Pain Tolerance: Musings on …

As I lay here writing this sentence I am in pain.

Correction.  I can feel pain.  Correction.

 

It hurts and I want:

a shot of morphine

 morphine

a big bowl of pasta with meat balls and cheese and a dry white wine

FN_Ina Garten Real Meatballs and Spaghetti.tif

my mother

mother

 

to sleep

to wake up

to do

to not have to do

to fling myself off a moving train

to be bathed in healing light

to scream bullsh*t! at a doctor

(  X  )   all of the above

 

What is pain?  Is pain some psychotic demon throwing lit matches at our nerves?

No.  Pain is a signal.

We say it hurts, what do we really mean?

Is it an ache today?  Does it start small, pulsating, and then radiate outwards like a cat’s tail whip in slow motion?  Cold wind and bee stings upon exposed flesh

 

cats-tail-whip.

Pain?  Are you real?

Yes.  I’m a matter of fact.

Pain?  Why do you hate me?

I don’t.  I am merely saying something is wrong.  If you want to dress this up, here’s the number of a shady guy who does that sort of work:

555-5555

Mr. Suffering, Esq.

 

cat-are-you-done-yet

 

 

 

 

Gray clouds, rain, and no.

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Is This That Empath Crap?

What’s an Empath?  Well, my general understanding is that it’s a person who is greatly affected by the energy and emotions of others.  Empaths tend to be somewhat introverted.  Being in crowds can be difficult for an Empath because of all the noisy energy.  Empaths are really super sensitive to the energy vibrating off of others.  From what I’ve read, it’s considered a gift but one that can cause many years of suffering as one needs to learn how to protect themselves from the negative energies that are all around.

I used to believe in this phenomenon.  I used to believe in a lot of new-age type things.  I was introduced to the idea of Empaths and to Twin Flames by a woman I loved very much.  But in the end, she hurt me and abandoned me.  She became the antithesis of all the “love” she preached.  My reaction was that I stopped believing in Empaths and in Soul Mates and in Twin Flames.  How could these sacred phenomenons exist if the one person I knew so intimately seemed to be, in the final analysis, full of BS.

Today, I found myself reading some random person’s blog.  It’s not the first time and won’t be the last time that I found myself developing a little crush on the blogger.  It’s completely irrational because I don’t know them and they don’t know me.  They could be my polar opposite.  I love potatoes and they might love something I hate, like escargot.  I play guitar and they might be a rapper.  I think rainy days are romantic and they might find them depressing.  Truly, why crush on a stranger?

Being a psych nerd I’d point to projection and transference.  I project my desire to be desired and to have the fairytale love of my life.  That could be it.  Or, maybe it’s transference.  I find something similar in them, even something very tiny and insignificant and suddenly I start attributing the qualities of a lover to them unconsciously.  These would be rational explanations of my irrational feelings.  Afterall, how many of you day dream of being with that one person who gets you, who is “home”, who loves you unconditionally?  Am I alone in desiring that?  Probably not.  This world is pretty love sick if I can relate all this to a common chronic illness.

But aside from a psychological interpretation, the thought flashed within my mind, “Is this that Empath crap?”  Truly, facets of projection and transference would be common to the Empath experience.  I can’t say for certain that something like this makes me a believer again, but it does help me become open to the idea of “yes, maybe” once again.

The mindful response within me is simply this:  That I don’t claim to know.  It’s what Zen Buddhism calls “beginner’s mind”.  The mindful response within me is to open my heart and to notice the flutter that accompanies the crushing.  It feels… slightly delicious and yet, slightly sad.  I am just going to sit here and feel it.

 

I am the Cancer

An ego identity is the face we show to the world. It is also a way we define ourselves to ourselves.

 

who-am-i

 

Many people with chronic illnesses choose the illness as an ego identity. There are many reasons for this, but most are psychologically unhealthy. We may claim that we seek community, but relationships built around suffering usually start to create suffering. We might claim that we wish to help others from our experiences, but to truly help another is not to limit them but to share in discovering unlimited potential.

 

Wellness is experienced when we don’t limit our identity. The whole of our lives is greater than individual aspects. Wellness is about opening and acceptance. One dead tree, even if it is the tallest and oldest in the entire forest, does not nullify the grandeur and the many complex systems found in the forest’s entirety.

 

While a person may suffer limitations due to a disability, illness, or circumstance, life can still be as fulfilling as we wish to make it. Not limiting ourselves with a diseased ego identity is a simple way to admit that there are possibilities and passions that we are opening to discover. We refuse to be pigeon-holed into a universe that is mired in pain and suffering. Illnesses can be very painful, but no one can claim that pain is all there is to life.

 

young cheering woman jogger open arms at sunrise seaside,vintage effect
Be Limitless

 

What good things can you identify about yourself that open your heart and realize the potential of your mind / body / soul?

3 Lessons from Carl Rogers

carlrogers

 

A few weeks ago I went on a bender of complaining to my therapist that I needed more appointments, that I was feeling rushed through our sessions, and that I didn’t feel we were talking about the things I needed help with.  My therapist was kind enough not to react to my venting but waited to respond.  She said to me that a lot of the “resistance” I push back with is because I have been in therapy for years.  I am used to the way old school therapy works.  Today, the model that many mental health agencies used is “brief therapy”.  The goal is to sort you out and then get you out.  Personally, I don’t agree with this approach.  Yes, I can hear the arguments about becoming dependent on a therapist, but my curt reply is “look at the other things people become dependent on — and tell me what’s worse!”

I spent some time in school studying therapy and psychology.  And as I’ve mentioned, I’m also a consumer or client or patient (whichever works for you).  I am probably the sickest person I know (being hubristic) but there a few things from my studies which I think everyone can use.  Everything I’m going to tell you, I am pulling from Rogerian therapy, also known as Client Centered Therapy, or Person-Centered Therapy.  It’s a humanistic psychotherapy.  Humanists believe in capabilities of other humans.  I think…

Maybe you’d like to watch a video of Carl Rogers giving “Gloria” therapy.  I find it entertaining, but then again, I’m an oddity.

YouTube – Carl Rogers and Gloria

Here are 3 lessons we can learn from Carl Rogers and the therapy model he created.  I feel these things can benefit most people and their relationship with their self and their relationship with others.

LESSON ONE

#1  –  UNCONDITIONAL POSITIVE REGARD68

Unconditional Positive Regard (UPR) is psychobabble that means accepting and respecting others as they are without judgment or evaluation.

How to do it:

  • Don’t compare yourself to others or others to others
  • Forgive yourself / others – you did your best at the time
  • Do something to know yourself – journal, blog, paint, stare into the mirror

 

 

LESSON TWO

#2 – VALUE YOUR RELATIONSHIPSgrandma-cookies

In a sense, even the most antisocial of us still need people.  Relationships are powerful forces for good and not so good.  Relationships define part of you and facilitate your growth or stagnation.

How to do it:

  • Identify the people in your life – friend, lover, mother, child, nurse, mailman, warden, etc. even Tom Hanks character had Wilson the volleyball on the deserted island
  • Be aware of the time you give others and yourself.  Are there parts of your day that are invested in tripe?  Could you be investing more in yourself or others?
  • Write an email, bake some cookies, don’t screen your calls, crochet a scarf, have a date night, go to a tupperware party, smile at strangers, spend an afternoon in the ‘self help’ section of Chapters

 

 

LESSON THREE

#3 – PRACTICE EMPATHYempathy

Empathy is to put yourself in the shoes of another.  It’s a manner of caring that brings us very close to understanding from another’s perspective.  A lot of people don’t want to be fixed, they want to be heard.

How to do it:

  • Listen, ask questions, seek clarification
  • Be a participant, be vulnerable, be genuine
  • Close your eyes and imagine someone; what do they see, what do they feel, what do they want?  What is their “point of need” where you can fit?

 

 

I hope you enjoyed this post.  It feels very basic and limited because well… this is a blog, not a textbook.  And yet, if you practice a few of the things I mentioned, especially in the ‘How To’ sections, you will find a deep experience and some beneficial insights.

 

hug

 

Are You Buying?

mindfulness_poster_UK

 

It really is that simple; Are you buying?  Buying what?  This post is about that feeling that you are always being sold something.  Maybe it’s an idea.  Maybe it’s an online service.  Maybe it’s dinner.  Maybe it’s the Pandora’s box of sensual delights that will transform you into an ego-tripping love hustler.

What does this have to do with mindfulness?  A lot!   A key component to any mindful moment is seeing things for what they are.  Maybe you are shopping, but maybe you aren’t.  Maybe, you are being told what will give you your finally perfect egoic identity.  Maybe, just maybe, you can spot the pitches and shut them down.

The truth is that that this moment contains all that you need.  If you need answers, are you honoring your inner Buddha?  Or, are you going to Google?

If you need love, are you opening your heart to others or are you looking for the best transaction that you might qualify for either in the bar or on Ashley Madison?

If you wish to learn — who are you allowing to teach you?

I am sure you recognize that there are legitimate assaults on your sensibilities.  I notice the targeted marketing that overwhelms my email, that informs the advertisements when I use a search engine, and that really is spreading like a wild fire throughout our world and the experience we have of living.

The single most dangerous idea out there is that you are incomplete and that you can become complete by doing more, buying more, practicing more, meditating more, praying more, and so forth.  This includes all the things you are told to do less of:  smoke less, drink less, sleep less, eat meat less, weigh less, stress less, trust less, love less.  Take a moment to think about ways in which you’ve been given a message along these lines.  Sure, it’s easy to say, “smoking less is actually going to be good for me”, but is that all that you are buying?  What suggestion comes next?  Soon enough, have you enslaved yourself to some product or healthy living ideology and consented to giving away your sovereign choices over your own body?

I don’t mean to be alarmist.  Certainly, being reactionary toward all these pitches defeats the benefits of being open, authentic, and objective.  Reacting is not mindful.  Responding, or not responding, is a choice that honors truth, your values, and doesn’t treat the external world as a predator.

I am sure this post has given you a lot to think about.  If there is a single take away, it is this, you are being sold things and you can bring your consciousness to this.  Yo can make decisions that reflect your true nature and expose the delusions of not being enough, of the compulsive need for more, the obsessive anxiety for less, and the ultimate lie that you don’t have the answers.

You are sufficient in whatever form you are taking.

You have everything you need for this moment.  May the riches come forth from your heart.

Don’t worry about living a perfect life.  Just live a life; don’t overthink it.  Nobody get’s out alive!

 

b2b-business-marketing

 

 

 

Bread

bread1

 

Yep, just a one word title for today.  This post is about bread.  I have spent the past half hour unmindfully trying to find a specific quote about freshly baked bread.  I didn’t end up finding it.

The quote was something to do with the joy of creating and sharing and generosity.  It was something about the look in a hungry man’s eyes when you give him the bread that you just baked with your own two hands.

So, I am kind of laughing at myself for getting so wound up looking for a quote, that really is about the power of simple things in life.  And that’s why I am writing about bread.

Bread is simple.  Flour and water.  Add a pinch of salt and yeast.  Bam!

When I think of the many times I have baked a loaf of bread, I realize that such a simple thing, is also really complex.  How many times have I had loaves come out as bricks and fail to rise?  How many times was there that bit of center of the bread that was still dough-y.  Making a loaf of bread has it’s challenges!

And yet, think of your life.  Think of all the little things and all the big things.  Think of your calendar and your contact list.  Think of that new parenting technique or if you should change majors.  Think of that friend — that relative — that you love, but you just can’t stand.  Think of it all and let it go.

We understand quite a bit about the complex problems we find in our lives.  We find mastery through our planning, our testing, our suffering, our personal appeal to the peanut gallery.  Now I ask, can you bake a loaf of bread?  And, if you can, does it always come out perfect?  It’s something so simple and ancient and wise.  We take it for granted.

So my mindful message for today is to encourage you to bake bread.  Whether it’s your first time or you are a pro, bake a loaf with your own two hands.  Inhale that wonderful smell!  Maybe you can even give the loaf away as a gift, or maybe you’ll grab some butter and give yourself a gift.

 

 

I Made The About Page

snoopytyping.jpg

I have just completed writing about myself and what this blog is going to be about.  Head on over to the ABOUT page and you can get filled in!

So, I’m assuming that you typed a certain keyword that brought you here.  Maybe it was something about mindfulness and inner peace or maybe it was something about the miraculous uses for apple cider vinegar in the day to day life of a professional clown.  Regardless, what matters to me is that you got here.

Do you ever look in the mirror and see the features of a relative?  Or, have you ever looked at a baby and said, “He has his father’s eyes”?

Have you ever felt a hunger pain and thought about people who have that same hunger pain in a disadvantaged part of the world?

Have you ever had an opinion about the cause of some senselessness you hear has happened?

The point I’m driving at is that of inter-connectedness.

You and I are connected with each other and every other person.  Further, we are connected with animals and nature.  We are a relational species.  This blog is a two way street — I relate to you, and you relate to me.  And in this moment we can share a bit of sanity and compassion.

I am not a perfect person.  I am not a guru or an author or some expert therapist.  I am a person who hurts physically and mentally.  By secular standards of success, I’m a complete failure!  And thank goodness for that — for through my searching and suffering I have  had moments of calm, moments of clarity, moments of contentment.  I have had horrible experiences, just as you have, and I’m hear to start a conversation.  Let’s begin a dialogue of the heart.

 

youaretheuniverse