Truth: Who am I protecting?

When a door is opened light floods the darkness, not the other way around.

So here I am about half way through the wait before the next MRI. I have been busy trying to modify my lifestyle. More exercise, check. No sugar, check. No alcohol, check. More meditative mindfulness…kind of check.

Okay, so that last one has been a bit tough. Not that I haven’t tried to make the time and find the focus. Every night as I go to sleep I find some mantra to say, like “this will be fine” or picturing Dr Ryan sitting before me saying, “It was nothing”, all the while rolling my fingers over the beautiful prayer beads Georgia brought me back from her trip to India.  Often I fall asleep only to wake sometime in the wee morning hours with the beads entwined so tightly around my fingers as to cut the circulation off, at which point I wonder about the healthfulness of my new habit.

But new habits are just as difficult to cultivate as old ones are to weed out. Adrian has decided to join me in a detox/liver cleanse for ten days, as well as set out on his own adventure: no more smoking (which he was already modifying) and no drinking. I admire his willingness to push off into a place that is fairly unknown to him and supportive of the difficulties. I wonder, however, about the social experiment part. When we all get used to drinking in our social circles, whether with one friend or many, how then do you find your way without the wine or beer in your hand, mouth, and mind? Do we even know how to relate to others without it? During the couple of social times that have come up Adrian has chosen to drink Kaliber. Our therapist suggests that this is akin to quitting smoking and walking around with a fake cigarette in your mouth. That is it still turns on that part of you brain that uses it as a tool, necessity, or addiction, which ever word suits your definition of the reason to make or pay attention to habit change. I am not sure what I think. Though I do think that it is very cool that Adrian is now really remembering his dreams for the first time in a long time as well as not snoring as much. That is very pleasant.

Now I sleep soundly, no snoring and like when I was being treated for cancer I sleep right through the night. However, the difference is I am full of angst at night which I didn’t do before (enter the prayer beads and the meditative work I do to get to sleep with them). I don’t know if it is my brains way of preparing for ANY outcome, but I am finding it is hard to make the positive words stick. The positive words and images I attempt to implant are often at struggle, like two beefy anchors each at the end of a tug of war rope, with words and images that sound more like; “well….it could be worse” and images of hospital johnnies and the gross taste I had in my mouth for weeks post liver surgery.So I push them out of my mind, hope that sleep folds me in fast and tight and wait for the kids to arrive for morning cuddles.

Yesterday, I went to this lovely yoga class in a warm studio, with the sun shining through the windows and lighting up the vast Vermont fields that just so happen to be filled with wild and imaginative sculptures. It was both a gentle yet powerful class and filled with focus on chakras and the sensitivity of the touch of ones fingers.  At one point we sat against the wall with blocks on the top of our heads in order to draw our focus to the seventh chakra ( you can go google the meaning or go here  As I sat there tears just started rolling down my face. It was both strange and beautiful for me because I actually was feeling neither sad or happy. And they just poured out… wet, salty and pure.

Later we were lying down, again with some focus on chakras, but more trying to relax completely. I began to feel so frustrated because I had this intense feeling of tightness behind my left shoulder-blade. It was as if I was having a muscle cramp. I was so aware of this tension, like a guitar string stretched too tight, and I could not get it to just relax.  The class ended, I returned to an empty home, and put my happy music (Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros) on super loud so I could dance and clean. Which is exactly what didn’t happen. Instead the songs started and all of a sudden I find myself kneeling on the floor sobbing with our sweet dog, Manchego, trying to get under me to support me and lick away my tears.

So I told Manchego why I was crying, and discovered the pain in my shoulder had disappeared. When Adrian came home later and found me in better shape, but still leaking tears I told him.

I am really scared.

And Adrian gave me the best gift ever.

He said that he is too.

Why do I consider that a gift? Because I wonder, hence the title of this entry, “who am I protecting from the truth?” Is it myself from the reality? Or from the worry that I may not appear strong and capable? Who do we protect by pretending that we don’t have struggles, fears, foibles and vices? Who do we protect by trying to appear perfect and jovial. Who are we protecting when we don’t acknowledge the struggles and realities of other people’s “stuff”, the slow destructions, the suppressed anxieties? Frankly, I don’t mind when people wear some of their “dirty laundry”, I makes me feel like I am not alone in not being able to get all the spots out of the whites or that perhaps I have been sleeping in and wearing the same clothes for the last three days ( um…yep, this is both literally and metaphorically speaking).

Adrian, in acknowledging my fear and, for the first time since this whole misadventure began, admitting that he too is scared gave me the gift of balance. He isn’t trying to shed the most positive light on the situation and I don’t feel like I am holding the entire bag of fear. I needed to open the bag and he needed to be willing to look in and take some out.

Turns out I wasn’t protecting any one by keeping it guarded, rather the opposite.

So there it is. The TRUTH.

” The moment we begin to the fear the opinions of others and hesitate to tell the truth that is in us, and from the motives of policy are silent when we should speak, the divine floods the light and life no longer flows into our souls.” (Elizabeth Cady Stanton)

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10 Responses to “Truth: Who am I protecting?”

  1. Elena Says:

    Oh the raw honesty of you – just want to reach through the computer and give you a giant hug. I get it – this little comment box cannot express how much this message is resonating through my world these days – and your various pals who read these comments do not need all the small details (or you lovely lady). So……sending love, hugs and strength – for tearful times, for stressed times, for happy times, sending just buckets and buckets of goodness to you, sweet strong amazing friend.

  2. kathleen De Simone Says:

    dear Lina…can I marry Elena? I am bouncing off the walls of your words and fears ..right this second, right this minute right this angel dancing on the head of pin moment…I think/feel/resonate with the fact that you need to feel the fear, need to look at it and taste it and examine and even make friends with it…the energy used to hold it at bay is just too much wasted strength…and I feel 90% of everything we react to is toward staying alive..fear saves our ass time after time…we are awash with hormones and chemicals and etc and how the hell do we know if at certain times we need the fear chemicals to wash through us –hell maybe they eat cancer or warn others that do eat it, that something is going on and to get busy!!…anything that we avoid will chew at us till we turn around and face it…sometimes fear anger terror is the only way we get the adrenaline necessary to lift the car off our pinned child!!! ya’ know?? god how this must fucking piss you off!!! you handled your healing with this first round with such grace and elegance of strength … visiting your spiritual and creative inner self attending to all the higher powers of the vegetable world, the soul self, the Light….you were absolute and constant…a star blazing….weaving the love and prayers and attitudes of all of us who adore you…into something like a magic cloak…and all through out the magical healing time, the scars and the hospital, home and finally tasting food again, and being so good, and obedient and conscience of everything and lying in the moonlight with darling A …and laughing with friends and feeling their joy surrounding you…and marveling at your beauty and then even growing a new liver for god’s sake …
    how dare it after all that perfection and and prayer and love and dedication and energy and the joy the achievement the hard fucking work could this god damn SHADOW appear…. damn damn damn….
    I am experiencing the RAGE….BUT i DO NOT HAVE ANY FEAR… and if I was in danger of losing you believe me I would!!!
    sending you love light rage and permission to feel everything!! I do adore you!!

  3. ellen Says:

    Uhg. Sorry for my terribly inappropriate FB posting about the Rum…My bad..When you get your results back in a few weeks saying that Snoop Doggie Shadow is nothing THEN you can drink the Rum and Fentiman’s. K?

    I love this blog entry, well I love ALL your blog entries, but this one is hitting home.

    Sending you much love and prayers and strength.

    LOve, love love.

  4. Annette Duclos Says:

    Dearest Lina,
    I loved this missive. So honest and raw and beautiful. You.
    Can I tell you a secret that sometimes frees me? I use this mantra “we tend to worry about the wrong things.” It makes me feel that I have to let go and release into the world , all my fears and mistakes, all the dread that comes with living, because, really, we don’t know, and worrying isn’t going to make anything better. It is the “other” that hits us hard, the things we DON’T think about, don’t worry about, so just forget it, you can’t know the future, and you worry about the wrong things anyway. And then where does that leave you? I hope this helps, it does seem complicated, but somehow once I figured this out, every time I turned to worry, I thought “that’s the wrong thing to worry about” and it worked. Ahhh, life, we are all in it, and it is challenging and beautiful and upon us. The only reality is now. And right now you are wonderful. Sending love and hugs and a big, big, kiss. xoxox, Annette

  5. Amanda Gustafson Says:

    Ah, fear, my old friend. Lina, your post brought me to tears, and brought me back to a time in my own life where the mix of marriage, fear, alcohol, love, support, sickness and unity had a familiar potency. When I was 2 months pregnant, and 3 months married, Eric went into rehab for alcohol and pill addiction, a condition I had had about 5 days to get my head around before he left. During the 6 weeks that he was gone, I lived alone with a growing baby – my first – and all the crazy feelings that a situation like that creates. It felt at times like I was living over fault lines; the earth would open under me and I would be taken over by a feeling of anger for…all the times I thought he was going to get me an ice cream sandwich because he loved his pregnant wife..for having no money left and having to pick up extra waitress shifts…for begging the heat not be turned off…for feeling dumb, for the unfairness of it, for the brevity of our so-called honeymoon. One day, in particular, the earth did open in a very real way and I felt surrounded in an orb of utter, speechless, silent wailing fear. How could this turn out ok? In that moment, I reached out to a friend, and did something that changed my whole life. I decided to commit the utterly illogical and senseless act of saying to another human being, “I just realized that I’m the only one living my life. And I’m so scared about what will happen.” Because in the truth of that, I knew this friend couldn’t help, that no one could, and that I was done asking. And I knew in that moment, that the same was true for Eric, and that my fear or my work, or my effort, or my anger, would never make that be un-true for him or for me. The amazing thing is that when I saw that truth, I saw another truth that was, at that time, being blocked by my anger and fear: that my heart’s desire was to hold him again, to raise our child, to love him.
    It is an honor to witness another person’s struggle for awareness, and it is courageous to give of yourself as you do. When I think of my own life, and when I think of yours, I know it sounds crazy to say that everything is unfolding perfectly. But in this moment of tenderness thinking of you and your family, I have been renewed in my love for my own. What a gift! Sending you so much love.


    • lina1969 Says:

      Amanda- I am both stunned and honored by your letter and your truths. This life is so… complex and so our own, yet at the same time the ties that we bind ourselves to each other be it by wedding bands or umbilical cords or pieces of paper make it hard to live your own life. Not that I would change anything about my life because I wouldn’t not for anything, but were I not a mother not a wife I would be in quite a different diorama. However that diorama isn’t big enough for others, and I don’t want to be in it. Therefore, realizing that I will/can coexist next to the people I love because I can not change or make them anything they themselves dont want to be is my own Kilimanjaro. Lucky for me it turns out I have a few sherpas! Thank you for the words, the truth, the tears and the much needed hit of oxygen. Love and hearty embraces, Lina

  6. Erica Leigh Says:

    Lina Lina Lina… here I am at 2 in the morning. At work with tears streaming down my face… um … not very professional and yet so heartfelt. It is diabetes awareness month right now and my joyful little diabetic has been sick this week with a 104 fever and blooo sugars out of control. when not at work i have been setting my alarm for every hour to check his sugar and make sure he is still alive. sometimes i just sit there and watch him breath for an hour til the next check. I know fear. I know it in a way i never even imagined before him before this. And in the back of my mind is the nagging image of his endocronologist giving me that look and telling me we have to do better to keep him regulated…. guilt and fear what a glorious combo.
    I love that you have my magical and loving friend at your side to hold you and love you…. and i mean love of a special variety if he really quit all of those things. I have known him some 20 years and never known him to be free of all those vices. (way to go). As far as social structures perhaps we can change the way the collective we celebrate and party and gather. I know i for one fear the day my diabetic starts to party and am trying hard to show him another way. Hoping he is smarter than me and believing he is . I admire you so much and hope you can see how great you are and how even your weakness gives you strength. Sounds to me like you are awful hard on yourself and perhaps deserve a vacation from expecting so much of yourself. From where i sit ( in a hospital late at night) you look like a rock star. Love.

  7. connie feydy Says:

    Lina, I love what you wrote and I wrote a big reply which got lost in cyberspace- dang it!! What I wanted to tell you is that I understand so much what you mean about “who are we protecting?” I did that for SO long in my life. It’s better now after good therapy and being with someone with whom everything really does matter (my husband, Fenno). Why I did it? I certainly thought I was being strong and brave and sensible and rather advanced, but instead it was just creating tension for me and for people around me that loved me. I just didn’t know. I think this sort of protecting possibly comes from childhood patterns- survival patterns/skills for situations that worked then but don’t anymore. In my case, I think it was because I felt then that both my parents were too fragile to know what I was really feeling or what I really needed, etc. Anyway, Adrian really did give you a gift of balance- I think you gave him permission to give it to you when you told him you were scared. Writing it puts that permission out there even more. Thank you, Lina. P.S. I loved your comment on Facebook about how you didn’t feel like being reflective anymore. It made me giggle out loud.

  8. kathleen De Simone Says:

    this missive is to your friend Erica Leigh …Erica, I have a dear, dear little friend who is now 4 years old I have loved him since before he was born and last year he was found to have type one diabetes… it is well controlled and I have thanks to his mom …who I love too… learned to do the blood sugars, measure his food, give the shot, meticulously log in all the info and watch him for those sneaky tell tale signs of too high or too low…fortunately the hospital up here in Burlington has a great children diabetes center…and those care givers help us, the friends of the family to share in the care and responsibility of this precious little boy…it also gives his family some freedom…they know I am aware, and alert and mindful…so they can have some peace and reassurance …I don’t know how old your baby is or where you are or any of the other particulars…I am just hopeful that you have a strong community to help you with this…if you are any where near Burlington I would be happy to be available for you….so you can take a shower etc…I know how scary this is …I have dealt with the sudden drops and thank god he loves honey!! it is so unexpected…I send you all the love and light and hope that I surround the lovely and magnificent Lina with.. your missive touched my heart..with love Kathleen.

  9. pam Says:

    Lina…this was so lovely and heartfelt… admit fear is to admit one is human….
    and fragile…..and temporary….which I never “got” til I was in my 50’s.
    Never really thought about it…..But I do now and it’s scary. Coming to terms
    with it takes work….so whether I live another week or to 100….I now know I
    am mortal. Why did it take so long for me to see it.?…that every day is precious
    and I am grateful for all the good things in my life…..
    And you and your blog are some of those…..Hope you had a good turkey and
    lots of love to Adrian and the kids…..Pam

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