Moving

Since my diagnosis I've lived with my parents.
On a farm. 
In the Middle of Nowhere, TX. 

The closest Starbucks is 45 minutes away. My favorite -- Whole Foods -- is an hour's distance. 

But it was exactly what I needed after New York and with my new life situation living with MS. A whole lot of nothing.  Quiet. Animals. Land. A giant horizon filled with the sunset and the sunrise, every single day. 

I learned not to walk into the garage barefoot because our cats would likely have left something thing (poor bunnies, frogs, geckos). I grew accustomed to the sound of coyotes and their wiley cries. The dark --- like the inside of an inkwell with some iridescent flecks-- became my nightly routine; real night with the Milky Way cascading over. 

Sixty acres provided me space to explore, corners of the land to delve into far beyond the conventional house where my parents and our domestic pets resided. Thankfully the house was bigger than two people needed (it had been built to accommodate overnight guests, not just my parents in their retirement), but even more important - the ability to walk the land and soak up the greens and blues and browns. Just like the sidewalks I tread and retread in New York, I created my path, over and over again. I explored just as I had in New York. I walked with music in my ears - not to jazz and Miles Davis as I had on the Bowery - but these treks had a different soundtrack. A mash up of Mozart and Lemonade

{And daddy held my hand/ And daddy liked his whisky with his tea/ And we rode motorcycles/ Blackjack, classic vinyl/ Tough girl is what I had to be}

My life here was different. Not just because I was on a farm, but because I was on a farm living with MS. The most compelling reason for me to have moved to Texas was -- in my rational mind -- that living as an entrepreneur would be easier if with my parents, not to mention recuperating from my diagnosis. (The diagnosis second.) Being with my family and away from the strain of New York was important for my health, and I was committed to that. But I still recall the moment I decided to stay in Texas (having been diagnosed there while on a visit to my parents and South by Southwest for work). It was with the understanding that this was my new challenge in life that would need to be tended to, nay honored, but it was the extremely pragmatic voice that said, oh yeah, let's save on rent and be an entrepreneur here. 

But nonetheless, that first year of recovery was all about health. (How could it be anything but?) 
That was what was on the menu.  While I started this website, I led meditations, I was asked to write for other sites... all business-building endeavors to the hard-wired entrepreneur's mind, or so I thought, the most significant achievement of that first year was making my health number one and seeking the advise and counsel of many different practitioners.  

But when I say I moved to a farm in Texas from a high-rise in New York for the purpose of rest and health, don't think I did so passively or in some state of repose. I was determined. Even if a determined state of mind overlapped a fetal resting position.

Beyond my MS clinician, I found a Functional Health nurse practitioner who turned me on to supplements (based on my personal deficiencies, not just pills willy-nilly) and NUCCA style of chiropractic. I was introduced to acupuncturists. I was informed by massage therapists that I'd need something gentle for my system from now on, like lymphatic massage, not my previously desired aggressive sports massage. I did the Whole 30, I got my hormone levels tested. I went to Paleo FX, I met Terry Wahls. I overhauled my sleep schedule. I finally gave myself permission to stop working when I needed to stop working.  I learned what my energy levels were really telling me, and what they'd been telling me for years: stop, rest, sleep.  

I went from a vegan to meat and vegetables - not without a bit of internal struggle. But at every turn I learned a new way to take care of myself.  I learned what it meant to have personal boundaries, seeing where I was letting so much of my energy escape when putting more energy in relationships than was actually needed or wanted. 

I pulled back into myself and flipped all the "shoulds" on their head. Perhaps chief among them was apparent when feeling tired or exhausted, realizing that the only thing I "should" do is rest and let my energy levels even out. There was no such thing as pressing on anymore. I had to get to the bottom of my exhaustion and I was willing to be very uncomfortable in my quest, dismissing internal fears that rang out with words like, lazy

And now I move into a new stage. 
I'm moving. 

From the quiet of the farm into a city. Austin. 

Frankly, I never thought I'd return to Austin after I graduated college. Been there, done that. Too small a city. Ready for something more

Well, first of all, anything is more compared to sixty acres of land with nothing by cows, four dogs, a horse, two cats and my parents. 

But it's been an interesting internal process deciding where the next move will be.  Because, really, it could be anywhere.  

I considered North Carolina and Colorado. I did not consider New York again. Not because been there, done that but because I finally saw the city without rose-colored glasses. I think anyone who wants to coexists in The City needs them.  Because, damn, that city is dirty, loud and hard. But there was a time when that was a sweet symphony to me; notes that played along with those from the otherworldly skyscrapers, neighborhoods built around pockets of personalities, and THE BEST in so many different respects - THE best jazz clubs, THE most unique shops, THE oldest pubs... and even if another city could challenge any one of those distinctions, nowhere else had all of these contenders housed in a tiny walkable island.   

But once the rosiness has worn off, it's dirty, loud and hard. (Did I mention that already?)

So, what's next?

Both in moving to LA after college and New York after LA, I took a plunge.  I made a decision to move because of some dream, quite frankly, and I motivated myself around that dream to make it happen.  Looking back, this is something I'm good at - chasing dreams and bringing them into reality.  (Easier if the dream is predicated on a new location - Working in Hollywood, hence moving to Los Angeles; just being in New York, ergo transplanting to New York and finding a way to make it work. I grew up moving, so if moving is the big verb that opens up the dream state, that I can do.)

But I'm not chasing some big dream.  Maybe ten little ones. But none are location requisite.  

At first the decision to move to Austin was more of a default - it's a liberal, artistic city near me filled with young people and with values represented in the likes of organic CSAs, coffee shops touting almond milk, and independent cinema.  So yeah, that works. 

And a lot of single guys.
So yeah. 

But the sensation of NOT plunging into a city is so foreign. Instead of scaling a high-dive of anticipation and preparation to adequately enter those other big metroplexes, it feels like I'm wading into a baby pool. And there's nothing wrong with that. It's actually what I need and prefer right now (because, oy, just the coordination of moving the last few things out of my storage unit in New York is a veritable smorgasbord of exhaustion and stress. Not lease in part due to the fact that I've lost a bit of that New Yorker-take-on-the-world-make-it-work armour).

This is not just a move, it's a new stage in life. And for once, I'm not pounding into it. All evidence points to that as a really sane and mature thing. 

But do I miss the plunge? 

I look forward to the move (Super Bowl party at my house!), but --really, Mary-- does it feel real without a plunge?

Where have I been?

Where have I been?

A very nice and concerned reader reached out to me a few months ago to ask how I was and wanted to make sure that the lack of posts wasn’t because i was sick. 

I wrote him back but it also seems like a fair topic to mention on the blog that I haven’t blogged on for quite some time.  

The shortest answer is...

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With that one syllable you may envision a powder puff fairy who has said something beyond enraging.  Leaving you infuriated. 

Maybe some of us have a reaction to this word because we have a hard time envisioning (this enraging) Joy in our lives.

(Keep reading to see what would be a totally embarrassing video. That is, if I had any shame.)

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This week's video is a conversation with documentarian Sharad Kharé. Sharad has interviewed Meryl Streep, Helen Mirren, Susan Sarandon and MANY others, all true luminaries. ...and now, me! I was beyond humbled and grateful to have had some time to chat about the inspiration for Thrive with MS, and ....

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Whether freshly committed to making meaningful change in this new year or working through the challenges of a new health reality, do not underestimate the transformative power of a little thing called Joy.

Though if you’re like me, you might overestimate the energy needed to usher it into your life. It’s not hard, it just takes a little intention. Here’s what I mean...

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There are moments that completely rock your world, turn it upside down and spit you out with a new perception forevermore. 

Like when you find out that the doctors who you entrust with your care don't actually know everything about the human body. (Like you so hoped they would.)

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