Saturday, July 13, 2013

A Period of Transition

(Note: this post may appear very unlike the previous ones, but I feel it necessary to publish just how difficult it has been for me to continue on a path towards healing considering the lack of support and understanding from the community and society that surrounds me. I do no deny a personal lack of motivation and admit feelings of defeat. I am a person who has struggled with symptoms of Crohn's Disease since 2006 and also successfully came out of a flare-up by treating it naturally this past year, though, and want to move forward. My writing style here most likely will appear more chaotic and unclear because of my current state of both fatigue and fear, but my thoughts are true and real. Please bear with me as I find it equally important to try to understand the most difficult moments in this journey towards self-healing.)

A Period of Transition: The East Coast/“Home”/Upstate New York and the West/My new home/Boulder, Colorado

               “I have been awakened to the fact that 
               the 'community' and society that surrounds        
               me conflict with the environment in which I 
               actually grow, flourish, produce and 
               create most, and in which I am most 
               content and confident.” (January 13, 2013--
               The Colon Powell Diaries)

When I first uttered these words, I was referring to the academic setting that I was in at the time. But this testament proves true also to where I have been living since January. As you can see, it’s been exactly seven months since I last wrote. It’s been the same for practicing Eden Energy Medicine (EEM) and colon hydrotherapy (with James S. Allred, at the Arts for Vibrant Health (AVH) and Advanced Colonic Techniques School and Clinic (ACTSC).  It’s been seven months since I have done fundamental exercises that I know--from experience--provide me the awareness and conscientiousness of that which is occurring inside (and outside) my mind, body and spirit.

Seven months ago, I returned to a place I call(ed) “Home”: to the East Coast, in upstate New York. I did so in order to surround myself with the “love, friendship and family-ship” which awaited me. I was torn, though, as I love my awesome life and dear, supportive friends in Colorado. Why move from a place I saw as sunny, mountainous, healthy, plentiful, and happy to a region I feel as dark, dreary, dirty, depressed?  Before I ever thought to ask myself that question, I had already decided to “stage right” during the first semester of my PhD candidacy, as I found myself on the verge of a mental and physical breakdown (some know this as being "burnt out") and after having begun a significant and intimate relationship with an amazing, old friend in my hometown just east of Rochester. I thought that, since the other half of the relationship was unable to leave his life in NY, I would come to him and to enjoy love with him, to rest, and to gain some perspective.  I departed my dear Boulder with a plan: I would learn to incorporate the tools I had gained while living in CO in order to continue on my journey of healthy living in hopes of peacefully coexisting with my beloved Colon Powell and learning to do so with, well, all the chaos that may or may not occur in and around me. I had hoped to continue this blog as a way to publish my thoughts in order to heal myself and possibly help others understand better my experience with all of this and digestive disorders like Crohn’s Disease. Once I stepped foot in NY, my motivation to write and my ability to remember wanting to live in this way decreased significantly.

This positive plan, although it was well-intended, simply did not worked out as I had so hoped. I fully understand the reasons for which I wanted to come back to NY—my family, boyfriend and dear, childhood friends live there. But, after seven very long months, I have found that I have lost clear sight of the path that I want to take in this life. Luckily, I was able to learn with and from one of the most amazing men I have ever met in my life; he was the first and only lover to have ever listened to my difficult past, complicated present and hopeful future, all while he simultaneously made me feel as if I were the most beautiful creature to stand before him. He just laughed when he listened to my stories of the hippy loveliness that I had gotten myself into out West and was so genuinely happy for me that I had found something to relieve my pain. I do believe that he loves me more than I’ll ever know, and I am truly disheartened at the thought that, this time around, it’s just not happening naturally. But, just as I have learned from James S. Allred in colon hydrotherapy, the act of pushing something will not provide peaceful, painless results. Rather, breathing and allowing things to happen organically will more than likely bring one to a better, healthier place. It is equally important to know who is truly supportive of your health. 

Intuition lead me West

By May, after the love I shared with my boyfriend became overwhelmingly burdened by internal and external factors, I felt inclined to hop in my car and drive westward in order to be able to think… and to (finally) honestly write this blog with a clear mind, body and spirit. The minute I passed the state line from NY to Pennsylvania, I knew that I was headed in the right direction. It was unbelievable what was to come. Only days prior, I used an online accommodations site to find Trudie Crawford outside of Indianapolis. Not knowing anything of neither her nor her “Haven,” I was truly shocked to pull up to her beautiful house, which she immediately claimed provides “a purpose.” The 71-year-old woman showed me around as she slowly unraveled the motivation behind her Haven. She, too, became ill when she was younger and found no hope from medical doctors, although she herself was trained in the field. As a long-time registered nurse, she was shocked to find that her only option was pills and disappointed to see clearly that Western medicine offers temporary treatments to symptoms rather than seek the origin of the problem and find healthy, realistic solutions that require the time (and provide space) to heal. This treatment, just as in my case, was unacceptable and so she took it upon herself to find a natural path so that she could live a long, healthy, and fruitful life. She not only healed her condition, but found a desire to offer a place of healing, a Haven, to do the same for others. What personally struck her in her journey was to see that this country eats, drinks and lives in way that contradicts the way the nature (and our creator) ever intended us to eat, drink and live. (This idea is so interesting to me, and I immediately think of a recent read: Live Beyond Organic (2011) by Jordan S. Rubin.)

Ever since I have been in New York I haven’t met a single person who truly believes that what we eat and drink, how we think and act and how we treat our bodies is directly related to whether or not we are physically and/or mentally balanced.  It is so frustrating and sad for me to feel alone again.  I want to lead a healthy life--and enjoy it and be thankful, always--, but I can't even begin to express how difficult it has been for me to thrive around such attitudes. It is equally heartbreaking and painful to meet individuals of all ages ranges with horror stories of suffering from symptoms of colitis, Crohn's disease, etc.... having had their colons removed... and accepting it all.  They, too, have felt defeated, and some have even confessed that they compromise their health just to "feel normal" and to "fit in" in this environment. What kind of community and society are we living in if hurting (and possibly killing) oneself is what it takes to be accepted?  

Torn between the general attitudes and lifestyles I have found in CO and NY, I have unfortunately found myself making the same exact decisions I made before I became so ill last year.  Although I firmly believe that no one--including myself--can blame another for their own (poor) decision-making, I also have found something of great importance in recognizing the power of persuasion of one's community/society and media, the complex relationship one has with old habits, and just how easy it is to give up and give in to the things that will knowingly hurt oneself.  It is so hard to say no when, each and every single day, food and drink is offered to me that everyone around me knows make me sick, as well as things everyone knows makes everyone sick: alcohol and cigarettes, among so many other things.  It is so hard to say no, from the moment I open my eyes to the moment I fall asleep, to things that have played such a significant role in the person I am today. It is so hard to say no when I, too, want to feel normal around my peers, and even fit into this (fucked up, for lack of a better expression) society that makes me ill. 

The reason why I am releasing this post now is because, in the past weeks, I have seen a change in my bowels, appearance of mucus, and, today, I saw blood. As you can imagine by now, I am so sad to come to see that I got sucked back up into this unnatural and unintentional lifestyle, as I returned to drinking (far too much) alcohol, smoking marijuana as well cigarettes, and eating shitty, shitty food, all on a regular basis. I feel gross, to put it honestly, and have absolutely felt like a failure at treating my body as the temple that it is. I diverted my goals of health and content-ness  and focused on ones concerning being accepted in my community, material goods, like money, and institutions and social norms that have bombarded me for years. 

An ephemeral time of healing

I do, though, recognize that I am so blessed to have had the experiences I have had (alongside healing sessions with Madeline and James, specifically), because the experiences have poked at me along the way and eventually got me in my car on Tuesday, May 7th, to retreat back to Boulder for some two weeks.

Before that moment, I wrote a personal journal entry reminding me of
“feeling symptoms of depression, as I have often felt like all that I came ‘home’ to continue went—literally—straight to the shitter.  I have always struggled with the idea that returning here meant that I regress into old habits, and, fall back into my old ‘Self.’  Since I have been here, I have drank a considerate amount of alcohol, eaten lots of meat, dairy, gluten, sugar, soy, etc., (all contrary to what I ingested during my time of healing in the Mountains) and let myself get entirely stressed out all the meanwhile dwelling on that.  Writing this [entry] will not be the first for me to write something so that I can actually see and touch in order to work it out in the process.”  

I wrote that, after having seen James and Madeline for two colon hydrotherapy sessions, Colon was “so strong now that even he has resisted all of this nonsense.” I felt so blessed to have such a resilient body, mind and spirit. 

Back to reality my current situation

I often ask that my body just hold on “a little bit longer” as I get my shit together. I have done this for years. Having struggled with substance abuse, self-worth, stretching my body's limits, etc. since childhood, I again find myself face-to-face with big decisions concerning whether or not I am strong enough to overcome temptation and refuse to lead a life of pain and struggle. 

I have tried to reconnect with those exercises which allowed my mind to experience the necessary state to feel what was happening inside me. I have had a massage from Abbey Nedvesky, LMT, I speak with Madeline Angelus via telephone and Skype, I do yoga almost once a week at Molly's Yoga Corner in Fairport, New York, and I went in for a colonic from Annette Barber at Gentle Pathways in Webster. All of those things have been positive steps for me towards maintaining physical and mental balance, but the clarity and the awareness I remember feeling back in Boulder, CO, simply has never been there. Sometimes I feel no independence and find myself lacking zero motivation to do EEM on my own, seek more colonics, meditate, pray, do yoga, cook, laugh, play, and eat and/or drink well. I have found myself not accurately expressing myself, but rather going through motions and throwing up words that I did never are truly an extension of myself.  

Last thoughts

When I went back to Boulder for those couple of months, I loved how no one had told me to come back to the West. I felt so good that I hopped in my car based on my own intuition. But now I am wondering why exactly I don't do it again, as I am even starting to see symptoms of Crohn's Disease occurring. I do have a an awesome adjunct professorship lined up in Rochester for the fall, and so I plan to stay in NY until the contract is up (it's still not clear whether that will be in December or May). But I have made it clear to everyone around me that I fully believe that it’s in my best interest that I return to my beloved Boulder after the semester and look for a way to incorporate my desires of living a healthy lifestyle into my professional life as well. 

Health update (10/25/2013)

Three months later, I can say that driving West was still a great idea! I ended up dodging a full-blown fare-up, as I saw James S. Allred and Madeline Angelus, who helped me help myself to calm my nervous system and get some water good, clean water flowing into my dear Colon. He approves! 

Thanks so much for reading!

Casey from the Colon Powell Diaries

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