Tulsi: Finding Happiness…Finding Yourself

Ever get that feeling that you’ve lost yourself in life and are so far twisted that it takes something magnificent to find yourself again? I had this feeling for awhile now, up to recently. I was confused and unaware of my own body. I felt like a ghost walking in some odd shell. I would do almost anything and everything for those I love that needed help, leaving myself last.

Finding happiness could be something you literally find one day while walking. Once you’ve opened your heart. For me, it took getting rid of stressful situations and people. By doing so, I was able to be aware of my mind, body, and soul. Once aware of yourself, you find that you begin to smile again at certain things and find emotion and actually let that emotion run down in tears. It’s not healthy to not cry or to block all the hard things from your mind. They will always be there until you learn to deal with them in a positive way.

In my process of getting back on “my path” by first finding my happiness, I drank. No, not alcohol, but tea. Green tea. And not just any kind of green tea. Organic India Tulsi, Original, 18-Count Boxes (Pack of 2) and it’s even caffeine-free! I love to add honey to tea, but when I tried this for the first time it was so real and earthly sweet that I drank it as it was.

The hot and steamy cup of health healed my insides. I truly believe this and not just because the box says it heals. Tulsi is “The Queen of Herbs” or simply put…Holy Basil. It reduces stress, supports the immune system, is abundant in antioxidants, builds stamina, aids digestion, is anti-aging, balances metabolism and energy levels…and finally…it uplifts mood.

We are what we eat that is true. But what if the formula were simpler than that. I like to think of myself as a car. Brand new at birth. The way we take care of our “car” may not always promise us good health. Accidents happen. Sometimes the body shop is able to “fix” us. Maybe with a few new parts. Other times the accident totals the car and it will never drive again. Maybe a few parts can be salvaged at the junk yard and used next time another car is in need.

The main point is this…we never know how long we have to drive. We just keep going. Through the dark we have headlights that help guide our path. Take care of your “car” as well as you can, but always remember that things happen for a reason and somethings are just meant to be.

Isn’t that all we really can do in life? Take care of ourselves so that we are able to help others? If this is true, then I’m back to the beginning. Helping others to the point where I’m a walking ghost unaware of my own body and soul.

Ever been driving for so long that your hands become numb from holding the steering wheel too long or too hard? Yet, you keep driving. Your path hasn’t ended, you haven’t reached home quite yet. This is all of us when we are getting caught up in life. What if we were to just stop that car and walk or run for awhile? Leaving the car behind and take a soul journey?

Every time I drive on the country side on a beautiful day, I’ve always wanted to get out of that car and just run through the fields. Feel the wheat through my fingers and the grass on my bare feet. Pick some wild flowers and breath the fresh wind blowing on my face…

The Worst Day To Try Chi Tea…

It was the day of my mom’s surgery. I sipped on a vanilla chi tea latte a friend told me the night before I must try. It’s not bad, but has a zing aftertaste all over my taste buds. A taste I can only describe now as the taste of that day. I will probably never order it again. My regular coffee is much better. Mom drinks coffee every morning, too, except that morning because she couldn’t. She had plans to stop at Starbucks right after her surgery, but we both knew she wouldn’t feel up to it…yet, we were optimistic that maybe this surgery would be no big thing. My mom has always been so strong. When she told me of her breast cancer, she comforted me instead of herself. I guess that’s how moms are, though.

I showed up to the hospital very early in the morning to see her before her surgery. She had a nervous smile on her face and I kept smiling back at her, to comfort her. She had already been hooked up to machines, needles poked into her arms, and beeps echoing the room that I will never forget. A lumpectomy and total removal of the nipple, and putting in a port were the daily plans for her. I knew it would be tough, but wanted to get her through what must be done. My mom made the surgery sound so simple, so normal, and so easy, but that didn’t stop me from worrying. She made it seem like an ordinary day, but it was far from that.

The moment my mom told me her shocking news my insides crashed like a million cars going sixty at a red four-way stop. She was following me up stairs to my loft bedroom to see baby clothes I’d bought for my sister (my mom’s soon-to-be first grand baby). I wasn’t aware of the ocean’s wave tide behind me filled with worried tears and confusion. I picked up what will be the third generation’s little clothes and turned around to face that red stop light. Crash. Tears flooded and choked both of us when she told me she thinks she has breast cancer.

When the doctors said it’s time to say goodbyes I gave her another smile and slowly walked back to the waiting room, attempting my best to hide my worried eyes. I told my grandma and grandpa that we’d be back before she’s out of surgery in two hours. So Henry (my boyfriend of almost six years) and I went for coffee since it was so early in the morning. I was optimistic with the early sunny morning, yet worried, a weird combination…maybe it was positive confusion? Maybe I had daughter instinct and knew something wasn’t right. I just knew something wasn’t right. At this point all we knew was that there was a cancerous bump that they were removing.

I sipped that chi tea, anxious to get back to the hospital to see her in recovery. When we got back to the waiting room, we waited a few minutes then the doctor came in and told us she was out of surgery, but before we could see her, the doctor wanted to talk with us. We crowded our way into this smaller seating room filled with brochures. She told us that when she did the surgery and removed lymph she found a lot more cancer, spread so much it’s deep around veins and lit up all over her arm… “stage III at least” she said unable to promise anything. She also wasn’t able to put in a port, which is required for her chemo. Tears streamed my face and I found myself mad at the doctor. Henry comforted me and I wiped my tears dry so I could go see my mom with a smile on my face.

I walked back to see her flat on the hospital bed with a pink bloody band around her now uneven chest. I stood up by her head but she was still sleepy. Five minutes later, still sleepy. She should be waking up soon and be alert…but she’s not. We waited and waited. I spoke to her “hi mom” and when she saw me she smiled and said “did you get your coffee?” I held her hand and watched as she still wasn’t able to keep her eyes open. I should have just ordered coffee, not chi tea. Something isn’t right.

More and more doctors crept their way in the room staring at the blood pressure monitor. Lower and lower it crept. They’d ask her how she was feeling and she was still sleepy and hot. Each of us took turns talking to her and watching that monitor go lower as time went on. By now she should have been awake and able to leave the hospital. Eventually another doctor came in and called for tests on her heart and found liquid around her heart, and when asking her more questions realized she had already been diagnosed pre-diabetic. Why didn’t they know this BEFORE the surgery? I was so mad but when they saw this, the new doctor wasted no time calling med flight to our bigger city…where I wanted her to go in the first place.

I can’t remember how many tests they did and how many times they said “say goodbye.” Because honestly it was enough to make every hello a gift. My mom was med-flighted that day and spent days in the hospital. After that more and more doctor appointments, surgery to put the port in, and then chemotherapy. Last week I saw my mom with no hair and she is beautiful. It’s a gift that she is still here. Four days before mother’s day, my mom will have her last “red devil” chemotherapy until she moves on to the radiation every day. She is weak after chemotherapy and noxious. Her eye sight is affected from all the pills she takes and she has no energy and is losing weight. The crazy thing about all of this is how fast it happened.

This mother’s day, I’m going to plant flowers for my mom’s “outdoor escape” as she calls it. Her place to escape everything around her. Where hummingbirds fly around her sitting on the swing and where she can drink her favorite coffee on her rare good days.

Silver Linings In All That Changes

Summer is coming. I can feel it secretly in the air. It’s waiting to warm the ground and bring the colorful birds back. When I was younger, my mom would fill all the hummingbird feeders around our white porch. Dad would get beautiful blooming flowers and hang them near the feeders. My younger sister and I would put on our small bikinis and jump in the pool out back. I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss that.

But life changes and people change with it. Whether its for the worse, the better, or just because. Sometimes it’s hard to understand change and all that comes with it. After each winter, we are faced with the change of people and we continue life in a new year. Then, comes summer. The grass grows, children play outside, birds chirp, the sun stays out longer, and our feet feel warm. It’s like the light at the end of the tunnel.

As this summer approaches, I am faced with three things. Different in every aspect, yet all a big change in someone’s life. And it seems all three come out at the same time. My dad will be getting remarried. My sister will be growing a baby bump. And finally, my mom will be losing her hair. I never thought I would have to see her go through something like this…breast cancer.

Do I think she is right for him? Do I think my sister is ready for a baby? Is my mom able to do this? To be honest…I really don’t know how all of this will work out. I’m just looking at the silver linings in all of it.

To start, my dad was lonely for so long after my mom. He works hard and wants someone to share his life with. So, however crazy she may seem at times, the silver lining is that my dad won’t be lonely anymore.

Next, my sister. She’s been lost searching for her purpose for years after high school. So much ambition, just not in college. She wants more from life…kinda how I feel now. Expecting a baby has changed her life in such a good way right now. This is only the beginning for her. And me? I’m the lucky one to be the Godmother and Aunt! I’m also planning the baby shower. Silver linings.

My mom. Someone who has always been there for me through thick and thin. When she was poor to when she was rich and poor again. She’s always known what to say. Finding out she has breast cancer has changed her daily life, almost instantly. This must be the tipping point. I’ve never seen her more ambitious. It is only the beginning though. Many months of chemotherapy are ahead of her. The silver lining here…I still have my mom at my side, and now it’s my turn to help her.

As summer comes, my mom will get sick, my dad remarried, and my sister will grow a baby bump. What will I do? I will plan a baby shower, plant my garden of beautiful blooms and whisper three times to the hummingbirds, silver linings, silver linings, silver linings.

 

My Kinda Vintage…

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Many close to me know that I’ve had sciatica pain throughout my whole life. I hate to admit it because it makes me feel weak, like my spine is not as strong as normal people. But I cannot help it. I went to the doctor the other day complaining about my leg, knowing very well what he would tell me and he recommended proper physical therapy to me. Wow, now I really feel weak…and just as stubborn as a man. Me? Physical therapy? I’ve always carried more than I could handle, and you could take that both ways.

As a young girl, I was always changing my room around-interior decor was my thing. To this day, I’m still moving things around in my apartment-trying to get it just right. But the thing is, all those years and to this day, moving things around and carrying more than I could handle did this to me. A bulged disk…something that will never go away. Of course with physical therapy I could strengthen my spine and make the load less painful.

I learned the proper technique to Pilates in college when I took a class down the street at the Pilates studio. It’s all about breathing. When to breath in and breath out. I had the nicest instructor ever, and when the final came and I had to memorize all 25 sets and perform, I felt like a pro acing it. I don’t remember having sciatica pain during that semester. But that’s just the thing of everything. I have to keep up with it. I love it, but how can I find time working 40 hours a week after college? It’s my weakness.

Why is it that all the things we have to do get in the way with all the things we want to do? I’m finding after college to be an even harder journey discovering how to get there. A lost feeling invades me almost daily. What is there after college? It’s almost a let down to be honest.

Throughout everything that goes on in my modern life, light sheds hope every once in a while…leading me along, slowly. A feeling of that like a sunflower constantly facing the sun…the light. When I went in for this sciatica pain, I stopped at the book store, one of my favorite places. The coffee brewing, thousands upon thousands of new and old, signed and used books. It’s everything like the sun.

After looking over and over again in what seemed like the same spot, even going back to the isle twice, I finally found it. A collection of John Keats Poems and work. The feeling of satisfaction swept over me leaving me feeling awaken. His work has inspired me in my writing to such an extreme. The vintage, the Nature, the romance. It’s all too lovely to take.

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I now have his work at my bedside, inspiring me and reminding me to never lose hope on things that I want because…what is more soothing than a pretty hummer? Family, love, springtime, flowers, hummingbirds at my feeder, writing, and inspiration are my kinda vintage. I cannot hope to lose pain forever in one session, because without pain I cannot know what happiness is. I know what pain is-now it’s time to feel happiness.