“The State of My Union Address” 2012
I used to have thyroid disease.
Eight years ago, that’s what I was told.
I was told I have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. I have affectionately deemed my little Hashi-pal “IT,” this nickname reflecting its unsexy and drab personality, and rhyming nicely with another word that reflects the way I have felt in its energy-sucking presence, you know, like “SH--.”
Eight years ago, I was also told I have to take a pill for “IT” every day for the rest of my life.
And, eight years ago, I was told I will always have “IT.”
That’s what I was told. That’s what I was led to believe was true.
They were wrong.
Those of you who have been following this story know that one of my greatest wishes has been “to remove thyroid disease from the list of possibilities.”
My gigantic wish.
Be careful what you wish for, right?
The “Grooving-on-Health” Party, which I created last year, is an event aimed at celebrating health, removing the grey, heavy, dense, icky-ness of “health” as a general party pooper—something you seldom think of inviting to a party. Ok, you NEVER think of inviting health to the party. I figured it was time to put some color back in its cheeks, give it some serious swagger. It’s the least we can do. We all know that health is the great equalizer. The truth is that our power, our prestige, our intellect, our talent, and our beauty are nothing without it.
Let’s be real here, without health, there is no party.
Without further adieu, let’s get this party started with “The State of My Union Address.”
The last time we had a chance for an overview of “my current state of affairs,” it was at the end of the original stage play for some of you, and the end of the book (the adaptation of the play) for most of you.
Where did that last chapter leave Bea/me? The ending showed me recognizing a bunch of new ideas, like the need to remove toxic influences, to slow down, to pay attention, and to listen. I acknowledged these as “real things,” as real as any pill. You might recall my meeting with a fellow named Keola, the healer (his name meaning “life” in Hawaiian.) I set up a meeting with Keola on a “hunch.” I was listening. I was actually practicing listening for the first time, as a conscious act. And, in that meeting, for the first time in a very long time, I got my hopes up. He assured me that it was ok to hope. In fact, he demanded it. He presented me with that life-line, and it pulled me up. (Remember, to that point, there were many, many instances where I had been knocked down...and the idea of getting up again was, at times, an impossible thought.)
Why talk about hope and hunches? Why celebrate that last chapter, meaningfully titled “I am,” when talking about thyroid disease? Why focus on these strange “intangibles?”
Perhaps now is the time to share a bit about my background and my philosophy as a teacher, writer, and creative artist for the last thirty years. I’ve never spoken about this before, the “method to my madness” as it is often described, but now feels like a good time to do so...
I understand that much of what I present might be challenging, illusive maybe, not concrete enough maybe, frustrating in its idealism maybe? We’ll take a short segue and I’ll share with you the thinking behind the writing of the story, and the focus and strategy behind all of my conversations, teachings and postings to date.
Follow along, if you will...
If an earthquake hits and the rubble is falling then, you can say, “Hey, the rubble is falling.” That is a true statement, not positive or negative. It just is. But, do I collapse and let it take me? No. That would be giving up, and giving in. Instead I rise up, however I can, fighting, pulling, straining, crying maybe, but I do rise up—time and time again, as the rubble comes down. In the face of some pretty mean wallops—and those are real wallops—the powerful pull of life calls me onwards in the face of adversity. None of this is imagined. Those wallops are real, and they are happening over and over again.
And, let’s not forget, what happens to one, happens to all. There is no separation.
Believe me, as a metaphysical thinker, of course I have asked myself, in the face of the wallops I have encountered, dodged, and ducked during this health catastrophe, am I attracting these events? Am I willing this cascade of stones to come tumbling down on me? Well, if I am, Charlie is too, as he has often researched potential doctors and sought answers on my behalf, and continually ran into the same “rubble.” As have the countless numbers of people who have spoken to me or written to me directly—and not just about thyroid! No siree! We are clearly experiencing systemic rubble dumping, enormous in its reach and pummeling.
But, now here’s the clincher, the differentiator in all this: it is “how” I/you/we /us/them (no separation, remember) deal with this disaster—how we perceive it, and take action— that matters. It becomes our own “event”, where we might “choose” to be buried by the rubble or find our way through and just maybe (please oh please) make a SHIFT.
Those on the inside dealing with issues such as thyroid and other autoimmune conditions know very well what this catastrophic earthquake feels like. My play/book was my first “event” out of the rubble, created enthusiastically to bring us all back to the fact that there are human beings at stake here, even to remind myself that I was a human being—so brutal the force against that truth, it’s destructiveness truly remains incomprehensible to me even today (and I am empowered to say that with a million times more conviction, clarity, and freedom today.) For some reason, I knew it was imperative to bring awareness back to the missing concept of “feeling,” and from there to open the conversation up to “the possibilities”—something that has been lost in the tragically uninspired and impersonal world of test results, numbers, and pills.
One of the things I had to stay clear of in the telling of my story, on principle, and based on my teaching philosophy, was coming up with a bunch of “do’s and don’ts,” offering quick fixes, bits and pieces that might offer a short relief from the situation at hand, grabbing readers in as a needy guru might, when what we all need as a starting point to any healing is “to tap into our very own guru-ness.” Had I taken the easy “do this, do that” route, I would then be stepping into that grossly overblown but seductive bubble that already exists, spinning more and more crap around and around, where doctors, researchers and advocates alike keep spinning the same ideas, without movement forward, no progress, absolutely no movement out of the box that already exists: the box I like to call “nothing.”
I approached my story, very much a teaching/learning story, as I did when I taught theatre and film, and I knew I was taking the less popular path. When I taught students, some as young as 3 years, and as advanced as college level, I always presented them with the ideas, the necessary information, and the tools, then I asked them to find their answers, to imagine, to think, to create, much to the joy of the 3 year olds and the complete dismay of the “mature sophisticated adult learners.” They desperately wanted me to tell them how it is done, to think it through for them, and resolve the problems presented. Of course, this would not be facilitating their growth at all. NO SHIFTING could ever take place. And folks, if I wasn’t facilitating that, what the heck was I getting paid for?
Cut to thyroid disease, a condition that all professionals, in all healing arenas, fully admit is so, so, so not understood, sits on the bottom of the funding and research pile, and admittedly requires such individual attention that no one has “THE” answer. Obviously, any attempt at treatment/healing must come in different ways for each special individual—this calls for a customized approach.
Knowing that, how could I approach my teachings and communications any other way? The only reasonable option was to get underneath this thing, to lift it up, examine it, and from there find a way to help myself, and others, to topple it over, on our own terms, and FOR REAL.
Now, think about it, all the things in history that needed to SHIFT, it took the telling of the story, however that might be perceived or refuted or at times completely ignored-- the truth is that someone needed to tell the story first. When African Americans were enslaved and told their story, timidly at first, bit by bit, making their plea for their freedom and rights, a plea I am certain fell on deaf ears for quite some time, many would stand in judgement of their words, their situation, uneasy and unwilling to budge, to rock the status quo— heck, things were so comfortable “just the way they were,”right? Why rock the boat? They had to speak up and draw attention and then convince, never mind the slave masters, even their own battered people, so drawn into that oppressive reality, even they needed to be convinced that it was ok to have better, to hope for a better life—that they could have their heart dreams back. It took them a long time to get comfortable with the idea. Of course the story, like any shattering earthquake, the horrific reality, is unpleasant, not so uplifting to be sure...but it is true. It happened.
Similarly, I have told my story (another journey filled with oppression, unkindness, and injustice) and told it with definite frustration, confusion, sadness, and all that comes with that human experience. I also NEVER stopped looking for the “principle and right action” that might move me forward, ultimately offering HOPE, and a chance to step into the “fluffy blueness”: where I slow down (no one can do that for me; there is no pill), I pay attention (no pill for that either), I listen (same thing), I tap into my inner wild (aka intuition), and I feel things.
None of this is what people WANT to hear, but what they want to hear, “Take this pill and you’ll be fine”, is not working. Out of respect, I can only offer the bigger picture: the intangibles, these lifelines. That is all I knew, and know, how to express as an artist, a teacher, and a human being. So, that is the story I tell, my event of hope –hope in the face of disaster...and a world of possibility.
And now, here I am/we are...
“Lift your mind to the hills. Criticize nothing. Evaluate nothing. Just let the Thing come thundering in. It will be chaos for a while but eventually an order will appear, and an order that you did not know.” (Author unknown)
“The State of My union Address” continues with Part Two next time.
For new readers, this blog is a chronological tracking of my healing journey. To fully embrace the ideas and teachings here, begin with the book and then start with the earliest blog post. There is progress built into this journey, and don’t forget to read between the lines.
PS Please note: there is still space in next month's glorious Wild Woman Maui Retreat at the time of this posting. Inquire for a last minute special deal. This is an amazing opportunity for wellness, pampering and personal exploration. It is the retreat I created based on my wonderful healing adventures on Maui, offering precious time to “tap into your inner wild!”