Friday, February 14, 2014

Hello Again:

Lilacs in spring.

Well, I'm here now, settling into life in Northern California and adjusting to all that comes with a big move. I have been doing well, moving is stressful and I'm surprised at how my body has mostly handled it. There have been discouraging times and times of great joy. Life.

I hope to write more later. For the time being I'm going to share a few journal entries from the past years. It's surreal to look back on my writings from that period of waiting and I hope it might be encouraging to those of you who are still longing to come through your own dark night.

xoxoxo,
Maria
mariaaldersen[at]yahoo.com


May 15th, 2013

I dreamt of H last night. This time married, with a young daughter. We spoke of California, a trip he had taken with his family down the coast. There was resolution, no longer romantic longing, simply former acquaintances sharing of the lives we had lived. It felt like closure, acknowledgment of what could have been and why it never was. I woke and wanted to believe that was my night messengers purpose, a goodbye, finally putting to rest neglected longing. Yet all day I find myself yearning, nostalgic for the man in my dream. But real life means he is married, without a child, but still, married. 

Now I'm in Snohomish, one hour left till evening, the window glass sprinkled with a faint settling of yellow pollen. This place is magic on a warm day. I see so many stories passing me on the street. Old married couples, middle aged women and young girls in all their innocent expectation. This place surrounded by rolling hills and farmland yet enlivened with art and honest simplicity. Mom and I used to come here when I was younger, I had such good feelings on those days. I might live here if here was California and it was a little less crowded with window shoppers browsing antiques. Still it's nice to sit and savor this marinade of memory and present.

Yesterday I climbed the hill on the south side of town, all the lanes, P through Y, dropping down to parallel streets of houses with a view. I got to the top and turned back to look out on the world. The panorama of islands, vast and majestic rising out of the sea. 

The lilacs are in bloom everywhere I walk. They came early this spring, their fragrance blowing out on the air. I wonder when their scent fills this town next year where I will be, California?

I'm on the verge, at the in-between. Healthier yet not fully healed, moving forward yet waiting for the next step to become clear. I wait.

At night my dreams are filled with memories, past intimacies relived without the disappointment. All the confusing edges faded to a warm glow. Friends, family and former attractions revealing themselves to me as they could have been, without the pretense, without the fears.  

Friday, January 10, 2014

Quickly Checking In!

Hello everyone!

I don't have time to blog right now but I did want to mention I'm on instagram now so feel free to follow me there. My instagram name is mariabythemountains

I'm here in California, so far so good. There have been some bumps but mostly joy at being here. I will try to post in the new few weeks with an update. I would appreciate any prayers and well wishes as I look for a good job and apartment!

xoxox,
Maria

Friday, November 22, 2013

Back again:

Fall Hike- October 2013

Hello all. I'm back for an update! Sometimes life puts things in perspective. For several weeks now I've been blessed with reminders of how good things are, even if they're not perfect, even if all my wants aren't arriving when I feel they should. It's amazing how resentment, fear and desperation can overshadow goodness. When I finally move past smallness and awaken once again to gratitude I am filled with a genuine joy for life, the exact one I'm leading right here, right now.

Each day passes and I weave in and out of the solace this relishing brings. I drive down the road and notice a landscape so stunning I have to remind myself to appreciate it and not be buried by the distractions of coming and going. I sit on the couch sipping tea and am momentarily freed from my body as a certain piece of music fills me and I have sudden perspective flood in, peace that transcends words and logic.

My health has been decent. Getting sick and being so slow to recover has meant coming to terms with my body- my less than optimum genes and my need to lead a lower stress existence. Sometimes I forget those needs and push. Yet I always end up coming back to this slower way of living and I feel some sort of relief in arriving home again, because this IS home for me. It's as if in finally being honest with myself I found the answers to the longings I've carried with me my whole life. The longings I thought I knew how best to meet but am again surprised to find instead met in the quiet and in the transcendent moments of happiness with kindred souls, animals and nature.

I was talking to my yoga teacher the other night. She and the other women in my class have become my village elders- the first group of women I've known to impart such peace and confidence to my still healing child self. I've been with these women for a year and a half now and the other night, standing out under the street light, my teacher commented how I had changed. How when she was getting to know me I talked of illness and family crisis and how now my conversation is of excitement and looking forward with strength to what I want out of this life. It's nice to move from subjective to objective, to get little glimpses that remind me change has indeed arrived.

I do feel stronger and more excited. In the last eight moths I have noticeably moved past feeling blasé, A feeling that plagued me for the past four years or so. And yet with more strength comes the unearthing of that which still needs wholeness. I've mostly accepted this. To resist would be to resist life itself....this is life, this is what it's made up of, the whole gnarly and glorious grind of our humanity.

For now moving forward means physically moving. I have a date set for departure to CA at the end of December. I have given notice at my current job, changed bank accounts and crossed things off  to do lists and yet I still feel unsure. In the morning when I wake I want nothing more than to go! As the day wanes my confidence leaks away and I question if this will be one big expensive mistake. So I give it all up and pray- over and over, each passing day. I ask God to shut the door if it is not the one for me. So far it hasn't shut and that makes me happy. Mostly I want to go, but this is a leap and part of leaping is confronting questions and fears.

My health improves daily. I have dedicated so much to getting better and my return is a steady and slow building of vitality. My test results come back showing this to be true and warning me where I'm pushing ahead too fast. After two month of Cross Fit, I quit. The warning signs came, insomnia, rashes and other symptoms creeping in slowly. When I got my latest HTMA results back I had the confirmation I needed to know that the pushing was draining me. Yet I still felt stubborn and angry. Frustrated at this body of mine for not doing what I wanted it to be able to do. Frustrated that I had to give up a sport I could see myself enjoying for years to come...if I had a different body. Now I'm at a local gym, still lifting but slower and with more breaks. I'm actually enjoying taking things at my own pace and grateful that my body can do all it can, even if it means readjusting as I go.

This is the cycle. The ebb and flow of life. The audacity with which we approach our ideas of achievement sometimes to have them met with success other times to have our wrists slapped as we fight what is. But after all that comes a truth so quiet and still, so much better crafted to our own unique heart callings.  And eventually received with gratitude because we know the feeling of strife that comes when we aren't living true. Returning to honesty feels like an exhale long over-due.

So that is where I'll leave things. I had intended to go into a longer explanation of my current health status but there's really not much to share. Things are improving, holding steady and then improving a little more. Time is the ingredient I still struggle with the most and I accept this now- my humanness, the flaws, my impatience and most of all this relentless love for life that returns time and again.

Have a sweet holiday friends.
xoxxooxoxo,
Maria
mariaaldersen[at]yahoo.com

Monday, September 30, 2013

Bigger than me....

Whinthrop Wa, September 2013

Yesterday I had a rare cream filled coffee brimming with mounds of whipped decadence. I sat at the window and savored it deeply. These are the moments of quiet reflection that are saving me lately. I know I should be thrilled to be at this precipice....to not know the answers but know that change is coming sooner than later, but to be honest I've been a bit frustrated by all of the unknowns. I've been scared at the thought of my job ending by December and not yet knowing what my next step shall be. But I've been even more scared to stay at the same job. I don't know what to do next but I know that my present is not to be carried into my future, at least when it comes to work.

I'm a chronic planner. This is something I've used to feel in control of things that are really out of my control. I'm still coming across schedules in old diaries I kept when I was 10 years old. Yet if the past 6 years have taught me anything, it has been that our ideas of control around time, money, health and the future are a complete ruse, better left behind than stoked into false security and wasted hours.

Fall has arrived with torrential rains and heavy skies. My work hours are now part time and I have plenty of space to plan and scheme my next move yet that doesn't set well with me. Instead I've been resting. I've been taking naps and letting myself sink into rest without worry. I keep reminding myself this is a shoring up, a gift and a time to replenish before the next step appears. Rainy days and less hours to work, these I catch myself begrudging but then relishing when I realize the blessing this season is and that a higher power is allowing me space to prepare, maybe not logistically but psychically.....where it matters most. The practicality of logistics, budgets and timelines are overrated...a life lived with such focus crowds out the true magic and joy to be had. Yet this is a practice I have to keep at, some days are easier than others.

I've finally been reading Eckhart Tolle and trying to listen to him on my iPod when I'm out walking. If there's anytime to work on staying present, it is now. I resent and I relish the practice of being in the now. It seems so tedious at times yet when I let go of the future and live the life I'm currently in I feel my best. Plans have a place but I've been addicted to planning most of my life and this time I'm not sacrificing my days to the future.

So if that means waiting, waiting to know where to go until weeks before I go. If it means trusting that my community will be there for me in the perfect time and I don't have to rush forward to find my place. If this means settling into the now and my trusted comforts, the ones that carried me so well through years of illness. Well, I can mostly be happy about this. At my core I know I'm so blessed.

I was reading this and came across the words below. This sums up a lot of how I'm feeling. The surprising bits of melancholy and the thrill that strikes me when I really realize change is coming.

"It can feel sad and lonely and punch-the-air special all at once." 

I'm mostly comforted to have made it to this point. I'm starting to see that life will be full of the ebb and flow of growth but beyond that is a bigger picture. Illness has been my most challenging hurtle, at times a relentless teacher yet now that I am steadily moving beyond that season I see new teachers arriving, opportunities to keep pursuing what really matters. This may take dedication but I'm stubborn and so my new plan is to stop obsessing about plans....! The answers will come but only if I give them space in which to appear. My faith holds me and is my deepest comfort. Beyond religion and my personal idea of God I hold a trust that there is a bigger picture at work here. The job interviews that seem so promising but result in dead ends are the links to my true path....a reminder that life is bigger than me.

xoxoxo,
Maria

mariaaldersen@yahoo.com

PS:

I just wanted to post a quick update for those of your who may be curious about my current health status. I'm doing well, holding pretty steady on my improvements in energy and well being. I'm still faithfully sticking to my Nutritional Balancing protocol. At the suggestion of my practitioner I read this book and have now been on NDT for 3 months, (this is a prescription treatment). I'm still building up my dose but I think it's giving me a boost. I have officially joined Cross Fit and I'm closing in on my one month mark of being a cross fitter. I love it and feel really good about how my body is responding to WODing 3x per week! Slow and steady is my motto and so far it's paying off!

Along with my new activity level I have changed my diet a bit. I'm no longer low carb since I've added some starchy carbs to fuel my body for workouts and recovery. This feels like the right step for my activity level.

I still have fatigue at times. I'm a good 75%, (sometimes more), of the way to optimum energy which is great yet I still have to be patient with myself.  I'm not fully recovered so I can't expect to have boundless energy whenever I so wish. Some weeks are near optimum, others require I take it easy.

I may try to do a more specific health update post when I get my current test results back in November. If you have any questions please email me or leave a comment!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Hello September!


Guatemala

I return once again to the needed catharsis of blogging. There is so much swirling around in my head these days and I know that I'll find some clarity by writing it out here. 

I've come to the library for a change. To gather another stack of novels, something to focus my brain on when it's flitting around with anticipation. I brought my laptop and figured I may as well work on a post here, free from the distractions of home. To my left there's a picture window with a glorious view outside, a tree fluttering in the breeze, nearly all the leaves golden with falls early arrival! 

I have two paths unfolding before me. I don't know which one to take but I keep reminding myself that this decisions isn't all mine to make. I've cast my net and so much opportunity has come back. More than I expected, an abundance that leaves me surprised and excited and also a little confused. 

With summer winding down I resumed my plans to move forward with my California departure for late fall. I did my research, secured a great car loan and was nearly ready to buy a car, (that makes me a real adult, right?), one of the biggest links that needed to fall into place for my move. As this all began to come together I updated my work profile from Washington to California and was surprised to start receiving interviews and loads of interest in nanny positions within days of posting. I even interviewed for what seemed the perfect job- great hours, pay, location and family and yet….I felt unsettled about parts of it. 

A few days later I thought to research short term early childhood education employment opportunities in Guatemala- a place I've visited several times and forever a part of my heart. From there I found opportunity, a possibility that surprised me but seemed almost meant to be! Yet how was I to determine if that was meant to be when CA was also coming up with abundant options… also, seemingly meant to be. Maybe the unsettled feelings were simply cold feet?

So here I am moving between action and waiting. Submitting resumes and scheduling interviews but ultimately leaving it all up to divine direction. I don't know which way to turn. Both possibilities hold a huge part of my heart, presently Guatemala is tugging at me more but I know my longings and they seem to have a mind of their own, sometimes here and then gone at lightening speed. God, divine direction, the universe... I've been calling out to that mystery a lot more lately and I know the answers will come with miraculous timing. My prayer...let what needs to go, go, let what needs to come, come...seems the best answer. 

This morning I was out walking and passed a man burning brush in his yard. The smell, that scent of open fire that instantly evokes my strongest nostalgia for Central America…it all came flooding at me right then and there. For five minutes I wanted nothing more than to choose Guatemala and if I had asked for a sign minutes earlier that would have been my sure answer. 

Instead of evaluating all this I'm trying to simply be excited. I don't have to list all the pros and cons of either choice, instead I remember that this is what I've waited so long for. This being able to even have a choice beyond illness! So mostly I'm excited. I picture myself in Guatemala, a stay that could be at least 3 months but possibly 8, and I love the life I see myself leading in that land of volcanos and open cook fires. I still see CA at some point, whether that be late fall or next year. But mostly I find myself with an increased longing for community. I want to embrace life more, I want more people, more fullness and more education. I want to leave this town that has held me for 6 years and fly. And wherever those opportunities may be, that is where I want to go. 

I gave up so much when I moved here. At the time that was what I had to do. I felt compelled with all that was in me to stand my ground and change the course of my life. So I let go, I let go of my community, most of my friends and family, my beliefs and my measure of success. I spent my time of respite redefining myself, my values and my dreams. Yet I had to hold back to heal. But here I am, feeling stronger, ready to leap, not sure where but confident the time has come and I can do this! 

In the next few weeks my path should become clear. Presently I intend to soak up all the wonderful cozy, crisp and romantic feelings of fall before my departure. My days are winding down, in the coming weeks my job will slowly shift, less hours, more time to pursue what's on the other side. I should be here for several more months and then it will be time to say goodbye. The mystery beckons....

xoxox,
Maria

mariaaldersen@yahoo.com

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Hello August

August days.

Well I made it through July, what a month! I spent most of it working and by last week I was starting to really feel it. I needed my space, I craved being alone. July was a bit of a crash course back into time management. I can see that it's really going to pay off now that I'm working 30hrs per wk and could easily waste my extra time but I'm not because I have a renewed appreciation of how valuable time is especially since I'm feeling better!! I'm not a proponent of working overtime or even 40hr weeks but I think this 5wk run of long hours helped me get back in touch with time and it's value. After nearly 5 years of having to force myself to let go of all my ideas and ways of organizing time, getting back into a groove feels wonderful!

Every year that would pass during my deepest time of illness felt like it took forever and rushed by simultaneously. At times it was troubling to see years slip through my fingers so quickly with so little to show yet there was nothing I could do about it but to let go. The years between 24 and 28 were a blur of trying to fill my days when I had little inspiration or energy yet also trying to will the weeks forward so my body could absorb all the remedies I hoped would bring me vitality. So it feels good to be here, to have some sort of structure and find myself reacquainted with time in a different way. There truly is a season for everything. Because I have experienced the free fall of years of waiting I no longer begrudge having to get up each morning to go to work- it's a blessings....I can finally get out of bed and actually go to work. Yeah life!

Weekend quiet.

With my days growing fuller I sometimes find myself longing for the wide open spaces that illness created. Don't get me wrong, I'm so happy to be feeling better but it's easy to get caught up in distractions and forget how much the soul needs space. Last Saturday I carved out an entire afternoon to simply be in nature and watch the leaves flutter in the breeze. What bliss! I rode my bike through town, stopping for my favorite snacks and then I went down to the water's edge and stayed there for nearly four hours. I soaked that time up with such deep appreciated, mostly appreciation that I really and truly know how to relax. No matter how life unfolds I will always know how to go back to that sacred and quiet place in my heart that grounds me so. Knowing how to truly relax is an art and one of the greatest gifts illness has given me.

It struck me the other day, this is the best summer I've had in nearly 6 years. The weather, the work, the growing peace of mind. I'm actually starting to believe I have a strong body, I'm telling myself that I do because it's finally dawning on me that I do and I can start stepping into it! I felt consumed by exhaustion and weakness for so long but I'm beginning to identify with another part of myself. I still intend to take life slowly, I never want to rush the way I used to, but each week unfolds and I get a little more of myself back- this time more alive in my heart than ever before.

There is so much more I could blog about. Dreams beginning to unfold and how exciting it is to finally feel my zest and passions coming back. I'll try to post again soon!

Thank you so much to everyone who takes the time to drop my a line, those emails are the main reason I come back here for these check ins! So do keep writing, even if I don't get back to you quickly I still read and appreciate each and every email!

Have a sunny week!

xoxox,
Maria

mariaaldersen@yahoo.com

PS: I still think it's good to "waste" time here and there.

PPS: This show is one of my favorite ways to do just that!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Fullness Of It All




Work, rest, eat, repeat. This has been my life for the past few weeks. I'm doing well. More and more I notice myself moving past merely surviving and edging closer to thriving. 

I needed work this summer, not lots but enough to save for a down payment on a used car. When I was offered my currant job I took it in faith because it felt right and the family was nice but the hours were iffy. The job practically fell into my lap three days after officially being done with my other position so I figured that meant something and I just went with it. Well, the hours have come and more than I even wanted. I'm working overtime for a nearly 5 week run and than fortunately I get to go back to my 30hrs a week sweet spot for the rest of summer and fall if I so wish. 

And so I'm making it. I'm resting in the evenings and sticking to my 10pm bedtime. I still have the energy to come home and cook dinner if I need to. I'm certainly not at the top of my game or living with the carelessness of my early 20s. And yet, who cares! I'm just so damn grateful to be doing what I'm doing, to be alive and getting another chance at living, this time with an appreciation for even being able to work at all. I can barely believe that last summer I wasn't working nor the previous 3 summers before that. Now here I am plugged back into life in this way and feeling like the movement is mostly forward. This feels like relief, an accomplishment to be finally arriving here. 

Of course I want so much more. Some sort of further education and more energy so I can learn things like gardening- all tools to help me lead the peaceful and intentional life I envision. But right now this is where I'm at and I'm not complaining one bit. This is enough for now. I've waited, I've experienced what it feels like to fall out of "normal life" and I've processed the longing to reengage when it wasn't possibly but now here I am starting to do just that, reengage! My desire to enjoy each day mostly trumps any angst about checking things off a life list. Today has so much goodness, the perfect path will unfold but I ain't wasting the now. Life can be trusted, I now know this to be true.

The word that keeps coming to me these past few months is fullness. My life is filling up, my days feel full. I no longer wake and have to continually work on coming to terms with waiting, day after day, week after week, month after month. Yes, I'm still waiting for things but it doesn't feel like the past 5 yrs in terms of time and the way it troubled me and then eventually taught me. Those were such rich days and part of me misses them but moving on feels wonderful. 

Last night I was looking at the sky and something about the clouds made me think of all my days spent on the couch. I would lay there watching the clouds pass, reading, waiting, despairing and hoping. Oh the longing, the unknown, what teachers they became. I saw those clouds and was taken back to that place, there was so much sweetness there and I realized how much of my heart will expand every time I recall that season. It was hard but it taught me of trust, what to love and what to let go of.

Some of this fullness is really stretching but it feels like a good expansion, not forced or premature rather divinely lead with kindness and compassion. Sometimes I think I need to force things but as I let go and have faith in the divine I see how gentle change can be. We humans tend to be so hard on ourselves, pushing and berating when we don't measure up. I'm starting to understand how unnecessary it is to pursue change that way, what a sad way to exist.

Other parts of this fullness have to do with feeling better and thus having more reserves to do things on my weekends instead of spending the entire two days on the couch recovering. It's wonderful to wake up most Saturday mornings and actually want to go somewhere after a full work week. This is new, yes I know this is how my life used to be yet this time around I'm going out and actually living. I'm spending less time on worry and comparison and more time appreciating all the simple things that really do make up the grandest joys!

xoxo,
Maria

mariaaldersen@yahoo.com

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Hello!


Summer Solstice

Hi everyone. Just a quick end of the week check in! Since I've started posting again I've mostly had readers contact me who are on their own recovery journey from adrenal burnout. So for the most part I'm going to update on my health, how i'm feeling and the wonderful successes I keep witnessing as the months pass. It's not all highs and easy successes but it's mostly good. Some weeks are better than others, I'm still not at a place of consistency when it comes to feeling good all the time yet I have come so far and I want to make sure and share my progress as a means of encouragement, honesty and motivation for anyone who may be feeling discouraged or is simply curious. I'm going to try and get these posts up as quickly as possibly so please excuse my lack of editing. I find if I just make this as uncomplicated as possible I'm more apt to consistently post.

This past week was wonderful, one of my best weeks yet! I worked and made good food, I road my bike lots, peddling down to the farmer's market, feeling like I was living the true small town, island living experience I dreamed of during my years of deep fatigue. I also started a new protocol since getting my latest HTMA results last week and I've felt pretty great all week long. I feel more calm and steady. I think the emotional release of letting go and really practicing the idea of divine direction is boosting me to a new level of freedom I had yet to experience. I imagine that this emotional shift has translated into more energy and peace of mind as well. 

As soon as I have a question about anything it goes straight to prayer and I let go of stressing about the best solution. This week I practiced this in regards to exercise. For the past few weeks I've been debating about going to a different, more established Cross Fit box- this time with more of a focus on building up slowly in the hopes that a more established gym would have better trainers. I've been praying about what to do for a few weeks now and feeling hesitant to jump into anything too big. This week I had a new clarity enter, an idea to simply walk more hills and utilize the 65 lbs of children + stroller I am pushing when I go on walks with the kids I care for. This has worked out fantastically so far! We climb steep hills, I get a really amazing leg workout in, all the while enjoying the sun plus creating entertainment for the children. And whoa, I'm climbing hills and pushing 65 lbs as I do so!! Um how'd I get here when I used to only take 30 minutes stroll and feel done it for the rest of the day?!!! 

In addition to the hills I'm keeping at my yoga and doing a facebook pushup challenge, (100 pushups per day). I took a few weeks off from yoga class but now I'm back at it and I realize what a balm to my soul the class is. The teacher is one of the wisest souls I've ever encountered and that translates into an amazing class environment. It's a total mind body therapy with lots of liberal minded middle aged folks who embrace me and buoy me up with great encouragement every time we meet! They're truly a special group and I feel so healed by their authentic love and support. 

For upper body strength I do my modified pushups and feel stronger each passing day. And just like that, I have a convenient and free summer workout routine that is just enough for me to build my strength while not pushing too hard. Again, the answers eventually come, we simply have to create the space for them enter. 

Yesterday I was out riding bikes with my friend and I had to remind myself several times what a blessing this is. I realized that last July I had just started my yoga class 1x per week and here I am a year later climbing hills and riding my bike all afternoon long and doing yoga on my own and in class! So I am succeeding at this recovery thing. It's taken time. There was a good 6 week period this spring that I had to pull back because I had pushed too far and fast yet I never fully crashed like I would have in the years prior. Now that I'm respecting my need to rest and not push it seems the natural path to gaining strength is opening easily before me. I find my best routine is when I can lay down and close my eyes for at least 30minutes each afternoon. If I get 9 hours of sleep at night than an afternoon rest doesn't feel as necessary yet most nights I'm lucky to get in 8 hours before work so I try to lay down mid day, (one of the perks of being a nanny to small children!). 

So here I am- this my account of a miraculous journey. I hope my sharing is as honest to the story as possible, that is my endeavor. I very much enjoy hearing from anyone who is going through a similar experience and simply may wish to share where they're at and what it's been like to experience illness of this sort. 

Happy weekend to you all!

xoxo-
Maria

mariaaldersen@yahoo.com

Kitty Coco- living the good life! 

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