Peeling The Onion

I got so lost in the past few weeks. All I’ve done is spend time with Ross and Rachel, Monica, Chandler, Phoebe and Joey, Will, Grace, Karen and Jack. I should have known better, creating such an artificial environment for myself. It just didn’t work, I’m not very good at that way of relaxing. Now I feel like I’m getting a case of the spiritual bends, coming up from where I lay so low. The thing is there’s been a lot of sickness in January, and all the resolutions and high hopes and grandstanding deflated like a big, fat, garish Happy New Year balloon.

I’m not normally sick and I’m not good at it. I’m a smiley on the outside, snarly on the inside, kicking about the attic kind of sick person. Just leave me alone and let me plummet in peace. Ha! It has caused me to think a lot about the nature of illness. I’ve been reaching for the Louise Hay book, “Heal Your Body – The mental causes for physical illness and the metaphysical way to overcome them.” Looked up sinus problems. The doctor had said that half the people in Langley had a sinus infection right now. “Irritation to one person, someone close.” So, other half of Langley, you know who you are.

I gravitated towards a Larry Dossey book, “The Extraordinary Healing Power of Ordinary Things,” which has 14 chapters, of 14 natural steps to health and happiness. Slowly and painfully I’ve been squinting my way through it. The chapter on Tears was particularly relevant as a significant part of my poor health this past month was an eye infection that lingered on. I read as naturally and as often as I breathe, so my frustration at not being able to take the world in through my eyes has been especially trying. I learned that emotional tears are more protein rich than tears caused by an irritant, but both contain toxins, proof that crying not only releases stress but improves health. I’ve wondered why my eyes are faltering again. This happened not that long ago in Texas and Louise said, “Anger and frustration at what you are seeing in life.” We all know I struggled with my vision of Texas but here I am, back in the attic, believing that I have an attitude of gratitude.

In Julia Cameron’s “Artist’s Way,” she talks about the Sanskrit word kriya, which means a spiritual emergency or surrender. And again she points out the similarity of words, that kriya is so close to crias, or when our souls are crying.

In one of the most spectacular un-Hollywood crying scenes I’ve ever seen, the actress Juliet Stevenson in Truly Madly Deeply bawled her eyes out through the entire movie. Tears ran down her face; she wiped away mucous from her nose with her fingers, the sides of her hands, her shirt sleeves, the front of her blouse. She pressed her palms against her eyes and still the tears streamed out. Many years ago I was in a play in which I had to stand and simply read aloud a letter from my husband. The letter in itself didn’t say much, but because of the behind the scenes improvising I had done on my character, there was a line three quarters of the way down the page where, like clockwork, a tear left my eye and travelled slowly down my cheek. Was I faking it? Do actors fake those tears? No. It is in our memory, our bodies’ memories. Unlike the definition of crocodile tears, phony tears crocodiles shed for their victims, as they are devouring them.

I think of how I’ve always said that walking is my meditation – Solvitur Ambulando – and January was a month without walking. Being so stationary I have been unable to leave my own disquiet. Walking is a way of moving into the eye of the storm where it is quiet.

In the chapter on Music there was an anecdote about a woman with a sinus headache who had heard about toning and humming as a way of curing sinus problems. She began making a sound that vibrated through her whole head and her sinuses opened up and began to drain. My experience was more amusing than curative, as Gazebo the cat reacted quite out of character for him. In frustration I had thrown myself across the bed and began to chant Om over and over. The first Om was still reverberating when he ran across my bed, stared me in the eyes, and then head butted me. I have no idea what he thought I said to him.

But something that both Roslyn and Freud kept pointing out to me was, “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.” And that means too, “Get over yourself already!” Being tired of being sick is a first sign of health. I’m still not sure if I learned anything at all that first month of this new year. I couldn’t use my eyes but I heard the double meanings in every word. How to be a patient patient? Be healed in body and spirit so that I can walk with my heel and my sole on the earth again. A tear in the spirit that causes a tear in the I/eye.

We think of onions when we think of crying, the most common cause of tears in the world. The word onion is a derivative of the Latin unio, which means oneness and unity. Spelled with an “o” but pronounced as though it’s “union.” Throughout the ages and encompassing many cultures the onion has been venerated and celebrated. The Egyptian King Ramses IV was embalmed with onions in his eye sockets. Could there be a more fitting place?

January is over. I’m relieved. I’m ready to get on with it again. But our bodies do speak to us, and for us. They remind us of the wounds and weaknesses of our physical beings and the spiritual need we must put our attention to. And so we go, peeling down, down, down through the layers. If we can laugh until we cry, so can we cry until we laugh. So cry baby, cry.

Good Life

2 Responses to “Peeling The Onion”

  1. dawna says:

    While I was looking up a herbal remedy for a sinusitis I came across your website. The word sinus was in your article, (blog). Anyway, I started reading it and I really enjoyed your writing style and just wanted to let you know that. I really could relate to some of the things you mentioned. January was a lazy month for me. Good intentions not followed through with. Glad spring is coming. My family, husband and two teenage kids live in Spruce Grove, Alberta, brrr it has been -32 here as of late. The dog doesn’t even want to go for a walk. I might read your website again

    Thanks for the read.

  2. Cylia says:

    When the layers are revealed, they are tender and sensitive, they need time and patience to develop a protective skin. Your attention is required. I am glad you are better. Love, cyl

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