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Friday, January 31, 2014

A Return to Love: Not Bad/Daily News

I continue to read and work with the Course in Miracles.   Although Marianne Williamson is someone I view with a bit of the "grain of salt" attitude, I liked some of her interpretations of the more problematic, for me, aspects of the Course.  The idea of illness being some sort of affront to the Lord really bugs me--and I liked what Marianne Williamson said about it (in an interview with Oprah, with whom I also have the "grain of salt" attitude):

"ACIM says that our overidentification with the body, rather than the spirit, puts a stress on the body that it was never meant to carry, and that this is the source of illness. Just think about it! The number one root of all illness, as we know, is stress. As we learn to identify more and more with the things of spirit, we find ourselves dwelling more lightly within the body, thus reducing stress."

I can concur with this one. It's amazing how much more well I feel now that the major stressor in my life (my job and its attendant, endless drudgery of grading) is out of the picture.  I think it's one of the major reasons that I feel better spiritually, emotionally, and physically.  I am grateful I worked for many years at my job and have excellent benefits and disability payments also.

At any rate, it really helps me to have some sort of good supplemental reading for the Course.  Having something like A Return to Love, which is fairly simple, has helped me stay with it.  More and more, though, I can see why a dogmatic interpretation of the Course can really lead to the same route I am trying to avoid with spirituality:  slavish embracing of anything is not a basis for real transformation.

Well, speaking of the body, I have a full pelvic and abdominal CAT scan today to check both my kidneys and the general state of my innards.  I have several small bruises developing also, especially on my legs where I tend to bump into things--this is a good sign, that my chemo is suppressing my bone marrow and my immune system.  We've done very well avoiding infections here because of one suggestion I heard from someone going through chemotherapy:  wash hands and use hand sanitizer religiously, all the time.   No one in the household has gotten a cold or flu since we have been doing that.  My hair is staying put and growing back in the baldie spots, which is quite interesting to me.

At any rate, back to Marianne Williamson:  I don't think anyone who has a chronic illness can avoid focusing on the body and the illness, at least from time to time.  It can take many, many years, many twists and turns, and a lot of backsliding to get to a place of acceptance:  I am not really there because I don't WANT to have lupus and I cannot accept it as a permanent part of myself, even though I have had it for twenty years. 

On the other hand, I feel that my illness has been a gift for which I have some measure of gratitude for helping me consider things of the spirit, but I would give up lupus in a heartbeat if I could (which is why chemotherapy--I hope for a full remission this time).  It has been too frightening of a roller-coaster ride for me, and this current challenge is no exception.  Still: my body is responding to the chemo, and I have no more side effects from it, beyond the changes it is making in my immune system.  Plus, I am deeply grateful for the fact that there are treatments at all for lupus--research for it is underfunded and it is a disease that affects mostly women, which is a real issue in medical research.

Well, off to exercise (definitely not walking in the woods--I heard the cougar early this morning and am getting good at interpreting its very strange calls--purrs, whistles, grumbles, but no roaring because mountain lions don't roar...but the sounds are very intense and loud, and quite unmistakable).  Hula-hooping on the deck suits me just fine.
That's the daily news from Planet Joanie--thank you for stopping by.