Friday, February 27, 2009

Listen … with your whole body … LISTEN RESPECTFULLY

Admitting I am living with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities was as important an admission as any alcoholic makes when she works into the rooms, introduces herself by name, and adds, "I am an alcoholic." I've been in the rooms, would still be in the rooms if I could handle the smells. I am not an alcoholic, but only by the grace of god. I have been affected by the alcoholism of others and as they tell us in Al-Anon, alcoholism is a family disease. The similarities between my experiences in recovery from addictive 'side-effects' and life with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities are many, but I can start with these:

I am powerless over other peoples' choices ... yet, I am not helpless to do things that matter for me.
The first step is to admit the 'ism or the sensitivities exists.
The second is to make a choice to turn to a power greater than the struggle.

That's a start. The real work is in the continuing to listen to the power within. The outside visuals, the anxiety of scanning for the triggers (of potential exposure) and the hyper-vigilance that comes with always be 'ON' are loud! The power within is gentle, soft sometimes, and always available to be listened to respectfully. I'm not sure how this writing meditation will play out ... I'm really just listening respectfully to the voice that tells me "Sure, you're taking this dictation just right ~ keep on it."

The point I'm at today is a celebrating time. My dear husband Pete and I have come through so many challenges and I know "I am powerless over many things." With the guidance of my power within I have been led to a counselor who has modeled generous and respectful listening. She is a woman who lives with chemical sensitivities as well, so there is a common foundation of life view between us. Her brand of sensitivities is different and yet we don't spend too much time going through the comparisons. Instead, over the past ten months I have learned to listen to her listen to me. "You are powerless over x, y, 1, 2, 3, but you have such power within." "Do you recognize the mastery in that?" She has asked me that in so many conversations. "Do you feel you are getting enough from me today?" Weekly and now every other week I have been learning the vital skill of listening respectfully to me with my whole body/mind/spirit.

I celebrate because I am making progress reclaiming a transformed self ... a self who lives with an illness that can isolate like Hansen's Disease once isolated. I claim this self with more assurance today. My feeling of attachment to this Kitchenette ... it's a good thing, an indicator that I care for the comforts of regularity. Gently, I notice there are unexpected bouts of tears ... short bouts up they come from where I am aware yes, I know they come from old hurts healing. Then the crying stops. I celebrate my healing today and give thanks to a wonderful woman who has used her own vulnerable and caring self to care for me. Thank you "K." your magnificence spills over and its come my way.


  1. I so greatly appreciate this post. The power and value of listening to our inner voice/power is incredible.
    I appreciate your application of 12 Steps to MCS.
    I loved hearing about 'K' and your wonderful interaction with her!
    Thank you for sharing :-)

  2. Liberty, Glad to be sharing company and story with you. Yes, recovery is a process and it seems to cross borders with lots of help from my friends;-)


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