When I joined the Soul Flower Vibe Tribe last February, I had no idea what was in store for me. At first, I believed that yoga, peace, strength and everything that Soul Flower stands for would be a colorful addition to my active life, a life spent sprinting from class to my kayak, throwing my mountain bike on the car in the early morning, dashing off deadlines and searching for cheap tickets to Montana, Nicaragua, wherever the next adventure would be found. If I could add a yoga session into my routine, I’d probably become fitter, more flexible, better at everything. Throw mindfulness in the mix (somehow, I’d study up, figure it out) think of how much more I’d be able to accomplish.
How was I to know that nearly a year later, my doctor would literally write out a script for me that read: Meditation. At least twenty minutes. 2x/day. That it would be accompanied by thirteen other scripts: anti-psychotics, anti-seizures, pain medicine, mood-stabilizers, anti-depressants, antibiotics, pale blue pills that would induce slow-wave sleep. “Listen to me,” my doctor said, her hand holding the pen pausing for a brief moment over the growing stack of notes. “All of this will help your symptoms. But you are not going to get better, we’re not even going to start your treatment, until you start to meditate.” There was nothing flowery about her tone, nothing sweet or condescending. She was as serious, as no-nonsense a doctor as they come.
So here’s what’s been going on. I’m not psychotic. I’m not having seizures. I’m not depressed- although, should you come over to my house and casually glance at my medicine closet, I guarantee you will be highly suspicious. I was, however, the victim of a tick bite many years ago. The tick that bit me transmitted a mysterious illness called Lyme disease, and it went unnoticed and undiagnosed for so many years that it has now taken up residence in my brain and spinal chord, a late presentation of the disease known as Lyme Neuroborreliosis.
“Your neurological systems are in full melt down mode,” my doctor explained. “Before we can even begin to fight this, we have to calm those systems down. Essentially, you have to let your brain rest- every day, twice a day.”
My acupuncturist ,Jenn, explained it a little differently, but arrived at the same conclusion: she explained my many roving multi-systemic systems (one of which, a disease called Interstitial Cystitis, I previously referred to in my last Soul Flower post) as “lots of wind moving through your body.” The first step towards healing? “Work on grounding yourself,” said Jenn. “Do you know how to meditate?” I shook my head. I honestly didn’t. “Well, now is when you learn.”
I always pictured meditation- something I’d always envisioned as equal parts mysterious and boring- as something that you did at the very top of a mountain, something you discovered on a solo trip to India. That’s not how it happened for me. Just as I found yoga after I got sick, limping into the classroom, as hungry for it as I’ve ever been for anything- I came across meditation in a similarly humble and desperate manner.
Each morning and every night, I lie dutifully on the floor in my room, eyes shut, my electronic noisemaker set to “Rain Storm.” Just as a few months back I wrote about viewing thoughts as clouds, scattered and blowing across the sky, I now try and do the same with my symptoms as I lie there: the tremors, tingling, neuropathy like sparks firing under my skin, my eyeballs shuddering back and forth, nothing but clouds. Coming and going. In a strange way, everything I’ve written about in the last year is coming together, as if everything leading up to my new life, my new battle, fought here on my bedroom floor each evening, had a small meaning, a small purpose. At the very least, that thought brings me a little bit of comfort.
Melina wore the Moon Phase Fleece Arm Warmers
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