Sunday, September 24, 2017

Chinese Fable and Life Lesson

The following fable was on my mind this morning because I had a strange dream. When I doze off again early morning, I tend to remember dreams, especially when something like the phone ringing wakes me up. Most of them are a mix-mash and don't make sense to me. This one did.

Also Friday night I gave a young man a ride to and from an event -- a man with a lot of wisdom for his years. In one of our many conversations, I told him I didn't know why I had to experience all the crap I'd been through -- but life is good now. I also said I'm 61 and if I live another 30 years there is still time to become a teacher/mentor to many people. He encouraged me to go for it!

In the dream, a friend of mine and I go to see a female psychic with blond hair below her shoulders. The woman tells my friend she has water retention and then, harshly, "GET OVER YOUR STUFF! There are a LOT of people waiting for you to help them." My friend begins to cry and the psychic holds her for a long hug. She was still holding her when my phone rang and I woke up. My friend has been experiencing one bad event after another. She is stressed out and worn down. I've been there.

I know the message in the dream is for me as well. And this morning it came in clear -- and I hope I remember -- that experiences are neither good or bad. Just experiences. Learn to be an observer and don't get caught up in the drama. 

I tried to tell myself this yesterday after I returned to my local grocery store for the third time to get one of their Natural rotisserie chickens (no antibiotics or hormones) and was told, "I'm sorry, we don't have any." 

That first day, I asked specifically for them to write down what time they would be ready so I could go down and get one when they were first put out. To compensate for the inconvenience, I was given a coupon for a free one -- worth almost $10. I made a mental note to add this to my Gratitude & Miracles journal. 

The next day I returned at one of those times and was told they didn't have any. And the times I had been given were not correct and I had them write down the times that were.

The third day, yesterday, I lost my cool. I returned on one of those designated times to be told they didn't have any. I was told I should have come earlier. I had to ask them to call me when they had one ready as this option was not previously offered.

I hadn't experienced that level of anger in a very long time. I searched through the crevices of my memories for something that would put out my emotional surge. Logically, I knew that instead of thinking how rude they were and how bad the customer service was, to dig up compassion -- I bet they just had a bad day, too. Afterall, we just experienced Hurricane Harvey. And my friend is going through a lot worse right now.

This morning, I had that dream -- with that profound message.

Thus, this morning, I Googled the Chinese fable that had been on my mind -- and I had seen many times -- and was instrumental in me learning how to see life differently.

A farmer had only one horse. One day, his horse ran away. His neighbors said, “I’m so sorry. This is such bad news. You must be so upset.”

The man just said, “We’ll see.”

A few days later, his horse came back with twenty wild horses following. The man and his son corralled all 21 horses. His neighbors said, “Congratulations! This is such good news. You must be so happy!”

The man just said, “We’ll see.”

One of the wild horses kicked the man’s only son, breaking both his legs. His neighbors said, “I’m so sorry. This is such bad news. You must be so upset.”

The man just said, “We’ll see.”

The country went to war, and every able-bodied young man was drafted to fight. The war was terrible and killed every young man, but the farmer’s son was spared since his broken legs prevented him from being drafted. His neighbors said, “Congratulations! This is such good news. You must be so happy!”

The man just said, “We’ll see.”

I hope this post will encourage you as well. Stuff happens -- good and bad -- learn to be an observer and don’t get caught up in the drama. By having these experiences, and learning how to resolve them, we become mentors to others, learn to be resilient, and develop maturity. Then we become other people's teachers.

This is also an example of synchronicity -- when seemingly unrelated events -- if you keep track of them -- turn out to be related afterall!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Health Education Continued

Curiosity is one of my attributes. Comprehension is not--unless I listen to something multiple times or read it just as many. It seems certain pieces of info stick to my memory cells when other pieces evaporate into thin air.

The information I am about to share is new to me based on what I can remember learning in the past. I've been reminded that Fibro Fog is a symptom of Fibromyalgia which I sometimes prefer to forget I deal with, especially during times when I experience a lot of energy! I've been experiencing a major energy dive and with the dive of energy came an increase in physical discomfort. Nevertheless, I am intrigued with the synchronicities that have been showing up in the way of books, magazines, internet articles, and Facebook posts.

I received the September issue of Pain-Free Living Magazine. Inside are three articles, all of which are relevant to me--and maybe to you as well.

1) Putting the Pieces Back Together: Trauma is often a source of chronic pain. Here are eight ways to deal with it. 

I've been very aware for some time that multiple traumas, beginning in childhood, are known to contribute to chronic pain. We have amazing brains that are wired to protect us in three ways: Fight, Flight, or Freeze.

"In the wild, animals are exposed to trauma almost every day, threatened by predators and competitors. Yet they don't develop PTSD because they have inborn ways to release the trauma when the threat has passed. They shake, they tremble, they run around, they yowl, and they rest. Then they can go on with their lives. Humans have forgotten or suppressed those instincts, but we also face potential trauma throughout our lives."

Trauma includes war, accidents, assaults, sexual assault, sports injuries, car accidents, abuse during childhood, surgery and invasive medical procedures, parental divorce, and loss of a job (self, spouse, or parent). Then there are more complex traumas such as a difficult delivery at birth and intergenerational trauma which you inherited vs. something that has actually happened to you.

"Pain itself can become traumatic. It can seem out of our control; we may try many things without relief. It can cause fear, anger, and grief, but we can't take effective action."

"Trauma creates permanently high-stress levels. The body feels constantly threatened until the trauma is released, always ready to fight, flee or freeze. This stressed state makes pain more intense."

We get stuck in pain because we haven't released the trauma that caused it.

I've done quite a bit of work on myself to identify the many traumas my body has stored in muscle and cellular memory. The process is never done. Each time I have a 'flare-up', even if it is days on out of relentless fatigue without an increase in pain, I now know to stop (which isn't really a choice) and process whether I am just experiencing a bought of fatigue or whether I've been 'triggered' and my body is responding to what my brain is telling it to do--FREEZE. 

Of the many suggested treatments in this article, I've used EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), mindfulness meditation, psychotherapy (on myself with the help of Dr. David Burn's book, Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy), and antidepressants. Somatic Experiencing is also suggested which teaches a process that brings you back to your body as a safe place where you can defend yourself. I haven't done this SE therapy, but I have been learning about Somatics in a different way.

In Edward Barrera's book Move Like An Animal, there is also an explanation of how trauma affects our bodies and our brains as humans vs. animals as mentioned above. I've been learning about somatic exercises--as the traumas result in sensory motor amnesia. The good news is there is a series of exercises one can do to retrain the brain to become aware of what it is supposed to do. I also purchased Thomas Hanna's book on Somatics, but Ed's book is much easier to understand and follow.

2) A complex Web: Fibromyalgia is difficult to diagnose, but a variety of treatments can ease the pain

This article reviews Fibromyalgia symptoms and possible causes as well as different approaches to treatment. Among alternative therapies are meditation and sound as studies have found that music and low-frequency sounds can reduce the pain experienced by patients. Sound has helped me quite a bit and I have saved a bunch of YouTube videos on one of my Pinterest pages to listen to. In the final paragraph are these words of wisdom: 

"Don't be hard on yourself. Rest when you need to, and don't be too sad when you find that 'friends' fall by the wayside. The important people in your life will still be there for you through it all. Lastly, you are not alone. Facebook is amazing for support groups. Hang in there."

Indeed, Facebook has quite a few support groups. In addition to mine (Lampasas Pain Support Group), I've found the following:

Dr. Joe Tatta (I read his book.)

Plus some others.

3) Breaking the Cycle of Pain: The founder of an integrative-medicine clinic explains why chronic pain should be treated as an inflammatory disease.

This article is an interview with Gary Kaplan, D.O., a clinical associate professor at Georgetown Univerisity in Washington, DC. Kaplan came to the conclusion that pain and depression are inflammatory diseases--in the brain.

"Chronic pain such as fibromyalgia, back pain, pain associated with osteoarthritis, daily headaches, and depression are not diseases but symptoms. these conditions are symptoms of inflammation of the brain."

"We have MRI studies and human and animal studies that show that we're looking at neuro-inflammatory disease of the central nervous system." -- central sensitization syndrome -- a mix of chronic pain and depression.

Right on!!!! This makes more sense to me than anything else I've read so far. 

Suggestions include:
  • eliminating foods that may be contributing to your brain being on fire.
  • meditation which is anti-inflammatory
  • get at least seven to eight hours of continuous sleep at night (so much for getting up to go pee)
  • get away from taking pills to fix things
  • read his book Total Recovery: A Revolutionary New Approach to Breaking the Cycle of Pain and Depression... a book I will add to my Amazon wish list.
Included in the article is a PAIN TEST -- a list of questions to ask yourself and talking to your doctor about the answers. The ones that apply to me are:
  • Is there anything you avoid now because of memories of a past trauma that you can't seem to shake? (often)
  • Have you been exposed to mold, toxins, or heavy metals? (all three)
  • Do you regularly encounter stressful situations such as being bullied? (not so regularly anymore but have dealt with this often in the past)
  • Have you suffered from difficult or emotionally abusive relationships? (many)
  • Do you struggle to get restful sleep? (often--between waking up to adjust my CPAP machine and to go pee)
  • Were you diagnosed with Lyme disease, Epstein-Barr virus, gluten intolerance, or Celiac disease? (EBV and gluten intolerance--refer to my next comments on grains)
  • Do you have a thyroid imbalance that may be caused by medications like opioids? (not sure, but unfortunately I took opioids for 12 years)
Kaplan concludes that meditation and exercise absolutely help regenerate the brain. Nutrition is important because the gut is the second brain.

Now for what I recently learned about grains.

I ordered the book No Grains, No Pain after listening to a talk by Dr. Peter Osborne. I heard that there are many types of gluten in ALL the grains... including ones I thought were safe like rice and oatmeal... that grains are seeds which have a substance designed by nature to protect them... and this substance is toxic to humans. So called gluten-free foods are only free of one type of gluten. You can listen to a podcast by him here: Gluten Free Diet Fails & Hidden Toxins in Gluten Free Foods

Two additional summits came my way: Beyond Pain Summit and Pain Treatments That Work 2.0. I haven't had a chance to listen to all the podcasts and interviews. Two stood out for me in the Beyond Pain Summit:

On day 3 of the Pain Treatments Summit, I heard a life changing interview with Shinzen Young on practical steps for transforming physical pain into spiritual growth. He provides instruction on how to use pain as a reminder to check into your body and learn to receive its messages through meditation. I felt encouraged that the pain in my body could have a deeper purpose and the act of daily meditation alone can be an instrument to transform the planet. I don't have to DO anything except lie still, breathe, and allow God/Spirit to become one with my body. Discipline. Maybe it's another opportunity to learn to be self-disciplined.

I was able to download the synopsis of his book and print it out: Natural Pain Relief. You can download it by clicking on the link below:

EMF's -- the wifi signals from your cell phone, router, tablet, laptop, etc. cause inflammation in the brain. Yikes! One of my sisters mailed me a little bag of rocks to put on top of my router which is supposed to reduce EMF's. There are gadgets you can put on your smartphone and tablet as well as gadgets to put under your feet or your laptop. All quite pricey. Maybe someday. I'm investing all my money into doTERRA Essential Oils, oil blends, and supplements right now.

Readers, all this education enables me to be my own advocate. I hope you can become your own advocate as well. While bouts of fatigue combined with pain force me to take time out from all I strive to achieve, triggering moments of feeling powerless, I also gain a sense of empowerment through knowledge. 

Last, but not least, the Universe has redirected me back to practicing Reiki -- on myself. First, I was sent a woman who wanted to know more about Reiki. I loaned her a book I had about it and she found it helpful. I have learned over the years acquiring attunements are not necessary to experience the healing energy that naturally flows through your hands. Many people now a-days are studying what Reiki is, the Chakras, and the hand positions to optimize this natural ability. Then after I finished reading one of many books I have, I picked up one I purchased several months ago: Intuitive Self-Healing: Achieve Balance and Wellness Through the Body's Energy Centers by Marie Manuchehri, RN. Marie is a nationally known energy intuitive and Reiki Master. This book is simple to follow with client examples and exercises you can do on your own.

Time. So elusive. Hours vanish before my eyes. 
Focus. Self-Discipline.
Move: Be still. Meditate. Move.