Saturday, November 28, 2015

Since her arrival, I have been free of anxiety. Her calm and peace and her beauty have guided me. She came to tell me that my courage is remarkable. She came to tell me that moving was brave and bold and that my fear is normal and expected. I love her. I love her eyes. I see peace, compassion, gentleness, softness...I see myself in her. I see my own beauty through her.

Kindness. She is kind, so kind. She is generous, so generous. She is compassion, tender and sweet and present. She is here for me. She is the first angel that I painted for myself.

I was suffering from anxiety every morning, feeling directionless....scared...My feet were hurting since the move....Suddenly I was far away from my parents, on my own...

In the mornings I felt like an amorphous blob of anxiety...until she came through...

And she came through too....and another one which I haven't finished or photographed yet...

An angel of Courage to remind me that I am okay, that it took courage to move and that I will find my way here....An angel of gratitude to remind me to always ground myself in gratitude. Gratitude helps me cope with anxiety. It centers me and gives me the focus to see the blessings in my life. The blessings are my stepping stones. They guide me. So gratitude guides and grounds me and there is always room for more gratitude. Always.

The third messenger that came through is an Angel of Play. Oh and her message is so very beautiful. The message that came through her was 'You are safe. Remember to play.' I haven't stamped it on her yet and I have found a message that I love even more through a new friend of mine. Lately I have been connecting to women that have pudendal neuralgia from mesh. Their desperation is like ours. They are suicidal like so many of us have been and still are. (I continue to get incredible relief from pain from Nortriptyline) These new connections are meaningful to me. I want to include their names in my artwork. That is something that I am visualizing and it makes me happy. I would like to incorporate the names of women (and men) that want to be a part of my healing through art. Bringing their names into my artwork excites me. I feel excited now. It is such a nice feeling after so many weeks of stress. Excited. Inspired. Curious. Hopeful. Playful. Open, Receptive. Creative. Sexual?

I would love for my sexuality to be awakened too. I miss that vitality. Connecting to myself as a sexual being is an effort since PN. But my creativity and my sexuality are bound in each other. Naomi Wolf in her book Vagina writes all about the link between sexuality and creativity. I feel like I have been de-sexed almost. I used to be so naturally sensual and so naturally sexual. I don't really feel myself as a sexual being anymore.

I can have sex and I can very much enjoy sex. Even so, that part of me has gone away...I would like to call it back, to invite it to reside with me. I know that it is an important part of my creativity and it is a part of me that wants to express itself....but it just isn't here, not anything near the way it was before PN. Is it a part of myself that is still salvageable? Or is it a part that I can live happily without? I don't know. I want to explore. I want to remain open and curious. Maybe that is the best that I can do right now. Remain open. I thought that maybe I should make more of an effort...clothes and make-up. But I don't feel particularly inspired to present myself that way. I don't feel the need to be beautiful or sexy to the world. But I do miss that element of play. That brings us back to the third angel that I have yet to complete. And to the fox that I met. Play. Creative play, creative exploration and creative expression.

The quote that I discovered through a new friend is Rumi's :

It makes me happy. It makes me happy to allow myself to play, to explore, to learn...And I am also afraid, afraid of loving too much, of being hurt, of making choices that are wrong for me...I fall in love easily, too easily...usually I wake up a few months later asking myself 'That's the person you fell in love with? Wow, that was stupid of you Atara.' And then I am heart-broken and angry at myself for wasting my time, wasting my energy, But all of that was before PN. What feels like so many years ago, what feels like another lifetime, almost like someone else's life....

So, can I allow myself to remain open, receptive, sexual, creative,....without fear? I guess not. So, can I allow myself to remain open, receptive, sexual, creative and fearful too? I think so. And that is a fair place to start from. Fair to myself and fair to the foxes who I want to feed so that they will come and play with me. :)

I want to play!!! And one of the things that I want to play most is the guitar. If you'll take a look at the angels here you will see that one layer underneath their skin their are music notes. I really really really want to play the guitar. I have always really really really wanted to play the guitar.

Play the guitar.

Your excitement is healthy. Follow it.



My video of Dr. Assia Valovska on Pudendal Neuralgia

                             My video of Dr. Elizabeth Stewart on Vulvovaginal pain conditions.

I worked so hard to finish these so that I could leave Newton and find refuge from the leaf blowers. One day my work will be embraced, understood and appreciated by many. Today I am grateful for my peace and for my quiet. What I yearn for most is to be able to create my art in peace and quiet.
Provincetown, Cape Cod (click on the images to see them in full screen)

Surise this morning.

I have come here to heal. To breath. Deeply. To seek peace. Seeking quiet. Every day is an initiation into the healing powers within me and around me.

Sunrise this morning.

The sunrises and the sunsets are gifts of grace and gratitude from the heavens. They spread themselves before me with such generosity and such glory. All I am asked to do is to witness, to name, to teach, to believe, to embrace, to adore, to succumb, to surrender to healing....

Sunrise this morning.

And to breath in the gratitude, the grace....this is what feeling blessed is. Feeling grateful to have found my way into deeper layers of healing and of wholeness. Feeling grateful to have found a source of light, of inspiration, of love. It asks nothing of me but to witness it.

Sunrise two mornings ago.

And in this witnessing I remain in awe, in gratitude, in love....and my healing consciousness expands, deepens,....

Sunrise two mornings ago.

My healing consciousness. I like those two words together. Healing. Consciousness. What is my healing consciousness? Oh, it is something so beautiful. It is so much larger than me. I am but a part of it, here to serve it, here to glorify it, here to express my gratitude to it, here to be humbled before it...

Sunrise two mornings ago.

I am here to serve. That is what I want. I want to serve. More than anything else that I have wanted in my deepest desire was to serve. Victor Frankl writes about it in Man's Search for Meaning (one of the most powerful books i have read. And a book that can be read over and over and touch you anew each time. How rare it is to find books that are like gems, so multi-faceted and rich with beauty that the spirit can connect to its source over and over and over again).

Victor Frankle talks about it. We seek to create meaning. More than anything else, we are beings that constantly seek to create meaning. And even out of the deepest, darkest, most wretched forms of suffering (and how many forms of suffering there are and how profound and devastating they can be) we can and do create meaning. That is the triumph of Spirit. That is the meaning of the word 'success'.

Sunrise two mornings ago.

What could be more beautiful than creating community and healing through suffering? What greater feat could the human spirit ask for?

I have come here to provincetown seeking peace and quiet. All that I asked for was to be allowed to listen to my soul in peace. The leaf blowers were a constant source of stress and panic and anger. Day in and day out I was subjected to levels of noise decibels that caused me suffering and despair. My nervous system could not bare the assault and my Spirit felt violated over and over again.


All that I was asking for was to be allowed to heal in peace and in quiet. Our world here has become so warped. so self-destructive, so cruel.

In order to survive, I have to create a safe place for myself. A space where I can honor my creativity. A space where I can honor and give my utmost respect to my deep need for solitude. A space where I can remain curious, open, receptive,...A place close to nature, close to the animals, close to the water, close to the heavens...

I can feel healing trickling in. It has been so long since I have danced. Since I have really danced. I can't stand on my feet much anymore. But I would like to think that there still is a dance within me. I would like to think that....

Can you see the angel wings?

I would like my art to be about community and healing. I would like my art to serve my community of sufferers. I would like my art to bind me with the source of life that sustained me, that strengthened me, that supported me when I was suffering. I can see where my Spirit is taking me. I can see who I am being called to serve. I can see clearer now how I can serve through my art and my healing and how I can expand into a greater healing consciousness. For all of this to unfold, I had to find a safe space for myself.

The pink sunsets are love.

And though the room is still filthy I can see the love that I will continue to pour into it. And I can see myself staying here. Within the sunsets and the sunrises, I can see myself dying here to. I know what a treasure I have been guided to. I know that I am being called upon. Called upon to go deeper and deeper into my own healing. Called upon to create and inspire community and kinship through my art. Called upon to witness and name and serve the angels that are all around me all the time, encouraging me to take the next step, to paint the next painting, to write the next poem, to sing the next song, to continue to share my own deeply personal journey through suffering, art and healing.

The angels are everywhere. 

In order to share this journey I needed to find my peace, my safe space....and I have found it and I have been blessed by it and every day at each new sunset and each new sunrise I am blessed anew.



Sunday, November 15, 2015

I am beginning to receive the messages from fox. The first message that has become clear to me is the message of play. Fox wants me to set my spirit free. He wants me to let go of the reigns that I have been holding onto so tightly. Fox wants me to be surprised, to be delighted, to be in awe and to be prepared to play with an open, curious and trusting spirit.

Fox's invitation was so clear. He came back numerous times to invite me to breath deeply into my fear and be in the moment, in a state of awe and profound gratitude. He came running towards me with speed and then stood still and looked at me from a few meters away. His playfulness opened my curiosity and left me in a state of delight. I did feel fear because I did not know that foxes are not confrontational. I did not know that much about foxes at all.

Today (only one day later :) I feel that I know so much about foxes. First of all I have learnt of their generosity of spirit. They are incredibly sensitive and perceptive and they are deeply spiritual. They are incredible communicators with telepathic communication similar to that of dogs. Their playful nature is a spiritual gift. They survive cold, hunger, loss, long winters.

What is this playful nature? And how is fox helping me retrieve mine?

I have become so obsessed with raising awareness, with getting my cards into stores, with finishing to edit my videos of Dr. Valovska and of Dr. Stewart, with painting my paintings so that I could get them in time into JP licks so that they would raise awareness there while I am away. For the past few weeks I have been moving from one task to the next. I lost something along the way.

I lost my curiosity, my sense of wonder, my faith, my trust...I ran from goal to goal to goal to goal...where my final goal was to get to Provincetown as quickly as possible so that I could reconnect to a deeper peace. Instead I arrived here to a filthy room with layers of grime and dirt that depressed me. Leaving home was difficult with all of us feeling tense and frustrated with each other.

Everything got caught and trapped in my obsession to get the subscribe button onto my videos. Elie (best friends husband) told me that it is really important that I start to gather a following and that one of the ways to do that is through my youtube channel.

I understand the importance of this, of gathering a following, of creating a community, of having a clear collective mission not only as Atara Schimmel but as a group of empowered advocates and activists.

How much of it is in my mind? What would fox say?

Fox says 'Let it go.' Fox says 'Let it go.' Fox says come and play with me, Fox says come and play, I like you and I want to play with you!'

His arrival into my life is a healing that I want to honor and to attend to. My feet have been hurting. Standing feels painful all the time now. Fox says 'Get out of your head, get out of all of your lofty goals and get down onto your knees and sing to me.' And so I did. I sang to fox and I know that he could feel how grateful I was to be meeting him, how grateful  I was to him for introducing himself to me so openly and trustingly and playfully.

He kept coming back. He would run away a bit and then he would dart back to me. It felt like he was going to run straight into me (i breathed deeply through the fear) and then he would stop in his tracks and look at me, straight into my eyes. I swear he was smiling. I swear he knew that he was helping me.

In return for his generosity my spirit sang to him. I sang and sang and sang to him. I sang to him that I had never met a fox before. I think that he liked my singing. When I sang louder and called to him because he had gone to roll in the sand and I wanted him to come closer to me again, he came galloping back to me.

Oh God, please open my Spirit so that I may heal, so that I may delight in the beauty that is all around me. Please help me let go of all of the fear, the anger, the frustration, the desperation.

Nature, the animals, the sunsets...please open my Spirit so that I may appreciate the beauty, so that I may once again feel grace and ....

Let me never get obsessed again with subscribe buttons... let me have faith that whoever needs to will see my videos...let me have faith that ACOG really is serious about wanting to create guidelines, educational objectives and curricula for PN and PGAD, let me have faith please....because I can't do this anymore...not in this way...I need to love myself, I need to heal, I need to rest, I need to know peace. I need to believe that this doesn't only depend on me.

That is part of the problem. That I think that if I don't do it than it will never happen. The sense of responsibility and the fear that I will not succeed in making this happen is too much for me to carry. I don't want to carry it anymore. I want to know that many of us are carrying it together. And that all of us together will make it happen.

I need to allow myself to let go. I need to allow the beauty in. I want to devote myself to my own healing. I feel that I am being called to go deeper into my art, into healing, into Spirit. And that in order to do this I have to let go...I have to trust...

Please God, Please Goddess, Please Angels, please let me go. Please allow me to step aside knowing that Guidelines, Educational Objectives and Curricula will be created for PN and PGAD.

Tomorrow I have a phone conversation with Dr. Sandra Carson. I will tell her that Dr. Assia Valovska (my doctor) wants to help create curricula for PN. I can't think of a better person to do this. She is the one that I would choose for this task. I will send Dr. Sandra Carson Dr Valovska's beautiful video and I will pray...pray that the angels take over from here...pray that I be given the time and space to step aside and heal.



Fox-medicine :)

Friday, November 13, 2015

A fox. I've seen a fox today. I've never seen a fox before. I saw a fox today. I have never seen a fox before. He came so close to me. I felt a little fear. I saw a fox today. I've never seen a fox before. He looked into my eyes. He stayed with me. I saw a fox today. I have never seen a fox before. I saw a fox today. He looked so sweet to me. With dark brown legs and a bushy tail. He came to be with me. He sat across from you. I bent into the sand. He was beside me.

I remembered Siabonga. I remembered his blue eyes and his long nose. They used to say that he looked like a fox. And now i see, he really does to me.

I saw a fox today. I saw a fox today.

All of what I wrote above is to be sung. I sang this to the fox. He stayed with me until it got too cold for me. I asked him to come to meet me again.

Where do you sleep? What do you hunt? Do you have a mother or a brother? How do you survive the winters here? Come again to visit me sweet fox. Come again to visit me sweet fox.

Fox: wonder, new beginnings, joy, nature, love, courage

Fox: Courage

I was scared a little but I breathed deeply.

Fox: Courage to explore new beginnings.

Fox: Natures healing power

Fox: Medicine woman

Fox: Connection

Fox: Gift

Fox: daring to try something new

Fox: Initiation

The fox is an initiation into the healing powers of nature.

Fox: Survival.

Fox: Hunter

Fox: Guidance for the Deep Feminine

The Fox has come to initiate me into a deeper and more powerful...

It is hear to teach me something

to help me, to support me as i go deeper and deeper into the female psyche

I will be meeting more and more forms of suffering, i will be called upon to offer deeper collective feminine healing

I will need the support. Fox came to tell me that I am supported, that my courage will ...

"Go deeper. Breath through the fear. Stay in this moment. Witness. Gather the medicine. Return when you are ready for more."

Sunday, November 8, 2015

This is an explanation of where we are in our campaign to get all forms of CPP into the medical school curriculum and into the continuing education curricula. Right now I am focusing my efforts on Pudendal Neuralgia and Pervasive Genital Arousal Disorder because ACOG does not have guidelines or educational objectives for these conditions.

Who and what is ACOG?

ACOG stands for the American Congress of Obstericians and Gynecologists. ACOG determines what goes into the medical school curricula and into the continuing education curricula. ACOG creates the guidelines and the educational objectives for gynecology and obstetrics.

What are guidelines?

According to wikipedia:
Guidelines aim to present all the relevant evidence on a particular clinical issue in order to help physicians to weigh the benefits and risks of a particular diagnostic or therapeutic procedure. They should be helpful in everyday clinical medical decision-making.

The fact that ACOG does not have guidelines or educational objectives for PN and PGAD is shameful. This is how I feel:

My life was burnt to hell because of ignorance and indifference.

What do I do in order to cope with my own rage? I work hard to change the things that I know must be changed. I believe that I will succeed in creating what should have been in place for me but was not.

Guidelines and Educational Objectives are only the first step. New curricula has to be created and taught.

This brings us to our letter-writing campaign. On our facebook groups I have been posting about writing letters describing our suffering and pain and our desperate and endless search for diagnosis and treatment. We are sending these letters to three different people within ACOG.

Dr. Sandra Carson is the vice president of ACOG's department. Dr. Chris Zahn chairs the 'practice activity' division. Dr. Hal Lawrence is the executive director of ACOG.

We are sending our letters to Dr. Carson, Dr. Zahn and Dr. Lawrence. I have spoken with Dr. Carson a number of times. She has been kind and generous with her time. I do believe that Dr. Carson wants to help us. I have not spoken to Dr. Zahn or to Dr. Lawrence yet.

In our last conversation Dr. Carson urged me to send her peer-reviewed articles and names of experts that have researched and published on PN and PGAD. She wants to be able to recommend these doctors as consultants to the education committee. With their help the education committee will write educational objectives and curricula for PN and PGAD.

Dr. Chris Zahn is in charge of creating guidelines. Guidelines and education objectives can be created simultaneously.The urgency of our situation is that ACOG is writing a new edition of its educational objectives which it intends on having ready by January. We have a small window of time in which to work hard and fast. Every additional letter counts.

You have to believe me when I say that:

Your story very very much matters.

Friday, November 6, 2015

My tears are streaming and I am full of a painful yet freeing emotion. Or, maybe, more accurately my pain is being released now and...

What are the tears for? Why did they arrive in the first place? I was not expecting them.

I was looking at the newsletter that I got from artspan. They were displaying the work of female artists and photographers. Female artists and photographers that lived during the time when men ruled the world of art and photography and their rule ensured that women would never be in competition with them. They ensured that women's voices would be silenced, would go unheard...that women's creativity would be ignored, denounced, denied...

And despite all of this, these women were so talented and so creative and so determined...and they became the first...the first woman to enter into the academy...the first woman to...

Many of them traveled the world. Many of them abandoned the 'rules' that were set for them by a society that made no room for them.

Their creativity was so profound and so determined to express itself and so dedicated to growth and to social justice and to truth....

I cried because I feel how hard they worked. I know how much they had to push themselves, I know how brave they had to be, I know that I am a continuation of their spirit. I am grateful to them, grateful that they did not silence their own voice, grateful that they followed their own vision, grateful that they pushed through all of the barriers and let their creativity lead the way. Whatever courage they garnered is a gift to all of us...they paved a pathway for all of us...

The tears are tears of a that I have shed them I feel peaceful and more confident. I was never and will never be alone. I am a part of something much larger than myself, something that was here long before me and will continue to be here long after me.

I serve this living Spirit with all of my heart and all of my soul. I am so ready to leave Newton, so ready to find my refuge, my peace and my quiet in provincetown. So ready to spend a long and quiet winter with my soul, honoring my uniquely creative and sensitive Spirit that constantly needs to create and to express itself, to connect and to heal, to guide and to be inspired.

How blessed we are that we find inspiration all around us. How blessed we are that we are a part of something so beautiful, something so much larger than blessed I am to serve this Spirit that I see as divinely beautifully majestically feminine.

I am no longer a female in fragments. I am whole, on my way to the sea, on my way to me.