Motivational Monday…

So, after a full weekend in Yoga Teacher Training, Monday is usually “catch-up” day.  I find myself spending too much time trying to reciprocate on Twitter, FB, Instagram, Pinterest or wherever I feel like I have not kept up.  Then I realized that I had neglected connections on here.  The actual blog.  This is where my heart was/has been/is.  The connection that I make to my readers is actually the thing I value the most.  If you go way back to my first posts, it’s about establishing a connection to you through my life with invisible diseases.

It did morph into a holistic type of connection…mind, body, social fan page, because I felt like we needed a variety of ways to stay in touch; however, please know that if you comment here, like here, share here, this is where I feel it the most.  My blog to me, is like ripping parts of my soul out and pressing it onto paper for you to read.  At first, it hurt.  It left me raw and exposed to the world.  You know I have issues.  You know I’m not perfect.  You know I’m a hot mess at times.  And…it’s okay.  Nothing fell apart.  I didn’t die from this experience.  In fact, I think it made me stronger. 

So my friends, my message today is simple.  Don’t be afraid to make real connections.  Some will not understand.  And that’s okay.  Everyone is brought into your life for a reason.  They all have lessons to teach us, and some might sting.  Some might walk away from your life because the truth is just too big for them to understand.  The only way to keep on living with that truth, is to remember that being you is the real lesson.  Being real.  The connections you make out of that are far more substantial.  I’d like to end with this piece shared by one of my readers, and hopefully you can read the whole poem.  It’s still amazing after all this time.  If poem, by Rudyard Kipling.  Thank you for the reminder friend.

Stronger Me

Tips for living with pain…

Oh great.  Here is yet another blog article trying to tell me how to live with pain.  What does this writer know?  This writer lives with 6 invisible diseases…and all of them have caused pain.  Hereditary Hemochromatosis (iron overload), Porphyria Cutanea Tarda (sensitivity to light, skin blisters), Hashimoto’s Thyroid (autoimmune…caused extreme stomach issues), Epstein-Barr Virus (felt entire vertebral column flare-up), Depression from pain, and Fribromyalgia (when anyone touched my skin, it felt like a slap).

Over the last three years, the pain continued to get worse.  I opted not to be on the pharmaceutical drugs due to the fact that HH is a genetic condition and no doctor could tell me for sure if the drugs would make my liver worse.  So pain it was.  But I wasn’t going to stop there.  I continued my search for things to help me cope that were going to work with my body naturally.  What did I find?

  1. Turmeric milk.  Turmeric has been used in India for thousands of years for its anti-inflammatory properties…due to the active compound curcumin.
  2. Relief.  Building on that, I take this product because it has ingredients such as glucosamine and chondroitin, but even more than that it also includes turmeric root extract, as well as yucca root, which has long been used for osteoarthritis as well as inflammation of the intestine.  Ah-ha.  Hmm.  Remember my stomach pain before?  Better within weeks of getting on this.
  3. Restorative yoga.  Yoga has been shown to decrease the stress hormone cortisol.  Do you think I might have been stressed when I moved if my whole body felt like it was on fire?  Yes.  Just a little.  The difference in restorative though, is that you get to use comfy bolsters, blocks and blankets.  So we made little nests, and sat in that pose for 5-15 minutes depending on what it was.  I had a hard time at first, but learned to let go of my expectations of what my body used to be able to do.  The poses became second nature.
  4. Vinyasa yoga for back pain.  I graduated to Vinyasa…honestly, only because a friend pulled me in the direction my mind was afraid to go.  When she suggested restorative, I gave it a try.  When she said that I could do Vinyasa and possibly teach one day, my mind shut her down due to the pain.  “She has no idea how much moving hurts.”  Said the mind…but the heart wanted to get better.  Thankfully, it’s pretty strong, and said “Let’s do this thing!!!”  And so I did.  Almost 200 hours later…the girl on fire.  Literally.
  5. Meditation-like thoughts.  When I felt myself go into the dark place of pain, I would literally stop and say things to myself like “I am breathing in.  I am breathing out.”  I didn’t come up with this on my own.  I read part of a Thich Nhat Hanh’s You are Here, except at the time, I didn’t want to be there.  ha.  So I never finished it.  But it did teach me to focus my breathing.
  6. Friends checking in on you.  This part became difficult.  Not many people were in this category.  When you are in pain, people slip away.  They do.  It’s not their fault, but it is in the human nature to be uncomfortable when you don’t know what to do.  Most don’t climb down in the hole with you.  Watch this short video to get the full meaning of “The Power of Empathy”.  Rarely can a response make something better, says Dr. Brown, what makes something better is a connection.

So my friends, I leave you with my connection to you.  I am in the hole with you.  I have climbed down there.  I will hug you.  I will give you that love and connection to your pain, but the next step is on you.

Read more

Motivational Monday…for the UNbroken

Hey friends…you know how last week on the Facebook fan page for my blog, I asked you a question?  I asked you to tell me what kind of “invisible disease” you had.  Many times, we feel so alone with these diseases, because they are in fact, not visible to people looking in at our lives.  But this statistic came from the link I posted: 96% of people with chronic medical conditions live with an illness that is invisible. 

I don’t really think we are alone.  So let’s say you didn’t get your disability and you have 5, maybe 6 illnesses on that list.  Guess what?  It happens.  I decided it meant something different.  I decided it meant that I was supposed to find a flexible job working from home and helping others.  Don’t be discouraged.  You have a few options.  You can continue the fight without a lawyer.  I have been told that’s why I never got anywhere.  You can get a lawyer.  Or you can move on.  Moving on is not giving up.  I just want to give you permission in case you needed to hear that.  I know all the excuses in your head.  I know all the what ifs.  But do not stay in that place of despair.  Make a plan.  Work on it.  Move on.

So now I am in yoga teacher training, and it’s hard.  Very, very hard emotionally and physically.  I doubt my path at times.  I do.  But as my friend said yesterday, okay really paraphrasing, if we didn’t have emotions or feelings we’d be like Data from Star Trek.  He was an android who was unable to feel emotion or understand certain human responses.  We don’t want to live like that.  So acknowledge the feelings you are having, and work the plan.  Whatever the plan is.  If you don’t have plan, write something down.  Just a few things.  It can be as simple as get out of bed, and get dressed.  Get to the store today.  Fibro friends, this is an important plan.  You know this.  Get out of your pajamas…says the blogger still in pajamas.  But you know what I’m talking about!!!  You do.

Next on your list, make a new friend.  Okay, this one is hard.  Why is this hard?  It is hard for people who feel alone, because opening ourselves up and getting vulnerable with new people is like going to a new doctor for us.  We hate having to start at the beginning and tell our story.  I know this.  You know this.  Stop ignoring this one.  So here’s how you can go about doing this.  Re-evaluate who is in your life right now.  Who checks in on you…who checked out on you.  Those people who checked out of your life during your hardest times, they have left you space for new people.  I know it sucks, believe me I do.  But it’s time to be honest.  Those people didn’t understand anyway.

So start a new practice.  Get your list out.  What did you like to do before all the bumps?  For me, I already liked yoga, so I looked into restorative, which was low-key.  I researched other types of exercises for fibromyalgia, and decided I didn’t feel like going to water aerobics, but if you like that, put that down.  if you liked gardening put it down.  Don’t think about the pain, I know you automatically went to “I can’t get down there and bend.” Stop.  So here’s a neat idea, look up community free classes or workshops in your area.  You can also container garden and not have to bend.  See how I did that?  Put it at eye level.  Flower arranging?  Do it.  Whatever it is that old you did, write it down.

So guess what’s going to happen during this process of thinking about other things that you now have room for in your life…you are going to make new friends.  You are going to feel better, and you are going to feel less alone.  Anytime you have a negative thought, push it away and back to the things you are doing that are positive.  That are a step in the right direction.  So when you get that letter in the mail from social security…don’t be afraid to open it.  Make a plan.

broken

Motivational Monday…for fibro

One side of my body is wearing a tightly laced corset today.  During my morning yoga, a spasm went from my left shoulder to this spot in my back that is as tight as a rubber band pulled to snapping point.  In my head, I tried desperately to push the thoughts of discomfort away as it was the first part of my yoga practice this morning, but little wisps of thought already went past my carefully laid defenses.  I focused intently on the voice of my instructor and pushed past the spot.  Listening to her speak, and breathing.  Always breathing and focusing on the breath.  I have become so focused on the breath that it does allow me to get through my practice even when pain sets in.

You see, I am trying to prove a ridiculous point…to myself.  I am not on any of the drugs that doctors prescribe for fibromyalgia due to my underlying genetic disease hemochromatosis.  One year ago in February, a rheumatologist told me he would be nervous to put me on medicine that could perhaps harm my liver.  That was enough for me to decide to stay the course of all-natural supplements and work through immense pain using a series of steps I researched.  You are welcome to read the tab on the top of this blog called Vitalize You.  Those are some of the steps I took.  I also enlisted in the help of a full functional medicine approach, and used Applied Kinesiology, which I have touched on here.

This last step is more intense yoga than I thought was possible for me.  You can sit there and come up with one million and one reasons why it won’t work.  But if you can only come up with one reason, and one reason only, of why it will work, then take the chance.  That one reason is this…what have you got to lose?  No seriously.  I’ll be in pain you say.  Ummm, hello.  You already are.  I can’t move much right now.  Of course you can’t…because you don’t.  It will get worse..before it will get better.  Yes, but at least it will get better.  And trust me on this, you have to believe it will.

So today, in the car home from yoga, I thought, well that could have gone better for my body.  But so what…I went.  I showed up.  I was there.  I almost cried in the car and then I said to my head, stop this.  Think of where you were a year ago.  No really.  Stop and think.  You moved like an old woman, you were in immense pain, and you saw no end to that pain…ever.  Today, you were in pain in a few areas, true, but you were working your muscles.  You were doing things and you felt good afterward…just not as good as you hoped.  The knot didn’t go away like you thought, but it is loosening.  Do. Not. Give. Up.

Let go

Motivational Monday…

Sometimes, you do the hard things first just to get them out-of-the-way.  Other times, you do them last…putting them off until you can wait no longer.  Many people have been broken by the “hard things” as they carry them around.  Yesterday in my yoga teacher training, we talked about a burden I still carry.  I have gone through a different sort of spiritual awakening and not everyone is going to be there when I am done.  I know this.  That being said, it doesn’t matter how much you know, how much you prepare yourself mentally for making the hard choices, it still hurts when people closest to you don’t understand, or worse, decide they know what’s best for you in your life and how you should handle a situation. 

Because let’s say that the roles were reversed.  Would you know how to handle their pain?  Their righteousness?  Their “programming” as it appears?  Chances are, you would not.  It never fails to amaze me how many ugly things I see out there on the internet or social media platforms.  One in particular happened just last week.  An old friend from high school posted something he found funny…in defense of being gay.  You know where this is going.  He is openly gay…some people from our old way of life were programmed to think differently.  It ended up being rather sad…for the hater.  Not my friend.  He handled it well.

No matter what you think about another person’s way of life or beliefs, I want you to stop for a moment and think about what they have to carry through life.  Then think about what you are carrying.  Are you helping carry this person’s burden and do you genuinely care about them or are you just trying to persuade them that your beliefs are better than theirs thus adding to their burden??  Getting into an argument on social media and trying to persuade the masses about your way of thinking and how it’s been handed down from the mouth of God Himself helps absolutely no one.  What it does instead is send your ego forward.  You are no longer thinking with your heart…because if you were, you would understand that this person is carrying their own stuff the best they can and you pointing out their faults is clearly trying to break them down.  And honestly, I don’t think God instructs this way.  It’s time we stop doing that to each other my friends.

Carry

Motivational Monday…

Do you find yourself second guessing everything in your life?  Is it difficult to make a decision and stick to it?  Do you think everything is about you?  Well, then this post is for you…not about you.  I recently read that our minds can think up to 50,000 thoughts per day.  Half of them are things we have thought before.  I added that part, but you know it’s true.  So today, I read this post by someone who was sad about something.  And while I get the idea of being sad about something someone did…what you must remember at all times is that their actions are really about them.  This is the number one hardest thing to get through your 50,000 thoughts.

First, you start to think about yourself and what you did to the person.  Next you get mad.  You start to blame the person.  Then you ponder if you should message them.  Something like, hey girl, I saw your post.  I hope I didn’t do or say anything to upset you.  Now unless you just got off the phone with them and said something like an old fashioned “Your Momma” joke that didn’t go over how you planned, well, you know this isn’t about you.  It’s really about them.  What you have to decide, right now, at this very moment, is do you want this to be about you?  Do you feel guilty for something you did?  If the answer is you were just talking about them behind their backs to someone, well I can see how you think it’s about you.

Nine times out of ten, this is not about you.  But let’s say it is.  Who cares?  I mean really.  Make a decision to be happy…not to let it get under your skin, and move on to the next thought.  Like, what am I going to eat for dinner?  Because in the end, you can control that.  You can’t really control what this other person is doing or saying.  How they act is up to them.  How you react is up to you.

thoughts

The yo-yo mood…

So it just takes one thing…just one for me to start my yo-yo mood.  The other day, I was doing whatever random things I do on the computer.  Mostly making quotes for a few pages I run, and a friend sent me this article in a message called It’s Not Fibromyalgia.  I read her message and was surprised that she too suffered…but when I started reading this post, my head went to the place it goes to when people write about their experiences.  It kind of goes like this when people talk about how bad it is living with pain…I hear you sister.  I understand this.  It sucks, but damn this is depressing to read in someone’s voice other than my own.  Do I sound like this?  Crap. This is messed up.  Sigh.  More depressing things I have been through.  I could be her…she could be me.  Wait.  Wait a minute.  She just said something I need to hear.  Someone actually listened to her.  Hold on and back up to that part because the rest is the same as my life.  Except this part.  This part where she finds HOPE. 

So I get to the symptoms, you know the part where invisible diseases can’t be seen except for the fact that I have lots of those symptoms…and doctors don’t really know what to do…so I kind of stopped talking to them about what’s going on.  And I get to the part where she prayed she had this thing because it actually explains something.  Black mold.  Wow.  Who knew?  Well, obviously someone did, but not anyone else most of us have ever come across in our long line of 18 different specialists.  So I messaged my one advocate in this fight…Dr. Marion who I have written about.  And she says yes.  Yes we can do this test.

For those of you who might be new, I gave up on regular doctors after getting diagnosed with fibromyalgia by a man who was a nervous wreck and a top rheumatologist in the area.  He said he understood why I wouldn’t want to be on pharmaceuticals given the side effects of the “medicines” and the possibility of a liver compromise with hereditary hemochromatosis (see my tab at the top about that genetic disorder).  Not to mention the other possible complications with those “drugs”.  I decided to go all-natural using plant based phytotherapy (see my tab Vitalize You at the top).  So that brings me to where I am.  No doctors listen to my intuition.  None.  I know for a fact that something deep down has made so many things spin off…and it’s only a matter of time before we find the link.  So if this isn’t it…we keep going.  But it’s one more thing to cross off.  I will let you know what happens.

Difficult times