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Posts Tagged ‘health’

StrongEnoughI have recently been diagnosed with a very-reparable issue with my spine.  I was told that with support and treatment it could be fully recovered within 9-12 months, on average.

I wasn’t happy to hear the news, but I wasn’t upset, either.  I’ve had pain that I didn’t realize was from something that could actually be fixed in a year or less. I’ve lived with frequent (or even constant) pain for almost two decades now thanks to hyperacusis, so that was a welcome idea.

The real reason I wasn’t upset though is that I have already struggled with and overcome other health issues.  My hyperacusis has become much better over the past year, and I am no longer very limited by Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. These haven’t gotten better all on their own.  They have only improved as I improved my own confidence in my ability to overcome, and my belief I was strong enough for the journey.

To turn the corner, I had to accept that I was already strong enough to win out against the challenges I faced. I had to recognize that I didn’t need anybody or anything to fix me, because I wasn’t broken. I just happen to have a body that doesn’t work the same as most others, so it’s up to me to master the skills of living within it. I had to find that space within me that held that strength, that wisdom, and let it guide me forward. After many years of riding a roller coaster of upswings and downswings, somehow I finally learned to hold on to that center.

My helper on overcoming this latest challenge also believes that only we can heal ourselves; medicine just helps us in the process. She reminded me of how often people give up hope before overcoming their challenges, and asked if I might write down some things about how I overcame my own. I didn’t think I really had that much to say, because I can’t really think of things to say that I haven’t already read elsewhere.

That said, I do remember being helped by reading of others’ journey, and also that I tend to discount my own road as being pretty day-to-day, as it happens to be the one I’ve spent my days in. So I’m going to shrug at myself, and see if I can’t try to share some things about what I’ve faced, and how I’ve overcome.

I think I’m strong enough for that. 🙂

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It seems I’ve fractured my little toe. I banged it against a table a week and a half ago, and it’s still just a little bit swollen and gets tender when poked a particular way (not on purpose). So I’ve been staying off it, keeping it steady, and letting it heal.

As I was assessing its progress today, I realized I was imagining a fracture in my toe, and hoping it heals away soon. It then struck me that wasn’t the best way to visualize things. Rather, it would be more helpful to visualize a healthy, strong little set of bones functioning perfectly as a tiny part of a vibrantly balanced and harmonious whole.

Shifting my focus to the health and balance I would like to enjoy helped me feel a little bit closer to that state. I remembered to relax my shoulders, breathe a little deeper, and calm the electric storm of my mind. I then heard my mind tell me, “Healing isn’t the absence of disease, it’s the presence of health.”

I’m now taking a moment to feel that presence of vibrancy and life. Breathing it in, I feel more present, myself.

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I’ve still got that cough, and it occurs to me that I should probably summarize the cleansing breath that I mentioned in my last post, instead of just linking to a page that may not always be there.

The cleansing breath is a great way to nourish your mind and body with pure oxygen, and help your lungs clear out gunk and toxins. It’s great to do first thing in the morning, last thing at night, right before eating, before and after yoga or exercise, and frankly whenever you feel like it. Oxygen is pure life force, and we deserve to breathe in as much as we can remember to.

It’s good to do the cleansing breath standing up, but any generally relaxed position will do. First, exhale as much as you can, compressing your lungs to clear out the old air. Then, breathe in not-too-quickly, filling your lungs right up with air. Hold it for just a little while.

If your lungs are gunky or “stale”, you might cough a bit while you’re holding your breath up to the top of your lungs. That’s fine, clear it out, then try again. After holding the air just a bit, start to force the air out through pursed lips, keeping your cheeks pulled in (as opposed to puffed out, that is). Force the air out in short bursts, pulsing your diaphragm so that it compresses your lungs progressively from the bottom to the top.

If you’re like me, as the “short bursts” start to compress the air out from near the top of your lungs, that’s when you’re really likely to cough if you have anything to clear out. Light, shallow coughs can help the process of using the air to clean out your lungs. Just pay attention to your body and follow its cues. Don’t force anything unnatural, but don’t resist anything natural, either.

Hopefully this helps convey my understanding of the cleansing breath. May it serve you well!

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If you’re fighting a cold, I recommend a few little tips to keep it from getting into your lungs and making things worse:

  • Figure out if nasal irrigation is something that you’d do, at least for emergencies like keeping a cold from taking up residence.
  • Try sleeping on your side, tilting your head so drainage is less likely to go down your throat.
  • Take deep, cleansing breaths to fill up to the top of your lungs, then force the air out.  Be prepared for shallow to deep coughs, and ride them out, helping force the gunk up out of your lungs.

These have been helping me keep my cold from getting as terrible as it would be if I let it. May you make it through this cold/season as well as can be!

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I’m currently in the midst of a phase where I try to consciously eat as well as I can, avoiding the things that I know from experience make me feel worse. This is an unofficial continuation from the lent thing this year, which means I can “stray” when I really want to without compromising anything other than my health.

So I wanted a chocolate chip cookie, and so first I ate stuff I knew would help me feel better despite the cookie.  Then I made myself a mug of Kaffree, heated the cookie up briefly so it was niiiiiiice and gooey, and slowly ate it.  And licked the chocolate off the plate.

I considered having another one, then I remembered the way I make it through junky cravings without making myself sick. So far it’s working, so I thought I’d share. 

Seriously, try savoring half the amount to get twice the enjoyment. Really and truly pay attention to the sensations and the pleasure of them to make them stick. As you’re enjoying the last bites, really drink in the flavor and texture to carry forward into the moments after it’s gone.

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I was just thinking about how many traditions emphasize the importance of breathing, from meditation to exercise to psychology to problem-solving.  Yet I sometimes have trouble breathing, because of health stuff, and because of habits that have taken hold because of these occasional “health stuff”, and because of all the times in a day I’m in a “holding my breath” kind of thought process.  Like this moment.
 
So I have an idea.  Every time I see the clock has changed to a new hour (or half-hour could even be a good goal), I’m going to stop and take three slow, deep breaths.  If I can, I’ll go for ten.
 
I recommend you give it a shot, see if it helps you feel better.  At the least, it might help you refocus throughout the day, maybe help you feel more like you’re present and on track.

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