Max and Little Susie


Sunday 23 December 2012

Love your enemies, and do good to those who persecute you.

A few years ago when I was doing art therapy once a fortnight, I came to my session with a dream I'd had of an Akubra-wearing archetypal Aussie farmer bloke, old and wrinkly and naked, who came into my bedroom and tried rather unceremoniously to ... well, to put his fingers ... somewhere I had no desire for him to put them. Rather unsurprisingly, my feeling at the time was that he was an evil character.  An invader.  That was to change in the process of coming to understand him.

At my art therapy session I drew a picture of him, drawn from my dream's eye perspective.  In the picture only my legs appear, stretching away from me, lying on the bed.  The pine slats at the bed's end are the only thing standing between me and this invader, who can be seen from the waist up.

I still remember that delicious chill when my wonderful art therapist pointed out what was in front of me in my subconscious and which bubbled up right in front of my eyes so that I suddenly saw that the drawing I had done was of half my body and half his body.  That if we cut the picture in half, it would make an entire person.

I don't know how to explain that jolt.  It was like a bubbling up from a deep part of myself - an experience I have had over and over again since, both in doing active imagination (where you engage in dialogue with different parts of yourself), and in other creative acts.  It is a bubbling up of the unfamiliar from that part of yourself which is unfamiliar, hidden, and mysterious, which speaks in the language of dreams so that you have to decipher messages coded.  Gifts from yourself to yourself which reverberate for a very long time to come.

And so that's what I did.  I cut the picture in half, and attached my legs to his so that he could walk, and I clothed him to give him some dignity, and in that process and over the months ahead as I digested this experience, I realised that this man who I thought was evil and an invader was a part of myself that was so incredibly dry and parched, and that I needed to water him because he was thirsty, and he needed to cry.  He had got my attention in the only way he knew how.

What I thought was initially evil was what I had been denying in myself.

I still speak to him sometimes.  I have grown fond of him, although I've still been slightly wary.  The other day I was walking the dog and I was having a chat to the Cast of Thousands. They are the many and varied parts that make up myself.  They are most amenable to conversation when engaged.  They materialise in my mind's eye and speak to me in ways that constantly amaze me.  My bullshit meter is always fully engaged in these situations.  I'm always ready to say, "See, this is crap.  I'm just making this up."  Which of course on one level I am just making it up.  But it is a making up of a character, an inventing something real, a putting form to something formless, materialising it, the way shapes come out of the clay.  And afterwards I am always amazed when I realise that yet again, deep has called to deep, and up from I don't know where bubbles ideas and associations, names and inclinations, that once deciphered make so much sense.  More gifts from myself to myself.

So I was walking the dog and having a chat to the Cast of Thousands.  And I said, "Okay. Is there anybody who would like to look after Little Susie? You know how scared she is with male energy at this stage. So therefore she needs a male on the inside to look after her." Little Susie is about eight, with dark plaits.  She is soooooo sensitive, and will run and hide with little provocation.  She loves to paint and play with clay and words and has always known that everything is connected.

And I was so surprised when straight away that character put up his hand. It wasn't even like he was feeling like he should put his hand up, like he  sighed and thought, "Oh well, guess I should earn my keep."  No, he wanted to do it. He was eager. He loves Little Susie!

For reasons best known to a not-conscious part of myself I have begun calling him Max. I have noticed, in the days since Max has taken on the role of looking after Little Susie, that the lines on his face have reversed and he is looking about 20 years younger than when I first met him.  It seems that Max's taste in nourishing water is top shelf, straight from the fountain of youth.
Update June 2013:  My pyroluria supplementation has changed rather drastically since I wrote this post.  These days I am taking 50mg of zinc at night and 100mg of P5P in the morning, amongst many other things.  Every single body is different, and within every body are variances that make what is right for you at one time wrong for you in another.  It's a complicated process of trial and error finding out what suits you, that's for sure.  And as at September 2013 I have dropped my P5P back to 50mg.

~ ~

I have been taking supplements ever since my pyroluria diagnosis back in August.  Actually, I began supplementing even before I got the official diagnosis because I just knew that I had pyroluria.  I guess my strong knowing might have something to do with the fact that when my treating GP looked over my completed questionnaire she said she'd never had anyone tick so many boxes before.  I am, it seems, a pyroluria poster child.

(Which is nice, because I just thought I was a stuff-up).

I wonder, what would a poster look like for a pyroluric?  Black and white.  Lots of shadows.  Introspective and solitudinal gazing out of windows onto snow-filled landscapes.  Something along those lines :)

Give or take, it's been six months of 100 mg of zinc a day and about 750mg of B6 and about 130mg of P5P (the other form of B6) along with other bits and pieces that we sussed out after the blood tests*.  Those are tailored for me though and are very high.  Anyone who is beginning supplementation needs to start at a low level and build up because your body needs time to adjust.  Also, taking these things your body needs so much signals it to begin detoxifying from the high levels of copper you could very possibly be suffering under, and getting rid of copper can be a little traumatic.  Best approached as slowly as possible. 

I would recommend that anybody who is able to, find a practitioner versed in the Walsh/Pfeiffer protocols to help them along.  Don't count on your regular GP knowing anything about it.   At all.  And, as amazingly arrogant as it all is, if they don't know what pyroluria is, don't expect them to do some research to find out.  Many GPs seem unable to resist taking the route of making their patient feel bad about trying to find solutions to their health problems that they don't happen to know anything about.  Bizarre and frustratingly arrogant, but true.

If you are in Australia, a good place to start is with the practitioners who practise under the Bio-Balance umbrella.  (They also have practitioners in Singapore, New Zealand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Ireland and Norway).  Initial consultation can be expensive.  Having your supplements compounded is an expensive outlay, but then you're right for months on end.  As an indication, it cost me about $500 for testing and consultation, and then another $300 for three months' supply of compounded supplements.

Being sick is expensive.  It breaks my heart.

If you are having problems finding anyone that can treat you, or if you have come up against complications in your treatment and are a Facebook user, can I recommend the Pyroluria group.  I am a member, and there are a stack of good-hearted people there who will help you find your way.

The level of B6 I'm taking is apparently a bit controversial.  My treating doctor, Joanna Hickey at Wellness Medicine in Clifton Hill, who has trained under William Walsh (who, along with Carl Pfeiffer is one of the gurus of pyroluria treatment) has said she can't officially agree to me taking so much B6 because of the risk of nerve damage (neuropathy).  But I know my body needs more.  I can remember only a fragment of my dream last night, and that's on the crazy dose I'm already on.

I got a bit scared off about the high B6 when I first started seeing Joanna, and so I cut my B6 dosage right back.  But the distinction between the menstrual period I had before cutting it back and the one I had afterwards couldn't have been more marked and indicative.  The first period was a breeze.  Barely any period pain at all, and no sore boobs beforehand.  A bit of PMS (but then it's hard to define PMS when I have mood fluctuations for 31 days of the month anyway :)  The next menstrual cycle after I dropped the B6 had all of those symptoms return and greater levels of PMS to boot.  I have now since upped my levels again and monitor myself for neuropathy.

However, a doctor in the US who has trained under Carl Pfeiffer reports that he regularly treats his patients with a B6/P5P combination of up to 2000mg without problems.  According to him the neuropathy is decreased when using  P5P.  I am also taking niacin (B3) which also helps prevent neuropathy.  So I guess I am going to trust my body on this one.

I am an undermethylator, which means that my body is not easily able to get rid of toxins.  I know this.  In my years with CFS (and especially after antibiotic therapy to treat infections) I often felt "toxic".  I still do.  It's a system-wide malaise and it is frustrating because you feel so bad, but there is nothing you can definitely say that is "wrong" with you.  (Just everything.  Like a system-wide computer virus).  I have often wished for a broken arm so that people could see how bad I was feeling.  A cancer diagnosis would have got me more sympathy.  But CFS?  Being a walking too-hard basket makes anybody uncomfortable.  A pyroluria diagnosis (along with an understanding of how fragile my adrenal glands are) is freakin' fantastic by comparison.

According to Joanna Hickey it can take up to a year for the methylation cycle to work properly once you start treating pyroluria.  In that regard I can say that I am feeling so much better than I was.  I really do feel like my body is starting to clear itself.  I have been trying to detoxify my body in one way or another, intuiting that something was wrong, for so many years now.

As for stress, I still feel at times like I best resemble a paper bag.  Too much stress (that other people wouldn't even notice) and I crumple, and then I melt down, and it's a horrible and lonely and deadening experience. However, last week I had a stressful experience with a new client, and after hanging up the phone I could feel that familiar meltdown feeling heading my way.  But this time, with deep breathing and a good kind talking-to, I was able to head it off at the pass and move on with my day, though a little shaky.  But it beats having to go and lie down for a couple of hours till everything stops feeling overwhelming.

As for energy, my levels are improving.  I had an adrenal fatigue situation a year and a half ago, and it's taken me forever to climb back out of that space.  An understanding of how much stress your system is under living with pyroluria provides an understanding as to just how depleted your adrenal glands probably are.  I've found some real gains using withania and other herbs but again, rebuilding adrenals is not a quick fix.  Still, I am appreciating how much easier life is when those little walnut-sized glands that sit atop my kidneys are able to function properly.  It's hell when they don't.  But I have been gardening and exercising and stuff lately, and while most nights find me collapsed on the couch with a desire to do things that my body doesn't tend to possess, I have some hope that that is changing.

I feel like my ship is being strengthened.  It's such a long and slow process that often it feels like nothing is happening and nothing is ever going to change.  I guess that after living on a ship that for 30 years has had some serious rickety factors, a strong and steady constitution takes a while to rebuild.  And not just on the physical level.  That stressful physiology has created some mountainous terrain that needs ironing out.  The combination of supplementation on the physical level along with a truly badass therapist on the other is causing me to believe that even though I can't see it, and it feels too good to be true, that a whole lot more peace and ease are coming my way.  I do admit I find it hard to believe, but I do believe that thought feels pretty damn good.

If you are ordering supplements, may I recommend  Even including costs associated with ordering from the US to Australia, they are still the cheapest place to order online.  New customers can receive $5-$10 off their first order by quoting a current customer's gift code.  If you quote mine - ZEY804 - when you are checking out on your first order in the "Apply Coupon Code" section I will receive a discount of $5-$10 off my next order as well - and I can tell you, this broke writer would very much appreciate the extra help :)

What If?


Tuesday 18 December 2012

What if all of the universe exists on different levels, and humans are only able to see some of those levels at this point in our evolution?  What if creation is something that is going on at every level and constantly, and at the same time is something that beings are able to do themselves at higher levels of "consciousness" (such a wanky word, that one).

What if we were originally created by a group of beings, and then another group of beings came in and interfered with our operating system, installing a virus if you will, and that causes so much of the conflict that we experience within ourselves and without ourselves, and why it makes it so hard to own our shit?  (And yet magic happens when we do).

What if part of that virus includes our feelings of isolation and disconnection, so that we go around depressed and killing ourselves and killing others because we are fragile souls and we break, and then it is hell to be here, because we can't bear to live in a universe that doesn't contain that which is like water to us (the Divine part of life, I guess you could call it, which some call God and some call the Source and some Beauty but all indigenous cultures recognise) ~ which would make sense if we were created to enjoy that which we as a modern species seem to be struggling  to even believe exists.

Who knows?  Sounds plausible to me!  :)

The first will be last and the last will be first ...


Tuesday 11 December 2012

I'm dreaming this morning not of a white Christmas, but of a day when those who live at the broad bottom of the pyramid scheme of today's version of life are at the top of it.  And of a day where those at the top who currently actually enjoy breathing the stultifying air of global capitalism that is making them insane and wreaking havoc on the world will be the ones who find it more difficult to breathe, because something new has come.

I can't shake that feeling that something new is coming.  I don't know if it's pie-in-the-sky dreaming. 

It seems to me that all the very, very best things that make life worth living - love, and beauty, and art, and visioning - are seen as side issues and peripheries in the current paradigm we live in.  We can live believing that the way we live now is just simply how it has evolved.  I do not believe it.  I believe that the way we live now serves not us, but those at the top of the pyramid.

We are both more in chains but freer than we could possibly imagine.  It makes you mourn to see the extent of your chains, but then, after that, it makes you more able to throw them off.  They are invisible chains, and you must know they are there before you can begin imagining that the small hopes and fancies that seem childish and naive to have are actually the heartbursting centre of something else, another way to be.  What seems almost too good to be true is perhaps just simply the tip of a rather large iceberg.

I envision a day when those peripheries of love, and beauty, and art, and visioning, and time and space and energy to do work in creative ways that buzzes with meaning, feels more than slog, is more than feeding the system ~ I envision a day when those things will be the centres.

That swells me 'eart. 

So may it be.

Vista Costera by Cristina Centenaro (CC)

When it comes to finding food that will be yummy for his little flock, Tristan the rooster displays the most 19th century behaviour.  Ladies first is the consistent rule.  When his rustling in the dirt turns up something of culinary interest, he emits excited little squeals to tell Selma to come see what he's found.

Those squeals are outdone on the cuteness scale only by his burbling.  Tristan burbles his way through his day.  When I hear him burble while he's exploring the nesting box after I've laid down fresh and fluffy bedding, it makes me want to squeeze him until he pops.

If I could get my hands on him, that is.  Tristan is much more wary of me than Selma (and Patty in her short life).  Tristan keeps a respectful distance.  Although I do notice that the lower I get down to the ground, the more inclined he is to come closer.

So whenever Tristan makes that excited "food!" sound, Selma comes running.  And then he stands back, doffs his top hat, and waits for her to eat her share before he goes in to eats his own.

Very gentlemanly.

However, the chicken DNA code has some serious flaws, the same as for every other animal, and unsurprisingly in the animal kingdom, some of these surround the issue of sex.  Or, more specifically, hen consent.

There isn't any.  I've seen him, out in the yard, watching him from the decking.  She'll be walking ahead of him up the hill and he just comes from behind, in both senses of the word ... well, actually, I don't really know if he gets that far, in terms of, you know, roosterly ejaculation, not being au fait with the length of chicken sex before its end and neither with what chicken orgasms might look like.  But even though he's still quite a deal smaller than her, he sure has a red hot go.

I pondered all of this yesterday while I was doing some weeding.  The chooks accompanied me for the whole hour and a half that I was outside.  And while I contentedly pulled out the rampantly-growing wandering jew that is infecting the paws of my dog, I pondered, as is my wont, the cosmos, our place in it, beauty, God, and chicken sex.  I realised that I don't even know what a rooster penis looks like.  It doesn't even look like there's a space for one.

And indeed, I find out, in my morning's research for this post that indeed, roosters don't actually have a penis.  There is no penetration with chicken sex.  It's just connecting two bits and a transfer of sperm, and that's the deal, in about 20 seconds.  From my voyeuristic vantage point, it doesn't seem very exciting to me.  But then what the hell would I know about what's enjoyable or not enjoyable from out of the eyes of a chicken? 

All I know is that when I see Tristan take advantage, and jump on, and grab the back of Selma's neck with his beak, and do his bizzo, that I would think it would be a much nicer deal for her if maybe he asked her first :)

Make it ...


Monday 3 December 2012

... my cup of tea.

Today, I ditched the people that I have been working for for five years.  They are like an impersonal machine.  For the vast majority of the time I have done transcription work for them, I have been transcribing at an accuracy of between 98 to 99% accuracy.  Almost all of the time I have had my work in on time.  One day last week I stuffed up and didn't get a job in - and they charged me a $25 late fee.

That was the last straw, as far as I was concerned, and I emailed them back and told them to shove their stupid fucking job that I would no longer be working for them.
And so that is that.  My mystical Susie side is exceedingly happy about getting rid of them.  Even though they are by far the best paying client of the ones I have.  And even though I'm not exactly rolling in cash.  But mystical Susie isn't so concerned about approaching the issue of work from that particular angle.  She knows that getting rid of that mob makes psychic space. She knows that whenever you throw stuff out it makes you stronger.

This collage is in response to Kel's creativity prompt, and has proven irritatingly difficult to photograph.  Can you see what it is or do I need to explain it?

But I am hoping that in letting go of something will make space for something better.  Something that is more my cup of tea.