Monday, May 25, 2009

Opposites: A Meme Based on the Examen

For what am I most grateful? Least grateful?

I am most grateful for being alive and kicking.

I am least grateful for all of my health problems.

When did I give and receive the most love? The least love?

I gave the mos
t love when I was taking care of my father during his decline with Alzheimer's. It was truly a labor of love to take care of him: a labor because it was so difficult to watch him slowly slip away and it took all my love to keep up my commitment to him and not let that deter me from his care.

I received the most love in my life from my Grandma Ann when I was growing up: she is probably the one person who has come the closest to loving me unconditionally and always making me feel loved no matter what I said or did.

I gave and re
ceived the least amount of love in my relationship with my mother: as I have previously mentioned in posts, our relationship was very adversarial, highly conflictual and full of strife.

When did I feel most alive? Most drained of life?

I feel most alive when I am connected with nature, like when I was at Girl Scout camp near Big Bear Lake and went on a night-time hike to a secluded spot to see all (and I mean ALL) the stars in the sky. Other favorite memories are: hiking the Grand Canyon and swimming in the Colorado River at the bottom, driving from Palo Alto to the coast and enjoying a cloudy day at the beach, touring the Monterey Bay Aquarium, driving the scenic route from Portland, OR to Los Angeles, hiking in Yosemite and cycling down the Blue Mountain and swimming in the ocean i
n Jamaica.

I feel the most drained of life now that I am living with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue and immune deficiency syndrome. The overwhelming and debilitating fatigue just makes it feel like the life is being sucked right out of me.

When did I have the greatest sense of belonging? Least sense of belonging?

I really felt like I belonged when I attended the in-person Young Adult Cancer Support Group at the now defunct Vital Options: Support for Young Adults with Cancer in Studio City, CA. We were a very close-knit group brought together by sharing our struggles to live our lives despite having cancer.

I felt my least sense of belonging when I returned to UCLA in January 1989 to complete my
Bachelor's degree in Kinesiology. All my friends had graduated and here I was, a senior, and I was totally surrounded by strangers: no Big Man on Campus status for me!

When was I most free? Least free?

I felt the most free when I moved out of my parents' house and into the dorms my freshman year of college. I was young, excited by the possibilities and eager to start my adult life.

I felt the least free when I came home from the hospital on September 12, 2007 when Hepatitis C treatment landed me in the Emergency Room with tachycardia and shortness of breath. I was so weak I could barely make it to the bathroom and my heart wa
s so revved up from my then untreated dysautonomia that I felt agitated and exhausted. I felt trapped in my body, trapped in my house and worried that if something happened (like there was an emergency) I would not be able to physically handle it.

When was I most creative? Least creative?

I think I am a very creative person most of the time. Lately, I have been hampered by my chronic illnesses at bit, but even so I have been able to find a lot of creative work-a-rounds to make a lot of things in my life "fibro friendly."

In general, when I am under more stress than usual, my creativity suffers.

When did
I feel most connected? Least connected?

I feel more connected when I am tapped into my sense of purpose and destiny and I have a road map in front of me of where I am going, both figuratively and literally. It's accepting and feeling good about it where I am at in my life.

I feel least connected when I am in a transition period in my life; when I am off my path, lost my sense of purpose and my plans have been sidetracked or aborted. Sort of where I am right about NOW.

When did I feel most fully myself? Least myself?

I feel most fully myself when I am connected to my sense of purpose and destiny, when I have a direction and compass in my life. I feel most myself when I am at peace with w
here I am at and who I am and where life is taking me.

I feel the least myself when I have no idea what is going on in my life; when change and challenges have come and toppled my plans, my sense of security, my direction in life. Again, where I find myself at the present moment: picking up the pieces and reassembling them into a new picture.

When did I feel most whole? Most fragmented?

I felt the most whole when I began my relationship with my now husand Robert. From 1995 to 1997, I was in a rare period of quiet and stability in my life. It allowed both myself and my relationship to flourish. Having Robert in my life really helped me to feel whole.

After the inj
ury that lead to my current disability, I went through a period where I felt very fragmented. In part, this is because loss tends to bring up feelings from prior loss(es), even when you have dealt with the previous loss(es). Becoming disabled brought me back for a time to when I was diagnosed with cancer. While I have been currently disabled I have learned about the long term and late effects of my prior cancer treatment.

Thank to the blog Sleeping with Bread for these wonderful questions.

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1 comment

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing using the SWB questions. Doing all the questions from a life-long perspective was very interesting. It sounds like you are able to be grateful and recognize how much good you have in your life, in spite of so many challenges. That is quite an example for me. Thanks again for sharing.