MASTERY

Some time ago, I went to my meditation teacher for some advice.  I believed I was having some difficulty with a person in my life and just didn’t think I knew what to do.  So, I began my tale.  He interrupted me, not rudely, just asked me, “You have practiced taekwondo, haven’t you?”  Yes, I said.   “And, you have studied and practiced yoga for many years, right?  Vinyasa yoga, even, true?”   Yes.  I have.  “What are your practices like, describe them – taekwondo first.”  I did, in detail.  He said, “The same every time?  Taekwondo and vinyasa, the same every time?”   Yes.   “Are your masters good teachers?”   Yes, very much so, both of them.  “Why are your practices repetitive?”  To master our bodies, our brains with our minds.  To improve our reflexes, focus and concentration.  To improve speed and conditioning.  “Uh huh.  Yes.  So, when you repeat your tale of woe, what does that do for you?  What does it improve for you, what do you master?  Can you recall these wrongs with more speed, and conditioning?”   Hmmm. . .

“Perhaps, when these thoughts come to you, you could mentally practice your taekwondo, or your vinyasa – meditate upon those.  You might quicken something.  You might gain insight and mastery.  When you speak of taekwondo, of yoga, your face is pure joy, and your voice changes like love for a child, do you know this?  I’ve enjoyed the time we have spent.”

Yeah, got it.   Hope it helps you, too.  It took practice, it takes practice, but WOW it works.  Train your mind.  Peace to you, and thanks for stopping by.  Lilie

Advertisements

ANGER


When you feel anger, don’t dismiss it or shame it. Acknowledge anger as the message it is. Emotions send messages, information that we need. Anger can tell us something needs to change; anger warns of injustice. Anger spurred such changes as important as the civil rights movement. Anger in the mind of someone skilled at its interpretation: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. So, we can practice being skilled, as well. When you feel it, realize it is a feeling, and that its message is that something needs to change, or to be addressed. Now, use your skillful mind to discern: what is your skillful, contributory approach? Practice, practice.

 

REWARDS AND RECOGNITION

I see comments like, “you may wait a long time before you see your kindness pay off”, or the medical benefits of kindness listed – as if we must be strung along to that path, enticed – that kindness in itself is not enough.   I don’t want to throw cold water on any of that.  I accept those words as the intention behind them – to be encouraging.

AND,  Kindness is enough.  If you practice acts of kindness, you will become that.  It will be your habit.  Kindness will be your first action.  Whatever else comes (and there are truly many benefits), kindness:  doing kindness, being kindness, thinking on kindness, working at kindness – that’s a most worthwhile pursuit.  It is a reward.

Thanks for reading.  May you be a constant witness to kindness, and its aware recipient.  Lilie

THE ZEN KOAN: GOOD NEWS/BAD NEWS

Many of us have heard some version of the Zen koan dealing with what constitutes good or bad news.  That has been a delight and a stronghold for me.   To me, news is news – the good and the bad, you must sort – and you will.
So, the news.  Since September, when I took the first of two serious falls, I have had trouble with my legs – extremely painful and limited in walking.  Normally, I have pain in my left leg and some trouble walking due to post-herpetic neuralgia of the L5-S1 nerve roots.  In March, I fell and broke my right leg.  It healed well.  When it healed, they wanted to take another look at my spine (I’ve also had two spinal surgeries – for a different problem), to make sure my fusion, and no other structures, had been damaged.  Then, we would form a plan as to how to deal with this increased pain and limitation.  It is good to know, no damage to structure.  It is a challenge to know that this is the result of the virus attacking another nerve root – this is now L4.   And, nothing can reverse this, at this time.
Among the choices, I have chosen to accept using a wheelchair at this time.  This way, I can still go on ‘walks’ and ‘hikes’ and camp-outs and all the things I love to do, without worrying about keeping up, and it’s such a good feeling to get out and not be isolated.  That’s the killer – the isolation.   I’m opting for a wheelchair, crutches and a scooter.  I am thankful that my insurance will help with some of this.  I am also thankful for incredibly gifted and compassionate healthcare workers and for those friends who stuck with me.  I know they have busy lives with challenges of all kinds of their own.  The visits, the calls, and the concern, keep you going – we all know that.  Not being excluded because you aren’t ‘the same’ anymore, keeps hope alive.
And in respect for honesty, that has happened to me and I’m being honest with myself about the grief and hurt it did cause and getting past it to the wonderful things that await.  It hurts to be rejected.  It hurts to find out those you thought friends, were otherwise.   Tell the truth, grieve it and realize what’s right in front of you.
I will have stronger arms, good thing – my orthopod once called me “Olive Oyl” lol!   I can’t be anything but happy.  It’s a door opening, a way around, a new chapter.  Zen koan:  Good or bad news?  Honey, it’s always going to be what you make it.
Again, thank you so much for all those who continue to visit though my posting is very erratic.  I enjoy your posts, your words and wisdom, as well – so keep up with that.  May you be present in every moment, may your challenges open to you new ways, new friends – new life.  Be there for each other.  Community can be present where you are.   Lilie

De-BUNKING!

I’m going to say some things that are going to make some people pretty angry.    That’s ok.   It’s about time.   You are entitled to your opinion, and I am entitled to mine.

For those who have chronic pain/illnesses who are taking:  Painkillers, antidepressants, muscle relaxants, anti-anxiety medication, etc.  I hope you will seriously consider doing something else.  Try something else.  I’m not talking about naturopaths, I’m going to make them angry here, too.  Lately, I have seen a whole slew of friends diagnosed with “adrenal exhaustion”.  If  you take just a basic A&P class, you’ll know, that’s not really possible.  Your adrenals don’t get exhausted like that.  If your adrenals are really having a problem, a blood test can confirm it.   Also, colonics – if you like them – well, . . . . , go ahead, but they don’t do a thing for you.  Your body doesn’t need that to cleanse itself.  It is designed for that.  No help necessary.   Baloney on that stuff, stop listening.  They are making money off you.  When the ‘cure’ for that doesn’t work, they’ve got something else.  I’m sick of seeing people taken advantage of because they are desperate.  BTW, painkillers, antidepressants, muscle relaxants, anti-anxiety meds, etc., are the western medical protocol for chronic pain/illness.  When you take these drugs, and your body gets used to them and you have to have increasing doses of them, you’ll notice your healthcare provider even more determined to get rid of you.  Yes, because they are being regulated, watched.  When they prescribe too much to too many, they get rid of those patients.  You have to find another doctor. You get accused of doctor shopping, and being an addict – not a good place to be.

Antidepressants, if you have not been diagnosed by a reputable mental health provider as clinically depressed, you have no business taking antidepressants.  They change your brain chemistry.  Your brain stops manufacturing the chemicals itself and becomes dependent on having the medicine to make them.  A state worse than the first you were in.  It is not helpful for chronic pain.  It is a bandaid, a something to get you out  of the office and off the doctor’s schedule, for a while.

The other day, I heard yet another ‘cure’.  Yeah, vinegar, for just about everything.   Did you know?  It makes your bones stronger?  Yeah, really – uh huh.  Oh, you mix it with honey, yeah, because honey is a cure for everything, too.  Well, honey for those allergic to bee/wasp stings, pollens, grasses, etc., can be deadly.  And, vinegar – it is acetic acid.  It doesn’t do anything PERIOD.  It makes a great cleaner.  If you mix it with baking soda, you can make ‘rockets’.   Basic chemistry people, use your brain!!!!  Acetic acid is not a cure for high blood pressure, fibromyalgia, arthritis or anything else.  It will make your windows shine.  Again, it’s a nice cleaner.  I use it for my countertops and windows.

Also, Neurontin (gabapentin) and Lyrica – look up the literature on them – they are about as good as a placebo for pain.  Neurontin is prescribed about as frequently as sugar pills.  Don’t bother.   It can make you sleepy, but if you don’t have epilepsy, it’s really not going to do much for you.  It can make you gain weight, and sweat, but that’s about it.  And, when you do read the literature, thoroughly, you will find they have no idea how it works on neurogenic pain.  It doesn’t.  I have neurogenic pain.  Fortunately, I had a dad smart enough to tell me not to take that stuff.  He said it makes a nice living for the pharmacist, and the drug company; otherwise, again – baloney!!! Yeah, that’s going to make people happy.  Figure it this way, if a doctor is willing to give you multiple refills on the medication, it isn’t actually going to do much for you.  It’s another  ‘here, shut-up, I can’t help you drug’.

I am fortunate.  I was able to avoid some of this crap, because of my dad.  He was a pharmacist.  And, an extremely intelligent man.

Doctors who don’t take insurance and are free with prescriptions for narcotics, aren’t sympathetic, compassionate people.  They are bums.  They are after your money.  They don’t care about your welfare.  A doctor who truly considers your welfare is hard to find for chronic conditions because they don’t make money, and chronic pain/illness sufferers can be a nuisance.   Healthcare providers  can’t often find a cause, and it’s frustrating to treat and to listen to, when they can’t provide anything.

Things to try:  Read as much legitimate literature on your condition as you can.  Take as little medication as possible.  Stay in the best health, at an appropriate weight, with as much activity as you possibly can.  Find a sport, or activity that you can tolerate.  I found taekwondo helpful, and I had to modify that.  Sometimes, I have to stop for a while.  Find something that interests you, and get more interested.  Find something to do that helps others, and do that.   If it sounds like I am not sympathetic, I am.  I am limited by chronic, constant, 24/7, relentless pain.  Sometimes it is very, very bad.  Lately, it has been.  I fake it for a few hours at a time, when everyone else has gone home, or when I can go there, I lie down, and I read or knit, or watch an entertaining program or movie.  I don’t belong to a pain support group anymore, because, when I did belong, all they did was rehearse their stories of woe.  It’s hard not to do that, but it won’t help you.  It reinforces that in your brain.  That’s why I got interested in meditation.  That’s another thing, meditation doesn’t take long to teach someone.  You don’t need to buy special clothes, nor spend a lot of money being taught.  It takes just a few sessions.  If the person teaching you tells you that it will help your pain go away, or you won’t feel your pain – bullshit – you will feel your pain.  The thing meditation does for me, and what I teach other people, is that it gives you the ability to give yourself  an attitude adjustment.  You can look at your pain, your life differently.    In time, after being diagnosed with everything in the world, I did find out what the source of  pain was, for all the good that did.  There is no cure.  It is up to me.

I still have friends, acquaintances, who give me info on the latest supplement, cure, etc.  I try to be polite.  I thank them.  I smile to myself that I’m glad I had a great AP teacher who wasn’t shy about speaking the truth, and a dad who wasn’t either.  Honey and vinegar, won’t cure you, one of them – can kill you.  Acai berries taste good.   Most supplements make expensive urine – if you’re going for that; well, take them then.  We absorb nutrients best from our food.  Eat well, make the calories count.  Fad diets don’t work.  Diets where certain foods are excluded, UNLESS you have a specific illness/condition documented by testing, don’t work either.  I am allergic to dairy.  I can’t have milk, milk-products, etc.  I can eat hard cheeses.  I stick to that, as best I can.  Otherwise, I eat from the groups.

What sounds too good to be true, is.

Live well, and wisely.  Thanks for stopping by.  Lilie

SOMETIMES YOU WANT TO SHOUT IT!

We all have a story to tell, and they are worth telling, IF only one person listens, and learns.

I never thought I would tell mine.  I was good at keeping secrets.  But, maybe, just maybe, one person will hear, and it will change the course of his/her life.

I got my life kicked – hard.  And, I fell.  Doesn’t matter how, who or why.  What does matter is why was I available for that?  What in me allowed it; didn’t see it; wasn’t consciously present in my life?  Those were the questions I asked myself.   Those were the questions that saved me.  I didn’t blame myself.  No.  I did examine my character and the course of my life, because I was the person I could change.  I wanted to be the person I knew I was inside.

I created a second chance for myself.  I think everybody deserves a second chance, and maybe they get it on the fourth or fifth try.  My first course of action was to separate myself from those with whom I had associated, and I sought out a very wise and compassionate counselor.  That was my safety zone, from which I plotted my course.  I had many influences throughout my life who practiced mental discipline, and some did this by meditation.  I studied everything I could find; took every course offered by every religion, organization, university,  individual, etc.  But I was no joiner anymore, not to or for anything.  I took religious studies, sociology, psychology, medical studies,  and so on, building and learning what most people come into life with naturally, through their families.  I have to say here, my dad was a great source of wisdom, but it was just not available to me then, didn’t mean I couldn’t find it now.

I stepped out of the cocoon and tried new things, slowly but surely.  Got myself a yoga teacher’s certificate, meditation certificates, pain management certificates, and so on.  I began to take writing courses, and turned to writing poetry, a love from childhood, and now I took myself seriously.  I began attending writing groups.  And, I published two books of poetry.  I didn’t look back.  I just kept going.  I had begun to have medical issues.   I had to accept the loss of my working life, and tried to ‘work’ and contribute in other ways.  Again, I didn’t look back.  When the stories played in my head, I acknowledged them honestly but did not entertain them, didn’t ruminate on them.  I realized I was in control of my thought life, all the time.  With practice, that became stronger and stronger.

I felt like Ghandi’s famous quote, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”  And yet, I had begun to have friends who were Christian, I mean that in the sense of acting like Jesus, really acting like Jesus.  So, I am watching and waiting.  Don’t know that I will ever join any group again.  Still feel like I need to know where the exit is.  I don’t like ‘group think’.  I try not to lump people together with groups, see them as they truly are in their own lives, but when it’s ‘group think’ or ‘group speak’, I keep my distance.

The most important lesson I learned;  You must regard you.  You must think well of you.  You must have a plan for your life, and believe in it.  You must hold it dear, and not give up on it for other persons.  It is one thing to help someone else, and I strongly believe in that.  But, DO NOT GIVE UP your goals, your life, your plans for another.  It won’t help them, and it most certainly will not result in anything positive for you.  And, YOU is what you have.   The least selfish, most giving people I know, regard themselves; have strong self-respect, and are accomplished in their life goals, and continue to have and set goals for themselves.  You can’t be free to extend anything until you know  yourself.

Whatever situation you are in, it is not hopeless.  You are still there, still present inside – listen to that.  Become present, awake, aware, conscious in your life.  Reach out.  Take one step at a time, but take a step.   I did it, and I got to take someone with me.  Someone who turned out to be a most incredible person, and love.  He just made that same decision:  To find, and be his true self.  I did hurt people I loved, and I can’t change my indecisions and weakness of the past, but who I am now is what counts.  I stand up for my mistakes, and take the consequences.  I repair where I can.  You are worth it, too, come on – it’s your chance, now!

With love and regard to you.  Lilie   – Thank you for stopping by.

SNAPSHOTS IN WORDS

I have mentioned that this is a blog site for Southwest MT Pain Mgt, Inc.,  a nonprofit.  I am the owner/manager.   What do most of my topics have to do with chronic pain/illness?  Well, I found, in my own struggle with chronic pain, that working on my inner life improved my psychological/physical situation immeasurably.  I did not get rid of, nor lessen, the pain, but I improved my strength, psychologically and physically.   And, I believe I became a better friend (to myself and others), wife and mother in the process. I have a better life, with happiness that is not dependent on circumstances.

Mental discipline, through meditation, is a great skill for me.  Each and every day, I have my practice and it gives me strength and energy.  I don’t worry about what may come.  I’m ready.  I don’t feel as attached to the outcome of things, either.  I do my best, and know that whatever comes of that, I will go on and do my best in the next thing.

I want to be the ‘word photographer’, that’s my goal with this blog.  To give a snapshot of a thought, idea, concept. . . tangent (lol) that may make someone think and follow those thoughts to what will be useful for them.   Blogging creates that possibility of community.   Read something here that causes you to think, go on to other blogs that offer the science, the structure, the skills needed to accomplish what is helpful to you.  That’s my hope.   It sure is out there.  There are some terrific blogs.  May I be a stepping stone.

Thanks for stopping by.  Lilie