In the language of the metaphor that I have chosen for this exciting phase of my life as a healing artist, I have just survived a major crisis. Crisis as dangerous opportunity. Three times now, I Have been gifted with the opportunity to model in my own life the principles and tenants I am attempting to teach/coach/mentor.
First, I had the physical challenge of kidney stones and made a conscious choice to manage them totally outside of a conventional allopathic model. At age 60, I consider myself lucky to beat the statistics: the average AmeriKKKan is on two drugs for chronic illness by age 50. I am on none. Yet I recognize that my kidneys are my “weak point” in my body; when I am feeling pissed off and hurt I develop kidney stones. Then I must cope with healing them which involves horrible episodes of renal colic when passing the stones. After no episodes of this painful physical phenomenon in over 12 years, I have had two episodes since October, 2014.
The first episodes happened one month after I started a job where my strengths, and skills were under the control (note that word– it becomes very important as I share my life choices and story) of an enthusiastic but inexperienced young white, female manager in a social service position.
When the kidney stones first hit, I had driven myself to a site I was to work at, that is 45 minutes from my home. I was incapacitated by the renal colic, I had to not only have my supervisor drive me back home, but I had to leave my car. I sat in the passenger seat puking the entire trip.
Not the best way to impress your boss,
eh ? As a treatment plan, I worked with a naturopath, used an amazing herb (chanca piedra–it is an anti-inflammatory, an analgesic, and dissolves stones), good hydration, cannabis (a muscle relaxant, analdesic, and anti nausea tool), and–when things were truly horrific–all of the above plus 400 mg of Ibuprofen every 6 hours to got me through those episodes.
Mischief managed, times two. The Lessons Learned there? Both renal colic episodes related directly to issues at work. Perhaps this was not my ideal job?
I have written here about my second challenge the mind loosening…versus “losing it”. Triggered by the Trump Administration, obvious white supremacy rising here in AmeriKKKa, and personal experiences with increased racial hostility and misogyny, I found myself feeling out of control_frightened and without sufgicient coping strstegies/tools.My best option was to seek support in the alternative peer respite model of Mental Health crisis/recovery work, NOT in a psych hospital. I posted about all this, in a series of short videos at my YouTube channel:
When I was ready to return to work, I had less than 3 weeks left before my great adventure North by Northwest to Canada was to begin. My social service corporate job gifted me with paid leave those last two weeks, giving me more time to pack up my life and prepare to leave. I suspect there might have been some mangerial awareness that I was still emotionally in a hair trigger place; plus a recognition that my job–as a African-American slave descent woman expected to work with disinhibited (translate mentally ill or developmentally disabled )white Americans of working-class background HAD BECOME UNTENABLE. Three days a week I was working in the VERY town on which The Simpsons Springfield is modeled!
Okay. One lesson, for The Body.–keep your medical care SUSTAINABLE. Second lesson, for The Mind.–keep your coping skills and strategies up to date with you life challenges. On to lesson three. Spiritual crisis.
Spiritual “emerge and see.”
Car packed and ready to go, I traveled to the Vermont/Quebec border tp begin my cross-country adventure to Vancouver Island. I had booked Air B&B reservations, across the trans-canada highway route.
But, I was turned back at the CANADIAN border. My dreams rapidly turned into a nightmare. To make this long story less long, the essence of it is that 4 INTERROGATIONS (not 2–the US side of the Border kept me and questioned me as to “where did I think I was going and WHY?” as well as the CANADIAN side) over a week, with a solo drive across TRUMPS Middle AmeriKKKa in between the Quebec rejection and the B.C. rejection left me hopeless, despairing, and acutely suicidal.
Acutely suicidal, for the second time in my 60 year life. 12 years ago, I went over that edge and made an attempt from which I was miraculously saved. This time, I used all the tools I have to stay on this side of the veil. And they worked.
I am in a culture whose values have been poisoning me; reducing me to the culture’s belief that without a home, and income, or cash on hand I am a worthless piece of shit. Those white male border guards looked right through me and used their power over me to enforce that belief. I am at 60 a PTSD/ sexual abuse survivor who got malignantly triggered with loss of control issues (that felt like rape all over again) to the breaking point.
And I’m still here.
I ask those who would judge me harshly to ask themselves how they would be thinking about all of this, if I had high blood pressure or heart disease, survived the last three weeks in Hell, only to have a heart attack or a stroke as I was turned back at the BC border.
Now, it is post-crisis clean up time. Very messy. Very humbling. Very challenging. I do my work from this place, with growing strength and balance.