All my life I have felt tugged, pulled, or stuck in limbo between the philosophies of the east and the west. I am a city girl, I like shiny things, my purses are mostly brand name, and its not a night out without a few glasses of pino grigio. Im also a boho gal, love yoga, eat healthy, take my vitamins....and always want to do MORE. More yoga. More meditation. More mindful living. More holistic health care.
But I don't.
For the past 34 years I have lived as if I am on the other side of a glass door. I can see the life I really want, but I keep getting distracted by the bright shiny things and the booze, damn it! I get distracted and off course. I get lazy and stop going to yoga, stop taking my vitamins, stop reading books that feed my mind and my soul.
As I face my 35th birthday this June I also face a sudden and shocking new diagnosis: Interstitial Cystitis, otherwise known as painful bladder syndrome (but trust me its so much more then that). This has flipped my whole world upside down, and in a way...brought me closer to my path then I have ever been. Let me explain:
Interstitial Cystitis (IC) is defined as a chronic inflammatory condition of the submucosal and muscular layers (interstitial) of the bladder. It is often misdiagnosed as a UTI however there is no bacteria or infection involved. It can cause mild to intense pain depending on the individual in the bladder, urethra, and general pelvic area. Feelings of intense pressure, sharp stabbing pains, dull aches, and a constant urge to "go" are common. For some this can mean urinating upwards of 30 times a day (thankfully I am not one of them but don't you dare ask me to "hold it" unless you have a heating pad and a bottle of T3s handy). People with IC live in pain for most of their lives, with good days and bad. For me a good day is just a low pain day, I call it my "new normal". A bad day is what is called a "flare" and this can vary greatly from person to person but in a nut shell the bladder/pelvic pain can become so intense that it triggers nerve reactions in the back, hips, vulva, groin along with hot and cold chills, upset stomach, fatigue and depression. Flares are often caused by diet but can also be triggered by stress and hormones (among others). There is no cure for IC.
I am choosing to see this as a blessing instead of a curse (even though most days that is really freaking hard to do). I no longer feel tugged between two worlds because I cannot allow myself to steer off my true path again. Before it just meant Id be tired and cranky and achey. Now it means I will be in severe pain and my depression will spiral out of control because of it. Yoga is no longer a luxury it is a necessity. Meditation too. Clean pure water floods my body instead of wine everyday. I cant tell you how many times I tried to go booze free for 30 days, only to get stressed out and pour that glass anyway. I had ZERO will power. I'd skip yoga, eat like crap, and berate myself for it. Not anymore.
I have no choice. I have to practice what I preach. I have to follow my path. The same path that took me to India 14 years ago in search of answers. I so desperately looked for a teacher, someone to just fix me and make it all go away. I wanted an AH HA moment where it just all makes sense and my problems where solved. Sorry kiddo, life just doesn't work that way. Thing is the teacher was always with me, she was INSIDE me. She is me. I am my own teacher I just wasn't listening, my ego kept distracting me and taking me of course in search of those damn shiny things.
When the student is ready the teacher appears. Well I am ready, my body has no choice, it is talking to me and I have to listen. So the past few weeks have been a bit of a metamorphosis for me. I am learning how to re-love myself and how to stick to it. In many ways I am going back to that hippy globe trotter I was at 21, except I am more confident and passionate. I practice yoga like its my LIFE LINE now. It keeps me sane, it helps with my pain, and I cry at the end of every class because I am so very full of gratitude. I am learning about guided imagery, chronic pain coping techniques, meditation, and I am learning to live in the present because chronic pain really gives you no other option