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    In reply to: Perspective

    Looking Back to Gain Perspective – My Journey from 2011 to 2016
    I had been having all-over pain for quite a few years, but never mentioned anything about it because I attributed it to getting older. I was way beyond fatigued – it had become really difficult to get out of bed, go to work, prepare my meals, and even bathe. Every day everything hurt, all the time. I was exhausted and couldn’t get my energy level back up no matter what I tried. When I went to my follow-up appointment after knee surgery, my doctor asked if there were any other health issues I needed to talk to her about. As usual I said, “Nothing but the usual aches and pains.” We said our goodbyes and I was on my way. On the 45-minute drive home I could not stop thinking about how bad my body felt. Why hadn’t I mentioned this to my doctor?
    I took me more than a year to finally tell my doctor about the all-over, 24/7 pain. She asked what seemed like a million questions, poked and prodded, and then referred me for some lab tests. She said her preliminary diagnosis was fibromyalgia, but we would wait for the test results to see what they said. A few days later she called me: I had a positive anti-nuclear antibodies (ANA) titer, which when coupled with some of my other symptoms and physical traits was an early biomarker for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). I needed further testing and evaluation and she referred me to a neurologist. This was early September, 2012 and unfortunately the first available appointment with the neurologist would be after Thanksgiving. I couldn’t do anything but wait. Or could I?
    I googled and tried to absorb everything I could about lupus. I downloaded research papers. I read the blogs of people with the disease. I devoured books about auto-immune disorders and leaky gut syndrome. What I knew for sure was that I didn’t want to be on medication that I had to take daily, for the rest of my life – so I watched YouTube videos about alternative and complementary treatments.
    I asked myself what I would do if in three months, I was diagnosed with lupus. I decided I would completely overhaul my diet to better support my immune system; I would employ more mindfulness techniques, more regularly and frequently; I would search and experiment until I found an exercise regimen that would accommodate my pain and lack of energy without derailing me; I would reduce my stress by taking breaks, and by taking a long, mindful walk around our beautiful university campus during every workday; and I would negotiate with other administrators to balance the workload. I thought I would get everything figured out and planned in advance, so that if I got the diagnosis I could “hit the ground” (forget about the running!) with my new diet, work, and lifestyle changes. Then I thought – what is the point of waiting until I get a diagnosis? Why shouldn’t I start implementing these changes now? So I did.
    I was not diagnosed with lupus, but the diet, work, and behavioral changes I made brought my life back to me. It wasn’t the same as my old life pre-pain and pre-exhaustion, but it quickly became my “new normal”. I have continued living in this way to this day, and have no intention of reverting. That would mean returning to a diminished existence, and I sure don’t want to go back there again!
    When I look back to September 2012, I almost cannot believe the transformation. It has been quite a process, but the 3.5 years would have passed whether I had made these efforts or not. Yes, I still have some pain, but ever since the sixth day on my elimination diet it is no longer the 24/7, all-over kind. After extinguishing that constant all-over pain, I was able to begin the slow process of identifying each muscle and joint that had its own issues and receive physical therapy and alternative pain management techniques to eliminate or manage them. Using mind-body and subtle energy modalities I have experienced healing, and received illuminating insights into my life’s issues and my life’s purpose. I have also learned or developed coping skills for both physical and emotional pain. Important relationships in my life have been strengthened and deepened as I have progressed in my own personal development.
    In September, 2012 I didn’t know how long I would be able to continue tolerating the quality of life I had. It was difficult to see the point of pushing myself to get through every day. My life since then hasn’t been a cakewalk – along the way there have been some very large hills, and some really deep valleys. This is life, after all. But looking back now I can attest that today I have greater wellness, resilience, self-knowledge, peace of mind, and the feeling of freedom that comes from living my life authentically. It has definitely been worth all of the work.
    #eliminationdiet #mindfulness #subtleenergy #stressbreak #balancedworkload #whatalongstrangetripitsbeen

    Gail Moser

    In reply to: Seasonal rhythms

    My friend and I used to always comment that during the winter we became depressed, ached more, and life was generally more dull. It’s more now that I am noticing the other more subtle effects I personally find occur during Autumn and Spring. They bring comfort and a little respite while Witner and Summer are my extremes. #spring #autumn #middleway



    This topic is to discuss other mindfulness practices that are not movement-based. This distinction between movement and non-movement is of my own construction, partly to try to organize the discussion and partly because of my own approach to mindfulness. As I mentioned in our previous topic, my first incorporation of mindfulness was through an introduction to yoga and tai chi about 15 years ago. When my movement became seriously limited with pain more recently, my desire to continue mindfulness work led me to explore more sedentary practices.

    I have come to enjoy meditation, particularly guided meditations using a Youtube video or audio recording, and regularly use progressive body scans to calm and relax my body and mind. Progressive scans are my favorite practice, and I try to combine them with a breathing technique. In additional to relaxing me, these scans help me read my body and identify areas where I need to focus on releasing tension. Emotional Freedom Technique has come up before in our discussion of subtle energy, and it’s worth mentioning again here as it has the same qualities as other body awareness/mindfulness methods. EFT can be a helpful method for calming the mind and body together.

    I think at the heart of any mindfulness practice is breath, and the effect of measured deep breathing on the mind and body. There are several breathing techniques that I’ve learned about. Just yesterday I was taught about a technique to alternate blocking one nostril and breathing through the other for deep breaths to calm down the mind and help fall asleep.

    There are an abundance of ways to practice mindfulness, and it doesn’t take following a strict methodology. I would love to hear about how you practice mindfulness and which techniques you favor. How did you learn and choose a type of practice? Did you create something yourself that works best for you? How to do you incorporate mindfulness into your everyday life?
    #mindfulpractices #progressivebodyscans #emotionalfreedomtechnique #breathingtechniques

    Rachel Carriere

    I have had similar experiences. My boyfriend jokes that i can blame the changes in the moon for some of my symptoms. My body is sensitive to many environmental factors and subtle changes that others don’t experience which makes it really hard for people to relate or understand. Most of my close friends are very understanding which makes it easier for me.

    Jerrie Kumalah

    Movement is my gift to the world, is my strength. I have experienced all kinds of movement, therefore “exercise” has disappeared from my vocabulary. Trained/training in qigong, I am blessed to know what subtle movement is and what strength training is.

    My body yells at me when I don’t move. It almost intentionally cramps me up, pains me in certain spots and says, “take that!” I apologize, do better and actually have started to resuscitate my knees quite by accident! I took a new training in abhyanga massage and the rubbing of sesame oil all over my body while I meditate in the morning has given new life to my legs.

    When I walk down the stairs in the morning without thinking about it, normally rather than one step at a time, I know I’m having a good time and am inspired to keep the momentum rolling.



    In reply to: Seasonal rhythms

    I’ve been talking about this all along, in this first segment. It is my way to merge with the day’s weather, the season’s themes and changes.

    I have lived in many different climates, environments. In the tropics or in the severe cold, the wheel of the year still turns and we can observe the changes in the landscape and weather. They may be more subtle but in wind direction alone, there is change.

    My body prefers a particular one and I am steering my life towards moving back there. My husband can live in any climate, it’s his constitution. Not me, I keep time by the Moon, move with the waters and need to witness and be affected by these tidal flows in order to be my most fulfilled self.  #playbythemoontides



    In reply to: What do you call it?

    For me I have learned to manage pain by figuring out the precursors to the experience of pain.  Being able to notice what occurred before the onset of pain has helped me mitigate the onset of pain.  I found that attending to the tensions of my body and then addressing that tension by receiving massage/bodywork, acupuncture and/or chiropractic interventions I was able to prevent the onset of pain.

    For me body awareness is all about #listening# to the #subtle and not so subtle signs# #telling me that something is up# and I’d best #attend to it#.


    Learning how to manage and live with the pain associated with frequent migraines and headaches took me a long time, and it’s something I still work on almost every day, but the first step was understanding the source of the pain and it’s “name.” How have you learned to manage your pain? How did your journey start? Below is a little more about my beginning.  

    Some conditions announce their arrival with great fanfare and in a way that their host cannot help but notice them and deal with them immediately. Others are more subtle or slow to announce their presence. Or perhaps the host does not recognize their symptoms as signs of something “more serious.” In my own life it took me about a year to recognize debilitating headaches centered in my eye or eyebrow as episodic migraine. Now when physicians ask “when did they start?” I still find myself stumbling. I think they truly started in the Summer months of 2013, but it could have been that Spring or even Winter 2012, but it wasn’t until Fall of 2014 that they came frequently enough for me to notice that they never responded to OTC medication. Much like the undertow that slowly carries swimmers farther and farther out to sea, my migraines slowly swept me away from my normal habits, until Fall of 2014 when a physician asked me, “tell me everything you don’t do because of your migraines, and how long it’s been” and I realized how far I was from the shore of “normal” health.

    Figuring out how to deal with migraines starts with figuring out that you have migraines, which can be its own journey. My neurologist told me of a study that advertised treatment for sinus headache and found that 80 to 90 percent of those who volunteered were actually suffering from migraine. For months I was hit by recurrent, chronic, and debilitating pain, usually centered above my right eyebrow or eye, that did not respond to any OTC medication. Friends and family told me to try any number of things, but until I saw a chart that classified headaches by location I didn’t understand what was happening or why. Realizing I might be suffering from migraine and not some sort of chronic sinus issue felt both disappointing but also brought a sense of relief – finally I knew why the OTC meds and lifestyle changes were not working.

    #whatswrongwithmyeye #whatshappeningtome #theundertow

    Samantha Kaplan

    In reply to: Subtle Energy

    I had a friend who became a Body Talk practitioner several years ago. I had a couple sessions with her and one with one of her colleagues. It’s been a while now but from what I recall, it was helpful in interesting ways, but not in ways you would expect.

    It was a challenging time in my life as I was waiting to immigrate to the United States. I was 3,000 miles away from my husband, didn’t have much income, and was processing a lot of stress at the time. I had managed to pick up some part time work that was extremely physical (which I loved, actually), doing construction and pouring concrete. I don’t remember having any specific physical issues that took me to the sessions, but my body had lots to say to the Body Talk practitioner who then translated and communicated it to me.

    A Body Talk session is much like any other mind-body therapy, where they have you lay on a table. There was a meditation at the beginning. My memory is a bit fuzzy about all the techniques they use (and I’m sure it can be found on the Internet for those who are interested) but I remember something with drops of water, lots of tapping of places on my extremities, and some guided breathing.

    Our bodies internalize many things that our subconscious picks up that our conscious mind may not. Sometimes that manifests in physical ways so our body forces us to “pay attention” to something we may have been ignoring. I once had a massage therapist tell me “our bodies will always prevent us from doing things we shouldn’t be doing” (I may have mentioned that in another post/thread here). After these Body Talk sessions I didn’t experience any physical sensations or relief, but I had a much clearer understanding of the big picture of what was going on in my life at the time and steps I needed to take to make things easier for me.

    If I could afford it and if I knew of a Body Talk practitioner near me now, I would absolutely do it again. I’m pretty good at listening to some obvious clues but I think the subtle ones still evade me. We could all use a little help, I think.


    In reply to: Subtle Energy

    I want to stress that you don’t have to be a believer in subtle energy or have a “success story” to contribute to this topic or to this forum. If from your own exploration you believe that this is “all a bunch of hooey”, that’s fine, too. Explain how body listening has led you to your conclusion.

    Gail Moser
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