Week 7: Mindful Monday – Healthy Living

Week 7:  INTENTIONS

Thank you Silver Threading for hosting Mindful Monday – Healthy Living.  My INTENTIONS for Week 7:

  • Prepare three healthy dishes from new cookbook.
  • Neighborhood mindfulness walk and capture nature photos x 1 day.
  • Fitness workout (cardio and circuit weights) x 3 days.
  • Indoor mall walk x 2 days
  • Walk through local botanical garden and capture nature photos x 1 day.
  • Color one page in a mindfulness coloring books

Week 6: 

CHOICE 

Last week, I made the CHOICE to live by the CREATION Health principles in the following ways:

REST

Sleep

I met my goal of sleeping 7-8 hours nightly.  According to my Fitbit, the 7-day average was 8 hours and 50 minutes.

ENVIRONMENT

At-home access to a stress reducing and spiritual uplifting ENVIRONMENT is a blessing..  When I am unable to get out and about, my  Healing Container Garden is always there.

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ACTIVITY

Early Morning, at-home exercises for the:

  • Body – physical therapy home exercises x 2 days for 15 mins.
  • Mind and Spirit – three guided meditation practices.

I did get in three days of additional exercise for the Body;

  • 30-minute LA Fitness walk on the treadmill;
  • 60-minute mall walk; and
  • 40-minute mindfulness walk through the neighborhood.

TRUST

When it comes to TRUST and SELF-TRUST, I admit to being a work-in-progress.  Through self-education, I hope to find answers.

This week, I read the first three chapters of, “The Courage to Trust: A Guide to Building Deep and Lasting Relationships.” I completed two Self-Discovery Questionnaires:

  • How Much Do You Trust Yourself – Based on my responses, the answer:  “Distrust of yourself is destroying your self-confidence.
  • How Much Do You Really Trust Others – Based on my responses, the answer:Your distrust of others is very high, limiting the depth of intimacy.”  This was quite revealing given my 0=none response to the question, “Do you believe you don’t know how to have truly intimate relationships.”

I no longer wish to live as a “a naked person” who distrusts self and others.  Before my space opens up to Trust and Self-Trust, I must first learn to discover, embrace and express love of self.  I am working on it.

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INTERPERSONAL

To uplift the mind, body and spirit, I decided to take part in the 8-Week Palouse Mindfulness online training program.  Organized and coordinated on Facebook by Sister Blogger, Elizabeth, over at My Eyes Are Up Here.”

Last week, the focus was on communication.  The reading materials and videos provided a lot of helpful information to improve both our listening skills and managing anger.

Going through this training on communication was an eye-opening learning experience.

 

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OUTLOOK

Daily, I worked at maintaining a positive OUTLOOK  by:

  • practicing daily morning meditations; and
  • sharing inspiring quotes with friends and family on Facebook and Instagram.

 

NUTRITION

Instead of drinking diet sodas daily, my 24-year-old granddaughter challenged me to change to lemon water. I found a number of articles in support of this and was surprised to learn of the many benefits.  Now, a glass of lemon water is always close by.

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Week 6: Mindful Monday – Healthy Living

Week 6:  INTENTIONS

Thank you, Colleen, for hosting Mindful Monday – Healthy Living.   I begin each week with the INTENTION to mindfully move outside of my comfort zone to explore healthy living options.


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Week 5:  8 CREATION Health Principles

CHOICE

I made the  CHOICE, several weeks ago, to  Stop, Think, Observe and Proceed before acting.  When I take time to STOP, I make healthier decisions in all areas of my life.

REST

For more than a year,  I have fulfilled my INTENTION to get 7-8 hours of sleep nightly.  I slept 11+hours on Sunday and Thursday night.  Was this a healthy night’s sleep?

Seeking an answer, I went to WebMD, Sleep Disorders Health Center and read the  “7 Myths About Sleep”

Here’s what I found out:

MYTH:  If you can get it, more sleep is always healthier.

“FACT: …Some studies have found that people who slept more than eight hours a night died younger than people who got between six and eight hours.  What scientist don’t know yet:  Whether sleeping longer causes poor health or is a symptom of  it …. Long sleepers may suffer from problems such as sleep apnea, depression, or uncontrolled diabetes that makes them spend more time in bed.”

I believed the MYTH.  Even though I am being treated with overnight oxygen for sleep apnea, I am not concerned about the FACT.  If I begin to routinely sleep more than eight hours, I will check in with my pulmonologist.

ENVIRONMENT

I struggled through congestion and a cough that kept me housebound for most of the week, but I was able to connect with nature’s ENVIRONMENT.  I looked at photos taken during past mindfulness walks through my neighborhood; and felt as though I was in the presence of nature.

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ACTIVITY

I began the week taking care of a sick husband with a cold.  Several days later, I came down with a cold. I wasn’t able to follow my normal weekly ACTIVITY routine; but, I was able to go upstairs to my relaxation room to exercise the:

  • body — physical therapy exercises, leg stretches, yoga belt and plank poses for 30 minutes x 3 days.; and
  • mind – mindfulness and meditation practices for 11-30 minutes x 7 days.

TRUST

This week, I went online looking for reading materials to address my SELF-TRUST issues.   The one that drew my attention,  “3 Ways to Develop Self-Trust,” written by Ms. Margaret Tartakovsky, M.S., Associate Editor, Word of Psychology who states:

“Everyone in your life has the potential of betraying you.  They may leave.  They may pass away. They may make a rude comment. They may cheat. They may lie. They may disappoint you in many different way.  We can’t count on anybody 100%.”

To develop SELF-TRUST, Ms. Tartakovsky recommends:

  1. Avoid people who undermine your SELF-TRUST.
  2. Keep promises to yourself.
  3. Speak kindly to yourself.

Having lived for more than 73 years, I have been hurt and abandoned by people who I loved and trusted.  In most cases, it was short-lived and temporary.  Other times permanent — Like my mother passing away, almost 48 years ago, I am just beginning to deal with the hurt and pain of that.

Also, I am still reading the book by Tara Brach, “True Refuge: Finding Peace and Freedom in Your Own Awakened Heart.”   It is bringing me closer to understanding that SELF-TRUST will come when I am able to unconditionally love and nurture ME.

INTERPERSONAL

While building SELF-TRUST, I do not want to compromise developing strong  INTERPERSONAL relationships.  

Searching for guidance, I found this book written by Cynthia Lynn Wall, “The Courage to Trust:  A Guide to Building Deep and Lasting Relationships.”  She writes:

“The person you need to trust first is yourself.  No one can be consistently supportive of you as you can learn to be.  Being kind to yourself increases self-confidence and lessens your need for approval.  Loving and caring for yourself not only increases SELF-TRUST, it also deepens your connection with others.

Inspired by this quote, I purchased the Kindle version and look forward to beginning this new learning experience.

OUTLOOK

Feeling under the weather and out of sorts this week with a cold, I tried to maintain a positive OUTLOOK.   

For the entire week, I connected with The Meditation Podcast to uplift the mind and spirit.  I was able to let go of the negative and embrace the positive by practicing the following meditations:

  • Power of Kindness
  • Emotional Clearing
  • Positive Thoughts
  • Peace
  • The Healing Smile

NUTRITION

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Luckily, I found all the ingredients for this Turkey Vegetable Soup in the fridge and pantry,

  • Chicken Broth
  • Dry Onion Soup
  • Canned Tomatoes
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Frozen Mixed Vegetables
  • Frozen Okra
  • Turkey Legs

I dumped everything into the slow-cooker and ended up with enough soup to carry Hubby and I through the week.  When I have a cold, a hot cup of soup makes everything better.

 

 

 

Week 4: Mindful Monday – Healthy Living

INTENTIONS

I start Week 4 of Mindful Monday – Healthy Living with the INTENTION to, daily, embrace and follow the eight CREATION principles of living life to the fullest.

 The 8 Principles – Week 3

CHOICE

Though still a work-in-progress, I feel good about the Mindful Choices made during the week.

REST

Six of seven nights were restful and met the good sleep hygiene standards of 7-8 hours.  One sleepless night led to a pain flare-up the next day; and, I made a Mindful Choice to let go of DOING and spend the entire day BEING.  In other words, DOING nothing and BEING still.

I was Mindful of Pacing my activities.  Instead of, continuously, walking for 45 minutes on the treadmill, I put the machine on a 1-minute pause every 5-10 minutes to rest. stretch and breathe.  I left the fitness center refreshed rather than exhausted.

ENVIRONMENT

I went on a MINDFUL 45-minute walk through my neighborhood.  From time-to-time, I walked at a slower pace and paused to connect with nature’s beauty:

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A Mindful Walk with Just ME and My Shadow

ACTIVITY

Exercised the body on six of the seven days for 45-60 minutes, I:

  • walked on the treadmill and/or glided on the elliptical machine for three days at the fitness center;
  • walked through my neighborhood one day; and
  • followed my early-morning exercise routine of leg stretches with the Yoga Belt, home physical therapy exercises, and/or plank poses.

I made the Mindful Choice to heed the advice of my massage therapist who is a practitioner of yoga and pilates.  She encouraged me to do plank poses every other day and not daily to give my muscles a day of rest.

Mindfully, I made the Choice to uplift the mind and spirit, daily, with a 20-30 minute meditation practice.

TRUST

My INTENTION this week was building Self-Trust.  I made the Mindful Choice to begin the 21-day Chopra meditation practice, “Become What You Believe.”  

“to seek our true nature and discover our path to health and happiness.  You will discover your soul’s purpose and create a life in which things are within reach.”

I am hopeful that as I grow in the belief of ME, Self-Trust will follow.

INTERPERSONAL

I love going to the car wash with Hubby.  It gives me the opportunity to buy my favorite line of greeting cards.

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This week, I thought about girlfriends that I have bonded with over the years.  I made the Mindful Choice to send cards to three of them:

  • DJ, lives in Illinois.  Girlfriends since the womb and we stay connected via telephone. I last saw her at my youngest daughter wedding in 1998.
  • VB, lives in Milwaukee.  Girlfriends since 1996. We come together twice a year when I visit Wisconsin.  In turn, she sets aside one day to spend with us during her annual Florida vacation.
  • JL lives in Wisconsin. Friends for many years and Girlfriends for the past five.  We connect regularly via social media and always get together when I visit Wisconsin.

OUTLOOK

I re-affirm a positive attitude by reading motivational and inspirational quotes.  I share uplifting words via social media. Both serve to improve my  OUTLOOK on life.

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NUTRITION

I made the Mindful Choices to:

Snack on pistachio nuts and kosher dill pickles as opposed to a 220 calorie piece of cake.

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Read the nutritional label on this container of coleslaw before putting it on my dinner plate.

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Grateful for making the Mindful Choice to change the way I live my life to improve the quality of my life!!!

Week 3: Mindful Monday – Healthy Living

It’s Week 3 of Mindful Monday – Healthy Living, I feel self-motivated, self-inspired, and self-directed to uplift the body, mind and spirit.  The CREATION Health program, I chose to follow on this Healthy Living journey allows self-guidance and self-direction through the eight principles of living life to the fullest.  I am enjoying the journey.

THE 8 PRINCIPLES 

CHOICE

After looking at this video, “STOP: A Short Mindfulness Practice,”    Potential stressful  situations, last week, were avoided and/or reduced because I didn’t immediately react to them.  As recommended in the video, I took time to:

  • S = STOP
  • T = THINK
  • O = OBSERVE
  • P = PROCEED

I made the CHOICE to add STOP to my Healthy Living Self-Management Tool Box.

REST

Sleep hygiene is excellent, I get 7-8 hours nightly. Pacing my activities throughout the day is my biggest problem.  To address this issue, I went to Google and found a 12-page publication by the University of Michigan, “Improve Your Functioning through Effective Pacing.”  The first few lines grabbed my attention:

“One of the most effective forms of therapy for increasing physical functioning and improving your quality of life is NOT a pill and it’s not an exercise.  It’s changing how you do your routine daily tasks by Pacing.”

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to add a link to this publication.  You can, however, google — Improve Your Functioning Through Effective Pacing — to access the  PDF document.  Once accessed you can download it to your computer, Kindle or IBook.

When I blog, I over-extend.  When I exercise, I over-exert.   Honestly, I tend to over-extend and/or over-extend while doing most things.  Oftentimes, I fail to stop or slow down until the body crashes and the mind boggles.

I added this document to my Healthy Living – Self Management Toolkit.

ENVIRONMENT

Florida’s rain and chilly weather kept me indoors for most of the week.  On the gloomiest day, I brought sunshine into my space.  In the quietness of our bedroom with drapes drawn, I connected with nature’s beauty by looking through my computer photo album.  I took these photos last summer when my daughters and I went on our annual Mother-Daughter vacation in Martha’s Vineyard.

Ninety-nine percent of the, approximately, 12,000 photos stored in my computer photo album are memorable and cherished moments that bring peace, happiness and love into my space.

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My Computer Photo Album is one of the most important tools in my Healthy Living – Self-Management Tool Chest.

ACTIVITY

I lived up to my INTENTION to, daily, exercise the body, mind and spirit.

Exercise: On Saturday, Hubby and I went for an early-morning walk in our city’s largest indoor mall.  I love the accessible amenities available during non-mall hours for walkers —

  • Comfortable Seating
  • Accessible Bathroom Facilities
  • Coffee and Water

I also got in two days at the Fitness Center and four days of early-morning home exercises.

Mind and Spirit – After an almost two-year absence, I revisited the meditation practice that started me on my daily meditation journey.  The Meditation Podcast offers thirty, free, 8-20 minute meditation practices.

I brought The Meditation Podcast out of retirement.  It is now in my  Healthy Living – Self-Management Toolkit.

TRUST  –

This week I set as an  INTENTION to build SELF-TRUST.  I begin this new journey motivated by five inspirational quotes:

“As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.” (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)

Trust yourself and try not to get lured off course by conflicting opinions that don’t seem to sit right with you.” (Auliq Ice)

‘Never let the thoughts of self-unworthiness re-arrange your prepared passion for failure.  You can do it even if others say you can’t.  But you cannot do it if you tell yourself you can’t.” (Israelmore Ayivor)

“Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.”  (Norman Vincent Peele)

“You can have all the tools in the world but if you don’t genuinely believe in yourself, it’s useless.” (Ken Jeong)

I added these quotes to my Healthy Living – Self-Management Toolkit

INTERPERSONAL 

On Tuesday, I spent a lively and enjoyable three hours in my photography class.  Talking and laughing through most of the class as we struggled to take our first Water Splash Photo.

This is my first attempt.  It took a few tries before I figured out how to keep my hand out of the photo,

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I managed to keep the hand out.  But it took many, many, more tries to capture a half-way decent photo.

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I added my photography class to the Healthy-Living Self-Management Toolkit.

OUTLOOK 

I listen to Depaak Chopra’s, “Souls of Healing Affirmations.” Uplifted by these positive affirmation upon waking every morning is the building block needed to get through the day with a positive OUTLOOK.  It’s a gift to myself.  (paraphrased CREATION Health)

The Souls of Healing Affirmation is a key tool in my Healthy Living Self-Management Toolkit.

NUTRITION

Encouraged by my eldest daughter, I bought a set of Portion Control Containers to manage and track my food intake. It didn’t work out well.

PURCHASED THE CONTAINERS

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CREATED DAILY COLOR-CODED CALORIE TARGET SHEETS

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I used the two smallest containers to manage my intake of nuts and ignored the others.  I allowed myself only one container of nuts per day.  A lover of pecans, walnuts, peanuts, cashews, etc., I always buy the largest bag, jar, or can of nuts.  Throughout the day, I visit the pantry and grab a handful.  I hope these little, bitty containers, will help to break this serious nut-eating addiction.

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Next week, I will assess the Portion Control Containers and decide whether they are a worthy addition to my Healthy Living-Self-Management Toolkit.

My 70-Day Challenge to Wellness

For most of my life, I made unhealthy choices. The consequences prevented me from living life to the fullest.  I take full responsibility for opening the door to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, breast cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Now, I am fully committed to living a healthy lifestyle. It all began on June 2, 2015, when I posted this on Facebook:

“Thanks to Brenda and Peggy for sharing their 70 Day Challenge journey on Facebook. Their daily posts inspired me to begin my wellness journey, which I hope leads me to a healthy mind, body and spirit.

The Challenge, for me, has extended beyond 70 days to the remaining days of my life.   No longer am I willing to wander aimlessly toward improving the quality of my life. Now, I wake up each morning self-motivated to follow a path that I know will lead to a healthy spirit, mind and body.

As a Challenger sharing my journey on Facebook, I have been further motivated by the positive and supportive comments posted on my page by family members, friends, and even the friends of my children.

Also, I am encouraged, guided and inspired by the comments made by Sister Challengers. The ones that I chose to share are from three women that I hadn’t communicated with in almost twenty years.

“Welcome to the journey my friends. It’s a journey of unimaginable beauty, strength, spirituality and peace.” (PHM)

“Go, Yvonne Thomas, great stats and a great job with sleeping. Many studies talk about the value of consistent sleep.” (BB) 

Go ahead and feel good about it! Smile be smug, and be certain to continue the Challenge.” (DJW) 

After only 90+ days of participating in this Challenge, painlessly and effortlessly, I can:

  • Get in and out of the bathtub
  • Walk up and down stairs
  • Lower to and rise from the floor
  • Squat and kneel

These are things that I haven’t been able to do, without experiencing mild to severe pain, since being diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis in 1993.

To give you a better idea of my Challenger journey, I share a few snippets from my Facebook posts:

Day 1. I meditated for 30 minutes and followed up with a 30 minute mindfulness walk around the neighborhood.  In the afternoon, I also did water aerobics for 40 minutes.  At day’s end, my Fitbit device reported: 6,703 steps; 2,108 calories burned, 1,466 calories eaten, 72 oz fluids, and 8 hrs. 1 min. sleep.

Day 70. Today, is the last day of my Challenge.  I plan to continue this journey toward building a healthy body, mind and spirit. I completed 30 minutes of mindfulness and meditation practices as well as physical therapy home exercises for 30 minutes.

Day 101.  By choice, it was a very sedentary day in terms of physical exercise.  I didn’t plank, stretch or crunch.  In fact, I barely walked.  The body screamed for rest and l listened.  Attended early morning online church services; and, following this , I enjoyed a day of relaxation.

Lastly, just as my 70-Day Challenge was coming to an end, two of my Sister Challengers invited me to join them in a 30-Day Plank Challenge. I accepted.  On Day 1, I held the Plank Pose for 30 seconds; and, by Day 30, I was able to hold three poses over the course of a day, one for 2 minutes and two for 1 minute.  

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Not, bad for a Seasoned Sistah who will celebrate her 73rd birthday in November.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Freedom Friday – Week Four: Mindfulness and Meditation Practices

Yesterday, ended Week 4 of the 8-Week Mindfulness and Mediation Program; and, I am half-way to the finish line.

The practices for Week 4:

  • Ten minutes of the Breathing Anchor Meditation for six days;
  • Ten minutes of the Compassionate Acceptance meditation for six days;
  • Analyze Pacing Diary
  • Habit Releaser, Make Peace with Gravity

In addition to the two required meditation practices, I continued the Body Scan Meditation from Week 1.

Breathing Anchor Meditation

I was introduced to this meditation in Week 2; and the repeat in Week 4, Though still a work-in-progress, I am growing in the awareness of my breath as it flows through the body.  And, I am using my breath to calm the body and ease pain.

Compassionate Acceptance Meditation

This meditation as well as the assigned readings, introduced me to the author’s concept of the difference between:

  • Primary Suffering – the actual unpleasant sensations to the body; and
  • Secondary Suffering – the additional pain when we react and dwell on the actual unpleasant sensations.

They believe that:

“Secondary Suffering is often the greatest source of distress … mindfulness training helps you to reduce or completely overcome it by accepting the things you cannot change, Primary Suffering. and changing those you can, the Secondary Suffering.”

As a chronic pain sufferer and having connected with many others with this condition, both personally and professionally, I tend to agree with the authors on this.

Analyze Pacing Diary

My Pacing Diary got derailed with unplanned activities and unexpected visitors.  As a result, all that I planned to do, didn’t get done. Initially, I experienced some degree of anxiety and stress.   But, Week 4’s readings and meditation practices guided me to understanding that this was Secondary Suffering, which was within my power to change.

Through on-going mindfulness and meditation practices, I hope to let go of being “obsessive and rigid” about completing planned tasks.

When I started this 8-week program, I didn’t factor in all of my activities over the summer months, specifically, out-of-town visitors and out-of-town vacation travels, which not end until after Labor Day. Because of this, I decided to let go of the commitment to post weekly about my journey to manage and control my chronic pain condition through this mindfulness and meditation program.

I will continue to do the readings and meditation practices.  I plan to complete the program within the eight weeks.  If things go as planned, I will share the key points of the  final four weeks in a post that I hope to publish between mid-September and early-October.

Also, I plan to regularly post on my blog, over the summer, with the new awareness of not being “obsessive and rigid.”

Habit Releaser – Make Peace with Gravity

The authors write:

“Every time you pull away from your body in an attempt to avoid feeling it, you’re unconsciously creating more suffering, strain, and exhaustion.  It only makes your pain or stress worse.

I have been pretty successful in getting beyond mental or emotional pain by being still, breathing and giving into gravity.  But, still a work-in-progres when it comes to physical pain.

Thank you for joining me on this journey and I look forward to sharing my final four weeks with you in the fall.  A special thank you to the imanikingblog for allowing me to use Freedom Friday as the platform to document my journey.

 

 

 

Freedom Friday – Week Three: Mindfulness and Meditation Practices

This week, unexpected, out-of-town visitors caused a delay with the timely posting of Freedom Friday.

Even though late posting, I timely completed Week 3 of the 8-Week Mindfulness and Meditation Program, developed by Vidyamala Burch and Danny Penman and presented in the book, “You Are Not Your Pain.”  

I have been on a challenging journey these past three weeks.  Some days, I felt like saying, “Give up, you’re never going to get through this.”  Then the inner voice evolved and reminded me to focus on the journey and not the destination.

Week Three:  The Journey Continues

In addition to the readings, we were assigned to do:

  • Ten minutes of the Body Scan meditation for six of seven days.
  • Ten minutes of the Mindful Movement meditation for six of seven days.
  • Daily Pacing Diaries.
  • Daily Habit Releasers, Watch a Kettle Boil.

Body Scan Meditation

Following and being aware of the breath as it flows through my body is a new learning experience.  Daily, I see improvement performing this meditation, which guides me to:

  • lie on my back with hands lightly resting on the stomach;
  • feel the rise and fall of the stomach which, for me, is where the awareness of the breath is strongest; and
  •  become more aware of the breath as it moves through other areas of my body and I am beginning to notice the breath more in my back and extremities.

I feel relaxed and the mind is free from the clutter of random thought when practicing this meditation.

It is becoming easier to welcome pain, even emotional and mental, in a loving and compassionate way.

Awareness is guiding me toward understanding that pain, as presented in:

  • Week One, is “not solid, but fluid,” and
  • Week Two is “like the clouds constantly changing and moving.”

Mindful Movement Meditation

Struggling through this meditation for seven days; I wasn’t able to do the simple mindful movements, with any sense of awareness, of either the wrist rotations, finger flicks, or warm hugs.

There wasn’t any physical pain.  But, mentally and emotionally, I shut down and, when guided to breathe and relax, I held the breath and shut down.

As a long-time chronic pain sufferer, there have been times that I:

    • refused a hug when offered by a friend or loved one;
    • tensed the fingers awaiting the tools of the manicurist; or
    • tightened the body, in anticipation, of the massage therapist’s hands.

I did all of this in fear that another’s touch might exacerbate my physical pain.

I plan to repeat the Mindful Movement Meditation until I am able to overcome whatever is preventing me from fully engaging in this practice.

Pacing Diaries

This assignment required keeping a, daily, diary of all activities.  As a retiree, a typical day for me:

  • 4:30 – 4:45 a.m. – Wake Up
  • 4:45 – 5:15 a.m – Stretching
  • 5:15 – 6:15 a.m. – Meditation/Mindfulness/Stillness
  • 6:15 – 7:00 a.m. – Light Breakfast
  • 7:00 – 8:15 a.m. – Neighborhood Walk or Exercise at Gym
  • 8:15 – 12:00 noon. – Errands, Household Chores, Work at Desk, etc.
  • 12:00 – 2:00 p.m. – Lunch, Read, Relax
  • 2:15 – 4:45 p..m – Work at Desk and Prepare Dinner
  • 5:00 – 5:30 p.m. – Jog/Walk in the Pool
  • 6:00 – 7:00 – Dinner and Kitchen Cleanup
  • 7:15 – 8:30 – Prepare for Bed, Relax, Read, or Watch TV
  • 8:30 p.m. – Sleep

From time to time, the activities change and fluctuate, but rarely do I deviate from my:

  • Wake Up Time
  • Sleep Time
  • Morning Stretches
  • Meditation/Mindfulness
  • Neighborhood Walk or Exercise at Gym
  • Jog/Walk in the Pool

Pacing my activities, is a self-management tool that I have used to manage my chronic pain condition for more than twenty years.  And, I feel comfortable with what I am doing in this area.

Habit Releaser

The assignment was to Watch A Kettle Boil at least one time per day.  I own a bright orange kettle, which I call a teakettle, and it’s used to enhance the decor of my kitchen rather than to boil water for tea, coffee, or cocoa.  I use the microwave for tea and the Keurig Coffeemaker for coffee and cocoa.

Willing to give it a try, I tried to mindfully:

  • observe the water flow from the tap into the teakettle;
  • imagine how the water reached me; and
  • listen to the water boil in the teakettle.

After six full days of going through this process. I wasn’t able to relate.  But, I am open to giving it another try in hopes of enhancing my awareness of movement and thoughts as I carry out routine daily functions.

I will be back posting Week 4 of this journey on Friday, July 31.  Thanks to the imanikingblog for hosting Freedom Friday.

 

 

Freedom Friday: Week Two – Mindfulness and Meditation

Introduction

Three weeks ago, after reading the book, “You Are Not Your Pain,” by Burch and Penman; I decided to try their 8-Week Mindfulness and Meditation Training Program.  

Even though, there were doubts, I embarked on this new journey which, If successful, would add a new self-management option for managing and controlling my 20+ year chronic pain condition.

Week One:  Still A Work-In-Progress

When the week ended, I still wasn’t able to, wholeheartedly, buy into the concept to welcome and accept with compassion my physical, mental or emotional pain.

I successfully completed the required reading and medication/mindfulness practices.  Although, I experienced different results when faced with:

  • Mental and Emotional Pain – I wasn’t able to welcome it with compassion and kindness.
  • Physical Pain – The pain levels appeared to lessen when, without negative judgment, I made the choice to enter stillness, follow the breath, and acknowledge the pain with compassion and soothing words.

Week Two:  You Are Not Your Thoughts

The practices this week were twice daily, 10-minute Body Scan and Breathing Anchor Meditations; as well as a Watch The SkyHabit Releaser.

Body Scan Meditation

After completing twenty-eight (28) meditations, I still cannot warmly welcome and accept mental and emotional pain when it enters my space.

Yet, I did make progress.  At least, I think so, given what happened following a recent disagreement with:

  • Hubby,  “What’s wrong?”
  • Me, “I’m good.”
  • Hubby, “Why are you just sitting there with your eyes closed?”
  • Me, silently, “I am breathing deeply trying to welcome and compassionately accept the fact that you are getting on my last nerve.”

By practicing stillness and breathing, I eventually let go of the negative feelings, moved past a stressful moment, and stepped into the present moment stress-free.

A work-in-progress, I remain, as it relates to welcoming mental and physical pain with kindness and compassion.  Yet, I am optimistic that further study and meditation practices will open me up to embrace this concept.  After all, this is only the second week.

Breathing Anchor Meditations

Reading about and practicing this meditation introduced me to Characteristics of the Doing and Being Modes.  

According to the authors of this book, the:

  • Doing Mode causes you to over think your pain,
  • Being Mode – allows you to step away from your pain.

I read, re-read, highlighted, and flagged the information shared by the authors on the two different modes.  Eventually, I reached the conclusion that I shouldn’t limit this meditation and mindfulness training program, as initially planned, to managing and controlling my chronic pain condition.

This new understanding of the Characteristics of the Doing and Being Modes, led me to expand this training program to delve into some of my anxieties and frustrations as a Breast Cancer Survivor.

Habit Releaser – Watch The Sky

Every day, I looked up at the sky for fifteen or more minutes because, according to the authors:

“Pain and suffering can be likened to the weather, while your awareness can be seen in the sky. Sometimes the weather is wild and wintry. Other times it is calm, clear and sunny. But no matter what happens to the weather, the sky always remain.  One of the best way to gain a sense of this simple but profound idea is to simply watch the sky for a while.”

I watched the sky for seven days.  One day, while exercising in the pool, I looked up and followed the quarter moon as it moved farther and farther away, finally disappearing.

Other days, I spent watching the sky, at different times and in various setting and, even, captured photos:

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I enjoyed watching the different colorations in the sky, the formation of the clouds, and the movement of the quarter moon.  After several days, I could see the ever-changing looks of the sky in relationship to my mental, emotional and physical pain.

Conclusion:  Self-Awareness

What I know now that I didn’t know before Week Two:

  • Doing Mode – The realization that I function in the Doing Mode as a breast cancer survivor and need to reset this mindfulness/meditation training program to better manage and control the emotional and mental pain that affects the quality of my life.
  • Being Mode – Self-analysis leads me to believe that, as a chronic pain survivor, I have lived my life in the  Being Mode for a number of years.  Continuing this training will either confirm or disprove my self-analysis.

As I move forward on this journey, I plan to document my Doing and Being Mode experiences, past and present, in future posts.

I will be back posting Week 3 of this on January 24.  I send a warm thank you to the imanikingblog for hosting Freedom Friday and allowing me to use her platform to document this journey.

Freedom Friday – Mindfulness and Meditation Practice

Getting better, but MY INTENTIONS do not always get MY ATTENTION.

Three weeks ago, I committed to writing a weekly post for Freedom Friday, hosted by imaniking, to document my 8-Week journey toward managing and controlling a long-term chronic pain condition through Mindfulness and Meditation Practices.

I successfully completed and posted for Week 1.  Even though, I did the reading and meditation/mindfulness practices for Week 2; I will do a repeat and write a post about this experience on Friday, July 17.

Instead of Mindfulness and Meditation Practices, I gave full ATTENTION to family and friends during my mini-vacation to Wisconsin for five days.  Everyday, I met face-to-face with friends and family that I, usually, communicate with via E-Mail, Facebook, or telephone.

While I love my new life, as a retiree in Florida, I miss the personal connection with the special people in my life.  I enjoyed being with them to:

  1. see their smile,
  2. watch their body language, and
  3. listen quietly while looking into their eyes.

But, the highlight of the vacation was being in the presence of family and friends at our Annual Summer Family/Friend Gathering.

(Photography Credits to Friends, Jane and Cebby)

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Cupcake said, “Let’s Get This Party Started.”
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Three-Legged Race
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Water Balloon Toss
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The Golfers said, “Let’s Get A Little Putting In.”
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The Young Men said, “Let’s Shoot a Couple of Hoops.”
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Avi said, “Look At My Moves.”
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Cupcake, Kertagje and George said, “We Got This Dance Down.”
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Avi said, “I Won A Medal.”
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Lyric said, “Forget the Bouncie House, Watch My Somersault.”
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SeasonedSistah2 said, “Talking with Family and Loving It.”
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Hubby (White Shirt) said, “Having a Great Time with Family and Friends.”
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Damien said, “I Had Fun, But It’s Time to End This Party.”
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CJ said, “I Am Tired and Damien is Right, It’ Time to Rest Up for the Fireworks Tonight.”