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Yoga Diary – Runner’s Lunge “the asana treasure waiting to be discovered”

16 Sep

In an article published in Yoga International, Luke Ketterhagen described banarasana (one of the names given to the Lunge pose) as “an asana treasure waiting to be discovered”.

This reminded me of a workshop I attended with Ana Forrest. She also recommended practising Lunge pose. In her book “Fierce Medicine”, she  wrote: “When you are moving into Lunge, you’re dealing with big muscles –quadriceps- so it takes a while for the pose to take its effect. This pose is so simple, and it works deeply. Anatomically, it’s straightforward, but energetically and physiologically, it’s a mover and a shaker.” (page 30)

In Yoga Therapy, we learn that the benefits of the pose are varied: it tones the abdominal muscles and gives a good stretch to the back and hip flexors. It strengthens the hips, legs, ankles and feet and induces balance in the nervous system!

So here are the instructions to come into Lunge:

  1. Starting from the table position, on all four, step your left foot forward between your hands.  Left knee is directly over the ankle and the shin perpendicular to the ground. Extend the right leg behind and place the knee and the top of the foot on the floor. Make sure the neck is in line with the spine, head looking down. Fingertips are on the floor or if you feel more comfortable, place blocks under your hands.
  2. Then lengthen the left thigh forward and the right thigh back, lowering the hips towards the mat. Stay in the pose for 30 to 60 seconds and then come back to table position and change side.
  3. Repeat a few times on each side.

To be honest, it wasn’t one of my favourite postures when I started yoga. My thighs were burning and although I am fairly flexible, it just didn’t feel right. But little by little, I started to notice how to adjust to make it nicer.
First it is crucial to place the knee of the extended leg comfortably on the mat. It sometimes helps to place a blanket underneath or to fold the mat. What I like doing is extend the straight leg back so I can place the top of the kneecap on the floor rather than the front. But only slightly as you need to keep the hips square to the front of the mat!
I also like to lift the toes and press the ball of the foot (of the bent leg) to make sure my knee doesn’t rotate inwards and stays in line with the ankle and the hip.
Then the main thing is to LET GO! The more relaxed you are, the more your hips will release. Gently! As Ana Forrest said, you need time in the Lunge to really experience it.  For some people, doing lunges releases a lot of emotions. If you feel “vulnerable”, just return to your breath to relax. Let go at all levels, and observe what happens without judging yourself.

I now really enjoy the lunges and I increasingly practise the Yin version: the Dragon Pose. Holding the pose for 2 minutes stimulates the stomach and spleen meridians (on the extended leg) and the kidney and liver meridians on the bent leg.

So are you ready to go into Lunge?

Yoga Diary with Video – Get up & Go!

15 Sep

Have you ever noticed that the idea of doing some yoga tomorrow is always such a good idea! Tomorrow when I get up, I will prepare the mat and I will do some yoga!

And then tomorrow arrives… But I don’t know what to do. I don’t have time. Well no more excuse: Here is the solution: a 13 minutes long video that will do the trick. Nothing complicated… Just simple but very effective postures. It is “general” and not particularly for people with MS. The aim is just to “Get up & Go!”. Please try it. You will find the video on our Vimeo channel:

Are you awake now?

You might even want to do more… Keep moving and have a fantastic day!


Yoga Diary – Why you should include “core” work in your practice

13 Sep

In 2010, an article in the Times entitled “The Core Stability Myth” gave rise to some discussions about the important of strengthening the core muscles. However, the controversy arose mainly because the author was referring to the Transverse Abdominals (the six pack muscle) rather than all the core muscles.

It is indeed important to see the core as a group of muscles including the Transverse Abdominals but also the Obliques, the Multifidus and the Pelvic Floor Muscles.

Why are these muscles important?
First because they protect the lower back by stabilising it and help keep a good posture.
Second because they help massage the internal organs, improving digestion and elimination.
Third, because strong core muscles will help you in about all the yoga asanas. Whether standing, balancing poses or twists, they all require strong core muscles and stability.
Fourth, core strength is magical. It makes everything easier: sitting, lifting, standing, bending, playing tennis, reaching overhead… you name it. Personally, it makes me feel stronger, not just physically but mentally too.

How to strengthen the core?
Students often believe that the only core strengthening yoga pose is Navasana/ the Boat pose but there are many many more. And not just asanas! Practising Kaphalabati breath everyday for a few minutes will undoubtedly strengthen your core! Pelvic tilts too, Balancing Table, Lower Planks… There are core strengthening practises for every mood, every level!
Hmm I guess a short Core Strengthening Video is required. Coming soon.

Yoga Diary – MS Hug (How Yoga helps)

12 Sep

Over the last few days, I occasionally felt tightness around my ribcage, very mildly and briefly. However last night, it became quite intense. No doubt, it was the so- called MS hug, which is basically due to spasms of the muscles between the ribs. It can last a few minutes or hours.

I had just finished reading a great article (Sam Harris’s Vanishing Self by Gary Gutting) when the pain started. My ribcage was caught in a vice. My breath got shorter and shallower. So I got up, walked around trying to stand up and then lied down breathing as deeply as I could. But it didn’t stop.

I then decided to go on my yoga mat – I am lucky to have a ‘yoga room’ where my mat is always waiting for me, with bolsters and blocks. Without any hesitation, I went into Supta Badda Konasana, the Bound Angle Pose.
I demonstrated this pose in a video for ekhartyoga: Watch the video

I did this pose without the belt though and stayed for about ten minutes, listening to some relaxing music. Peter had brought my iPad in the room and lit the candles to help me relax – i think he was a bit worried as he had never seen me with the MS hug before!
I then moved into Savasana, the Corpse Pose, and played a ‘Chanting Om’ album. I listened to Om being continuously chanted, anchoring my breath on each long slow Om. I did this for about twenty minutes, focusing on keeping with the breath, and then I felt better. Later on, I also meditated briefly, had a nice cup of tea and a hot shower. The crisis was over.

Yoga doesn’t take away the pain of the MS Hug – it is hard to reach the muscles being in spasm with the MS hug- but it helps.
For me, it is like having a toothache. On the one hand there is the tooth pain itself, the ‘core pain’. But on the other, there is also the discomfort, and sometimes even pain, due to us being nervous, irritated, etc., the ‘secondary pain’. Yoga may not reduce the core pain itself but it certainly helps reduce the secondary pain. And it makes the whole experience much easier to cope with. I do not wish anybody to experience the MS Hug, but if it happens, try this and see if it helps. Namaste

Taming the Walrus: An Integrative Approach

20 Jul


I haven’t written any blog entry for such a long time…. But I was very busy! Together with my partner, we worked on the Taming the Walrus Approach: an integrative approach to living with MS, including Yoga, Mindfulness and Diet.
We are finalising our website – which will take over the name – and this blog will be linked to it.
It is so exciting! I feel that everything is coming together.I will of course share the link as soon as it is life!
I’m looking forward to your feedback. But i a m also looking forward to our first Taming the Walrus retreat, which will take place in Ericeira, Portugal, from 11th to 18th of October. We are delighted to organise it in Omassim guesthouse, which is owned by good friends of ours. It is a “small” guest house, which is perfect since we want to keep the number of participants low. Here is the schedule:

08:00-09:30 – General Yoga Class
09:45 – 10:45 Breakfast
11:00 – 12:30 Adaptive yoga (to address specific MS issues) or talks, video and discussions.
13:00 – 14:00 Lunch
14:00 – 17:30 Free time – beach, massage, reading chatting etc.
18:00 – 18:45 Gentle Restorative Yoga (on the beach if you want to!)
18:45 – 19:30 Mindfulness
20:00 – Dinner

From 595 euro a week (Early Bird) including:
– Accommodation in mini dormitory
– 3 Delicious vegetarian meals per day
– Daily yoga classes – suitable for all levels
– Introduction to Mindfulness Sessions
– Retreat Manual

And hopefully there will be plenty more to come!
Have a lovely day!
ps: for more info you can write to us to

Ready, steady, go! – À vos marques, prêts, partez !

30 Dec


englishI love New Year, new resolutions… Life seems full of possibilities. I’m full of energy, ready to conquer the world!

In 2012, I decided to move to Spain, and here I am, in beautiful Andalucia. In 2013, I’ll embark on the Overcoming MS program. Right now, I feel that this is a much bigger challenge than  changing countries.

The OMS program was developed by an Australian doctor who himself has MS. It is based on the proof that changing your lifestyle has tremendous positive impacts on the evolution of your MS. The program is holistic. It includes regular exercise, 30 min daily meditation and 15 min sunlight a day. It also includes a meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, low saturated fat diet.

Indeed, saturated fats trigger a “fight” reaction in the immune system, whereas unsaturated fats trigger a “flee” reaction, which is obviously best when you have an autoimmune disease. This diet follows the same principles as the standard immune modifier treatments, but it requires discipline. Especially since no “deviation” is allowed…

One of my problems, as usual, is that “forever” seems far too long!!! When I stopped smoking, I tricked myself by saying “No worries, you don’t stop forever. You’ll have another one… but on your 80th birthday!” It has worked very well so far…

Should I try it with cheese and avocados? Maybe.

Another major issue is to decide “How badly do I want to fight MS?” “Am I ready to give up nice food?” And that is where I’m completely wrong. I don’t have to give up nice food. I just have to be more “creative” as my friend Jorin told me. Jorin is an amazing vegetarian chef (check her blog if you need a proof: and I’m so lucky to be able to count on her support and advice.

So here I go, I have my blender, I have Jorin’s advice, I have the energy. So let’s do it!

Good bye mature goat’s cheese. Good bye strong blue Roquefort… See you on my 80th birthday, a birthday of blue cheese with red wine and a cigarette…

Happy New Year to you all!



FrenchJ’adore le Nouvel An, les bonnes résolutions… La vie semble pleine d’opportunités et moi, je suis pleine d’énergie, prête à conquérir le monde !

En 2012, j’avais décidé d’aller vivre en Espagne et me voici ici, en Andalousie. En 2013, c’est décidé. Je me lance dans le programme  OMS (Vaincre la SEP). En ce moment, le défi me parait bien plus grand que celui de changer de pays.

Le programme OMS a été développé par un médecin australien, lui-même souffrant d’une SEP. Il s’appuie sur l’idée, vérifiée, qu’un style de vie adapté a d’énormes effets positifs sur l’évolution de la SEP. Il s’agit d’un programme holistique qui inclut des exercices réguliers, 30 minutes de méditation quotidienne et 15 minutes d’exposition solaire. Il inclut également un régime sans viande, sans produits laitiers, sans œufs et bas en graisses saturées.

En effet, les graisses saturées incitent le système à « attaquer » alors que les graisses non saturées le poussent à « fuir », ce qui est souhaitable en cas de maladie auto-immune mais nécessite une certaine discipline. D’autant plus qu’aucun écart n’est acceptable.

Comme d’habitude, un de mes problèmes, est que « pour toujours » me semble beaucoup trop long !!! Quand j’ai arrêté de fumer, je me suis convaincue que « Ce n’est pas grave. Tu n’arrêtes pas pour toujours. Tu fumeras une autre cigarette… Mais pour ton 80 ème anniversaire ! » Jusqu’à présent, ça marche…

Devrais-je essayer la même astuce avec le fromage et les avocats ? Peut-être.

Un autre problème est de décider « Jusqu’où es-tu prête à aller pour combattre la SEP ? » « Suis-je prête à abandonner la bonne nourriture ? » Et c’est là que je commets une erreur. Je ne dois pas abandonner la bonne nourriture. Je dois faire preuve de créativité, comme me l’a dit mon amie Jorin, qui est une chef végétarienne exceptionnelle. (son blog en est la preuve : J’ai la chance de pouvoir compter sur son soutien et sur ses conseils.

Me voici donc. J’ai mon super blender. J’ai les conseils de Jorin. J’ai l’énergie. Alors, c’est bon, je suis prête!

Au revoir mon tender chèvre. Au revoir mon Roquefort bleu et fort… On se revoit pour mes 80 ans, pour fêter un anniversaire avec du bleu, du rouge et une cigarette…

Bonne année à vous tous!

Cultivating a Positive Attitude – Cultiver une attitude positive

21 Oct

One of the statues in Suryalila

“When disturbed by negative thoughts,
opposite [positive] ones should be thought of.”
Sri Gurudev’s translation of the Yoga Sutras

Last week, I didn’t feel too good. My immune system was apparently fighting something and dormant symptoms awakened. I felt tired and slightly depressed.  As always in such cases, I remembered the first advice the MS nurse gave me: “Only use 70% of your energy. Keep the rest to manage MS.” Since I didn’t want to take days off work, I gathered and saved up my energy to meet my deadlines.
Luckily I could spend these “tricky” days in Suryalila, my favourite yoga retreat centre. And I soon got better.
However, I have to admit that frustration crept up… I was right here and but I couldn’t attend my yoga teacher’s classes. My right leg was numb and I had twisted my ankle recently… I felt too weak and thought that I would either exceed the 70% limit I was trying to respect or hurt myself if I joined the vinyasa morning class.
Maybe I was wrong, maybe it would have been ok but how do you know when your 70% energy level has been used up? I decided to play it safe.
However, although I didn’t do any asana, I still practised some form of yoga. I practised cultivating positive attitude.  There are different techniques but I focused on Pratypaksha Bhavana, which consists of shifting one’s perspective. So each time, I had a negative thought because of MS, I added an item on my mental list of all the things I should be thankful for, like being in love with a wonderful caring man, being surrounded by great people, living where I want to live, having a job that I enjoy and can do from anywhere or going for a walk under a blue sky…
For me, being positive is not about believing in a miraculous recovery or a cure but about replacing negative thoughts – which we all have – with positive ones. It is not always as easy as it sounds as the negative thoughts sometimes keep coming back, especially when the body aches or when the future looks bleak. But for me, it has been worth the effort so far. It “unstuck” me and helped me create a more positive image of myself. Yoga also offers other techniques to cultivate a positive attitude and as for the asanas, the more you practise, the easier it gets.


 La semaine dernière, je n’étais pas en super forme. Mon système immunitaire s’efforçait apparemment de combattre une infection et quelques symptômes se réveillèrent. Fatiguée, je me sentais légèrement déprimée. Comme d’habitude dans ces cas-là, je me souvins du premier conseil que me donna l’infirmière: “Il faut utiliser seulement 70% de votre énergie. Vous aurez besoin du reste pour gérer la SEP.” Comme je ne voulais pas prendre de congé, j’ai rassemblé mon énergie et l’ai consacrée à mon travail.
Heureusement, j’ai pu passé ces journées “difficiles” dans mon centre de yoga préféré, Suryalila. Et je me suis rapidement sentie mieux.
Néanmoins, je dois avouer que je me sentis également frustrée. J’étais ici mais je ne pouvais assister au cours de vinyasa de ma prof. Ma jambe droite était constamment engourdie et je m’étais tordue la cheville peu de temps auparavant… Je me sentais trop faible et pensais que je risquais soit de dépasser les 70% soit de me blesser.
Peut-être ai-je eu tort. J’aurais peut-être pu suivre les cours mais comment savoir si ce serait trop? J’ai décidé de ne pas prendre de risque.
Mais, bien que je n’aie pas fait pratiqué diverses asanas, j’ai tout de même fait du yoga. J’ai cultivé une attitude positive! Plusieurs techniques existent mais je me suis concentrée sur celle du Pratypaksha Bhavana, qui consiste à changer de perspective. Ainsi, dès qu’une pensée négative liée à la SEP me traversait l’esprit, je songeai à une chose pour laquelle je me sentais reconnaissante. Par exemple, être amoureuse d’un homme merveilleux et chaleureux, être entourée de personnes chaleureuses, vivre où je le désire, avoir un travail qui me plait et qui me laisse libre de voyager, me promener sous un ciel bleu sans nuage…
Pour moi, être positive ne signifie pas croire en une guérison miraculeuse mais remplacer les pensées négatives – que nous avons tous – par des pensées positives. Ce n’est pas toujours aussi facile qu’il n’y paraît surtout quand le corps souffre ou quand le futur semble sombre. Mais pour moi, cela en a, jusqu’à présent, valu la peine. Ça m’a permis de me libérer et aussi de me créer une image plus positive de moi-même. Le yoga propose d’autres techniques pour cultiver une attitude positive et comme pour les asanas, plus on pratique plus cela devient facile.

Fear – La Peur

8 Sep

Fear no more the heat o’ the sun; 
Nor the furious winter’s rages, 
Thou thy worldly task hast done, 
Home art gone, and ta’en thy wages; 
Golden lads and girls all must, 
As chimney sweepers come to dust. 
“Fear no more” – William Shakespeare

Since I started this blog, I have received wonderful messages. People I know, people I don’t know, people with or without MS keep telling me how courageous and inspiring I am. It is extremely flattering.! I would to say: keep praising me… I can’t get enough!
But … I am not this strong courageous person you imagine and I apologize if I misled you.  The truth is I AM AFRAID.  Fear has always been beside me, like a faithful shadow. Some people may be followed by Anger, others by Sadness… My companion is Fear.
Fear is like a graceful dancer, wearing different masks. She comes – uninvited – and dances around me. She often comes as Fear of failure and her twin sister Fear of rejection. Sometimes she wears the more discreet mask of Fear of loneliness, or the ambiguous double-sided mask of Fear to love and not to love.  And then Fear to be hurt is never too far. But underneath all these masks there is only one face: Fear to die.
So here I am, in my MS world, caught between a huge shapeless walrus and a multi-faced dancer. Both are very proud and If I ever try to ignore them, they become  stronger. Plus, the stronger my Walrus gets, the stronger Fear becomes too, and vice versa.
I suffered so much from fatigue the first years of my diagnosis. It was horrible., like being nailed down on the floor. You cannot move. Just being is so hard. Everything seems out of reach… But I decided to explore any possible source of energy around me. It’s quite amazing how much energy you can save with an appropriate diet. Mind Power is also amazing and deserves its name…
But like all emotions, Fear is also a source of energy!  Of course we can be transported by love, joy and happiness but the same is true of Fear, Anger or Sadness.  People are able to achieve so much, not always for the benefit of humanity, because of these emotions too.
I wish I were fearless, but Fear, like MS, is part of who I am. It doesn’t define me but certainly influences me.  And I’m not particularly courageous, just an expert in Energy Saving!


Ne crains pas les rayons du soleil

Ni les rages hivernales

Toi ta tâche est achevée

L’artisanat est révolu, et a pris ses dus

Nos garçons et filles chéris doivent tous

En s’appliquant, venir nettoyer
“Cymbeline”, Shakespeare

Depuis que j’ai commencé ce blog, j’ai reçu de magnifiques messages. Que ce soient des connaissances ou des inconnus, des personnes avec ou sans SEP, tous disent me trouver courageuse et voient en moi une source d’inspiration. Je suis flattée et j’aimerais pouvoir leur dire « Continuez à me couvrir de louanges… ! »
Mais… je ne suis pas cette femme courageuse qu’ils imaginent et je m’excuse si je les ai trompés. En vérité, J’AI PEUR. La Peur a toujours été à mes côtés, telle une ombre fidèle. Certains sont flanqués de la Colère, d’autres de la Tristesse… Ma compagne est la Peur.
La Peur est une danseuse pleine de grâce qui porte différents masques. Elle arrive, à l’improviste, et se met à tournoyer autour de moi. Elle me rend souvent visite déguisée en Peur de l’échec avec sa jumelle la Peur du rejet. Parfois elle porte le masque plus discret de la Peur de la solitude ou le masque ambigu à double face de la Peur d’aimer et de ne pas aimer. La Peur d’être blessée n’est alors jamais très loin. Mais sous tous ces masques se cache seulement un visage, celui de la Peur de mourir.
Me voici donc, dans mon monde la SEP, prise entre une énorme Morse informe et une danseuse aux multiples visages. Toutes les deux sont extrêmement fières et si jamais je tente de les ignorer, elles se fâchent et je ressens alors leur présence.  Plus la Morse devient forte, plus la Peur se fait puissante, et vice versa.
J’ai tellement souffert de la fatigue les premières années de mon diagnostic. C’était horrible. Elle me clouait littéralement au sol. Impossible de bouger. Tout semble hors de portée. J’ai alors décidé d’exploiter toutes les sources d’énergie possibles et imaginables. C’est incroyable l’énergie que l’o peut économiser en suivant un régime approprié.  Le Pouvoir de l’esprit n’est pas moins prodigieux et mérite bien son nom.
Mais comme toutes les émotions, la Peur est également source d’énergie ! Bien sûr, nous sommes transportés par l’Amour, la Joie et le Bonheur mais on peut l’être aussi par la Peur, la Colère ou la Tristesse. Nous sommes aussi capables de réaliser des exploits, certes pas toujours pour le bénéfice de l’humanité, sous l’emprise de ces émotions.
J’aimerais être sans peur, mais la Peur, tout comme la SEP, font partie de moi. Elles ne me définissent pas mais elles m’influencent. Et je ne suis pas particulièrement courageuse, seulement une experte en économies d’énergie !

Yoga and MS – Yoga et SEP

11 Aug

I slip into my body as I would into clothes. My legs, my arms… I try to adjust.  But most of the times, I feel trapped by weird sensations. It feels too tight as if I was wearing a  corset or too loose, as if I were diluted in space, without contour.

But it’s not just the pains and sensory symptoms that you need to accept, it’s the body as a whole. How can you feel at ease in a body that destroys itself? How not to be resentful? You can concentrate your anger on a virus and wish to kill it but in which direction do you aim your anger when the immune system fails?

I remember one day in particular. I had just been diagnosed and had recently started yoga. I hesitated before going to my class because I had no sensation in my left leg. It “worked” properly but I couldn’t feel it. The sole of my foot was also almost entirely numb. But I really enjoyed Tony’s class and thought I should give it a try. Everything went better than I expected. Until Tony suggested we do Ardha Chandrasana, the half-moon pose in which you stand on one foot and one hand. Of course, I fell. I was too frustrated, too scattered to keep my balance. But not just on the left leg! I had the same issues with the other “healthy” side. I think that’s when I realized that a long battle was ahead of me: against frustration, fear, despondency…

Practising yoga is for me a huge challenge! But one of the biggest benefits is to learn how to tame your body and emotions, little by little, as if they were wild animals. Of course yoga has other benefits. Asanas help fighting the progressive weakening of the muscles but personally, I need yoga to feel better in my body.

I keep fighting but I’m learning. I learn to listen, respect and read the warnings. And who knows, maybe one day, I’ll feel really free. Free to move on beyond the body.


 Je me glisse à l’intérieur de mon corps, comme je me glisserais dans un vêtement. Je   me glisse dans les jambes, dans les bras, je m’ajuste. Mais la plupart du temps, des sensations étranges m’empêchent de me sentir libre. Je me sens à l’étroit, dans un corset, ou au contraire diluée dans l’espace, sans contour.

Mais  ce ne sont pas uniquement les douleurs et les symptômes sensoriels qu’il faut accepter, c’est le corps dans son ensemble. Comment se sentir bien dans son corps quand il s’autodétruit ? Comment ne pas lui en vouloir ? On peut concentrer sa colère sur un virus et l’attaquer en retour mais vers où l’orienter quand le système immunitaire faillit?

Je me souviens d’un épisode en particulier. Je venais d’être diagnostiquée et j’avais débuté le yoga très peu de temps avant. Ce jour-là j’hésitais à y aller car je n’avais aucune sensation dans ma jambe gauche. Elle « fonctionnait » normalement mais je ne la sentais pas. La plante de mon pied gauche était également quasiment insensible. Mais j’aimais vraiment bien les cours de mon prof Tony et je décidais donc de tenter ma chance. Tout se passa mieux que prévu. Jusqu’au moment où Tony nous proposa la position de la demi lune, Ardha Chandrasana, dans laquelle on est en appui sur une jambe et un bras. Bien sûr, je suis tombée. J’étais trop frustrée, éparpillée, pour tenir en équilibre sur une jambe. Mais pas seulement sur la jambe gauche ! J’ai eu les mêmes problèmes du côté droit ! Je crois que c’est à ce moment-là que je me suis vraiment rendu compte qu’une longue bataille s’annonçait. : contre la frustration, la peur, le découragement…

Pratiquer le yoga est pour moi un énorme défi ! Mais l’un des bénéfices essentiel du yoga est justement d’apprendre à apprivoiser son corps et ses émotions, petit à petit, comme un animal sauvage. Évidemment, le yoga a de nombreux autres bienfaits. Les asanas aident à ralentir l’affaiblissement progressif des muscles. Mais personnellement, j’ai besoin du yoga surtout pour me sentir mieux dans mon corps.

Je continue à batailler mais j’apprends. J’apprends surtout à écouter, respecter, déchiffrer les avertissements.  Et qui sait, peut-être qu’un jour je pourrais me sentir vraiment libre. Libre d’aller au-delà du corps.

Unknown – Inconnu

24 Jun

Life is beautiful
I keep telling you and it’s killing me
Says the flower
And then she dies
Prévert, “Soleil de Mars”

I wasn’t there for my brother when he died. Not the way I should have been. I was so wrapped into my own grief that, despite being there physically, I didn’t see him pass away. I only saw myself losing him.
We never talked about death at home, as if it only happened to others. Sweet comfortable denial…
Until Life wakes you up.
She must have realised I was in profound denial: I discovered I might have MS the same day my brother found out he had a tumour.
So much for soft wake-up calls!
Still, I wasn’t fully awake when my brother left.
And this keeps haunting me.

Maybe having multiple sclerosis has been a blessing in disguise. Of course, I wish I hadn’t MS. Of course, I am scared of becoming blind, unable to talk or to reason, or to move… But for me MS is not the end. It is a beginning. It grabbed me out of my cocoon and it is teaching me how to die, that is how to live.
When I was diagnosed, I was told it usually takes a few years to “come to terms” with having an incurable disease: “You have to mourn the death of your health and of your dreams.”
But I’m not sure this helps. It only feeds your fear, which grows and grows. It stops your from looking ahead, from stepping forward. Your fear of the unknown disables you. Not the MS.
Like for many people- the Unknown is the essence of my personal challenge:
I remember feeling at a loss in a math class when the teacher said that parallel lines never ever intersect, explaining the concept of “infinity”. I struggled. Imagining outer space upset me even more. My mind couldn’t accept the absence of boundaries. I couldn’t go beyond the “experienced” or at least “the imaginable” into the Unknown. I needed the security of a beginning and an end.
So no wonder the thought of death would freeze me.
Until I let go.
Until ∞,the infinity symbol, started to symbolize life cycles and became beautiful.
MS is teaching me – or trying to teach me – to surrender to the Unknown and to the beauty of Life and Death.

Ps: I still miss you.


Le vie est belle
Je me tue à vous le dire
Dit la fleur
Et elle meurt
Prévert, “Soleil de Mars”

Je n’étais pas présente quand mon frère est décédé. Pas vraiment, pas comme j’aurais dû l’être. J’étais tellement emmitouflée dans mon propre chagrin que je ne l’ai pas vu s’en aller. J’ai seulement vu que je le perdais.
Nous ne parlions jamais de la mort à la maison, comme si elle n’arrivait qu’aux autres. Le doux confort du déni…
Jusqu’au jour où la Vie vous réveille.
Elle a dû se rendre compte de mon profond déni : j’ai découvert que j’avais très semblablement une SEP le jour même où mon frère a appris avoir une tumeur.
Vous parlez d’un réveil en douceur !
Et pourtant, je n’étais toujours pas éveillée quand mon frère s’en est allé.
Ce souvenir me hante.

Peut-être que la SEP a quelque chose de bon, après tout. Bien sûr, j’aimerais ne pas l’avoir dans ma vie. Bien sûr, j’ai peur de perdre la vue, la capacité de parler, de raisonner ou de bouger… Mais la SEP n’est pas une fin. C’est un début. Elle m’a soulevée de mon cocon et elle m’apprend à mourir, c’est-à-dire à vivre.
Quand j’ai été diagnostiquée, on m’a dit qu’il faut en général plusieurs années pour apprendre à gérer une maladie incurable. « Vous devez faire le deuil de votre santé et de vos rêves. »
Mais je doute que cela aide. Cela ne fait qu’alimenter les peurs, qui grossissent à vue d’œil. Cela vous empêche de regarder devant vous, d’avancer. La peur de l’inconnu vous handicape. Pas la SEP.
Comme pour beaucoup d’autres personnes, c’est l’Inconnu qui est l’essence de mon défi personnel. Je me souviens d’un cours de maths. Le prof nous disait que jamais des droites parallèles ne se croiseraient, expliquant le concept d’ « Infini ». J’étais perdue. Je bataillais. Imaginer l’espace me troublait encore davantage. Mon esprit ne pouvait tout simplement pas accepter l’absence de limites. J’étais incapable d’aller au-delà du vécu, ou du moins de l’envisageable, et d’imaginer l’inconnu. J’avais besoin d’un début et d’une fin pour me rassurer.
Pas étonnant donc que la simple idée de la mort m’ait complètement bloquée.
Jusqu’à ce que je lâche prise.
Jusqu’à ce que ∞, le symbole de l’infini, ne devienne petit à petit symbole des cycles de la vie.
La SEP m’apprend, ou du moins tente de m’apprendre, à m’abandonner à l’Inconnu et à la beauté de la Vie et de la Mort.

Ps: Tu me manques toujours.

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