A Year of Loss…But I Gained So Much

Happy New Year Everyone!

15665682_10154087179037371_1041395872778229932_n This year has been one of the most “different” and “difficult” ones in my life. I have been very, very fortunate all my life so I also know that my definition of “difficult” comes no where close to what so many others have had to experience.

In January I was down with the flu (should have gotten the shot). This lasted 2 weeks and then I thought I was on to a great year. Fast forward to mid February - I have four days of strange unrelenting chest pain. By the 17th I had the outbreak of Shingles (didn’t get that vaccine either like an idiot). The Shingles itself wasn’t so bad but then Bang! I started having this pain that I can only describe as a cow being branded - every 15-30 seconds(another person I met described it aptly as feeling like having an iron put on your skin and then lifted off). This pain has persisted for 10 1/2 months now with no real end in sight.

This chronic pain has been debilitating for me. I have only been able to go to work because I can endure it with my TENS unit. But I go to work and then come home and do nothing but try to deal with the pain until it’s time to go to bed.

So what have I lost this year? Essentially my old life.

I can’t run and running is such a key part of me and my life. I won’t elaborate more on this because it would take a long time and you’d most likely be bored by the time I stopped.

I have lost contact with my running friends since I haven’t been able to go to any running events. Sure, I’ve kept in contact on Facebook but then I have to see all their running activities. But that would be depressing because I’d want to be out there with them.

I don’t go out or do anything because I have to wear normal clothes and my TENS (the electrodes of which cause skin irritation when you’re wearing it constantly for 10 months).

My attention has been on one thing and one thing only - is the pain coming? How long will it last? When will it stop? Given the pathology of the brain in chronic pain, there has been no space left for me to concentrate on anything else.

I haven’t written anything, not even this blog. No matter how much I think “I should write something” it hasn’t clicked into action because I’ve been so wrapped up in and by the chronic pain.

And to top this all off, I lost my very best friend in the world this summer. That rocked my world completely. The emotions of loss are so similar to the emotions of chronic pain. There’s a paralysis that grabs hold of you. You don’t even want to get out of the paralyzed state. So, the last several months have been even less productive than the ones before it (which is hard to imagine).

I have lost site of all my goals. My life consists of going to work and coming home to sit in my recliner and then go to bed. It used to be so much fuller. Where has everything gone? I just live pretty much minute to minute without any thought about the distant future. And, at my age, you want to make sure you use every minute of your day in the fullest possible manner.

Then in November I lost my previous boss. This man was totally amazing. He had stage IV lung cancer when he was my boss and came to work every single day during chemo and radiation. He never missed one day at all. He had the most positive and grateful attitude I’ve ever seen. He lived 6 additional years and gave so much to others during that time.

During this holiday season preparing for the New Year, I sat and thought about so much that has 13892154_1174232652638004_7291500097119858952_nhappened this past year and I knew I wanted to get back to blogging and writing books. But for some reason I just couldn’t do it. However, I know that the most powerful force in the Universe is gratitude and that I really needed to focus on that. So, I just started thinking of things to be grateful for from this past year. And I realized I have gained so much through all this loss..

I have gained a greater understanding of chronic pain and now have a much greater compassion for those experiencing it.

Because I couldn’t go to at least one of the events, I was able to ‘gift’ my entrance fee to another person who is so wonderful and raises money for pancreatic cancer research. He was so excited that it made me feel so good I could help him.

I met people who knew my best friend (she lived about 1500 miles away from me) and they shared stories about her that were so fulfilling. It was great to meet them and talk with them and I gained so much just from an afternoon with them all. I have even become friends with her business partner as a result. How precious is that?

I also realized that my best friend and my former boss are role models for me even though they have passed. They both have qualities I yearn for and instead of thinking “what would Jesus do?”, I can simply ask what would one them do? That gives me most of the answers I need.

I have changed my primary “charity” focus from St Jude Children’s Research Hospital to helping the homeless population in America and especially battered/abused women who finally get the courage to leave their environment and then have no place to go. In addition, I am really interested in the “no kid hungry” movement too. There are so many people in need that our help. They have things so much worse than we could ever imagine.

I have read more books than I have in my life. Even though most of them were novels, it was still wonderful to fill my brain with the words and works of others.

I “met”/found more people who have crossed the US on foot and have been able to follow their treks - this has helped me prepare for my trip.

I have reunited with my EFT practitioner and learned and used the newest form of EFT - optimal EFT - a very enlightening experience. This reunion and sessions with this wonderful person has also led to many more of my blessings.

I have been introduced to Dr. Joe Dispenza, whom I knew from the movie “What the Bleep Do We Know?” about Quantum physics and reality. He has done some fantastic work that I am now immersed in because it’s helped me change in so many ways.

I learned about neuroplasticity through Dr. Joe and then through the many other researchers in this field. There has been scientific evidence discovered in the past several years which how that we can rewire our brains and change our lives in whatever way we want. I have been working on it trying to rewire my pain receptors and although that has been very slow, the other changes in my life have been much more significant. I can’t tell you how grateful I am for that.

As a result of studying this, I am going to go to a workshop in January (actually it’s two workshops in one week) where there will be intense meditations and energy exchange. I am so excited about this.

I have seen a “functional medicine” doctor in Austin to see what he can do, if anything, about the postherpetic neuralgia. He gave me supplements and told me what foods to eliminate. He said this will work even though it may take a few months.

I have made some major decisions about my future and finally committed to these changes. This is most exciting to me.

I am sure there is so much more but I wanted to give you a taste of how important it is to look at the good in your life no matter how bad you feel and no matter how much pain you’re experiencing. The Gratitude will elevate your emotions and it will help your mood no matter what.

I want to remind you that you can pick up a free electronic Gratitude Journal, which I created for you. It works on Windows operating systems only but does work with Windows 10. You can even use the popup function so that you can record something that happens or something you think of as you think of them - so you don’t have to try to remember what to be thankful for.

Remember to be grateful for things that have not yet gotten here but that you want to happen. This is powerful and it helps give the Universe the energy to bring you what you’re looking for.

Thanks for all your well wishes and for sticking with me all this time. I hope to be able to continue blogging again even if it’s on a bit less frequency.

Have a wonderful new year everyone!


When It Seems As If You Don’t Know What To Do

Just Do SomethingI

no part of the journey I found to be excellent advice after the past few weeks of just spinning my wheels. I have not known what to do to get out of this depression and despair from loss and pain. But, once I saw this, I realized that I just have to do something and then see which road it leads me down. A friend of mine also gave me the same advice and turns out she was right.

Taking some sort of action is one of the hardest things we all have to do sometimes. It just seems easier to simply stay put, not doing anything. But, all that does is cause you to sit and think more about your problems and where you are compared to where you want to be. That accomplishes nothing. You just sit around and feel worse - you feel worse because you're thinking about those problems; you feel worse because you're not doing the things you "should" be doing; you feel worse because you're not interacting with those who want you to interact with them; you feel worse because life is just passing you by and you're not accomplishing anything.

Figure out what you can do that would constitute that one tiny step.  In my instance a few weeks ago I decided that ok maybe I can't run but let's see if I can at least walk. So I got out and tried it. It didn't feel great and I had to stop a lot because of the pain but what did feel great was the fact that I had tried to take control of my life and not let my "condition" rule me and my life. I am not my condition. But what matters is that that was one little step. Then I tried to do some cleaning - one space at a time.  That was ok too. So, each time I did something and started to take back my life, it filled me with hope and joy - and of course, we all know that joy releases endorphins which helps with mood and maybe even some degree of pain control. So, it's all good all around.

Don't stand there and just look at the fork in the road. Do something for yourself. Do something you haven't done in a long time, something you enjoy. Some tiny little thing. Write it down too so you can determine how you felt once you did it. Write down how you felt before and how you felt after. I know that the first time I got my haircut after the shingles overtook my life, I felt great because I had some sense of normalcy back again. It's amazing what little things do for you.

Try this if you're having trouble deciding which direction to go in. I know I'm going to look at that fork in the road about my retirement. And I'm going to take one step forward down one of the two paths. And, we'll see what happens!


What Are You Allowing In?

Momentum Monday

momentum-monday1"There is a Life Stream that flows to you, and this is a Stream of clarity, a Stream of wellness, a Stream of abundance... and in any moment, you are allowing it or not. What someone else does with the Stream, or not, does not have anything to do with how much of it will be left for you. This Stream is as abundant as your ideas allow it to be." ---Abraham

Excerpted from: Phoenix, AZ on April 04, 1998

This seems so easy but often times it's the best we can do. I see where they get the expression "go with the flow". We need all of these things - clarity, wellness and abundance. they are completely intertwined. It's difficult to do anything with clarity if you don't have wellness or abundance - but frequently, you have to have the clarity in order to achieve the wellness. Abundance will then follow.

The important  part of this is to be grateful no matter what life throws at you. And to always be open and ask for clarity. Believe me it will come if you ask for it. If you get caught up in resistance because things don't seem to be going your way, then you will continue to push it all away.  Always seek clarity. Always ask for clarity.


What’s Important In Life?

Ask Yourself That Question Every Morning.....

doing whats importantEach day soon after you get up (or even while you're still in bed), ask yourself this question "What's important in life?" Whatever the answer is, you should then live that day with that one goal in mind.

This doesn't mean you will only accomplish one thing that day. It means that your thoughts and actions will be aimed in that direction.

For instance, if you decide that what's important is love, then all your "work" that day would revolve around love. At work if there are people who normally make you mad or aggravate you, look at them with love no matter what they do or say. You don't have to do anything different externally. This is usually more powerful if you are experiencing it internally. Of course, these thoughts of love toward those people will most likely change your interaction with them. Your day will change. I guarantee it. And the more you do it, the better your workplace will be and the more you'll enjoy it.

If traffic bothers you and you have decided that love is what's important, put out thoughts of love to those in cars around you. Maybe that person who just cut you off is having a really bad day or maybe they are trying to get home quickly because of family problems. Even though you don't know them, you can still profess love for them and remember to always "declare it good" (as an aside, I did that on my flight yesterday when I realized there were a million kids on the plane and lo and behold I got the most well behaved little girl sitting next to me). Traffic will ease. Try this with traffic lights too and see how you respond. Express love for that red light and be grateful for the safety features it provides.

Perhaps you have decided this morning that understanding is what's important. Then you'll go through the day aiming to understand everyone and everything in your surroundings. Start with yourself though - aim to understand what you are doing and why.

If you find yourself saying something like "making money" is important, you might want to examine that and see if it's really important. If you still conclude that it is, then ask yourself why it's important. It might be that you need to make the money because things are tight and you want to make sure that you're able to take care of your family, etc.

The whole point of this is to examine your beliefs and live to them. We have to break them down into daily tasks or we most likely won't do anything about them. It does no good to proclaim that you want to love everyone but then go and yell or get frustrated because of x, y, or z.

Live to what's important and do it today. Tomorrow may be too late.


Grieving is Like Running an Ultramarathon

"Will This Ever End?"

trail run This past week has gone by in such slow motion. Even slower than I run (or walk). It's been like trying to navigate through molasses. As I was thinking about it, though, I realized that although I have not gone through all the phases of grief, I've experienced changes that are similar to what I go through in an Ultramarathon (which by definition is any race greater than 26.2 miles which is a marathon).

First there was disbelief and shock that my friend had gone to another existence - one which was out of reach of all those who loved her. There were abundant tears and hope that the phone would ring and I would find out there was an error or something just as incredulous.  The disbelief part (not the tears usually) is equivalent to the start line of a race that you've been preparing for and waiting for all year long - since you hit the finish line (or not) in last year's race. Now you can't believe it's actually here.

The next day I was able to make it through the day because of all the distractions at work - keeping me busy and interacting with others whom I care about. This was my way to block out the fact that I have a long road ahead of me until I can really accept that she's gone forever. At the start line of a race and early on before people leave you in their wake, you have lots of distractions. You are busy tying your shoes, getting your water bottle right and talking to everyone around - some of whom you might not have seen in a long time - simply distractions so you don't have to worry about the road ahead and how tough it might be.

But then I came home. The distractions were gone. Life was back to what it was yesterday - empty. I see everything around me that beauty girl cryreminds me of her.  The void cannot be filled. This is like being out on the road (or trail) after everyone has left you and you're on your own without anyone to help you through the pain that's up ahead. After awhile there's no new distractions and you're alone with your thoughts.

This emptiness and low mood continues for who knows how long. I don't want it to continue and something inside of me tells me that I will get better but I can't see that any time soon. I don't know how I will get over this. On the road of an ultramarathon, it's not uncommon to wonder if the race will ever end.  I need others around me to help me through it. But there aren't others. I am alone on the road and in my life and in my grieving.

There will be a finish line but as with all of my slow running I have absolutely no idea when I might reach it. It's heartbreaking, discouraging and although aid stations (or road angels) help lift the mood, I know it's only tempoary.

I can't believe how much I miss my friend. And of course you all know that this is right on top of the loss of my ability to do the 314 mile race across Tennessee this year because of my post-shingles pain.