Mindfulness Monday – Pain

water scene

painting by W. Holcombe 

“Pain can change you,

but that doesn’t mean

it has to be a bad change.

Take that pain and

turn it into wisdom.

~Dalai Lama

“To diminish the suffering of pain,

We need to make a crucial distinction

Between pain of pain,

And the pain we create

By our thoughts about the pain.

Fear, anger, guilt, loneliness and helplessness

Are all mental and emotional responses

That can intensify pain.”

~Howard Cutler

“Pain is not wrong.

reacting to pain as wrong initiates

the trance of unworthiness.

The moment we believe something is wrong,

our world shrinks and

we lose ourselves in the effort

to combat the pain.”

~Tara Brach

 

 

*painting by W. Holcombe.  All rights reserved. Please do not use without permission.

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It’s really happening….life is changing fast.

“Everything changes, nothing remains without change.” ~ Buddha

Okay so I started this a number of times and just can’t get my words to come out right, so I’m going to try the mindful writing for this post and see how it goes.  What you are about to read will be written with my eyes closed and I’ll be taking a deep breath after each sentence….let’s see how it goes.

Okay, so deep. deep breath.  In.  Out.  Breathe.  I must take time to do that more often.  The simple act of stopping and breathing with intention has helped to calm my mind and open my awareness.  How wonderful that such a small action can do so much.  It is amazing to me.  Again.  Breathe.  In…. Out…..  calm.

Now let’s see if I can write what’s on my mind.

We will be leaving for Tucson in a couple of weeks.  Stuart starts his new job there on June 11th.  Everything has been falling into place.  Well, kinda, sorta.  Enough has fallen into place that it all feels right.  This feels like we are making the best decision for all.

A couple of weeks ago Stuart went for a job interview in Tucson, while there he also looked at houses for us to rent.  Not only was he offered the job, but he found a little house for us to rent while our house sells and we start looking for a house to buy out there.  As I said, it all seems to be falling into place.

Suddenly I was hit with the fact that we’d be leaving in about a month and I may not ever see many of the people on this coast again.  I’m being realistic here, not pessimistic.  We don’t travel much, I don’t travel well, and a lot of my family is getting older.  I scrambled to try to make planes to see everyone.  We tried to make plans, but first Stuart got sick with a cold, then I caught it, and my cold turned into a cough and an ear infection.  I’ve been running a fever for a week.  I just started on antibiotics, and I’m hopeful I’ll be all better before we leave, but it caused a lot of trouble.  Between both of us getting sick and people on vacation, I’m only going to be able to see a select few.  I was devastated.  It really got to me.  My anxiety got very high and I was just so sad.  Then I started telling myself I needed to just let it go.  No regrets.  I can only do what I can do, if I can’t see everyone I just need to let it go.  I’ll keep in touch the best I can.  All anyone can do is their best.  So, I let it go.  It is the way it is.  I accept it and I’m okay with it.

Then there’s the worry about the move itself.  I did start to get all worked up about it all, then again, I started using my new mantra.  “Let it go”  Deep breath…. in and…. out.  It’s all good.  I will take each day as it comes and deal with it at that time, I will not worry about what may be, that only causes more anxiety and I need to let that go.

I was feeling really good about things.  Letting go of what I couldn’t change, accepting each day as it comes, and taking care of things that I needed to take care of.  (like getting all my records from doctors, getting all my prescriptions filled, looking for new doctors, taking Kiki to the vet and getting her ready for the trip….so much to do, and I’ve been getting it done)  My therapist even mentioned how well I was dealing with all the change and how mindfulness has become so ingrained in me.  I admit, I was feeling pretty good about it all.

Then the bottom fell out.  I expected to get to Tucson before Stuart’s step mom’s Alzheimer’s advanced too much.  She didn’t know who Stuart was when he was there, but that didn’t surprise me too much, she’s really only met him in person once…well a few times over a 5 month period when we stayed in Tucson one winter, but not other than that.  She knows Stuart’s dad, and see seems happy.  But this week, due to side effects, they had to take her off the medication that helps slow the progression of her disease.  They expect her to decline rapidly now.  Dad doesn’t know how much longer she will know him.  It breaks my heart.  and it scares me.  I’ve never been around anyone who has Alzheimer’s.  I don’t know what to expect, especially if it is so advanced.  I’m afraid I won’t handle it well.  I just want to make things easier for Dad.  If that just means washing his clothes and stuff, that’s what I’ll do.  I’ll help the best I can.  That’s all I can do.  M is in the best place she could be for this, and I’m sure they will help me know how to deal with the situation.  I’m also reading as much as I can to learn more about it.  Frankly, that disease scares me.  The thought of not remembering my husband, that rips my heart out.  What would be worse, watching Stuart go through it.  It just makes me sad.  I’m working on being okay with the way things are.  Accepting that I can’t change it, and simply being okay with it.  Yes I think I said that before.  I also got news that I can’t really talk about on here, but it has stressed me out!!  Getting to the place of acceptance on this is going to be harder.   No, I can accept that it’s happening, I’m just not sure what that will mean and how it will affect me, more so, how it will affect Stuart and Dad.  Stuart’s not worried about it, he’s annoyed by it, but not worried.  So why am I?  I have to accept this, and be okay with it.  This will take a lot of deep breaths.  Sometimes my husband puts his head in the sand about things.  I hope that isn’t the case with this.  I know it will all be as it will be, and I’ll deal with things as they come up.  I will try my best not to worry about what may be.  One moment at a time.

Well I think I’m done for today.  I’ve spilled a lot out, but I’ve been vague enough that you are probably wondering… “what on earth?”

 

 

Mindful writing – sharing an article from Mindful magazine

I have a bad cold so today I’m changing things up a bit.  In lieu of Mindfulness Monday I’d like to share with you an article I read in Mindful magazine.  I found it very interesting and plan to put this practice to use.  So you may find me doing a lot more blog posts in the future, as I meditate while writing.

A Writing Practice For Those Who Like To Keep Doing by By  

I don’t want to copy the whole article here, it’s a short article, but it’s not proper to copy someone else’s work, so I’m going to give you the highlights. However, you really need to jump over and read the article to understand what this entails.  It’s fun!  go do it!

Shamash starts by saying: “I’m writing this article in a state of meditation. And there’s no editing required (for the first round, anyway). How am I accomplishing this? And how could you join in the fun?”

He gives us instructions on how to find out just how we can do it.  I’m listing just the highlight of each point, you will have to read the article to find out more.

  1.  Set a timer for 30 minutes.
  2. Keep your eyes closed. if you can touch type, if not, then write long hand with your eyes open 😉
  3. At the end of every sentence, stop for a full in-breath and out-breath.
  4. Begin with no clear aim.
  5. Try to find time to write regularly

He answers the question “What’s the point of journaling…..?”  Here are the benefits he says he enjoys as he writes:

 

  • “My body feels happy and relaxed.”
  • “My mind feels calm and peaceful.”
  • “I’ve gently entered into a meditative state without having to fully stop “doing stuff.””
  • “I’m doing something different, so it feels fun and exciting. And having fun is a really important value and experience for me.”

 

Go ahead, what are you waiting for, jump over to Mindful and find out more about mindful writing.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.

 

 

Mindfulness Monday – Eckhart Tolle

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“Be the silent watcher of your thoughts and behavior.

You are beneath the thinker.

You are the stillness beneath the mental noise.

You are the love and joy beneath the pain.”

~ Eckhart Tolle

 

“In today’s rush,

we all think too much-

seek too much-

want too much-

and forget about the joy

of just being.”

~Eckhart Tolle

 

“The ultimate truth of

who you are is not

I am this or

I am that, but

I AM”

~Eckhart Tolle

 

 

*image by and of W. Holcombe.  do not use without permission

Q3 – The Quotation Challenge

I don’t usually do challenges, mainly because I know so many amazing bloggers I can never decide who to pass the challenge on to, but when Kim, from I Tripped Over a Stone, nominated me, I thought, “Quotes?  Hey, that’s up my alley!”  So I couldn’t say no.  Kim is an amazing woman.  She’s witty, smart, busy, and just happens to have fibromyalgia.  She is full of knowledge that she readily shares on her blog and in a Facebook group she helps run.  Follow the link above and check out her incredible blog! Thank you Kim for selecting me to participate in this challenge.  So, today we’ll take a little break from Mindfulness Monday and do these quotes instead.

Here’s how this thing works:

1. Thank the person that nominated you.

2. Write one quote each day for three consecutive days (3 quotes total)

3. Explain why the quote is meaningful for you.

4. Nominate three bloggers each day to participate in the challenge

Kim changed the challenge up a bit and did all three of her quotes in one day, I think I’ll follow suit and do the same.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes.

I believe in you

“I believe in you.” ~Christeen Calloway (my mother)

This is my favorite quote of all time because everyone needs someone who believes in them, and I always knew my mother believed in me. I specifically remember her telling me this when I was in college.  I was struggling putting myself through school, working many part-time jobs and taking a full load of classes so I didn’t waste any tuition money.  (You had to take at least 9 (or was it 12?) credit hours a semester to get full time tuition.  Over that minimum requirement you could take more classes for the same price. So I normally took 15 – 18 credit hours per semester – that’s 5 – 6 classes.)  At one point I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to finish.  I was working so hard, and I had the grades to prove it, but I was getting worn down.  (at one point I had 5 part-time jobs)  My mother was always my champion.  I called her one day just to chat and mentioned how hard things were at that moment and how I just didn’t know if I could carry on with that pace.  I also mentioned how much I missed her banana pudding.  That afternoon when I got back to my dorm, my mother was there waiting on me, with a big bowl of banana pudding.  We had dinner together and talked and talked, like we often did.  She told me how much she believed in me.  She knew how hard I was working and she also knew I could handle it.  It was her belief in me that pushed me forward, and the next semester I was awarded a scholarship for outstanding academics and art.  I was also given a work study opportunity, so I didn’t have to have all those part-time jobs.  If it had not been for my mother’s belief in me, I don’t think I would have been able to follow through and graduate with honors.

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“No one has ever become poor by giving.” ~Anne Frank

I hear it all the time, “I can’t afford to give….”  This simply isn’t true.  “No one has ever become poor by giving.”  How very true.  We must remember that even the poorest of us can give without causing ourselves more hardship.  We can give of our time, there are so many lonely people in this world, all you’d need to do is spend a little time with someone who needs the company, this doesn’t even have to be in person, you can reach out to someone online, you may even make a new friend.  We can give a service, can you cook, sew, garden, babysit?….there are so many ways we can give simply by doing what we know, we don’t have to buy anything.  We can give a smile and a compliment, has there ever been a time when a stranger smiled at you and complimented you out of the blue?  How did it make you feel?  A kind word can mean the world to someone, you never know, they may be going through a really rough time and your kindness helps just a little.  Don’t believe that you can’t make a difference simply because you can’t give monetarily, there are many ways to give that don’t cost a penny.

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“Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different; enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t).”  ~James Baraz

How could I list my favorite quotes without including my favorite quote on mindfulness?  This is one of the first quotes on mindfulness I read, and it spoke volumes to me.  It was hard to imagine facing every day without wishing it were different.  I admit I’m still not at that point, but I strive to be, and some days I succeed.  However, I still wish things were different when I’m having bad symptoms, but I try hard to be as okay with it as I can; and I take solace in knowing that the unpleasant will not always be with me.  I’m also learning how to enjoy the good times without trying to hold on too tightly.  Sometimes I’m better at that than others.  For example, my sister came for a visit this past week and I had so much fun I didn’t want that feeling to end.  One night I made a roast chicken and we made a wish with the wishbone.  My wish was that every day could be as good as that day.  umm, I think I was trying to hold on to that day a little, don’t you?  Luckily I wasn’t trying to hold on so tightly that it caused me pain when it was over.  I am so grateful we were able to have such a good visit, and I was mostly symptom free.  I must admit, I would have held on to those days if I could, but I’m grateful for today, even though I had a cluster headache earlier and I don’t feel like lifting my head now.  I’m still happy.  Hubby just came home, and it’s time to make brownies.  😉

 

If they would like to participate, I would love to read some quotes that inspire or excite or have meaning for:

Oh there are just so many in my blogging family that I’d love to see do this challenge, if you’d like to do it, please let me know in the comments so I won’t miss it!!

If you don’t want to do the challenge but have a quote that is meaningful to you, I’d love to hear it!!

Mindfulness Monday – Light

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“We have a light inside us.

The oil of the lamp is

our breathing. our steps,

and our peaceful smile.

Our practice is to the

light up the lamp.”

~ Thich Nhat Hanh

 

“Be a light unto yourself.”

~Jon Kabat-Zinn

 

“Find the light and

it will show you the path.

The path that is shown by

your own light is the

only path that is right.”

~Osho

 

 

*photo by W. Holcombe.  All rights reserved.  p

hoto first used in the 2018 Chronic Pain and Illness Photo Project, subject light

Mindfulness Monday – Beauty

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“In every bend of time

there is some surprise,

joy and beauty.

Mindfulness is the

light to discover it.”

~ Amit Ray

 

“Beauty surrounds us.”

~ Rumi

 

“Because of your smile,

you make life more beautiful.”

~ Thich Nhat Hanh

 

“Everything has beauty,

but not everyone sees it.”

~ Confucius

 

* As I was walking into the doctor’s office, I saw this flower; it was all alone in the middle of a parking lot, sharing it’s beauty.  I had to share it with you.

photo by Wendy Holcombe.  Please do not use without permission.