overlooking a little island of green across the street around which the cars churned. The city was very noisy and rushed, and on our street a continual river of traffic and nearby trains roared by.
For several years I had been out of work due to my health. I used to run a communications business which served the non-profit sector, and I had worked hard creating big awareness programs for small charitable organizations. In 1993 I injured my back while dancing for fitness and I hadn’t recovered. I had to stop work and tend to the pain that would not go away. I tried everything to make it stop. I went to physiotherapists, doctors, orthopedic surgeons, osteopaths, chiropractors and spiritual healers. Finally the disorder was named fibromyalgia—meaning chronic pain in the muscles and fascia. It was not really a diagnosis, because there is no known cause or treatment for the condition. Fibromyalgia is a name given to a set of symptoms that include extreme muscle tenderness, insomnia, anxiety, fatigue and depression. Most people with fibromyalgia are women, and the numbers are growing.
Meanwhile, Ian sold his company and bought 300 acres of rolling green farmland east of the city. An old farmhouse on the property had fallen into ruin through time and neglect, and Ian decided to renovate it. He and a carpenter friend spent their weekdays out in the country. They stripped the house down to its wooden frame, redesigned the rooms and built it back up again. It took a couple of years to finish it, but now the house was completed, and Ian and I had been going back and forth every other week from the city to the country.
I was deeply grateful to have access to the country, to be enveloped in nature night and day, swept up in stars, birdsong, fragrant grasses and gentle winds. It is a great luxury to have space to walk in, pure air to breathe. I had spent so many years forcing my creations to meet the needs of others and it had all been such an effort! But as I walked through the fields in the country, I marveled at the easy abundance of nature. It relaxed me just to be in a meadow, amid grasses and wildflowers, moss and lichen—all the natural creations of the earth. The earth did not strive to produce, she just produced, and did so abundantly, beyond what we could ever know.
At 43, I had come to the middle of my life and my career as I knew it had disappeared. The only work I had to do in the “here and now” was to find a way to ease the pain, calm my nervous system, bring my body and soul around. My business life was a land that had fallen away behind me. I could never go back there. I couldn’t see the future either, because I truly did not know if I would be more able tomorrow than I was today. Perhaps I would live my whole lifetime in pain. I was trying to find a way to be okay with that. But I feared, down deep, that I