the nO push zOne

Just when I thought I’d learned as much as I could from the gift called Valley Fever, it knocked me on my bum, did a little happy dance, and not so gently reminded me that my old outdated ways of being just aren’t going to work anymore.

My dear friend Karla came to town for a conference in early January, and since I was feeling pretty darn good, and we hadn’t been together for 7 months, I decided to join her for a couple of nights at her hotel in Scottsdale. Only in retrospect can I say,

“What was I thinking?”.

We talked, laughed, cried, and ate delicious healthy meals – ok, and some bacon – to keep us going. I made sure to get in my daily 1-2 hour nap thinking this would be enough. Unfortunately, I also began ignoring the subtle messages from my body that were informing me that I was “pushing it” beyond it’s currently tiny energy reserve.

In less than 36 hours, I found myself back in my bed unable to do much of anything. No more adventures, walks or long talks for Karla and I. It was maddening, heart-breaking, and a bit embarrassing. It was a perfect time to ask,

“What am I missing?”.


Over the past 6 weeks as I tried to see the opportunity in this lastest setback, I began to realize that my first reaction to just about anything, is to push. The truth is, I’ve been pushing myself most of my life. On the outside I’ve looked cool, calm and collected, but make no mistake, on the inside, I’m pushing like mad. Pushing to fit in. Pushing to perform. Pushing to be perfect, nice and smart. Pushing to always be available, proper, and of service. Pushing to belong. Pushing to be more. And at times, pushing just to survive. I can honestly say I had no idea how exhausting and taxing it all has been.


These words are from one of my very first pieces of artwork. Needless to say, I’m still in the process of rewiring my whole system to a gentler, stronger and more sustainable way of being.

Don’t get me wrong. Being able to push myself has, at times, served me very well. It is a skill I will keep on the shelf for when I need it, but I don’t want it to be my everyday way of being. (My body, brain and energy system is sighing in relief.) Without a doubt, my health depends on me getting this!

It’s not the stress of life that is the issue, it is my response to it. Meditation is helping. Being honest about it is helping. Listening to and trusting my intuition is helping. And, as you know, being grateful helps everything.


Over the past couple of weeks I’ve had to make some really hard decisions in order to keep my committment to myself to stay in the no push zOne. It has been downright scary at times, and is requiring me to dig deep for courage, truth and resiliency. It is all worth it, though, because I really believe that I am in the process of uncovering a type of energy that is grounded, connected, steady, strong, relaxed, sparkly, reliable and resilient, The type of energy I’ve only dreamed of.

Keep dreaming, dear friends, because dreams really do come true.


 Be brave.

Be grateful.

Stay true to who you really are.


lOve, vickiO



  1. Lahna Chaffee

    Oh, Vicki, I am so sorry to hear of this most recent flareup of VF. It certainly confirms what I believe to be true about VF. You never are truly “over it.” I returned home to Green Valley mid-August after a lovely summer in Flagstaff where, other than some respiratory issues at that elevation, I assume, i was feeling great. I walked everywhere, biked if distance too great to walk, did yoga 3X weekly. Just had a marvelous time. All was well. Got home and the fatigue set in shortly thereafter. Still thought just travel weary so a few days of rest and I would be good to go. NOT! Days turned into weeks. Gradually I could barely drag myself around the block. After dealing with this DISease since 2008, I somehow still hope that someday it will release its hold on me. But, acceptance kicks in and I remember that, as you sais, I cannot PUSH through this. It is time to rest, and reflect, and enjoy all the books I have been wanting to read.

    I do want to mention a wonderful author that I read that has a special place in my heart for her similar journey with a chronic illness, Toni Bernhard. I have now read all her books but my favorite, and I return to certain chapters still, especially when people say hurtful things (after all, we don’t LOOK sick!) How to Live Well with Chronic Pain and Illness. She acquired a virus in on a trip to Paris in 2001, and has never recouperated. She has learned so much through her journey, and it makes me so GRATEFUL that I do have periods when I am well—she never gets that chance. She is a retired law professor, a Buddhist (so lots on meditation, which I totally believe is helpful), wife, mother, now mostly all from her house and bed.

    After 3 months I did start to get better again and with some new changes in my diet, I feel better than ever. Now is the time to proceed with caution! The hardeat lesson of all. We always want to make up for that lost time! Thanks for listening to my experience that I had been wanting to share with someone. I do so appreciate your blog….it is always so encouraging regardless of our travails.

    May you be well,

    • vickioart

      Dear Lahna,
      Thank you so much for sharing your experience and wisdom. It is such a great reminder to embrace where we are, wherever that may be. I am always so quick to grasp the “feeling good”, and hope it stays forever. Oh, to remember to dance with it all.

      Thank you for the recommendation of Toni Bernhard’s book. I will definitely get myself a copy as it sounds very supportive and helpful. I continue to learn that this journey is so much better when traveling with others. Thank you for being one of them❣

      It brings me joy to hear about your wonderful summer in Flagstaff. Isn’t it grand to feel your body’s strength and life force! I feel that way on the golf course. I’m so sorry, though, that it came to a screeching halt when you returned home. The up and down of this illness is sometimes the most challenging part. I love your line, “proceed with caution”! I’m going to write that on my mirror. Not to scare myself, but to stay inwardly connected so I hear and feel what is going on with me. Not that it’s any kind of guarantee, but I sure like the way it brings a smile to my face. Thank you so much for that❣

      Thank you again for sharing your story, and know I’m wishing you wellness, peace & joy.

  2. debra

    Love you. Just remember even us “high energy” gals have to take a break somedays. I’ll be hiding on the golf course today – in plain view. Hope to see you there soon!

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