Have you ever tried something new, but you really didn’t want to? Think about that experience for a minute. Well, I love the quote from C.S. Lewis that says:
Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.
It’s time to cross the monkey bars my friends.
I will never forget when I left teaching. I thought I was slightly mad myself…but I knew in my gut that it was the only way to heal and move forward into what my life was supposed to look like. I didn’t necessarily know where I was going, but I did it anyway.
As I designed my life around the concept of moving forward, I saw flashes of signs telling me that I was, and still am, on the right path…to go forward without looking back.
I knew that creating a program to heal myself was going to take time…and armed with the knowledge that I didn’t necessarily have all the right answers at that particular moment, I moved forward.
I completed yoga teacher training and went from not being able to move, seriously, almost at all, to moving again. I finished a sports nutrition course with almost a perfect score on the 100 question exam. I made myself eat things like parsnip chips <<< that I actually made myself. All because I kept moving forward.
Throughout it all the 3 key thoughts were as follows.
- Wake up with thoughts of gratitude on your mind…no matter how much pain you are in. This one took me a whole year to work on, and I constantly realigned myself to thoughts of “thank you” as I woke up. I had to change my thoughts away from the physical pain I was experiencing in order to get away from it. I know this sounds odd, but try it. It is necessary to surround yourself with the thoughts you want in your life. The things you want to wake up to. I wanted to wake up to thoughts of gratitude that one day, and mind you I had no idea how this would turn out, that one day, I would wake up without thinking about pain first.
- Faith. I was really upset the day someone doubted my faith. I was allowed to be mad, have bad days, have days I wanted to scream and shout, and ask “why me?” I was not allowed to stop believing that I could do it. That I could actually accomplish what I wanted. We all make mistakes, but it was faith that kept whispering loud and clear, keep going. It will happen. I did have to remove the negative people from my life who didn’t support me on this belief…they simply couldn’t grasp that I was not watering their doubts. I had my own grass to look too.
- Vision. I visualized what the future would look like and stayed away from dwelling on what ifs. I didn’t have time to look back. I kept moving by creating vision boards, don’t laugh they work, and vision word boards. I have one in front of me right this minute. I was a teacher, remember? So I took the top 5 words I wanted to embody daily, blew them up really BIG and put them on tag board behind my computer. Up top so as I am typing, I look up to those words. If I drift off course, I look back to those. Am I creating something that is keeping me aligned to my purpose? Yes. Okay then, I can keep working on it. Am I drifting again? Stop working on that or putting energy into that thought.
These are the keys to my life right now. I still use all 3 daily and practice keeping myself only looking to where I want to go. If you are tempted by comparing yourself to others, stop. That is their stuff, not yours.
So what do I mean by “right action”? I want to start out with this little introduction:
Ethics (or Moral Philosophy) is concerned with questions of how people ought to act, and the search for a definition of right conduct (identified as the one causing the greatest good) and the good life (in the sense of a life worth living or a life that is satisfying or happy). The word “ethics” is derived from the Greek “ethos” (meaning “custom” or “habit”). Ethics differs from morals and morality in that ethics denotes the theory of right action and the greater good, while morals indicate their practice.
In yoga, when we have discussed “right action”, it allows us to make the right choice for now. In that moment. I am quite literally doing what feels agreeable to myself in that moment. Whether it is to hold a pose longer, to try the harder variations when the teacher says to move on, or to listen to my body if I feel I am not quite ready to move forward.
The other night, I was reminded of how far I have progressed in 5 months. During class, I didn’t take a certain pose to the last possible variation. I was afraid to try it because I wasn’t quite sure of the placement of my arms and shoulders…and how people were moving forward. There are times people appear to flow effortlessly into the final pose. You know how the teacher says “You are in the pose now, but if you want to move forward…”, well I do want to move forward. So, after class I asked how the pose looks as you are moving into it. Two of my friends were there and are able to move on so they showed me this pose Bird of Paradise. I was quite surprised when one said to take the washcloth, and try it, and I actually got my shoulders right.
Well, let me remind you if you are new, way back in the past blog archives here, you will read about months I couldn’t move my shoulder and how manipulating my shoulder-blade at all was almost impossible. So when I am in yoga, I don’t exactly always allow my right action to move forward as I am somewhat blocked by memories of pain. Whether that pain was brought on by the flare up of Epstein-Barr Virus, Hashimoto’s, or fibromyalgia, I no longer care. My “habit” if you will, was to stop because of intense pain, but the memory of it is still there. My new habit, or right action, that really aligns with my practice now, is to stay after yoga, ask about that “hard” pose, see how it’s done, and move forward at my own pace.
As disturbing as it is to think about, we can actually change our neural pathways. I know that I have. I am not a scientist, merely a researcher of all sorts of things. A former teacher who is now on the path of teaching new things to new students. Yoga. As I have continued my inner studies, I have learned a great deal about my mind. For example, because of neuroplasticity, the brain’s ever-changing potentials, anything is possible. I cry every time I watch Jill Bolte Taylor’s My Stroke of Insight due to the vastness of possibilities she describes. The energy just plainly overwhelms me…and when I watched it again, I couldn’t contain my tears.
I am capable of great things. Clearly I was designed to overcome this pain and do more with this life I was given. Combining that knowledge with my new, and difficult, meditation practice, I focus on the places where I feel no pain. Each time I practice this, I begin to realize I feel less pain. The moments where there is no pain do last for seconds longer, and that is improvement. When the thought of pain arises, I focus back on the breath. The yoga. The moment that I am in. I learned a new practice of counting in my head as I am breathing. Just simply imagining the numbers as I breathe in and out. I imagine them forming in my head and it takes my thoughts away from the ramblings.
The more we repeat good habits, the more we can change our brain. So tonight, I started with my quote, but I want you to try this. You really can do anything you put your mind to. Close your eyes, think of something you have been wanting to do. Now write it down. On the bathroom mirror in dry erase, on a list beside your bed, or a journal. You can do it.
I had a different blog post planned until I read several things on my social media page. I am sad about most of what I see and my mom thinks I need to stay off of it…I do try, but it’s difficult when you run a few pages…so here is my post for today.
I have an amazing friend. She is super smart, funny, talented and has a wonderful story to go along with it all. I do so love a wonderful story, but it’s hers to tell. She is inspiring in so many ways, mostly due to her public battle with cancer. She is not afraid to put herself out there, and her help with homeless and recovering addicts inspires me as well. If you have a moment to put her in your thoughts or prayers, please do so as this was part of her message today “about 10 or so my heart stopped for 11 minutes and 18 seconds”. When I read that, I didn’t know what to say…except she was in a happy place during that time with her grandparents, and I understand that feeling of wanting to stay. But she has work yet to do here, so God sent her back.
I want you to think about what you have left here on this earth to do. I want you to think about all the people who inspire you and all the people you inspire without maybe even knowing it. Seriously. Journal about it if you would like. Write down the qualities of these people and then turn it inward. Are there things you can be doing to help others? Are there ways you might like to be more like them? Can you turn your negative thoughts into positives? For example, I wish I had more money. I think that in my head. I know I do. I am working on changing it to, I am glad I had enough money for that unexpected bill. I will work on saving more. Or how about this one, I need to lose weight and I don’t eat right. Turn it into, I am losing weight by eating better. I am doing great. It takes time.
The thing about this friend is that if she has had a bad day or a bad experience, she always turns it into a positive one for her support team. She knows we worry, are afraid, might be depressed, and suffer the same kind of negative thoughts as everyone else, but she self-talks us into feeling better. And it works. Self-talk is great. At the end of her posts, if she has had a hard day, I still believe she is happy and knows she is loved. That is the number one thing to turning your mood around. Come from a place of love and seek your joy. In all things, you can find your joy. I love you friend if you are reading this. I know you can do the hard things.
Do you ever have one of those conversations with yourself about getting better? What about doing things in life? Lately, I have been saying a few things over and over in my head when I wake up. If it is going to be a particularly challenging day, one which involves actually leaving the house, I know, but true, I say to myself that I can do it. I am getting better. I do that with things I put off. Like right now. I want to cancel something tomorrow. Sorry if you are reading this friend, but it’s true. Seeing you is difficult so I avoid it. Haha, before someone reads into this, this is a type of chiropractic help I go to…applied kinesiology AND it is difficult. So I put it off. It hurts. A LOT. Like my mom can hear me in the other room when I go. And that’s with me gritting my teeth.
I told my friend I was going to slap her on Friday if she pushed on me one more time. And I actually LIKE her. She knows. It doesn’t hurt her feelings…because she asks me to come back. So normal folks can plan something a few days in a row. I normally can’t. Not everyone gets that. I also can’t do cold much anymore as my hands don’t want to bend which honestly just pisses me off. So I go out anyway every Thursday and do my job and ignore it. A girl tried to give me some excuse a few weeks ago and I looked her straight in the eye and I said “Listen. I get being “sick”. I do. But you don’t have to act like it. We have a job to do.” End of story.
I have to be practical and blunt. I can’t even accept excuses from myself so I sure as hell don’t want to hear them from other people. There are many people I have had to cut out of my life because they don’t understand and they still aren’t honest with me…or themselves for that matter. So if you are reading this and you have an invisible disease, please please stop feeling sorry for yourself today. You can feel sorry yourself maybe once a month. Tops. I give you that day. But not every single day. If you are in a “support” group where it’s everyday you are complaining, that will become your life. Get. Out. Leave the group. Seriously. One day. And one day only.
This message was brought to you from Cher. Like in Moonstruck. I am virtually slapping you. Snap out of it!!
Author’s note: I created a program from my years of pain to help you virtually snap out of it! While I am not there with you, I am in spirit and through my carefully designed tasks to help you start to feel better, you can improve. Please read about 4 Weeks to Wellness.
It’s hard to write a Motivational Monday post when all you can think of is how un-motivated you are when in pain. But that being said, I got up just as I always do and struggled through my morning routine. I use Samuel L. Jackson words in my head just to actually get through my “routine”. My hair was on my nerves this past weekend because who has time to deal with that mess. So I cut that off. Now it’s time to get down to business.
I went out Saturday morning to meet a new group of ladies. I don’t actually feel like I have that many friends. I felt kind of bad ass with my new short haircut. Like I could go all Matrix on whoever or whatever pisses me off. I think it goes with my mood. Don’t mess with me Pain, I have things to do. Don’t make me cut you. Like Pain has become some nemesis. Maybe I should play Darth Vader music. Anyway, so after that, Fatigue wanted a piece of me, but I just didn’t have time. I had things to do. A college buddy was in town and I said I was going to meet up with him. It was my college homecoming and I had places to be.
I made it to the tailgating party in my high heel black boots, skinny jeans and black shirt. Take that. I enjoyed hanging out with my peeps and then there was the “after party” at a beverage facility nearby. I was drinking water to better hydrate myself, but there was also free, and very cheap, wine. UGH. I can have one glass said an old friend. Why aren’t you drinking? Said another. People. Chillax. Here, have this deep fried Oreo, said one more. Nope. I can’t. Not if you don’t want me to be sick. I really hadn’t planned on explaining that the Aimee they knew, ahem, just you know, a few years ago, is not exactly the same one now. If it’s not gluten free, and refined sugar free, I am not eating it.
So yesterday, I had one more thing I was doing. As luck would have it, I was able to make it. I was dragging, but I made it. So guess who is paying for it today? Me. Yup. Pain, Fatigue, and maybe even their buddy Depression tried to visit this morning. Depression was like “Don’t you wish you were normal again? Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to dance with your friends without having to pay for it later? And of course the old, it must be terrible not to be able to eat real food.” So in my best Samuel L. Jackson voice I told it to SHUT the F up. I heated up my heating pads. I made my hot tea. I took my last Relief…which is my product as I am only on all-natural, and I called my momma. ha:) Who by the way, knows I use the F word to relieve my pain, and while I wasn’t raised that way she would want you to know, she also knows that if that is the worst thing I ever do, it’s ok. Because there is this wonderful thing called grace we can extend to others to let them know we understand that we are ALL human “beans”. And human beans have emotions. Even if the “they” who does research claims we only have 4, we all know that’s wrong. Have you ever met an angry woman?