surrender dorothy…

surrender is not a word i take lightly to…

i use it in my teachings…asking students to surrender fully to the pull of the earth… but it is always in a place of safety and trust. teaching them that the earth won’t let them fall…and to believe in it.

but see…i’ve been sick. knocked flat by bronchitis. i honestly can’t tell you the last time i had this – must have been my teenage years and i had no recollection of how hard of a punch this infection could land on you. and wow do i have a surge of compassion for anyone who ever has to get well from this. i have been literally 6+ days sofa-bound. fighting it all the way because it meant no teaching, i tearfully had to cancel the much-anticipated trip up to provy to see elizabeth, and no visitors as i was told i was uber-contagious. bryan and his dad were both travelling and that left nothing but the menagerie and streaming netflix to keep me company…i think i watched something like 15 movies, most of them a hazy nyquil-infused memory (though i was certainly drawn to chick flicks – before sunrise, after sunset, once, like for water for chocolate!)

the malaise alone was exhausting and it felt like my subconscious need and desire for white space and nothingness suddenly spun out of control and went into hyper-drive…enforcing a literal physical inability to do anything at all.

plus, what was making me so, so mad was that i had been doing ALL THE RIGHT THINGS! resting well, yoga, good walks, eating healthfully, i felt so, so good…how could this happen? i felt so betrayed by my body, i felt anger, frustration and spent many an hour on the phone with elizabeth complaining. i was fighting it every step of the way…and then things changed.

early one morning, the sweet kitty who had been one of my furry nursemaids, found the perscription albuterol inhaler the doctor had given me on monday and knocked it to the floor…little eli thought it made a good chew toy and the strange hissing sound it made as his sharp teeth punctured the canister freaked all of us out. some google research, a call to the vet, watching him carefully and then within the hour we were in the vet ER with a case of albuterol poisoning…his heart pounding, he lay lethargic and panting in my arms as i drove to the vet…we almost lost him.

thankfully our vet is a toxicology expert and knew exactly what to do…it was like a triage center….nurses, tubes, blood pressure, IV… everything moved fast and he was stabilized quickly and actually home with me that evening**…both of us exhausted. all i could think was that if i had not been home when it happend he would be gone. followed by, had i not been sick, i wouldn’t have had the inhaler that poisoned him.

the riddle infuriated me and i spun it around in my head until at last i realized i just had to let it go. there was no other choice, nothing could be done so just let go of the anger, the frustration, let go of fighting something i had no control over and instead snuggle down into the sofa — gratefully — with the puppy and SURRENDER to our bodies natural process of healing.

and there i stayed. i’m still not fully well…but i’m able to spend a few hours puttering around before i need a nap so i know i’m on the upswing! eli is doing well, barely phased at this point though he does have a few days more on some blood pressure medicine that makes him a little sleepy. with any luck, i hope to get that provy trip back on for later this week too!


**so cute, he was so happy to be leaving the vet in that eager, excited doggie way. but when the two of us actually got HOME he was even more excited. he was jumping up and down and wagging and rolling on to his back to have me rub his belly…as though i had just walked in the door from being away. when actually we had both just walked in the door together. it was this moment when i realized he understood what HOME was and that home is different from me. he’s a smart boy.


  1. is anything we can do? please, I don’t know…but there is always something we can do…
    love you MICHELLE…we are here

  2. I know this whole story and still it makes me cry . . . little Eli .. my sick friend. what a yuck stew all around– SO SO glad you are on the other side of the worst of it!


  3. Michelle there is no one like you sweet so caring so full of bliss and fireworks
    glad Eli is ok glad you’re on the mend your writing has to be a book you’re a book anne

  4. oh poor eli! i’m so glad he is ok now. it makes my heart ache to know your baby was in danger. what a sick feeling i get in my stomach when even the most minute something happens to my fur baby boys. (i say babies, they are 13 and 11.) so i can’t imagine the feeling…..

    i’m glad you are both doing better!

    much love to you and eli….. :-)


  5. I’m glad that Eli is OK. What caught my eye, Michelle, was actually your reference to albuterol. You were taking it for bronchitis, not for asthma, right? If asthma, I was going to suggest that you try the Buteyko breathing technique. Being mindful of triggers and practicing it for relatively short time, while continuing to do it, just about eliminated my asthma. You could search for more on it on the web – but in a nutshell – Buteyko, a Russian MD, discovered in the early part of the 20th century, that asthma is characterized by too much oxygen in the bloodstream. This is due to the fact that people were struggling to breathe while they were asthmatic, thus causing hyperventilation in the blood. His method deceases the oxygen level, which increases the carbon dioxide level. This sounds counter-intuitive, but it works. You breathe normally, quietly. Then, after taking a few deep breaths, exhale completely (I even hold my nostrils so no air goes in or out). Then, try to hold the air in as long as you can (trying to work up to 2 mins, if possible) then exhaling, and breathing normally . Then, repeat this after a few minutes, and do about 3 times, which is one cycle. Buteyko recommended two cycles a day in the morning and at night, but I’ve only done it for one cycle, and gotten the benefits.

    I just kind of incorporate the practice into my Buddhist Vipassana meditation. Jane Brody in the NYT, gave the method a very good write-up. It’s the opposite of Pranyama – since you’re keeping the oxygen out of the lung during the time you hold your breath, rather than holding the breath while retaining the oxygen, as in Pranyama. If you have chronic bronchial problems, Michelle, you might want to give this a try. It’s a natural technique and doesn’t involve drugs. Hope you found my post helpful, and other people too, reading it.

    Paul Dolinsky,

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