Monthly Archives: April 2013

Summer and Stuff

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Had two helpings of pavlova for breakfast with fresh strawberries and raspberries. Could there be a more heavenly way to start the day? Another pleasurable experience this week was sitting in the back garden and literally soaking the sun right into my bones. A true miracle of sunshine. Experiencing that half hour of bliss was enough to put a reassuring smile back on my lips.
Remembering last August ‘s eternal rain was enough to send me reeling again. This summer we have got to go somewhere sunny. I’ve been told by the specialists not to fly so our options are pretty limited. I love the sun and last year was the first summer ever I didn’t get a tan on my arms or legs. Seeing the pasty white instead of rich brown was depressing, like looking at uncooked pastry.
We’ve talked about boating it to France but I worry that if it took me two whole weeks to recover from a recent trip to Dublin, how would I fare in a foreign land!
Been thinking lots too about last post and how to suffer well. Thich says happiness and suffering always go together like the lotus flower needs the mud to grow. Well and good and reassuring but in the thick of darkness what do you do? Light a candle and listen to your breathing he would probably answer. Lately, I’ve been giving thanks for my kids, husband, family, friends, home, love, support when I feel myself heading down. Hail Mary prayer in succession helpful too when I don’t know what to think or do. And in the evening when I get tired and obnoxious with Jonnie (the toughest part of my day) I’ve started acknowledging all I’ve done in the day which is usually a lot! Then with this realization in tow I feel much better.
Thanks everybody for the comments emails and texts. It makes me feel happy and aware of how I’m still very much linked to a wider community.

Suffering and Happiness

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Wednesday Ten April

My brother Simon came home to see us recently. He lives in Auckland New Zealand so  he arrived in Cork Airport looking tanned and handsome. Coming from gorgeous sunshine to freezing cold didn’t seem to affect his levels of happiness too much! Delighted to be reunited after two years, we climbed into the red van the three siblings and Jonnie.
We talked about the journey and Simon told us how a very large man was squashed up next to him trapping him in and snoring all the way from Qualar Lumpar! It sounds funny but I couldn’t help thinking that my life in general feels like that too. I feel trapped and the snoring is like the constant challenges I have to face. It seems like a never ending snore!

Been feeling crap lately, somehow the effects of this illness are really kicking in. I keep seeing what I can’t do whereas before I’d keep an open mind. Simons visit highlighted this for me as only a close family member can. A hands on Dad himself, his thirteen year old girl and ten year old boy and lovely wife are making plans to build their dream home down south near Wellington. I can’t help thinking that in comparison to him I’ve been doomed to a life of servitude in illness.

In our early teens  we were in a mixed troop of scouts with a motivated and energetic leader (“hi Pat!”). We camped in wild places and once in County Wicklow I broke my left ankle while playing a game of rounders (painful!). Simon came to my rescue and carried me to my tent. We have the photo to prove it stuck to Mum ‘s fridge door! Us looking all hippyish back in the eighties. I wanted him to save me now as he had done then and make this awful disease go away.

Off all medication now I notice some changes. More energy in the evenings which helps on movie or Graham Norton night, (“we love your sense of fun and sharp sense of humour Graham!”) when the girls come and we get to catch up and they munch crisps!

Other changes, not sleeping as well because sedative effect no longer in my system. Also mood low as mentioned earlier as the medicine I stopped which helps with the secretions used to be used as an antidepressant. So my body also benefited from that. Now I’m dealing with withdrawal symptoms. Even since I started writing this last week I’m feeling better overall thank God. (“Good on ya Dol for predicting that!”) I guess it does take a while to detox.  Next I will try some natural alternative which doesn’t have any nasty side effects.

So Simon loves food and cooked us some incredibly tasty meals including spatchcock chicken (flattened and slow roasted) and shin beef stew where you cook bones n all and scoop out the marrow. Yummy! One of my all time favourites.

Long live Simon and Lucy too for their consistent love and care. I couldn’t ask for better siblings.

Here’s a quote from my favourite Buddhist on the nature of suffering. I find this helpful (but not sure I know how to suffer like he says):

“The Lotus in the Mud”

“The goodness of suffering is something real. Without suffering there cannot be happiness. Without mud there cannot be any lotus flowers. So if you know how to suffer, suffering is OK. And the moment you have that attitude, you don’t suffer much anymore. And out of suffering, a lotus flower of happiness can open.”