Monthly Archives: April 2018

Aligning With Pain

accepting pain

The title of this post may feel a bit counter intuitive. Or just confusing. But if you have chronic pain, or love someone dealing with it, I’m glad you’re reading this.

If you go for it at the gym or on a run, you may say to yourself or to friends the next day “Oh, I’m so sore.. it’s so good.” A feeling of acceptance, of gratitude even, brings its warmth to you heart. You see the purpose behind the pain. You are in alignment with it. Maybe even a little proud of it.

Pregnant-women

Many of you women chose or will choose to become mothers. You do so knowing there will be, well, more than a little discomfort in giving birth. You accept that reality. You see perhaps the most beautiful of reasons to allow for pain. That reason gets you past the fear of it, and you find alignment with it.

Most pain, however, isn’t chosen.

When you’re rushing to get dressed and out of the house in the morning and stub your toe on a piece of furniture, what happens?  Mother-F*%#er that hurts! Arrggh. Shiiiiiitttt!  We are arrested into the present moment and into our breath. For the first few seconds that breath for most of us comes through clenched teeth and a tight chest.

We take a quick look for blood or signs of more than just a good stubbing. Seeing none the mind quickly calculates that this pain will only last 10 minutes, with perhaps lingering soreness, and we relax into deeper breaths and an acceptance of what has happened. Our resistance to the moment fades. Helped along, of course, by a sweet rush of endorphins. We’re ok. A little high even.

Chronic pain, the loosely diagnosed kind with no end in sight, is a much different dance partner. Imagine trying to dance with someone while wearing a heavy black cloak. One so heavy you can barely stand. You can’t move in rhythm with this partner, much less hold her close. You’d have to be able to lift your arms for that.

cloak of fear

The cloak is fear. There is a story around this kind of pain, and how it has affected the past and could limit your future. The freedom to enjoy life the way we desire is threatened by this story and the fear it brings. In cases like mine and perhaps yours, this fear extends to an inability to support ourselves financially. Full blown survival mode.

Writing this piece has been difficult. My dance with pain is a book, not a blog post. A twelve year journey through medication, side effects, radical diet change and detox. Once free of the meds but not of my resistance to the pain, I spent many thousands on every non-traditional healing modality available. I moved to warmer weather more than once.

These have been both the hardest and most beautiful chapters of my life. Letting go is like that. Surrender holds within it’s rendering a peace and expansion the mind cannot conceive of.

“Embrace the breath as you would something of infinite value, and you will know peace.” ~ The Radiance Sutras.

Along the way I picked up the tools of yoga and meditation. Getting beyond my mind and it’s story left me in the only place I could truly find alignment with my pain: my Presence in the Present. Attempts to fight, deny, heal or transcend my pain have been replaced with deep listening.

And what I hear there is enough. I don’t need my story, and the attachments it gave me. The cloak of fear comes off and I can meet pain on the dance floor and move with instead of against her. She’s been taking me Home all along.

todd

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goodbye and Hello

boca chica sunrise van

“I love you. Thank you, thank you, thank you” I whispered. Tears welled up and my chest was full of emotion. “I love you. I appreciate you so much. Thank you, thank you”. I couldn’t stop.  I wasn’t ready to walk away. The side door was open, and I was looking inside her, and into a sea of memories.

There was no one there, inside my beloved van. And thankfully no one within 50 feet. I was in the front parking lot of Patrick Subaru about to drive away in something new, crying as I said goodbye to more than a car. I’m crying now, writing this. I know…I’m a sap. And I love that.

boca chica sunrise me & van

“You took me on the ride of a lifetime. You took me to the seas and the forests, under the sun, the moon, and the stars. We’ve been hot, we’ve been cold. It’s been happy, it’s been sad. We went together, again and again, into my fears and my aloneness, and my heart found joy and peace, healing and happiness along the way.”

This very blog started with a winter road trip I took in this van 4 winters ago. The 2015 posts and these pics share some of that adventure. I lived in the van for much of the time, and for 3 summers since then.  I learned in it, dreamed it in, and let go in it. I journeyed inward and expanded outward.

“Thank you. I love you. I appreciate you,” I whispered one last time before walking away.

van lighting inside

I know it’s for more than just that wonderful van my heart breaks. It’s for the journey I’ve been on since we met. It’s for feeling things I’d long forgotten. It’s for having experienced the peace that passes understanding, and the freedom of being enough for myself.

It’s gratitude, mixed with the sadness of letting go. Letting go of the past, of an expression of myself that is evolving into something new.

As much as life in that van was a grand adventure of my heart, it was perhaps the biggest daily reminder of the survival mindset that has shaped my life until now. Self-perception lies at the core of personal growth and true and lasting change can be difficult when we are constantly reminded by the familiar of who we think we are.

 

So it was time. Deep inner shifts and a changing life path involving travel were aligning with looming repair costs that outweighed what that van was worth. The car buying process had the effortlessness of all things that flow from deep listening and trust of what is heard there.

So it’s goodbye to my big and tired ol’ girl,  and hello to my little blue beauty. A daily reminder of what is new, both in and all around me. Forever grateful for the ride of my past, I’m all in on the excitement of my Now.

my mew car

 

Happy Easter!

easter girls

Happy Easter to you!

I love these days of celebration. It feels good to be grateful. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Memorial Day….one’s birthday! 🙂  I hope you still feel special on that day. And grateful to be who you are. Who you are is one-in-6 billion special!

And this one, Easter Sunday. Springtime, renewal, rebirth, chocolate bunnies….whatever makes this day special for you makes me smile.

Maybe it’s the happy children running around on an Easter egg hunt, and feeling their joy upon discovering whats inside.  Perhaps it’s the culmination of time spent with them painting those eggs, and making more happy memories.

family easter

Is this for you a day with a family gathering? A nice meal, conversation, hugs ~ connection with those you may not see all that often?Parents, grandparents…grandchildren. The love that unties generations. And in-laws.  🙂 So sweet.

Maybe today for you is just about Nature, and the renewal your connection to it offers. The dormant seeds awakening, and blossoms beginning their slow journey to full expression. If you have read almost any of the previous posts on this blog, you know I feel you there. May your enjoyment of the forest cathedral exceed your expectations today.

This day may hold deeper meaning for you for reasons of faith. While it makes me a little sad inside that perhaps you feel, as I once did, that today represents the only thing allowing you a relationship with the Divine, I am grateful for the measure of Love you feel through that connection.

Love indeed. I do see in the Resurrection story the boundless power of Love. Of remaining in Love no matter what is going on outside you, no matter what others seem to feel about you, or what they may even be doing to hurt you. Or even end your life.

jesus cross

Choosing to love even when you feel abandoned and unloved. Choosing to find love when there is doubt and pain, and faith is weak. When the inner support of beliefs is shaken or ripped away entirely, and you are facing the unknown, feeling anchorless and lost. To let go and find in your aloneness, in the stillness between breaths, the Love that always there for you.To find it, embody it and BE love in the face of challenges. This I see on the most epic of scales in the Christian Cross.

empty tomb

Love can surely resurrect hope, joy, and Life itself. Empty tomb indeed. The ever present flow of Love just beyond the fears that hold us captive can lead any of us right out of any limiting situation and into the sunshine of rebirth. No perfection needed. It’s Love, after all. 🙂

So Happy Easter to you, whatever this day means to you. May you feel today the joy of life, love and freedom,…and know that nothing is impossible.