Patricia Stitson watching the Ocean in Ogunquit, Me

A wellness journey – Pt2 – The readings

Reading and contemplation

When I was 16, I began experiencing severe abdominal pain and migraines. The seeds of these chronic issues could probably have been detected earlier than that but became worse around my mid-teens. The migraines were attributed to light sensitivity, in that if I sat under fluorescent light too long, and/or was not exposed to enough sunlight it had a negative effect on my mood and often would cause headaches. The abdominal pain went undiagnosed for years but that is a story for later.

My English teacher introduced us to Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (ZAMM!) right around the age of 16. The concepts of “contemplation and reflection” and “the goal is not to reach the summit but rather take in the journey” resonated strongly with me. Oh – and also the bit about a student that could not write about a town as assigned and, eventually, once guided to pick on brick in a church building her writing blossomed.

From there I cannot pinpoint any given timeline but I do recall having an affinity for Marianne Williamson in her early years and secretly wanted to grow up to be like her, speaking and inspiring. However, locally I completely refused to go to church. I was raised Baptist Protestant and, though the community did give me a small scholarship for college, I do not recall spending much time there post Sunday School.

 I also recall that reading Thomas Moore’s “Seat of the Soul” and Deepak Chopra’s “Quantum Healing” & “Ageless Mind, Timeless Body” (published in ’89 and ’90) and related texts? had a profound effect on me.

By this time period, I had chosen my favorite spot for contemplation to be on the rocks along Marginal Way in Ogunquit, Me. Years later I would sleep down lower under a rock ledge so morning walking tourist couldn’t really see me. My gravitation to the ocean was profound has stayed with me. Patricia Stitson smiling sitting on the rocks on Marginal Way.

I camped often and had made my way through several texts on Zen and Buddhism, part of the Qu’ran (too thick) and landed with a strong appreciation of the Bhagavad Gita. I took solace in the concept of ‘you are where you want to be, inferring not control but maybe better said ‘governance’ over where you are.

This caused me to sit in the sovereignty of recognizing that, no matter the outward uncontrollable factors of my life, how I got here, what I do and feel here, and how I move forward are all strongly influenced how act upon my thoughts. But also – the teachings definitely were aligned with what I learned from the Chopra texts so it was easy to resonate with them.

To be continued, the roller coaster of practice and non practice.


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