Tag Archives: Deepak Chopra

What the Heck is Wrong With Me Anyway, and What Deepak Chopra Had to Say About It. Part Two.

In part one, I was describing my life and in the later part of it, I felt like one of the ancient Greeks, constantly fearful of the gods’ wrath.

Something the ancient Greeks would do when they had doubt or fear, or needed direction, was go see an Oracle. The oracle, usually a woman, would go into a trance and provide advice that would need to be translated by other temple priests into a practical guide.

I was in need of a modern-day oracle.

Enter Deepak Chopra. If you’re curious who he is, I think this Time Magazine profile does him the most justice. At the heart of his appeal, to me at least, is this:

“Nothing feels more impossible than human suffering,” says a character in The Daughters of Joy. (One of Chopra’s books.) “We get trapped in it because we’ve lined up our unsolved problems like horses on a merry-go-round. Every day the same horses go around inside our heads. Old grievances, unforgotten pain, resentment, anger, failure and insecurity — the circle keeps turning.” Through his books, videos and workshops, Chopra offers a ticket off that merry-go-round. He is hardly to blame if, to date, there has been no shortage of takers.

I need to get off the merry-go-round. I need to let go of my fear. Is it possible?

The ancient Greeks didn’t believe in free will. I used to. I still believe that human beings can achieve great things of their own volition. How much of this is attributable to luck, genetic predispositions, energy levels, skills and hard work is a formula that has been recalculated in my mind in the last eight years.

If I could reinvent my own myth, my own story, I’d love to tell a different story. One that is as true as the current narrative, but one that tells a more hopeful chronicle.

In this story, I would be cast as an Athena-like warrior, who battles through disease, infertility, protects her children valiantly, puts her own physical health on the line as a sacrifice for her family, tells her story in hopes of helping others in their fight for resources to fight infertility. The truth is, yes, a bunch of shit happened to me (and continues to happen to me) but I have overcome a lot of problems as well. Against bad odds (less than a 10% chance) I conceived two wonderful children. I held them in my body, stayed in bed and birthed them. I protected them from harm. I took one for the team and did night duty so my husband could be the financial provider, fully rested. I protected my husband from getting germs. I survived many illnesses and remained standing.

The problem is, in this story, I still am associated with my problems. So, I went to the Oracle.

There must have been other people waiting in line, asking similar questions of the Oracle. So I was lucky enough to get a three-part response from Deepak Chopra.

The responses are as mysterious to me as those that the ancient Greeks must have received. I have to admit that I don’t know a huge amount about Eastern philosophy (something I am going to change) but I know that quite a few of my readers do.

Oh, wise readers: can you help me interpret the words of the Oracle?

I’d like to invite EVERYONE reading to discuss Deepak Chopra’s words. Even if you’ve never commented on a blog before, or read this blog without commenting. Even (especially?) if you are one of my family members! What do you think these words mean? Do they help you to explain how you identify yourself? Can we craft a story together that makes us more hopeful and joyful everyday, in a meaningful way, something I think so many people want, not just myself?

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Filed under Discovering joy, Family, Fear, SAHM, twins

What the Heck Is Wrong With Me Anyway, and What Deepak Chopra Had to Say About It. Part One.

First of all, I realize that I have been abysmal at commenting and posting over the last week. I’m really sorry, and can only say that I am starting to return to form. This is going to be a LONG post, so please feel free to pull up an armchair, pour yourself a cup of chamomile tea. Or, you know. Save yourself. Click out 😉

I think it’s obvious that I have been pretty shaken by recent events. I have spent the week speaking about dark corners and light places with my mom in person, with my dad over the phone and this weekend, with Darcy.

Sometimes you need to spend time with those who have known you the longest to understand that SOMETHING is awry.

My mom talked to me of my past. She walked me through my childhood, my teen years, my twenties, my perfect wedding. I used to sparkle brightly, and no one would bet against my chances of doing exactly what I wanted. I achieved, I was a sunbeam. I had one big setback (a bad car accident when I was twenty) that I overcame. But, in general, I was a child of fortune.

But after I turned thirty, bad stuff began to happen to me.

I haven’t talked about it here, but the first year of my marriage I came down with a serious and mysterious illness which crippled me for about a year. After six months of scary anxiety and physical therapy, I “came back”, but it damaged my belief that the world was good. I now thought there were disasters waiting for me around every corner.

I wasn’t wrong. As soon as I got the all-clear from my doctor, we began TTC. Six months later, I knew something wasn’t right. All my tests were normal, as were Darcy’s, so it was another medical mystery. After rounds of IUIs, Clomid, then injectibles, my RE was puzzled so he recommended IVF. They only retrieved ONE egg from me during my cycle. I was 32. I was diagnosed with premature ovarian failure. I was told that my best chance to conceive was to use donor eggs. The next disaster had appeared. I collapsed under its weight.

But Darcy stubbornly insisted that we continue IVF, trying to use my own eggs. I didn’t see the point, but somehow he believed it would work. Darcy’s weird that way. If things don’t go the way he believes they should go, he will shout, curse, fight and push his way through. He believes this is his right. I had gotten to the point where I would prefer to crawl into a cave, and wait for the world to hate me less.

Those who have followed my story know I was extremely lucky enough to conceive twins on my third round of IVF. Once I received the news I was with child(ren), I crawled into a cave of bedrest, hoping that the universe would forget about me while my pregnancy gestated. I rarely left the house. I probably smiled three or four times in nine months. I rarely took showers. I took no photos of my “bump”. I hid the ultrasound printouts under my bed. When I made it to my 35th week, I was astounded. When the twins were born, healthy, and I was able to take them home with me, I couldn’t believe my fortuity. I gazed quizzically at the sky, waiting for something to strike me down. I had become one of the suspicious Greeks in the myths, awaiting some jealous or angry or petty or mean god to wipe me and my new, precious children off this earth.

The first year I anxiously monitored my twins’ every breath, poop, meal and feeding. I kept two journals for one year, for each child, detailing every bowel movement, ounce of breastmilk, then formula, then rice cereal, then organic strained vegetables that they consumed. I analyzed every inch of their bodies when I introduced a new food, and noted if there was even the smallest bit of baby acne on their skin. I used an “angel monitor” under their beds at night, which checked for movement, and detailed the amount of times it went off. I counted every moment they were asleep and awake. I noted each milestone, noted milestones that weren’t hit. I stood like an careworn centurion over my children, guarding them from harm, ready to throw my spear or wield my shield in the battle for their existence.

As the first year rolled into the second, my fear morphed into exhaustion. Even the most vigilant defender needs sleep. I became ill, and each bout of illness triggered panic that I would be unequal to the task of guarding their little lives from the disasters which, certainly, were waiting around every quarter. I got pneumonia. I had bronchitis five times in one year. Our home developed black mold. We had to move. My daughter suffered from some respiratory problems. Then: I got pregnant, without medical assistance, only to lose the pregnancy in the eighth week. The gods had done it again.

Year two rolled into year three. My dad in October, during a visit, observed my grim visage, my emaciated body. My lack of enthusiasm. My fearful waiting for the gods to curse us, again.

He noted: “It pained me to see that you had become a spectator of your own life. You went through each day, with its grueling demands and physical exhaustion, as if you were just putting one foot in front of the other, with no enjoyment, happiness or expectation that life was anything but something to endure.”

He was right. By December I knew in my bones that something was WRONG. With my body and soul. I created my 365 days of joy project to try to take control of this problem.

I blogged, I made new friends, I gained wisdom and insight from wonderful people. And a stirring in my soul arose. To live life again as a child of fortune. To not expect disaster. But mostly, I just wanted to sleep. My arms and legs felt, every day, as if I had run a race the day before. And when I napped, there was no replenishment of energy or oxygen or whatever. I was not living my life fully, and had become a train conductor to my children, guiding them through the many things they needed to do each day. Eat. Use kind words. Use the potty. Get dressed. Get to the car. Go to the classroom without getting hit by a car. Picking them up. Getting them to nap. Fixing a snack. Taking them to get exercise outside. Fixing dinner. Bathtime. Books. Bed. After which, I would crawl into bed with my computer and eat a meal, consumed with lassitude.

Darcy and I politely and not so politely negotiated a routine, so he would wake up with them during the weekends and take care of them then, and I would wearily join the family in the afternoons for outings and family times. Enduring.

When my mom left and Darcy returned, he told me that I had become “the girl problems happened to”. He said, “If I told anyone we know right now that you fell and broke your leg, they would say, ‘It’s Jjiraffe. Of course that happened to her.'”

This profoundly saddened me. Obviously, shit is going to happen. That’s life. There ARE disasters around every corner. The news about my dad just reinforced that. But how do I get beyond the disasters? How do I enjoy this “middle” that I’m in? How do I teach my children that there are jokes to laugh about, carefree afternoons of reading in the sunshine ahead, lazy rivers to watch, astounding vistas to see? Wonderful delicacies to digest?

How do I go beyond enduring? How do I move past my bodily pain and exhaustion? How do I become a person whose problems don’t define them?

Then I had a weird thought: Deepak Chopra. Now I’ve probably lost you. But, my dad once interviewed him. My dad is a Protestant who is deeply skeptical about “New Age ideas”. But he enjoyed speaking with him and thought him wise.

Someone I follow on Twitter re-tweeted Deepak Chopra’s thoughts on joy. I admired them and became a follower of his. After Darcy told me that I had become “the girl that problems happened to”, I wondered what Deepak Chopra would advise. So I did what anyone would do. I sent him a tweet.

Part Two: What Did Deepak Chopra Advise? And what did it mean? No, really, what did it mean?

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