For some people January 1st is a time of excitement to put resolutions into action. For others it is ‘that’ time. Again. Make a plan, expect to fail, fail, job done.
What is it about the new year that makes us resolve to do things? The answer is in the question - new. Who doesn’t like new? New day; week, month, moon, term and my personal favourite new notebook.
However, the ‘start new’ system can be flawed. We begin off so keen and buy gym memberships, try new diets, start a new business, behave differently but gradually we slip back into the old ways.
Sometimes the resolutions are doomed from the beginning because we are running on old internal programmes. Say, for example, you want to become a vegetarian but the thought of not eating meat sets off an emotional response related to your dear dead father. He thought veggies should be locked up and even though you have different beliefs you are torn in your heart and feel as though you are letting him down.
As you think it through it seems silly to hold on but emotions and inner thoughts are the programmes that run us and to succeed with change we must clear the underneath.
We run like computers and most of us know how adding a new programme without removing all the old bits is just asking for trouble.
How then do we start fresh? The literal meaning of tabula rasa is clean slate and it works as a fantastic metaphor for what happens within us.
To begin the process here is the year’s first hypnotic meditation for you to begin to create your own path to success. Whether you are new to meditating in this way or experienced doesn’t matter. Just do your thing.
Inducing a hypnotic meditative state is more successful if it is personal to the way you think and process information. If you were told to picture a beautiful day and you don’t particularly see images in your mind, you may be disappointed and think you can’t do it. A good way to cover all eventualities is to use ‘see, sense or imagine’.
Better than that, though, is to pay attention to your inner processes and use the words that suits you the best.
If you are:
I have also included the following and will explain why after.
I have included these as I once did a whole course of hypnotherapy with a woman who only used her sense of smell. It was a challenge but we managed. Most people are bits of all the above, but a few are more dominant in one or another.
A couple of other points:
Fist tight = tension. Released fist = relaxation. Is that it? Yes.
We all operate in cycles and rhythms so please remember this when creating your own meditations: the waves lapping on the shore in time with your breathing, slowly breathing in and out… in… out… in… out. Gently rocking, sinking, drifting, or whatever terminology you are using.
Your Special Place hypnotic meditation script
Pause at the ellipses regardless of whether you are recording your instructions, reading to yourself or just carrying it out. I am aware that they are grammatically incorrect but that is the nature of the hypnotic beast. Decide how you wish to bring yourself out of your relaxed state when you are finished. Count, naturally awaken or set an alarm. 10-15 minutes is a good start.
This works as as a reading meditation; you can just ignore the bit that says close your eyes, unless you want to read first and then when you are ready close your eyes and take yourself on your trip.
Make yourself cosy and comfortable.
Take a slow breath in and, as you breathe out, you may let your eyes gently close or wait a while until you feel ready to close them.
Begin to notice your breathing ... You don’t need to alter your breathing pattern… just breathe gently and regularly, noticing how you feel as you breathe… if you feel differently when you breathe in to when you breathe out… allowing yourself to become more restful each time you breathe out.
Begin to notice thoughts in your mind. Thoughts coming and going. Some thoughts staying awhile and some being sorted or filed before you notice them…
Become aware of noises and sounds coming and going. From now on during this meditation just ignore all sounds that you hear while you are resting, apart from an emergency; just remind your mind that you are relaxing more and more…
Now, think about your feelings – in your mind and in your body. Feel those feelings… feelings of tension can begin to be replaced by calmness…
Thoughts come and go... Sounds come and go… Feelings come and go...
Breathing regular and slow… as you relax deeply into yourself where all is well…
Put your awareness now into your hands… Notice how they are feeling – if they are warm, cool, heavy or light. Imagine how your hands would feel if they were completely relaxed. Only you know how your relaxed hands feel…
And all the while, thoughts coming and going… Sounds coming and going… Feelings coming and going…
Breathing regular and slowing…
Think now about how your feet are feeling. Notice if they are warm, cool heavy or light… If they feel the same as your hands…
While you are thinking about your feet, allow your hands to relax... Only you know how your relaxed feet feel.
And all the while, thoughts coming and going… Sounds coming and going... Feelings coming and going...
Breathing regular and slowing.
Focus your attention now on the back of your neck. Imagine your feet are relaxing the same as your hands… Relaxing more each time you breathe out…
And now slowly and gently allow the relaxation in your hands begin to flow up now into your arms… At the same time the relaxation in your feet can spread up your legs…
Resting… Slowing... Calm and comfortable…
That restful feeling can spread now from your arms, across your shoulders and down your back… At the same time from your legs feel it flowing up, up though your hips, pelvic area, tummy and chest…
Calm peaceful waves of peace and relaxation flowing through your whole being…
All that relaxation can flow up now through into your neck, up the back of your head and through your face, eyes forehead and scalp…
And now… slowly, gently but oh so thoroughly back down your body like little waves on the sand.
Calm... Peaceful... Relaxed... Soothed. Taking yourself down inside yourself to where you feel comfortable. That cosy feeling way down deep inside – where all is well. This is your time now – time for you.
Any tensions, anxieties, worries or fears are mentally massaged away. Draining away from you.
As you relax, more and more deeply, we will count from one to ten and you can allow the passing numbers to help you to rest even more… even more…
One, resting… relaxing…
Two, breathing gently… relaxing more and more with every breath… with every gentle beat of your heart…
Three, feel your whole being soothed… caressed in peace…
Four, breathe away any tensions or anxieties…
Five, rest… relax… calm…
Six, calm… breathing easy… soothed…
Seven, resting more and more deeply…
Eight, inner peace washing over you and through you… calm… peaceful… relaxed…
Nine, each breath taking you deeper and deeper into calm and peace…
Ten, continuing to relax…
Your Special Place
Now, in your mind, create a special place. It can be somewhere that you know or somewhere that you make up. It can be inside or out. Use your imagination as best you can. Have your special place exactly as you like… colours… textures… everything perfect…
All that matters is that this special place is yours - it belongs to you. You choose who or what you have there. Relax now in that special place within you, that you are now in. Spend some time looking around…enjoy the feelings and inner contentment…
When you are in your special place, all is well. You can begin to release anything that isn’t serving a purpose and you discover that you can make choices and experience freedom.
Spend some time now in your special place and know that you can return whenever you want.
Your thoughts can be clear, calm and focused and whenever you think of your special place your mind replicates calmness.
You can now become aware of your desires and goals, and your inner mind is now creating the programmes for you to achieve exactly as you wish. Create it now in your mind.
Fill yourself with success in whatever way that means to you.
You can visit your special place if you want to relax, if you are looking for answers, or for no other reason than it is lovely.
Find somewhere now where you can rest – a chair, hammock, bed…and snuggle down into slumber. In this special relaxation your mind is able to access anything that you desire…ideas, memories, plans, goals…anything…
From here you can rest a while and then count in your mind 1, 2, 3 awake, or when you are ready you can naturally become alert or respond to your alarm.
If you will a little spacey when you first awaken stomp your feet, clap your hands or go to an open window or door and take a few breaths.
Sign Photo by Austin Chan on Unsplash
Hammock Photo by Vu Thu Giang on Unsplash
Pain, stress and anxiety attacks affect our breathing. If you get injured or experience an extreme situation the natural inclination is to breathe in sharply and hold your breath. Over time the stress caused by ongoing pain or anxiety creates an extra state of anxiety which can lead to shallow breathing or fear of slower deeper breathing.
Gently try out these two techniques. Never strain or over-hold.
1. In your mind, count (see, imagine, sense) backwards from 100, rhythmically in time with your breathing, and relax a little with each number. You might like to say to yourself after each number, 'relax', 'deeper and deeper', 'calm' or a word that you associate with being relaxed. Do this until you lose count or forget where you've got to and can't be bothered to start over.
2. Count to yourself: 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3 over and over and try to prevent thoughts nipping in between the numbers. If they do manage to squeeze in, say the numbers quicker so they are closer together. The aim is to only have the numbers in your head with big gaps between them, but it may happen that you forget where you are or forget to remember to count.
With each just practice for a little while. More will follow plus different techniques and modalities for you to try.
Clicking on the image above will open a new tab in Zenler with a free quick breathing exercise created just for you. Barbara x
I am simply known as ‘healer’. People, in my and the surrounding villages, call on me for a variety of ailments. Daily I walk the hedgerows gathering flowers, barks and roots to make my lotions, potions and tinctures. I return to my kitchen to brew, grind and whisper the incantations to infuse the medicines with the intention of good health.
I help people with pain of the body, mind or soul sometimes all there if someone is deeply harmed. Often a broken heart from an unhealed injury or bad relationship can not be mended without compassion and regular infusions of healing. The grief of a life that was might drive some from taking to their beds and this can often lead to difficulties in them getting back up.
Together we stop excessive inflammation from spreading and turning in on itself with the bark of willow to cool the heat and the leaves of valerian to soothe demons in the mind. Finishing with milk of the poppy to quieten the noise of pain.
We know of the way pain burrows deep, determined to stay put, and without correct measures can take hold as a permanent lodger.
Mistress Smith and I chat and while sipping our mead imagine the future. “I predict,” I muse, “There will come a time when medicines are made from substances unknown in nature. Men will tell us what is best and the money makers will corner the market.”
“What of us and our healing ways?” She always asked.
“We will be on the outer edges of society used as a last resort when all has failed.” I always reply.
Our conversation continues that in the future individuals will not be allowed to decide for themselves what might work best with the harmony of their personality. Instead they will be told to accept it and try (and maybe even die) smiling as without help uncontrollable pain and death will most likely occur.
While the medicine men ply their trade there might come a time when balance is close but then the lawmakers get involved and not like the unnatural substances. They do not like nature’s supply either. From more knowledge grows more ignorance.
They will be cross that some people are seeking out medicines for reasons they do not approve of so to stop that no-one will be allowed and those who try to help will be punished so much so that everyone will suffer.
What of the natural medicines we wonder? They would be the ones deemed bad because the understanding of nature’s lore is forgotten. We move on to discuss the benefits of chatting, sharing and helping each other while knowing that lonely souls will be excluded, forgotten, ignored.
As we reach the bottom of the jug we laugh in delight at our ripe imaginations.
Photo by ORNELLA BINNI on Unsplash
You have probably had days when you can’t manage to do much and personal grooming is way down the priority list but you still have to go out so you spray dry shampoo on your hair and hope for the best. You get the feeling that everyone you see, including your doctor, thinks you look daggy and unkempt. Lazy even.
“She’s let herself go. She’d feel better if she tried harder.”
Another day you can manage better and shower, bung on some slap and head out.
“You don’t look poorly. You look good therefore you must be better.”
“You have pain all the time? All the time? I never knew. You never said you should have shared.”
And then, “All she does is moan. No wonder she hurts”
Saying, “I hurt” is not deemed bad enough because being uncomfortable or a bit sore does not warrant any kind of help.
Describing actual pain and feelings, as in, “My body is on fire with shooting pains everywhere and my head feels as though it will explode,” is catastrophizing/exaggerating/drama queen.
Battle on until it becomes too much and give in and take something. Give in?!
The toil on the body and mind from pain is immense and must be managed to prevent extra health problems developing. Being stoic and taking pills on an as and when basis is generally not the the best way.
When a patient has a positive response the doctor has got it right or it is a miracle.
When healing does not happen or there is a negative response it is the patient’s fault.
If you have overdone things what do you expect?
Do more, get moving.
I travel in cars, trains, boats and planes but often can’t get down the stairs without adopting a bizarre crablike posture whereby I move about like Gollum.
You are so miserable. Lighten up. Cheer up Love it might never happen. Try smiling and you’ll feel better.
You can’t hurt that much if you are laughing.
This post also appears on The Mighty
This is the time of year when you are happy with your resolutions, cross about them or didn't bother. Whichever you are here is a treat.
Can you imagine all the benefits of a spa visit without the paper undies or having to be coated in a sticky brown substance that has none of the pleasures of chocolate?
What if you didn’t have to think about how to modestly cover up with a towel, or even have to shave your legs and worry about stragglers near your lady garden first. Where is this magical spa of freedom and pleasure? Can it really exist? Can I buy a voucher?
You don’t need to - this is your Mind Spa and all you need to do is summon up your inner therapist so you can reap the benefits without a blush in sight.
I have this thing of ‘having a go’. It is easy to say, “no I can’t” and then miss out on things that I might have managed, or end up too frightened to do anything, so I toddled off to Cyprus at the end of the school holidays.
It was fun and hard but I managed with the help of my ever-patient kind husband. On the way back we went to Thessaloniki for a few days and spent much time floating in the sea.
When I returned home I saw an orthopaedic surgeon, MT and he managed to prod in all the pertinent places (not in a good way) and wondered if it ‘smarted a little’.
He put my MRI on screen and asked if anyone had mentioned that I have Bertolotti’s Syndrome. This is a lumbosacral transitional vertebrae (LSTV). There, information you didn’t know you needed. No-one had. Back in the day the first ever surgeon said I had a tether and SJ said I had a high bit.
Well, I am so special I even have an extra disc in my sacrum and the problems and related issues are from nerve damage. What to do eh? Obviously, I went back to Cyprus.
We arrived on the Wednesday and took our grandsons away for the night on the Friday. All was good until 4am when I got up for the loo. On the way back my leg gave way and I reached out for the bed that wasn’t there and crash landed on my hand. It hurt. A lot. It didn’t stop hurting and so we ended up at the hospital.
Examined and x-rayed the casualty doctor thought it was probably not broken and I excitedly sent texts to my daughter and husband while laughing with relief at the drama.
I was a happy bunny until the orthopaedic surgeon, CP, arrived and said it was fractured.
Now I was a sad bunny in a cast and not allowed to swim. I was a bit woe is me what with my casted arm in a sling and using a walking stick with my good arm because of dodgy legs.
What the hell - relieved I’m not a dog or I’d have been sent to the farm.
When we returned after a week to see CP we had a coffee near the clinic and there was a patient from the hospital over the road (yes other side of road) with drip in situ, IV bag hanging on pole, drinking coffee and having a fag. Straight into the centre of the Venn. If this means nothing please see previous blog post.
Back home now for a while before, you’ve guessed it, Cyprus for Christmas. This will be the last trip because they have been posted to RAF Scampton. It doesn’t have quite the same ring as Cyprus but despite lack of sun and sea it will be brilliant and a whole new adventure.
And Red Arrows!
Red Arrows photo by Owen Kemp on Unsplash
This post previously contained swears. I sometimes silently say profanities occasionally out loud. It has happened a lot recently but rather than be a Sweary Mary I shall write 'stop it'. Much sweeter and makes me seem less of a strop.
I have talked before about the 2 lists I have in my mind - they are the ‘eh’ and the ‘seen it all’. There is also a Venn diagram and the section where they cross over is called ‘wtf?!’
This past week has seen new entries onto to both lists and one new into the centre. It all starts with pain. Again?
Shut up woman.
Nutshell for anyone who doesn’t know;
Years of ongoing debilitating painful back issues, diagnosed with sacroiliac dysfunction, left side fused, screw into L5 nerve root (not fun), screw removed, donor bone squirted in, right SI fused, heal a bit, hurt a bit, heal a bit, hurt a lot, given the diagnosis ‘CRPS’, have injections, pulsed RT, more injections, diagnosis changed to bone issue, added in sore hips from years of SI issues etc etc. How long should a list be?
I have had episodes of urinary incontinence and this started up again a couple of weeks ago coupled by the ghastliness of faecal soiling and ridiculous pain. This is as yuck and scary as it was before. I saw my GP and she said to pop along to the hospital. It was all very deja-vu of a few years ago and I explained I haven’t recovered from that so I said no and she said I could go to a different one.
The ortho doc at the hospital examined me, put his finger in my bum* and this is how the conversation went:
Doc - do you want to come in for a few days?
Me - no.
Doc - are you managing at home?
Me - yes.
Doc- why not come in?
Me - no thank you.
Doc - if you have a slow developing cauda equina you’ll have to come back. Or, just stay.
Me - thank you for the kind offer but NO.
Doc - you definitely want to go home then?
Me - yes. Please. Can I go now?
Doc - or…
Me - are you saying you think it better if I stay?
Doc - I am responsible so if you go and then have to come back questions will be asked.
Me - of you not me.
Doc - we will look after. You can rest and have nice pills.
Me - I can do that at home.
Doc - yes, but…
Me - are you saying I should come in?
Doc - yes.
Me - okay I will come in but I’m not staying long.
Doc - brilliant I’ll sort it.
This is a shortened version and although it sounds stroppy it was actually funny and we were laughing a lot.
A lovely nurse appeared, bundled me into a wheelchair, because I didn't want to be moved on the gurney, and took me to the ward. I was given my own room and popped onto a chair. Orthopaedic wards tend to be busy and this one was no exception. I had nothing with me so was supplied with everything up to and including net panties. You probably know of the bags that resemble a bit of net and then stretch in all directions when you put shopping in them… Think same.
Nurse Feelingfine brought me Paracetamol. Stop it! I could take them at home. Two minutes later Morphine arrived. Now we’re talking, fairies here I come.
It all got fuggy after that.
I had cups of tea whenever and enough Morphine to shut me up. They know what patients are like.
In the morning I got told off for sitting on a chair because I was on ‘bed rest’ - didn’t know that was still a thing. I told the doctor I’d like to go home, he smiled sweetly and said, “you can in a few days.”
My actual personal nurse was amazing. Loud, funny, caring and married to a Reverend. What's not to love?
Nurse Iaminchargeofpain visited. She looked at my foot (it drops) and said, “you know that’s permanent?” Stop it! When asked, “what brings you here?” I told her quite colourfully.
She then did the red flag to a bull movement. You know the one. Head slightly to the side, Thatcher voice gearing up and said, “have you spoken to anyone about your psychological state?”
She straightened her head then down it went again, “because you don’t hurt so much if you are happy.”
Stopit. Stopit. Stopit!
Lovely Nurse heard me telepathically and appeared like magic and Nurse Iaminchargeofpain scuttled away.
Then they gave me Diazepam and I got fuggy again. They also gave me laxatives because they knew what was coming. Or, rather what wasn’t.
Later in the day I began my mission to escape. I fibbed and said I felt better after the Diazepam and then I got moved into another room with 5 other patients. Definitely on a mission to get home. Been there done that planned the escape.
Anyway, the woman opposite returned from surgery looking very grey, asked for Morphine and then said she needed a cigarette. The ward sister told her she could when the IV had run through. The cannula was in the top of her foot.
A different consultant visited me. Between him and the admitting doctor they decided I have spondylitis, permanent nerve damage with drop foot and possibly a slow developing cauda equina.
“Thanks,” I said ‘but can I go home now?”
“Well..” he started. I tilted my head to the side and breathed in, he blanched and said, “If your nurse is happy and they can do the paperwork today, can sort your meds then yes you can. Or, you can stay.”
I told Lovely Nurse and she said she'd ask Sister who said okay to go but much to do to let someone out and I was welcome to stay.
While they were sorting paper and meds the woman opposite got up, unhooked her nearly empty IV bag and handed it to her bewildered husband and put on her trainers. Yes, trainers. She squashed her foot including the cannula with bits attached into it and did up the laces. And here we have the Venn diagram and the section where they cross over.
By now I was prodding Mick, “what the hell” I asked, followed by, “I know, not my monkeys”. Sister arrived and took control in a fairly scary way. That’s what Sisters do.
Sister then came to me. My tummy sank but she smiled sweetly and said, “We are just sorting your meds but we are having a hard time sourcing a doctor to prescribe, a pharmacist to deliver and available Diazepam.”
Oh no. I felt caught in a headlight and should have said something but my mouth would not comply. The moment passed.
Half an hour later Sister returned, “Matron is on the mission to sort your meds.”
Matron has better things to do than buzz around the hospital like a fruit fly for a fibber.
I suggested a prescription would suffice. That worked.
I left with instructions to rest, do limited physio, take meds and return instantly if all hell let loose in my nether regions.
* Nothing dodgy. It is to check if the muscles are working and if there is numbness.
Picture credit Photo by Park Troopers on Unsplash
Let’s talk about nerve pain. Anyone who has experienced it knows it is an absolute bitch. The last operation I had on my back was in January 2016 and although the slow healing was frustrating I was definitely on the right path. Until last summer when odd pains started to attack my back, hips, foot, ankle and leg. At first I was excited that the L5 nerve, that was previously damaged, was firing as part of its recovery.
Then the sensations turned trippy. To have a limb that is numb but hurts when touched is weird as is walking down stairs feeling imaginary water flowing over the top of your foot. Numbness that also feels like scalded skin ripping off and bits of your own foot disappearing is, well, peculiar. Anyway, if you’ve had it yourself you know what I am talking about.
When I realised something was maybe amiss I toddled off to my GP. We all know that doctors love rashes, pus and syndromes and it was the latter label for me. After a few months of tolerating, grinning and not bearing it I asked to try a nerve block. My wish was granted and I had it done last November. Short-term relief and then deja-vu of vicious pains, muscle spasms in back and bum, toes all pointing in different directions and the high/lowlight of peeing my pants in Sainsbury’s. Not intentionally.
In discussions with the surgeon (SJ) and pain consultant (BN) I asked if it was possible that my own bone had grown too much around the bone graft, that was used as scaffold in my sacroiliac fusion operation, and it was pushing onto the nerve; continually annoying it and compressing it. He felt that was quite likely and suggested pulsed radio-frequency treatment* to ‘free’ it. At this point the GP's earlier diagnosis of syndrome became a ‘bone’ issue.
I recently had the treatment. I was trundled to the operating theatre on my bed, rolled onto my side and after agreeing with BN which was my left side; marked with a cross so he’d remember, I clambered onto the op table. If you have ever been awake in an operating theatre it is like party town. There are many people involved in your care and the important job of keeping one alive. While I was lying prone with a pillow under my chest, my bare bum in the air and the anaesthetist trying to coax my veins to appear everyone carried on with normal chat.
“What would you normally be doing?” and, “do you see clients for hypnotherapy?” and, “how many words are in a book?” and, “I’ll need the longer curved one” and then nicest words, “night night.”
I drifted off to snoozeville*.
*Snoozeville - sedated enough to be roused, speak, shout, swear and worse but with no recall.
*Pulsed radio-frequency treatment is different to the ghastly thing I had done before with the other pain doctor, that was continuous radio-frequency nerve denervation.
Info here if you fancy knowing more about the procedure:
This post was written in March and I am re-sharing now I am a year down the line.
To celebrate the anniversary I have included an image of my beautiful pelvis. You're welcome :)
Although I'm not quite out of the tunnel because I have a damaged nerve I am so close I can taste it.
As I tend to bang on about how healing writing stuff can be I decided to write my back story. Rather than put it as a post or series of posts I have made it into a downloadable pdf.
The choice to read or not is yours. Please note it contains occasional swears.
The footnote is that it has helped. I was unable to think or talk about some aspects without crying and having emotional pain stabbing my heart.
If you wish to read it please click the book for the file x
You have a shiny new book contract; back-flips, flip-flops and even the spread-eagle. It is important to take care of yourself to get the best out of you without stress.
While writing I thought I should observe my own ideas and then decided to share.
Here you have it x
The writing process requires mind-space, comfort of body, a happy spirit and calm motivation. Well, that’s the theory.
The following is what has worked for me and that I share with my clients and, even though I do have a magic wand, your way is the one that will work for you.
Ritual is a good habit to instigate. It sets the scene: literally and metaphorically while, at the same time, alerting the muse. Maybe lighting a candle, preparing a glass of iced water or stronger, cartwheels around the garden or completing your asanas is the way.
Whatever works is good but it is not set in stone. I know writers who are unable to commit a word without their pre-work routine but it is important to not allow the ritual to rule you. You are in charge of you and it might be that just the intention is all you need and the words will tumble free-flow from your mind.
A cluttered mind is not conducive to word weaving so the first thing is to clear-out extraneous thoughts. These can present themselves as doubts, niggles, the to-do list and a variety of other issues that seem to do their utmost to prevent that bestseller being birthed. Procrastination is the way of many and sometimes (I think) writers' block is given as an excuse.
Morning pages*, doodles, affirmations, gratitude and meditation all help with the clearing. An empty head is not the goal but one that allows words to sliver onto the page or screen is. Doing something repetitive but not too challenging can fire up the muse and make her burst forth with glee.
Comfort is paramount. If you enter the mind-state of flow, time disappears and before you know it hours have passed. You only ‘come back’ because your neck has locked or you can no longer feel your feet. Or, your bladder is about to explode.
Stretching, massage and swimming are perfect remedies. But, better still is to ensure posture and position are perfect before beginning. The forearm muscles are often neglected and the relief gained from stretching them out or having a good rub is huge. Please try this yourself by applying hand-cream to your hands and continue up to your elbows. Really work your thumbs into those muscles and enjoy the relief as the tingles flutter up to the back of your neck.
Feeling free to create words of knowledge or entertainment is our spirit’s natural state. We do, however, tend to do all we can to hinder that but when we are in a congruent state of mind, body and spirit our emotions balance.
At the end of writing time it is important to be happy whether the target has been met or not. It is about enjoying the journey. Sometimes no words are written but the thought process is in place or the outline plotted. If you get a grump-on or feel cross with yourself, the next time you want to write your muse might not even bother to appear.
Displacement activities are the author’s best friend. All those things that must be done before writing happens can easily become excuses. This can be helped by setting specific times for writing and honouring it.
Success comes from creation rather than reaction. Having a notepad to scribble the disruptive thoughts onto really helps – this could be the back of the pad kept for creative ideas. If easier you can record your thoughts on your phone. What's that? You don't like the sound of your own voice - well, you don't need to. Once noted action is not required until the time is yours. Trying to ignore irritations just makes them more persistent but when acknowledged they lose power. I have learnt that emails, Facebook, Twitter, phone and every other digital distraction can and do wait. They can be time wasters and creativity drainers. Your words matter and your book deserves the time and care as much as you, the author.
If you are keen to write your book but spend your time not writing your book please read through my offerings. When you are so inclined get in touch and we'll take the journey together.
Morning Pages - from The Artists' Way by Julia Cameron. Visit here
Inge Randma is here
Soggy lumpy squidgy bits
Saggy flappy floppy tits
Constant nagging tighten your core
Sod right off while I eat some more
Carbs to numb and fatten the bum
Add some weight and then some
The perils of pain can be weight gain
Being over stuffed yet under nourished
Does not encourage the body to flourish
The other extreme is the anorexic look
When the thought of food turns one crook
And there’s nothing to them ‘cept skin and bone
While the constant pain makes the body moan
For many years I was a vegetarian who ate fish (I know…). Then I slipped off the veggie wagon and one day a bloodied steak on my plate triggered something deep inside – not in a good way and I became a veggie again but still ate fish (I know…). I also ate dairy and eggs, yes… still know…
The fish then stopped being at risk from me but not the dairy. Occasionally I questioned why but as this was usually with a face-full of chocolate there was my answer. When I was recovering from the surgeries I began to think about nutrition, mostly relating to inflammation. Instinctively, and it’s not rocket science, I thought that if I could reduce it, it might aid my healing and ease the nerve damage. Inflammation is not all bad as it works to warn us of danger but too much is not good.
A serious contender for the too much award is dairy (I knew…) but really?! Cut it out? What, totally? No more cream, chocolate, milky puds, cheese… I decided to give it a try rather than fully commit. This was mainly to check that it was even possible but also to ensure I didn’t keel over in hunger swoons. Ha ha ha.
Well, the change in me verged on freaky and the healing acceleration noticeable. I studied some more and read paper after paper on nutrition: mostly relating to healing but also to developing and maintaining rude health.
This is my journey but I thought that through my sharing you might find something useful; especially, if you are poorly, in recovery or suffer with a chronic condition.
Okay, so how is it going? Fine, thank you for asking. I have discovered delicious recipes and am enjoying many benefits I hadn’t considered. Oh, and the eggs went too.
I will share things such as vegan eating when dining out and all about whole-foods, plant based, reduced or oil-free and life without cheese made from milk.
I am in Cyprus just now staying with my daughter and her family. Tonight she is taking me to Little Plates and the wonderful Roddy is going to prepare me a vegan delight - http://www.roddydamalis.com/
The daft hippy reference has been coined by my son, Paul. His term of endearment is daft hippy shit.
Image - http://www.freevectorvip.com/
A lot of my work is with people who have injuries or suffer with chronic pain. As someone who has been there I know the challenges and desperation this can cause. The picture is of my feet in the cold sea earlier this year sans pain.
Some years ago I was working at a golf club with a group of nine and there were two people with shoulder and neck pain, three had low backache, one had a headache and one suffering with IBS. The two people remaining who didn’t have any pain felt quite left out. If you ask around most people experience discomfort of one sort or another quite frequently, especially, backache, headaches and the ilk. It might be just general aches and pains, pain following injury or surgery or a stress related problem in the form of tensions in the body.
And of course, pain leads to stress which leads to pain and so on. It can be a seemingly never-ending downward spiral and when this happens it is called chronic.
Before any pain can be managed it is important to ascertain the cause. Pain is always a signal that something isn’t right or that an injury has occurred and anything new must be discussed with a doctor or similar. But, pain from stress, in the form of a holding pattern or as an emotional response, can be excruciating and seem like an injury reaction.
Chronic pain, whatever the cause, is stressful and debilitating but it can be therapeutic to be doing something, i.e. taking responsibility and action towards alleviating the discomfort/agony. Most doctors are pleased if their patients want to take control and attempt exercise, play games or participate in sport and taking part in something is also good for mental health and can help to stop depression creeping in. However, how is it even possible when pain is so severe it’s a challenge to get out of bed to go to the bathroom?
Back to the original group - all involved were regularly taking pain killers.
They all wanted to live a good life and would just take extra pills either before or after any activity. Too many pain-killers can cause problems of their own so it is not good to take an excessive amount.
However, although I would certainly not suggest stopping the popping if you are going to participate in games or sports regardless you may as well try to manage pain and tensions in a natural easy to manage way.
Your perception of discomfort is important. Pretending the pain isn’t there is not the answer. But, being aware of, and then managing it, is.
If we are relaxed we hurt less so breathing properly is the first step. We tend to breathe in and hold our breath if we experience discomfort but that makes our muscles tense and sore. Examples are fist clenching, jaw locking shoulders up and bowels tightening and there are many others.
If you have any pain now think about where it is and imagine breathing into that part of your body while mentally soothing the hurt away. Think about how you would feel without any pain and how you would stand, sit speak, walk, swing a golf club etc. Act out these movements or behaviours in your mind. If you do this a few times your subconscious can begin to find ways to create it permanently.
Here is a technique you might find useful especially for helping a headache - but beneficial for any type of pain. Of course prevention is always better but sometimes we are not quick, or aware enough and we’re not on a mission anyway because we are too normal! Identify exactly where you are feeling pain right up to the edges of it. Be specific. Does it end level with your left ear, is it resting on an eyebrow or is it drilling into you shoulder? When you know, begin to focus on softening it and rubbing it away from the edges inwards. However you would do this is right for you - whether you visualise, feel or talk to the pain. Again imagine not having it. Play a mental game of something you enjoy or would like to try, feeling well, with your body relaxed and your mind clear. Doing this when relaxed releases natural endorphins that create pain relief and make you feel good. This also happens when exercising or if we are busy. Have you ever hurt yourself but either not noticed or not felt it until later when you stopped and no longer had a distraction?
Visualisation in very useful because you can personalise it in any way that you like. You can create numbness - like a local anaesthetic at the dentist, relax muscles, close imaginary gates that slow pain or change the shape of it to make it manageable.
Here is the method the group used:
Sit comfortably and start the relaxation process by regulating your breathing and slowing everything down - including your thoughts. For a few moments just ‘be’. Now direct comfort to any areas where you think it might be needed. If you have discomfort in any joints soothe them with an inner balm that dissolves away any build-ups and lubricates the whole area to allow a freedom in movement. You can create warmth or coolness depending on your needs just by thinking about it. Drift away into a dream knowing that when you ‘awaken’ you will feel more comfortable. You need only do this for a few minutes.
Be as creative as you can and your mind will do all it can to help you
I have just read an article by yet another writer criticising self-publishing and playing the martyrdom card of being a financially poor traditionally published and therefore more important/special/professional blah blah yawn yawn.
In days of yore you bought a book by collecting the loose leafs from the printing press and taking it to a bookbinder. Then a bright spark had the idea of doing the whole process in one place. Some publishing houses still use the title ‘Press’ in their name. Over many years, the last few in particular, publishing became elitist but through inevitability rather than snobbery.
A publisher might love your work but if they are not going to make a profit from you will they invest? No, they will not. And, by invest it might be with an advance or purely them footing the bill for all the processes. Please remember it is the authors who have gone before who have made the money for that investment.
All books need good editing but I have read indie (used purely to annoy the writing snobs) and traditional riddled with typos and grammatical errors.
Self-published authors are not privy to a few awards. So what? Literary novelists, literary festivals, literary awards all created to make money and the made-up notion of literary acclaim.
Why are authors belittled for their craft? No-one bats an eyelid if a musician creates their music and sells direct. Likewise, the artist who paints. Let the writer write. Self-publishing does not diminish the creativity; it’s either there or it isn’t.
The people who matter in the book industry are the writers and the readers. All those in-between are there to help or hinder. Sadly they are often there to judge. The judges I care about are my readers.
We must change the idea that one person’s creativity is more important than yours or mine. There will never be enough books for all the waiting readers and they don't care who or how it was published, whether by you, a publisher or a co-op arrangement, they just want a good book.
I haven’t self-published, apart from my blog, but one day I might and if a committee doesn’t like my words I will not lose sleep.
We should be supporting each other in our industry and not looking down from the literary high-horse - if you want to be a writer you can be one. If you want to be critical of those who choose to go it alone you can do one.
As I tend to bang on about how healing writing stuff can be I decided to write my back story. Rather than put it as a post or series of posts I have made it into a downloadable pdf.
The choice to read or not is yours. Please note it is words, including occasional swears.
The footnote is that it has helped. I was unable to think or talk about some aspects without crying and having emotional pain stabbing my heart.
If you wish to read it please click the book for the file x
I am been wrecked by having a poorly back and now find myself at a crossroads. While contemplating my future and trying (very hard) to formulate a plan the poem below landed in my head fully formed on the evening of 31st January.
I was sitting on the loo to be precise, on route to bed, but I scribbled it down. I was pleased that I did so because in the morning I couldn't recall it and while not professing to be a poet decided to share because I feel it belongs to all of us x
News from the Muse Blog
This blog is about me: hypnosis-stuff, my travels, my back story and the road to recovery. Hopefully it might resonate with others in pain and maybe my discoveries will help.
I share honestly - sometimes too much... you have been warned.
Overall it seems that I prattle.
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