|Accepting that I will have pain, allows me to
experience it without angst, going forth as much
as possible to do the things that bring me joy.
I am a problem solver. It has served me well in my 55 years of life. However, I have had to realize that I also am a self-appointed controller and fixer of all that I see. This means my problem-solving mode is going 24/7, even in my sleep. This is not healthy.
While my take charge and fix things instinct has been helpful throughout my life and career as a teacher, it’s now one that I really need to turn off. Feeling like I need to fix things is a form of not accepting my life. And that resistance to my present, always striving to fix and be better than things are, leads to anxiety, sadness, discontentment. What I need this new year is contentment for the life that I have here and now.
Now, I don’t mean I plan to sit on the couch and watch life go by with a smile on my face. I just mean that I am going to accept the things that life brings me, just as they are. Accept the truth of my life and situation. I will feel the pain (literally and figuratively), however, I don’t have to rile against it. And by letting go of the struggle, I can be relieved of the suffering.
|So, I feel the sadness or pain without trying to change it,
allowing it to be because this is what is,
and then I move forth.
Acceptance is Action
This past summer, I began Acceptance and Commitment Therapy with my pain psychologist at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation. It was hard to wrap my head around accepting the pain, brain fog, utter depletion of energy that fibromyalgia had brought into my life. The fight against these restraints wore me down until I couldn’t function any longer. Many of my friends have even commented on how pro-active I was being in dealing with this foe. However, the constant search and trying new ways of healing is frustrating, exhausting, and in the end, taking up too much of my precious life.
So, I will accept that I have fibromyalgia. I will listen to what my body and mind need. I will meditate, move and nourish my body, and focus on living purpose-FULLY (see my last post). With the tug-o-war rope dropped, I will breathe into my present whether there be pain or no. I will accept and love myself instead of seeing her as incomplete and wanting.
Acceptance is my super-power, but it needs developing through continuous choosing it and then practicing it. Yesterday, I woke up pretty alert. I felt rusted all over with noticeable pain in my left hip, but I was excited to write. After writing most of this post, my husband suggested we go snowshoeing. The snow was a fresh covering of glistening white fluff, and soft flakes continued to float as if the world was a snow globe recently shook. Knowing we would be having our 4-year-old grand-daughter overnight for New Year’s Eve, I was hesitant.
However, getting out in nature and exercising are two of my five priorities for living purposefully, so I agreed. While outside, trailblazing through the light snow breathing in the crisp, invigorating winter air, I felt a glimpse of myself before Fibromyalgia. Last winter, I spent much of it in bed and missed going for these adventures. Being we can go out our door into the woods, we did a 40 or so minute trek. By the end, I could feel my hip getting angry. So, when I got home, I used the hot pad and worked on breathing through it. I also decided to take a nap before I had to turn on grandma-mode. Accepting the pain allowed me to have fun I haven’t done in a couple of years; accepting my limitations led me to rest and repair.
However, all was not hunky-dory last night. I was up much of the night with pain in my arms (as if I had rock climbed all day) as well as both hips fighting to take turns as to which pain was more intense. This is where my resolve gets weak. I tend to get a bit panicky and frustrated to tears at times like this. However, I’m proud of myself. I belly breathed for 20 minutes, reminding myself of the fun we had through positive, mantra-type repeated phrases. I used the heating pad, did some myofascial release with the yoga ball, and watched some laugh-out-loud comedian clips on YouTube (thank you, Michael McIntyre), finally falling asleep around 3am. This morning, I woke up feeling unusually energized. I’m not saying it was from last night, but I really was surprised at how good I felt.
And So I Commit
This next month of entries, I’ve decided to really focus on acceptance: how it affects the brain, how it affects mood, and how it ultimately affects a life. I’ll be using my own journey by practicing acceptance as well as recent research and others’ stories to hopefully show how to do this and its impact.
What does acceptance mean to you? Does it seem like giving in? Does it feel impossible?