In this series of articles I would like to limn a picture of how it is to experience down time because of a serious illness, as has happened to me this year. We’ll start with an overview of the differences in perception and perspective that the condition offers, and see where that takes us!
My period of down time started long before the spinal fusion operation on my spine this last spring. Five months prior to the operation, in October 2009, I was on the sidelines, stuck at Chapter Two of my new book, Living the Law of One 102. I wrote one last article for my UPI A Small Medium at Large column and shut down my usual routine. I discontinued channeling, creative writing, counseling and teaching. I couldn’t use my arms to type until the ulnar nerves were repaired.
I rested and waited. Although the team of doctors who had diagnosed massive nerve problems and suggested the spinal fusion of eight of my vertebrae, C-3 through T-2, had originally proposed a hospital visit for me at Thanksgiving, the team was not able to schedule time for the operation until the next March, 2010, a wait of over three months by that point in time.
I had little things I could do to tidy up after a delightful, years-long siege of creative work. My office got straightened; my scrapbook brought up to date. All the recipes I had collected over the last few years were entered into my personal database. Items on my to-do list were cleared away, one by one.
Best of all, I created two talks for one last teaching job I had long ago accepted in Hawaii, scheduled for January. My yearly trip to and from a visit to Nebraska to honor my mother-in-law’s birthday – this one her 92nd – was spent in long, thoughtful talks with my husband on how to present my material.
So my life had not yet substantially changed. I could still go to church and sing in the choir. I could do lunch with a girlfriend. I could drive to appointments and on errands. I could still be “useful.” It is an incredibly persuasive value of my upbringing, being useful in the outward, physical sense.
I traveled to Kona, Hawaii, in my wheelchair with an amazing degree of aid from the airline that allowed me maximum comfort along the way, and fell happily into the hospital bed the producers of the Fourth Earth Transformation Conference arranged for me at the resort in which the conference was held. The next day I opened the Conference with a discussion of 2012 and at the Conference’s end, I offered a workshop on Wanderers. These talks are available on video. My husband’s and my room looked out over the ocean and the whole experience was wonderful!
I met two special people during that visit besides the presenters of the conference, Angelika Whitecliff and Michael Salla, the producers of this beautiful annual event. One was Sky Innes, whose book, Love’s Alchemy is so compatible with my own work that she and I spent time talking about how to present together in the future.
The other was Suzanne Taylor, whose excellent film on crop circles is now available. She and I spent a memorable afternoon that drifted into evening, as we sat and talked and watched the sea spray outside my lanai window. She put me in touch with North Atlantic Books, who has now accepted The Aaron-Q’uo Dialogues, a book co-channeled by Barbara Brodsky and me. It will come out next August. For these new friends I thank heavens, and encourage you to check their sites for interesting and illuminating material.
Back at home, missing the island warmth, I resumed the waiting stance and time seemed to move by nano-inches until suddenly, in the middle of March, I was in the hospital being sedated. I awoke from the operation with a big collar around my neck to hold my head to my shoulders until I began to heal, and with a whole new experience of the world.
I expected to be restless at being in bed constantly, but that is not what this surgery offered me. The pain from the procedure was intense, and the pain pills only took the edge off of it. Until the nursing service came by and catheterized me, my life was a nightmare of bright pain and a constant need to make my way to the bathroom, as an old case of Interstitial Cystitis had flared up and it was either take my sore body to the restroom or wet the bed. One of my earliest taboos said, “Get to the bathroom!” It was sheer torture. But I went, and went again, ad infinitum. Then, blessedly, I was catheterized. I could stay in bed. And stay I did.
The pain was a living thing, not a bogeyman but just the way things were. It crossed my shoulders and went up my spine into my head and down it to the waist, crawling and writhing inside me. The rest of my body felt small and inadequate, as though it were too slight to carry around that huge, cruciform pain. I forced myself to walk laps each day around the service core of the house so I could keep what mobility I had.
All sense of perspective vanished. I had always been in bed; I would always be in bed. Time went away. When I opened my eyes after a nap, everything looked flat and immediate. There was no distance. It is difficult to describe, but the way we always see things, with depth perception, was usually not with me for minutes after I first tried to see. It was difficult to make sense out of anything I “saw”.
Two months and more passed in this still, breathless state before I observed even the first indications of improvement.
My husband put flowers up where I could see them from my hospital bed in his room, up athwart the two doors at which I gazed day after week after month. The south door led to the hall, the north door to the bathroom, side by side. This was why I was in my husband’s room, as it had its own bathroom, and the throne was only nine steps away from my hospital bed.
Down both door frames and along the top of them both, he hung my many “get-well” cards. I spent hours looking at the details of this cross of love made of flowers and cards, thinking how wonderful it was that the nerve pain in my arms was gone, that so many people were praying for me, and how grand it was to be looking forward again to working at my chosen craft. When the “cross of pain” grew heavy, I would sing hymns to myself. One of my favorites was this third verse of “Beneath the Cross of Jesus”:
I take, O cross, thy shadow for my abiding place.
I ask no other sunshine than the sunshine of His face.
Content to let my pride go by, to know no gain nor loss,
My sinful self my only shame, my glory, all the cross.
Often I would find my spirits drooping and turn to counting my blessings. My personal Rule of Life demands that I vibrate at a cheerful and heartfelt state of inner peace at all times. The way to regain a lost positive tuning is very simple: count your blessings. And I had so many! Two of them, I have already noted: the cessation of crippling arm pain and the promise of eventual return to spirit-driven work.
But there was so much more! My chief blessing will always be my companionship with my beautiful husband, Jim McCarty, whose unbroken devotion over many years has produced The Ra Material and all that has come therefrom.
The web of love that surrounds and supports L/L Research is another huge blessing. Each of those who live in our house and work for L/L Research is a blessing, as are those many volunteers who are flung far afield but through the mysterious unity of the internet are able to help us in so many ways.
And too, there was the attention my parish church gave me, showering us with cards, flowers and food. Our neighbors all came by to offer sympathy and more food! Meanwhile, out my window the spring came, and I watched with intense interest to see each new blossom and leaf.
I am about halfway recovered now, still mostly “down”. Newly off pain medication, I am clearer of mind. Still, I feel weak, dizzy, and cautious as I take each step, growing into the use of a body 35 pounds reduced in bulk, walking on feet as sore as if I had walked the length of Bataan on the Death March of World War Two. Yet I am also renewed, strengthened by the inner work I have done, and greatly appreciative of Q’uo’s words from a channeling session held on May 7, 2006:
“Until you grasp just how powerful a being you are as one possessing consciousness, you will be completely at the mercy of catalyst. Conversely, once you grasp the rules of this game of incarnation you are playing and begin to apply the rules of the game, which are relatively simple, you may well find yourself in a process of transformation.
“Things may begin to simplify themselves for you once again. But the simplicity will be the simplicity that moves in a spiraling fashion up to the unified level of body and consciousness. This is not precisely the same thing as the psyche and the soma or the mind and body, as psychology has it, for you are more than your psyche and your body. Health [and] the process of illness as well have a great deal to do with that “more than” that you are.
“In a way, you may see yourselves as pilgrims who carry their packs not over their shoulders wrapped in a kerchief, as the mythical hobo figure does; rather, you may certainly see yourself as that pilgrim on the road, the journey of spiritual evolution. The pack that you carry lies within. What is metaphysical food? What does your pack hold? The answers that you offer to that may well indicate the true nature of your wellness.”
I open my arms and embrace your spirit! All of us pilgrims suffer on our way to the Source and Ending of all. Let us be sure our packs are filled with love!