Listening to the Body

Listening to the Body
An 11 Circuit Labyrinth located at Maui Memorial Medical Center on Maui.

Really listen! What do you hear? Maybe you hear something or maybe you don’t or maybe you do and push it way with a distraction. I noticed last Sunday singing in church that I was struggling with holding the notes. It was strange to have that challenge. Meanwhile I stopped and just listened. Underneath this I knew my energy was draining. This was a sign of where my week was headed.

I begin to arise from a week spent mostly in bed. The bed I now call my battery charger. I ventured out for a couple things this week and pushed through to put up some decorations. I was reminded that pushing through covid fatigue is like attempting to get water out of dirt. As much as you dig the well is dry. And it takes so much longer for the body to recover.  And so, I resorted to rest and watching movies from my battery charger.  The weeks fly by when I encounter the depletion of energy and the days run into each other.

I saw my PCP for a follow up and again the labs looked good - the classic Covid appearance you look great! Meanwhile, the brain shuts down and the body follows. In the midst of my foggy brain I ran across a new book published mid November titled The Long Haul by Ryan Prior.

I noticed Angela Keen was tagged in the social media post.  Back in September, I ran across her name through a couple of contacts. She also experienced long covid similar to my journey. Part of her recovery included TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation). Angela is known by some as a medical journalist in Hawaii news a while back. I reached out to her on Instagram, and we spoke the next day, landing me with an appointment set up for beginning the hoops towards receiving this TMS treatment. There are steps in this process, one of them is an EEG to know what parts of the brain need the help. Her EEG showed her brain the image of an 85 yr. old with pre dementia, her brain was half asleep, and she is 54. WOW - now that explains a lot of why the memory is so lacking and there is confusion when processing information. My Primary Care Physician said exactly what I was feeling after telling her about this – There is HOPE. Yes, there is hope. This is not a quick fix but a journey and so I continue to listen to my body and be grateful for what I can do when I can. Today marks 6 months of living this new lifestyle.

Carrying on I have noticed something new and that is I find I need stronger reading glasses as a result of the fatigue as my eyes get tired and have a harder time focusing. My appetite continues to be challenged but with the supplement protocol I make myself eat Breakfast and dinner as the vitamins need food for absorption.  The direction of eating Gluten Free and Keto make me mindful of what I am eating, opening a new world of recipes. I have even explored and baked recipes for Gluten Free Donuts with alternative sugars. Who would have thought? It is amazing what you can do when you have to remap your life patterns. All of this in the desire and hope to recovery and health and decrease the inflammation in the brain.

What is your body telling you? Are you listening? OR pushing through because the mind or ego says that is what you are supposed to do? So many patient visits in chaplaincy have been with patients telling me as I they lie in a hospital bed separated from their familiar comforts "I guess I am supposed learn something from this" or they say, "I guess I have to slow down", or some would have their laptops and cells phones nearby trying to work till the discomfort or diagnosis became too painful. What would happen if we listened to our bodies right off from the first nudge of discomfort and not when a crisis hit?

This leads me to the second Sunday of Advent: Peace. In my Advent readings this week I came across a reflection on Patterns.

I love this quote from Night Visions by Jan Richardson. "Patterns have the ability to rework the line that tunnel my vision.  And continues with, "Draw us between our patterns into yours – shifting, moving, curving, spiraling, stretching, pushing, challenging, renaming, unsettling, disturbing, casting forth and welcoming home."

The labyrinth does this by drawing us in with each turn and straight path. The labyrinth is a pattern, a tool for spiritual reflection or used as a metaphor of life. It has one path in and one path out.  A pattern that looks the same yet when you embrace the path of the pattern it brings forth new light to the spirit. Each turn shifts the thoughts the feelings, each curve offers opportunity to relook at our habits, each walk challenges our choices as we rename our choices. Sometimes we are left unsettled and disturbed by what we see or not see. And others, we cast forth our dreams and wishes – Our desires. The most beautiful can be when we walk the labyrinth and experience that welcome home into our body and spirit. And from this experience we can than receive the peace we are longing for.

Check out the Labyrinth Locator for the nearest one to you or reply with interest in learning more about these ancient patterns of journey and pilgrimage.

On Maui:

Check out the Sacred Garden:

St. John's Episcopal Church - Kula

Holy Innocent's Episcopal Church - Lahaina

Dragon Teeth up in Kapalua

to name a few....