Thursday, August 22, 2013

Carnival of MS Bloggers #146

Welcome to the Carnival of MS Bloggers, a bi-weekly compendium of thoughts and experiences shared by those living with multiple sclerosis.

by Joan of A Short in the Cord

It has been over two months since I returned from my trip (aka my “heroic journey”) to Provence in southern France.  

I continue to process my feelings and experiences from that great adventure, but think it's time to share some things with you because people keep bugging me asking me, "was it a good trip?" :-)

Okay, so I brought back some things: postcards from the Chez Christine café in Saignon, bookmarks from an art gallery in Bonnieux, jams from a cherry festival in Casenuve, tapenades and placemats from a souvenir shop in  Fountain de Vaucluse.

I ate tender and tasty lamb wrapped in eggplant in St. Pantaleon les Vignes, and rabbit in Apt.  I tried goat cheese, sheep's cheese, French coffees and wines.  I marveled at the amazing geology of the mountains, explored the trees and plants, and tried to identify birds.  I hiked, I drank, and I sat by the pool having deep conversations with deep people.  I said "wow" and "yum" a lot!  It was exotic and exciting.

But I was exhausted for almost the entire trip.  I'm not complaining.  Really.

I'm reminded of the song "My Body" by Young the Giant, which goes "…my body tells me, 'no,' but I won't quit 'cause I want more." And I wanted more of the experience of France.

I had physically prepared for this trip by working out and increasing my time and distance on the treadmill.  But I also studied meditation and practiced awareness, and worked on living in each moment. 

I had no problem with the walking, the climbing, the carrying luggage.  But I did have a problem with fatigue from over- stimulation, communicating in another language, dealing with disruptions in routine.  By the third day, I wrote in my journal that I was scared, didn't think I could make it to the end of the week because I was just so tired, so overwhelmed.

But then my zen training took over and I told myself to live in the moment.  Just this moment.  Right now.  Only right now.  Don't worry about the rest of the week, worry about just this moment.  And I can get through this one moment.

I savored each moment.  Then another.  Then another.

As I mentioned earlier, I brought back a few souvenirs (and pictures).  But they really don’t matter.  What matters is that I brought back a desire to continue to have fresh experiences, a willingness to try new foods, and a renewed confidence that I can go out in the world again with multiple sclerosis and debilitating fatigue.  Even if it's just for one moment.

So, YES, it was a good trip!


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PS - In case you missed it, here are links to my Heroic Journey:
Part 1 - The Call
Part 2 - After the Call Is Answered
Part 3 - What to Take on a Heroic Journey

This concludes the 146th edition of the Carnival.  The next Carnival of MS Bloggers will be hosted here on September 19, 2013. Please remember to submit a post (via email) from your blog of which you are particularly proud, or which you simply want to share, by noon on Tuesday, September 17, 2013.

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