I suffer from migraines. I get maybe 20-50 a year. I’ve got one right now. This one is from the aftermath of stress. I’ve been working with my oldest son over the last three weeks to finish-up the school year. He has been attending a residential school and abruptly came home. Long story.

Short story is that on top of the other things I have going on, I added special education teacher and therapist over the past three weeks. He had such a touching goodbye ceremony today with the school, and as soon as it ended, my headache began.

There are people close to me and parents out there who have caught every bit of code laden into the two preceding paragraphs. I‘d explain more here now, but my head hurts too much. Later. I’m certain there will be much more on this another time.

Hoping to sleep well tonight and start tomorrow fresh. Workout, hydrate, eat healthy, and take it easy.

The ascending portion of a roller coaster is called a “lift hill.” The clanking sound as your car goes up the track has always sounded so ominous and dramatic to me. I love the tension it creates. The roller coaster I’ve ridden the most is The Beast in Cincinnati. I’ve probably been on that ride a hundred times. As a kid, my family lived about 15 minutes away from the Kings Island amusement park, and I spent many summer days there.

All these random facts to say that... it is so strange when your own body isn’t strong enough to lift itself! This has been my predicament since I broke the humeral head into four pieces in my shoulder in September. I haven’t been able to fully raise my arm.

I had a breakthrough yesterday at physical therapy. Something finally clicked. I was able to move it from its stagnating 115 degrees where it’s been stuck since February. After my therapist manipulated it, my shoulder lifted to 145 degrees! I wanted to cry it felt so fantastic. I wasn’t strong enough to hold it there for long. But I did it! I tried it once more, and it worked again!

Alas, at home since then, I haven’t been able to raise it on my own like that. But I have been able to walk my fingers up the wall for support to raise my arm, which is where the roller coaster comes in.

This is also so strange... when I lift it to 145 degrees, it makes this glug-glug-glug sound that reminds me of that roller coaster car going up the hill!

Like 20 years ago, I worked for a now defunct non-profit called The Crossroads Center for Faith and Work. The philosophy behind the organization was to bring our whole selves to work, to be true to who we are in the workplace, not to adopt a professional persona, and to bring the spirituality that roots us into the work environment. We hosted a popular Forum over five weeks each spring and fall where the self-help gurus of the day would talk about their latest best-seller. We put on a bunch of one-off workshops on philosophies like servant-leadership and the Enneagram, which is a personality-typing method of self-discovery and reflection. I loved what we did, brought my full-self to work, and burned myself out.

I decided bringing my full self to work sucked, left me with nothing for the evenings, and turned me into a recuperating couch-potato on weekends. I learned to compartmentalize. Whatever big feelings I had about work or play didn’t cross. I left my personal self at home and my work self at work.

After years of doing that and on becoming a mother and then intentionally pouring myself into writing, I’ve ever-so-slowly attempted to integrate my selves back together. I still can’t help it, though. When I take stock of me, I go into my buckets: the spiritual me, the artist, my physical self, my emotional self, myself as mother, wife, child, sister, friend. The truth of it is that all these selves aren’t separate; they’re all me. How can I exist wholly, in all these ways? How can one self build-on or support another self? How do I integrate all of these selves into a whole person? Is it even possible? Or are all of these selves leading their own, separate lives and happen to congregate in my one body? My guess is philosophy, psychology, and Pixar have answered these questions, but my cognitive self hasn’t downloaded the knowledge base yet.

The point to all of this is that I have been thinking about what I want to do with my life, and instead of whatever shotgun approach I’ve been using the last couple decades, I’m re-focusing. I wrote down a vision statement and mission statement for myself today, and was surprised and happy to discover that I’m ready to try integrating all my pieces again.

Twenty years later, I’ve learned new skills and coping tools and self-care activities that work for me so that my whole beautiful being doesn’t stress itself to bits. I’m determined to find a way for all the various parts of me complement each other instead of leading parallel existences.

I do something called Network Spinal Anslysis. I wish I could adequately describe it. It’s in its own pieces, I suppose. Part energy-work and part chiropractic, it utilizes light touch by a practitioner to activate the spine, which houses our nervous system, which touches everything in our body and senses what exists beyond our confine of skin. Anyway, I’m laying on the chiropractic table face-down today during the treatment. A physical sense and a metaphysical sense came over me that all my pieces need to get picked up and put back into place. It kind of sounded like colorful wooden xylophone keys of different notes had fallen off the instrument onto the hard, tile floor and made a mess of themselves in a pile all over the place. Time to get them back in order. My spine did it’s best today trying to shake everything back into its place, but some pieces are heavy and some of them are sticky.

(Incidentally, I have always wanted to play the marimba.)

Long story longer, what I’m trying to say is something feels like it’s coming together for me. Actually, scratch that because this isn’t passively occurring. Long story longer, I’m working on blurring the lines I’ve drawn within myself. Let’s see where this takes me. I’d like to feel like I’m doing a better job capitalizing on this miraculous gift I was given called life.