I have three tablespoons left of my Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream that I’ve been milking since my backache first started Monday, October 16th. Tomorrow, finally after living in agony, I go in for back surgery. Tonight, I will finish my ice cream.

Although it sounds completely insane, I know I brought all of this on myself! I manifested this backache and all of the crazy upheaval in my life. In our lives, we are always expanding and growing to the next level or place where we need to be. When we sit for too long, we become complacent and start living a dull, vanilla, groundhog day type of life (previous post). Although it may be exactly what we need at the time, and some of us can do this for a very long time, some of us we can’t do it too long. That someone I speak of is me.

I had a vanilla lifestyle for a good chunk of my daughter’s early years because I knew she needed a social circle being around other children. I had to force myself into social situations so we would have the token “playdates” and experiences with other kids. She needed to learn how to play in groups, how to share her prize possessions, how to listen while others led, how the world didn’t revolve only around her! Everyone needs to learn how to get along with other people, but in her case being an only child, it was extra important!

Playdates, camping trips and parties with large groups of people is how we spent the first ten+ years of her life. I was her social butterfly mother, keeping us always surrounded by many people.

The last time the universe intervened for me was at this time. She choreographed beautifully messy situations that left me feeling much the same way that I do now, minus the actual physical pain I am experiencing. I was forced to look deep within, do extraordinary amounts of soul-searching and self-investigation, and let go of some pretty deep, what I thought would be lifelong, friendships.

As I would do therapeutic writing and work through the pain of loss during this approximate five-year “letting go” process, when I came out on the other side, the world was pristine and clear as a crystal, as if I was looking through a brilliant new lens. I was entirely back on track, on the other side and facing my human expansion and growth. Life since this awakening has been beautiful!

After all the lessons I learned getting myself back on the track of expansion, I’ve fallen back into the rut of living a vanilla life again – and I’ve been keenly aware that’s where I am. That is why over the last few months, I specifically asked the universe “what are my next steps?” and she has come forward to answer my questions. For starters, she has plucked me from the streets and forced me to sit in a recliner and observe life from a place where I cannot do anything about anything! I watch. I listen, and I take it all in.

After sleeping sitting up on the couch for a few days, we had to get a recliner. When you have been moving your body around 17,000 steps daily and then slam on the brakes, your body responds. Within three weeks of sitting, I lost over 10 pounds! I’m not moving as I used to and I have had no appetite. I know the body asks for what it needs. Mine hasn’t needed much more than a few bites every day – and that’s okay! I am hydrated quite well. 

I thought when I first found myself sentenced to sitting that I would be on fire with writing! What else can I do with my time if I sit on my butt all day, right? Well, I learned right away that being in immense pain, the last thing you can focus on is writing.

I’ve learned how much I can take. Waking up on October 16th with just a backache, never could I have imagined that it would end up being the beginning of the most intense pain I have ever felt. I learned over time how to use my upper body strength to maneuver myself all over the place. It was at that time that I realized how critical it was for me to be doing the workout I had been doing over the previous year. If I weren’t working out before the backache started, I would have been close to being a pile of worthless flesh. Because of my simple weekly workout, I had strength and stamina to drag myself along. (Check out this incredible workout concept that really works at Abstract!)

I had my daughter take a video of something so simple as me trying to get up onto the couch on October 22nd. I’m so glad I did. You can watch the video here.

When you have nothing to do but quietly sit, listen and observe, you learn what you are made of when you find yourself in this situation. You see how strong you are and how much you truly can handle. It is also a big wake up call watching those around you and seeing what they are made of.

Tomorrow morning I am going in for spine surgery. They told me the shooting pains I’ve had going down my legs would immediately subside, but the pain of a knife stab in my back will replace that pain. I am 100% ready for this. They also told me as soon as I am up to it, I can begin to walk. Of course in my crazy brain, I’m thinking I will be putting my Fitbit on again by Thursday, but I clearly know better. But by this weekend, watch out Fitbit friends! Cari will be back on the road and soon on the top of her game!

Tomorrow will be 23 days where my life has been at a complete stand-still. During these quiet and immobile 23 days, the universe has delivered more than I could have imagined. She has provided answers to questions I didn’t know I had. There is no way I could have gone into this 23-day experience and not come out completely changed on the other side. Once again Universe, I thank you. Not only for always stepping in just when I need you the most, but for providing such glorious clarity in your answers.

Tonight I will enjoy the last few bites of my ice cream. Tomorrow my dear friend and my daughter will take me to the hospital, and I will have the surgery necessary to move on with the rest of my life.

Starting the day after surgery, the healing begins and brings forth the new future I have visualized during the many days parked in my recliner.

My sweet dog who has been by my side all of this time cannot wait until the day comes when I can put back on those “shoes” and take her for her daily walks. It has been the biggest heartbreak ever knowing I am unable to do with her what we have always shared together. She is the sweetest soul on this planet.

Embrace challenge and change when it comes your way. It comes to you as a gift. We all need our little apple cart to be upset now and then. It’s not intended to give us grief; it’s there to wake us up and have us take notice of where we are, where we should be and what we need to do to get there. Life has billions of rainbows awaiting us at every corner. You will only see them if you are willing to accept all of life’s wrenches as they are thrown at you, and welcome them with a smile in your heart and with your eyes wide open!