If you are reading this, then chances are you have lived through numerous changes that got you to this point, since change; paradoxically, is the only constant in each lifetime. We may fight it mightily, but there it is. The adult that is writing this, once was a 5 pound 4 oz. infant with the umbilical cord wrapped around her ankles that (symbolically) for many years was an impediment that unconsciously kept her from moving forward. On the surface, it seemed that nothing could stop me as I raced my bicycle around my South Jersey suburb of Willingboro, playing with friends, jumping rope, playing hopskotch, roller skating, swimming, ice skating, sledding; once even coming in 3rd in a seemingly marathon (3-4 hour long) hoola hoop contest. Despite 3 broken ankles in a 6 year period (6th grade, 8th grade and 10th grade) all while engaged in some activity, I kept on keeping on. Although I was born with healthy lungs, somewhere between my 4th and 5th birthday, I was diagnosed with asthma that was treated with steroids and allergy serum, as well as nights of sitting in the bathroom with the shower running as I inhaled the steam; one of my parents at my side as they breathed with me. Paradoxically, 40-50 some years later, as I sat by the bedsides of my parents in their last days, I did the same, joining them in each precious inhalation and exhalation. I have read that metaphorically asthma is connected with anything from feeling smothered, to unresolved grief. As timing would have it, my beloved grandmother had died shortly after my 4th birthday, leaving a hole in my life, that many years later, I came tor recognize as feeling like the loss of a third parent. She was my mother’s mother Henrietta that we all referred to as “Giggie” since I couldn’t pronounce anything remotely sounding like grandma, and the name stuck, became everyone’s grandmother in the neighborhood and I was happy to share her. I have been told by many psychics who knew nothing about her otherwise, that she has been watching over me as a type of guardian angel, ever since. I now wear her ring on my pinkie, given to my mother, who shortly before she joined my grandmother, gifted it to me. It is as if am keeping mother-love ‘close at hand.’
Now, at 53, the asthma symptoms have mostly dissipated, partly as a result of change in diet, nearly daily cardio exercise, allowing for emotions to arise, whether they are born of grief or joy, recognizing that both are part of the continuum of life. I notice symptoms when rushed or in the midst of particularly stress-filled situations. The truth is, stress itself is not the enemy. It is our reaction to it that can make all the difference.
According to the website for The American Institute For Stress: “The term “stress”, as it is currently used was coined by Hans Selye in 1936, who defined it as “the non-specific response of the body to any demand for change”. People have taken that concept and applied it to any number of changes that occur. The thing is, that without some type of stressors in our lives, we would be like an ameobic blob, with no form or definition. We need at least some challenge in order to grow. There is also a dynamic called ‘eustress’ which could be termed ‘good stress’; something we may anticipate but makes us at least a wee bit nervous, such as graduating college, or getting married or birthing a child or in my case…a book.
Consider any number of life experiences that have turned you from a lump of coal into a glittering diamond and give thanks for the opportunity to shine your brightest.
http://youtu.be/5C13urVMYBw Diamond In The Rough by Shawn Colvin