself a little, that I started to appreciate the flowers that are in the markets at this time of year... every kind of flower imagin- able, if I was willing to pay the price.

In February, I am attracted to "hot" colours...the kind that bounce out at me, when I walk by them in the florist's shop. It is different at other times of the year...I am more attracted to lavenders, whites, purples and blues. But when I have had enough of cabin fever, enough of the eternal cold, fog and soul seeks bright yellows, heart stopping pinks and oranges...a reminder of the tropics.

A reminder of the Sun.

So, since the month of February holds two birthdays, along with St. Valentine's Day, I clean the vases on the last day of January, in readiness for the bouquets that flow in the door throughout the month. There is my Mother's crystal vase, the vase my daughter gave me, others with special significance, and I place these in the warm water, rinsing the accumulated grease and dust down the drain.

It is a cleansing of sorts. It reminds me that another year has gone by; that I am going to be another year older and hopefully, wiser. As I wash, I think of the events of the previous year. The joys and anticipations are honoured and I express my gratefulness to the Universe for such abundance.

The hurts are flooded with forgiveness, for myself and others, and washed away...

I don't want to start a new year in my life with a hoard of negative bundles of energy tucked away inside. I see birthdays as a fresh start, each year.

In readiness for the flowers of many colours that will decorate our home, the vases stand on the counter, sparkling and gleaming in the light.

Now all that remains is to fill them with flowers of brilliant hues, flowers that herald birthdays as gifts, giving such joy to the recipient!

February is the in-between month...the month where few flowers bloom in the garden. I will find a few branches of forsythia, quince and plum blossoms to force, and these will be tucked in amongst the floral arrangements.

And since tomorrow is the first day of February, I will treat myself to a bundle of daffodils, place them in the clear glass vase, and revel...revel in the fact that I was born so close to the full bursting of Spring.

Spring and her flowers.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Sunday Night Dream

I dreamt about my former home, last night. It was a partially melancholy dream, as journeys into the past sometimes are for me.

My old property lies on an almost three acre plot, about ten minutes from the nearest town.

This is the time of year where I would start serious clean-up of the gardens. There would be pruning of the Hedges, overgrown Trees and Shrubs, snow and wind-damaged limbs. Sometimes it took weeks, but that is the gardener's prerogative...gardens are usually a work in progress.

There were many spots in my old garden, where I could easily hide from the world, if I so choose. I lived there many years, and it is effortless to return and visit in a dream, as I did last night.

I know every nook and cranny.

In my dream, I wandered away from my house, towards the East garden. It was shaded by huge old dogwoods, an enormous Laurel hedge, Silver Birches. As I dreamed, it seemed dark, wet and foreboding. There were many fallen branches and leaves amid tangled shrubbery and blackberry vines.

Little light entered this garden, although in an awake state, I remember it very differently.

I wandered on, however, not deterred by the gloomy, dank and tangled area I was about to enter. In my dream, I moved purposefully...yet I still sensed that I was about to face a situation that might entail total awareness. I had a quick flash of the hind end of Grandfather Bear ahead of me...

Instantly, I realized that I had protection and guidance in this place, if I would remember to ask for it. Grandfather Bear, when he appears to me, is a very powerful guide...his energy signature is warm and comforting, with a musky, earthy aroma filling my nostrils. I experience instant knowledge, in a dream, a vision or a meditation, that I am required, now, to stand and face any fear I might be hiding from.

As the shrubbery and broken tree limbs closed behind me, I was enclosed, suddenly, in a dark place, where even darker fingers of brush loomed all around me...

I moved ahead, regardless, very sure now that I was meant to travel this obscure, murky path, traveling on with faith and strength and trust as my companions.

Dank and muddy, the path meandered ahead, large black objects insinuating themselves in my way. I felt wet ooze as I touched one...and realized I was in a very troubled place...a place that had felt little warmth and comfort, or had very rarely seen any gentle fingers of light.

I hear the faint sounds of a Horn ahead, just as quickly cut off. I move Branches aside. I see a still, azure Pool, surrounded by Rock, enclosed in a golden light. Many fern fingers touch the water, trailing their tips through the underground currents in the Pool.

I see a lady sitting by the water, brushing her hair. Her movements mesmerize me...I stare as her hands rhythmically brush and smooth, brush and smooth...her long red hair. She ignores me completely for awhile, continuing with her brushing.

Random thoughts and whispers twirl themselves around my senses. I am sent quick images, as I watch the brushing, glimpses of people and other beings, vistas and water. I am not able to grasp any of the dream within a dream.

As I watch, I am immersed in water, feeling as if I have plunged deep within the Pool, even if I am standing watching the Lady brush her hair. I feel bubbles of water brush my skin...I feel the water entering every part of my being, as I stand and watch.

I am not aware. I become hypnotized by her, the soft golden wash of light that glints off the Pool, like crushed glass, and the distant moan from the Horn playing so eloquently from somewhere...

Unawareness costs me. Quickly, she turns into the Crone, pointing a long trembling finger at me, shrieking with laughter. My heart pounds. I want to flee. She thrusts a branch at me, as I raise my hands in defense. I grasp the end, feeling warm energy enter my hands and traveling up my arm. Just as suddenly, she disappears, and I am once more on the path. I am turned to the West this time, the branch in my hand.

But it is a well traveled path; the Ferns and Salal carefully tended, and no Branches with their attempts to snag my clothing to be fought off. Nurse logs show their babies amidst soft, green moss. The Trees have yet to unfurl their new foliage, and a weak sunny light filters in around me. There is no anxiety present here, only a late Winter garden, a garden I once tended, waiting for word from Spring.

The notes from the Horn still sound...growing fainter now.

I awake and stretch, find my slippers and wander the darkened house, wondering about the dream. It will stay with me, this one, as some dreams will.

During the next few days, I will decipher parts of this dream; some bits have already been revealed to me. Who I call the Crone, an old lady who can fly through the air, has appeared to me before. She usually foreshadows a life changing event. Her visits are rarely pleasant affairs, because this lady is not gentle and kind.

But she usually wakens a part of me that has been sleeping.

She never fails to remind me to be aware.

And she gave me a gift this time...a branch that warmed me from the tips of my toes to the top of my head.

Not bad for a run of the mill Sunday Night dream.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Mean Spirits

Every once in a great while, I run into Mean Spirits. These beings, whether alive or dead, want to create chaos...want to feed whatever negative force that propels them and gives them pleasure.

Lilly, in her site Hope From Beyond, has a story about Ghosts Versus Spirits that details what happens to unhappy Spirits who have stayed behind.

I have not met any Spirits from the Spirit World that have meant me harm...I am fortunate in that they have all been benevolent. I have dealt with one or two, however, who seem intent on making mischief, even chaos with real creativity. And I have, as Lilly advises, always stayed calm, have asked for help, and have received it.

So beings who are still alive on this plane, who want to display their mean spirits, could be dealt with the same way. With me staying calm and centred, grounded and aware. The awareness gives me the ability and the tools to find the reason behind their meanness.

What is it that drives these beings' negative impulses? Might it be a perceived unfairness? Or perhaps a desire for control of a situation? In each being I study, where I have received the brunt of another's small-mindedness, I sense that they feel a lack of something within themselves, and they strike against seeing what this lack might entail.

There might be pain there...and lots of beings refuse to face their own inner pain, lashing out instead.

Once I find what the real reason is behind the mean- spiritedness, then I take the information and try to discover if I , personally, have ever experienced an emotion similar. And how did I feel when it happened, what would I have done differently, in hindsight? I use this to try and defuse the situation.

Long ago, I had a teacher who told me...Honey catches flies much quicker than vinegar! I have never forgotten this homey little phrase...and I have found understanding and acceptance of another's pain brings peace, at least to me...and then solutions begin to appear.

Petty, minor Meannesses are dealt with in this manner; with the help of my guides, I come through most of these with my peace and serenity intact. An example of a small, negative being would be Prince, URL unknown, over on Blog Village, who seems to be railing against the unfairness of the voting procedure, by leaving strange comments behind him, as he votes. But what is his perception of unfairness really about? His energy field feels very lost and alone, to me.

There might be a more positive way to solve his negative outlook...but only Prince can figure out the way to approach himself and work it out.

The big Meannesses can have me involved in a sea of emotions, not many of these pleasant, in which I forget all my hard work on this very thing! Usually anger is the first emotion I feel...I strike out, without thinking, before I get struck!

Many times, my anger will be directed towards the defense of something or some being close to me being hurt or upset in some way...and suddenly, I am involved in negative energy just like that! I have discovered, over a period of many years, that it takes so much more positive energy to climb back up that Black Hole I have fallen into...the light way up above me seems almost obscured by the black darkness that surrounds me, becoming a tiny pinprick.

These days, as I face another birthday in the coming month, I just don't have the energy to climb back up. I think there was something fascinating in that dark Hole when I was young...I seemed to be in it a lot.

As the family continues to try and work with the VIHA, the government agency to be dealt with in regard to my mother's care, I discover that there are still lots of Black fact, the pathway ahead is littered with them.

This morning, I was told not to ask them what the procedure was in putting my mother, at her suggestion, on a wait list for a Care Facility. They would decide if and when my mother would be placed on a waiting was their decision. And there was Procedure involved.


Last week, it was suggested by these same case workers that Mom knew best about what she wanted. And then, when she tells us what she wants, it can no longer be her decision???

There are a few, deep Black Holes of Negativity ahead, indeed.

But this morning, I dealt with a nugget of Meanness I received from these beings who are so afraid of losing control, so afraid of owning up to the muddled way my Mother's care has been handled to date. I only slid a short way down that Black Hole, before I remembered there is a better way.

There is time to think about the more approp- riate path- ways I could take, as I climb and heave myself out of the Hole, struggling towards the bright light that is, this time, so bright and large and just ahead of me.

There is time to consider whether I want to join the Army of Mean Spirits that are loose in the world, or would I prefer a more peaceful way? Do I want to add to the black cloud of negativity that grows, mushrooming out of all proportion, with each dark thought I send out into the ether?

Seems to me the choice is mine.

Monday, January 22, 2007


I received the answer to my prayers on Saturday... Grand- father Sun was out in full, shining forth rays that I swear were warmer this week than last...

Wind made no appearance. He let Sun's rays touch the ground unimpeded, without his cold whispers of Winter, peeking just around the corner. Pockets of the garden were still frozen in the shade; it will take some time before those areas warm...but the rest of the garden showed small green tips of bulbs arising and greeting Sun.

Steam from the sodden ground ascended into the air, making the enclosed garden feel like a humid, tropical garden, during the warmest period of the day. Birds twittered and sang, becoming raucous and insistent as I filled and hung a full bird feeder. I watched for awhile, seeing birds I had never seen before...some are quite tame and very accepting of this human.

The word went out in Birdspeak; soon many, many birds filled Maple Tree's branches. The shrieking and struggle for dominance amongst the birds made me seek the relative peace and safety of the West garden, where no bird feeders were hung...only Wind Chimes. They were silent this day, until I walked past, when there was the familiar tinkle that greets me every time I walk under Grandfather Tree.

The lawn was littered in branches and debris. I took the rake and began, once again, piling the leaves together...leaves that I had raked just before the first of the large Storms appeared. They were not dry and light this time, however. They were more broken down and very wet. As I raked, I watched the fat earthworms wriggling in the soil underneath. I knew they would continue their work of breaking down the leaves and adding nutrients to the soil, so I picked up each worm and placed them in the West flower bed...and then I covered them with the half-rotted leaf mulch.

I raked and swept, enjoying the warm, gifted day. My mind eased its constant chatter...the chatter that was overtaking my spiritual body. I received Sun's rays with such relief and gratitude...sometimes singing snatches of tunes that honoured Sun in some way. Tunes that just popped into my mind...and then drifted off again, perhaps to remind someone else, who was working in their garden, to enjoy Grandfather Sun!

I felt my shoulders lose their tightness, with the rhythmic raking. My heart opened and received; my tense stomach softened and I breathed deeply, without constraint.

I breathed in air that smelled of wet, mouldering leaves and muddy that also received Sun's gift, becoming less swampy-smelling...and finding its sweet breath once again. I saw the tawny glow that is sometimes there, surrounding certain plants, when it is still the middle of Winter.

I wandered from Tree to Tree, checking for damage and noting the tight, fat buds on Plum and Maple. Heather is blooming...a deep, luminescent purpley- red...heart- rending as it glows in the afternoon light. Elder Tree, having taken residence against the North side of the house, all by himself...has survived the Storms happily, it seems, if the fat buds are any indication. Camellia has many fat buds, too; if the weather is just right, she will send her welcome blooms' scents to visitors and passersby.

And everywhere, Daffodil and Tulip, Narcissi and Crocus are reaching for the Sky.

I wander to the vegetable garden, glancing with dismay at the Sorrel plant, chewed to the ground, which I'd had my eye on last week for Sorrel soup. It seems Grandfather Rabbit has honoured me with his presence. I am happy, however...he left me one plant untouched! I notice the Asian vegetables are doing well, in spite of being under Snow and almost drowned. It will not be long before I can pick some Bok Choy or some spicy Mustard greens.

I notice the berry enclosure has suffered damage, due to high winds. Boards are hanging drunkenly every which way...I pick these up and place them to the side. I cut down plants that have dried in place, their stalks picked clean by birds and insects. I note the Strawberry bed must be re-dug this year...the Buttercup has taken over to such a degree I don't know if we'll ever find the Straw- berries!

Hours pass by; I'm caught in the present , enjoying the peace to be found there...happy to be working with Mother Nature in such an absolutely pleasant way.

In the garden, time flies by, as I meander and tidy and re-cover beds whose mulch has blown off in previous Storms. After awhile, Sun's face is hidden behind tall trees over to the West. And a sharp Wind begins to blow off the Ocean...

It is time to go in and make a cup of tea, holding my peace and serenity, once thought lost, close to my heart.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Digging Up the Back Forty

Every once in awhile, the only way I can deal with anxiety is to dig. When I comment that I am going outside to "dig the back forty" people who know me are aware that I am hugely overwhelmed.

I can't dig as well or as long as I used to. Aches and pains get in the way. Besides which, the back lawn, which now takes the place of the "back forty", is covered in six inches of snow at the moment, or it is raining outside or there is a wind chill of many minus degrees. So I pace.

I have worn a path in the floor in the living room from trying to expend excess negative energy that stems from trying to make nurses, careworkers and government officials see united sense about my mother's care.

During these many bouts of pacing, I find once I've found a solution, I can put that particular problem to rest. But during the last while, once one dilemma is solved, another crops up...and then, sometimes there are so many complications, I don't know which one to choose to unravel.

I attempt to still my mind, to find my centre. To take each convoluted thought and painstakingly smooth out its path...

My mother's care is the biggest conundrum. There are so many people involved in her care, each one having a different view of the reality involved.

She can't walk.

She doesn't know how to use her powered wheelchair, with an oxygen tube attached to her nostrils.

She can't stand for long enough to transfer herself from chair to chair.

She is confused, falling further and further into senile dementia.

Any activity of any kind tires her to where she has trouble speaking. She has one infection after another. And yet, she has managed to convince others who have power that she knows of what she speaks...leaving no prisoners in her quest to go home.

So the family begins a kind of dance.

The prognosis by her doctor for my mom to live at home, largely by herself, is not good. Each person, her daughters included, after having spoken with Mom, comes out of her room feeling differently than the other...

All this makes for much discussion amongst the professionals and Mom's family. I think about many different viewpoints, as I pace.

And what is my hope for Mom? I see her, through my admittedly only 55 year old rose- coloured glasses, being cared for, in a room with the morning sun streaming in. I see her sitting in her favourite recliner, in a room where there are many aids to health and help within easy reach. I see her living her remaining time in reflection, without the incessant fear that has plagued her all her life. I see her sitting in her chair, watching the gardens flower...the gardens that surround a care home.

My viewpoint is admittedly selfish. I no longer want to receive telephone calls from my Mom, where she begs me to find help for her. I no longer want to feel so helpless, from those breathless calls. I no longer want my body to tense each time the telephone rings, especially if it is at night. I live at least 3/4 of an hour away from my Mom.

I have no experience with picking up a body that becomes limp and unresponsive. Even if my body allowed me to. When she falls, I have the most horrendously helpless feeling...this is my Mother that is lying at my feet. So I will push my body to its limits, trying to help her up. This has happened to me a couple of has occurred many different times, with others. But Mom expects the help, and always manages to convince the helper to do it.

And Mom expects to go home. She has the right to live at risk, I tell myself. I would leave her be, to do as she likes, if she could only do it. Mom's spirit is willing; her body is failing. And she is afraid of recognizing it, of accepting it, as so many of us are, when we reach the last mile or so on the path of life.

Mom recognizes too, that her memory is failing, that one day is blending into the next. She counts, does my mother. She counts the days on her calendar; she counts the hours on the clock. She asks which day it is, over and over. She struggles to grasp and remember the day and sometimes, she's successful. But, increasingly, she's not.

But she has not forgotten that she wants to go home...she just does not remember the horrible times she had just so very recently, when she was home. And since this memory is not allowed to surface, she chooses, instead, to remember a time when she was able.

This is the memory that urges her to go home.

But the other memory...that is the one that makes me pace.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Winter Virus

This past weekend, both Graham and I tangled with what I call a Winter Virus. These viruses worm their insidious way into my body, which has many defenses put in place by me. As a result, Winter Viruses rarely last long...but while they do, while I am fighting a Virus War...I focus on being well.

And for the first time in a long while, I did all that focusing from the comfort of the living room couch. I was down...out for the count. For a period of about two days, although I fought it, all I wanted to do was sleep.

Eventually, as I still tried to do day to day living chores, I wondered why I was working so hard to ignore the droopy eyes, the pain in my joints, the rumbling belly, the incredible weariness. Sometimes, beating my head against a brick wall and not accepting the circumstances becomes just too stupid.

I lowered myself onto that couch, not even moving the pillows adorning it...pillows that make it impossible, usually, to sit comfortably. I fell into an instant sleep, interspersed with dreams of water, coloured lights, fields of green... and words of comfort from someone, a woman I do not know... which I instantly forgot upon awakening.

I woke a few hours later, convinced I had only been there for a few minutes. I lay curled between the pillows, in a position I would never allow my body to be in for long, had I been aware. Graham later said it was a toss-up as to whether he should wake me and move me...or let me sleep.

He probably felt I was going to emulate Grandfather Bear either way.

I sprang up...a mistake. Sinking back into those wonderfully comfortable, now squished beyond recognition, pillows, I closed my eyes. I wanted to return to those dreams and the lady who whispered such words of comfort. I drifted and re-visited, and wandered among green, green fields...fields of Spring.

Bees and birdsong, warm, shifting breezes, the scent of lavender...all these offered solace to my felled body, soothed and gave me tranquillity and ease.

At other times I felt I was underwater, floating in a warm, viscous blue fluid, feeling weightless... renewed. I felt awe, too, at the way such comfort was being given to me, here in my dream state.

Shafts of yellow, orange and pink light pierced the fluid surface of the water; suddenly I found myself once more wandering in that emerald field enclosed in that golden light. It was so comfortable. I cannot begin to tell you how warm and hopeful the atmosphere was where I found myself in my dream.

I felt so well! In this field, I did not have to force myself to do anything...I wanted to, needed to! My legs did not feel weak and watery...they were strong and ready to walk. I could breathe fresh, warm more stuffed up nose. All the ailments that the Winter Virus plagued me with disappeared...and I revelled in it. I wanted to immerse myself within the greeny golden light that surrounded me, roll in the impossibly green grass I walked upon.

This time, as I drifted towards wakefulness, I remembered the field and the water...but most of all I remembered how well I felt, in the green.

I spent another day yesterday giving in to rest and warmth. I drank so much seemed my thirst could not be quenched. And last night, I slept a full nine hours straight.

The Winter Virus has not fully been vanquished. Graham, who suffered his own battle with it over the weekend, has emerged the victor this morning. I started out like gang-busters upon arising; but I am recognizing signs of the Virus attempting a comeback.

It will only be a slight skirmish, however...I will just wander back to the field of Green, a colour I use often for healing with Reiki, and allow the golden light to give me further energy.

Winter Viruses cannot last when I finally become aware of what the Universe and all knowledge since the beginning of time is telling me. I just like to believe my mind is clouded with the Winter Virus, and that's why it takes me so long to see that rest and fluids are required behavior! Not laziness!

And using visualizations, dreams, colours and Reiki certainly helps too!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Magical Afternoon

I had the most magical day yesterday.

It didn't start out that way. Wind howled the night away; I'm one of those people who have to sleep with the window open...and consequently, the drapes were almost horizontal at times with the power of Wind's blasts.

And it was cold, outside the cocoon I made next to Graham in our ultra comfortable bed, under the duvet. It was dark. It was the middle of January, and that morning there was no way I could convince myself that Spring was just around the corner.

Closing the window, I saw the snow...blowing every which way with the power of Wind. I felt the driven snowflakes bite my arm as I reached to close the window. It didn't look as if this Storm was going to end any time soon.

But North Wind did his job; the blizzard blew itself out after a few hours, leaving behind a foot and a half of snow, crippled traffic... and a beautiful, wide, clear blue sky. Sun poured his warmth over the snowy landscape, making the light so bright! Clean and new.

But Wind still blew...and therein lay the magic. Sun's rays were weak, unable to pierce the penetrating cold coming from the North. But after two months of high Winds and terrible Storms...this cold Winter's day beckoned me to come outside. And play a little.

Normally, I stay out of cold weather; it brings on an attack of arthritis pain. But North Wind, suddenly behaving like a newborn foal, kicked snow about...kicked up sprays of iridescent flakes, all colours of the rainbow.

Grandfather Tree shook his branches, ridding himself of the heavy piles of snow. The whole yard glittered and shone for a moment, as these fine snow particles found new homes.

There was a clear expanse of just snow. Hills and valleys of shrubbery showed here and there, mounds of suggestive vegetation, branches poking through the coverlet of snow, delineated the garden beds. It was the kind of expanse I loved as a child...the kind where no one had disturbed the pristine beauty of Snow in its purest form.

Wind sent a billow of Snow my way, covering me from head to foot with those icy particles. For a moment, until the snow melted, my glasses were covered. I had a close-up look at the yard through sparkly, light-filled lens.

There was a song in the Wind...I picked up on clear, light tinkling music as Wind frolicked with the Snow. It was joyful, sharp and bright. The high-pitched, unearthly symphony filled me with joy and crystal clear thinking.

And suddenly, the weighty problems that held sway inside the house were lifted. I felt a surge of joy...I knew I had to run into the clean expanse of snow...I had to make sure my steps were the first to mar that perfect surface.

I lowered myself onto the Snow and began to make a Snow Angel. The dogs were delighted! The Snow Angel was perfect...the best one I think I've ever made.

I kicked snow high in the air, watching Wind grasp each individual snowflake, and whirl it around in a wonderful waltz. The dogs caught my excitement, and ran barking in circles, trying to catch the elusive snowflakes in their mouths.

I took shovelfuls of the powdery, light as down snow, and threw the mass at the dogs...this Snow was far too dry to make snowballs. I shovelled the walks, shook mounds of Snow off of the shrubbery, filled the bird feeder...and basked in the slight warmth I felt from Sun's rays.

And all the while, I stayed in the perfect moment...the moment of right now. While I was there, there were no problems. I allowed my emotional, mental, spiritual and physical bodies to centre, to find that perfect spot where all is balanced. I allowed myself to be cleansed by North Wind's sharp and piercingly clear gusts, leaving a joyous peace behind.

At one point, to make the afternoon taste like perfection, Eagle soared overhead, riding a stream of Wind. He dipped and circled, stopping the dogs, who watched him fly lower and lower, as he left his message from Spirit. Take heart, Eagle cried, gather your courage...and follow the joy your heart desires. Take flight and soar!

This afternoon entailed a simple couple of hours in the middle of a weekday; it started with a blast of Northern Air, bringing with it a blizzard that covered all the detritus laying about from the previous Wind Storms that have battered the West Coast...and ended with a Snow Angel, a message from Eagle...and clear, clear thinking.

Sometimes the home I love becomes too enclosing, too enveloping. Sometimes cabin fever hits with a vengeance. Sometimes, in January, I just have to grab what the Universe offers, as cold as it might be, and make it into a magical afternoon.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Weather Sensitive

Sometimes, more and more often lately with the aberrant weather patterns in Qualicum Beach...I wake up with my body aching. I feel swollen, skin hot to the touch, stiff and sore.

This malady has everything to do with what's happening with the weather. For as long as I can remember, I've known the weather is changing by the way my body is reacting.

Many times lately, I will get up out of the warm, soft, absolutely comfortable bed, and try to lessen pain by walking around. But it feels, when I walk, as if I am slogging through an oozing bog. It feels as if there is resistance to movement.

Sometimes, I feel as if I might be on the receiving end of a migraine attack. If Wind is howling, as it has so often lately, asthma and wheezing occur. This is when my chest feels tight, I have trouble finding enough air to breathe...I almost feel as if I were under water. With small, shallow breaths, anxiety occurs...a kind of free- floating form that has no basis in fact. My tissues swell, sometimes. There is a definite feeling of being under a heavy substance, one that is pressing hard on my diaphragm.

Biometeorology is the study of how weather influences people. It is the name given to an ancient science that has become new again, with advanced technology that can evaluate air mass configurations. It is becoming a popular field. But there are will always be thus, of course.

I know many people who know of someone who is weather-sensitive. There are many stories of an elder Uncle or Aunt who could predict weather changes with such accuracy that outdoor events were scheduled according to the pain in her hip. Many stories abound about our forefathers utilizing weather indicators, including intuitive body signs. Still, these are just myths and legends, scientists say...much more data needs to be collected before they will endorse the correlation between weather and man.

However, in Europe, the weather services there use daily public advisories to inform people of more than 40 ailments believed affected by climate activity. Illnesses warned against include allergies, stroke, psychoses, general achiness and malaise, migraines, along with the obvious...heat and cold related illnesses. Much the same information appears on the weather channel I use on the Internet, but it takes a back seat to other information.

My allergies get worse during sudden cold outbreaks, when there are below normal temp- eratures, strong, gusty winds and a rapid rise in air pressure. I have learned to read a barometer very well in preparation for pain.

I find that quickly approaching weather fronts and rapidly departing ones, contribute to a migraine attack. And strokes...French researchers have found there were fewer strokes suffered in warmer months and more strokes where there was a temperature drop five days before. The theory is temperature drops may affect blood clotting, thereby increasing stoke risk. Sudden, extreme winter cold can result in hyperventilation, stroke and heart attack, by making blood 20% thicker than normal.

Chinese Emperor Hwang Ti, in 2650 BC, believed that "hot weather strengthens the heart, while cold weather weakens the lungs." Hippocrates advised his students "Doctors who want to know their patients had better know weather." Dr. Benjamin Rush, an 18th Century Penn- sylvanian physician, stated "Great and sudden (weather) changes may be considered the principle causes of disease in this state".

And Dr. Joseph Hollander, in the 1960's, as an Arthritis specialist, built a two room, airtight chamber, where his patients underwent various degrees of pain, while he adjusted humidity, temperature and barometric pressure. I wonder if Dr. Hollander himself was weather- sensitive. I can't imagine the extreme pain and terrible discomfort his patients felt.

Weather is one of the most basic of daily stresses the human body experiences. Frequent climactic changes bring new situations our bodies must adjust to. Changes in the barometric pressure, Wind direction and velocity, humidity and pollutants all affect our bodies, endocrine systems, nervous systems and cardiovascular systems. It seems to me that how well I feel at different times is directly related to what's happening in the atmosphere.

Both our dogs can forecast the weather. The signs of an incoming Storm will find them both pointing their nose skyward, with definite fearful body signals, such as lowered heads and ears, and tails tucked between their legs. This behavior is noticed long before the Storm actually arrives. Other animals such as Corn Snake or Iguana, if confused by weather signals, will double-clutch, where they will breed twice in a year instead of the normal once.

I don't require corroboration by the scientific community to know what my body endures when the weather patterns change. There are scores of people who, upon entering their middle years, find that what were minor twinges all along, are now not so mild in reaction to weather changes. The human body is a finely tuned has much to tell us, if we will only remember and listen. And accept our intuition as truth.

Shamans of old long ago forecast the weather with nothing more than the signals Mother Earth sends, and nothing more than their own bodies as sensors. They were extremely accurate, by all accounts.

There is so much information inside of ourselves, just waiting to be I am learning to find those senses we are all born with, and I am learning to trust those remarkably amazing signals my intuition sends me.

Science and research on weather sensitive people is just telling me what I, and others, have known all along. The scientific community feels it must prove the body is affected by weather patterns, by exhaustive research and collecting of data. It changes nothing; other than making sure I have a healthy diet, use exercise and reduce further stress inducing factors, I will still react to the weather...

And there is not much I can do about aberrant weather.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Ties That Bind

Every once in awhile, a challenge comes along that I must meet head on. There is no way around it, I cannot ignore it or procrast- inate or deny. I cannot get angry at the unfairness of the challenge...instead the requirements are a balanced mind, body and spirit. And a lot of faith.

Such is the case with my aged mother.

Throughout her adult life, my mother was not able to trust anybody or anything, least of all members of her family. Very least of all her daughters. Over the past year, I was privileged enough to see another face of my mother. Much work, Reiki, and Shamanistic tools were used to bring out the love and compassion inside Mom that her life had taken from her.

But old habits die hard.

Because of her inability to trust her family...she began to trust strangers. Strangers had no baggage; they had never hurt her. And through her naivety, and through strangers' greed, my mother ended up making poor decisions, which cost her dearly, both financially and emotionally.

Now Mom is hospitalized, with little hope of ever living alone again. Her body is failing, she is on constant oxygen, her mind is is now up to her family to try and unravel the tangled skeins that, over the past year, Mom has allowed to complicate her life. She hid her deterioration well, and I think, proved to herself that she had the strength to live alone, as handicapped as she was.

But, oh my!

Mother told no one of her affairs. She allowed none of her daughters' to know the code for the Brinks Security System she installed. She gave the code to one of her neighbours, never telling the elderly lady that none of us knew it. And gave this neighbour no telephone numbers for any of us.

I want you to visualize Gray and I running about in all different directions, when we unlocked my mother's door, and the alarm went off...and we had no code! We did not even know who had set it, as it had been turned off. And where did the lady live who had the magic numbers?

When an alarm goes off, police and ambulance are notified. Because we could not turn the thing off, telephone calls from these places and the security places were coming in, not allowing us to call for help, interjecting into our attempts to call for help.

All the while, the security system whooped and whooped. It was mind-numbing. Neither of us could think. Believe me, we were relieved when the police arrived!

That nerve shattering event eventually, after about an hour of shrieking noise, worked itself out, as most things do. Her elderly neighbour had decided to set the alarm, not knowing about Mom's refusal to give any of us the password and code. The whole thing could have been averted, if Mom's secrecy and paranoia had not been allowed to take the upper hand.

Because Mom would never entertain the thought, would fight to the death anyone who even suggested it, of searching out care homes and placing her name on the reservation lists, as a is now our job, her daughters' job, to find an Extended Care Living Unit, immediately, within two weeks. There are only two in her hometown, and neither of them have the resources to do good, thorough care. We may have to find a place outside of her hometown. If we can.

The truly confused elderly have no idea how difficult and heart-rending it is for their children to make these kinds of decisions, living decisions, for them. Especially when it is not appreciated by the parent, when accusations are the norm, instead of gratitude. Especially when there is no recognition from the parent about how difficult it is to find a home, where the care is impeccable. And, too, parents who hold their finances close to their chest, not letting anyone see how much money is available, make things far more difficult, because at this stage, the hospital stage, we now have to try and work our way through bits of paper and scrawled find out how much Mom can afford.

I don't know what the answer is. I have heard these stories about elderly parents over and over again, parents who become paranoid, sure that their offspring are planning to take over, and positive that their children would not have the ability to do so well. The policeman who answered the alarm call told us the fact that we had no information about codes and passwords was not unusual at all, when it comes to dealing with the elderly.

Because we have to fight my mother so hard, this ordeal becomes far, far worse. There is a tie to our parents, to my mother...a tie that binds, a tie on a rope that may fray, but that cannot break, just because she has now become unreasonable and paranoid. Even as confused as my mother is becoming...she still knows which buttons to push to make us feel like ogres.

But that tie to my mother is strong, as strong as I believe the tie is that my children have to me. I have learned a few things. I have learned that I must be responsible enough to find my own elder care, now, when I am still in control of my faculties. It is not something I will leave up to my offspring, Creator willing.

I have learned to believe that my children, however they may view the time when I will have to leave my home, will only want the best for me. I will put suggestions in place; long before I require their help, I will make sure they know where my financial information is.

I will keep the dialogue between my children and I open... no matter how much the subject might make them uncomfortable.

And I will tell them now, when I am still me, how much I love and trust them.

But I will also tell them...there may come a time when I am not me, when I become someone else entirely, when I may fight them all the way...on every little thing. And if that time comes, the ties that bind us to one another will not break. As irritating and confused as my Mother is, I still love her and still learn from her.

In the end, the ties only become stronger.