Sunday, August 2, 2015

Catching up with my blog. Geese. So much is going on. I will focus on Gratitude.

My birthday was July 31st! Yesterday! Happy Birthday beautiful girl. I went for a subtle birthday this year. It was subtle and beautiful.

The two most beautiful moments from yesterday are the beautiful card that my younger brother sent me and the e-mail that Kelly Rae Roberts wrote to me.

I was so touched that Kelly e-mailed me. I had sent her two greeting cards with all of my gratitude and appreciation as well as with the newspaper article about Project Angel. I want to share with her all of my successes because in my heart I am eternally grateful for the inspiration that I found so readily in her artwork and in her generosity of spirit.

So if I loved Kelly Rae Roberts before, I love her even more!!!

This is what she wrote to me:

"Dearest Atara,

Thank you so, so, so much for your cards. Your angels are beautiful!! And my sincerest and deepest congratulations on your show and your profile. Your courage and spirit are shining through, and your story very, very much matters. Thank you again, best of everything to you!

Kelly Rae "

What perfect synchronicity that she chose to reach out to me on my birthday!! Magical really.

And the note that Noam wrote to me is sacred to my heart.

"July, 2015

Dear Atara,

You now have your own menagerie of animals to join the birthday jamboree with Abba's lion. Happy Birthday! Wishing you a year of newness and exploration, vitality and learning, patience and possibility, focus and dedication alongside serendipity and the joys of surprise and unexpected connection- in and with people, ideas, ideals, and your art and expression.

I wish for you all the freedom and independence you see and deserve and will try to help you continue to grow in confidence and ability to realize your dreams and find for yourself in space and spirit the dignity, safety, and well being of increasing self-sufficiency and the security and expanding opportunities it provides.

As you leap forward and walk cautiously, as you take risks but also take care and be mindful, I will be by your side to encourage you, support you, offer you my own perspective and learning and celebrate in your success and joys- great and small.

Thank you for your love and support, for making efforts to be sensitive and responsive to me, for seeking and developing wisdom, balance, and growing your ever deep and expansive capacity for empathy and compassion.

I can't wait to see your colors and your textures, your angels and your advocacy, your beauty and tenacity and hope that seeds and sustains tangible wonders in people's lives, spirit, consciousness, and bodies. HAPPY BIRTHDAY ATARA! Love, Noam "

Jill Osborne, president and founder of the IC-Network wrote a beautiful blog-post about my mission and my artwork. I am very grateful for this. All of our conditions have to be taught and understood together. Being embraced, supported and encouraged by Jill gives me tremendous faith. Our letter-writing campaign has begun. Tomorrow I speak with Sandra Carson. Sandra is ACOG's vice president of education. I have to believe that our stories, our truths, our suffering will be heard. I do believe it. I know that we will be heard. Because we will not abate until we are heard, completely and deeply and powerfully and fully heard. Until ACOG evolves and transforms into an organization that puts diagnosing and treating all forms of pelvic pain  into its top priorities. It will happen. We are going to make it happen.

I am grateful for the support that I am receiving as I journey deeper and deeper into the heart of healing. I want to practice public speaking. I want to develop the courage to stand in front of hundreds and even thousands of people and to speak from my heart. I know that I will be heard. I know that I am being heard. I have to prepare myself for what is coming. I have to be prepared, prepared so that my impact will be great, so that the truth will be heard, so that suffering will be alleviated and justice will stand tall with pride and with honor. I owe this to myself, I owe this to myself first and then to everyone else.

It was generous of Nancy and of April to support my work by sharing my success with a wider audience. At the celebration I could see myself speaking about chronic pain. I could see it and it came easy, very easy. All I need is practice. I have everything else; the passion, the commitment, the dedication, the perseverance, the determination. The audience will come when I am ready.  

Saturday, July 11, 2015

"Creating art has always been a way to channel emotional intensity...If you are an artist, you are your instrument. The greater access you maintain to yourself, the richer and broader your array of creative tools."
                                                                              -Cheryl Arutt

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Our healing begins when we create meaning out of our suffering. Art guides me in this process and I am grateful.

I am deeply grateful for my creativity. I realize that creativity is a form of intelligence and it is also a spiritual practice. Its a force that is within us and that we are within. Connecting to it is exhilarating. It is the sacred and the spiritual and the way that it communicates through and beyond me is inspiring and uplifting. It literally lifts my spirit and carries me through time. Connection, empowerment,...

How can I encourage others to explore their own creativity. 

Honor your creativity.

Give your creative wings flight.

So many connections are happening through my art. These connections are deeply spiritual. They are full of kindness. They serve a higher purpose. They embody compassion. I am so grateful.

Please honor your creative spirit. Please show gratitude to your creative spirit. 

The owl. I will collage owls. The owl brought it all together. The power of the symbol. It is beautiful. 

Artists are magicians. Only that they aren't the ones creating the magic. The magic is being created through them. This is a privilege. It is an honor. I feel that I am being channeled and there is such an expansiveness to this experience. I feel that I am serving a higher purpose and that all of this networking and connecting is happening through me. I am empty, I am the receiver and simultaneously I am the creator. 

Today I realized why it has taken me years to accept that I am an artist. Art always served a higher purpose in my understanding and in my heart. Today my art is serving. Until my art started serving I didn't consider myself an artist.

Teachers told me that I was an artist. They tickled my heart. It felt good to hear it. But I shrugged it off like a crumb. Today I am an artist. Today art is working through me. Today my vessel is empty and clear enough. I love this. I am so grateful. It feels so fulfilling, so meaningful, so blessed to be where I am. 

Thank you God/Goddess. This is what I prayed for. This is what I begged for. 'If I am to suffer like this then promise me that I will reach the place where I will be well enough to serve.' I didn't ask for all of the pain to be taken away. I asked to be well enough to serve. My prayer has been answered. I am serving. And I am so grateful for the beautiful, inspiring, compassionate, devoted souls that I am meeting on my way. And I am so grateful to be given this opportunity to lead, to empower, to honor, to inspire...

I have known for a long time that I would have to reach this place. I couldn't see it. I had no vision of it. I felt fury and rage. I saw a mountain that I would never be able to surpass. I think that I have surpassed the mountain of my rage and now I am here. 

I am here, leading a campaign to get CPP into the medical school curriculum. I know that I can do it. We are all ready. All of us are ready. I can feel the energy and the force that we have. I can feel the power that we have. It is a deep and powerful and profoundly spiritual power that we have garnered through extreme and excruciating suffering. And we own it. It is in our hands. 

It is all in our hands and we own it.

Owl. Owl-energy. 

Friday, July 3, 2015

I remember that I wanted to post about the owl. Yesterday, I was standing outside at the front entrance. I was thinking about everything that has come together. I was feeling it with a sense of wonder and gratitude and suddenly I saw an owl among a few other lovely birds fly past me. I have never seen an owl fly past me before. It was so close.

Owl, what are you telling me? I think that you are telling me that I will succeed. I think that you came to celebrate this gathering of forces with me.You came like a vortex, to strengthen me. To encourage me. To tell me that I am strong and that I can do it. You came to tell me that you have faith in me.

Thank you for your message owl. Thank you.

I am going to paste here information about owl symbolism and meaning that I connect to.

'It represents something that is not easily found but through a struggle and great search.'

I want to write a bit about the good things that are coming together now. It started like this. A few weeks ago a fellow pain warrior posted a photo onto my timeline. There they were, the angels, Project Angel and my name. I was pleasantly surprised. Wendy Evered, a fellow activist and pain warrior wrote about Project Angel for the magazine PainPathways. I was excited and immediately thought that I would love to contribute my story and more of my art to the magazine. So, I called PainPathways and sent them some of my poetry, my six page story about surviving PN and I invited them to take a look at my website. Last week, Amy North, editor of PainPathways called me to tell me that they would like to publish my 'Faces of PN' on the Inspiration Page of the Sept. issue. Amy told me that September is Pain Awareness month and that it is also IC Awareness month. She didn't know if September had officially become Chronic Pelvic Pain Awareness month but she knew that there were CPP advocates that were trying to make that happen. Amy asked me to put together a resource list for people with CPP that would be put alongside my art. But it was more than that. She asked me to write a group e-mail to my resource list explaining that I was partnering with PainPathways to raise awareness about CPP and that I wanted to put them down as a resource.

And that is how my love affair began. I called the IC Network. Jill Osborne, founder and president of the IC Network answered the phone herself. This was a pleasant surprise. I told Jill about my partnership with PainPathways and that I would like to put the IC Network as a resource. I asked Jill if she knew if Sept. had officially been declared CPP awareness month. Once again I was pleasantly surprised when Jill told me that she was the one that was pushing hard to make this happen! When she told me that, I knew that I had reached the right place! I love when people get that it is about all of us together.

I was happy! Then I got even happier when Dr. Echenberg's name came up. I mentioned to Jill that I had created a short video of Dr. Echenberg and she immediately knew what video I was talking about. She had seen it! Then I mentioned Project Angel and Jill was very excited to discover that I was me :) She had been to my website a few weeks ago and loved the angels and their mission.
I was moved by her enthusiasm. She was genuinely excited to know that she was talking to me.

Now, you ask why all of this is so meaningful for me. Well, in the beginning I was sure that I had endometriosis. After the laparoscopy that came out clear I was sure that I had IC. I was already scheduled to have bladder installations. Last minute, I decided to have a hydrody stention. That was clear too. That is when I diagnosed myself with what I was really suffering from, PN. I had read about Jill and how IC happened to her. I was in profound suffering and grief but reading her story and seeing that she was leading a meaningful and inspired life despite IC gave me hope.

Jill asked me if she could write an article about me and about Project Angel for the IC magazine. She said that what I am doing can inspire other women. So there I was being asked by one of my hero's if she could write an article about me. Humbled, honored and excited. I felt that something beautiful and powerful had come full circle for me.

Then I called the National Vulvodynia Association. I spoke to Lisa Goldstein, executive director of the NVA. I told Lisa about PainPathways and that I would like to list the NVA as a resource. We spoke for a long time and at some point we started talking about the lack of education on CPP in medical school. This brought us to The American College of Obgyn (also known as ACOG).

 I have known for a very long time that someday somehow we (theCPP community) were going to have to reach them. I had no idea how this would happen. Dr. Stewart had talked about them in her interview when I asked what we (all of us survivors) could do to get CPP into the medical school curriculum. I think that she said that we could write letters to ACOG. It has been a long time since I watched the video. It has been ready for months but I have been waiting for Dr. Stewart to finish her website so that I could include it in the video.

Lisa Goldstein explained to me that we should find out what material ACOG does have about CPP so that we can know exactly what we want to ask for. She told me to speak with Katelin Phelps from ACOG. Katelin staffs the committee of The Dep't of Gynecologic Practice. I called ACOG (1-202-638-5577) and asked for her. I was angry and I immediately 'attacked her' with the devastating and enraging truth. How could this be happening? How can it be that millions of us are being told that we are crazy by gynecologists...that gynecologists are graduating med-school without ever having heard of PN, V, IC, PGAD...I was angry, very angry and she hung up on me.

I am planning to call her to apologize. It isn't her fault. But I couldn't see her. I just saw how ACOG was failing us miserably. I saw the thousands of gynecologists that were kicking us out of their offices with the 'its in your head'....I saw my suffering, our suffering....and the rage of all of something that I will have to work harder at curbing.

I think that it is the rage that kept me from reaching this point sooner. But it is also the rage that fuels my passion and my drive and that has brought me to where we are today.

We are here. Jill Osborne, Lisa Goldstein, Dahri McFaline, Dr. Echenberg, Pat Onorato, Amy North, Katherine Clement and many many more. They all have so much experience and I am learning from them. They are helping me control my anger. They are teaching me. I am grateful to be in their company. Grateful that we have all made it here together. Grateful that together our voices will be heard!!!

Yes, I believe it.



And I bought my own domain. I am now officially

Progress is pretty.