The Painting

The Painting

The painting caught my eye as I drove past. A smile formed on my face. And then the sudden and surprising awareness – a SMILE and the thought “why are you continuing to drive past … that painting makes you happy?”

Am I used to driving past happiness and continuing on with my task at hand? All this went through my mind in a split second and before I reached the end of the yard where the garage sale was taking place, I quickly stopped and hoped my tires hadn’t screeched. I jumped out of the car and went briskly to the painting, IT had to be mine now. I picked it up and set it by my car so no one else could claim it and only then looked at the price … what kind of price do you put on happiness?  $20 … I couldn’t believe it. What a steal for a smile.

I don’t smile much – I’m mostly all study and all business – a serious thinker. But that’s not the only reason – actually the muscles in my face can’t smile easily – it takes ALOT of emotion to “wake them up” so to speak. I don’t feel sad inside but I’ve often been asked if I am sad. What a relief when I learned about oral motor praxis and sensory integration and polyvagal theory and the sympathetic/parasympathetic vagus nerve innervations to the facial muscles. My facial muscles are, in simple terms, under the threshold for being innervated by the facial nerves so on the outside it appears as though I don’t smile much.

Chronic pain also has a way of impacting those vagus nerve connections. As does stress. As does the communication pathways within a person’s neurological makeup.  They all can affect smiles.

The painting made me happy but was not the “cause” of my smile, the painting was more like proof that something had changed. I had just received a bodywork treatment and felt a breakthrough like I had last month when I wrote the post titled “Joy.” I said I would follow up with that post and now I will. I felt Joy for about 5 days after that bodywork treatment before the old pain patterns began to creep back in. After reaching such a high and then having Joy recede, I felt a new low and even anger over not maintaining that blessed peaceful Joy.

Although I didn’t “keep” Joy, I also didn’t go back down to the place I was before … I felt about 25% better but that better was nothing to the 100% I had felt for 5 days. For the past month  I have struggled with knowing what can be and yet what isn’t. Then I had another break through, more tension releasing in this most recent intense bodywork session and the feeling of being 75% better AND being able to smile.

I’m not sure if I’ll stay at this 75% better place or if I’ll have a set back, but I do have the painting hanging in my office where I can look at it everyday and it still makes me happy and I’m still smiling every time I look at it.

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Life in the Garden

 

onion

Blooms in the garden: The onion above and the potato below.

potato

But simultaneously the life cycle of other flowers are occurring in the garden – birth and death. Making seeds for rebirth.

The garden is inspiring, not just for it’s beauty but also for it’s reminder that life is short, death is inevitable, to live in the beauty you’ve been given and fulfill your purpose.

Red Rose

The Rose.

rose

Marygold yellow

The Marigold.

marygold

poppy in sun

The Poppy.

poppy

Peony in Sun

The Peony.

peony

DSC_1331

The Iris.

iris

There is death but no violence has been done. Only the normal course of nature. Sometimes we need to remember this lesson … to find some sort of meaning beyond the inevitability of death. Beauty is attractive, death and dying is not. The natural course ends in death but there is hope, if you have love and faith the supernatural promises beauty and life forever. Life in the garden, a lesson learned.

Fear

On April 18th I wrote a blog titled “Truth” where I talked about levels of truth in relation to the chakra system. A quick review: Truth Level 1 corresponds to the Root Chakra and is the truth defined by the society you live in, Truth Level 2 corresponds to the 3rd Chakra in the Solar Plexus and is the truth defined by you, Truth Level 3 corresponds to the 7th or Crown Chakra and is the truth as defined by God with His natural laws and supernatural laws.

I am now discerning that fear has different levels too. I’m still working this out, but I believe I’ll be able to place these levels into the Chakra system as well, but for now I’ll simply define the different types of fear.

All fears seem to be based on survival, to keep us safe somehow.

One type of fear is the response to an actual threat in the environment – you’re being chased by a bear and it could kill you, you see a shadow move menacingly towards you from an alley while walking to your parked car, you find out your job has ended, your spouse just walked out and left you. These are all real actual threats that you need to deal with in the here and now.

Another type of fear is from the response to childhood traumas that are under the surface and yet impact our daily choices and behavior. This type of fear causes you to sabotage a close relationship because your father left your mother when you were a kid and inside you feel close relationships don’t last and can’t be trusted. Or maybe you were criticized as a child and you don’t apply for a certain job because you feel you’re not good enough. This type of fear causes missed opportunities that meant for your good.

And there is the fear that comes after you’ve done something against the flow – for good (hiding a Jewish person from the Nazis) or for bad (worrying about getting caught after shoplifting). This is the fear of punishment from others – whether those others are justified or unjustified in using their power to punish you. So it’s actually a fear of those who have power over you.

And there is a most unusual fear that comes from love. It’s the fear of hurting someone you care about deeply. It’s wanting to do the right thing for love and not wanting to disappoint the beloved. This is the type of fear that is talked about in the Bible – to Fear the Lord – you’re not fearing punishment but rather fearing not living up to the love that another so lavishing has entrusted to you and that you want to reciprocate.

Those are 4 types of fears that I have noticed – are there any others that you can think of? If so, write a comment below!

Me Before You

A friend posted about chronic pain on Facebook and I had to share my own experience …

There are different levels of chronic pain. Mine is a flare type of being in bed in the fetal position to living with low level aches that prevent me from being in one position too long – I’m sure I look weird with all the contortion stretching I do in public but it’s to relieve the constrictive binding feeling on pain – at least for a few minutes. It might seem to others like I have a motor tic or movement disorder – I don’t. I’m self-conscious when I think of it but heck, I’m out grocery shopping and that’s good. I’ve spent thousands of dollars over the past 3 or 4 years on natural treatments to heal my chronic pain – I did not want to remain on pain pills or neurontin or submit to surgery. Essential oils, the emotional freedom technique, personal work, stress management, craniosacral therapy, acupuncture, myofascial release, and crystal therapy are peeling away the layers and getting to the root cause – but insurance won’t cover this route – they will cover the other route. Happy to say that even though I’m diagnosed with the “suicide disease” – trigeminal neuralgia – I’m experiencing moments of being pain free – there’s light on the horizon!

There was one part of that friends query that struck a nerve after I heard about the new movie release “Me Before You” and it was this “What about pain so unrelenting that dying seems like the only way to end it?”

First, when I saw the trailer about the movie “Me Before You” I couldn’t wait to see it and then a friend loaned me the book and I learned the story is about euthanasia aka assisted suicide. I was pissed. I felt betrayed by the author. There were so many different and better endings for that book. I will NOT be going to see the movie.

Why was I so triggered? I didn’t know if or when my own searing and disabling pain would end and I discovered how slow time could move. But even at my worst, I never felt like ending my life.

I work with people with disabilities (quadriplegic cerebral palsy) and they are amazing people that really deal with a lot and have helped put life in perspective … they are all so individual in their likes and dislikes, interests and personality, they live the life they have … yes, they need help but when I was the one giving that help, even in a small way, I felt blessed. Now with my own parents aging, I’m in the role of helping my mom help my dad, so life isn’t so overwhelming for her and it’s a blessed time of making more and yet different memories.

The person in the “Me Before You” movie was deeply loved and had support, but he wanted more control even at the expense of putting others in pain. How many people have total control of their life? People live in poverty, people have addictions, people have anxiety, people have mental illness, people have cancer, people have amputations, people have brain injury, people have autism, people have chronic pain, and so on.

As for my own experience with pain, when it was a 10 out of 10 for days on end and my blood pressure was soaring and I wanted to pull out my teeth and I couldn’t eat, I always felt that I could apply my pain to helping other souls – like Jesus crucification was for other peoples salvation and St. Paul’s pain helped others (Col. 1:24) … faith brought me peace through the pain. I don’t love pain, I have done and am doing everything to get rid of the pain … I DO NOT want the pain back but when I had to go through that “door” of being helpless to the pain – I found peace in faith. Everyone has some type of pain in their life, I hope they can find peace and hope and faith too.