There's a funny thing about fear though. I'll avoid the obvious Jack Kennedy reference, but it really is true that majority of our pain and anxiety has to do with the avoidance of any path, rather than the actual discomfort of that path. When I finally tipped past that proverbial horizon line, I did not tumble into darkness, I discovered the world was round.
As the donations poured in, I realized just how lucky I am to have the friends that I do, the 25,000 dollars I raised is absolutely essential to being able to afford much of the testing and treatment that I need right now, and those of you who know me well, know that I am already thinking past myself and into how I can use this experience to help others who are suffering. Just as valuable as the donations, however, were the dozens of letters I received from other people suffering similar symptoms who had found answers. It gave me a wide database of possible disorders for my doctors to (albeit reluctantly) investigate. More than information though, these letter gave me strength, hope, and perspective and ultimately, allowed me to surrender to my journey and find a place of peace and gratitude.
Where we are right now is that tests are still ongoing. The process is slow and doctors can be difficult, but I think they've gotten to know me well enough to know that the best way to deal with me is to work with me rather than against me. I am not going anywhere until we have tested for every known condition that matches my symptom profile, which you can imagine makes me an unpopular patient. While one hopes to find a smoking gun complete with pill to neutralize it, I have also come to accept that many disorders that match my symptoms are still poorly understood disease processes, (specifically a whole host of neuro-immune disorders) with limited conventional treatments options, and to that effect I am also aggressively pursuing alternative therapies as well.
Healing is about more than just repairing a broken physiology though. Healing is the process by which we transform malcontent into content, and pain into love. Paradoxically this process can actually be hindered by our blessings, and while the process of being paired down to your core is painful, I've discovered that even stripped of the larger share of my possessions, my finances, my work, and my athletic abilities, I can still find grace and meaning. Pain is a reality for me, I can't change that right now, but I can always find something positive and focus on that.
My limitations right now are that I can be moderately active about 4 hours a day, and I can run on the beach for 15 minutes a day. Activity beyond that makes me dramatically sicker, so I lay down and read and write the rest of the time. For those of you who have known me as the person who used to wake up at 5 am and surf until sunrise, and then work until long after dinner for months on end, this has been exactly the kind of wrenching transformation you'd expect it to be. I'm past that though, and I'm committed to focusing on what I can do, and most of all trusting my journey. There are so many people out there that find joy in much worse circumstances, and feeling sorry for myself would be an insult the to blessings I still have intact.
Where this brings us to is the changes in my material world. First off I sold my half of the R-evolutions Gardens farm. I needed the money to survive, and can no longer meet my responsibilities to the property. It is in good hands with Ginger and her new husband Brigham. The Off Grid Airstream that I worked so hard on last summer has proven to be exactly the beautiful, simple place I need to rest and heal. I will continue to slowly work on it throughout the year. Cape Falcon Kayak will be closed this year. That's a tough one. I am energized and inspired by teaching but there is simply no way I can physically do my job with my current limitations. I will still be able to build commissions, which makes this a great opportunity for anyone who ever wanted to buy a kayak from me but didn't want to wait the usual 6 months or more it used to take to get one out the door. I also plan to use the time to work on development of a couple other boat and video projects that have been impossible to get to with my normal schedule.
I feel like it is important to view this as a year of celebration rather than a year of loss, a year of gratitude, healing, and breathing into the promise of future possibilities. To that effect, I thought it would be awesome to have a giant party and gear swap here at the Red Barn, the third weekend in July, so mark your calender. As many of you know I live in one of the most beautiful places in America, and the shop has abundant camping space. Together we've built over 800 kayaks in the last 12 years and I would love to see just how many we can get out on the water for a group paddle. Both former students and non-students are invited.
I think that's about it for now. Enjoy the blessings of the new year in whatever form they come to you. I'm going to be here working on healing, catching up on my reading, and spending some quality time with my cat.