Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Growing Pains ~

Change and growth help to make the world go round. They allow for life to spring forth and the sun to shine down upon us each and every day as our planet spins around the solar system, yet they are also the verbs (to change; to grow), that can cause pain and fear, trepidation and angst, are they not?

I've been in the middle of huge change and painful, necessary growth for some time now. There are times when life calls from the depths of our souls and though we might try to deny those faint cries, eventually, they surface and we are faced with choices, paths, and decisions. The hardest part for me is in needing to take a journey of growth that's calling, yet wanting those I love the most to come with me. To keep up…that's not fair. Growth is a journey one can only take alone, in a sense, and asking those we love to follow not on their own accord, is pushing for changes and outcomes that are not yet ours to know. I'm learning that real love is the kind that lets go, sets free and does so with only the most honorable of intentions. Yet selfishly speaking, also hoping that the ones we love might see our change, my change, and are inspired to sprout new buds of their own. It would be really nice if they were to sprout buds in a similar direction and meet again in the sun, heads turned toward the light in symmetry. One can only hope, believe and maybe inspire, knowing that in life we are all both teachers and students throughout the journey. Being mindful of that simple and profound fact is in itself, a magnificent lesson to honor.

I've learned the hard way that if we don't take a chance, step out from behind our shells, our protective armor and hiding places, then we can never truly be immersed in light. Be seen. Vulnerability equals clarity and light. It is such a hard path at times, choosing ourselves and walking forward towards the emptiness. Sometimes that's what having Celiac Disease feels like to me. You can either embrace the differences we face and jump into a life of challenges and joy, or stay stagnant on the side of the pool, treading water waiting for a life vest to be thrown in. We all tread water most of the time, but it's in the crucial moments when we choose to either reach for the end of the pool, gasping and choking and pushing our way there, or remain clinging to the wall with our safety belt on.

Having a disease that alters the way you view every morsel of food is put into your mouth, your body, is much more psychologically challenging than most can comprehend. I find myself constantly weighing the risks of eating in new locations or food prepared by someone, even in-kind whom I have to trust, knows what they are doing.

With all the new gluten-free products available on store shelves it has become "enjoyable" for a Celiac shop for food. I've become keenly aware that there's now a certain level of comfort a Celiac can acquire, stocking pantry shelves with goodies and supplies, buying take-away pizzas, baking Betty Crocker cookie mixes, you name it. It's funny to me how quickly we humans can grow accustomed to abundance and how painful it becomes when that abundance fades or is no longer available. We love ease and why wouldn't we? Transitioning from less to more is essentially how the world is set up to thrive, and as I look back over the past ten years of life living with Celiac Disease, I see clearly how growth of a product, of a line of crackers, of the gluten-free industry is propelling so many who live sans-wheat to a different level of comfort, of life. Is it better this way? Probably, but what defines "better?” In my humble opinion, as long as the new-found abundance of gluten-free products don’t cross over into “junk food,” and are able to remain true to some authentic form of nourishment, and that we Celiacs are reminded to cook fresh foods, not falling into the tundra of “frozen foods,” then what’s transpiring is better and actually, really great. Imagine being a celiac toddler who will have the distinct advantage of growing up her entire life with safe food, that’s readily available. Growth.

As my world view adapts and changes in the midst of my growing pains, I feel the instinctive need sometimes to seek shelter and rest. Then I watch a sunflower. Even when the skies are cloudy and dark they will instinctively seek the sun’s rays. Through whatever Mother Nature throws at them, they turn their magnificent heads upwards and stretch towards the light.

What could be more inspiring, more beautiful or more challenging?

Use the Force. Seek the light.

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