Sunday, August 11, 2013

How long have I been here?

It’s hard to keep the days straight around here. This truly is Hotel California. Speaking of, the real Hotel California is near here. It is an insane asylum in the desert. People don’t leave because there is no where to go but desert. Normally, I would call something like that a mental facility or something like that, but it really looks more like a place to get people out of the way rather than a treatment center. Not that where I am is really an asylum, but it is hard not to feel a little like I am locked up since I am under more strict controls that I ever have been. Last night I got yelled at a little for going to the bathroom without finding a staff member to come with me, and I had to really work it to find a time to take a shower when I wasn’t on observation. I should probably go outside more often, but I’ve been spending most of my free time lying on the heating pad. I’ve been asking for Tylenol, which helps my back. It was hard to sleep last night because of the backache and I had a bad headache too. This morning the headache is better but I am bloated. One of the staff talked to me about how to pick my meals to reduce the bloating. I don’t want to eat meat, but some of the meat substitutes are not sitting well with me. The fruit here is really good but the rest of the food I really don’t want any part of. We are supposed to drink two glasses of water or a glass of water and tea (except lunch is just water) with each meal and snack. Even that is hard because of the bloating and because I don’t want to have to pee and go through the whole thing of getting someone to go with me. I’m pretty fixated on how I feel physically because it is hard to ignore right now.

I am also taken with a panic of what I am missing while I’m here. Last night my co-ed hockey team had a play-off game, and my women’s hockey team played my bestie’s team on Friday night. They started their season three weeks ago and I won’t be able to come back for at least a month. I cried last night because I was so upset I couldn’t be there. I am worried about my pets and that my husband will stop loving me. I’ve been super-crabby lately and I worry he will decide he is happier without me. I felt like I was withdrawing from people for the last year, and I’m not sure if I will be able to come back into a social life, or heal enough to do that, or if I do, if my friends will let me.

This morning I noticed two references to lightning rods. I was reading the music review section in the Los Angeles Time. Amanda Shires album “Down Fell the Doves” is on Lightning Rod Records, and a review for Public Image Ltd.’s first album “First Issue” says:

“The primal scream of the post-punk era, John Lydon’s first post-Sex Pistols project is, in retrospect, as influential as his work as a lightning rod punk singer in a cartoon shock-punk band.”

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Sh*t just got weird

Today is my second day in eating disorder jail. Ha, ha, treatment. I did do this to myself. I started acknowledging my eating disorder behavior in my ASCA group after other women talked about it, and decided to pursue treatment 2 or 3 months ago, and now I’m in a residential program. The biggest change is how structured it is. We eat three meals and three snacks, and the time is all structured, even the free time. I have to be on it for the free time, because the last couple of times I tried to do something, suddenly it was time for something else. I spent most of my time today lying on a heating pad because my lower back is really pissed off about something and the muscles are spasming. It started yesterday, and I didn’t sleep well because of it, so I am exhausted. Plus, it was strange to be sleeping someplace different, and I have a roommate. Every time I shifted around I was afraid I was waking her up. I miss my husband and pets intensely, and just being at home, and my hockey teams. I was in Chicago last week and I’ve been away from my women’s hockey team for the whole season. The other big thing to get used to is that two hours after eating I’m under observation, so someone has to come with me when I go to the bathroom. They wait outside the door and I count so they know I’m not up to something. It is so irritating that my biggest pleasure, after talking to my husband on the phone, is to go to the bathroom during the small window (30 minutes, usually) that is two hours after eating and before eating again. Also, it is just a lot of eating and drinking water, so I feel bloated for most of the time too. Finally, my last complaint for now, they took my cell phone and computer away, and there is a 20 minute time limit on the public computer. So I have to stop writing soon. I have a journal to write in, and I have so much to say. But I also have a sore back that wants the heating pad back. So I will stop for now.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Shrine space

Me in the Akhu shrine (blessed dead). Seshat is to my right.
It is now a new year, the year of Heru-sa-Aset (Horus). We've kissed the face of Ra, turned the dangers of the year, ate a feast of offerings, danced pseudo-belly-dancing to, get this, "Walk Like An Egyptian", had auctions, took various group photos, and ate another ton of food at a buffet. I do feel better than I did yesterday, especially after a coffee run. My hair is extra-bright today for some reason. I added stars for two people to the Akhu shrine wall to honor people who have passed to the unseen world- my friend's brother who committed suicide last year, and David Rakoff, a writer who was on NPR a lot who died of cancer. Of course my brother has a star up on the wall. I felt his presence yesterday when I was in the room. I enjoy spending time with the shrine. It includes Seshat, who is not usually considered a funerary goddess, but is triple-aspected with Nit (creatrix goddess) and Nebt-het (Nephthys). Nebt-het is the Egyptian goddess who appears when you're dying. So Nit, Seshat, and Nebt-het are like the three fates- Nit is there at the beginning of your life, Seshat measures out your life, and Nebt-het is there at the end. I am a spiritual child of Seshat, who is also the goddess of accounting and measuring the foundations of buildings, educating the king, and keeping the Kings List, which is how Ancient Egyptians recorded their history.

Tomorrow we are having the healing baths. I was also hoping to get some Reiki from one of the women here, but I think we'll run out of time. Hopefully she can work on me after the baths. The baths are amazing. I didn't do them the first time I came to retreat. They are an extra, and some people leave early and skip them. So this will be my third. The hardest decision to make with regards to the bath has to do with the Serqet (or Serket) bath. By the way, I'm usually using the translated Egyptian name for the gods and goddesses, and including the Greek/Roman version of the name in parenthesis. Serqet is an Egyptian goddess who wears a scorpion on her head and protects against poison. In her bath, you have to chose between the reductive bath, which washes away trauma, and the additive bath, which gives you extra sight. People swear by the powers of the additive bath, and the reductive bath is another tear-jerker since trauma passes through you as it is washed out. Yet, when you've had a bad year, or decade, or life, being able to wash some of that away is huge. The first year I did the reductive bath since I've had trauma for as long as I can remember. The next year I tried the additive bath, because who doesn't want clairvoyant sight. This year, I'm going back to the reductive bath. I need a serious cleanse. My lip is still just as bad, by the way. This new year hasn't fixed that.

Friday, August 02, 2013

Hellllllo, butt crack of dawn!

Egyptian Calendar with Nut and Geb
Tomorrow we are getting up before dawn, so we can be ready at dawn to celebrate the new year starting tomorrow. It will be a fun day. We will great the new year, clear out the energies from the old year, make music, make offerings, and have a big breakfast feast together. Later will be an auction and raffle. We usually laugh our way through the auction. It can be a competitive crowd, so some of the bidding gets fierce, and the fierceness is entertaining. I probably won't do a lot of bidding, since I have no money. I did make some sales of my own though, so maybe I'll look for bargains. I have some books from previous years that went for very affordable prices. Tonight we can hear fireworks. I don't know why there would be fireworks tonight, but it is appropriate for us since it is New Years Eve.

Today I bawled like a baby in the ritual. I don't usually cry that much, but it is completely normal for people to have big emotional releases. Often I'm jealous because I imagine they feel a big cathartic release and they are getting to a higher level of connection. Having lost my composure, I most feel tired right now. It might feel better later. I might feel like I can let more go. I got more acknowledgement today that it was a hard year, and that this coming year will not be so difficult for me. I know that is a relief, but I don't feel it yet. It was such a difficult year that I still feel exhausted by everything that happened. Maybe tomorrow I'll start to feel the hopefulness and joy of a new, better year. Maybe I will feel it when things start to happen in my life that make me feel more in control of my life, and that I can move on from the intense disappointment I still feel at being forced out of a job I worked so hard for and put so much of myself into, the disappointment of being bullied in hockey and in ASCA and not getting the support I thought I should have, and the constant drumbeat of social and political events in this country that highlighted the injustice we live with and perpetuate. This last year it's felt like I couldn't accomplish anything, move forward with anything, change anything. I'm hoping this year I'll see the support I have more clearly, and that will give me the courage to go back into battle. Onward!

Even if I don't feel better tomorrow, I see it coming. I developed a cold sore on my lip last night, and it keeps getting big despite the time I'm spending trying to be at a higher level of consciousness that the level that cold sores live on. The timing is interesting. I keep having intensifications of the physical discomforts I'm having like dizziness, headaches, sore throat, muscle cramping, nausea, followed by a dramatic alleviation of the symptoms. Then they return. The cold sore hurts! A lot! My left ankle has felt all day like I twisted it, but I don't remember doing anything to it. I've been poring "special" purified water on my lip, and we have the Sekhmet healing baths on Sunday, but I have a feeling my detox period will be longer than a few days of retreat.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

The best defense is a good offense.

Sekhmet, Eye of Ra
I got some good messages today. It's been a great retreat week because the doors seem to open. I was told to be fierce! I was told to keep fighting. I was also told my brother is doing well but misses me. We, the general retreat audience, were told to fight for justice. I like it! Just what I am ready for. I am ready to get out of my head. Tomorrow should be a good day too.

It's been a little difficult to write because I have too much to write about and I'm having a hard time focusing. It's better than having writer's block though. I have writer's overwhelm. Then, when I sit down to write, I'm flitting around and not settling down on what I'm talking about specifically, so I'm also afraid I'm not being clear. So maybe I should say, in the interest of clarity, I'm at a religious retreat, and we are doing rituals and workshops. Today we made Sekhmet healing amulets. We had a lecture. Then we had a ceremony. In between, we talk, eat, and have a marketplace. I brought jewelry and scarves to sell. I've made some money to help pay for the hotel bill, and I also traded for some cool things that I didn't have to money to buy. I was actually just talking to someone here about her doing some reiki on me, which I really need. Tomorrow, we have a long ritual. It's about 6 hours. I should go to bed soon. My roommate is asleep already, and our friend is in here re-beading her necklace. I'm in my pajamas and chilling on my bed. We have a mellow, go to bed early room. We're chatting but we'll go to bed soon.