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    It’s easy to come up with things in life for which you are grateful when everything is going okay. When you’re experiencing equilibrium and homeostasis, thoughts of blessings just bubble up and practically write themselves into your gratitude journal. But what about those times when your pain level is inching ever closer to the top of the 1-10 scale, or it just seems like everything in your life is falling apart?
     
    Do you feel better physically when you acknowledge those things for which you are grateful? Does being thankful have an impact on your sense of well-being?
     
    #gratitude #gratitudejournal #wellbeing #blessings #grateful #thankful


    Gail Moser
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    In reply to: Acceptance

    Very recently, I have come to a fresh perspective about what acceptance means to me. There is a phrase in Belleruth Naparstek’s Healing Trauma CD, Affirmations: “[More and more, I understand that]…my body is my friend, my oldest ally, and my steadiest companion.” I have been listening to the Healing Trauma affirmations on and off for two years now. When I first I heard the affirmation about my body being my friend and ally, I thought “No! My body has actually betrayed me.” However, I would say the affirmation to myself anyway.
     
    Are you familiar with the theory of cognitive dissonance? As humans we prefer internal consistency, and when we perform an action that is contradictory to our beliefs, ideas, or values we experience a lack of consistency, or dissonance. This makes us psychologically uncomfortable and we are motivated to try to reduce this discomfort. While I repeated the affirmation that my body was my steadiest companion, what I experienced was cognitive dissonance; over time my psyche began to resolve the conflict between the affirmation and my belief. The affirmation eventually became true for me. Thinking about my body and my illnesses is a little different now.
     
    When my son was young I remember learning the concept of separating the child from the behavior. In other words, when the child had performed some negative behavior you were to remember that the child was not the behavior – it was perfectly normal to love the child and hate the behavior. You could say to your child, “I love you, but I don’t like your behavior”, so the child wouldn’t think that your anger with their actions meant that you didn’t love them anymore.
     
    Using this concept I have re-framed the way I see my body now: I accept my body but I don’t like its behavior (the chronic illnesses). I don’t confuse my illnesses with my body, they are two separate things. This allows me to see that my body is genetically predisposed to having certain issues (such as a faulty central nervous system or digestive system) which is not its fault, and it has no way for it (or me) to reverse. If I were born with a hole in my heart or only one arm, I would not try to live as though these conditions didn’t exist; I would (have to) accept them. I would most likely not appreciate the symptoms and complications they would cause and wouldn’t necessarily accept those things, but I would accept my body’s limitations.
     
    For me at least, this is the crux of acceptance. As it is much easier for me to love my child than to love his negative behavior, it is much easier for me to accept my body with its certain built-in flaws than to accept the symptoms and illnesses caused by those flaws. I manage my illness; I accept my body and its limitations. My body is my friend, my oldest ally, and my steadiest companion, and together we will see each other through to the end.
     

     
    #acceptance #personalgrowth #affirmations #cognitivedissonance #healingtrauma #mybodyismyfriend #journeyofselfgrowth


    Gail Moser
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    Rikugien3
    Today I planned to write about how I have experienced personal growth by listening to my body and accepting my chronic illnesses. But I can’t write that because it would be a lie.
     
    I have a wavering commitment to accepting my chronic illnesses. There are times when I am totally down with everything and will even admit to others that I have them. When I do share this information I feel like I have grown in my journey, and I feel proud of myself for being in that place. But there are other times when I feel “I am not going out like that!” and rail against what is happening to me. I go back and forth on accepting my illnesses.
     
    How does hearing what your body is saying help you to accept what you are experiencing? What constitutes “acceptance” for you? What, in turn, comes about as a result of acceptance?
     
    #acceptance #personalgrowth #self-growth


    Gail Moser
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    In reply to: Transformation

    I have sought counseling with therapists at different stages of my life, and they have used many different modalities. But I started having some breakthroughs on my own a couple of years ago. I had chronic pain in my neck but I hadn’t been able to connect it to anything. At the same time I was using meditation, prayer, visualization, and setting my intention to bring resolution to some of the emotional issues that had plagued me for most of my life.
     
    As I was driving to work from a doctor appointment, memories of forgotten trauma came flooding back to me. I was on the freeway, becoming blinded by tears. After a bit I took an exit that led to the ocean (lucky me, I lived in California then). I had a pen and a legal pad in the car and I wrote and wrote and wrote about all of the memories, thoughts, feelings, and visuals that were enveloping me. I was having a kind of detached vision of the past. When I finished I drove back to work and slipped into the rhythm of the office as if nothing had happened.
     
    When I got home I sat in the dark in stunned silence for hours. I knew I had uncovered the cause of much of my physical symptoms, distress, and pain. My occipital neuropathy – my “pain in the neck” – was directly related to this trauma. I involuntarily tensed my muscles (“armoring”), and held my breath constantly because of this trauma. I began employing many techniques to rid myself of the tension and emotional pain that I had stuffed deep down inside, including guided imagery and affirmations from a CD for healing trauma.
     
    To make a long story short I turned a corner that day. Just knowing the origin of the muscle tension and spasms, and being able to face and evaluate the cause allowed me to be more objective about it. That was when I was finally able to separate myself from it, and eventually eliminate the pain in the areas of my body that I identified with it. This for me was a transformation.
     
    I wasn’t familiar with the term “emotional decoupling” – thank you to Rachel for introducing it to me in her post from last Thursday – but that is exactly what happened for me, and I believe it has been a key component of my healing process. For me this was a critical area of personal growth that I got to through body listening.
     

     
    #transformation #trauma #emotionaldecoupling #breakthrough
     


    Gail Moser


    Have you experienced a physical or emotional change that seemed to come in a flash? Has listening to your body brought you insights or visions that have had a life-altering effect?
     
    Or has your transformation been a more gradual process? Does intuition play a part?
     
    #transformation #flashofinsight #newvision #process
     


    Gail Moser
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    In reply to: Re-framing

    Zepplin, I agree with you about making plans especially since you know your illness is progressing. I think there is a big difference between preparing mentally, and catastrophizing about one’s situation. This puts me in mind of the “emotional decoupling” Rachel mentioned in her post last week – she used mindfulness to separate herself from her pain and analyze it in a nonjudgmental way. It sounds like you might be doing something similar, analyzing your illness objectively so you can be prepared and make informed decisions.
     
    I’m still chewing on “the obstacle can be the path itself”. That’s very thought-provoking.
     
    #catastrophizing #emotionaldecoupling #beinginthemoment #pathvsobstacle


    Gail Moser
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    Have you recovered after a physical, mental, emotional, or social disruption in your life? How are you progressing from surviving, to thriving? Have you experienced personal growth after a misfortune or a major change in your life?
     
    #resilience #fromsurvivingtothriving


    Gail Moser
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    In this journey we call life, have you found obstacles that seemed to halt your progress or growth? Many of us waste precious time and energy attempting to move huge life-boulders. If in those moments we could re-frame our situation – by seeing it in another light or from an alternative viewpoint – we might recognize that they are only obstacles at first glance. Perhaps they are not there for us to move or get around, but to step on and over.
     
    Are these obstacles the path to higher ground in the storm of life? They bring a different vantage point from which to view our overall situation. Perhaps they keep us from drowning in the rapids of daily existence.
     
    Have you used this type of re-framing to get through a difficult health or emotional situation? Can you see the positive, or even the beauty, in your experience? Have you come to view a former obstacle as a gift?
     
    #reframing #obstacles #beauty #gift
     


    Gail Moser
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    Do you ever look back on how far you’ve come on your journey? Are there benefits to be had by periodically doing a “life review”? What has body listening given you, in hindsight?
     
    #journey #youvecomealongwaybaby #lifereview #hindsightis2020
     


    Gail Moser

    My questions for you related to this topic are about how practicing mindfulness has affected your relationship with yourself and others. Has your attitude towards yourself been impacted? Have your relationships/interactions with others been impacted by your mindfulness practice? Has mindfulness increased your awareness of your input into social relationships or increased your acceptance of help from others?
     
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    From reflecting on my own experiences, I’ve realized that mindfulness, and particularly the mindful therapies I’ve been working with, have had a really positive impact on my relationships. Firstly with myself. Acceptance and compassion are two of the things that have led me to feel gentler with myself and my limitations. I think this, in turn, has affected my relationships with others in a couple of ways. It was hard for me to feel like I had anything to offer in a friendship when I was stuck at home having a hard time getting around, and constantly stressed out from the pain. I was no fun to be around at all, I thought. For a long time I didn’t work on my friendships or relationships at all. I focused solely on myself, thinking “once I kick this pain then I’ll go back to having a life and being with other people.” What this ended up doing was disconnecting myself from my social network and looking back I realize I was wasting time by putting my life on hold. I’ve been searching for more balance now, in focusing on myself and my relationships with others. I think acceptance and compassion have enabled me to feel more comfortable with myself in my relationships with others, which I think has also made me more pleasant to be around – bonus!
     
    Another aspect of my relationships that have really improved through acceptance and compassion is asking for and accepting help from others. I hate to ask for help! I value my independence, and even though I love to help other people it feels like such a burden and imposition to ask for help from others. At the peak of my pain, I was relying on friends and family for everything – grocery shopping, cooking, laundry, and even help caring for my pets. It was really difficult for me to accept that I was in a position where I could not repay the favors being done for me, and social norms taught me that I needed to reciprocate! I think therapy really helped me deal with this, and humbled me to the fact sometimes this is what it means to be human.
    #mindfulrelationships #compassion #acceptance #connection
     
    Have any of you noticed any aspect of your relationships that has changed through mindful practices?


    Rachel Carriere
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