When Everything And Nothing Changes

I’ve been feeling discombobulated lately. Restless, frustrated, a little bit lonely, and unable to focus. The feeling is subtle, yet intrusive and pervasive to the point of debilitation.

I begin each morning with the same routine. I take my blood pressure while reading the day’s entry from The Daily Stoic, journal whilst sipping on perfectly milky tea, draw a card from The Wild Unknown tarot desk to set the day’s theme, journal a bit more, and then sit in silent meditation for bit.

I don’t fully understand or believe in tarot-psychic-astrology stuff, but pick up the tarot deck because I loved the artwork. Interestingly (and perhaps coincidentally), the last several months have carried themes of sickness, loss, and desperation.

Then, earlier this week, the dark veil was lifted and I drew a card representing transformation, spiritual breakthrough, self-assurance, and creative vision. Perplexed but hopeful, I continued about my day, entirely forgetting about the interesting start to the day.

Several days later, in reviewing my journal entries, I realized that the day did, in fact, hold an instance of transformation. After months of waffling between fear and hope, my fears were extinguished almost immediately after an unplanned meeting with the leading valley fever researcher.

He saw me. He listened to me. He understood what I was going through. And he sincerely cared.

Nothing changed and, yet, everything changed. 

I still don’t have a conclusive diagnosis (and according to my father-in-law, the new possibilities are significantly worse than the initial suspicions). Nor do I have a designated treatment plan or recovery timeline. I’m still in limbo, and yet I feel so wonderfully liberated.

Something shifted in me at the appointment on Wednesday. I felt empowered, and the feeling has been growing stronger ever since. I feel capable–more myself than I have in three years. I feel like I made it to the other side, only to discover an identical landscape and the understanding that I’ve been exactly where I’m meant to be all along.

Nothing changed and, yet, everything changed. 

Sometimes we make choices (or choice are made for us) that affect our lives in large and profound ways. We may expect life to radically change, and sometimes it stays the same. My body is suffering a dis-ease and my capabilities have been drastically limited, and yet this beautiful body is still the place my soul calls home. Though we may expect life changes to alter who we are, we often remain the same while fortifying ourselves by fostering resilience.

So, perhaps this was the moment of my predicted spiritual breakthrough, the moment at which my soul tapped me on the should and said, “You’re doing a great job. Everything is going to be okay.” The pervasive fear was banished instantly, and several days later, that positive message is still ringing in my ears. I feel confident, empowered, resilient, and free. I fully believe that I can tackle anything and everything.

Somehow, without realizing or intending, everything changed for me that day. And, yet, nothing really changed at all. 

8 thoughts on “When Everything And Nothing Changes

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  1. You wrote about feeling isolated with your unique illness in an earlier post and as a former psychiatric patient with a very indefinable diagnosis (basically “you have weird thoughts and feelings – here are some meds – let’s hope they work”) I totally get what *that* feels like.

    But your blog is a way of sharing something deeper that many, many people need and can relate to, myself included – no matter if they have valley fever, HIV, schizophrenia or something even more exotic. And what one sends out tends to come back, sometimes when one least expects it and then very powerfully.

    “He saw me.” I truly think that he did, and that set off a lot which is hard to put into words and yet … feels very powerful and genuine, when I read it. It even feels well-known although I am not exactly sure why. But maybe it is because I feel there is at least one word that could cover all of this hard-to-describe but super-uplifting experience. I guess that word would be “hope”.

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    1. It’s so hard to describe, but I think “hope” is as close as I’ll get. Yet, interestingly, the hope isn’t associated with some selfish desire (i.e., I hope we come to a diagnosis, I hope I start feeling better soon, etc.); instead, it’s more of a reminder of the goodness of humanity and the connectedness of all things… the renewed belief that people care, and because of that everything will be okay. For such a powerful feeling, it really is challenging to put into words.

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      1. I agree, but if one could I think that would be the highest definition of hope. “Reminder of the connectedness … ” – and by the way, that was also the impression I got. You wrote quite clearly that you did not expect any breakthrus with regard to diagnosis etc.

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  2. “This beautiful body is still the place my soul calls home.” That line! And I’m so very happy you are feeling better. I think I know how you feel. There is no answer that solves everything nor promise of full recovery yet there is a feeling of letting go. For me, that was peace. I’m currently reading Pema Chodron’s ‘When Things Fall Apart’, which – apart from its pessimistic title – is a wonderfully revealing book that has brought me extreme peace and “letting go”. It really has changed my mindset which in turn, changed my life. What you wrote here is in line with what she writes in the book. ❤️

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    1. Yes, I think I am finally reaching that place of letting go, and the place of respecting myself for the efforts I’ve made towards recovery, however futile. Though there is still a bit of questioning, it’s now painfully obvious that self-blame and asking “what if” are not moving me forward. Just like in project management, I need to be solution-oriented; despite all the obstacles and past mistakes, I need to find a way to help my team cross the finish line with the allotted resources within the set deadline. In this case, I think that means accepting help from loved ones, equipping doctors with all my medical data, and forgiving the doctors (and myself) for not figuring out what was going on sooner. I’ve passed by “When Things Fall Apart” at my favorite bookstore so many times–maybe this is my sign to finally pick it up. Thank you so much for your continued kindness and support–I can’t put into words how much it means to me to find someone who can understand and empathize with my current reality. ❤

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