there was a period of feeling ill. it began with numbness and tingling in my hands – i brushed it off as a carpal tunnel flare up. soon it was engaging my feet as well and i was getting buzzing in my nose (as if someone had punched me hard in the face) i was feeling very fatigued and nauseous and this carried on for a couple of weeks, i thought maybe my apt had mold in the ac and stopped using it and kept the french doors in my bedroom open as much as i could. there was one day i woke up feeling awful and my mother called. she suggested i go to a yoga class and so i did. during this class i began feeling very heavy in my legs. then my hands and feet began to claw and my legs turned to concrete and pulled me down to my knees. i sat on my mat trying to keep the pressure from rising above my waist by breathing deeply and trying to relax my feet and hands – the cramping was intense but i couldn’t feel my bottom half – it just turned to lead. after a minute or two i was able to move freely again. i sat for a few more moments in gratitude and fear that if i moved it would return. i slowly began joining the class in movement again. at the end of class my teacher did something different. she pulled out a sheet of paper to read a closing exercise (normally we would just end on a quote and go into svahvasana) i don’t recall exactly what she said. i remember her asking us to lie on our bellies face down, choose our favorite mudra and offer it above our head. i chose the chalice, it reminded me of mother mary and being raised catholic i thought of her as a gentle and loving idol. all of a sudden my body decided to move on its own. after i placed my opened prayer hands above me my chest began to draw up into a cobra pose and my hands created a crown around my head. i looked at my teacher, her eyes were shut. i was glad for this and the fact that everyone was laying face down. i was embarrassed by my movements and felt like a nut. i was baffled by this and the other happening in class and i walked home in a daze (still feeling the effects of sickness i had for the past few weeks) there have been plenty of times in my life that i’ve had to forge through sickness. i have an autoimmune disorder called sjogrens, it’s a lot like lupus, arthritis and mono. the tough part is you don’t look sick when you relapse so people tend to think you are just whiny. so many of us push through pain daily because we are taught to at a young age bc no one believes we are in pain. i had decided to take a gong training class. it was during a weekend for 2 days given by the owner of the studio and one of the other head kundalini teachers.
a side track to this stream: when i got divorced i decided to move to austin. i was raised in houston but the austin weather was so much milder and the hilly landscape was refreshing. my parents had purchased land on north lake travis to build their retirement home and on a weekend trip into austin with them i searched for an apt. the first place i saw on craigslist looked perfect and was priced right so i asked my parents if we could drive by and take a look. when we went by no one was there but i liked the location. my mother spotted a yoga studio next door offering teacher training and asked if i wanted to take it. she said she felt bad that she’d paid for my brother and sisters college education and would like to pay for my teacher training even if i didn’t end up teaching i could get a deeper insight to the practices. i thought this was a great idea and i had some time due to alimony to take some time off and regroup. we went back to houston that night and i sent a message to the apt owners and the next day called about signing up for yoga teacher training (the studios are called yogayoga, based here in austin) i got into the training program ad received message from the apt landlords that i could have the apt but i’d have to wait until august to move in. this worked out ok, my teacher training didn’t start until sept. the landlord asked if i were working, i told him that i was receiving alimony and would begin yoga teacher training next door. he said that the apartment i was moving into was previously owned by the yoga yoga owners and it was where they first began giving classes out of that small space when they lived there. at the time i thought it was such a coincidence, now i realize that there are none, this was meant to be.
in 2003/4 i developed a cyst beside my left ear. i had it drained by a dermatologist but soon after developed a staph infection. it was incredible pain and not long after being on pain meds i developed a stomach ulcer. this turned my world upside down trying to reassemble my diet with foods i could keep down and bland enough not to bother my ulcer (my food restrictions are always met with disbelief and recommendations i’ve already attempted) i also had to get rid of any alcohol i was able to previously consume. this brought a greater change of habits. my survival and need to lessen the pain were on the forefront. it felt like i would always live in this pain and i had to find a way to deal with it. my weight dropped down to around 80 pounds. none of my clothes would fit ( i looked like a little girl playing dress up in her mom’s clothes – i had to start shopping in the teen section for pants that fit, even in size 0’s i had to fold the waist for a snugger fit to keep my pants from falling off) my muscles had deteriorated so much that i could hardly hold myself up and began doing a yoga practice using the swiss ball just to get my basic abilities back by restrengthening my spine. soon i found i was able to put some weight back on and most of the facial pain had subsided (after switching dr’s a few times) but i was still dealing with the ulcer and trying diff meds and practices to heal it. i had decided the stress of my job wasn’t worth the toll it took on my system and i began looking for other work. also, during this time i had a major crush growing with a guy i’d met through mutual friends. things just always seemed to go wrong and there were plenty of thwarted opportunities that seemed to keep us from connecting. once i’d found out that he would be leaving texas to pursue his music and i knew i wouldn’t be able to join him even if we were together, although i was happy for him i knew i had to give up the ghost and move on. oddly enough a couple of weeks later (dec 2005) i came across my ex husband on facebook. we had “met” in a chat room around 1997 when aol was fairly new. we hit it off, he was the first person i’d ever befriended in a chat room. soon we were talking on the phone, sending letters and pictures (it was before you could easily upload photos). we were penpals for about a year and a half before losing contact. but i had always remembered him as an ideal but knew if i were to ever meet him that illusion would be shattered. once we reconnected we found out that both of us had held on to our old letters and dreamed of meeting one day. we wrote letters daily for 3 months before speaking again on the phone (the day we planned to speak to each other i accidentally mailed my phone to him in a birthday package i was sending him – i was in a meeting in my office wen my phone began ringing and the bubble insulated envelope beside was the perfect sound dampener, i just forgot to take it out) anyhow, once we spoke on the phone we planned for him to come to houston, a month after his visit i went to buffalo (his hometown) we then decided i would move there the following month. this solved my job worries lol. during my marriage i began drinking nightly and needing sleeping pills to sleep. it was devastating to me, i felt worthless for falling into the trap. i still dealt with my ulcer but i seemed able to intake the alcohol but of course felt worse the next day – this helped the cycle continue. i wasn’t happy in my marriage and i would tell him about it, i could tell he was lying to me but he didn’t come clean for a couple of years and in the meantime just told me i was crazy for suspecting the things i later found out to be true. by the end of our marriage i was so stressed i was back down to 80 pounds and looked 10 years older than i should have. when i finally got him to admit he wanted a divorce too i was able to quit drinking cold turkey – i had no urges whatsoever. when i returned home once we separated (june 2010) i was treated for anemia and had to take iron intravenously at the cancer center near my mother’s house. i hadn’t realized what a toll that could take on you – once i was regulated, colors were brighter, life was sharper and i could even breathe better. i had signed up for a 10 day silent retreat in dallas but on the second day there my face became swollen like a puffer fish. i had to leave and return to the woodlands to see a doctor. i had inflamed glands (part of the sjogrens – this incident lead to my diagnosis by a biopsy of a salivary gland in my lip) it still sneaks up on me sometimes to remind me to take it easy and sentence me to bed for a few days.
back to the gong class in 2011…they say that gong therapy is a great way to detox. at this point i hadn’t had alcohol in over a year but i had drank steadily every night for about 3 years so i assumed i still had some toxicity to purge. but it isnt why i took the class – sound therapy was a part of my own healing practice and i wanted to learn more to be able to incorporate it into my teachings. in this training there were about 20 gongs in one room – the trainer mentioned that sometimes that much sound at once could be overwhelming and irritating to some systems so he may have to step our occasionally (he is a very slight man) i took very well to playing the gong and the first day went great but that night i began feeling very nauseous and couldn’t keep even water down. the second day was much harder on me, i could only take small sips of gatorade at a time (and i wasn’t going to miss class – i was accustomed to going to school or work sick and since this was something fun to learn i def wasn’t going to let being sick keep me from the experience – i was going to feel bad either way lol). after an hour of sitting in the sound i couldn’t take it and ran to the bathroom to vomit and sit outside the classroom with wet papertowel (my go to for nausea and hot/cold sweats) i made it through the rest of the training taking small breaks when i needed and went home for the evening. when i got home i couldn’t stop thinking about one of the trainers – he reminded me of my father, if my father had been a good man – i’d seen the potential in him but he always seemed to sway back to being disgusting and manipulative. i felt liek my body was on fire so i took a shower and after i wrapped my towel around me to dry off i began bawling and fell onto my bed and howled myself to sleep. i had the most realistic dream at that point: i was standing outside around my car with my mother, sister and stepfather. my mother and sister were simultaneously nagging at me and telling me stuff i should do and blah blah – i began feeling dizzy and faint and my stepfather looked at me, took my head in his hand and laid me onto the hood of my car, as if to say “stop and relax” everything went black and silent but i quickly began rising through and it was like coming out of water and seeing their face staring at me through the ripples on the other side of the surface. when i came through the water i could hear everyone again and see them clearly and there was a fireman who shoved an oxygen mask on me and told me not to talk, just breathe. then i woke up to my phone ringing. it was my mom calling so i picked up immediately – i don’t like for her to worry and she knew i hadn’t been feeling well. as soon as i pick up she begins hounding on me about something (i’m very sensitive to sound vibrations – the high energy, fear, unsteadiness in her voice has an agitating effect on my nervous system. especially because i care about her) quickly my hands begin clawing again and the buzzing pressure in my nose returns. although i hadnt eaten in a couple of days i feel my stomach heaving as if i’m going to puke. i tell my mom to hold on and go the toilet a few steps from where i’m sitting in bed. i bend over expecting to hurl but only dry heave a few times then stand up to get the phone. i take one step and my feet and hands cramp like crazy and it begins spreading from the extremities into my entire body – the buzzing in my nose begins to spread out into my face and i start to lose the ability to talk – i sounded like a deaf person trying to speak. all i could do was scream “it hurts” “help me” in some god awful dragged shrill. it was the most pain i’d ever experience but cant recall (thankfully). my legs turned to lead and i dropped to the floor. it ws like i was turning to stone and i could feel every nerve cease and harden along the way. it attacked from my feet up, head down and hands inward. after i hit the floor everything went dark and all i could see was gray and it sounded like i was in a tomb (my own body). i remember feeling it take over my chest and thought “once it reaches my heart i’m dead” it did reach my heart and i felt like i was trapped in a lifeless body for a few moments. during the attack it felt as if my hands were being pulled above my head. i heard my phone ringing, during the attack my mind was on my mom and feeling horrible that she had heard everything onthe other end without being able to help. suddenly i began breathing very shallow and was able to pull it into a deeper breath and open my eyes. i still couldnt move for a few seconds but then the breath started to melt me and my neck got loose. i thought my hands were above my head but when i turned my face towards my phone i punched myself in the head with my still rigid fists. soon my upper body melted enough for me to drag myself to the phone and my legs became free. i answered the phone. my mom said “i called jeffery (my brother) to call the ambulance. they should be on the way.” i said ” i dont know what happened. but i feel better than i have in weeks ( i felt full of energy and no pain at all) i dont think i need an ambulance – give me 10 minutes to get my head around this and i’ll call you back, if i dont call back in ten minutes call the ambulance” i went outside in amazement of what just happened – i lit a cigarette and petted on my cat who walked up to me. a police woman came up to my back fence and asked if i’d called an ambulance (my apt was listed as a commercial residence so they werent able to find me) i told her i was ok – that i needed a minute to absorb what just happened but that i felt ok. she left and i sat in disbelief and gratitude for a few minutes then realized i needed to call my mom.
i called back and told her i was feeling fine. she was a little frantic and i began to feel my hands clawing again and my nose buzzing so i swiped the phone to speaker before i lost use of my hands (iphones are impossible with cramping clawhands-i have an old flip phone now) i told my mom to have my stepdad call the ambulance, for some reason she had my stepdad call my brother to call an ambulance. i told her i needed to put the phone down to stay calm until the ambulance came., they showed up at my back bedroom door and i had to walk down the long driveway to the road where the ambulance was parked. i was beginning to seize up along the way but they said they weren’t allowed to carry me. i made it onto a stretcher and immediately began turning to stone again. the emt’s names were ally and jeff (my own father was kinda useless so the main male figures in my life were my brother, Jeff and my grandpa Allie, so this gave me some comfort) i remember trying to answer her questions in my down’s syndrome voice. i was in so much pain and i couldn’t understand why i was needing to stress myself exerting energy better used for trying to breathe to answer questions she could resolve by just getting my wallet out. it finally settled down and i could catch my breath. ally started me on a potassium bag through my iv. once i was in the hospital i don’t remember much but being really tired and in a really good mood from not having died. my brother drove up from houston and stayed the night. i remember him complaining about the chair being uncomfortable. this kept me up. in the morning my mom showed up and my brother left. she said her husband didn’t want her driving after she’d already taken an ambien for the night. she had told me months before that she had stopped taking these, i think he just didn’t want her driving in a panic. the doctors ran a few tests but really couldn’t tell me what had happened other than malnutrition. this made sense since i hadn’t been able to hold anything down and was probably overexerting myself. my mothers advice anytime i’m feeling bad is to get out and run or do a yoga class. i have to remind myself of how many times i’ve seen her exercise obsession go too far and maybe it’s not always the best advice to take. after leaving the hospital, my mom took me out around town shopping for groceries and picking up my meds. then dropped my off at my place and made her way back to the woodlands. life resumed, i felt better after a few days of recovering and got back into my previous routine adding extra red meat, more electrolytes, rest and symptom awareness.
soon i was graduated from my yoga teacher training course and taking advanced classes towards my 500 hour certificate. seane corn came to our studios for a week training and weekend cakra class in june/july 2011. i’d never heard of her but my mother taught in public schools with one of her cousins and told me i should check it out, and i could apply it towards my training hours. she’s a teacher to many celebrities like madonna and sting, runs organizations and also does great political work. i was intrigued by the cakra class and i figured the woman knew what she was doing so i signed up. it was a great training, she is immensely talented and intelligent. she gave me diarrhea and i thank her lol. she also applies yoga as a healing method for trauma victims and girls rescued from the sex trade. the odd thing looking back is that during that week i recall staying up nights on an energy surge and jotting down random notes on little pieces of paper and cards lying around in my room. the song “superlife” by chaka kahn came up on my shuffle one of those nights and it hit me hard like “this will be my life” i didn’t know why but it was such a strongly suggested message. at this point i had come to a theoretical conclusion that there possibly was no higher power and it was all just a collaborative energy. after studying yoga so intensely for the past year and feeling the energetic sensations in my body, the movement of emotions and blockages and the heart rooted epiphanies i’d received in meditations it all made sense as a science. the “god source” was just a space for our thoughts to “be” and mingle and become accessible (this was how i saw it) i remember that seane corn didn’t mind using the word god in class (she has a big following of all the christians coming into yoga since she is in the media so much). but i thought it was a nice word for it too. it didnt really matter what it’s called, i just wanted to be able offer others the way to experiencing it physically as i had discovered it. for that, “it” doesn’t need a name. one day seane was talking about how seizures can can occur if the person is highly psychic. this struck me (they didnt talk about this in other yoga classes i’d been in) i walked up to her at the end of the day with tears in my eyes and said “i think i’m psychic” (this was a shameful and silly thing to say in my family so i’d hid and denied it most of my life) she said “we all are. we just haven’t realized it yet” she was an angel in commercially advertised disguise. again, things went back to “normal”.
in august, (looking back now trying to figure out the date i’d say it was 8/10/11, give or take a few days) is when the “God encounter” occurred. a few days before (could have even been the day before) i was driving in my car and the car in front of me stopped suddenly. to avoid plunging into them i turned into a car lot on the right. it wasn’t until i was halfway through, that i noticed i’d driven under a chain blocking off the cars for sale. i had my sunroof raised up but my instinct took over and i went into reverse, snagging the chain on my sunroof. it pulled my sunroof off of the car but i was free (with a few new scratches on the roof) i got this message that the top was about to be ripped off, this manifestation was it’s metaphor (awesome) this was probably the second “message” i’d intuited consciously at this point, aside from the super life song. i’m a pretty laid back person so i just thought “crap”, put the sunroof in the backseat and headed home.