Almost three years ago I wrote a posting titled Musings- Life And Lemons. About a month ago, life served me a big lemon. I should be used to lemons by now, you’d think. I mean life is a big mixture of lemons and strawberries – or bananas, or mangos, or whatever other fruit is your current sweet-flavored favorite. But somehow, I guess, there’s a subconscious part of me that thinks I should be exempt from lemons, despite the fact that they keep appearing on my plate, and so they tend to side-swipe me when they happen.
So what’s the latest and greatest in the lemon orchard you’re wondering. It may or may not help to understand why I think this latest event on the road that is my life is a lemon, a big lemon. I’m sixty-eight years old. So, OK, technically I was only sixty-seven when this lemon appeared on my radar. But that’s another reason it was a big lemon – it messed up my birthday!!
On Friday 27 April, I headed down to Winter Park to participate in the last-but-one class of the second year of my Audire course. Ruth, my friend who has just completed her third and final year of Audire, drove us down in her truck/van/SUV (not sure which label fits her vehicle; suffice to say it’s big enough and strong enough to haul a good sized trailer). We always go down on the Friday night before class so we can get a good night’s sleep and avoid having to get on the road at o’dark thirty to be at San Pedro retreat center by 8.30am on Saturday morning.
As always, I met up with my dear friend Bickley to enjoy a superb dinner. The dinners with Bickley are always wonderful because we choose a different ethnic restaurant each month so that we can delight our palates. She and I are food aficionados and most of her other local friends are “plain-American-fare” eaters, so she doesn’t get to indulge her more exotic taste buds very often. We had a great Cuban meal that Friday evening and enjoyed even more wonderful friendship time as we caught up with each other since the previous month – which had actually been two months because of the strange class schedule we had this year.
After dinner, Bickley dropped me back to San Pedro and I settled in for the night. Before getting ready for bed, I called my husband, Richard, to tell him about my enjoyable evening with Bickley and to say goodnight. Everything normal so far; not even the hint of a lemon. I prepared myself for the night and got into bed and, out of nowhere, I started experiencing some serious abdominal pains. My immediate thought was “oh no, food poisoning!”. I got out of bed and made a mint tea (good for digestion) and made sure I had a large container of water beside the bed. The pains continued and I resigned myself to “waiting it out”, flushing my system with the tea and lots of water.
By midnight I was worried. The pain hadn’t eased up so I called Ruth who was in the room next to mine. I could tell that she had been deep in sleep. What I couldn’t know was this was the first night she had been able to get to sleep fairly early after two very stress-filled weeks and lots of disturbed nights. I explained what was going on and asked her if she thought I should “call someone”. Ruth sleepily agreed that it sounded like food poisoning and said that there wouldn’t be anything anyone could do and that I would just have to wait for it to “go through my system”. She did however suggest that I lie down quietly and gently massage my tummy and think happy thoughts.
At 3am I was a little mentally hysterical. It occurred to me that the pain hadn’t diminished and it had not even begun to “move through my system”. It was a steady low-burning pain in both my upper and lower abdomen and there wasn’t a single sign of a rumble, a gurgle, a grumble anywhere in my intestines. It was at this point that I made a decision to call 911 and get help. I called Ruth and let her know and she said to open my door so she and the paramedics could get in.
At this point I will make a long story short. A shot of morphine, a 4-mile ambulance drive, a three-hour ER stay, and one cat scan later, the ER doctor informed me that I had an acutely inflamed appendix. Now I ask you, isn’t appendicitis a “kid thing”? Or at very least, a “teen thing”? When was the last time you heard of a sixty-seven year old having acute appendicitis? So what was I to do? “That can’t be”, I firmly told the ER doctor. (Fortunately my husband hadn’t quite arrived at the hospital by then so was spared the embarrassment of that moment.) Hopefully the ER doctor made allowances for the fact that I was under the influence of morphine.
So at about 2pm on Saturday 28 April 2012, I was surgically separated from my appendix. As I waited for surgery, I remember feeling irritated that I was missing class, especially as it was a class that I had been particularly looking forward to. I also remember being frustrated because our next class was in just two weeks and I had to prepare an end-of-year integration paper as well as other homework and I wasn’t going to be in the best of shape for the next few weeks. I found myself thinking that it was my birthday in a few days and how was I supposed to celebrate if my head was still full of anesthetic and narcotic pain-killers, and my body was still weak from the whole surgery thing. This was a very bitter lemon indeed.
Thank God I got out of that kind of thinking pretty quickly! I cannot remember if I got there myself or if it was Richard who spoke it into reality, but I do remember at some point being grateful that the acute appendectomy was happening now and not closer to our trip to Italy at the end of June; even more grateful that it didn’t happen during that trip! I remember suddenly being grateful that I was being taken care of and receiving good medical attention (the staff at Memorial Hospital, Winter Park, FL were all wonderful!). And I remember also feeling grateful that I had decent medical insurance that covered this care. I got to making lemonade fairly quickly, especially once I got my pain meds!
I went home just a little over twenty four hours after being taken to OR, thanks to the wonders of laparoscopic surgery, and I experienced gratitude on a whole other level. I was truly grateful that Richard is retired now and is always at home (didn’t think I would be saying that so very sincerely!), and for the very intimate and personal care that he gave me as I made my recovery from this whole event. I was grateful for all the prayers and cards that friends sent my way and the telephone calls that showed how much they cared.
Another lesson in gratitude learned. Another lesson in being flexible and to expect the unexpected. I got my integration paper done in time despite having a befuddled brain for a few weeks (anesthetic can really mess you up mentally as well as take your knees out from under you physically), and I was well enough to attend my class two weeks later. My birthday celebration was low-key and a little delayed but it was still a celebration. In fact it was more of a celebration (internally at least) because I was still around to celebrate. So, even though I’m a slow learner, I am still teachable and I am learning to make lemonade out of life’s lemons.
I received my first massage many years ago. I was living in the UK at the time. I believe it was sometime in the sixties and I discovered a small massage and facial salon had opened above a shop near my parents home. I very tentatively booked an appointment and remember how my heart sang and I knew that I was hooked from the very first touch. There is nothing quite like a massage for relaxation, de-stressing, pleasure, and coming home to yourself. Massage does for the body what a deep relationship with God does for the soul.
I probably received one or two more massages during the next few years because I really couldn’t afford more than that. Then, about five years later, I moved to Sardinia, Italy with my first husband and our two boys. In 1970, we helped to open a large holiday village called Forte Village in the southern part of the island not far from the capital, Cagliari.
There were many holiday agency reps working in the village and the two girls from the Swedish company, Vingresor, were extremely grateful for the “extra mile” that I went in order to help smooth difficulties for their customers. They came to me one day and said they would like to show their appreciation in some tangible way and asked me what I would most like. I knew they had their own massage therapist on call in the village, so I requested a massage. They were gracious enough to gift me with a series of four massages, and my love affair with receiving massage was rekindled. Since then I have received many massages and eventually, when I was fifty three years young, I trained to become a massage therapist myself. I feel as much joy giving massage as I do in receiving them.
Fast forward to April 2011. As I mentioned in my previous posting Traveling- Las Vegas & Sedona Rich and I enjoyed a wonderful visit to Sedona, AZ. I knew that I wanted to receive a massage in Sedona because it is a place of natural healing and there are many alternative therapy healers in the town. As Rich and I were settling into our condo, he checked out a file of information about various activities and points of interest in the area, and called my attention to an advertisement. The wording in the ad from Sue really spoke to my heart and soul, and I knew that this was who I would book my massage with.
A few days later found me in Sue’s studio. Little did I know that I was about to have a very significant and life-changing experience. For the next two hours Sue worked intuitively with my body. I have never received a massage quite like it. She used many different modalities during the course of the massage and I knew that something very special was going on, especially when she started chanting as she worked my heart chakra. I remember thinking, “I hope she is going to tell me what that was about”, as I felt a kind of a “whooshing out” feeling from my chest. Then shortly afterwards, as Sue worked on my lower abdomen, I could feel “something” going on and a great deal of heat.
At the end of the massage, when Sue gave me some water to drink, she asked me if I wanted to hear her perceptions. My heart lifted and I said I wanted to hear everything. She checked first of all if I believed in past lives and also asked me if I was familiar with any of the ancient civilizations such as the Mayans or the people of Atlantis. When I assented, she shared that while she had been working on my heart chakra she was drawn into a vision where she saw me as a tall, regal person, dripping with golden jewelry, and knew that I was one of the ancient wise ones. She felt that I was royalty of some sort and told me that whenever I walked into a room people were enveloped in a sense of tranquility and felt healed. I told her that many people told me this today also.
She then went on to tell me that it was no longer enough to just “walk into the room”, that I was “being called to more”. She said that I needed to be ready for more work and not to be afraid. I remembered Kevin’s words just a few weeks earlier at the Lenten Healing Mission. Sue then explained that while she had worked on my lower abdomen she had felt “something birthing”, and she encouraged me to be ready, to prepare myself for some new work that I was going to be called to undertake.
As I left Sue’s studio, I felt very blessed. I was filled with a sense of peace and yet was also aware of a very heightened sense of energy. I felt like I could have run for ten miles. I was very grateful for this because later that afternoon Rich and I went to experience the energy vortex at Bell Rock and I was able to climb about three quarters of the way up the rock formation without feeling tired.
I will always remember my massage experience with Sue with much gratitude. My main personal work since that time has been to quietly prepare myself for whatever work Spirit wants me to do. Just two weeks after this experience, I attended a Qigong event in Orlando and a complete stranger there repeated the message: “Margo, you are being called to more. Do not hold back.” I will share more about this experience in another posting.
In April of this year, Rich and I travelled to Las Vegas and Sedona. We spent 3 days in Las Vegas after a frustratingly long and delayed trip. We should have arrived in our hotel by 7pm on Tuesday but didn’t get there until 2am. At first I was somewhat annoyed that we had “lost” Tuesday evening and then Wednesday morning due to catching up on sleep. In the long run I am glad (God always knows best!).
Las Vegas is, in my opinion, a sorry, sad, jaded place. I could have gotten drunk on fumes alone as we walked the streets!!!! So much alcohol, so many drunks and people out of control, so much smoking – ugh!! All the casinos allow smoking, not even one small smoke free area that we could find!. Not that we’re gamblers, but if you go to Vegas you have to put down at least one bet right? And to get anywhere in any of the hotels you HAD to go through the casino. Not going back, not recommending it to anyone. We did see The Lion King which was wonderful, but then you can see a good show almost anywhere, and we did visit the incredible botanical show at the Bellagio which is stunning (they change it for each season) and I am grateful for these two lovely moments.
The drive from Vegas to Sedona was easy and uneventful – if you can call a stop at Hoover Dam uneventful!!
What an amazing piece of human work. Some of the landscape along the way was very bleak and unforgiving. I tried to imagine what it was like for the first pioneers in this part of the country. We also passed through some of the flat "pampas" type country of Arizona and I could imagine the cowboys herding thousands of steers across them. Then, of course, as we continued the drive we elevated to over 7,000 feet and we encountered sleet and followed by snow flurries!
By the time we approached Sedona, however, the sky was clear and the view was spectacular!! The red rock formations and canyons are something out of this world and they are all around this lovey city. What an amazing piece of God’s creation. Our condo was delightful, almost luxurious, and we were very happy and comfortable during our stay. However, nothing prepared us for our wake up the first morning: a silent winter wonderland with about 5” of snow – and it continued to snow for the rest of the day! It’s a good job we had decided to take it easy that day and we just explored the town center. By the following day the snow had stopped and all but melted away, and the rest of our stay was filled with clear skies and sunshine with fairly warm temperatures.
The rock formations surrounding the town all had very specific names that alluded to their shape. The most important were Cathedral Rock, Snoopy Rock, Camel Rock, Coffee Pot Rock, Praying Hands Rock, Two Sisters Rock, and Bell Rock. This last one was my personal favorite and, because it was the site of one of the many energy vortexes in and around Sedona, we actually climbed a little over half way up it. We also visited the old tin-mining town of Jerome where we explored an amazing kaleidoscope shop and found the most glorious, decadent fudge imaginable!
There were two more notable events during our stay in Sedona: Rich took a helicopter ride around the the town and the surrounding area, and while he did that I received a massage from an intuitive massage therapist who gave me some incredible feedback, including the phrase “you are being called to more” (remember my posting Spiritual Growth- Being Called To More?). I will make that story a separate posting. And then we spent a day at the Grand Canyon. What can I say about that? So much, that again I will make that a separate posting.
Here are a few photos from Sedona.