Boy, I’ve had a great start to the summer. Well, that is after the first few weeks of June. Stress (mental, emotional, or physical strain or tension ) is known for flaring up the symptoms of fibromyalgia (pain, brain fog, insomnia, exhaustion, etc.) significantly. For me saying goodbye to my 6th grade classes (seeing them for the first time since I’d been off and packing up my books and personal things the last weeks for May) and then on June 3rd, attending the annual SCHOOLS OUT FOR SUMMER celebration at a wonderful watering hole downtown in the big city hit me hard. I mean shockingly hard. Yesterday, when telling it to a friend over coffee was the first time I had spoken of it without crying-just a little tearing up.
Through a Fibromyalgia Chronic Pain program at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital, a pain clinical psychologist I’ve been seeing during the 10-week program has been reminding me that this is a time of change. You can be sad at the end of something and happy/excited about the start of something at the very same time. Change = stress. It’s normal and okay that I’ve been struggling.
However, I’m bouncing back this week and have had FULL wonderful days since last Thursday. Looking back, I realize just how blessed I truly am. I feel so grateful for my life just as it is at this moment.
This weekend, my husband and I met with friends we hadn’t seen in a couple of years. We shared memories, shared some joys from our current lives and a few raw sorrows. We sat on the open patio at a brewery downtown Grand Rapids for three hours before the talk and energy ran out.
I’ve been working out with my daughter at a local spa/gym/rehabilitation on Tuesday and Thursday nights after she’s done with work. I’m going to a yoga studio most mornings; such a great way to shake the rust and stiffness that has crept back in overnight.
Yesterday, after yoga class, a new friend and I walked to a local coffee shop to share breakfast and life. Last night, I sat on a deck overlooking Jordan lake with fellow teachers I worked with 13 years ago sipping drinks and sharing stories. The sunshine, breeze, sparkling water, and great conversation filling me up. I drove home not even tired from the full day.
Today, I met with some of my besties from school (first time since the last day of school last year). We laughed so much! The sheer ease of our friendship reminding us that we will forever be bonded.
Celebration of How Things Are
This is in no way meant to show off. In fact, it’s a celebration that I’m able to do this. What a FULL week that’s filling instead of depleting me. My creative juices are flowing, and I’m so excited for each day. Just so many possibilities. I am amazingly fortunate, grateful for all this chronic condition has helped me to notice the moment I’m in and relish it. I won’t lie, I have to be diligent to use all that I’ve learned so that my body and mind can function in a healthy way. Listening to my intuition and body is slowly becoming more a part of my instincts.
My pain doctor from Mary Free Bed has told me that if I continue down the path of taking care of myself, that in a couple of years, I may really have changed from the brain paths that were deep, painful Fibro ruts to fresh, new roads paved in gratitude and a whole lot less pain.
What do you do to find the blessings in your life? To, despite the pain, find the good? This is, to me, the crux of the work to heal, paving new brain paths with gratitude.