My brain started today singing. The second time. Earlier, it awoke screaming and in desperation for some actually relaxing rest, I painkillered it and slipped back into the dreamosphere. The second time, the awakening was much more pleasant. I successfully slept off a lot of the sore and that is never a situation that I fail to be rapt about!
Perhaps you wonder what it sang, my brain? Some Kind Of Wonderful…
Today it is May and may I say, the change of months brings better days. Days that I have waited for since the disruption of the seasons’ change took hold of my rehabilitative resolve and shook with a windy storm of flares, setbacks and vicious uncertainty.
I am not running through the trees just yet. Change is slow, but I smile as I sense it happening.
Often, after a period of exacerbated chronic pain, I launch back into life with a vigour too vigorous for my system to handle and the result is of the one step forward, two back variety. I have learned that pacing my productivity is the key to maintaining an overall upward incline in my recovery.
The first thing that I tend to do is clean. Few things are as soul destroying as being incapable of caring for oneself, which includes being able to complete one’s own chores. I can never do as much as I’d like. I can never power through a total house clean. I can do a few tasks, in stages, gently. I must balance the work with rest, stretching and Feldenkrais – which calms the nervous system and helps to hold off an action induced flare. I must consider the activities that I plan to participate in during the following days; recovering from cleaning can take longer than one single set of the time between sunrise and sunset.
I have not yet found a balance that allows me to maintain the clean home that I’d like. I am in a perpetual state of trying to catch up before the same chores need performing again. Anything with stages becomes quickly boring if one never progresses past the first couple. Maintaining a home is necessarily a process with many stages.
This week, I broke from my usual tendency. Rather than using the limited power in my ridiculously weak body to clean inside, I took advantage of the sunny days and went out into the yard. The garden is usually the last place to get looked after and as I never do make it to the end of the looking-after list, it desperately needed attention.
I worked slowly and easily, paying attention to the way my body moved and adjusting anything that was uncomfortable. I clipped back the overgrown trees and bushes, cleaned up long neglected and plentiful dead leaves, along with the business that the doggies regularly take care of out there.
Big weeds got the careful yank, all got the spray. This rental has a badly designed garden for maintenance, there are rocks in some very silly places and no weed matting beneath them. Pulling the weeds out isn’t all that effective, unfortunately they need the occasional poison.
There is something emotionally cleansing about literal weeding. Pruning has a similar effect. My yard is looking much larger without all that overgrowth and my mind feels peaceful knowing that I accomplished something that I had long felt was beyond my limits.
Nothing is beyond my limits if I can find the right way to break it down. It surprises me how long it has taken for me to think to apply my pacing techniques to outside cleaning instead of inside cleaning. Especially considering that I truly enjoy spending time in the sun and the garden. I have often lamented that my pain inhibits me from playing with and caring for my plants.
There is no mirage as blindingly powerful as a the limits that we believe restrict us. Of course, some limits are undeniable, however so many can be worked around or overcome. So many.
Gardening caused flaring; inside chores cause flaring too. For some reason, I had previously considered the latter to be alright to deal with but the former too much. I was playing the role of an anchor when I needed to learn to morph into a sail. I had to let go of one in order to be the other. This week, I let the maid have time off and was the gardener, for I have not the strength to be both simultaneously, which is not the same thing as not having the strength to be both.
Sleeping in this morning was some kind of wonderful because I felt like I had earned it. My body ached with the tiresome whining of rarely worked muscles, but my mind felt the freedom of a limit that exists no longer.
Life has been really hard since I made the decision to stop taking Lyrica over a month ago. Finally, the volume on my pain and sensitivity is back within my reach. I don’t have to fear it being turned up a little because I trust in my practise of Feldenkrais and meditation to calm it back down. I don’t have to fear the hand pain because it burns less brightly than before and I once again have the power to assist my body in lowering the pain.
When things get too intense, the pain is in control but when I can get the level down a little bit, it becomes manageable and I am able to feel empowered rather than trapped by a situation beyond my control. All of the work that I have put into relearning movement through Feldenkrais and becoming aware of my own patterns meant that I was able to do something that I have long been too frightened to attempt.
Today I rest with the knowledge that my aches, pains and fatigue will pass and this feeling of self empowerment is well worth enduring them.
Do you have limits that you have placed on yourself? Were they, or are they limits?
And are they really?
Love & Overcoming,
P.S. Rellacafa is now rocking out on Facebook. I am actually rather loving the Pages format, it means that I can post about chronic pain, both mine and posts from other people and share it with anyone who cares to follow, not just those that are my friends. There’s a nifty little widget over there on the right if you would like to “Like” and join me, or head to http://facebook.com/Rellacafa to check it out.