Saturday, April 7, 2018

Love will win.

Some friends of mine are attending the Revolutionary Love 2018: Complete The Dream (interfaith) conference (based on the pillars of violence Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. talked about in 1967) in New York City this weekend. The pillars referred to are what Dr. King believed would be the forms of violence that would destroy the world: racism, materialism and militarism. Conference organizers are adding a forth pillar for today's relevance: sexism. I read the schedule, and it is a very heavy weekend. It not a fluff weekend of feel good talks and pats on the back. But, I just listened to a live-stream talk by the Rev. Jacqui Lewis, and I feel good! It was a powerful message about her vision of the Love Revolution.

I believe in Love. I believe in the power of Love. I believe Love will win the war over fear. Fear is the source of anger and hate. Hate causes pain that fuels discrimination in all its forms. In an effort to eliminate the pain of heartache, those afflicted sometimes lash out. In the course of lashing out to ease pain, much more pain is inflicted. Therein lies a vicious circle; a cycle that must be broken. Only Love can break that cycle. Sometimes the solution to relief is merely imagination and visualization. After a world is imagined or envisioned where freedom for all truly reigns, then believers in Love must speak out and rise up.

Rev. Lewis talked about the Love Prophets. These modern prophets are the ones with their Love vision in mind who will raise their hands to try to calm the waters of fear (my words, not hers). The waters of fear are rushing like Level 5 rapids over the minds and hearts of us all. Those who would keep us afraid think they are safe riding above the torrents of those rapids. But, they must realize that their rafts are vulnerable, and their paddles are undependable. The power of those rapids can flip their rafts over and toss them into the torrent at any moment. The prophets of Love, however, can band together as a team to navigate the waters of fear. Together they, We, can slow the rushing waters that scare us and create peaceful, lapping waves that soothe our hearts and calm our minds.

Those of us who hear the call of Love, will speak out. Here I am. Speaking from my heart in Love. I am a Carrier of the Light of Divine Love in this world. My mission in Life is to keep Joy alive. I am a Love Prophet. I heard the Call long ago. The Mission supporting Love over fear is a difficult one, but not an impossible one. Everything in Love is possible. I truly believe this. I look for "the signs". Rev. Lewis talked about looking for the signs that present themselves in Life to help us find our way. She talked about losing her mother two days ago, and instead of going for a walk during which she usually called her mother who is no longer available to receive that call, she went and got a mani/pedi. The name of the woman doing her nails was Emma, her mother's name. She saw this as a sign of the presence of her mother in that moment. That sign soothed her aching heart. Signs may come in this way, or on a billboard or in the words of a song on the radio. Signs are everywhere. But, we must be receptive to them. Our eyes and hearts must be open to see the signs when they present themselves.

I may not feel confident to participate in the discussions of the New York City weekend my friends felt called to attend, but in sharing the live streams, my good friend brought me with her. I can attend at my leisure and from the safety of my home. I am not saying this because I would have been afraid to attend the conference, but that I do not have the energy required to be in that venue. I am happy to attend remotely as I can, and take what jewels I glean. I found one jewel this morning, and using it, I wrote this blog post.

I believe in what is possible. What is possible is a World where every person is free. I believe in a World where each person can grow to be whatever (s)he wants, and do whatever (s)he desires, receiving the exact same pay. I believe our World can be as healthy and happy as we want our children to be. All adults are just grown children. The little child within us all guides us. Treat that child within with respect and kindness. Love that child, and guide it towards laughter and playfulness. Teach it about personal responsibility and healthy community. There is no "I" in "Team"!

But, a healthy, happy "I" is essential, and must not be taken for granted or disregarded or pushed aside. Healthy "I's" will be the movers and shakers of this World, and will/are the ones who create positively effective Teams. Be well, my Friends. Sending Love and Visualizing Peace in the Revolution of 2018.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Break The Silence

As women, we are taught to be silent. We were not encouraged to discuss our bodies, our traumas or ask questions in years past. I was not. My mother was not. I remember when I was about eight or nine years old and thought my mother was dying because she hemorrhaged from her bed to the bathroom after having yet another baby. My grandmother laughed at me and told me she was not dying when I called her in a panic. My mother sat me down and tried to patiently explain what was happening but did not have the tools to describe her experience adequately. I waited for "health class" in seventh grade to explain the "birds and bees" to me. The balance of my sexual and sexuality education came from my friends.

There is so much about our bodies that nobody told us, especially about post-menopausal experiences. I am once again learning on my own about what is happening to my body after menopause. I use "Ourselves Growing Older" to learn about some things and get visuals to assist with my understanding. But, I learned recently that there is just nothing like being able to talk openly about experiences previously held secret.

I have been accused many times of TMI (Too Much Information). I share. I share about everything! I believe in speaking openly. I realize not everyone or every woman is capable of sharing to the same extent I do. I respect that. But, I disagree. If women are to become knowledgeable about phases of personal health, and if we as people are encouraged to be our own healthcare advocates, how can we adequately care for ourselves without basic knowledge of our own bodies? So, let me share something with you now.

Don't let others' inability to hear personal information discourage you from sharing your experiences or information you have gleaned on your road to self-discovery and about personal healthcare knowledge. If you feel comfortable doing so. I sometimes give a "heads up" at my exercise class before I share something new I learned. I ask if anyone else in the women-only class has experienced something similar. I ask my girlfriends and my sisters. I talk openly with whoever seems receptive. I do this because I believe we all must know. Let me give a recent example.

I am in the final throws of recovering from a hysterectomy with a bladder and rectum lift. After menopause when estrogen wanes, many women like me experience a prolapsed bladder, uterus and rectum. My bladder was literally protruding out of my vagina. I was so shocked when I felt this bulge for the first time, even though my primary care doctor, also female, warned me it was coming. We had in fact been watching its drop for about five years.

After the surgery that left three sets of stitches inside my vagina (the surgery was done vaginally), I went to my five-week post-op checkup last week. For the first time, I experienced the extreme pain of internal vaginal dryness. How many times had I read or heard about this? But, I had never experienced it's extreme discomfort until now. Discomfort is too mild a word. It really hurts! I have experienced external dryness, and over-the-counter lubrication works fine to relieve this type. My gynecologist gave me samples of estrogen cream. She said the estrogen would not cause me problems, because I was not taking it orally. And, the percentage of estrogen in the unliquefying cream was too small to be of concern. I have a history of breast and cervical cancer in my family. A friend chose not to use this type and declared that non-estrogen lubrication applied internally works for her.

When I tried inserting the tampon-shaped plastic applicator to use the cream this past week, I found the applicator difficult to insert. I had to go up and over a wall inside my vaginal opening. I didn't know what to think of this, but I found the canal, so I let it go. Increasingly, I found it difficult to insert the applicator, and last Sunday, insertion was almost impossible without digital exploration and much prodding. It was a very uncomfortable process. I began to get nervous that something had dropped in the week since my last and supposedly final checkup. I thought my bladder had let loose and I was poking it and irritating everything trying to use this cream.

I called my doctor, and asked her to examine me again. I returned from that visit a little while ago. She was so understanding, and I expressed gratitude that she made time for me. I was embarrassed to be asking such pointed, and seemingly ignorant, questions. She assured me that this visit was just fine, and "That's what I'm here for!" I was very grateful. I asked for a hand mirror so she could explain my anatomy to me.

Before this final step, though, she brought in a book with very good pictures and explained what my reproductive system looked like before and what it looked like now. Then, she just took a look on her own to make sure everything was all right. She assured me I am healing very well, and everything is as it should be in there. Then, I took the hand mirror and watched as she explained what everything was, and showed me I really do still have a vaginal canal and a cavity where my uterus used to be. She inserted her two fingers far into my vaginal canal to show me I could indeed have intercourse.

We decided that the difficulty I was experiencing inserting the applicator was that I was probably hitting the flap of skin that was once my hymen. It was red and raw looking, so we decided I had irritated it trying to insert the applicator with the rough edge (probably designed by a man, we decided). I had just never known that flap existed. I certainly never felt it, and it has never gotten in the way before. She encouraged me to wait a month before using the cream again until the irritation calms down. She also encouraged me to use a mirror to help direct the applicator. The flap had never been an issue before because insertion of anything usually came from the top (clitoris on down), not the bottom. This conclusion is what I am inferring from my experience.

I felt so grateful and empowered when I left her office. I felt more knowledgeable about my body, and more confident that I am indeed healthy. I highly encourage all the women reading this post, if you have not already done so, to be curious about your own body. Ask questions. Talk with your doctor. Discuss issues with your friends. Be informed because information is power. It's your body and your life. Take control of that because there's not much else in the world you can control. It is just amazing how great you will feel when you know yourself, and have a better handle on your own healthcare. Think about it.

Sending Love and Peace.