1. Spidey Sense
I invented the term ‘spidey sense.’ It was some time afterwards that I discovered tat ‘spidey-sense’ had also been invented by the writers of the Marvel Comics to describe Spider Man’s ability to perceive danger before it can be perceived by his other senses. My spidey sense means pretty much exactly the same but I called it spidey sense because it’s like that feeling that you KNOW there is a huge monster of a spider lurking somewhere near you. One with a very big body and thick, hairy legs. You just have no idea exactly where it is hiding and when and where it is going to make itself known to you. You just sense it’s presence.
The moment the spider eventually runs across the floor, speedy and shadowy, is terrifying for me as a pretty severe arachnophobe. In fact, I go as far as saying I have a psychological allergy to anything with eight legs that thinks it’s OK to share my home! The period between seeing a spider and it’s eventual death, removal or the knowledge that it has not been seen for a good few days and I will probably not even recognise it as the same individual if it appears again, is terrifying for me. Last year, I all night downstairs on a cold and not very comfortable sofa because of one of the biggest specimens I had ever seen was bold enough to think he could share my bedroom for goodness sake! I had to wait to be released from my exile until a friend came to chat about some work in the morning. I had never been so pleased to see him!
Literal spidey sense is very scary and particularly common at this time of year. However, I know it is completely irrational and it is relatively short lived. I recover pretty fast once the intruder has been evicted or squashed. It’s not just spiders that cause spidey sense though. I always seem to know when something is happening with Wills. It may of course be subtle changes that happen before he gets really sick but I can often sense there is something in the air. People have been asking me through the week how I cope with knowing the phone could ring at any time. It was something I couldn’t predict before we re-joined the transplant list. Last time, we were in hospital for the whole 12 weeks we waited for William’s wonderful first donor to save him. It was a horrid time. Every day I woke hoping it would be the day we would get the call and every night I went to bed thankful William was still there to fight another day. He was that sick and it was that critical. This time, we have re-joined the list before things become that desperate. I’m not desperately willing the phone to ring all day. There are days, like today, when he has struggled more than others with high stoma output, even for him, and spending most of the day on his bed with little energy. On these days I do think it would be good to get that call sooner rather than later. On other days I can actually forget about the list and the phone whilst I’m busy with other things, which surprises and encourages me actually. I think that’s healthy. Although, I do need to remember to have my phone to hand all the time! This morning, before things went a bit pear shaped, I had a bath leaving my phone in my bedroom, only to find I had missed a call with ‘no caller id’ - which is what calls from hospitals usually display as! Then, there is the spidey sense. These are moments when I get the sense that the call could well be imminent. There is no rhyme nor reason as to when and why these moments happen. I have only had one so far in the last week but it was very intense and unsettling. I had such a strong feeling that the phone could ring in the night, although my rational mind doubted a call would come so quickly after being re-listed. I have decided that I will term these moments as psychological false alarms! I think there will be a fair few of them over the coming weeks and months.
I mentioned last week that I am reading Eat Pray Love at the moment. I am now with Elizabeth Gilbert in her Ashram in India. There are rules for her Ashram. You are not allowed to go if you are going through a large emotional challenge in life, or have had such a time in the last six months. This is because your turbulence would distract you from being able to study, meditate and find that understanding of God, and of yourself, that you came to the Ashram to find. The first part of her journey, in Italy, was a time when Elizabeth found pleasure in food and learning Italian and used these to heal herself, physically and emotionally, from a difficult divorce. I tool something away from that section of her journey to pack for mine. It is important to find what gives you pleasure and make sure you do even more of it at times like we are going through in life. I have been thinking about the little things I need and they include time with my family and friends of course, a good book to get really stuck into, music to listen to and time to write. These are the absolute essentials to my mental health and wellbeing. I have also discovered that having a main meal at lunch time and having a ‘tea’ of chunks of cheese, green olives, pretzels and a big glass of red or rose wine while I am writing is great! Good quality incense, evenings in my oldest but snuffliest PJs and faded jumper, candles and chocolate are also pretty good too. I am feeling loads and loads better than I did the week we took William to sign consent for this transplant. I know it was and is the right thing to do. I am comfortable and at peace with the decision and feeling positive that the roller coaster ride it will take us on will, eventually, take us to a better place than we are now (while leaving a tiny corner of my mind working on the contingency plans to implement and make ready for the ‘just in case.’) I am now ready to learn from Elizabeth’s experiences in India.
I talked a bit about my spirituality in an earlier post. I have no doubt in my mind at all that this journey will have a spiritual element for me. It is true for many of us that we come closer to God, whoever He is for us, when we go through life’s biggest challenges. I have already explained that I come from a Christian tradition but that I believe strongly that all traditions are paths to the same God or being. I don’t think anyone is wrong. I believe there is a God and I believe that people across the world have created their own ideas and stories about Him. They have also discovered ways to connect with Him and understand Him based upon their own cultures and I believe that we open our minds to this we could take aspects of different religions and how they practise and communicate with God to enhance our own understanding and closeness to God in the manifestation we believe in.
I have been fascinated by the way Elizabeth describes falling on her knees at the darkest time in her life and asking to know God and feel His presence. She then went to a friend’s house and saw a photo of a striking Indian woman. She asked about her and discovered she was a guru so researched her and adopted her as her own guru. Later, Elizabeth writes that a guru often finds you when your spirit asks to find one. People of all faiths have followed a guru. Their teachings can be applied to all traditions and most Ashrams have residents and students coming from all religions to spend time there and deepen their own, existing faith.
I think my spirit put out a half hearted request for a guru to guide me through this path on my journey as I read the chapter. I have no understanding of the wise yogics. I have never even been to an exercise yoga class in my life. Yet, I put that thought out into the universe and, today, this lady suddenly appeared on my Facebook wall. Someone in a fantastic group I belong to (and will talk about here soon) asked if anyone was going to see her in London in a couple of weeks. Something in my knew this was meant for me. I asked her for details and, almost as soon as I had, the details popped up on my Facebook page as an advert post. Yes, I know Facebook works a bit but even so... The spiritual elements in our universe can use technology too! I have spent a few hours this afternoon reading about Amma and listening to her Bhajans. Her religion is love and she has a wonderful ministry of embracing people. What’s more, she is in London on 27th - 29th October. Some may read this as coincidence but to me it’s almost spidey-sense in reverse. I’m sure Amma has something for me right now, even if it’s just a transient thing more than a life long devotion.
3. While you are in the theatre
Emotions explode from my mind
as helium balloons
tethered with gold silk
I can no longer squeeze into anything physical
So wander under the big sky
Praying that the universe can contain me
in her arms
(as always, this is a very raw draft of a poem)
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