Thoughts on Health… Fibromyalgia

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When you follow your bliss, doors open where you would not have thought

there would be doors, and where there wouldn’t be a door

for anyone else.   – Joseph Campbell

This one is personal.

I carry all of my tension in my neck and shoulders.  Painful trigger points, tension headaches, tenderness in my upper back and neck so strong that at times I can’t even wear a bathing suit or a sports bra or a ponytail, or anything pulling on my neck at all… sometimes, even a necklace is too much, has me on my knees begging for mercy.

I think I could fit the definition for fibromyalgia, but I’m not double checking.  Because one thing I don’t want, is a label.  I don’t want to lump my energy in with the morphic field of “fibromyalgia”… I prefer just to think of it as where I carry my tension.  As my own personal barometer of stress.  An alarm that signals when I need to slow-it-dowwwwnnnnn.

I really feel that people with fibromyalgia, as with many other diseases, including peripheral neuropathies and restless leg syndrome and RSD (reflex sympathetic dystrophy), are able to feel sensory input more acutely.  That’s why nerve stabilizing drugs help, by desensitizing and diminishing the nerve’s sensory capability.

But I don’t think it means that folks with fibromyalgia necessarily have more stress… just that they are more sensitive to perceiving it.  Just like my husband can eat super spicy salsa and say it is “flavorful” and tastes good, while one tiny dab of it on my tongue has my lips burning off, my eyes tearing up, and my throat burning.  It ruins my whole meal.  But who is right — is the salsa spicy, or is it not spicy?  The salsa just is.  It is our perception that makes it spicy or not spicy.  To Craig, it’s not spicy.  To me, it is unbearable.

So when my back starts flaring… do I have more tension in my shoulders then someone who doesn’t feel any back pain?  Who cares.  What matters is, that I can *percieve* my shoulder tension acutely and it is telling me something.  Seen in this light, isn’t my sensitivity a gift?  A blessing?  That I can sense, earlier then others, when my body is stressing out?

Yes, I believe it is.  Because I know *right away* when I need to take care of myself… I don’t bottle it up and ignore it and wait for it to manifest in a more serious disease before I will take notice.  I know moment by moment, just by running my hand across the back of my neck, how I am doing with my attitude.

“We make life a burden by our attitude.” – Louise Hay

This is so very true with me, and I suspect a lot of folks with hypersensitivity issues, like fibromyalgia.  My shoulders are my own personal indicator of how much strain I am feeling.  And the strain I am feeling is all created by my attitude.  Thoughts start to creep in, when my trigger points start to flare… thoughts like “I’m the one who does all the chores, all the cooking, all the cleaning, I don’t get enough time to myself, I haven’t even brushed my teeth today, all I’ve done is care for everyone else, blah, blah, blah, blah.”  I’m boring myself even typing it out.

But in the moment… oh, in the moment… that is my deepest *truth*… my shoulders are screaming out “WHAT ABOUT ME?!?!?” and it’s like a slap across the face.  Wake up!  What am I doing?!?  Chores… they are privileges… privileges for sharing my home with the three most amazing souls I have ever met.  And you know what?  If I don’t want to do them, I shouldn’t.  Nobody has to do anything.  You don’t *have* to.  Do you know that?  You don’t even *have* to breathe.  Breathing, living, being… they are all a gift.  The moment you don’t feel that you *have* to do anything is the moment you will start wanting to do all the things you were resisting.  You don’t have to do chores… deep inside, you want to.  You choose to.

So I don’t have to become the martyr…  it is my choice.  It always has been my choice.  Every thing I’ve ever done has been a choice.  The fact is, I am the luckiest woman alive… and the very moment that I stop feeling that way, my shoulders remind me.

The path out from under my shoulder pain is simple.

First, I re-align with what I *know* to be true.  I am blessed beyond belief.  And I don’t have to do it all.  I don’t have to do anything.  I stop.  And I wait until I *want* to do something before I do it, instead of doing things I don’t want to be doing, and then blaming everyone else.

I re-focus on my bliss… on what makes me happy.  When I have trigger points, what makes me happy is usually having my husband push on my shoulders to help break them up.  And then I take some extra fish oil.  And some tryptophan and melatonin so I’m sure to get an excellent night’s sleep.  And if I’m smart, I’ll do some yoga, stretch out my neck.

And sure enough, as I focus on my bliss, my relief, my joy… I find 101 other things to be thankful for.  They just line up for me… hitting me over the head with my reality.  Life is neither a burden nor a blessing… it’s our attitude that makes it so.  Salsa is neither spicy nor mild… it’s our perception of it that makes it so.

So I see that door, with music and light and joy and laughter just beyond.   And I get to decide which side of the door to stand on.  Sometimes, it feels like the door is locked and I can’t get in.  In those moments, I stop the struggle.  I stand there for a moment in time, an eternity, a blink, it doesn’t matter… I close my eyes and I listen to the music through the door.  Even if that is all I can do for that moment.  Even if listening to the music is the only thing I can access… even if I feel my muscle fatigue and pain locking me into a dark room.

Close my eyes… I can still hear the music.  Neither resisting the muscle pain nor focusing on it, I am okay.  I am content.  I am thankful for my messenger… my pain.  Telling me to stop for now.  I am okay, I’ve done enough.  It’s saying thank you to me… it’s telling me I’ve done enough and I can pause now.  I have the ability to allow *all* my experiences to be joyful and satisfying, even if all I can do is survive the moment.  Even if all I can do is lay there and listen.  I don’t have to fight it.  It is enough to just BE.

And soon enough, my mind has wandered.  Off of my shoulder discomfort and on to other things.  The curious and the optimistic in me has re-awoken.  The music has my toes tapping.  I don’t *have* to stand back up and face the music, the chores, the life that is waiting for me… I *want* to.  I’ve reached for the doorknob and opened the door and I am stepping back into the party.  This is why I’ve come!  This is the ride I’m on, and I’m committed to it.  I’m not holding back, judging it, wishing for something else… I’m allowing the experience of it to be okay just the way it is.

Is my fibromyalgia a blessing or a disease?  It’s up to me to decide.  xoxo

My Baby

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This huge guy, running at me across the living room, is my little baby.  Turning 7.  Waaaaahhhhhh!  In one weekend, he turns from a young child (6) to an older kid (7)… or at least that is how it feels to me.

Oh my goodness, to top it off, he lost his second tooth as well.

I love you forever and ever Miles.  No matter how big your feet get.  Even though we wear the same size shoe (what the heck?!?!  You are 7 years old!?!?  How come I have to order us both the same sized Crocs?).   And even though I could put your hoodie on and wear it.  You are still my tiny snuggable sweet little baby boy looking up at me with beautiful green eyes and kissable little lips.  I completely adore you.

Being your Mommy fulfills my ultimate heartsong.  Happy 7th Birthday!  xoxo

My Favorite Thing… In the Bedroom

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Blues and greens and browns… soothing to me.  And if you recognize those curtains, yes… they used to be in my dining room!

This week’s My Favorite Thing is the bedroom… and I’m just warnin’ ya, there are going to be a LOT of pictures!

What I love most is that clump of pictures hanging right on the wall…

Here is my bedroom… although I don’t get to see it like this much.  Picture the bed messed up, the pull out love seat opened up into a sofa bed, tons of Legos everywhere, and lint and dog hair making an alternative *carpet* on the floor.

I found it challenging to photograph artwork behind a glass without getting too much reflection in it… but this one is worth squinting past the reflection to see.  I mean, come on… squirrels that are praying, saying “love is with you” — really, can the world get any better then that?  I especially love how the last squirrel sneaks in “love you” at the end. Courtesy of my daughter Clara, at age 4

The thing I love about this room doesn’t change, no matter how dirty this room gets.  The thing I love is hanging right above the bed.  And the artwork was free… the best kind… yes, I know if you’ve been following my blog at all you instantly knew what I have framed… my kid’s artwork.  I’m pretty much obsessed with what they write and draw and doodle.  I’ve blogged about that here and here before.  But I mean, look at this stuff!

Oh yes, the world can get better… here she draws, in charcoal, one person sending love to another in the distance.  Just beautiful.

Did you all know that there is a cool program on www.blurb.com that transforms your blog into a book?  And since I don’t scrapbook at all, or even print out pictures for a photo album, this blog is my little record of our life.  Like most blogs, it’s rewarding because it is a personal journal… and I plan on ordering a personal book of my blog each year to get me off the hook for the fact that I suck at maintaining a baby book or scrapbook of any kind.

“Just do what your soul says.

Just listen to your heart song.

Just do what your soul says.

Just listen to your heart song.

Just do it, just do it, just do it, just do it.

Just do what your soul says.”

-my son Miles, sung out loud at age 4

(have you ever heard such good advice in all your life?!?!)

SO!  I admit the ulterior motive for this post today is to document some of the amazing things I have hanging on the wall in my bedroom… all from my kids.  Because I know the colors will fade, the paper get brittle… but damn I love these things!

My daughter drew this one… our family, with all of our many many pets!

These drawings and quotes are about 3 years old now… my kids were 4 and 6 when I framed these all up… now they are almost 7 and 9… and each year I think I should frame some of their more recent stuff.

My son drew Wolverine… can you see his steel claws?

I mean, they create new gems all the time, each one just as precious to me as the last.

“Focusing on something is like voting for it.  You are voting it in to your life.”

– my daughter Clara, 6 years old, the sage

But I take one look at these, made with fingers that were plumper then they are now, tinier fingernails and smaller hands… each year those fingernails that I clip get bigger, and bigger… when I hold their hands, their fingers are almost impossible to tell from mine at this point…

Miles drew our puggle Brownie, under a tree, by a lake.


… and I think, no WAY can I take these off the wall now!

Clara drew a mama bird protecting her chicks from the rain… and I love how it represents my life… the love I have for my own baby birds and what a privilege it is to stand by their side, in the rain.  She captured motherhood so perfectly here.

So folks, that’s it for my bedroom… I love how (compared with the other rooms in my home) it is so sparse and uncluttered.  Love that I don’t even have a clock in it.  Love lots of things… but nothing as much as the art on the walls.

Come back on Monday for a new Thought on Health!  Have a great weekend!  xoxo

I saved the funniest one for last… dang I love this… Clara drew us, if we worked for a circus.

Clara’s on the trapeze, Miles is walking on his hands, Daddy is jumping on a trampoline… and I’m balancing on a ball spinning plates in each hand!  How does she come up with this stuff?  Love it!

Laughing at my face

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My kids are constantly breaking down my walls for me, and I feel like a newer, lighter human being because of their joy and love. Damn we are lucky to have our kids, aren’t we?

Seeing the natural overwhelming beauty that my daughter possesses blows every other preconceived notion of “beauty” out of the water for me. Barbie doll? Ridiculous. Laughable to me, even. And here is how…

My daughter takes one look at the towers of catalogs and models that wait for us each day in our mailbox… people who are so beautiful that they are getting paid for what they look like… and she gets excited, and runs for a pen. And as I wander around the house, cleaning up the piles of mail and such, these are the things I see.

 

I laugh out loud so hard tears come out.

It just never fails.

She doesn’t see an impossibly perfect person who makes other woman feel badly enough about their own face to run out and buy this particular make up product to cover up with.

Nope. She sees with open eyes.

And what she sees is a blank canvas.

Something to improve upon with a few doodles, a great imagination, and a joyful heart.

 

It lifts me up and frees me from my own walls of self-hatred… wishing I was more beautiful… wishing to be something other then what I am… carefully developed from years of reading teen magazines and watching commercials and movies when I was a girl…

This You Tube video of Killing Us Softly has been around before, but this time it hit me that for the first time, I felt quite free from this type of *perfection* pressure.

It is really worth a watch, if you haven’t seen it yet… it’s eye opening, and I think it is important for everyone to see, menfolk included.

 

Then I find a beauty like this, and my kids remind me yet again that EVERYTHING is supposed to be fun.

That’s why we are here!

Even beauty is supposed to be fun.

 

That’s a new concept for me… I thought beauty was supposed to be stressful and competitive. But watching my daughter have fun for hours trying on different outfits and flinging the clothes all over her bedroom is enough to show me that our bodies are supposed to bring us joy.

And adorning them, dressing them, even making them up or scenting them, is supposed to be for fun… not from fear or guilt.

The half hearted way I’m tempted to dab on foundation when my skin looks drab… I’m not doing it!

I’m not doing it unless it is FUN!

I’m not going to do it if the reason I’m doing it is because I feel ugly and I want to cover up.

NO. I’m doing this the right way now. I’m only going to put make up on when it’s because I feel gorgeous!

And I’m only dressing up if it’s with a huge smile on my face because I want to!  Or I’m sticking on lipstick because I love this huge smiling toothy mouth of mine, not because I look in the mirror and see pale thin lips and want to erase them.

 

My son helps me too… and he doesn’t even know he does.

I overheard this exchange from my two kids as we were getting ready for bed last night:

Miles: “Sometimes, when we are at a store and I’m laughing, I’m not laughing because anything is funny. I’m laughing at Mommy’s face.”

Clara: “Yeah. Mommy’s face is so weird.”

*******Peels of laughter and cracking up********

 

And I know how far I’ve come, in this whole beauty/insecurity dance I do, when comments like that make me laugh and please me… truly please me… instead of make me run anxious to a mirror to see what they heck they are laughing at.

 

Another gem was Miles saying to me (as he is watching me wake up one morning a few weeks ago): “Mommy, your face is really wrinkled when you are sleeping. But during the day, it just looks regular… like a teenager.”

Wow. Like a teenager… my regular face, with no make up? No one else but my son could look at me and say that with total honesty.

But it was said with the innocence and complete conviction and truth of childhood… not as a compliment to make me happy… but as a raw and utter fact from my son.

So I’ll take that over looking like a Barbie doll any day of the week.

doodle 4

 

Now go find a catalog and doodle armpit hair on all the women and butt fumes coming up from all the men.

I guarantee you you can’t take beauty too seriously with a Sharpie marker in your hand.

xoxo, Laura

 

Thoughts on Health… healing always comes from YOU

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I am elbow deep working on several health collages… I’ve got some good ones for you, including the Immune System (thank you Gabrielle for the recommendation!)… Fibromyalgia… Ear… Eye… Knee and Hip… but none are ready to show you just yet.

So in the meantime, I had a thought on health that I was discussing with my kids yesterday.  I was out and about with them, driving in the car, and somehow we were talking about antibiotics.   I made the point to them that antibiotics are not what heals you… the antibiotics work to slow down the replication process of the bacteria, which gives your body time to fight the infection its self.

I wanted to be sure my kids *knew* deep in their soul that it was them doing all the healing, not the medicine. The medicine holds the infection at bay while YOUR BODY does the actual healing. Your body is the one that clears the infection, excretes and eliminates the toxins, heals the cells and replaces old or dead tissue with fresh tissue.

And as we were talking about this, I thought, this would be a great point to make on my blog.   Because while it is *simple* information that many (and probably even most) of us know… it is really important to remember and remind ourselves of this time and again. Most patients that I saw in clinical practice, most patients that doctors see in general, hold the mis-belief that it is the antibiotic or the surgery that is curing them.  They want the drug or the referral or the surgery.  They believe it is the key to regain a connection to health.

Nope. It is always you. The SELF is the only thing that can heal you, in fact, it’s the only thing that ever HAS healed you. Every drug and even every vitamin is just one factor in the mix that tips the scales towards helping you heal.  It might help by boosting your immune system. It might help by decreasing blood flow to an area of inflammation.  Or by slowing the replication of infectious organisms. Or by surgically removing a lump or tumor. But NO surgery, NO pill, NO vitamin, NO cream or lotion is the thing that is actually healing you. It is creating the best possible environment to allow healing, while YOU YOURSELF HEAL YOURSELF.

You are the one allowing the health and healing to flow. You are the master of the switch. You conduct the energy. *You* are the one making new, healthy cells to replace the diseased ones. You are the one re-establishing the natural equilibrium in your own body.

Without your body healing itself, no amount of medicine can make you better. Without your body healing itself, no surgery can fix you. Without your body healing it’s self, no vitamin can sustain you. If your body is not healing itself, nothing can.

If you have a tumor, a surgeon can remove it, and you can go on chemotherapy… and that is wonderful, as it clears out as much diseased cells as possible… but it is you, always you, who has the power to fully heal from the disease. You are the one who grows healthy cells to replace the diseased cells.  Your body is the one that recovers it’s own equilibrium.

If you have an infection, but you have no immune system, there is no antibiotic on earth that can save you. Doctors could hook up twenty simultaneous IV’s with liquid antibiotics pouring into you, but nothing will help. Eventually, the infection will take over.   This happens again and again.  Unfortunately I saw it myself while working in the ICU… there is just no antibiotic that can fully clear an infection without help from your own immune system.  Doctors rely on YOUR body to clean up the infection. On YOUR body to rebuild new cells.  On YOUR body to recover.

If you have a cut, there are no amount of stitches that a doctor can sew into you that will heal the wound without YOUR body healing it. The stitches might hold the wound together, but it is YOUR body that makes the first tenuous connective tissue threads that bond the tissue back together. It is your vasculature that re-establishes blood flow through the tissue. It is your skin that is made new.

If you have a broken bone, there are no amount of pins or steel rods that heal your bone. No thickness of cast can re-fuse the broken pieces back together. Doctors rely on YOUR bones to mend themselves. They may use pins, plates, brackets or rods to fuse them together, but the bones are still broken unless your bones heal together.

This is so important.   It makes YOU the boss.  It gives YOU the power.   It makes medicines and surgeries and supplements YOUR CHOICE.   You are the ulitmate healer here.   Whether you find healing in this body, or whether you find ultimate healing in leaving this body, you will always always restore yourself to well being.

And it gives you confidence in your self.  Because you can go back, and make an endless list of all the injuries you’ve had in your life, and you can remind yourself that *you* have healed *yourself* every time. Each of us, has healed *ourselves* from an infinitely long list of damage and injury to our own body.  So you know you can and do heal yourself on a daily basis.  It is a *truth*, and you can hold this truth and turn it into a *knowing* about yourself.  You heal yourself every single day.

You don’t need to know how.  You just need to allow the healing to occur.

Every stubbed toe, you have healed. Every paper cut, your body has healed. Every cold or infection, your body has healed its self. A million times that you haven’t even been aware, your body has healed and returned itself to a healthy equilibrium before you have even been aware of the injury.  Or the infection that entered your body but was cleared before you ever had a single symptom.

Every time you have had an infection and taken an antibiotic… don’t you dare give the antibiotic credit. YOU have HEALED YOURSELF.  The antibiotic has given you time.  The antibiotic has put the bacteria at a disadvantage.  But you have done the healing.

So you know, no matter what it is you face, this is what you do.  This is natural for you.  You can (and should) accept any help that *feels right to you*… in the form of surgeries, medicines, vitamins, supplements… whatever feels right will work in HARMONY with your natural flow of well-being.  If your flow of well-being stops, there is no surgery, no pill, nothing that restores that.  Only you.

Your body is meant for this.  It’s what it does best. Every single cell in your body is working at this very moment to restore a state of health and equilibrium that feels best to it. That’s it’s full time job.

Armed with this information, trusting in your own body on it’s deepest level, and seeing medications and surgeries and supplements as the *supporting staff* only, helpful, but not what truly heals you… this framework gives you the most accurate, and the most powerful, stance from which to allow healing to flow.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.  Is it comforting or scary?  Is there a time when you know you have healed yourself, or do you prefer to feel this healing channeling through something more tangible, like a pill or a lotion?   When have you overcome your biggest health hurdle?  What helped the most, at that time? xoxo

Kindred Spirit, part 2… and last chance to enter the Give-a-way!

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Last week, I introduced my friend Aleka and her extrodinary way she views health and healing.  Check out her introductory blog post here.

This week, she’s back to focus more specifically on how our physical symptoms of illness can lead us down the path of true, karmic healing.  It is fascinating and thought provoking.

She is generously giving a free hour long session to one lucky reader! To enter, just leave a comment on this post… I’ll announce the winner on Friday.  You do not need to live in the area to enter… she can do the session in her office or over the phone anywhere on earth!

Thanks so much for opening your heart to Aleka… I hope to have her on my blog again in the future!  She has selected some of my paintings to accompany her thoughts… an honor for me… so without further ado, here she is:

Aleka:

I love that story about Mother Theresa where she was asked if she would join in a rally against the war.  She declined quite simply, but said she would gladly attend a rally for peace.  I see pain, dis-ease, and suffering  in our bodies and lives similarly.  There is no healing where there is no love.  That’s why a “war on drugs, war on cancer, war on anything,” doesn’t work.  It comes from a place of fear, the opposite of love.

We enter into this life both with an inspired purpose and default expectations about how our lives should be.  Hope and fear.  Where we are on this spectrum is what we manifest in our lives.  If we are stuck in ancient themes of fear, if we are attached to safety, if we are believing in our history then we will manifest situations in our lives to reflect this. Are you living your authentic path or staying in the comfort zone of your karmic default? Are you living in love or fear?

And how do you know?

Ask yourself this.  If you are not living your authentic life who’s are you living?  Your parent’s?  Your partner’s?  Are you believing the story society tells you or what your own fear tells you?  Either way you’re going against the organic flow of the unfolding of your life.  It’s like running your hand against the grain of wood — it hurts, you get splinters. Something feels really wrong because it is.


If you find yourself with repeated health problems, attracting people or situations in your life that don’t serve you, feel uninspired, anxious, angry, or bored… if you find yourself echoing the same victim story… pay attention.  Notice it.  Understand that this is an opportunity to change your beliefs about yourself and thus change everything.


“Follow your bliss.” Find where it is, and don’t be afraid to follow it. If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track, which has been there all the while waiting for you, and the life you ought to be living is the one you are living”

-Joseph Campbell


How do we find our bliss?  How do we change those default beliefs about ourselves?  How do we find our authentic soul path?   How do we heal?  Great questions.


The answer?  Follow the trail of pain.  Follow the suffering.  Follow the discontent, because it is there for a reason.  Pain does have a purpose.  Illness has a purpose.  It is our way in.


But we often don’t see it that way.


In fact our collective thought is that discomfort is a “bad” thing. I mean who likes to suffer?  Who likes to be ill?  No one.  In fact most people come to me because something is wrong and they want it better.  Often, our first response to any upset is to intellectualize it, deny it, ignore it, and find something or someone to blame it on.  Then we try and get rid of it as soon as we can.  We make war on it.


It’s as if we believe suffering’s very existence is a mistake.


Why?


OK sure, the obvious, we don’t want to be physically hurt, we don’t want our hearts broken, we don’t want to see people we love hurting.  Bottom line dis-ease hurts.  It’s agony.  But I propose we fear suffering beyond any physical sensation.  I think it is more than that.


We don’t want to feel pain because we don’t want to face the truth lurking in the basements of our egos.  Because facing our pain, our shadow, our default beliefs require us to see the truth about ourselves, our life, and the choices we make.  We would often rather stay where it’s familiar (even if it hurts) than take a chance on what might be.  We might rather stay in illusion than risk it shattering our story into a million pieces.

We make war on our pain and thus ourselves, because it is easier that facing our deepest fears lurking in the shadows of our being. It is easier to deny than accept and easier to ignore that forgive. Or so we think….

If we could see that everything, even tragedy, is a gift in disguise, we would then find the best way to nourish the soul”

-Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, MD

So I ask you…


What if your lower back pain means you have to get real once and for all about your money?  What if your stomach problems mean you have to admit you no longer love your partner?  What if your headaches mean you have to face the truth about how you hate your job?  What if your throat issues mean you have to get real about setting boundaries? What if your chronic condition means you actually don’t want to take responsibility for yourself and want to be taken care of?   What if you keep eating because you feel so empty inside? Can you face that emptiness?  Can you face the very thing you are most afraid of?


Could you do it?



The truth shall set you free.

All healing is first a healing of the heart.
— Carl Townsend


In fact it is the only thing that can.  This is true empowerment.  We cannot live a lie and heal.  Truth and illusion cannot co-exist.  Our secrets can and do make us sick.  Accepting the truth about yourself has the potential of transforming you who are.  Then a world created based on falsehood, based on fear, tumbles down and what is left is your potential. What is left is love.


So find where you hurt – have a physical illness or otherwise, and go deep.  Seek truth. Risk.  Defy your old story.  Shatter your default beliefs that never got you where you needed to go.  Plunge headlong into your possibilities.  Have the courage to let your misery speak to you and defy your history.   Change your story.  Be inspired.  Find your bliss. Become empowered.   Give up the need to be right or even of needing to be secured an outcome.  Allow.  Then live in awe of what will unfold.


This being human is a guest house
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

-Rumi


Come back on Friday to see who won the give-a-way!   Good luck!!!  xoxo

Thoughts on Health….the Brain, Part 2

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When nothing is sure,

Everything is possible.

– Margaret Drabble

Last week, we talked about how the brain ages… how it’s natural tendency is to get stuck in routine, limited by the confines of the skull, limited by concrete thinking.  As we age, our brain goes literally from being malleable, flexible, growing, open fontanels and unfused skull plates… to encasement in bone, linear thinking, a huge storage place for labels and facts, repetitive neuronal pathways.  If you can find a way to keep your neuronal interconnections growing, you literally keep your brain younger.  Adaptable.  Warding off dementia and other age related changes.

And here is the way to do it… open-ended thinking.

And here is the way to age your brain… label things.

Just because we can label something, doesn’t mean we *know* it or understand it… in fact, the labeling of it usually ends our exploration of it.  Once we find a name for it, then the possibility it holds is limited to our labeling of it… the fact we think we understand about it becomes the outcome.  Labeling collapses possibility.

Try to visualize the Universe and come up with a fact about it that covers everything we know and don’t know about it.  We can’t know all there is to know about the Universe and collapse it into a fact, that would be to completely ignore the enchantment and mystery of it all .  It is completely beyond facts and labels.  Can you go into our cells, atoms, the space between atoms, and deeper still, and conceptualize what that looks like and what it all means?  It is beyond understanding.  You can’t go out far enough, and you can’t focus down small enough and find an answer.


Can you know what death is?  Can you make it a fact?  It is a mystery, a beautiful mystery, and you can’t know… no one can know.  I find it very comforting that it is so complex.

When I was younger, searching for answers,  I was very anxious about it.  How do different religions really *know*?  How are they sure?  What if they are wrong?  Who do the rules apply to?  What is heaven?  What is hell?  Am I doing it right?

 
And then, when I realized how BIG and infinite a mystery it all is, how no one knows, I began to relax.  Ahhh.. there is space for it all.  My *own* answers started making themselves known to me… and what I finally *felt* was that yes… existance really is so complex that there must be a divine uniting force behind it all.

Do you believe in heaven?  In reincarnation?   In the possibility that we are all connected?  In string theory?  In purple martians from space?  Yes, there is room for it ALL.  Because no one knows!  Everything is possible!

Go down to a single molecule, or go up to the furthest reaches of space, and all you’ll find is more questions.  This comforts me more then any fact or religious doctrine I’ve ever read.  Yes, it truly is that marvelous.

Somehow, if our existence was so simple that a human being really could understand it all and *know* it all, label it all, write a religious manifesto about it all, I just wouldn’t be able to believe that there was something bigger beyond this life.  But by embracing the magical mystery of it all, I find my deepest comfort.

 

What is true for you?

What is truth?

What is fact?

Is there such a thing?

From what perspective?

What is possible for you?

Open ended thinking keeps health and healing flowing to your brain.  Asking more then answering the questions in your life.  Asking “I wonder?”.   Can you think of the last day you spent asking more questions then answering questions?  For many of us, that day was way back in our childhood.

Asking “I wonder.”  Just “I wonder?”  Instead of answering.  How long could you maintain that sense of curiosity?  One minute?  Ten minutes?  One day?  A lifetime?  How long can you go without creating facts for yourself.  Here is an exercise I read about long ago in a homeschooling book.  Try holding an object in your hands for ten minutes and ask nothing but questions about it.  Say it is a rock…

I wonder how much it weights…

I wonder what it is made out of…

I wonder how far I could throw it…

I wonder if it was around when dinosaurs were around…

I wonder why it has a grey stripe in the middle…

I wonder if it could skip across the lake…

How long can you continue to ask questions?  If you can only think of two or three, you might want to try asking more open ended questions… not searching for an answer, just keeping open to inspiration.  Maybe you’ll wind up getting a fabulous idea of something to do with the rock.  Maybe it will remind you of a childhood memory.  Maybe you will pick up some chalk and play hopscotch with it with your kids.

If you are having trouble, ask your kids to pick something up and ask questions about it, come up with stories and jokes and mysteries about it.  No doubt they will put you to shame, at least my kids are always able to beat me at it for sure!

This is one of the reasons we love homeschooling… unschooling.  The ability to wonder, to not be satisfied with a one word label.  Labels and facts are very uninteresting to my children.  Dreaming and story telling and wondering… that’s where the growth is, that’s what my children’s heads are filled with.  And slowly but surely, they are reminding me to rejoin the path of wonder.  And every year, I grow less interested in answers, and more interested in possiblities.  And every year, I swear I can just *feel* my brain waking up, and becoming healthier!

Come back on Wednesday for Aleka’s second post and another chance to enter her give-a-way.  And come back next Monday for another Thought on Health!  Got any ideas what organ I should do next?  I’m open to suggestions!  xoxo