(As posted at RevGals)Hello, my name is Mary Beth, and I'm allergic to ligustrum.
Ligustrum is a type of privet hedge and it is very invasive. VERY. It's a spready green bush with leaves of various sizes and tiny white flowers of a head-piercing sweetness.
The house I grew up in had 14-foot ligustrum bushes on three sides. The house I live in now, 250 miles to the north, also has several...they are a different variety but the flowers still get me. Instant sinus attack, that's what these are. And: they are in bloom.
You can remove them, but they grow back. Forever and ever. My husband recently had his helper cut all the blooming branches off of this one, next to where I park my car. What a guy!
So, thinking about allergies:
1. Do you experience any seasonal allergies? Are you allergic to anything else? As you see above. Barometric changes give me sinus trouble, too, along with tree pollens and mold, mildew. But the only thing that I can FEEL being allergic to, instantly, is The Bush that Shall Not be Named Again. Uck.
2. What kinds of symptoms do you experience during your allergic reactions? Sinus pressure, pain; terrible headaches; and eventually sinus infection, if not managed well.
3. How do you manage your allergies? (ie: medication, avoidance, alternative therapies, etc) Nasal lavage. I never really got the hang of a neti pot (I would be glad to send you mine, well washed! just let me know.) I use a squeeze bottle to irrigate my sinuses with a mild saline solution. It's "Dr. Neil's Sinus-Med." If things get too stuffy I will take a Mucinex D (the kind you have to buy from the pharmacist) with lots and lots of water. Avoidance: I hold my breath when I am near ligustrum, or hold my nose and breathe through my mouth. I'm a sight to see, walking to work these days! I am also deadly allergic to cigarette smoke (I stay away from it as possible).
4. What is the strangest allergy you've ever heard of? Hmm. Allergic to work? :)
5. How do you feel about school and social policies that banning peanuts and other allergens? Where would you draw the line? It's a tough one. I don't know.
A group of friends have been discussing Geneen Roth's Women, Food, and God. Her Eating Guidelines are these:
Eat when you are hungry. Eat sitting down in a calm environment. This does not include the car. Eat without distractions. Distractions include radio, television, newspapers, books, intense or anxiety-producing conversations or music. Eat what your body wants. Eat until you are satisfied. Eat (with the intention of being) in full view of others. Eat with enjoyment, gusto and pleasure
When I was little I would bring a book to the table and place it, open, between my thighs on the seat of the chair. I would read until I was caught and stopped. This was a combination of checking out of the family meal (which could, indeed, prove discordant when there were 6 of us at home) and wanting to stay in the world of the book, into which I'd fallen.
In my early elementary years, there was a reasonable amount of conflict to wish to be absent from. Reading was my friend and my safe place. And I got lots of good attention for being an early and voracious reader.
Later, when my father was out of town, Mom would let me and Nancy bring books to the table and we'd all read as we ate dinner.
And then, when I went away to college, I learned that I could read while I ate any time. In my mind, that was an opportunity that adults could choose...like blowing soap bubbles inside the house (this was not allowed in my mother's house, but Songbird will let you do it...)
So trying to convince myself that it's a good idea NOT to read while eating...is not pleasant. It makes me feel angry and deprived. Currently I'm trying to spend 5 minutes of a meal doing it, or eat one item of food that way. Then I can go back to my addiction. Hopefully the willingness will be there to spread that out to longer periods.
I understand, I really do, the purpose of awareness while doing things. Including eating. And I understand that it's a big deal for me for important reasons, and that it protected me for a long time. But maybe, just maybe, I don't NEED that protection. Maybe I can see what it's like to eat aware-ly, not numbly and blindly.
Since January our Sunday Spiritual Formation hour (or Sunday School) has been devoted each week to the presenter's description of a word that describes passion/love or something. No one knows who will be presenting or what the topic will be ahead of time! Each session has been invigorating in a different way. Last week's speaker talked about "words" and finished our time by asking each one of us what "word" we wanted to share--a favorite one.
So my suggestion for today's Friday Five is to write about 5 words you really like. Please explain why you have chosen each word, in such ways as:
It is a
description or attribute of yourself
activity you enjoy
word that is spelled or pronounced in an interesting way
1. re-creates the world 2. puts us in touch with our own creativity 3. is the autograph of our soul, the mark we leave on the development of the world 4. draws us out of ourselves and at the same time makes us more of what we are meant to be 5. develops compassion and character in us 6. immerses us in the search and development of human community
Each day this week journal on one characteristic of a Benedictine spirituality of work in relation to all your work — your job, your hobby or avocation, your daily manual tasks.
I must admit, I feel so scattered these days. Last week was almost a loss in terms of productivity. The week before it, excellent.
Just today, thought, I bit off a small chunk, a draft letter to a foreign university president. I wrote it quickly, and the feeling of my fingers typing quickly and accurately gave me a boost to get the next thing done. Today I am thinking about the "autograph of our soul." Somehow I finally have writing as a career...as my mother always predicted I would...and I sometimes have such a hard time getting going with things. I love it, and yet I hesitate to start...perhaps because I fear leaving a mark on the world. As an Enneagram 9 I typically prefer to make as few waves as possible. But I seem to be coming to a point in my life where I am willing to step out in faith and do so. Little bit by little bit.
Things have been a little crazy here the last several weeks. But all is well, and all shall be well.
Ken went to NYC with me when I attended a Fulbright workshop at the Institute for International Education (across the street from the UN). We had 4 days and spent a wonderful time together. It was his first time to the city and only my second, so there was a lot of exploring to do! He even rode the carousel in Central Park with me. What a guy.
I'm participating in a Spirituality and Practice e-course led by Joan Chittister on her new book/website about Monasteries of the Heart. It's an introduction to the Benedictine Rule of Life. The lessone I just listened to explains that the term "rule" comes from the Latin "regla" which doesn't indicate a law, but a rail or a guide. The Rule of Benedict is meant to point us to the end...to help us see the way.
I was sharing a difficult situation with a co-worker who is Muslim (although describes self as "culturally" one and not "religious.") She said, "well, you have a very strong faith and it will help you." I wonder what she perceives in me that tells her that?
There is so much in the world that is scary and awful. There is heartbreaking joy, beauty and understanding. I am awed.
Pray with me for the PC(USA), for Kirstin waiting for word on a clinical trial at UCSF, for Amy preparing for ordination. For those who are ill and ask for privacy; for those who rejoice and dare not say so.