Things that have gotten better

It’s time to write a list of things that have improved in my life in the last four years.

1. I have learned how to cook. Anyone who knows me knows that kitchens and stoves alternately scare or bore me. I didn’t think I inherited a cooking gene. Once, someone gave me a boxed set of plates for my “future kitchen” and I was offended. I mean seriously? Do I look like Betty Crocker? Do I even Have a kitchen. At the time, I didn’t, and was hopping around from one apartment and roommate to the next, travelling lightly and not carrying plates (of all things) with me. I was focused on adventure, mobility and my career. Not domesticity.

And yet, somehow I am cooking now, and Karl eats it and says it’s good. Some days, I actually enjoy cooking! It helps now that I am concerned about my health and eat mostly home cooked meals. And it helps to have someone to cook for other than myself. But most of all, it helps that Karl is supportive and goes out and buys whatever ingrediants I need without asking or doubting me. He trusts that I know what I’m doing, and he manifested for himself what he knew I was…. before I knew it.

Windowsill

2. I’m growing plants.  It is true that a few plants that I’ve started have not made it far off the launching pad of life, but most of them are doing pretty good. It is very symbolic to me that these plants are living. I had a cutting of ivy go wilting on me a few days ago, and it was quite a low point for me until I brought it back around. Maybe it’s superstitious, but as long as I see my plants living and healthy, I know that my health is in good hands and that I have this same health welling up inside of me, too.

An Angel plant, and regrowth from cuttings on the right.

Half a year ago, I took several cuttings from an Angel plant I have. I planted four pots of cuttings using rooting hormone powder from Miracle Grow. After several months, I noticed that most of the cuttings hadn’t sprouted. So I pulled them up and tossed them away. I then used their old containers to plant some Impatiens seeds. A couple weeks ago, I was checking on the Impatiens when I noticed that some weird long green arms were growing up along the edges of each Impatiens container. I had actually noticed them before when they were smaller, but didn’t pay them much attention. They looked like roots that had upended themselves and instead of staying down in the dirt, had changed direction and were turning up and out of the pot as new plants.

I thought that each cutting would sprout into a bigger Angel Plant from the stem upwards. But no. Each cutting sent down roots to the bottom of the container, and these roots turned upside down and rose up to make 8-10 new Angel plant tubers. Whoa. Even though I threw away the original cuttings after a few months, their old roots were still there somehow, and those roots multiplied into lots of new tubers. I didn’t know it would work like that! I feel like somehow this applies to me and my health. Hmmmm.

 

3. Other things in life besides my health appear ridiculously easy. For example, let’s talk about the home buying process. I’ve witnessed the torture some of my friends have gone through selling and buying homes, with the period of waiting and wondering in between. The way they go on and on complaining about it, I would compare my friends’ house travail to the agony of childbirth extended painfully over months on end. Should it be that difficult? It’s just buying a house, for Pete’s sake. I instinctively knew that it would not be like that for Karl and I. I knew it would be easier than cake for us. How could it not be? Compared to the immense hurdles I’ve gone through in surviving and thriving with this health condition, buying a house would easy. And so it has been for us. Truly this has been one of the most gratifying and enjoyable processes I’ve ever been through in my life. I see the same happening in Karl’s current job search, as well as my job search when I get to the point where I’m ready to teach again. Looking back, the things in my life that I used to think were the most difficult… actually were not at all. They seem like child’s play to me, now.

 

4. I’m learning how to just “be.” I used to move around at the pace of a frantic squirrel. Even at rest, my mind was overly busy. I’m learning how to quiet the mind and not listen to it, focusing instead on being in the present moment.  I’m a newbie so far and haven’t experienced it fully, but I know at least that going there is an option.

 

5. I learned how to play guitar.

 

6. I got married. Who would have guessed? Two years after getting sick, I met Karl. During the third year of illness when I was at my lowest point in health, Karl married me.  This in and of itself is a sign to me that this illness isn’t the end of the world.

 

7. Scales fell off my eyes and I was liberated from past toxic beliefs. Which is huge, and cause for great celebration.

 

That’s seven new areas of growth. I am proud. I used to be stuck in a dark place thinking that because my health was mysteriously spiralling out of control, the rest of my life might just unravel day by day out of the blue, too. But that is not the case, as you can see from my list. I’ve been growing things, learning new things and reinventing myself, becoming more creative and more capable. Which is why I like to keep lists like this one.

I do think my health is like the Angel plant tubers. I tossed away the actual cuttings, so it looks like my health is gone. Kaput. But the roots are hidden under the surface, and are even now hitting the bottom of the pot and creeping up the sides making tubers. I know this is true, and that it is happening inside me right now.

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