**** This was written several months ago while I was still sitting with the effects of long covid. I could not delete the draft as it symbolizes where I have come from and where others are still sitting. And so I honor this part of myself that got me to where I am today spiritually. I post this as I have completed 40 TMS treatments in the journey of bringing recovering to my brain from long covid.
I attended an uplifting event sponsored by the Rotary Clubs of Maui. 15 years as a Maui Rotarian I always enjoy seeing Rotary colleagues out and about. The event was a mix of female Rotarians, about 40 high school students, and lead ladies that were invited to share their success stories. The experience was a reminder of how to keep going, being open, and listen. The underlining thread was to love yourself. What I discovered and took from this gathering is that instead of feeling stuck by this long covid and what has been taken away, I am to look down the path to what I can do. Starting the PCNC position at my children's school and kicking off the Long Covid Support group, I took what I had striving to make a difference. It reminds me of the metaphor of voyaging to Lanai in an outrigger canoe. There would be moments when the wind would pick up and the waves would rise bringing about the need to dip deeper with the paddle to keep the canoe moving forward. You could choose to sit there floundering but where does that get anyone, but probably under water. By digging deeper into the self, listening to the Spirit, and renavigating ones' experience new life opportunities come into view.
I have dug deeper in my labyrinth walking via my finger labyrinths. The long covid symptoms have increased to the point where I cannot walk it with my feet. When I attempt walking it with my feet it really messes with the brain causing the brain to have a hard time keeping up with the turns. As I have dove into the deep I have uncovered how often in life we can walk without being aware of what is around us. Reactions, impatience, and wanting things to be different can consume our thoughts and we lose the gift of the present moment. What if we change the way we live and surrender each day instead of trying to control the day. I noticed the days I start with a labyrinth walk just simply using my phone app in a crunch or a wooden lap labyrinth in my office I begin with smooth edges and being more present. The alternative could be, jumping out of bed grab my coffee and begin "my day". "My day" is never my day and never has been but we can try to make it that way even when we say we surrender. Saying it is one thing and doing it is another. Surrendering to the words as well as the reactions is key in total letting go. So hard to do am I right? We may let go but so easily take it back and carry it. What if we let it go for an hour or more? See what happens? I then notice how hard it is to stay there.
Another view of life's path is taking a pilgrimage. It can be thought of as a big journey over oceans in foreign lands but in reality, it can be a trip down your street to your town to sit and listen with your eyes, ears, and heart. Long Covid does this even in midst of feeling miserable as it stops everything else and the ears, eyes, and heart are the only ways to truly be there in the moment. Pilgimages have a destination that surpasses the physical but to the core of the soul.
I picked up Phil Cousineau's book, The Art of Pilgrimage: The seekers guide to making travel, after having read it in 2000 as I was about to graduate from Princeton Theological Seminary and venture to Honolulu to be a CPE resident (student chaplaincy program). I find I am in a similar place but at a greater depth in preparing for the pilgrimage towards this treatment for Long Covid. I am hopeful it will realign my brain from where it is now. I am eager to dig deeper into the path of life's labyrinth in this pilgrimage back to Honolulu for this short time. I pack trust, hope, and love with me in my spiritual suitcase.