“Wild Geese” by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

I’ve been having a rough couple of weeks that left no energy for blogging. I still don’t really have the energy but I’m going to try anyway. And I’m going to try not to overthink it.

I feel totally consumed by health issues. I’m going to be losing my parents’ health insurance soon so I had to apply for state health insurance. I wouldn’t mind too much because the copays for my current plan are way too high for me– except that now I’m trying to figure out how I can keep my therapist and my chiropractor.

The thought of having to find a new therapist just because of health insurance makes me want to collapse into a puddle. I know I will make it work if I have to, but life is so complicated. If I have to explain it all over again to a new therapist, it will be months and months of unnecessary stress for me. It is so, so hard for me to talk about stressful things- it hurts me physically. I don’t want to go through the explaining of myself all over again.

I’ve also been dealing with neck and shoulder pain, probably related to general alignment issues and definitely related to stress. I had a week of waking up every two hours, all night, because my neck hurt so much from lying down. I finally broke that streak last night and slept 11 hours. It was great. I really hope it lasts.

Over the weekend I went to get acupuncture. I hadn’t been in a while (I was trying to save money) but I decided I really, really needed some help getting calm. I go to a community acupuncture clinic- different practitioners  come in each day and offer acupuncture at a very discounted rate. They’re able to keep it low-cost because they set up several people in the same room. You can talk with the acupuncturist privately, but you chillax with the needles in a big comfy room of reclining chairs.

I was really hesitant to try it at first. I worried about lack of privacy being uncomfortable, but it’s actually really nice. I’ve never had any problems. People come in quietly and basically just take a nap. Everyone is there to get care and rest.

Anyway, I went in and saw an acupuncturist who I haven’t worked with before. His style of treatment was a bit different and I found it very helpful. Unlike the other people I’d been seeing, he followed up the acupuncture with some muscle work called tui na (‘push pull’) that was rather aggressive and painful at the time, but it really helped a lot.

It inspired me that night when I was lying awake in bed feeling my neck seize up painfully again. I decided to try and see if I could work on my neck on my own. I spent a few hours (hey, I couldn’t sleep) feeling around my neck and head to see where the worst pain was, and by very carefully but forcefully working on those areas, I finally got the whole muscle system to un-spasm. (If you try something like this and hurt yourself, I’m not liable! I’m not giving health advice.) I was so pleased with myself that I woke up my boyfriend to tell him that I’d fixed my neck.

The tension is creeping back, as I expected it would, but I hope that with the stretches I was given and my own amateur self-muscle work, I can keep it at bay under my body unlearns this pattern.

Here’s hoping.

And to wrap up, because typing at a computer doesn’t help the neck-shoulder situation, I want to recommend a meditation app I’ve been using. I know there is an irony and ickiness to mindfulness technology, but I truly have found this one helpful. It’s a free app called Insight Timer that has loads of guided meditations to try. Users rate the meditations with stars and comments so it’s pretty easy to pick out a new one to try. It also has a customizable timer if you want to meditate on your own, and it logs your hours so you can keep track of how much you’ve practiced. There’s also a community component to it that I haven’t really gotten into, but I can see how it would be a draw. Since I started it 3 weeks ago I’ve meditated for over 9 hours, so clearly it has been a good motivator!

I’ll try to be back soon with more focused topics. Until then, thanks for stopping by and I wish you comfort and happy things.