07/05/17: Mandala Making Workshop

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Beautiful day. Beautiful space. Beautiful people. Beautiful artwork. Beautiful lessons.

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Here’s me setting up everything, one pen at a time. And check out my wobbly left shoulder holding on to its dear life. 🌷

I had such a wonderful time teaching the Mandala Making Workshop last weekend. Somehow, those two hours made me feel more alive than anything else has in more than half a year now. The most beautiful thing about the experience was the very fact that it brought people from different walks of life together, for one shared purpose: to give a break to their busy minds and let their creativity run wild.

We had a retiree who was looking for ways to keep her mind active, a yoga teacher exploring ways for self-expression, a mandarin language teacher who had forgotten that she can create, a computer engineer who needed her calculating brain to quieten for once… none of them had ANY background in mandalas or pattern-making, hadn’t done much research and yet they were there because it seemed right…I mean, isn’t this just WOW?!

Even though it is not uncommon, I am still so amazed at how the whole process shifted something for some of the participants. For me, being there and seeing that in itself was such a deeply moving experience. To be honest, I’m still letting it all sink in. Everything from the place, to people and to the tea we had seemed right. I don’t think I could  have asked to be anywhere else on that Sunday morning but there, teaching, sharing and learning. I’m fatigued out of my mind and yet so full in my heart. Let’s see how long it takes for me to recover from all of it physically but I know I’ll be okay and I’ll do this again when it’s time. My body needs rest now. Conducting a workshop after half a year of being 90% bedridden is a big step ahead for me. And it didn’t just happen overnight… this big step comprised of many, many small steps over the last so many months and years…

One day at a time

One step at a time.

🌷🌿🙏🏼✨

Dark Chocolate + Coconut Milk Popsicles

85 % Dark Chocolate + Coconut Popsicles. Pure bliss! 💕

I could’ve done with more dark chocolate but you know, I didn’t want to push it. I made sure to stay within the allowed quantities of each ingredient and frankly, these just turned out magical. As usual, my friend couldn’t believe these were SIBO friendly and this time, neither could I.

Here’s what went in them:

6 pieces of dark chocolate + 8 tablespoons of coconut milk + 1 cup of coconut water + 2 tsp pure vanilla essence + 1 tbsp raw clover honey + 3.5 tsp raw Cocoa powder + 2 tsp pure coconut oil. This recipe made 4 popsicles.

Method:

The easiest way of making them would be to blend all the ingredients excluding dark chocolate, pour into your moulds and pop them into the freezer for about 8 -12 hours. Before serving, melt dark chocolate + coconut oil and drizzle over the popsicles. You could also just dip the popsicles into the melted chocolate if you wish.

I made these in three parts because I wanted to add extra dark chocolate pieces inside each popsicle and also have bits of plain coconut cream in every popsicle. So we had the main body, chocolate flavoured coconut cream + parts of honeyed coconut cream + pure dark chocolate pieces and drizzle.


If you can read your own scans and reports, understand the terms and see how they correlate to your symptoms + ask appropriate questions + are aware that a patient’s real-time experience doesn’t always match the descriptions in medical books (one size NEVER fits all), you can be rest assured that chronic illness has changed you for life.

Update on my latest MRI coming up soon. Currently too bloody exhausted to type more.

Love to all and stay well!

Day 26: Bedbound

It seems my lower back is just going to take its time to heal and I’m slowly starting to ease in. Once it starts to show signs of recovery, I’m confident I’d be able to build it up all over again (you fall, you get hurt, you accept, you adjust, you love, you heal, you put yourself together and you keep going) because I’ve done it time and again.

I might need to investigate if there’s any new injury or anything to worry about as this has been a rather severe back flare up in the last few months. Let’s hope there’s nothing new in there. I plan to get it checked in a few days, once I get through a few more sessions of physiotherapy and Ayurveda treatment to see if my back responds. I postponed getting it checked earlier because I’m aware of a couple of factors which could be hindering the recovery process.

I’m done resisting the present, hoping and expecting my back to respond just because I have a time frame in mind. I’m slowly easing in, accepting that despite my plans for January 2017, there was a need for me to slow down. And here I am finally allowing myself to. I can’t be more grateful for the support I have right now which makes it possible for me to give my back a break for the time being. I’ve dealt with a great deal of instability for years altogether and realise the importance of having support/stability AND also being grateful for whatever of it you have.

This is not to say that I can wait for too long to feel more like myself again. I feel like a zombie version of myself right now! Truth being said, nobody enjoys experiencing so much pain or dealing with limitations. I seriously despise being unable to do things I’ve worked so hard to get myself to over the last couple of years. I think it’s always good to pause as long as you don’t quit. The  present situation  calls for me to rest, to let go more so my back heals and regains its strength again. I know I’ll be back on my feet soon enough.

Love to all,

MD

❤︎

Day 13: Bedbound

In the last 13 days of being bedridden, I had three alsolutely healthy individuals telling me that I shouldn’t have done something I did on New Year’s Eve. What did I do on New Year’s Eve? I went out for dinner (DINNER) with friends, couldn’t sleep till 4am and woke up in excruciating pain. And did I complain to you? Nope.

These three individuals aren’t even close to me and most definitely don’t know what it is like to be chronically sick for eight years and the consequences it has on one’s life.

 I completely, from the bottom of my heart understand that they were probably concerned and perhaps I need to just let it go and I certainly will. However, I choose to share this today because I want to bring across a very important message.

On behalf of all of us, the chronically ill community, whose lives generally revolve around their health, acceptance and gazillion other life-altering decisions, I want to say something:

Every single decision we make is consciously thought through by us. Whether that’s something as minor as choosing to use a fork instead of chopsticks, or something major such as having to leave school or a full-time job, or, to once in a while allow ourselves to do something we normally don’t. One can’t even begin to imagine the lengths we go to weigh out pros and cons etc. Every cause and effect is measured. And even then ,our bodies fail us sometimes. Even after all the thinking and taking necessary precautions, there are times when our bodies have other plans and leave us in utter disbelief of the amount of pain something can cause.

At the end of the day, we are not fortune tellers and as much as we can base some of our future decisions on our past health-related experiences, we cannot deprive ourselves of being human. Most of us are extremely responsible people leading a rather simple life, filled with passion and gratitude despite all our struggles. And, let’s be honest, our health usually doesn’t allow for bad decisions.

The last thing we’d want to hear when we’re dealing with such heightened pain is what we “should” have done or not done or do. When you tell someone that they should do something (or not), you make them feel incapable of making right decisions for themselves. It’s almost as if you believe you know what’s better for them. Trust me, you don’t.

What would help instead is to simply ask how we’re doing and if there’s anyway in which you could help. Thank you.

To be here 


And today I realized,

I’m quite at peace with where I’m at. 

Of course, there will always be things to work on and move towards,

and every once in a while I will get  overwhelmed with everything that’s going wrong and experience a  meltdown for a while – it’s part of the healing process too.

But to be here,

present in this very moment,

with a fragile body that hurts twenty-four-seven,

and still feel alright deep down

is nothing short of an achievement.

The way things were going,

I didn’t think it was ever possible – this ability to be okay with a disability and exist without too much dependence on someone. 

Nature always does something to me. It gets me thinking (in a good way) and in some ways, brings out the real me in me. 

As I sat there by the water today, looking at the magnificent colours around me,

I knew it was all okay. And going to be okay. 

I was there with my knees swollen but my heart was full of love and gratitude. 

All that I need in this phase of life, I already have. 

A big thank you to all those who are a part of my journey. 

Love,
Manasi

Paddle Boat 

Let me tell you a short story about yesterday.

So I left home with a friend, expecting to go to a flea market and be back home within two hours. The flea market turned out rather pathetic so we landed up in this adorable cafe and had traditional Chinese milk tea + an almond cake. Then, since I was extremely excited about finally being out (not a medical appointment for once) after my flight back from India took a toll on me, I thought I could handle a couple more hours of staying out. We decided to go this beautiful place and sit by the water and think about life.

What happened next was totally unexpected and impulsive – instead of just sitting by the water, we went on a paddle boat for an hour. At this point, I must tell you that I love water (I think it has some healing effect on me) and I’ve always enjoyed water sports as a child. Just about seven years ago, I was close to getting a kayaking license and was looking forward to kayaking to some nearby island.

Okay, back to the present – some memories came flooding in and I was surprised that none of them made me sad or upset. Past is gone for a reason and my reason here (health) is of immense value, something most chronically ill people understand. I realized that paddle boating was probably the closest I was goinh to get to any form of water sports now so why not just give it a shot?

 The seats didn’t exactly look comfortable and were clearly at an angle that’s bad for my back. The paddles too, were located at an angle not quite right for my knees but even then… I wanted to give it a shot. I trusted my friend to take over when I needed a break so we hopped onto the paddle boat and went paddling away.

Well, we had a blast. We literally blasted Bollywood songs and laughed our heads off. Unfortunately, the winds were pretty strong and the waves were kind of harsh so we needed to be towed back after our time was up. I was kind of tired anyway so I’m glad we got a quick ride back.

So today, I woke up with noticeably high pain levels and extreme tightness in my lower back. It’s a challenge to walk around the house and I had to cancel Pilates just to stay in and rest my inflamed lower body. My calves, hamstrings and glutes really did a lot of work last evening. You might think that’s good, but trust me, this isn’t your after-workout-feel-good-and-sexy kind of pain I’m talking about.

Anyway, to conclude my little story. I’m super happy that I attempted something new. Something from my past but not quite. Something more present. And, I realized that it’s something that didn’t quite work for me – which is fine because I’ve got more information about my limitations. So do I regret getting on it? Yes and no. Yes, because dude pain is never fun. And no, because a part of me would’ve continuously longed for that experience and the sheer possibility of it perhaps not hurting me would’ve bothered the shit out of me.

Now I know better and next time, I’m taking one more person along with me so I can rest and the other two can paddle. Royal treatment? Sure, that’s better than being royally screwed (by pain) later.

Love,

Manasi

Three years back

Just about three years back, probably towards the middle of a very #dark phase of hating my body, I swore upon myself to never travel until I felt #ready. Unfortunately, I didn’t believe I’d ever feel ready enough to live in this body or #travel with it. While most people of my age were getting excited about traveling, I was feeling trapped in a body that only looked normal.

There came a point where I didn’t want anything more but to be able to look after myself, #trust my body again and be okay with where I was at. It was such a #challenge because there was absolutely nothing trustworthy about my body. I realized I could care less about seeing the world or chasing goals if I couldn’t even wash my own hair or walk around my own house.

I left a part of my past behind, took a couple of major leaps of faith and started living on my own. I decided to create a routine which provided me with the kind of stability that my body lacked; that my #environment lacked too. The idea was to build myself up again, to become comfortable with the cards I was dealt , to #empower myself and honour my #health. I had to re-imagine a life that is different and also learn to believe that different doesn’t mean bad.

After three years of the very same #routine and #lifestyle – Physiotherapy, Pilates, allopathic medicines, complimentary therapies, lots of positive-self talk, re-connecting with my creative self, allowing myself to cry and experience grief fully, accepting limitations, fighting for instead of against my body, letting go of people, places and situations which didn’t serve my new self anymore, feeding myself nourishing food, learning to find reasons to be grateful — and something shifted within me. I suddenly craved a #change, a mini #break from this routine that I had created for myself. Some time away from it to see how far I’ve come.

I’ve got more information now. I can see the #progress I’ve made and there’s more to learn. To be honest, I don’t know when I’d feel ready to travel again and this time it doesn’t matter at all. It doesn’t make me feel any less or more because I believe time will come when it must.