The Eby Way:
Challenge, Release, Heal
I’ve been back from my nature walk for a while near our home in Cave Junction, Oregon.
The sky is clear and blue; temperature must be around 83 degrees with a slight breeze.
I wore my straw hat to protect my neck and face from the sunshine. And I always use my black, walking stick; carved with a mysterious sandal-colored, wizard face, who wears a long, flowing beard.
Today, I want to write an article about the power of love, life challenges, and healthy ways to meet these challenges.
My wife and I are looking forward to celebrating our thirty-first wedding anniversary in December. I will be turning 60 on September the 6th. We’ve made plans to spend a few days at the Mill Resort in CoosBay, which is on the Oregon coast. This is one of our favorite places.
We have been through much together. I thought I would share with you one of my dark secrets: my beloved Susan suffers from chronic mental illness.
For more information on this significant life challenge, let me flash you back to April of 1987. The struggle with her mental illness had endured over the course of our first ten years of marriage:
The alarm rang: It was 5.45 in the morning; soon I’d have to get up for work. I was feelings rather snug in our warm water bed on this cold April morning in 1987. Susan as usual had rolled over on her side by the opposite end of the bed with her back towards me.
I had learned that I couldn’t hug her when she was in that position. If I tried she would usually wake up and shove my arm away.
Last summer, I remembered learning from one of Susan’s personalities that Susie had married me not Susan. Susie was warm, sensual, and sexy. Susan, in contrast, was more intelligent, sensitive, and sharing; but had trouble expressing and receiving affection.
As I lay there thinking about our struggle, Susan rolled over facing me. I knew that I could hug her now. I thoroughly enjoyed embracing Susan. With my arms around her, we start to talk:
“Gary, I’m feeling pretty agitated,” she said, holding her arms close to her chest while grabbing and letting go of her wrists over and over.
“What’s up Sweetheart?”
“Gary, I feel trapped—trapped.”
“Yes. Marge is going to trap me in my lies. I am making all of this up. I’m a liar.”
“Honey, Marge has told you that your personalities are real. You trust her; you love her. She wouldn’t lie to you.”
“This can’t be happening, Gary. I don’t believe it. My dad couldn’t do those things. I’m making this all up to explain my behavior. I am just crazy.”
“I know this stuff sounds pretty bizarre. I believe your dad did those things. I’ve seen other dads that did it to their children. Honey, you’ve got to believe this. If you don't, you won't get well."
“I won’t get well then. I’ll only believe it if my dad confesses.”
“Why should your dad confess? He’s either a very sick man who will protect himself, or he is blocking all of the memories too.”
“How do you know I’m not making this up then?”
“Sweetheart, ask Marge.”
“Yeah, I guess I could.”
“Can you tell me more about your session with Marge yesterday?”
“I was there for an hour and a half. I don’t remember most of it. Marge had me do some mental tests, like figuring out mazes and things. She asked Lois to come but Lois didn’t. I did the test myself then Lois came, but she wouldn’t tell Marge she was here. Marge found out later and had Lois do the tests.”
“What else happened?”
“I don’t know. Gary, I’m sick of all of this.” Then Susan stopped talking.
Susan got up from the bed for a moment and shook her head. She was frowning and her shoulders were hunched over. She looked angry but confused. She just let herself fall back into the bed. I knew she had changed again, and sleeping seemed to help.
So, how did we survive all of this? Well, I will tell you more about it in the future if you are interested.
For now, I’ve decided to go on a walk again. I cut through the path in front of our lovely home that takes me to the nearby golf course. The terrain is hilly with rolling verdant, manicured mounds.
Scattered Ponderosa Pines, mighty Acorn trees, and Blue Spruce decorate my view. A cascading fountain in the middle of the course refreshes my stride. Purple-green colored mountains encapsulate this glorious vision.
My walk takes me to a road behind the golf course that climbs gradually up a 45 degree incline. I feel the pleasant burn in my hips and legs as I dig down with the walking stick to increase the pace.
Before I enter the pine scented woods, twenty-seven wild turkey’s cross my path. The adult birds waddle and bob, protecting their baby chicks by their hyper vigilance.
You might ask, “But what is the first step to handling life challenges in more positive, healthier ways?”
I smile, and take in a deep breath, thankful for love, life, and the omnipresent nourishment of my soul that surrounds us all.
The Eby Way
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