Archives for posts with tag: pain and pain management

I went to bed in pain last night. I woke up in pain this morning. It’s been days of pain more than typically severe, following days of admittedly “over-doing it” during the move. Manual labor is hard work. I mean… that’s obvious, right? It’s why people get paid for it (and should likely be paid more than they are). I’m not as up to it as I was as a younger (and fitter) woman. That’s just real. Fuck I’m tired of being in this much pain, though. It seems endless, at this point, and no real relief in sight…

…I breathe, exhale, relax, and let that go (again). I stretch gently, start my day with some yoga, and meditation. I check my posture as I sit here sipping coffee. I take a moment for real presence with my body, and ask an important question in this moment; “how do I feel right now?” There’s a reason for that – implicit memory changes slowly over time. If I become mired in my experience of pain, moment-to-moment, I slowly become more inclined to perceive pain as an “always” condition, unceasing and unchanging – and that’s not accurate. My experience (and the result of my effort to manage my pain) varies. In this moment, right now? It’s not that bad. I’ve got some chronic long-standing muscle tension/pain, and that’s there…but it’s as mild as it generally gets, at the start of the day, and that’s true today, too. I sit with that for a few moments, maintaining awareness of the lack of severity right now. Manageable. I make a point to relax my shoulders (again) and correct my posture (again). I know that “pushing myself” too far without giving my body a chance to heal and recover is a poor choice. Moving was a lot of work. Sore muscles recover, given a chance, and good self-care. Painful, but irrelevant. I allow myself to consider that “sore muscles” may be the majority of my pain, lately.

…Last night was bad though…

…I breathe, exhale, relax, and let that go (again). I pull my restless monkey-mind back to this moment, this mild amount of pain, and hold my awareness of it, present, alert, observing. As I sit, I almost don’t hurt at all… I make a point of feeling that, and holding that experience in my awareness for some moments. Implicit memory changes slowly over time.

I sip my morning coffee, watching the sky lighten beyond the window and the fence, beyond the pear tree and the neighbor’s house. It’s a new day. I can begin again. 🙂

I didn’t get as much sleep last night as I’d have liked, but the sleep I got was restful. No nightmares. I’ve wrestled a bit with anxiety, this morning, which prevented me sleeping longer, or more deeply. I finally just got up.

I spent some time meditating, before I made coffee. Feels good to be restoring a reliable meditation practice, and letting go of the vague feelings of shame or guilt that had occasionally been surfacing as a result of letting a valuable effective practice fall behind. I know how effective it is; just a couple days into a “New Year’s” commitment to meditate more reliably, my Traveling Partner commented, last night, that I “seem so much less stressed”. 🙂

I think about the “you’re not lazy, bored, or unmotivated…” video. I sip my coffee and consider my fears. What holds me back? I leaf through an old day planner. Remember those?

I relied on this planner to hold my life together for a few years, but it wasn’t the solution to everything.

New Year’s resolutions come and go. Dreams become goals, become plans, become actions, and eventually become outcomes of one sort or another… or disappointments through lack of action. I know I am not the only human being who struggles with the fears that hold me back. I watch the video again. There are things I’d like to do with my life… there is limited time to do them in.

I breathe, exhale, relax, and feel the anxiety that surged when I thought about the many things I also “need” to do, begin to recede. It’s an interesting exercise. I think about the thing I could undertake to start, do, or finish, my anxiety goes crazy; I breathe deeply, acknowledging the part I play in my own decision-making, and what I do with my time. I exhale, relaxing again, with a measure of self-directed kindness, and understanding that “things can feel so difficult, sometimes”, and the anxiety falls away. Back and forth. (Am I seriously playing with my anxiety?? Wtf?) Like wiggling a loose tooth; it is uncomfortable, but hard to resist doing.

Life can feel so overwhelming at times; the dreams, the goals, the chores, the errands, the tasks, the resolutions, the commitments, the projects, the responsibilities… they all pile up and compete for attention, and for limited bandwidth. Some are my own, others are imposed upon me externally. Some have some urgency. Others are deceptively lacking in apparent urgency, but more important things rely on them, in the future. Some I earnestly want for myself, but lacking encouragement, I give up on them. Others meet needs expressed by other people, and I vacillate wildly whether to do them at all. I guess I’m not surprised how often I find myself stalled, and at a standstill, just… not doing things. Realistically, I also don’t feel physically able to “do things” continuously throughout the entirety of the portion of the day during which I am awake; fatigue and pain are limiting factors that require some care…which becomes a handy excuse all its own.

About that… pain does not make getting shit done any easier. No surprise there. Doesn’t matter whether it’s a whole new year, or not. Pain sucks. I have another sip of my coffee and really think that over. Pain is pain, for sure, but… I’m not the only human being fighting to live a good life in spite of the pain I live with. Hell, I’m fairly fortunate that physical pain is my greatest day-to-day challenge, actually – things could be much more complicated than that. I let that go, and consider what I can do with my day, today, to support the quality of life I most want, in the most skillful way, with the time and resources I’ve got, while still feeling as well as I am able to, and enjoying the best possible self-care I can offer myself. It seems a worthy goal. (This approach is often where my “to do lists” begin, honestly. Very “tactical”. Not especially strategic.)

I push myself to “think farther out”, beyond this one day. What can I do with my day, today, that builds that quality of life farther out in the future, not just here, and now? Building blocks. Getting to those is fairly easy, and it is quickly apparent that most of those also have “building blocks” of their own; tasks that need to be completed in order to complete another more complex task, in order to further a project along its way, in order to get something done that may, at some point, result in a goal being achieved, or quality of life being improved. Fuuuuuuck. It all seems so messy, and chaotic, and human, and… omg, so many verbs!! Merely lobbing verbs at tasks isn’t ideally suited to bringing dreams to life, or achieving goals. Organizing my thoughts is worthwhile, having a plan is helpful… neither reduce the number of verbs or the amount of effort involved in making a great life, or reaching those far off goals, I guess, but the clarity of mind is useful, and often, within the planning and consideration, there are new observations to be made regarding how various goals and plans dovetail with each other. Small changes in timing or resources or “order of operations” can result in amazing things… Every journey feels easier with a map. (This is driving my thoughts towards day planners and project management applications. lol)

…”Every journey feels easier with a map”…

…I start thinking things over differently… How will I draw this map? I am my own cartographer… and it’s time to begin again. 🙂

A morning with some challenges. I sip my coffee, finding my center through music. Love Rollercoaster feels appropriate. I take another sip of coffee, clean up my subscriptions in YouTube… astonished that I ever subscribed to that. What was I thinking? For real? Life and love, as journeys go, aren’t a smooth, well-lit, comfortably paved, straight broad path from this moment to the next. Like a lot of journeys, sometimes it’s gravel, sometimes it’s grassy, sometimes it’s a steep climb, other times it is so effortless is passes nearly unnoticed, caught up in my own unrelated thinking about it in the abstract. Like a rollercoaster? Sure, near enough, I suppose.

I’m not cross or unhappy this morning, and eventually I settled into a comfortable groove, feeling good. This Love Rollercoaster has many twists and curves, and I’ve learned much about love. The morning just got off to a bumpy start. It happens, and it’s not always about love. 🙂 There are other things going on. Let’s start with aging – and pain. Aging sucks in one or two regards – pain being one of those. I’ve got mine, my Traveling Partner has his. I woke this morning, with him, we each had our reasons for wakefulness to do with physical pain. Feelings were briefly hurt over unintentionally harsh words, because… pain. We both let it go, quickly, because neither of us wants to add to the other’s hurting, and we both mean to treat each other well. Affectionate reassurances, and loving heartfelt apologies, and the moment is behind us.

I had made coffee for us both, but we weren’t really up for coffee together; the morning started too early, and with too much discomfort. I sat down in my studio to chill with some music videos. I’d have gone back to bed, but had awakened feeling “triggered” and on edge by my own pain, and sleep wasn’t going to come easily (or, possibly, at all) – and I was near enough to “well-rested” to let that go, I just needed to restore that sense of balance, and begin again. 🙂 Eventually, my partner pops in to admit that he’s not really ready for coffee, after all, and shares his intention of attempting to go back to bed. Makes sense to me. I would, if I could. 🙂 He offers me his coffee, apologetically, appreciatively, and lovingly. I’m warmed by the gesture every bit as much as I would be by the coffee… sometime later, after I finished mine, I go get his – still warm. I smile, pleased to have a second cup of coffee without running the grinder and potentially disturbing my partner’s rest; I know he needs the rest.

I sit in the warmth of what an amazing weekend this has been for love and loving, without trying to analyze it – just enjoying it.

I think about our lovely evening the night before – dinner out with friends, hanging out at our place, afterward. It was nice. My smile deepens. Brunch with a friend at noontime – also quite delightful. Good weekend. I sip my coffee feeling content and satisfied. Fulfilled? Definitely. Happy? I think maybe, yeah. Feels good.

The difficult moments this morning weren’t personal, weren’t any sort of attack, really weren’t a big deal – just difficult, and actually, very very momentary. I can deal with that. I can also remember a time when a moment like that one this morning would not only have blown my day – it would have blotted out my recollections of this delightful weekend of love, affection, romance, and shared experiences with friends. I’d have drowned my heart in emotional “weather” – unable to enjoy the lovely “climate” in this period of my life, generally. I’m glad I have undertaken so many small practices that prevent me from becoming mired in a painful moment and unable to connect with a joyful life.

Quite a lot has gone into getting from “there” to “here”. 🙂

I sit quietly sipping my coffee, appreciative of how far my journey has taken me, how wonderful love is, and how pleasant it is to be so easily able to let go of the small stuff, and bounce back quickly. Basic mindfulness practices. Real actual practice. Verbs. Incremental change over time. Lots of books (have you seen my Reading List??). Lots of practice. My results have varied, and I’ve avoided taking that as a personal failure, beginning again thousands of times. What works, works; we become what we practice. 😀

…Well… It’s a lovely Sunday. Time to finish this coffee, and start the day. 😀

Yesterday sorted of slipped past me. Spring. 🙂 I woke from a deeply restful night’s sleep, yesterday, slowly, gently, a day fully planned for hanging out with a friend and going out later. When I stood the headache just flattened me. I intended to take things easy, what with the headache, followed by a bit of dizziness and nausea, but shortly found myself… wandering around the house… kind of randomly and without purpose.

I honestly wasn’t sure what was up with me beyond the headache. I cancelled hang out plans first thing in favor of self-care.

…I didn’t make coffee. I have no idea why, but I just… didn’t. I got in the car, barely awake, and drove down the street to an excellent cafe (the storefront of a local coffee roaster I enjoy) and got coffee. I committed firmly to heading home…and spent 90 minutes driving around the countryside drinking coffee. It was a weird morning, lacking in stress – or purpose.

I found my way home, and sat awhile on my meditation cushion in the open patio doorway, listening the rain fall, and feeling the spring breezes. Definitely spring; there are signs of greenery, like a fine mist, all over the deciduous trees, and the roses are leafing out in shades of bright green and russet (the reddest of my roses always seem to have the deepest red new leaves and shoots, where the yellow, pink, or peach ones are often very bright light green shades). I watched squirrels play. I watched birds hop about. I definitely wanted to be in the garden.

As soon as I stood to head into the garden, my headache reminded me why I was taking it so easy. Then my eye reminded me that I would not be easily able to do the things I wanted to do in the container garden on the deck without a visit to the nursery or garden supply place nearby… and I hadn’t actually visited those last autumn after moving in. I happily got back in the car and drove around checking out the nearest garden suppliers, finding one that feels most “like my sort”, and spending quite a long while exploring there. I stopped for Turkish coffee along the way. I came home with soil and a handful of seeds. Yep. I could have gone just about anywhere for the things I actually returned home with. LOL

One lovely moment from a lovely day.

It was a weird day with the woman in the mirror.

Spring is here.

I spent the afternoon in the garden, and finished up out there aware that I was still headaching on this whole other “maybe you really need to take it easy” level when I careened into the door jamb clumsily. Okay, okay, so… maybe a night out on St Patrick’s Day to see a great band play in a local bar returning home further fatigued and faced with night driving would not be an ideal choice? I canceled those plans, too. I felt content with the decision-making, and unconcerned with the weirdness.

Later, I roasted a chicken on the smoker-grill on the patio; it sits under the eaves, just out of the rain, and the smell of it was wonderful. Cold chicken salad tonight – which also sounds quite nice.

It was a lovely Saturday, headache and all. I’m content to have enjoyed it, making the most of the day without regard to that headache, which, honestly, completely sucked all day long. I just really don’t want to waste more days on pain than I have to… I’m not sure how many I get, you know? 😉

Today, brunch with a friend, and a visit to a favorite market. The headache, for now, has eased somewhat. It’s a lovely morning to begin again.

I woke with difficulty this morning, and didn’t sleep well. I don’t hurt as much now as I did when I went to bed. The twinges of arthritis pain that begin the day are likely to be a sign of more pain, later on. It’s hard to be anything other than uncomfortable – just the physical discomfort itself, is uncomfortable, I mean. Kind of obvious, I know. It’s just that my mind, foggy with the struggle to fully wake up for the day, is focused on other things (if it can be said to be focused at all, just yet).

House hunting moves forward a step at a time. The work week continues. Lunch with a friend sometime this week. An evening with my Traveling Partner, maybe even tonight. Days. Days filled with moments. I remind myself to make a doctor’s appointment. Then I just go ahead and make it, online, rather than stalling still/again.

A fairly ordinary Tuesday begins here. A quiet morning like so many quiet mornings, a cup of coffee, a few minutes writing, some time for meditation, a few minutes tidying up before heading to the office… the days are days. What changes is my perspective, and my choices.

Today is a good day to begin again. I know there will be verbs involved. I know that I am having my own experience. With some practice, today is enough. 🙂