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My grandson and I went to see The Incredibles 2 this weekend and ever since I’ve been thinking a lot about super powers! Stopping a runaway train or steering an out of control cruise ship to keep it from crashing into a port city, is child’s play compared to what so many of us have to handle every day.
Our imagination runs away with us. Our to-do list seems out of control. Pain, grief and confusion may overwhelm us to the point that getting out of bed in the morning can be considered an act of heroism. When we don’t think life is fair or easy, when we choose to search for meaning in hard circumstances and let them open rather than harden our hearts, we are using our own super powers.
It takes special super powers to be kind to ourselves when we make a mistake, to be kinder to ourselves when we make a bigger mistake and to be hugely kind to ourselves when we make one of those hugely, ugly and embarrassing mistakes.
It takes super powers to trust that we will recover and learn from them that maybe they aren’t mistakes at all.
Kindness. Trust. Choice. These are just three of the many simple words that have the power to change our lives and with their ripple effects. They have the power to impact the lives of the people around us.
Interestingly, these powers only work when we are not wearing a special outfit our hiding behind a mask. They only work when we show up as ourselves. And, on the days we aren’t able to access these powers (and we all have those days), we must simply do the best we can.
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On Saturday I hurt my back with a simple twist as I was standing up. On Sunday, even though my back ached and was very tender, I went for a short, careful walk. It was a beautiful day and as I shuffled around the neighborhood, passing yards planted with fresh spring flowers. I wondered why I was surprised to be in pain.
I knew my posture at the computer was not good. I knew reading in bed caused me to slouch even more than being at the computer. I knew the chair I liked to sit in at the end of the day so the cat could curl up on my lap was a terrible fit for my body.
So, if I knew all these things, why hadn’t I something about them?
I have a feeling I’m not the only one who waits, thinking things really aren’t that bad, that I can handle being uncomfortable, that it’s not a big deal and anyway, I’ve gotten used to it. Of course, I can handle being uncomfortable, but why wouldn’t I change the situation if I could? Why should I get used to it if I don’t have to? Do I think it’s going help me build character?
One sign of character is the willingness to respect and care for myself as well as others. This willingness to respect and care for myself is also a reflection of self-worth, and I was disheartened that after all these years I’m still struggling with this issue.
Walking past another lovely garden, I understood that my self-worth is not yet a perennial and needs to be planted anew every season.
By: Brenda J. DeMotte, MSW, LICSW An excerpt from her book: Grief Demystified, A Companion Through Change For more information or to purchase the book visit: www.griefdemystified.com
Let yourself be inert, wait till the incomprehensible power…that has broken you restores you a little, I say a little, for henceforth you will always keep something broken about you. Tell yourself this, too, for it is a kind of pleasure to know that you will never love less, that you will never be consoled, that you will constantly remember more and more. – Marcel Proust
No Loss Without Gain
In the early days of bereavement, it’s hard to believe that anything good can come from your loss. But things are different now, and you may notice a silver lining or two. You may have or foresee more time to yourself, or more freedom of one kind or another. Your mind may protest that you can’t possibly want more time or freedom at such a cost. But these freedoms remain real enough. The gains from bereavement can be major gains in the way you remake your new identity (our definition of grief, remember, is nothing less than a redefinition of self) and also small, practical gains.
Small, Practical Gains
We’ll start with the small gains. If you are newly bereaved, you will likely be noticing already that some things in your life are a little easier. If you have lost a mate, for example, you no longer have to cope with his snoring, or wait while she looks for her car keys for the millionth time. Hold on, you may say, I’d cope with any amount of snoring or key hunting if I could just have my mate back. No doubt you would, if death or divorce could be undone by wishing. But that’s not the way it goes.
Grounding Yourself Through Small Gains
It’s a positive step in your grief work to dare to admit that it can be kind of nice to have sole control of the TV remote, to watch action flicks or soppy romantic movies that your late spouse or ex deplored, or to crank the type of music that you love but he or she hated. Such thoughts, far from being disloyal, as baby steps in accepting your loss. It is helpful and healthy to admit what is real. And because daily life is full of small, practical realities, grounding oneself by attention to these realities is a way to forge a new connection to life. All of this is the way things are, whether you like it or not, so why not find small things to like? People need permission to accept the practical gains that come with loss. Whether or not you wanted it, there’s simply more freedom. Options open and there may be room now for surprise and serendipity.
New Strengths And Paying It Forward
Gains are unavoidable from losses. If you think you’re doing something wrong by gaining from death or divorce, you haven’t yet grasped the full implications of your loss. For everything that was taken there’s a corresponding something given, a very real possibility that you are gaining new strengths from coping. Though you didn’t ask for or deserve the suffering, it’s here. It can crush you, or you can, over time, develop resilience. It seasons you and make you wise. Eventually, you can come to fully accept what happened, to the point that you turn naturally toward comforting others who will inevitably be in your shoes – because all of us go through this. We’re all in this together. There is no deeper wisdom than that.
Written by Barbara Greenberg, Founder Rediscovering U
What does tubing down a river in Colorado have to do with women, divorce and support, you may ask? Let me explain!
I was recently on vacation in Colorado with my children and grandchildren, and one morning we decided to go tubing down a section the San Juan River, which I though would be the same as tubing down our local Apple River. Well, I was mistaken!!!
Even though the water level was low, I over-turned on the second small set of rapids, and when I popped up from the water, my tube was swiftly floating way from me. The water was shallow enough for me to walk towards my tube, but the footing was comprised of slippery rocks, and I kept falling back into the icy cold river. I was very grateful when my younger daughter grabbed the tube and held it for me until I could catchup and climb back in.
I decided to float closer to the shore line where the water was calm, assuming I would be safer, but the only thing that happened was I got stuck in the shallows. I had simply exchanged one set of problems for another.
Finally my older daughter grabbed hold of my ankle as my legs hung over the edge of the tube, pulled me away from the shore, and held onto me until we reached our down-river destination, which felt like hours but probably took only thirty minutes!
Looking back up the river from where we had come, the rapids seems so small, and I wondered why I they had frightened me so terribly. And it was interesting that of all the wonderful, heartwarming memories of this family vacation, my mind kept returning to experience of the river. I had to make a conscious choice to focus on the joy of the holiday and not on the cold river and the frightening ride down it.
The experience was embarrassing. It was even funny. And it was chockfull of metaphors!
Divorce certainly tosses us out of the safety of our lives, and we can feel stranded in an icy new reality.
During divorce we see our security float away from us, and we can’t keep our footing to catch it. We may want to stay close to what feels safe, but we have to be careful not to get stuck away for the flow of the river, the flow of life.
During divorce we all need someone to reach out and hold us, support us, so we can navigate the frightening turbulence of this difficult time.
Then when we look back at the experience, we can choose not to focus on the pain or the fear, but on the blessings of our life…and of the new life we are creating.
Article written by Barbro Brost, DC, the Brost Clinic, Wayzata
Pain comes in many forms, ranging from a dull ache to sharp stabbing pain. We have all experienced pain in various forms going through life. Most low grade pain such as mild strains or sprains we can shrug off, because we know that it will be gone in a day or two. Sharp pains, when we stub a toe or hit an elbow, disappear quickly but is very intense at the moment. Of course there is pain from more significant injuries and chronic pain such as from arthritis or other illness.
In our culture we are very quick at swallowing a pain pill to numb the pain. We have all been trained by ads and the media that this pain pill or that are more superior or more long lasting.
We need to rethink this approach because of recent new research. Harvard research recently published in July 2015 show that NSAIDs drugs such as ibuprofen (Advil and Motrin), and Naproxen (Aleve and Naprosyn) and Celebrex increases the risk of stroke and heart attacks or death from other reasons by 47% in people with high blood pressure or other cardiovascular disease.
So if you are taking blood pressure medication, cholesterol medication, or are being treated for more serious heart or cardiovascular disease, the advice is to totally stay away from NSAIDs. It has previously been known that these medications can also cause gastrointestinal bleeding and kidney damage.
The opioid medications, like Oxycodone and Vicodin, are very addictive and should only be used short term for extreme pain. Opioids are what they sound like, opium like substances (basically synthetic heroine). More people are now at drug rehab centers treated for addictions to opioids than for street drugs and alcohol combined!
So what to do if you are in pain? First of all, pain is not a disease but a signal that there is something wrong. Sometimes it’s obvious if you just fell or injured yourself. There are other times when the cause is not so apparent. Covering up the pain signal can be like turning off the fire alarm instead of looking where the fire is. It makes more sense to figure out what causes the pain, treat that and the pain will leave naturally. A good doctor should get to the bottom of the cause and correct it (if possible) instead of leaving the problem to get worse while covering up the pain. Chiropractic and acupuncture are good resources for most types of pain. Doctors of chiropractic are trained to diagnose and find the cause of pain and treat the cause or refer you to the appropriate health care provider for appropriate treatments.
For home therapy, ice is often as effective than over the counter medications without the side effects and complications.