Of Candles, Herkimer Diamonds, and No Coffee

How often have we mistaken really wanting (even loving) something with needing it? I’ve been there a time or three, mostly while I was too young to have experienced any better.

When I first started meditating, I couldn’t reach a state of tranquility without burning a candle. Smelling the scent and watching the flame helped me focus. Then I joined the military, and burning a candle was not always possible; so I learned to meditate without a scented flame. I did not care for it. But I got used to it. And after a while, it started not to make a difference.

A few weeks back, I convinced my doctor that I would be all right without taking beta blockers and two other medications. The beta blockers did wonders for the nerve pain and pretty much dulled out most of my chronic pain. But after a few months on the things I started turning into a zombie (of the non-rotting variety *cough*): my speech patterns suffered, I was sleeping 11+ hours every day, I gained a total of 21 pounds.

The withdrawals from the meds were a nightmare: every pain and spasm came back at once, I even felt things I hadn’t felt before (and they weren’t nice); I couldn’t stop sweating; going to the bathroom was something that happened to other people… The severe effects lasted for a few days; discomfort stayed around for a couple of weeks. At the moment, my old nerve pain, shoulder pain, and hip pains are back, but I can sleep again, I’ve reclaimed my words, and I’m losing the weight.

This is the first time in my life that I have to lose weight. It isn’t an easy thing to do, but (thank goodness!) it is not as difficult as I thought it would be. I stopped eating desserts (that wasn’t hard), I stopped eating meats (no problem), I haven’t eaten anything processed in weeks (it limits my eating choices, but I’m cool with it), today is my 9th day without coffee (that one has been a tad tougher).

I haven’t relapsed at all. I doubt I will, unless I mean to. One thing I will always thank the Marine Corps for is that it helped me gain enough discipline to turn stubbornness into an art. I’m not tempted by coffee; meat is beginning to smell a tad revolting to me; and my taste buds are starting to think (yes, I have thoughtful taste buds) that table sugar is too sweet.

I’m developing other habits (healthier ones) to replace the ones that negatively affect my health. I’m allowing myself three of the five teaspoons of raw sugar my nutritionist says I can consume safely: one in my morning steel cut oats, two in my late night ginger and blood orange leaf tea. The oats and tea replace the effects of three of my stomach meds.

I miss coffee sometimes, but that’s all right; our relationship was too long for the love to stop all at once. I’ve allowed myself one coffee fling per year; just like I’ve done with ice cream and cake: ice cream on my anniversary and cake on my birthday… I think my coffee treat will be reserved for the remembrance of my little brother’s passing. He was a full supporter of rebellion, so the new tradition might make his soul cackle with mine. 😉

Candles and Herkimer DiamondsScented candles remain one of my first witchy loves. I light one nearly every day, but rarely for meditation. The ones above (in the baggies), along with the Herkimer Diamonds, were a handfasting gift from one of my three best friends… I suspect my Piano Man and I will use them for some deep meditation *wink, wink, cackle, giggle, cough*. It’ll be a healthy treat.

Saint Gabriel García Márquez, the Smirker

My phone was bursting with the sound of Rommy’s uncontrollable laughter. There was joy (and a touch of Latina mischievousness) in her mirth.

“Speak now, or forever hold your pieces,” I said. This usually entices her to start singing my name in a mixture of terrible opera and exaggerated Spanish accent (yes, we have issues). But on this occasion, it had no effect. She just giggled… and snorted. “What is it, woman?”

“Candles!” she said. “I found a shop that sells candles of sainted writers. Oh my gods, Magaly, wait until you see Saint Gabriel. They don’t have Terry Pratchett, but Neil Gaiman and J.K. Rowling have also been sanctified. I’m getting Gaiman and Rowling. I have to.”

She sent me the link to Saint Gabriel’s candle, and the moment I saw his smirking haloed face, I roared until I nearly choked. I mean, look at that expression!
Gabriel Garcia Marquez Candle (1)
If you’ve read Love in the Time of Cholera, “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings”, One Hundred Years of Solitude… or pretty much any of García Márquez’s tales, you probably already know that his dance with religion—particularly South American Catholicism—was always bedecked with layers upon layers of satire and humor.

“I think he would have found the idea of himself as a saint completely hysterical,” I said to Rommy. “I’m getting him.”

In the end, we decided to make things extra special: I got Saint Rowling and Saint Gaiman for Rommy, and she got Saint Gabriel for me.

I’ve placed my smirking sainted writer candle next to my little brother’s ashes. Something tells me that both, my little brother and Gabriel García Márquez, would find the whole thing amusing… And nothing is holier or nobler than good old jollity that makes the belly rumble.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez Candle (2)
After the thought of this post first kissed my mind, I spent some time wondering if anyone would find the idea of a sainted writer candle offensive; and if so, why might they feel that way? What do you think, my Wicked Luvs? Speculate away… and don’t forget to wave at Saint Gabriel García Márquez, the Smirker.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez Candle (3)