be present and treat yourself tenderly

Posted by on Nov 19, 2015 in Wellness | 2 comments

Barbara and StasjaIt’s been over a month since I’ve been here to write a blog. My life has been turned upside down, and I just haven’t been able to focus on writing this type of content. I’ve missed being here—researching and writing on chronic pain. But life is what it is.

The short version of the story is that our granddaughter, an 18-year old fabulous firecracker of a young woman, died in a automobile accident on October 18. In the last four weeks, our family has cried many tears. We have pulled out old pictures, and told a stream of funny and poignant stories. We’ve come together with her community of friends and family to mourn our collective loss. The grieving and healing process goes in waves, and we have what feels like an eternity of waves to ride.

Cris and I are also dealing with another significant downturn in my mother’s health. That’s a different kind of grieving, but grieving just the same.

The world also joins us in grief and shock after the terrorist bombings and activity of the last few weeks—the Russian airliner, the Beirut and Paris attacks.

There’s just so much sadness in these weeks and days and moments. Sometimes it just feels overwhelming, doesn’t it?

In the midst of a month like this, it’s hard to remember to take care of myself. Here are some of the issues I’ve faced:

  • Should I keep the physical therapy or massage appointments I have scheduled?
  • How can I be sure to get enough sleep?
  • Are there food choices that will keep my relatively pain free, while accommodating my reduced desire to eat?
  • What are the other activities that will feel nourishing to me?

Perhaps you can relate to this list. No matter what the challenges are in our lives, it’s a delicate balance to manage the urgent needs of our family (or business or the world) with the ongoing needs of our own body and soul.

I’ve been reading a book this month by one of my favorite authors, Toni Bernhard. Last year she published a blog called “13 Tips from 13 Years Sick.”

From the seventh tip, this helped me remember to treat myself tenderly during our time of crisis:

“I used to think it would be a “one-time-through-the-stages” of grief process (the stages usually broken down into denial, anger, sadness or even depression, and then…acceptance). I thought that once I passed through a stage, it wouldn’t return. But now I see that acceptance can give way at any moment to a new round of grieving, maybe with just one of those “stages” popping in for a visit, such as anger or sadness. When this happens, I’ve learned not to push the grief away in aversion because that just strengthens it. Instead, I allow it to be present, treating myself as tenderly as I can until it passes.”

So no matter your challenge or crisis, be present and treat yourself tenderly. And I promise to do the same.

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resolutions mindful of living with chronic pain

Posted by on Jan 1, 2014 in Anti-Inflammatory Ideas, Healthier Choices, Holistic Pain Relief, Wellness | 10 comments

Your Desire to Change Must Be Greater Than Your Desire to Stay the Same

For the record, I think resolutions are fabulous—but the middle of winter and living with chronic pain make this a challenge for me. I know I’m thinking like a Northern Hemisphere, cold climate girl here. So if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, please forgive me. I like to make resolutions in the spring, when the world is waking up from winter. It’s a time of year when I feel renewed and hopeful. I just don’t feel that kind of positive energy on January 1st. But I’ll play along since it’s on people’s minds!

Resolving to make change is a wonderful thing. Be specific about your goals. And don’t over promise because you’ll want to have the ability to actually deliver on those goals. These thoughts are nothing new. You’ve heard them before – probably many times before.

And what do people living with chronic pain do about resolutions? I would like to resolve not to have any chronic pain this year. I’d like to resolve not to make any visits to my physicians this year. Unfortunately both of these feel like they fall into the category of over promising. So what are some of the things I might resolve?

1. I resolve to keep trying to find the delicate balance between self-care and selfishness. To work on understanding how self-care isn’t selfish, but a matter of survival—even when I’m busy reaching for the stars.

2. I resolve to make thoughtful food choices that support my desire to live with less pain and inflammation. To research and try new things, as long as they seem wise and feel positive rather than restrictive.

3. I resolve to find ways to relax, to laugh and to connect with people I love and enjoy.

4. I resolve to be easy with myself while not being lazy, so that I take breaks and recovery days with less guilt than usual.

5. I resolve to find communities of people (especially those living with chronic illness and/or pain) with mutual support and respect.

And finally, I resolve to wait until the weather warms up to commit to resolutions. Winter is a great time to hibernate and percolate the “how” of these resolutions. I’ll choose whichever resolutions come naturally while honoring this darkest time of the year. Will you join me?


Do you just wish you could find a set of realistic, holistic tools you can put in practice that will minimize your pain and maximize your energy? Download my free PDF report to learn 17 EASY WAYS TO START MINIMIZING PAIN TODAY!

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buzzkill or mindful consumption?

Posted by on Apr 5, 2013 in Ask the Coach, Wellness | 0 comments

Lately I have been feeling a lot of buzzkill vibes. I keep hearing people say this or that food is “totally delicious” and is making all kinds of great nutritional claims. Maybe it’s my marketing background or the cynic inside me, but I just don’t believe the marketing spin or reductionist nutritional claims of processed food products today. I am here to own my buzzkill vibe because I believe it’s going to keep me healthy for a long, long, long, long time.

Items that need a little buzzkill in my book:

The cookies called WhoNu …

The fast food chains, especially [insert your favorite here] …

Pretty much any food item sold in a bag or a box …

Comfort foods that ultimately don’t make our waistbands (or our guilt complexes) more comfortable …

Food companies survive on consumer gullibility and our desire “not to know” what’s really going into our bodies. Is that the way I want to live my life? Is that the way I think I will be able to live the BEST kind of life for me? I support everyone’s right to choose whatever food they prefer. I just encourage everyone to be mindful – spend 2 minutes reading that label or Googling the ingredients of your favorite chicken strips. And then choose what you consume.

If ignoring the truth gives us a buzz, I will pass on that one. My buzz in life is feeling so much energy I can skip the afternoon nap. My buzz in life is craving exercise and laughter instead of cookies. My buzz in life is making choices today that will enable me to feel this good in thirty more years. I choose not to let mindlessness hinder the fullness of life I deserve to experience.

What buzz do you choose – mindful or mindless?


Do you just wish you could find a set of realistic, holistic tools you can put in practice that will minimize your pain and maximize your energy? Download my free audio teleclass to learn YOUR MOST IMPORTANT STEP TO MINIMIZE PAIN!

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