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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

    Mini-GalleryA Deeper Knowing
    There is so much you can do with expressive art! This week has just been a tidbit, a little taste to entice you to continue making intuitive and expressive art on your own to develop and enhance your ability to listen to your body.
    Hang your finished artwork together. View the grouping; rearrange it to make it pleasing to your eyes. It has come from the deepest, most sensitive, and wisest part of you. Breathe, and allow yourself to be guided by the knowledge it has to offer.
    We are living in a fast-paced, hustling, busy world and I realize you probably don’t have much time to spare. I designed most of these activities to be completed in about 15 minutes; some, like the paint blots, take less than 5 minutes. If you can set aside 15 minutes a week to make some intuitive, expressive art, you will witness a shift in how you feel about yourself, your life, and the world around you.
    Find a space – the kitchen table, a corner in the family room, a quiet nook in your bedroom. Set up your supplies before you go to bed the night before so you don’t fumble away the time looking for things. Put on some music and set your timer for 15 minutes. Then draw, paint, sculpt – whatever comes automatically from within you. At the end of 15 minutes, stop. If you are “in the flow” and you have more time available then or later, you can continue or return to your art. Make it a priority to schedule 15 minutes for expressing yourself through art each week.
    Having this outlet to express what is inside – even things you can’t articulate, or of which you might not be aware – goes a long way towards creating inner peace and a deeper knowing of yourself. You will be “freeing the artist within”, the part deep inside of you that longs to be heard. Give yourself this gift – you deserve it.
    Gail Brightmon Moser
    Art Doula
    #adeeperknowing #innerpeace #freeingtheartistwithin #15minutesaweek

    Gail Moser

    I have been lucky to have the same job since the onset of my pain three years ago, so I haven’t had to experience adjusting to a new boss and a new job with these limitations. I would imagine that what Myndi says about people knowing you before the start of any problems makes a significant difference in how well your superiors and coworkers accommodate the necessary flexibility. My bosses and team members have all been really understanding about my erratic schedule with lots of doctors and PT appointments, and working from home has not been an issue.
    That said, at the start of my pain I had to work really hard to communicate to the people around me and also to Human Resources about how severe my symptoms were becoming. I’ve needed to get several doctors notes. One to explain that working from home while I recovered was necessary; another to make clear that I need to be able to limit my hours in the office when I need rest; another to explain that when I am in the office I need new office furniture. Working with HR to get the standing desk was a real fight because they had to special order the furniture and it was significantly more expensive than what they are used to providing. I had to go back to my doctor three times to change the language of the doctors note to include a specific model of desk instead of generic language. Even after the doctor’s note was specific, the facilities team delivered two other options for me to try in an effort to keep costs down and I had to reject both of them. I didn’t like that I had to be obstinate in order to get what I knew was going to work best for me. It’s been over a year since I’ve settled into this new normal and it was absolutely worth the effort to communicate and advocate well for myself when things started up.
    #worththeconflict #doctorsnotes

    Rachel Carriere

    Living with any chronic condition is a challenge but living with a chronic condition and managing work is a whole adventure of its own. It is essential to listen to your body so as to find the right balance at work. Finding a balance also means understanding how much you can handle and learning to clearly articulate your needs. So what does this mean? For me, it means knowing what symptoms will affect me the most and taking the time to start brainstorming ways of alleviating the symptoms.

    For example, I suffer from migraines often triggered by the fluorescent lights found in many offices. Every time I was at work I would not be able to concentrate because of the discomfort. Once I realized the lights where a major problem I spoke to my doctor first to see if she would be willing to write a note that I could use with my employer explaining the need to adjust the lighting. Armed with support from my doctor I asked my boss if the lighting above my desk could be removed. It was a relatively easy adjustment to make so they were able to accommodate my request. I had the same issue at another job but they couldn’t remove the lighting due to the way it was set up so I bought myself prescription sunglasses which I wore while at the office. I also would ask staff if I could turn off or dim the lights when we had certain group meetings. It was a hard exercise because it meant being vocal but it was my first lesson in advocating for myself in the workplace.
    How have you found balance at work? What are some of the things you have done to adjust?

    Jerrie Kumalah

    In reply to: Introduction to Week 1

    I used to  think I must be the only person suffering like this in the morning for a long time.  Now knowing that I am not, it makes the journey to finding answers more doable for me and I am thankful it is possible to move forward from the comotose state :).  #littlethingseveryday


    I’ve had chronic migraines most of my life and am aware of headaches even before the characteristic migraines began. What were eventually (10 years later) diagnosed as migraines began when I was about 14, but, as I said, I recall having headaches even as a small child. By the time I was in my 20s and tracking, I became aware that I had headaches more often than not. I hadn’t tried OTCs, but eventually found that I would get relief perhaps 50% of the time if I took something quickly (Excedrin being my OTC of choice) and, if possible, could sleep for an hour or so. I’m now in my 50’s and had learned to live with them for the most part — but there was always the awareness that I could be brought low and have to head to a dark room with an armful of ice packs at any moment. My children learned how to cope with my headaches, too, poor things, until they started getting their own. Then they had to cope with mine and theirs. Just as I had to cope with mine and theirs. My migraine-free husband mostly left us alone, not knowing what to do besides provide sympathy and ice packs. I didn’t know what caused my headaches (I posted elsewhere about all the studies and efforts to find out), so I never knew when I would be struck. A day when I felt good was rare and to be savored!

    As I posted on another thread, I recently found a doctor who focuses on the mind-body connection. It has been like lifting a veil. I used to try to explain my headaches to people using TV as an analogy: mostly the headaches made me experience life like you might experience black & white TV as opposed to color; sometimes, though, the pain was so bad that the TV was nothing but static and  I couldn’t enjoy it at all. Most of the time my life was black and white TV. Now most of the time it’s color. I almost never wake up with a headache, and I can go days without head pain. I’m sorry it took me so long to find this, but I’m deeply grateful that at least I eventually did and can discover a mostly headache free life.

    I still have the pains of aging — joints that are wearing out and muscles that are weakening. But that veil or haze or joy-draining head pain is now more gone than not. It’s next to miraculous.

    #migraine #mindbody #painfree #miracle


    The armchair and what I am doing while sitting in that chair. If I am in that particular chair, and I am not doing anything at all while sitting in it = fuel tank is empty and likely will stay that way for the rest of the day.

    LOL the cleaning! That’s one that seems to override the body listening. Too many times I KNOW I can benefit from taking it easy and pacing myself on a day when I have a little extra battery power. Then I ruin that reserve by getting things done around the house. I bask in the glory of tidy clean while I sit in that damn chair knowing I could have done something more interesting or out of the house.


    This is in response to Gypsy Rose’s post asking for an introduction to Week 1.  Thanks for the request, and I hope this helps!


    If you are just starting out, please feel free to explore the topics and join in on any/all topics.


    Our first week is moderated by Mary Grace, and it is about body rhythms.  This is the schedule:

    Daily feedback

    Signs and signals

    Categories of rhythms

    Seasonal body rhythms

    Combinations of factors that affect our rhythms

    How our bodies let us know we’ve hit our limit


    Why should we care about body rhythms?

    Though each of us may have different reasons for the health issues that we experience, there may be factors that persist through all of this, that connect multiple systems and influence the way our symptoms change over time.

    Understanding our body rhythms can help us proactively to manage our health.


    This is your chance to reflect on your body rhythms.

    For example, knowing when you might be tired throughout the day can help you do things to avoid the bouts of tiredness, or help you to plan your day around it.

    If you recognize your body’s signs, they may serve as a warning sign that you are entering a danger zone, or tell you something else useful about how you are feeling.

    You might have a sense of “categories” of rhythms (like sleep, menstrual cycles, headaches, body temperature), how the body might feel different depending on the season or the locale, and combinations of factors that affect our rhythms.

    Lastly, the week’s topics end with a discussion of how we know when we’ve hit our limits.



    In reply to: Hitting your limit

    Dymond, thank you for the images… they are inspiring.:)

    The life drawing lab sounds awesome.


    Ignoring limits is something that I used to do a lot more too… and the “adrenaline and passion” push is something I know well.:)  Over time, the “knowing” part you talked about has become larger — for me, that means “knowing” the pain better (where it is, how long it will last depending on how I engage with it, how I can make it better), and then dialoguing with myself to decide what to do next. The adrenaline and passion are still there, a critical part of my decision of what to do next, whether it means to keep going, to stop, or something else. #ignorelimits #adrenalinepassionpush #knowing #mentaldialogue


    In reply to: Hitting your limit

    In the past – I ignored limits – and used adrenaline and passion to push through.  Now, it is fatigue, and body pains, and a knowing – but sometimes, I find the best action when things seem to be really rotten is to go do something you love, and it always helps to have a beloved drag you along.  Last night I got to my first life drawing lab in a year.  The creative fire fueled the moment and it was marvelous to be unaware of the pain.  A special treat.

    1. IMG_4485


    2. IMG_4492


    3. IMG_4508


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