Archives for June 2011

Health and Vulnerability

It is incredible how our physical bodies can be strong and vulnerable at the same time.

On the previous post, I shared with all of you how much my life has been full of joy, freedom, happiness and fun lately. I do everything I love, and I love everything I do. Simple as that! Activities include: teaching and practicing Yoga daily; attending amazing spiritual workshops; spending real great time with my friends in San Diego; checking out local art/music scene, dancing, and the list goes on. Good stuff!

I am one of those type of persons who needs 7-8 hours/daily to feel high energy levels, and that my metabolism and immunity system are up and running properly. I am aware of that. What has been happening lately is that I end up not sleeping much on the weekends, trying to balance going out/sleeping late and working early mornings. Well, I can always go back home after work and rest. Right?

…balancing a healthy lifestyle with fun/partying…this has been the story of my life for quite a while!

Two weeks ago, on Sunday, I went swimming at the pool with some friends and I felt a lot of pain in my right ear. I got ear infection so many times in my life at early age that it became just normal. I noticed that something was weird that night. I was feeling weird. My right ear was extremely painful, and I felt tension on the jaw on the right side. My left eye could not stop tearing. I told myself not to panic, and that I was going to visit the doctor the next day. On Monday morning I woke up with numbness on my face on the right side. I could not move the facial muscles on my right side. I wasn’t not feeling my face on the right side. I could not move even on single muscle or blinking my right eye. A wave of frustration and concern come along. Some of the symptoms were the same as if I was having a stroke! So my mind started wondering that this problem could be very serious. Luckily enough, my dad and sister are both doctors and they were attending a medical convention in Chicago. A few hours after I called them, and told them what was going on. Their diagnose was so precisely right (as always): I had Bell’s palsy. They encouraged me to go to the emergency room right away, and after an doctor examination, I left the hospital feeling a bit more relief to know what I had. Bell’s Palsy is a inflammation involving one of the brain nerves which controls the muscles on one side of the face. The cause is unknown, but most likely I’ve got that cause my immune system wasn’t as strong due to sleep deprivation, followed by an ear infection.

It will take up to 6 weeks for full recovery, and it has been two weeks, so I am feeling much better. Today is my last day taking the pills. Yay! I just need to give special attention to my right eye because since I cannot blink normally yet, I need to protect the eye from dust particle and wind, and also since tears cannot lubricate the eye without blinking, there is a danger that the cornea will dry out and form a ulcer which could permanently affect my vision. I am using a eye pad when I go to sleep, which is very uncomfortable. As part of my “way of being”, I tend to always see every situation in a positive way, so I must say I look like a pirate of the Caribbean LOL

This problem had definitely hit my self esteem and confidence. I felt ugly and miserable. My mind played tricky games on me so I felt guilty to take my health for granted. I was feeling so weak that I had to take a break from what I most love to do which is practicing Yoga. That was just enough. At least, I would continue teaching Yoga trying to live a normal life, but it was not fun at all. Some classes were so draining.

The “healing” process started when I saw this problem as another opportunity for reflection, appreciation, and growth. I accepted the fact that something happened, and it is fine. It is what it is. It was still me, Carolina, same person, same body. I took the following week off and flew to Chicago to meet my family. We spent quality of time together and visited so many beautiful places. Perfect time to relax, rest, and heal. This trip was planned out a few months ago, and it came in such a perfect time. My family took care of me just like if I was a baby. I must admit that felt great! They are so loving, caring and supportive. As doctors, they understand very well how the human body works physically, mentally and emotionally. I feel we are never alone or lonely in life. We are sustained by communities such as family, friends, work, cyberspace, hospitals, schools, that are always there for us, even when we forget. Life is about sharing experiences and moments with supported communities. My family is my sacred community where I can always rely on!

In this photo: my sister Barbara (Babi), my dad Ricardo, myself and my mom Rosangela. I love them so much!

Another big lesson I have learned is that we do take our health for granted, sometimes consciously, sometimes unconsciously. We only really appreciate being healthy when we experience illness. We are vulnerable as much as we are strong. When we are healthy, happy and “nothing is wrong”, we usually complain the most, or overuse our strengths, or take ourselves too seriously and make such a big deal on small things. When we find sickness, we appreciate those moments when we are fully healthy and with an amazing amount of energy inside out, and we make “promesses” that we will be more gently and kind to ourselves and our bodies in the future. I feel sometimes that we never really live the present moment. When things are going well we tend to wonder and wish for more. When things are not going very well, we can’t wait until things get better once again!

This is a great opportunity to remind ourselves that we are members of amazing communities that are so valuable which we can count on for everything, and sharing life experiences within these communities is the master key for support, love, and care. So appreciate the people you have in your life who really matters to you.

Everyone wants the same after all: a long and abundant life full of happiness, joy, love and health. Life is about choices. Through daily habits, practices, and attitude we choose what to be and how to be. So I invite all of you to feel gratitude and appreciation for your life everyday, when you wake up, even when things are not quite right. Things will be better soon, eventually. Or it can go worst the next day, just like a rollercoaster. The only constant is change. The only real stability is that there is no real certainty or security or safety in life. All we have is this precious moment that is right here right now. We live life the way we choose to see life at this exactly moment. The real mystery and beauty of life come from accepting that life is vulnerable and impermanent. This is what makes life so interesting!

Cheers to a beautiful and healthy life! Namaste!