Thursday, January 25, 2018

Embracing My Flawless Imperfection in the Midst of Chronic Illness

This article was additionally published on The Mighty!

The word of the day today is FLAWLESS. It's written on my t-shirt (see cheesy selfie), and frankly it's a good reminder for me to live into the body that I have right now at this present moment. But holy cow can that be complicated when living with chronic illness!

The idea of being FLAWLESS is a paradox. To look at a tree is to notice all of its imperfections, and yet as God's creation it is perfect in every way. I'm reminded of Lady Gaga's lyrics... "I'm beautiful in my way 'cause God makes no mistakes I'm on the right track baby I Was Born This Way."

So here I am today in the space between...I want to be healed! I have come so far! But I still have a long ways to go...And I recognize that it could be so much worse.

This is what we call a liminal space - or the ambiguous space of waiting. Living a life after a Traumatic Brain Injury, with migraines, post concussive syndrome, pituitary problems, adrenal insufficiency and now some very rare undiagnosed inflammatory condition, liminality is a part of my existence.

As I have been in this liminal space, I have endured all kinds of judgments and assumptions. I choose not to give those negative experiences any more power by discussing them here. Rather, I will say that I am using this experience to cultivate my own inner strength. As a woman that struggled to trust myself, I am learning to how to rely on my own perceptions, my own anchor, my own self esteem and my own self awareness. That's a huge deal given my anorexic history.

So just for today, I am fully embracing the gift of this body. I'm choosing to call my body FLAWLESS, even and especially with all of my imperfections. I'm choosing to love my body so much that I nurture it with every fiber of my being. That means good nourishment spiritually, emotionally, and physically. It also means going to the difficult doctors appointments, engaging in holistic healing, utilizing art therapy to help me process what's inside, spending time with my animals, training my horse, honoring my energy levels with rest, advocating for myself, engaging in contemplative prayer, and simply putting one foot in front of the other.

I live with several invisible chronic illnesses and rare diseases. I can't control how others perceive me; yet I can control how I see myself. I believe that all things in life flourish when loved well. This is especially true for those that are struggling and/or in the process of healing. So today I am starting a quiet internal revolution by choosing to give my body the love that is so richly deserves in this exact moment. Yes, I am FLAWLESS.

...and so are YOU.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Pistachio SOLD...Beautiful Synchronicity

This lovely woman, whom I've admired from afar for a very long time, SHOCKED me today when she told me that she wanted my latest art piece...Pistachio sold in under an hour!

Oh my...I giggled with the synchronicity as we finally met in person at my Seminary where she now works. We discussed Hildegard of Bingham and the beautiful revelation that happens through the greening power of God. Wow!

Thank you Maggie Breen for your service to those that live outside, for your theological wisdom, and for making the intentional decision to support sacred creativity.



When my daughter and I approached our usual Starbucks this morning, a young man was standing outside.  I was sweating and hot because I felt ill today, so I was outside in 43 degree temperatures in nothing but a t-shirt.  He commented that he liked my Nirvana shirt. I said thanks and kept going.

On the way back out I noticed that he was seated on the pavement. He wasn't going to say anything to me. But I felt the nudge that I always follow and so I asked him if he was okay. His eyes were foggy, exhausted, and he appeared worn. I expected him to ask me for food. Instead he told me that he had been wandering the streets of Issaquah for 4 days trying to stay warm because he doesn't have a sleeping bag and it's freezing at night. He said there's a sleeping bag that he wants to buy a Target and he only needs about 20 more dollars to be able to make that purchase.

I almost never give out money.... I've heard a version of this story too many times to count. And is the story ever real?

But then I checked in with myself, and I looked into his eyes, and I could tell that he was suffering. The reason behind his suffering became irrelevant. This was a young man, on the border of childhood, that needed relief.   I had no way of discerning what that relief was, but he knew what he needed. And it was clear to me that I was placed there in that moment to meet the need. And so I followed the nudge.

I never carry cash, but today in my wallet I happened to have a $20 bill that I didn't even know was there. I gave it to him.

Then I let him know that if he's going through withdrawals, I understand....No judgment here. It felt important to me to honor the fact that this might be used for drugs and I didn't care. Drawing upon my recent experience coming off of acute pain medications, I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy outside in the cold. I'm not an addict, but the physical discomfort is real. No one should judge another human going through withdrawals, only compassion should prevail.

He said this wasn't withdrawal, and I told him I believed him. Then I introduced myself and learned his name was Corbin. We shook hands and parted ways. And I made sure that he knew that today he was seen and cared for without judgment. After all, that's all that any of us really want!

I was challenged recently in reading about The Franciscan Saint Clare... she said that the cross is a mirror. Can we look into the face of suffering and not simply walk on by?

Some might say that this was about me helping Corbin... but I believe that these are the small ways that God shows up in my life.  I don't take the patronizing view that I am helping him;'I take the grateful view that today Corbin reminded me a little bit more of who I am  and why I have endured my own suffering.

Thank you God.


If you think about it, Starbucks has established itself as a gathering place for people of all kinds and all walks of life, and that goes for people to live outside as well. I've had more sincere experiences of ministry while sitting in the Starbucks then I've ever experienced an actual church.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Baby Steps

Today I made FIRE in Chinese Medicine.

I learned early in my healing from the concussion that the way out of fear is to make a plan and take action...this is Yang Rising.  Even tiny steps forward can be transformative and healing.

I got scared today. I felt sad...paralyzed....worried....and it directly affected the way my body felt.

When I became aware of what was happening, I took steps to move the energy. I made the doctor's appointments that were necessary...I got on my Trainer's horse bareback and felt her Alpha Female Dragon energy (I'm getting ready to FINALLY get back on my own horse).... and I set some essential boundaries with a relationship that had taken a troubling turn. 

And tonight I feel calm...content...I can breathe..

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Dancing with Joy for a Normal Day

It's Sunday. I feel good today. Human. Normal. And as I was writing about it (my not so secret book project), I realized something very important - perhaps the journey through the pain of chronic illness allows me to notice and appreciate the days that I am well...I used to take those days for granted. Not anymore. To have energy is a gift from GOD. And when you get to a place that life's basics leave you dancing with joy and gratitude, then life is wonderful indeed.

New Art! Flight Paths

"Fight Paths"
Mixed Media (you have to zoom in to see the under layer)
24 x 24

New Art! Salty Tears

Original Art and Poetry by Heather Thompson,
Blue Phoenix Art

Mother Earth cries salty tears.
From the depths of the ocean
To the apex of heaven
Pausing in puffed condensation
Only to burst forth
Transforming always.

Her oceans ebb and flow
With drops of salted water
Undulating in sensual delight
Raging with fiery fury
Resting in stillness
Embracing the paradox.

A fractal of the Great Mother
This heart cries salty tears.
These Eyes hide the painful past.
This body knows...
Sensual delight.
Raging fury.
Restful stillness.
I embrace the paradox.
Transforming always.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

I'm Finally Grasping Beauty

I think I'm finally beginning to understand what beauty REALLY's not the things I used to chase in the hopes that others would find me shoes/ pack abs...all the trappings of the things I thought I needed....But all a part of a complex mask to keep me safe.

As I've explored the depths, I've come to realize that beauty is the way a person FEELS on the inside, and it's reflected in the light that shines through his or her eyes...I saw it in Kenny last night...Some of the most beautiful people I've ever spent time with were missing teeth and wearing tattered clothes... and yet they were radiant.

Friday, January 19, 2018

A Prayer with Kenny

I feel tears of gratitude and I'm only sharing this because it reminds me of the humility of following tiny nudges. Tonight I left a difficult cranial sacral appointment and felt the need to stop in to Starbucks on 23rd and Jackson. I met a man standing outside named Kenny who was clearly developmentally disabled and homeless. He said he was hungry and so I bought him what he wanted because I never say no to a request for food. When I came out with the two bananas and the hot sandwich he gave me the biggest hug and began to pray. I couldn't make out the words, but it didn't matter because it was clear to me that he was saying the most heartfelt words to God. And so we embraced for a good 30 seconds only to let go and both say Amen laughing.  For me this is what it's all about! Quieting down my life enough that I can follow the nudges that lead me to these moments. And he couldn't have possibly known that I needed that prayer just as much as he did. Thanks be to God!

Friday, January 12, 2018

New Art - Conversations in Color

Conversations in Color
He met me in the burnt
transparency of iron oxide
...the last breath of summer.
Sweltering, with tattoos exposed
hair flowing freely
dancing eyes attempting contact.
Teal, magenta, primary yellow
...and cobalt blue
Intermingling in glorious color.
Until the palate surrendered to the Earth
only to have amber and silver emerge
as if it had been there all along.

Original Art and Poetry by Heather Thompson, Blue Phoenix Art
Contact for Purchase Information
Art - Two Paintings 30 x 30 Each
"Conversations in Color"
Sold as a Pair

A Cultural Sickness

A comment on statements by Trump. He has said many things, even before he was elected...Example - As a woman and a survivor of sexual assault, I was deeply affected by his "grab them by the pussy" comment. I was even more impacted by those that continued to support him in the wake of those remarks. Some were dear friends. They had NO IDEA what it feels like to be a woman realizing that a man could say such things and have it not even matter in the "greater scheme of things." Now we have MeToo. But that cannot change the thousands of years of men feeling entitled to women's bodies (which continues today).

Trump has made comments about many different groups at this point. The "shithole" comment is just the most recent in a long line of statements. It would be natural to want to lash out at Trump for what he continues to say - but I believe we should be careful about engaging in self-righteous responses that enhance the us vs them dynamic.

Our culture elected Trump. He is saying things that people have been thinking for a very long time. Is anyone really surprised that these beliefs exist in our society? Or are we surprised that he is actually saying it? While shocking to some, it is equally informative. The cultural sickness is being revealed. I believe in shining a light on it, rather than attempting to stuff it back down.

In my opinion, yelling at Trump and calling them all crazy will not heal the schism that is growing in this country. Attacking Trump and his supporters deepens the us vs them dynamic and causes even more violence...lest people do to others what they don't want done to them.

So what to do? This is my current contemplation, as we are only as loving as the love we have for our fiercest enemy.

"Forgive them Father, they know not what they do."