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Fearing the Future

“All negativity is caused by an accumulation of psychological time and denial of the present.  Unease, tension, anxiety, stress, worry-all forms of fear are caused by too much future and not enough presence.   Guilt resentment, regret, anger, sadness, bitterness, and all forms of non-forgiveness are caused by too much past and not enough present.”

Eckhart Tolle

I never truly knew how much I would learn from being someone’s parent.   My now, five year old daughter does not realize how much she teaches me.  I always thought that I would be the one teacher in our mother/daughter relationship.  However, I am not sure I have ever had a better teacher than my little girl, Kayci.  She teaches me how to be a kid again and enjoy the simple things in life.  She helps me to see things that I have seen for thirty five years and yet took for granted.  More than anything, she has taught me to live in the moment; something I have struggled with my entire life.  Kayci turned five a few months ago and lives in the present moment for the most part.  I noticed recently that she started talking about the future and the past a lot more frequently than she had in the past.  I do not want her to lose that sense of living in the moment and I want to live in the moment more than I do.  I worry about the future and cry about the past much more than any person should.  Worrying and despair increase my chronic pain and make it more difficult for me to manage it well.

I asked my daughter to help me remember to live in the moment.  We made up a game where if one of us started talking about the next day or the next week we would remind the other person to stop and come back to the present moment.   Kayci who is wise beyond her years said to me: “Mommy, if we talk about tomorrow we will forget today.”  Having someone, even if that someone is only five years of age remind me that I should not think about tomorrow is very helpful in my quest to live in the present moment and work on my never ending game of worrying.  If you have someone you love in your life and you spend a lot of time with (even if they are toddlers) ask them to play this game with you.  It is not only helping me but training my daughter’s brain at an early age to live in the moment; a lesson I wish I had learned as a child.

Living with chronic pain is hard enough then add on anxiety/worrying and you have a whole heap of new problems.  I have chronic pain and anxiety and there are times that I am not sure what is worse.  In all honesty, although I manage pain well chronic pain is the most difficult thing I have ever been faced with.  Anyone who has this invisible illness can attest to how difficult this disease is.  As far as I have come in my journey with chronic pain, I still struggle at times.  At the age of thirty five I struggle with anxiety and worrying about the future a lot.  My life is far from perfect and there are many things I want to change but change takes time.  There are many dreams I want to come to fruition but again those take time.  I try very hard to focus on my biggest blessing and that is clearly my daughter, Kayci.  Although I get frustrated with her at times, like all mothers do, I make sure she knows how loved she is and how special she is to me.  She has become my greater teacher.

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Support for Chronic Pain

Acceptance is Hardest Step in any Change

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“The ego says I shouldn’t have to suffer, and that thought makes you suffer so much more.  It is a distortion of the truth, which is always paradoxical.  The truth is that you need to say yes to suffering before you can transcend to it.”

Eckhart Tolle

We all face challenges in our lives that leave us asking: “why me?” “what did I do to deserve this?” “I don’t deserve to feel like this, why won’t the pain end?”  Whether that be a medical issue like chronic pain or any disease for that matter, a relationship, loss, the countless things that occur in our lives that leave us saying: “I should not have to suffer.  I do not deserve this.  This suffering must end and there has to be something I can do to make it stop.” How is that working out for us? Clearly, not well.  But, who wants to suffer?  Who wants to feel pain? Who wants to feel physically or emotionally sick?  Not many of us: maybe some but very few and if they do it is their subconscious who wants this not the conscious mind.  So, what do we do?  We accept our suffering.  We acknowledge our pain and stop fighting it and/or feeding it.  I know how crazy that may sound.  For ten years I resisted pain and all I thought was: “Make this pain stop.  This physical pain is not fair, I do not want to suffer.”  Once I let go and came to a point of acceptance, I was able to transcend into healing and peace: this took a long time and a lot of work.

However, I still have times that I think: “I should not have to suffer.”  I am not speaking of physical pain, just the crap that we all face during our life.  I resist the suffering because I want to make things better that are not doing well and causing me pain.  I consistently think: if I do this or that, the suffering will end.  That is the same exact thing I did with chronic pain and it left me close to death.  I, we all must accept suffering as crazy as that sounds in order to reach a point of peace.  Thoughts are things.  Most are not real.  Eckhart Tolle often explains that we can either be our thoughts or be the witness to our thoughts.   That is not to say one is not allowed to be angry or sad or feel pain: quite the contrary.  However, the more we focus on what is making us sad the more sadness we will have: there is no other way.  I cannot express how difficult this is, I probably do not have to as most of you have an invisible illness.  I personally must say yes to the suffering, accept what is, let go of what I cannot control and trust that everything works out: because my personal history has taught me it does.  This is so easy to say and write but very difficult to practice.  However, we (anyone with an invisible illness) are some of the strongest people in the world.  If we can live in pain twenty four seven and have a life despite pain, we can do anything.

I accept any suffering that has come into my life and I let go of what I cannot control.  I need to focus on myself and my health and all the blessings I have.  I need to applaud myself for all the strength I have gained this past year and know that I have the light and energy to be happy despite my suffering.

We can do this.

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Intuition, Support for Chronic Pain

Who Are You? Do you even know?

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“The most common ego identifications have to do with possessions, the work you do, social status and recognition, knowledge and education, physical appearance, special abilities, relationships, personal and family history, belief systems, and often nationalistic, racial, religious, and other collective identifications.   None of these is you.”

Eckhart Tolle

Many, many years ago I was on Match.com as was my dad and my friend Kait and too many people to count.  They may be awesome for finding people to be in relationships with but none of the people I know, including myself ever married or stayed with anyone they met on a dating site. Maybe this is why.  You fill out a form and put your name, work, race, social status, family history, belief system, the work you do, and lastly a picture of yourself: weight, height, hair color, eye color etc.  Hey, your chances of finding “the one” go up fifty percent if you post a picture of yourself.  But what defines a person.  All of the questions on forms that are designed to meet the love of your life are questions based on the ego.  Yes, some of these questions (ok, mostly all of them matter to finding the person you want to spend the rest of your life with.)  However, none of these questions have anything to do with who a person really is.  We as people are often times defined by our job, physical appearance, education level, race, and religion.  What the hell is that?  I fall for it too: no my ego does.  When a person asks me in a very demeaning way: “Oh, your just a mom and you nanny?”  I answer.  Why do I feel the need to answer such a question.  I go in defense mode as if being who I am and what I love to do is not enough.  I sadly say without even thinking about it: “Oh, no I have my degree and was a medical social worker up until got pregnant.  And I am so excited to have more children, I hope one day.  Oh, and I write.”  Who cares?  My answer should be: “I am a mom and I love it.  I could not find a happier job or more fulfilling if I tried.”

It is exhausting and increases anxiety and pain when the ego takes over the true self.  Sure, I am in shape.  Yup, got my degree.  I was a social worker.  I have a good home.  I love my family.  Yes, I have long brown hair.  I do not have a religion: spiritual but not religious.  I have a car.  I am Irish, German and Sweedish.  I graduated top of my class in college: amazing.  Yup, my parents divorced at a young age.  I have a half brother but hate the word half. I like writing, reading, exercise, traveling, and playing outside.  Is that who I am?  NO.  My passions and what brings me joy and my enthusiasm are part of me but the rest is just crap.

So what if I am in shape: it is not to look good or get attention (not needed, I’m happy with myself.) I exercise because it is part of how I manage pain.  Yea I have degree in Social Work: took longer than four years for a four year degree.  Fell down a few times because of brain surgery and chronic pain, ended up in Colorado and then Minnesota where went to Mayo Clinic to learn how to manage this pain without medication or treatments.  Then got my degree but I only graduated top of the class because I loved learning about social work and helping people.  It is not difficult or work if you love it.  I have a good home, great home on a lake.  I love it. It belonged to my Grandmother, La La but that does not define me.  Guess what, my Jetta is missing three hubcaps but I like to keep the remaining one on because I really don’t care even though everyone I see or know brings up the damn hub caps.  I was a great social worker when it came to helping families and being with my patients.  My last boss thought I was awful because I was not selling their company well and not getting enough private pay patients into the facility.  Well, guess what I suck at selling anything. So, he was totally right.  I sucked at what they considered to be a social worker.  I am a mom.  Most of the time I am a great mom because I love being a mom.  I love learning with my daughter, teaching her, exploring places, and oddly if I won the lottery I would adopt many children because I love kids.  But, I have my moments.  I freak out and get stressed and just want to scream at times because toddlers are difficult and there is no perfect way to be a mom.  Keanu Reeves says in the movie: “Parenthood” a quote my dad and I always reference to.  He says: “Ya know, you need a license to drive, you need to be eighteen to vote and twenty one to even have a sip of alcohol.  But any asshole can be a father.”  Our world is kinda screwed up in the way it views success and how each person is defined by their looks, gender, race, job, status, and possessions.  Throw in an invisible illness and the stress of the world and our own egos just magnifie that physical pain like nothing else can.

I am really trying to ignore my ego and stop listening to the chitter chatter in my mind that never shuts up.  This is hard. This is what we need to be learning as children. You are not defined by your job, income, possessions, social status, looks, or anything other than your inner wisdom and the non-ego part of you.  The sad part is that most of us grow up only listening to the ego so we are screwed and are probably going to be very unhappy because we never really found out who we were/are.

Do not let anyone tell you who you are or what you should do or how you should manage pain.  Listen to your inner wisdom: not your mind and ego.  They just make a mess of everything.  Read Eckhart Tolle’s quote as many times as you can.  Follow your dreams, find your passions, and make no excuses for how you choose to live your life.  And stop answering questions to people who really do not give a crap about your answers.  Do not be ashamed of yourself: that is not you: it is your ego.

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Support for Chronic Pain

Miracle of Surrendering

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“Forgive yourself for not being at peace.  The moment you completely accept non-peace, your non-peace is transmuted into peace.  Anything you accept fully will get you there, will take you into peace.  This is the miracle of surrender.”

Eckhart Tolle

I continue to read and read about non resistance as it truly resonates with me and my entire life: chronic pain, certain life changing experiences, deaths, births, moves, you name it.  As I wrote in a previous post, I have been practicing the concept of non-resistance in how I deal with chronic pain.  It took me over ten years to accept that I have chronic pain and to stop looking for a cure but, once I did and surrendered to my invisible illness instead of fighting it, I began to heal.  Hence, the difference between pain and suffering.  This is not to say that I no longer live in physical pain as most of you know, it is just a different type of pain.  Pain does not control my life. At times gets in the way of my joy and I live a very different lifestyle than I would had I not decided to accept pain and manage pain naturally but the moment I came to a true sense of acceptance, I truly began to live not merely survive.

We are harder on ourselves than anyone else could be.  We are a world that lives in fear, guilt, and are harder on ourselves than anyone else could be.  Sometimes I think about my inner critic (as I mention, she can be a real pain in the ass) and how many negative thoughts enter my mind throughout the day without even thinking about it.  I spend hours in a state of confusion about what I should be doing/not doing, what is the best decision for my health and family.  Basically I have been living in a total state of confusion for a very long time.  Someone who is wiser than anyone I have ever met brought up how over the past few months, maybe years I have been saying: “I am just so confused.”  She brought this up because of my past posts regarding non-resistance.  It took me a long time to figure out what she was trying to tell me as she truly puts my mind to work: much harder than anything I ever studied or learned in either high school or college.  Once again: self love, self acceptance, and learning about our minds and bodies are subjects that must be taught at a young age and in the school system as sadly most of us are not learning these things at home.  I will be thirty four and have been reading and learning these concepts for more years than I can count due to my bike accident and chronic pain.  However, I would have had issues with abandonment, self love, self esteem, and fear with or without that fall.   I have decided to stop saying and am diligently working on not thinking: “I am confused.” I am just accepting what is happening in my world at this time and place.   In theory I am not confused in the least, outside circumstances are things that are out of my control.  I surrender to confusion.  I accept what is happening in my life at this time and know that I am truly working on myself and when you start to feel self love and acceptance, you begin to see your past mistakes and not only see them but learn and change from them.

I hate the feeling: it is what it is.  Ugh!  I really do not like when people say that to me, drives me nuts.  However, most if not all people who say that are actually right.  This annoying expression is acceptance.  Most people (including myself until now) just say it as teenagers say: “Whatever.”  There is not much knowledge behind either expression they are just easy things to say.  I am inch by inch beginning to see and practice non-resistance, acceptance, and surrendering to the here and now with many bumps in the road but man this is it.  We can all be happy.  The more we resist change, pain, confusion the more we give power over to change, pain and confusion.  I was thinking about this a lot this past Thursday evening driving home from work with my mind going crazy and I forgot what CD was in my CD player and just pressed play and as Kayci (my toddler) calls it: “our song” came on ” Let it Be” by the Beatles.  We ended up having a really relaxing night.

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Intuition

Free Yourself: Let Things Take Their Natural Course

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“What difference does their approval or disapproval truly make to who you are?”

Eckhart Tolle

Lovely picture taken yesterday of my toddler and I at her pediatrician’s office.  Kayci has been awesome at getting sick each holiday so far this year: Christmas, New Years, and now even St. Patrick’s Day.  Each of those days I have had puke on me many times (so not complaining, I love motherhood and all the vomit that comes with it.)  We entered the doctor’s office and Kayci puked literally five seconds into entering the building.  Mothers looked at me like I was Satan probably thinking: “Great, now my son or daughter is going to get sick with that.  Thanks lady.”  I felt guilty for a second and then realized why should I apologize or care about stranger’s approval at any given time much less in a doctor’s office.  Where would they have rather me of taken her to get better, the mall?

I cannot believe the amount of energy we all waste trying to get the approval of others and in turn worrying that people disapprove of us and our choices.  This is another subject that should be taught in schools at a young age.   Before my bike accident I wanted the approval of my parents so badly and was always looking for that gold star.  I wish someone had taught me then that expectations usually lead to disappointment and that each of us needs to give ourselves our own gold star.  So much of what I did as a child was done to please my parents, peers, and teachers.  I am not sure I ever did all the good things I did for myself, I am not sure any children do.  Hence, why I often write self love needs to be taught way before addition and subtraction.  It is no wonder we carry this desire for approval into adulthood, I cannot believe at the age of thirty three I still desire approval and expect gold stars from my loved ones on a daily basis.  Worse, I am always afraid of disapproval.  I have made many mistakes in my teenage to adult years but I can tell you now at this time I feel very good about my truth and am proud of how I have finally learned from my past mistakes.  However, I still worry that my loved ones will disapprove of any decision I make, and honestly most are very healthy, honest, brave decisions that I myself am proud of.  Therefore, why do I worry so much what my loved ones think and when I say loved ones I am speaking to literally each person I love and want to make happy.  I must stop.  We all must stop.

Stop waiting for gold stars from the people you love: it will only lead to disappointment and in turn stress.  Instead, create the reality you too desire.   Are you giving your loved ones gold stars and recognition for all the good they do?  I highly doubt we are, I have not in many areas of my life.  What we give, we will in some way receive.  If we project negativity, we will be given negativity but if we give out gold stars (appreciation) we will then receive a few gold stars.  Do things for your own approval, in the end the love and gold stars you give yourself will end up making you so much happier than anything anyone else could give you.

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Support for Chronic Pain

Non Resistance

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“Whatever you resist you become.”

If you resist anger, you are always angry.

If you resist sadness, you are always sad.

If you resist suffering, you are always suffering.

If you resist confusion, you are always confused.

We think that we resist certain states because they are there, but actually they are there because we resist them.

-Adyashanti

Someone asked me quite recently to look up and research the term non-resistance.  This past Friday night I ended up reading works written by Eckhart Tolle, Abraham (Law of Attraction) and so many different articles I found very easily on the internet.  It seems like a very difficult concept to grasp when in fact it is quite simple (difficult, yet simple.)  We believe that if we resist something: a person, an illness, grief, or anger it will go away.  I mean who wants to be angry.  We push down all of these emotions and feelings instead of acknowledging them and not resisting them.  If we are able to accept a person, situation, illness, or any life circumstance just as it is, it no longer has power over us.

I will give you an example of how the concept of non-resistance, which I practiced this weekend changed the entire energy surrounding me for the better.  I came home Friday and something personal happened that led me to more tears than I can possibly explain.  I maybe slept two or three hours Friday night and I am still paying the price for that: I think my eyes are still swollen and let us be honest: that much crying and lack of sleep is obviously going to affect my chronic pain.  I cried most of Saturday as well: oh yes, I was a hot mess.  When I was unable to sleep again Saturday night because my mind was racing and I was sad, angry, confused, and hurt I decided to start reading Eckhart Tolle’s take on non resistance.  Something must have clicked in my mind because I awoke Sunday and decided to create the peace, tranquility, and love I so desire.  I practiced yoga and proceeded to send an email to certain family members I felt hurt by and was very angry with.  It was a very simple email just asking if some of my loved ones would like to take a walk, visit this dinosaur park my daughter loves, or anything they would like to do to have a good day together. I had decided to accept my pain, anger, confusion, and hurt and allow it to run through me and let it go.  Within an hour of writing this email, I was greeted with a hug by one person, happy tears from another and the atmosphere in my home had drastically shifted from negative to positive.  It ended up being a great day, one of the greatest I have had with my loved ones in a long time.  There was so much joy and positive energy that even my little girl was floating in happiness.  If anyone had seen me Friday night an all of Saturday they would not believe the person I was Sunday: Non Resistance.

I started to think about my extremely long journey with chronic pain.  And it hit me: I have been practicing non resistance for years when it comes to my invisible illness.  The day I accepted chronic pain and began managing it naturally, was the day I began to live as opposed to just surviving.  I am not saying this is easy in any way but it sure beats battling, fighting, and resisting reality.  This is topic I am sure I will be writing about more. I send all  of you light and urge you to just throw two words into Google: Non Resistance.

“Nonresistance, nonjudgement, and nonattachment are the three aspects of true freedom.”

Eckhart Tolle

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Support for Chronic Pain

Fear or Faith: Up to Us

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“Worry pretends to be necessary, but serves no useful purpose.”

Eckhart Tolle

I have managed to accomplish a lot more than I ever thought possible when I first was diagnosed with chronic pain.  Through this journey of pain I have done many things I am very proud of and some things that I will always regret.  I cannot go back in time, nor can I control the future.  All I have is today.  The one thing I have the biggest struggle with is worrying.  The what ifs in life truly hold me back from being happy and living in the present moment.  I believe our society lives in such a fashion that our fears have much more power over us than our faith.  For the past few weeks I have been living in the mode of fear as opposed to faith, much more than I have in a long time.  I awoke this morning and realized that I am literally worried every second of every day and that worry and anxiety is having a huge impact on my invisible illness: chronic pain.   We literally do believe we must worry if we want things to happen or not happen in our lives but this quote is undeniably true: it serves no purpose.  More than that, it takes away our happiness, gratefulness, and if you have chronic pain magnifies your pain levels to levels in which I personally cannot stand.  It is no wonder that anxiety and chronic pain go hand in hand.

I literally have to remind myself that every time I am worried that my life and the lives of the people I love are falling apart, everything does come back together and with time huge lessons and healing happen.  One of the main reasons I keep the “one liner journal” is to remind myself of that.  If you are new to my blog/story I will share with you my one liner journal for today March 3rd.  I have yet to look at this page, so I’m doing it with you.

March 3rd

2011: Went to OBGYN because I am so afraid I will not be able to have children.  This miscarriage has truly made me so afraid.  I am perfectly fine and the doctor said there is nothing wrong with me, phew.  Yoga at Living Joy.

2012: Rested with my little family.  Kayci is a month old and we are tired!  Gave her a bath, it still scares me!  I love my two Littles.  Family from New York came to visit and meet Kayci.  We went to a pizza place and La La was able to join us!

2013: Sunday Funday!  My Uncle came over to view the things of La La’s he would like to have. I hate this.  I wish she was just still here.  Produce Junction (juicing obsessed!) Movie night.

2014: Snowed in again!!! The snow will not stop! Uncle J is here and we are all cozied up.  Yoga nidra (so needed, totally works.) Work out, juice, went to neighbors for lunch, hilarious as always.  Read for an hour, bath, dinner.  So excited, K is planning a trip for just the three of us!!!

2015: Kickboxing, typing a post……

Ok, so not the most exciting day in the past few years but this is an example of the “one liner journal.”  Although, some dates are much more significant even looking back on this I remember each of these days: almost too well.   For a minute I paused and wanted to go back in time.  However, once again that is not the point of this journal.  It is truly to see how much can change in a year.  Even when things seem like they will never get better, with time and patience they do.  Worrying will never change the outcome and as Eckhart Tolle points out: serves no purpose.  In essence, worrying will only make things worse and cause us to believe things that probably are not even true.

“Let your faith be bigger than your fears.”

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