Thursday, June 29, 2017

Graceful

Graceful

The definition of graceful can be having or showing grace of elegance.  It is a word I would not use to describe myself or my actions, but what if I started to look at it differently.  What if I break down the word, to mean things that fill me with grace?  What if I become graceful by focusing on what speaks to my spirit, what brings me grace?

My teacher likes to remind me that grace is an unearned gift, it has nothing to do with worth, it is the blessing of choice, the freedom to chose how to react in any given situation.  Professional dancers are graceful and elegant because they have chosen to dedicate their lives to that passion, they have nurtured their spirit with dance, and their spirit has nurtured their dance.

So what does graceful look like living with chronic pain, with a chronic illness?  Today it meant when I woke up screaming and fighting off imaginary attackers that felt like they were stabbing me that I accepted Adam's embrace, his words and his reminder to breathe through the pain.  I sleep with a weighted blanket, it weighs about 16 pounds so understand when I talk about thrashing around that, the blanket went flying.  The stabbing and spasming pain was so intense I thought I was being attacked.   (Again the mind lies.)

It took a great deal of time for me to calm down, to unlock the muscles that I was able to.  I still haven't figured out how to calm down those bladder spasms and tears just kept coming.  The grace is the ease in which Adam rises up to comfort me very early in the morning, steady and solid.  I become graceful not because the pain goes away, not because I stop fighting but because I accept the breath.  I chose in those moments where every part of me is telling me I am helpless to come back to the breath.   Yes, there are times I need prompting and the reminder but what else are our loved ones here for?

They are here to remind us of the grace inside each and everyone of us.  They are here to hold us and support us when all of our tools have broken down.  They are there to remind up that we can rebuild those tools and that life is a cycle.  

On the days that my spoons are exhausted, I come back to the breath, I come back to soft soothing music, I come back to the scriptures and prayers and trust that this too shall pass.  Sometimes I even come back to mindless TV, or cute animal videos.  The pain always passes and in the end I have filled my spirit with just a little more grace.  

Question of the day: What fills you with grace?  Can you make one of things a part of your daily life?

Monday, June 19, 2017

Gently

I have been blessed with some phenomenal teachers, teachers through out my life that have inspired me, humbled me and some times just left me awe.  There are teachers that I have been fortunate enough to spend years with and some that just come and go for a moment.  I think of these coincidences as little tests from the universe, to see see if I am present and paying attention.  The universe is always opening doors for us, opportunities but sometimes there is so much going on...   

I love maps, I love to know what to expect, what to plan for and who I need to be in a situation.  However lately my lessons have seemed to have the message look at the terrain, stop looking at the next step.  Another way to phrase this would be to trust that it will all unfold perfectly and to just let go.  The greatest lesson of course, is that I only need to be me in any situation.  I don't need to do anything, just be.  

I noticed today in yoga just how much struggle there is around this idea.  The teacher gave us a cue to follow our hand with our eyes, moving in an arc in front of us.  I had a rough time with this simple motion, my eyes would literally jump in front of my hand, to the final destination.  I finally had to really slow down my breath, close my eyes for a moment, block out the world and just focus on my hand.  I stopped the movement and just observed my hand, making new introductions to my eyes and my hand.  

I locked on to my right hand, took my attention to the blood flow and just observed.  I noticed all the little tremors and shaking that I have developed in the last year, the strength of the natural curve of my hand, that I needed to cut my nails, and finally my fingerprints.  Then my eyes quickly jumped to the teacher to see what I was “missing.”  The class had switched hands at that point and so I did my best to really follow my left hand with my eyes, to gently bring them back when I found them jumping to the destination.  

Right now, I have no map, I have only the terrain.  There is only the trust that others have walked this path before me, that the destination can be reached.   I know the destination, I know what I want and so while I keep that firmly in my mind’s eye it is time to gently bring my eyes back to the terrain.  Looking for the map, makes me tense, jumpy and disconnected, so it is time for some simple introductions to the terrain to begin.  One breath at a time, one step at a time and one word at a time, gently coming back to the here and now.


Question of the day:  How do you remain focused on the journey, when it is through the wilderness?  

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Better Questions

I recently went to Greece on a retreat for 10 days.  While I am still processing a lot of those experiences, when I got back home I fell down pretty hard.  It was a lot to ask of my body to travel there and back not to mention the activities and managing food  and treatments while I was there.  

I came home depleted and exhausted.  My body was having difficulty adjusting back to the time change and I spent a lot more time then I would like in bed doing nothing.  I do mean nothing, not sleeping, not listening to music or books, just simply laying down and not moving.  I needed to ask Adam with help with groceries and food, which puts added stress on him.  

So what is my tendency in these situations?  How do I feel about myself?  I feel pretty terrible about myself, my self critic will kick in big time and my self compassion drops to a zero.  None of this pattern helps me recover faster, it is just another draw on my energy.  So how do I change that?  How do I transform this pattern of I am worth something when I am "well" and I am not worth something when I need to rest and recover?  

I could go into patterns learned in childhood, that I have since reinforced through my own actions.  But for me this is a feeling, it is not logical.  Understanding the creation of the pattern is not enough in this case, it must be interrupted again and again, new pathways need to be formed and nurtured.  One way to do that is to become a question ninja, to ask questions until one opens up a door.  

It is about having the patience with myself to ask a lot of questions, because when I feel poorly I am not terribly receptive or connected.  I want to push the world away and curl up in my little ball and not be seen.  Which again makes it really difficult to ask for help, or even accept help that might be offered.  

So here are some questions that made me stop, that opened up some new doors, and changed my perspective a little bit.  Yep, I am still exhausted and I will be resting for the next couple of days, but I will slowly step away from that self critic and through some new doors.

  1. Do I want to be perfect or healthy?
  2. Do I want to accept that I am human and have needs or continue to repress them?
  3. Do I want connection or significance?

That allure of perfection is a common theme for me, and a complete illusion.  Health and well-being on the other hand is real, and I am worth being real, human and connected.  


Question of the day:  What are questions you ask yourself to break your patterns?  What patterns need a slight perspective shift?