the tremor twins

Neck tremors:  They came and went without pattern, yet, up to that point, did not affect my sleep or daily activities. Besides, it is often useless to explain the onset of odd quirks in the body. They’re like Minnesota weather—wait for a little while, and things change. I suppose there could have been a number of competing causes: harvesting tomatoes, herbs and raspberries; cleaning up the gardens and yard for fall; decluttering our house and filling a 20-yard dumpster; and preparing for and hosting a yard sale. These stressors were the basis of the “Last Straw Award,” recognized periodically by various compromised parts of my body.


Stress or not, this time my encounter with muscle tremors in my neck was markedly different from the first experience. As I lied down to go to sleep, they consumed me. They were unstoppable. They increased in severity. For fourteen hours my head did nothing but wobble, regardless of my body position. For the most part, yogic breathing, meditating, or telling my ego to go to her corner—that I wasn’t in any physical danger—mediate my stressors. Not this time. I tried replacing my trusty pillow with the ergonomic one recommended by my chiropractor, embracing and calming my fear, and thinking of things for which I was grateful (that actually helped for a while). However, the tremors returned. Fear grew ten-fold, and panic set in. It was a vicious cycle. I was certain that I had a serious disorder and was not long for this world.


Morning hours approached and, although exhausted, I decided to attend an early yoga class because yoga always makes me feel better. A fellow yogi, who is a neuro-muscular therapist, gently took me by the shoulders and said I would be fine. Fear was the driving factor—I needed to continue my breathing and visioning. The tremors did not go away; they just came with less intensity. I managed my daytime activities to include movements and positions that offered me comfort and support. I had an earnest conversation with Source, indicating that I was knocking at a portal and would appreciate knowing that I had been heard. My all-consuming fear had blocked any chance of realizing Source’s presence. I felt a smidge like a four-year-old, begging for a night light to be left on in my room because of the monsters lurking under my bed. The tremors were scary. I did not want to think about the upcoming evening hours. I was not alone, yet it felt like it.


At 9:30 p.m. I meditated on “Calm Lake,” a Buddhist visualization that substitutes calm mental pictures for nagging worry phrases. Still somewhat anxious and feeling subdued tremors, I fell asleep. Some time later, I was awakened by the voice of a familiar friend from the woods near our home—the eight-to-nine-note call of the Barred Owl.


During an earlier, twenty-seven month writing project that culminated in PENROE: in another field without time (, I had researched and written about the Barred Owl. This was the totem animal of the main character of the book. The sound that I heard was its distinct lyric that called to me on three previous occasions during the development of the book. Locating a specific line of poetry among thousands of lines, deciding to diverge from the standard use of dialogue, or using non-traditional ways of shaping the narrative, the Barred Owl’s voice brought courage and confirmation. All energies are connected. Clearly in the thick of things, Source had spoken to me then through the owl and was speaking to me now. Everything is exactly as it should be and all is well. The owl’s call spread calm and peace throughout my anxious body. The tremors subsided. Source had heard my knock, and I was humbled and grateful to have received an answer. In hindsight, Source is always available; it was I who needed more faith.


The tremors are still with me, yet their random presence has happened fewer and fewer times. I set appointments with my doctor and acupuncturist. I know Source “has my back.”



In the quiet moments : When you’re in a situation where you’ve run out of options, feel out-of-control (not that you ever were in control!) and don’t know if Source is truly listening, call on faith and persistence. Know that you can trust Source.



© 2015 in the thick of things

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