As my shingles adventure continues (rash is healing nicely, itching is less noticeable, pain is ongoingly problematic), I'm doing my best to soften. Perhaps initiated by the massage experience on Thursday and my willingness to be in touch with my body, unhappy as it is, I've found myself also willing to be in touch with the kindness of others.
As you'll know if you read the meltdown episode, I was just fed up with it all, including taking care of myself. The truth is no one is asking me to take care of myself by myself except myself. I've had lovely phone calls of concern, blog comments of support, and offers to come and care for me. It's me who puts up the barricades to this. Me who feels embarrassed or inadequate or shy about taking in the caring. Me who can't find the courage to be that vulnerable with another.
There are decades-old stories that I'm living out about having to take care of myself but they aren't proving helpful. Instead, they are holding me back from healing, both emotionally and physically. So if there is a lesson for me to learn from the misery of shingles, it's that's okay to ask for help or at least to accept the help that is offered.
This weekend I'm up at my sister's in the Columbia Gorge. She and I have grown more and more close over the years and since I've been here, I've been practicing relaxing into her concern for my pain, her offers of help with the pain patches, her tenderness with me. It's both a small thing and a huge step for me.