Sunday, June 13, 2010
The Trivedi retreat last weekend in
was an amazing experience. I am still bubbling with joy and excitement about it. It is transforming my life in a wonderful way! Chicago
The retreat itself was difficult. I was lucky because I didn’t even consider the difficulties when I made plans to go. If I had, I surely would have reconsidered my plans, fretted, made myself anxious, maybe even come down with a cold.
Surely the blessings from the month of May were having a positive effect on my brain! I hadn’t received everything I wanted, but I had received a great gift – a huge diminishment of fear. Fear had propelled my relapse since the dreadful experience on March 26. It had been the main focus of my work with energy healers during the month of April. Now it was 99% gone. A true miracle!
The hard part
The first night of the retreat, I was a mess. I had walked too much: from the parking lot to the hotel entrance, from the hotel entrance to my room, from my room to the registration/meeting room, back to my room, back to registration. I lay on the floor, my calves resting on my front row chair, popping Folirinse B12 pills and praying that my heart would calm down. I also indulged in a heavy dose of self-pity, punctuated with occasional anger at self, hotel, and conference organizers. Trivedi’s discourse went well beyond the scheduled end time of 10 pm Central Time (11 pm on my internal clock). I grew more and more tired, and more stressed – for overriding fatigue to stay awake always triggers my stress response.
Finally, it was time for the first blessing. Since there was no free wheelchair to take me to my room, so I had to leave the retreat early and miss the blessing. Once in my bedroom, I crashed onto the bed and burst into tears. My prayers for healing of my cardiac symptoms were intense, fueled by urgency, desperation and self-pity. Then I lay still, feeling an amazing calm pervade my cells. I could feel the energy working powerfully on my heart. It moved into my left eye and temple, and after a while, down into my legs and finally into my stomach and head -- all the areas where my illness has been most deeply lodged. I fell into a deep sleep shortly after midnight.
I woke some 6 hours later, hungover with PEM – post-exertional-malaise. Then I experienced another miracle. I took a shower and actually felt refreshed! (For readers without ME-CFS, taking a shower is usually a stress due to orthostatic intolerance, which gets worse in the warm water and leaves us feeling exhausted.) I went down to the meeting room 90 minutes before the morning session started, lay out my yoga mat, and started doing a hatha yoga practice. Again, I was amazed. My practice was strong, and even more incredible was my greatly increased flexibility. Grinning from ear to ear when the workshop started, I took my seat on the floor without collecting my sandals. Hours later, when I discovered them ‘missing’, I hunted for them in a hall filled with 300 people without feeling the slightest amount of stress.
The high didn’t last. By late morning I was exhausted. Exhaustion intensified during the afternoon session, as feelings and traumatic memories emerged from their tombs. I even dozed off and started to snore while Trivedi was talking! I stayed in the room for the afternoon blessing and nearly collapsed trudging back to the room through a sea of people! At dinner I was wired and intensely hungry.
That evening I was too tired to participate. I lay in the back of the room, resting in corpse pose or doing a few gentle stresses to ease the pain in every vertebra and rib of my back. Before the evening session ended, I was back in my room, too exhausted to sob. I prayed for sleep.
The hardest part
PEM was worse the second morning, although I got 7 hours of sleep. During the retreat, Mr. Trivedi talked a good bit about sleep. He said that he only sleeps 1 to 2 hours a night, but he awakens refreshed and energetic. He urged us not to attach to any theory or past experience about the optimal number of hours of sleep. Instead, we should judge whether we were sleeping adequately by how rested and energetic we felt. I was, in my mind, a dismal failure in this regard.
I wondered how some of the other sick people were doing. Mr. Trivedi has specifically urged individuals with neurological illnesses like MS and Parkinson’s to attend. He had introduced us to a young man with autism that was responding to his blessings. ME-CFS ought to fit into that category, I thought. But were we beyond help? Were we just too weak to detox? Too toxic to experience an elevation in our energy state?
I wasn’t prepared for the onrush of emotions that flowed through me on the way to the meeting room. By the time I had spilled my heart to a man in a wheelchair and his wife, tears were pressing against my closed lids. I asked to speak to someone, and when a kind-hearted member of the support team sat down beside me, the tears streamed down my cheeks. Little did I realize I was about to receive another blessing.
Mr. Trivedi appeared in the anteroom to the meeting hall. “You are releasing traumatic memories?” he asked. I shrugged. All I could think at that moment was, I am way too sick to participate. You should have shorter sessions if you want sick people to attend! Self-righteousness. Self-pity. Such frequent, unwelcome visitors to my consciousness.
“Come, sit down,” he said, pointing to the floor in front of his chair. I kicked off my flip flops and dropped a wad of wet tissues on the floor. “Hurry up!” he said. “Don’t make me wait.”
What a trigger that was! I do not like to be hurried. I wanted to defend myself. I wanted to argue. But he was already telling me to close my eyes and pray to the God of my understanding. I felt his hand on the crown of my head, as if he were pushing a switch. The inner arguments stopped. He brushed my forehead and few times and then told me to rest.
My eyes continued to shed tears for a few minutes at the back of the meeting room. Then he began a group blessing which he introduced as a mild, 10 minute blessing. I forced myself to stop crying and receive the energy. In a few minutes, the urge to cry completely dissipated.
As Mr. Trivedi talked, and as he invited participants to share their experiences, I sank into a deep state of relaxation. Soon I was as soft and porous as a wet sponge.
In this state, it was a joyful experience to receive the fourth master blessing. The energy vibrated through the pores of my being as a gentle, luminous vibration. I felt as if every electron in my body were dancing in joy and delight. I rested in the meeting room long after everyone else had gone to lunch, reveling in the magical transformation from dense unhappiness to expansive joy and peace.
I got up and danced over to the lunch room ---ha! in my dreams! The real afternoon started with a mild headache and ended with an intense headache, achiness all over, chills, and possibly a low grade fever. I was in a major detox!
When the retreat ended at the civilized hour of 4 pm, I went to my room, lay in bed, did an enema to release toxins, took activated charcoal, and lay in bed some more. Despite my crappy physical state, I was exhilarated and enthused. This helped me to recognize my symptoms as a powerful detox. I rested all evening, taking time only to write in my journal until my headache and chills diminished enough to sleep.
The next morning, I awakened feeling slightly energized. I took my yoga mat outside in the morning sunshine and again, enjoyed a strong practice. My muscles seemed stronger than they had in the past 3 years, allowing me to do a few vigorous poses that I had abandoned since my relapse. I tired quickly, celebrating my wonderful transformation.
I had scheduled a personal blessing for the first slot in the morning so that my friend and I could being our 7 hour drive to
. When I arrived at registration, there were 30 people ahead of me. What a shock! Ohio
I struggled with the urge to run. I should leave now. I’ll never make it on the drive home. It’s already 9:30. I won’t get out of here until 11:30, and if we get started that late, we won’t get home until 8:30 at night. I’ll be exhausted. I finally feel better. I shouldn’t blow it.
I struggled with the urge to stay. When am I going to get another opportunity to see Trivedi in person? He told me to come see him Monday morning to talk about my autistic daughter. I really should stay. It would be crazy to leave now that I’m so close.
In the end, I sat in the cue. When the sobs started, I was moved to a private room. By the end of my 2 hour wait, I had come to realize that my alternating anger and sobbing were related to the pain of losing my daughter to autism.
When I told Mr. Trivedi about my morning ride of emotions, he burst out laughing. “That’s wonderful!” he exclaimed, and I caught his infectious laughter.
After the blessing, I was filled with a most wonderful peace. I felt as if something huge inside me had shifted. Lying in the back of my friend’s van as we drove East on I-355, I felt waves of humility and gratitude. I wanted to lie at Trivedi’s feet. I was now willing to call him “Guruji.”
Reaping the benefits
Yes, we got home at 8:30 pm, but no, I was not tired. Nor was I wired. Instead, I was abuzz with energy. Even after midnight, lying in bed beside David, I felt the electrons dancing in every cell of my body.
It was vaguely similar to the charged up, high glutamate, high oxidative stress state of CFS when it feels as if each nerve ending is exploding in a show of miniature fireworks. But it was pleasant, amazing pleasant. And instead of being anxious about not sleeping, or anxious about anything whatsoever, I was filled with bubbles and bubbles of joy.
Each day this week my energy has improved. I’ve had periods of detox, and periods of fatigue. I’ve slept 7 hours one night and 10 hours another. But regardless of whichever symptoms appear from time to time, I’ve been able to steadily increase my activity.
Here are some of my wonderful successes:
I stood long enough to prepare food and wash the dinner dishes
I walked around Whole Foods yesterday without feeling tired or afraid of standing too long
My body temperature has gone up to 98.4 degrees (it is usually below 98.0)
My pulse has come down to between 66 and 76
My blood pressure is less erratic, albeit still very low
I haven’t had chest pains or palpitations for 8 days
I have done midday relaxation sessions (yoga nidra) without falling asleep
Yesterday I awakened feeling refreshed from my 7 – 8 hours of sleep
Bowels working with less than ½ the amount of Mg and Vit C
In sum, everything I asked for at my first blessings on April 30 and May 1 has been granted. Now, of course, I am asking for me. I’d like to be able to take long walks, go dancing, drink wine, travel, and do something productive with my time. I’d like to stop taking a boatload of supplements.
How far can this wonderful energy take me?
I’m hoping to interest the Trivedi Foundation in doing a study on ME-CFS patients, especially those who are bed bound or house bound. If you would be interested in participating, leave a comment below with the following information:
Where you live (Country, State)
How long you’ve been sick
What level of functioning you currently are on the Bell Scale or the Energy Scale (approximate) and how much you have fluctuated over the course of your illness.
currently 40%, (range: 30-85%)