I never, ever would have guessed the road to recovery for me would end up being so much more than pain relief. I had no idea that my pain was tied to ANYTHING but the injuries I was dealing with. Pain is not necessarily coming from any tissues, discs, injuries, etc. Pain comes from our brain and nervous system. Thank god I learned this or else I would still be going around in circles. And that’s part of the reason I started this blog. I am sure more than ever that some if not most people just don’t know how good they could feel. As I moved from one area of my life to another I just kept feeling better and better. Who knew life could be this good!!! It took working on ALL areas of my life… emotional, environmental, financial, intellectual, occupational, physical, social and spiritual! Everything on that wellness wheel!! Every single area had lessons for me. BIG lessons. I was like a little kid soaking up all the knowledge. I felt like there were all these secrets about how to live well that no one ever told me or that I ever cared to find out on my own. It took me losing just about everything to find it. I wish it hadn’t taken such a horrific experience to turn myself around, but that is my story. It is SO clear to me that I was supposed to hear this from the universe. Especially since I had to go through it twice to get my act together. I take it as a gift because if it hadn’t happened I’d still be living in my old ways. I wasn’t necessarily so unhappy, but I wasn’t living life well and had no idea how much BETTER it could be. My growth has been tremendous. And it doesn’t end here. I’ll be continuing to work on all these areas of my life to see where it all takes me. Because I’ve learned that one thing leads to another and you never know where it will take you unless you commit to the ride.
I’m combining a few days here because some of the work I did was repetitive and I didn’t want to repeat myself too much! These three days were dedicated to connecting with our souls. Deepak says “we live in grace when we learn to merge the self and soul.” And that we are the “captains” of our souls. That’s powerful.
Something else he said that really resonated with me was when I heard him say “Nothing is happening out of order in your life.” We never seem to see these things until we look back in hindsight. Some of the most pivotal and important moments of my life where either completely unplanned or unexpected. I already discussed my first pregnancy, which was a “surprise” in a way. (See previous post) Something I say all time is “everything happen for a reason” and I believe that to be so true. Even if you don’t see the reason right away, or sometimes it’s a couple months or years until you can look back and realize why things happened in a certain order in your life.
If I hadn’t had the shock (and it shouldn’t have been a shock) of coming up with my son’s college tuition money we still would be living without a budget and making all the same money mistakes we always had. That dire situation forced me to take control of our money once and for all. I can’t begin to tell you how different our financial lives are today than they were a year or two ago. I’m always learning and I actually find personal finance kind of FUN now! Who would have guessed?! I was the person literally running away from budgeting in any form because I thought it would limit my spending. But the complete opposite is true. It’s incredibly freeing when every dollar is accounted for. Sometimes the absolute worst situations bring on the best possible changes.
Deepak explains that when you blossom into who you really are you can embrace the power of fulfilling your dreams. I love that! I’ve been blossoming into who I really am for the past two years!! And yes, it certainly does come with power. It’s all about self perception. There was a time when I thought I couldn’t live without alcohol, cheese and sugar, but guess what? I have been four years now and I don’t even think about it anymore. And do you know why? Because now I know how much BETTER I feel without any of those things. So, there is no temptation. Do I want to feel like crap? Or do I want to feel good? Do I want to live a long, healthy life? Or do I want to end up a host of chronic diseases? Simple really. People tend to think I’m extreme or I’m depriving myself, but it’s just knowledge (knowledge plus action). When we all learned what cigarettes did to our health, a lot of people quit (not easily I’ll add). To me, this is the same. I don’t smoke for the same reasons I don’t eat sugar.
How to take action:
With the goal of getting to know yourself better, try meditating daily to get closer to your true self. When you are self aware it becomes easier to not only know who you really are, but easier to then start to fulfill those dreams!
As always I’d love to hear your feedback! Please comment below! Thank you for being here!
Living in an Atmosphere of Growth
If I had to describe my journey in two parts I would say the first part was the physical recovery and the second was mental recovery. That’s lumping a lot of areas together, but in the end that is what I was doing. One thing truly did lead to another. I would begin a course, or hear a talk on subject I was interested in and it would inevitably send me off in another direction of personal growth. Gretchen Rubin calls this “living in an atmosphere of growth.” It would have been nice had I decided to one day just start working on all these areas in my life instead of having something so devastating happen to me, but that is not my story. And I think it’s true for many people. Unfortunately it usually takes some horrific event to awaken us to how we should or could be living. To people I’m meeting for the first time, I can seem extreme. This is partially my Upholder personality, which has always been there, it was just focused on other things instead of growth. Like I’ve said in earlier posts, I live this way because it was a WAY OUT of how I was feeling. And I never want to feel that way again. So when someone says to me “don’t you miss cookies” , the answer is always no. My “why” is crystal clear and keeps me moving forward.
I say all this because the next step in my wellness journey was a class I stumbled upon given by Elisha Goldstein. It was an online Mindful Living Course that I did over four or five days. I’m going to share some of my revelations I unearthed while taking this class. You can find out more about Elisha here. https://elishagoldstein.com/
Did you know our brains are wired to survive, not to be happy? Our brain fears the unknown so when we try to make changes our brains start to object. It’s a survival instinct. When we relax, we calm the nervous system. This jumped out at me because if there was anything I needed to do it was to relax my nervous system! According to Elisha, the benefits of relaxation are the following:
Slows Heart Rate
Better Decision Making
Less Stress Eating
Protects Mental Health
Protects Your Brain
All super important. Why would I not want all of those benefits? Sign me up! One of tips he suggests, which I have used in my own life are recognizing when you tense up. What people or time of day does this happen? When it happens, we should breathe and stretch to relax. On my Insight Time app, there are many 1 minute meditations for exactly this purpose. If you are bracing you need an antidote!
Another tip was to practice single tasking. I’ve posted before about the fact that there is no such thing as multi-tasking, you are just doing two or more tasks more poorly than you would have doing one at a time. The biggest change in single tasking for me came with my walks. A couple times a week, I walk at our local nature preserve. I’m so fortunate to have this beautiful piece of nature in my neighborhood. When I walk, I do nothing else. I don’t listen to anything. No audio books, no podcasts, no music. I love all three of those things, but my focus is on the world around me. I do some GREAT thinking during these walks. Decisions get made because my brain can relax and wander. My decision to write a book, start a blog, take a part time job all came out of these walks.
This week think if you find yourself “bracing” and what you can do when that happens. Try relaxing by breathing, meditating or stretching. Also, try single-tasking. See if it makes a difference. It did for me! I can’t wait to hear your comments! Thanks for being here!
In Day 7 Deepak talks about accessing our deepest desires through meditation. I have to say there is something about doing the mediation practice and then answering the journaling questions that really works in getting clear. If I was to just sit down and say to myself “what are my deepest desires?” I don’t think I would get nearly the honest, clear answers that I would without meditating first. Remember, meditation brings us closer to our true selves. No ego. This is where it gets real.
First I had to list two desires for companionship. Mine where:
- A true best friend and confidant.
- An improved relationship with my husband
Fortunately, I have a lot of friends. But as I said earlier, I was narrowing my tribe down to the people who’s energy was in sync with mine, were supportive and uplifting. But, really, down deep wanted a true, best friend. Someone I could call at all hours, cry my heart out to, laugh with and be COMPLETELY honest. I have bits of that in my friendships now, but I would love a couple of very close girlfriends in my life!! I’m always working on bringing this into my life by having intention, using life visioning and being open and in the flow. I know it will come it’s just a matter of when!
I think everyone wants to improve their relationship with their spouse. This is more complicated than friendships. I’ve learned over the past few years that you just can’t change other’s behaviors. You can only change your own behavior and hope that you lead by example. I’ve seen this work in many ways in my life. I feel like I need a constant reminder of this because we get SO comfortable in our marriages and our spouse tends to bear the load of our worst selves. It’s always a work in progress!
Second was to list two career desires. Mine were as follows:
- Find a meaningful part time job in the health/wellness field or volunteer organization.
- To have my own success.
When I wrote down these career desires, having a part time job seemed like just a hint of an idea. I hadn’t worked in 20 years and the thought of it was jarring. I thought, What will I do? Am I capable? Where will I work? Will anyone hire me? This was also before I decided to get my Health Coaching Certification. It all comes together a few months later when I get very clear on my future goals. This was a first step. Realizing that what I wanted was to be in the Holistic Health and Wellness space in some form. And as far as having my own success, I really hadn’t up to this point. Like I’ve said before, I didn’t even set goals for myself. EVER. So, it’s kind of hard to have success without goals! I really wanted to see what I was capable of. I have big dreams now and goals in place to get there. Just putting this out into the world I have seen the right people show up in my life at the right time to help me achieve those goals. That is the Law of Attraction in action.
I now do have a part time job that I LOVE at my local library. Which checks the “meaningful” box. And I have my blog and book project for the health and wellness side. So, that desire, for now, lead down two different paths.
Last was to list two desires for my health. Well, that was easy.. That’s how this whole journey got started!!
- To be pain free.
- Become strong.
You know by now that my entire journey started with my desire to become pain free. That was the beginning and is still the goal. And getting stronger just goes along with that. It’s all wrapped up together. A work in progress, but so, so close to getting there. The progress I’ve made over the past two years even surprises me when I read my notes. I’m so thankful for all of my journaling during this time. Seeing all my progress and growth in writing is powerful!
So, what would be my emotional outcome from fulfilling these desires? I wrote:
- Well Being
Who wouldn’t want that?! In the end, Deepak says to be less focused on the details of our desires and become open to what will happen as new options present themselves. I’ve learned that changes and disruptions that come usually arrive to teach me something. There is always a lesson and an opportunity to grow. Now I see it, where as before, I only ever saw the stress and worry.
This week I suggest diving into your deepest desires. I highly recommend doing a little meditation practice first. This is incredibly helpful in getting in touch with your true self before beginning. I would love to hear your comments! Thanks for being here!
Today’s lesson was all about getting closer to your true self, which we can achieve in meditation. Deepak says when we get closer to our true selves we can attract our desires into our life and to really let our soul be our guide. When I heard this it reminded me that I had heard an interview on a podcast where the discussion was all about soul writing. If you haven’t heard of soul writing it’s when you spend time in a quiet space writing in a free form. Whatever comes to mind, you just fill the page with it. I’ve heard people say they have had some of their absolute best ideas come from this form of writing. I have to admit, this has been on my “to do list” for a at least a year. My plan is for it to go on my 2020 Vision Board! (more on vision boards to come!)
My notes from Day 3 are so telling of my state of mind at the time. I could not see things manifesting in my life and I have to say two of the three have happened and the least important one did not. Not yet. I’m on my way. And I also think that’s the universe telling me to get my priorities in order! Which does happen with a little more work in the future.
So, here are my notes from this lesson.
Name 3 things you truly wish you could have in your life and believe to be unattainable, so much so that you resigned yourself to not having them.
My answers are so telling here.
1 To be pain free.
2 To not be afraid of the medical community.
3 To redecorate the house. (SIDE NOTE: I still can’t believe with all I had going on that I listed this as a “wish”, but there is it. I’m not editing. Being honest in all it’s glory!)
Reasons why they will not manifest
1 Too much damage to my body.
2 I don’t know how to begin to trust doctors again.
3 Not enough money.
Ways nature could arrange for me to get desires. (Imagine it!)
1 Yoga works. I get injections. I continue physical therapy. My brain settles down.
2 Work on ABCDE problem solving. Dispute my thoughts. Keep working on coping skills.
3 I get a part-time job.
It’s funny, when I wrote out that I wanted to be pain free, it truly felt like a wish and not at all attainable. But when I read my answer on how to get what I desire, I was on the right track, even then. This just proves to me that the law of attraction works and was working in my life. Yoga has been a HUGE healer. Yoga gives me strength, flexibility, relieves my muscle tension, reduces my stress and forces me to practice mindfulness. It’s the best part of my day for sure.
Problem solving is another key and something I’ve talked about already here. At the time, again, I can see by knowing I needed to keep up this strategy in my life I was going to make it happen.
Part time work! Yes, after 20 years of being a stay at home mom I finally came to the realization that if my husband and I were going to send our kids off to college debt free (meaning them AND us) then more money needed to come into the house. In addition to budgeting and really getting a hold of our personal finances. Which I did and still do. Again, huge stress reliever! Later in this program, I will actually discover what I want as I get in touch with my true self. Spoiler alert, I AM working a part-time job now, but I’ll save the details for a little later.
This week think about your desires and go through the questions above. I think it can be a very eye-opening exercise!
As I finished my last 21- Day Meditation Experience I began to reflect on the reasons I wrote this blog in the first place. On the last day of the Experience Deepak said “Letting go is a choice. If you can forgive, you can trust. Clinging to the past is your separate self.” And the most powerful statement to me.. “Forgiveness is the natural state of a self aware person no longer burdened by the past.” Forgiveness does not come easily to me. I tend to hang on to grudges until they eat me alive. Deepak says “When remembering the past, you relive it again. If you are present that won’t happen. Old hurts feel toxic in our expanded awareness. Forgiveness stops being a problem because there is nothing left to forgive.” It took me such a long time to figure out that when I stayed angry at someone for something they did, I wasn’t hurting or affecting them in any way. It just ate at me, not them. This is something I work on all the time. I tend to be highly emotional so everything I feel is at a very high level. The good, the bad and the ugly. I don’t hide emotions well. If I’m feeling it then pretty much everyone around me is clued into how I feel. When I realized I could learn to “let go” of those past hurts that really opened me up to how much better I could feel. And isn’t THAT what this journey of mine is all about? Feeling the best I can and living my life! Why would I want to hang on to all that STUFF? Do you ever notice how you feel when you relive a moment from your past? It’s like I’m there all over again. The pain, the tears, a knot in my stomach. It’s awful. There are positive outcomes to these events. I know that my ability to be self-sufficient and have a strong work ethic all came out of how early I was making decisions for myself. Which was about 18 years old. I didn’t have any financial ties to my parents so I was making all the decisions regarding college, where I lived, my healthcare, where I went and what I did, everything. Most decisions were not good by the way! Ha! BUT I know that my work ethic is 100% from how I grew up. So, there is good that comes from every situation! The point is not to dwell on the hurts of our past, but to forgive and look for the good that may have come out of it.
Do you find it difficult to forgive? Try to let go of those feelings and see how it feels. I’d love to hear from you in the comments! Thanks for being here!
Do you hear me?
I used to think I was a good listener. Like, a really good listener. I’m not sure why I thought this other than maybe I just seemed to be one. And people tended to unload on me and I didn’t stop them. But newsflash I wasn’t! Deepak explains that there are three levels to Deep Listening that allows us to be heard.
Listen with our ears
Listen with our minds
Listen to hear with complete awareness and intimacy
So, clearly I was not doing all of that. But I notice now, I find it much easier to really listen when people talk to me. I’m no longer half listening and waiting to speak. There is a HUGE difference. I actually ask questions now. Before I would have just started talking when it was my turn with no recognition for what the other person just said. There is no love in that. I have to say this came naturally with the clarity that overcame me in my journey. This wasn’t something that happen right away when I started meditating, or stopped drinking, or right when I began to feel better or any of the other things I did to better my life. It was probably a year or so into feeling good. I was driving on the highway on my way to my yoga class and I just had a moment of pure clarity when I realized I could feel and see everything differently. I felt very alive. The music I was listening to, the clouds in the sky, the sun shining, all of it felt very different. Not only that but it was like I was seeing life with new eyes. I was calm, happy and clear. I wondered in that moment if most people live that way on a daily basis and I was just not aware for a very long time. I don’t know. And I don’t know if it’s because I’m so “clean” now. The no alcohol, no caffeine, etc. combined with the meditation, yoga, volunteering, friendships that all came together to make that happen. I’m not sure. But it was a moment of awareness that I’ll never forget.
In my notes from this day I wrote the following:
I need to pay closer attention when family members talks to me. Sometimes when they are talking a lot I tune her out.
The second part of my journaling was notes about a friend who was truly a good listener. I could learn a lot from her.
She listens, asks questions and follows up with questions days later. Shows she cares.
And third I wrote.
I want more. I have energy. I’m ready.
This week ask yourself if you are fully present when in conversation with others. What could you do to be more present for those around you? I’d love to hear your comments. Thank you for being here!
Dynamic Life vs Active Life
I’ve talked before about Emotional Contagion, and in some ways the energy you bring into a room take on the same contagiousness. Deepak says “When you walk into a room, you bring your energy with you. Everyone can feel it. We choose what we send into the world.” Deepak explains the difference between a Dynamic Life vs an Active Life. A lot of us have Active Lives (mental activities and rushing around and ending up feeling empty). In a Dynamic Life there is a purpose to your energy.
This got me thinking of my own life before and after my injury. I most definitely had the Active life prior to my injury.. rushing, rushing, rushing with no meaning. Very self-centered. Now I have a much more Dynamic Life which I have built over the last few years to include all the things that have meaning and give me joy. It’s a completely different life.
How was I choosing to show up? What kind of energy was I bringing into the room. We have to own that. We are responsible for it. When someone unleashes their negative energy you can feel it. So, next I was to make a list of how I wanted to show up from now on. Here we go.
Talking to Everyone
Be Authentic to Who I am
I try to run through a version of this list before I walk into an exercise class, meeting up with friends, going to events, talking on the phone and even just going grocery shopping! ANYWHERE I will be seeing people. Even in my own home. If I don’t, it’s so easy to fall into being with myself only and cutting everyone off. I can even feel when my energy is like that so I KNOW others around me are feeling it and that’s exactly what I’m trying to avoid.
This week try making a list of how you would like to show up in your life. Keep it somewhere you will see it until it becomes a habit to run through it mentally before engaging with others! I would love to see your lists! Thank you for being here!
You Can’t Attract What You Don’t Have
What I learned about the Law of Attraction is that “you can’t attract what you don’t have.” As Oprah would say. It took me a while to figure this one out. If you look at this through the eyes of relationships, as I was at this time in my Meditation Experience, then for me to have what I want out of my relationships which was support, listening, being open minded to new ideas and different ways of thinking, kindness, deep conversations and someone to share all my favorite things.
Deepak says “ You attract what you are.” There’s so much there. What are you? How do you behave? If I wanted people in my life to behave as I stated above then I would need to behave that way too so I could attract it into my life. Deepak also says “We radiate what we want to bring into our lives and what we seek out is seeking you.” I’ve talked about the Law of Attraction in earlier posts, but here I’m specifically talking about relationships. If I don’t show the people in my life the kind of love and support I want than why should I expect it back? This is a great reminder when I may get irritated with someone in my family for not supporting me or not listening. But when I turn that back on myself, I can ask, have I been supportive to them? Have I been listening?
Once we understand this we can see the Law of Attraction working in our lives. If you want to know more about the Law of Attraction you can read more here https://www.huffpost.com/entry/the-law-of-attraction-exp_b_8430270.
This week think about what you want to attract into the relationships in your life and ask yourself if you are what you want to attract. What could you do differently to attract what you want in your relationships?
As I moved through my Meditation Experience, thinking about relationships in my life, both with family and friends, a few things became clear. My oldest son was growing up. At this time he was 19 years old and in his first year of college. I’ve come to grips with the fact that he has other things he wants to do now than hang out with his mom! But I miss hanging out with him terribly. This is not a unique situation I’m in. Everyone with grown children would probably tell you a similar story. But that doesn’t make it any less painful. I was losing him. I felt like (and still do) that things are happening in fast forward and I’m just trying to hang on as he makes his way through life. I can barely catch up with my feelings as he moves to the next new thing. I wasn’t used to the idea of him living in a dorm when suddenly we were getting him his apartment for the following year. And at the same time he was asking us to send him abroad to study. I hadn’t even adjusted to him not living at home fully and suddenly all this was happening. It felt fast. Really fast. That’s all I can say. I never feel ready. Things just keep moving forward. I think when they are little and things move forward, we are parents and are in control. So, we can manage it easier. But, when they are adults that control is gone.
What I try to do when I’m feeling out of control is to re-frame the situation and tell myself he is growing into a strong adult. I mean, at some point, he’s got to be off and running on his own right? When I was his age, I had my own apartment (with a roommate) with no one supporting me. I worked a full-time corporate job and went to school at night. I found my own doctors, made my own appointments and began saving for a condo. So, when I think about it that way, he really doesn’t need me as much as I think he does.
Deepak says “Love is essential as a human.” And I feel like love changes with the different seasons of our lives. I will always miss that little boy who wanted to be with me every hour of every day. When I see other moms and little boys I tend to tear up I miss him so much. It is painful. The love we have for our children can be overwhelming! I can’t wait to see all the wonderful things he does with his life and I will continue to “hang on” as he builds a life of his own.
Thanks for being here!