Can we make active daily choices to accept difficult circumstances? Is it possible to focus on meeting ones needs and achieve what you can do, not what you cannot do?
I have been acutely unwell this week, unable to sleep, in acute pain and dreadfully ill and further burdened by my mind that tried to swallow me with feelings of hopelessness, helplessness and fear; triggered from extreme physical pain.
I want dull my readers with the multiple triggers, however, I will say there had been a lot of additional physical strain from moving houses and states and a major flooding incident in my new home…requiring a lot of physical labour and lifting to manage and sad consequences of lifetime artwork and poetry destroyed and most of my card stock lost to water damage.
I will admit on the worst days of pain and illness I struggled to not fuse with the flood of unhelpful and unkind thoughts and feelings, that seemed to to stalk me determinedly.
There were many moments, and hours at times, of both physical and mental pain. I desperately continued to try and accept the current discomfort, come back to the present and pray that my repeated continual regimented home based pain management regime would eventually help and my usual colonic treatments resume to be successful. Sadly they had not been, due to a major bowel blockage and displaced pelvis.
I confess from extreme pain I was forced to surrender to the present and try and focus on what I could do. I also chose to challenge myself within manageable ways. This then also opened spaces to focus on workable and sustainable activities and tasks in my current and future life.
Then slowly it occurred to me that I was trying to over excel at everything, Ignoring my limitations and basic needs..trying to complete a masters, commence volunteering, card making and marketing, weekly medical appointments and treatments, yoga and swimming, maintaining relationships, preparing for an upcoming art exhibition, moving house and on and on the list goes.
Something had to give.Actually, a lot of things on my agenda had to be reviewed.
Finally, when I became able to leave the dark walls of the bathroom and my home yoga matt; I dragged myself to a yoga class and decided to place myself at the back, modify and rest as would be required, as I knew that the community connection and physical movements would assist both my wellbeing, attitude and bowel obstruction.
I admit the class was highly difficult and yet I felt better from going. I attempted to repeat attending the yoga class two days later, driving 20 minutes to do so and in a lot of physical pain and I unfortunately arrived late and missed the class. I was terribly disappointed but decided to stay focused on diffusing from pain so I distracted by going to the library to print boring bills and ended up meeting a lovely older woman, actually also a former social worker, as I once was and had a very sincere connection and positive and inspiring encounter.
Those readers who knew me in better health, prior to my health crisis, new me as the yoga addict; twice a day when I could and I did before and after work! Now I would be lucky to get to three classes a week with my physical and medical challenges. Grateful I am though that I can achieve this. Also grateful I have most of my senses, good people in my life and live in a beautiful environment.
I also chose to swim as this exercise is a lot easier on my body, and also a fond activity stemming from childhood that I maintained at a high performance level. I also find swimming to be an easy way for me to meditate and breathe. Yet in a state of acute pain and illness this task was not only a physical challenge with 4 kg of blocked faecal matter in my rib cage and descending colon but the weather on the usual sunny coast was appalling; wet, raining, cold and dreary.
I challenged myself when able to drive and arrived at the pool, procrastinating at length and stalled getting from the change room to the pool. I was trying desperately to ignore my mind that was hounding me with ideas to go back home and likely feel sorry for myself and in more physical pain .
So with determination, I put my courage warrior swimming cap on and I arrived at the edge of the pool, feeling really cold already from the poor weather and rain and made a prompt decision. “Just do it, get in and swim Clareissa”, I instructed myself. “Swim, you will feel better”, I asserted to the incessant unhelpful flow of negative thoughts.
And so I plunged into the cold pool and I followed the black line like a forgetful gold fish, or whale, as my body felt, and I repeated my positive learnt helpful personal mantras lap after lap.
Slowly, oh so slowly my mind started to still somewhat, and at times I was able to diffuse from the acute discomfort and then profoundly i started to identify my needs.
These being, self- care, simplify life, stay strong, surrender to what I can do, soften, socialise and focus on “smart” goals -specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timeframe.
It became clear suddenly. I was weighed down not only from pain but self inflicted life performance pressure. Somehow I would have to let go of extra stressors and pressure I had been placing on myself and just focus on daily manageable activities and tasks.
I was able to realise that I needed to try and manage my pain best I can and let go of unnecessary unrealistic pursuits.
In summary, I am now choosing to focus on harm prevention with my health, launching my card making into “kindcards4u”, preparing my artwork that was selected for an upcoming art exhibition, explore community groups and potential writing course or future writing degree to continue writing my broader vision of a book and commence with regular weekly blogs.
My broader long term goal to complete writing my book will not be a story that focuses on all the negative and gritty details of my past and current life traumas and difficulties. It will simply footnote the contributing and perpetuating events, circumstances, environments and behaviours.
Rather the content will focus on ways we as humans can cope and manage life difficulties and stressors; that may be circumstantial or unforeseen and how to stay focused on wellness and maintain resilience. It Will be an attempt to inspire and assist others.
So today I choose kindness. It’s a rainy cold bitter day but I will go to my yoga class , listen mindfully to the crashing ocean waves on my patio and bunker inside with card making, uplifting music, pain management exercises and rest.
My pelvis may be strapped, swollen ankles and legs and exhausted but I can still be kind to myself and others.
I encourage my readers to focus on what is right for you and no one else, and do what you can do, your primary values and goals, not on what cannot be realistically achieved.
Practice kindness in ways that work for you. Try best you can to be grateful for the positives in your life and trust that difficulties can be managed and we can only grow more resilient and wise when we listen carefully to the primal self and intuitive voice that acknowledges needs and values.
Namaste to you all.