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Losing my Cool

I have a new gynecologist.When the previous one gave up his practice for a more interesting position in Hawaii, I had some trouble finding a new specialist whom I could trust with my complicated menopause. There were some anxious moments before I found Dr. Bethany Hays, at Women to Women, the place Christiane Northrup founded, in Maine.

The first visit

I had a bad migraine on the day before, and I didn't expect to make it to Maine for the appointment (we're in Massachusetts). But after sleeping a lot on when I was sick, I woke up at 4 am on the big day feeling well enough to cook & pack for the trip ...and so we went.

It was a long interview. Hays brought up a lot of new ideas for how to figure out what's going on with my weird reaction to estrogen and need for massive doses of progesterone. At first I was exhausted just listening to everything she wants to pursue — but the next day realized I'll be happier in the long run, knowing as much as I can. At the end of the session, she asked me "What are you on the earth for?"

My reaction

I got defensive, because I've been asking myself that for a while, in one form or another. And some of the answers I thought I'd found are out of reach now, because of my health or because I tried hard to do them, but feel I failed. I'd gotten to the point where I'm often just taking each day, even each hour, as it comes — and letting how the spirit moves me, tell me what I should be doing.

Of course the spirit is not all that moves me. Various kinds of mental habits keep me running a well-grooved track. So I took another look at the question, and especially, at my defensive anger at her for asking it.

Anger addiction

August, high mold season, was easier for me this year than I can remember. Clearly the low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet has starved the Candida in my system. Ward also bought our first dehumidifier. (I'm not sure why we'd never done that before!) It was really quite amazing to be functional, and not flat on my back in bed.

But instead of having incapacitating headaches, I got very emotional! Pissed off at the whole world, about one thing or another. And not very mindful about it, either. I knew there was something I was supposed to be doing about the feelings I was having, but I kept getting caught up in the drama: "Wow! this is really roiling around. Maybe the volcano will erupt and I'll get rid of the problem." No such luck, of course. When I noticed that I was identifying with the volcano, I made myself feel guilty for it. Layer on layer of mind-trips.

Finally I went to see a therapist whom I see occasionally. I ranted and complained and swore — and criticized myself for it — for an hour. He made an observation about the spiritual significance of angry energy. Translating it to Buddhist terms, I said "Oh: Sun-faced Buddha, moon-faced Buddha."And suddenly realized I could do the first level of emotions with mindfulness, instead of piling on all the other levels. I had been forgetting to practice mindfulness, for about a month.

So I recommitted myself to watching my mind with compassion, not addiction, and calmed down some.The weather got cooler too, which helped.

At the same time a book found its way to me: The Soul's Code, by James Hillman. (More...)

© Copyright Catherine Holmes Clark. Last Updated 8 December 1998