In a moment, everything changes.
Sometimes it was a long time in the making. Sometimes you just knew in your heart it would happen eventually. You just didn't know when. More often than not, you chose not to believe it could actually ever come true. But it was always there, all the time. It was already decided, with or without your attempts to control.
Ack, sorry for getting all philosophical on you. But, guys, listen. Shit's gotten real here the past few weeks. Sorry for the foul language. My big sisters keep telling me I've gotta clean that up.
And I'm sorry I've fallen off the grid. But all of a sudden, nixing plastic straws and squawking about pollution seems wholly irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.
Life and death matters kinda squander all the fucks I have to give about environmental issues. Hate to say it. (There goes that sailor's mouth again. Oops.)
But people are hurting. People in my family, whom I love like crazy. Grief; deep, agonizing, complicated grief is currently under way. Unfolding like a slow-motion car accident in a Quentin Tarantino movie that you just know is going to end with flipped-over cars and hell fires burning. You can't stop it, but you just know lives will be changed forever after this.
The hardest part is knowing there's nothing I can do to fix it. I'm a bit of a control freak, so this kind of situation makes me very uncomfortable. And yet, this isn't about me or my damned comfort. Not even close. But there's not even very much I can do to help those who are immediately affected. Other than to bear witness. To hold hands with those in need. To pray.
Nevertheless, I've resumed some level of normalcy. The hospital visits have wound down and the meal prep has been taken over. Lucky for me. Not so lucky for my family members who are on the front lines and still deeply suffering firsthand with all of this.
In the midst of tragedy, it's easy to forget that my kids still need a mom and my husband still needs his wife and my boss still needs a writer and my hair still needs to get washed every few days. So I'm taking care of me now, so I can take care of them. But even throughout these past few weeks, I've tried my best to live according to Reductionist morals.
Ergo, I plucked aluminum cans out of the trash at the ICU, took them home to be recycled. I slow-cooked my first batch of bone broth. Thanks to those two blessed chickens who sacrificed not just their meat but their carcasses, too, so that I may enjoy their marrow. The stuff is both delicious and nourishing, especially in such a time as this.
I also got a tick bite somewhere in there, a big old painful bullseye right on my thigh. I’m grateful it's not Lyme. I think it was a great heavenly distraction--the fever and body aches are what originally took me away from ICU-watch duty. I needed to get the hell outta there. I'm better now but am taking the antibiotics anyway. It's probably a blessing I can't drink alcohol on the stuff, or else these past coupla weeks would've looked very different for me, soaked in wine, whiskey and rage.
This sense of impossible green-ness has bled over into my home life, too. I've gotten mad--really effing mad--at my Diva Cup, for instance. The stupid thing really hasn't ever worked in the year I've used it, if I'm being honest with myself. Not the way I'd dreamed it could. I'd been saving up for a good blog post for you guys about the merits of a menstrual cup. It was going to be a long-term study. Detailed. Relevant. A glowing review with high recommendations.
But after birthing two babies close together and tearing front and back both times, my cervix maybe just isn't cut out for accepting the cup thing. Not to mention my carpal tunnel, which causes numb fingers, a.k.a. my "useless claw," makes it damned difficult to manipulate the gadget, to get the cup in and out with precision.
So I'm back to my old tried-and-true Playtex Sport Supers. With the applicator, thank-you-very-much. Ain’t that okay? I thought we ladies were done period-shaming ourselves. Putting pressure on ourselves to wear uncomfortable hunks of plastic in our vaginas that don’t fit right, all in the name of sustainability? That sounds like period-shaming if you ask me.
Leading up to this tragic accident, I started spending my 5:30 a.m. writing sessions focusing my creative outlet in a different direction. It’s really an old direction, one I haven’t given credence to in years. But in the face of all that is painfully real, I’m feeling the pull of my true inner voice. That prayer thing I talked about earlier—or meditation, or spiritual connectedness, or mindful awareness, whatever you wanna call it—really started in earnest for me back in October of 2018, and I think back then it began guiding me to write more of the essence of the real me. I haven’t shared any of that with you yet. It’s all private Word docs for now.
Sure, the health of the planet really matters a lot to me and always will. But there's not much more I can tell you guys that you don't already know about eco-living. Hell, you're teaching me things I don't know about how to go green.
So...maybe what I'm saying is that you might see some changes coming around here. I may not publish as often as I had been. And I may not always share tips on green living. Hope that's okay with you. Because there's more to me than that. A lot more. And I want to share those other aspects of my experience. There's love in there, and lust, and romance and regret and parenting and depression and drugs and anger and recovery and friendship and sisterhood and care-taking and abuse and harassment and cops and burglary and violence and symbolism and God.
And hell, I didn't earn a degree in creative nonfiction for nothing.
Okay? Are you guys cool with that? Great. Thanks. So, here’s the deal, then: When I'm not working at my day job as a copywriter, I'll be here. Getting deeper, expanding my repertoire of topics, sharing more of the real me. Because what the hell are any of us doing here anyway, if it’s not being real about who we are?
By Janeen Ellsworth
This post was edited on July 17, 2019 from its original version.
The wisest of sages know it. So do Buddhist monks and the most connected spiritual leaders among us.
Well-being is a choice.
To have it, to achieve it, to snatch it out of the sky is our decision. That's it.
Whether or not we choose to accept it is totally and completely up to us.
It's available at all times.
Feeling that sense of ease, that sense of safety, that sense of confidence and wholeness that well-being brings, depends entirely on whether we let it in, on whether we let it bathe us in comfort and peace, or whether we box it out, refusing to feel its softness.
The proverbial $#it hit the proverbial fan in my family on June 2. My stepmother, who was already mysteriously unwell for what seemed like an agonizing six months, took a catastrophic fall in the bathroom. It caused, what *should* have been (in most instances) a life-ending spinal injury: a break to C1 and C2, and a contusion on the nerve that controls the diaphragm that would render her paralyzed from the neck down and permanently unable to breathe without the aid of a ventilator.
Of course, nobody knew any of that in the immediate horrific hours that followed.
My father, bless his weary heart, was there at the time, heard the thump of her hitting the floor--or the tub, perhaps?--as he dutifully stacked ham onto bread downstairs in the kitchen, making them both lunch. He ran upstairs to find her, unconscious, contorted, and so he called 911 and blew air into her mouth for ten minutes 'til the ambulance arrived.
I've stepped away from this blog since then so that I could be there to hold my dad's hand in the ICU, pray with him, drive him home at the end of those unending, awful first few weeks, bring him dinner or lunch.
I paused all this yammering on I tend to do about plastic bottles and air pollution so that I could be there to simply hug my step-brother--a towering, golden-tanned, 30-year-old hunk of a Ken doll lookalike who catches bad guys for a living and typically walks with military-grade posture--as he crumpled into a sobbing heap of despair.
Except--except!!--to remind ourselves, our tribe, that the white light of the holy spirit, or God, or Source, or whatever you want to call it, is shining upon us all day, every day.
That there can be comfort even in the unlikeliest, most horrific depths of despair.
That these skin-covered vessels we call our body temples are just out for a wild ride through space and time, making a stop on this here planet we call Earth.
We're on this ride that we selected. It's like choosing between riding the Thunderbolt versus the Jackrabbit at Kennywood. Either way, it'll be bumpy, it'll whip you around, it'll fill you with terror at points and full-on ecstasy at others.
But when it's all over and the train pulls into the station, we will be okay.
You will be okay.
They will be okay and even she will be okay.
Because we can choose to let well-being in.
It may look very different to you than it looks to me. It may look nothing like you want it to look. It might not meet the strict parameters you've laid out for your life.
But try to ease up on those hard-and-fast req's.
Let the sun shine in. Let your spirit take over. Stop trying to control everything, for the love of Pete. (Who was Pete, anyway?)
Breathe--if you can. Sheezus, even if it has to be through a tube. Even if it's through a ventilator. Even if it's through a panic attack. Even if it's through a ten-car pileup. It's hard, effing hard, but you gotta try to breathe.
Remember: there is energy. Good energy. All around us. Swirling and available. Dripping off of tree leaves. Fluttering through the wings of bees and butterflies.
Remember: you are energy. You have good energy. It's swirling inside you, through you and all around you.
Remember that energy is neither created nor destroyed. It merely shifts forms and becomes something altogether different. Emanating into the stratosphere. Affecting all other beings.
How freaking amazing is that?
You are infinite and beautiful. And you can be well. If you want to.
For there is always more room in our hearts to ask the universe for the wellness of others.
Third, imagine yourself in that warm, golden-white light, surrounded by a bubble of safety and well-being. Close your eyes and imagine it until you can feel it. As Abraham-Hicks always says, "If you can feel it, you can manifest it."
And when well-being appears, let it in. Trust me. It will come.
Update on my stepmother's condition: She continues to fight for her life. She is awake and aware and communicative by mouthing words and responding with gentle nods or shakes of the head, or by blinking for yes. She and my dad and stepbrother have a white board/letter system where they point to rows of the alphabet and she indicates whether, yes or no, the first letter, then the second, then the third and so on, is in that row or not, until they can stitch words and sentences together. She's just had a halo procedure and is now in a nursing rehab facility some 20 miles from her and my dad's home. It's not all horror anymore; sure, my dad is beyond exhausted and beyond heartsick. And yet, there are moments of joy. There has been laughter. My stepmother still has her sarcastic sense of humor, it would seem. She still enjoys watching reality TV and having her nails painted. And this tragedy has brought all of us closer together than we have ever, ever, ever been. For that, I am grateful.
"We want to speak about freedom: This is a Vibrational Universe. The only Source that flows is the Source of Well-Being. And, physical and Nonphysical, we are all free to allow that Well-Being to flow to us and through us or we can pinch it off. It is our call — every time…"
I'm Janeen; writer, mother, wife, and full-time, radical Reductionist. I share stupid-easy tips on how to save money while reducing your impact on the environment, & I'm committed to helping others live a life of simple sustainability.
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