Thoughts from a Hotel Room in Taos, NM

Somewhere between the transition from darkness to light, I heard my guides whisper “you are not your thoughts.” I have heard that phrase said many times, but for some reason this morning it registered as a kind of Eternal truth, a reminder from the depths of my soul.  I’ve been having Ego attacks on a regular basis for the past month and a half and feeling completely out of control both of my mind and body. My Ego has some key issues it likes to work with, which usually boil down to beliefs of not being good enough or being ugly. It does such a good job of convincing me of these things that I’ll completely lose perspective and feel like I’ve never felt a time when those things didn’t feel true. Or then I’ll fixate on the “truth” of that and watch as evidence of it pops up in my life. It will actually distort my image in the mirror; I’ll look at myself during an attack and see what I’m sure anorexics see, an image of themselves several pounds heavier. But then I’ll look again days later when I’m fine and see my normal, lovely self. It’s kind of a trip.

Last night, a woman handed me a print of a photo she had taken of the four of us at the Rocky Mountain Folks Fest. I looked at myself and thought wow, I will never be as vibrant and beautiful as I was in that photograph.  In the photo, I am beaming with happiness, health, clear eyes and skin, good muscle tone. (The medication I’m on now has some inconvenient side effects, it makes my skin break out and I have an insatiable hunger. It’s almost as if it blocks my brain from telling me I am full, so I have to consciously take small portions and stop myself from eating when everyone else puts down their forks. I feel like a labrador retriever, who apparently have their appetite sensor bred out of them.)  I feel incredibly betrayed by my body and in these past couple months have spiraled into feeling sorry for myself and feeling despair. It hasn’t been easy. But I look at the photo again and think, wow, when that was taken in August last year, I was actually already sick with leukemia! I was not the picture of health. My body was already out of whack, and I was so less conscious of the issues and negative beliefs that were literally multiplying in me and poisoning my blood. My lifeline. Sure, I am struggling right now, but I have been given a gift of a life-threatening disease which reminds me every day of being and living the most intentional of lives. Which does mean confronting my Ego and having the sense to know it’s illusory. Which does mean making it a practice to be gentle and loving towards myself especially when I’m my most activated. Which does mean being vigilant. That is the work of life.

Today is a glorious day off at one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Taos NM. There are talks of heading to a hot springs and hiking some trails, and I’m excited. Nothing can align you with your Source like nature, and I don’t get out in it nearly as much as I want. My intention today is to try to start looking at my cancer and these Ego attacks as opportunities to change.

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8 Responses to Thoughts from a Hotel Room in Taos, NM

  1. Suzy L says:

    Doris,
    Thanks so much for showing us this side of you.
    I too struggle with my Ego and my body image. Every.single.day.

    Even though I spent months in a wheelchair and more months on crutches while relearning how to walk when I was 18 I forget that I should be grateful for every single step I get to take unaided. Even though I have 5 incredibly wonderful smart talented children I loathe the curves and scars on my body left from giving them life. Even though I have lived a good many years celebrating life I am disgusted at the lines that are showing on my face.

    Thank you for reminding me that living and loving for today are important things. I go foward today with more intention, more strength, and more love for you too :)

    Miss you so…can’t wait to see you this summer.
    XOXOSuzy

  2. Lukie says:

    This is so lovely and authentic and inspiring, D. I saw the tweet yesterday that you guys were in Taos and I took a moment of stillness, closed my eyes and imagined you there, smiling, basking in nature, feeling good, powerful and being happy… all good things, you are…

  3. Laura says:

    I survived cancer a few years ago. I was diagnosed when I was 29. I have to say that the inner struggle after my diagnosis and subsequent recovery was just as challenging, if not moreso than the physical recovery. Thanks for sharing your own inner struggles.

    I grew up in NM and love Taos very much. If there is anyplace in the world that can provide some healing time for you, it is Taos.

    Be well!

  4. Liz Beinhorn says:

    Such important things to recognize and also share! Thank you. :) There’s a really big part of me that relates to this. Two years ago in the middle of working on my masters in art therapy, I was literally stopped in my tracks by autoimmune arthritis. I realized I had put a lot of things off, like learning to play guitar. Two factors prompted me to actually buy a guitar. One of those factors was my arthritis and the other was hearing Everything’s Easy. I was done putting off the things I enjoyed doing or wanted to do because I had so many expectations of myself, and the voice that said there’s always tomorrow for that. More importantly I realized just how much it mattered to do things that nurture my body and my spirit today.

    It’s funny, how illness can be both a blessing and a curse like that. Keep on taking care of yourself, in time that part of myself that didn’t accept me just the way I am or always expected more then I could do, became a much kinder and gentler voice.

    Take care. :)

  5. Bruce Smith says:

    Thank you so much for opening to us like this, Doris, in such a heartfelt and wise way. It helps to see that even someone so obviously lovely and talented still experiences ego attacks and image issues. (To paraphrase Ty, how many of us occasionally/often ‘look in the mirror [and] can’t abide what [we] see there’?) Thank you for reminding us of the hidden gifts of adversity and the importance of being intentional and focused on what really matters. We need to be cheerleaders for each other, but we can’t until we’re vulnerable with each other first.

    I’m so grateful to have seen you guys last weekend, and I hope your days off and time outdoors are deeply restorative.

  6. Michelle Grua says:

    Yay, you, for recognizing that you are not your thoughts…that’s just what the buddhists call your ” monkey mind” jumping all over the place to keep you off balance, very mischievous and sometimes, like real monkeys, it flings poo at you! Fling it back with loving kindness. ;-). See you so, so soon!
    M* ( found the asterisk)

  7. gwen says:

    Doris, I was reading the blog forward chronologically, and I’d just breathed a sigh of happiness and relief when I saw the Soundcheck post, thinking that you looked SO healthy and strong and wonderful in that photo. It’s so funny how our egos don’t allow us to see what others see in us, especially when it’s how beautiful we are… but that comes through so clearly in your words as well as your photos.

    Stay strong, and thank you for reminding me that we should all be gentle and loving to ourselves, every single day.

  8. Joshua says:

    Just love.

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