Sunday, December 9, 2012

Life is Good!

Award-winning author, Paulette Mahurin lives in Ojai, California with her husband, Terry and their two dogs, Max and Bella.  A Nurse Practitioner in a women’s health clinic, she writes in her spare time.  All proceeds from her recent novel, The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap are going to the Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center  in Verona County, California where Paulette Lives.  It is the first and only no-kill shelter in the area.  This is a cause very close to her heart. 

It is my great pleasure to have Paulette as my guest today.  Although she and I only became aware of each other a few months ago, I have come to regard her as a dear friend, a mentor, and certainly, as one of my heroes.  The following is her powerful and inspiring story, imparted in her own words:    
Thank you to the wonderfully talented author and artist, Linda Lee Greene for inviting me to her great blog site to talk today.
Fifteen years ago, my life as I knew it, ended, all because I rescued a dog named Tazzie.  She came to me with ticks; one latched onto my side and infused my body with bacteria that would be diagnosed as Lyme Disease six months later by an orthopedic surgeon.  By the time I was diagnosed, it had infused through my arteries and settled in my cardiac valves, brain and spinal cord tissue, muscles and nerves, and to many other areas of my body.  I was out for the count.

There’s a Zen expression that says to die before you die, in every moment.  I never understood this till becoming seriously ill, and in that time, it was my body that was boss, not I.  I had never taken a second seat before, but now, if I did what I wanted, my body violently protested.  If I stayed up, beyond tiredness, to watch a TV show, I became worse and the bouts of illness became protracted.  I remember the night there was a movie on TV that I wanted to watch; yet I was exhausted.  I overrode the tiredness and stayed up.  That was the night my body’s protest turned into crippling meningitis; it leveled me for weeks.  The next time my body was tired, I listened to it and went to bed.  As my resistance decreased, something started to change.  At first it was barely perceptible, but within a few months, I noticed I was feeling better.  What I came to realize was, I had died.  Well, almost; but I certainly diminished.  I got out of my own way.  And what it gave way to was miraculous.

My body, this magnificent healing machine that strives for homeostasis, taught me something invaluable, it taught me that life has its own rhythm, a flow, a vastness of intelligence that I cannot begin to explain, nor fully understand.  Life just knows what it needs; every living thing has its place and purpose; our bodies know this all too well, but our thoughts get in the way, the beliefs and ideas, our little stories that we identify with.  A tree takes in carbon dioxide and gives off oxygen and we exist in beautiful balance with this wonderful part of nature.  A bee pollinates and up shoots nature in abundance; an ant does its thing; a spider weaves and catches what it needs; the weather changes and snow melts; waves move closer to shore, all occurring without any thought or intent; all simply occurring.  Before the tick bite, I never knew my place as being a part of this cosmic whole, an organism within the organism of life, in unity, all coexisting in this weird, yet magnificent, chaotic harmony.

The tick bite and all those microscopic bacteria that still live in my tissue gave me something nothing else ever has:  life and the absolute sense that I am alive.  But, first I had to die.  This carried over into my writing, and it was during my illness that I penned The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap, a story about intolerance, a story that is making waves all over the place, with press and magazine coverage; a  story that is being featured by prestigious Art Center’s Literary Branch as their pick for the read of the month, and being read and reviewed all around the world.  It was during the writing of this book that I learned my most important lesson on writing, and that was to get out of the way of the story, the characters, and to not arrive back into my old ego-self of wanting to show off how much research I had done, or make it about what I wanted to say, when it didn’t serve the scene, the dialogue, the action of the book.  I’ve always loved to write, but when this happened, writing became joyful and flowed.

I am grateful beyond description for so many things.  I wake up every day to my own little gratitude prayer:  that I can see, that I can hear, that I can feel, even if the feeling is pain, and then I give gratitude for all my loving and significant relationships, including my dogs, whom I love with all my heart.  I feel alive and life flowing through me, and as long as I wake up, for me that’s a good day. There is always something I can be grateful for.  Even when the negative, shadow emotions surface, they don’t bother me as much as they did when I had a bunch of stories attached to them, and hey, if I can let go of me, I can certainly let go of them.  Life is good.


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