Pain, Life and Values.
So well, this is going to be another post like the last one. In my effort to pull off the band aid and reveal myself to you all, I have been overwhelmed by the responses of compassion, caring, offers of assistance and admiration of my friends and colleagues.
One of the texts sent to me mention my ability to turn a negative into a positive, and it was this week that I turned to one of my dearest friends who is also my personal coach for help with this. But that particular gem will be revealed in a another post, once it has had time to fully integrate.
Today I am inspired to talk to you about how even on a bad pain day, I can often (honesty here, there are days when it doesn’t happen and I just have to lie there with an ice pack on my head and try my hardest not to move too much) recreate my painful day…into a good day. Impossible! I hear you say. After all, a bad day, is still a bad day and pain is still pain.
But I will argue that it it is possible…and I know how to do it. Because I do it all the time. You see it all starts with values.
Positive values are the key emotional states that we move towards. Emotions that we hold up as significantly important to us. They can be things we want to feel more of, or emotional states we want to experience more of. (I learnt that at Date With Destiny with the Master Coach Himself Tony Robbins). It was at this event that I discovered my own core values and how they drive my experience of my life. My core values are Nutruring and Health, Connection, Integrity, Ongoing Education, Contribution and Playfulness.
I know you are asking yourself how does knowing my values impact on the “Life and Pain” that was stated in the title of this Blog.
There are days when I wake up early because the pain in my body or my head is so great that it wakes me up. Those are my bad days. I keep a drink bottle and a packet of pain meds in my night side drawer so I can take something and lie in bed waiting for the pain to ease so I can get up and get the kids off to school. Those are the bad days. Once those pills kick in, most of the time I can at least get up. I can help the kids make breakfast, make their lunches, supervise and kid wrangle them out the door for school. I am lucky that on my really, really bad days, my husband can take the kids to school or I have a friend who can pick them up. But even on these mornings, there are still hugs and kisses for the kids. I can still listen to my youngest daughter read her reader. I can hug and kiss my kids good bye, knowing that their lunchboxes are filled with mostly nutritious food, homemade bread and homemade snacks, and lots of fruit. I can generally get the washing out on the line and then I either go back to bed, or lay on the couch and wait for my next dosage time.
My children each have 1 chore in the morning which takes care of the bulk of the mess, and to be honest, what doesn’t get done, frankly can wait! My life continues, even with the pain. Through the pain I can still live my values.
Nurturing and Health for me and my family is taken care of by taking care of myself, sometimes letting others take care of me and making sure that my kids still get those hugs and kisses all day every day. Some days I can still manage to cook something for the kids and my wonderful husband, other days I cannot and it is an oven meal with a salad and a vege juice.Connection to my family, to myself is crucial and that connection doesn’t stop just because I am in pain. That is how I still live in alignment with my values because I can nurture, even when I am in pain. I can still give hugs and kisses. I can still listen and be present to them. Because of this, I still tick that box.
Integrity comes in, when I walk my talk of compassion for myself and for others. If I am having a reasonable day, plans are followed through with, I don’t falsely offer help to others unless I know that I can follow through with that promise. I don’t “play sick” just to get out of doing something unpleasant…no matter how tempting it is to do so at times, (because not feeling well is the perfect excuse that is often not ever questioned). Integrity is key to my relationship with my husband as he knows that I never pull the sick card, unless it is true. If I can push through, I will, if I cannot…I do not and he respects that. By having this as a value, I can still meet it and fulfill it even when I am having a bad pain day. With integrity comes self management and self honesty. I can do that, regardless of my daily circumstances.
Ongoing education is what keeps my mind alive even when I am sick. I watch Ted talks, read medical journals, coaching and NLP books, documentaries ( I especially love the subsistence lifestyle shows, living off grid and other such things) baking classes when I can go, continuing to feed my mind is critical to my happiness and sense of personal satisfaction and self esteem. I have a pretty positive image of myself and that image is tied up into my continuing love of learning. I am not going to lie to you and tell you this happens all day everyday. Because each day is different, and I am able to manage different things on different days. Some days, it is just TV, others it is an audio book or podcast. On my good days, it is a book or webinar. The way that I live this value shifts daily, but the box still gets ticked.
I have recently been feeling unsatisfied by my lack of contribution to society in general…which is why I am going to be blogging more frequently and opening my books once again to new clients, though strictly limiting that to 3 clients a week. Coaching is my second passion, (my family is my first). I am hoping that by ramping up my contribution I will feel more content with the long hours at home by myself with nothing but Foxtel, Netflix and Facebook. Everyone on the planet has a need to contribute to their tribe. True life’s purpose is in service to others. When all you do is focus on your own pain…all you will see is your own pain and then your world get very, very small. For me, it doesn’t matter how I contribute, as long as I do. As long as that box gets ticked…I can live in alignment with my values. There are days when I can contribute more than others, and so I do. There are days when I cannot, so I don’t. It is about managing my daily expectations so that I live in alignment, focusing on what I can do for that day.
Though on my bad days, I will be honest with you, I do not feel all that playful, but I am able to still have a joke with my husband, and connect with him and a more lighthearted manner. On the reasonable days, I can manage it more easily than on other days. But because I know what my values are, I can use them with volition. With purpose. It is my intent to create a fulfilling life and so I construct my values to take into account the day that I am having.
I do not choose to be in pain, but I choose not to “suffer” feeling unfulfilled.
My life continues in spite of the pain, because the fulfillment of my core values continues whether I am in pain or not. I have found a way to not “suffer” with my pain. Suffering is not the absence of pain, suffering is not being able to connect with my values…and that can happen whether I am in physical pain or not.
There may be some people out there in the ether of the internet that read this blog and don’t have daily chronic pain…and they are suffering because they are not living in alignment with their values. (you can tell if you are by how angry you are at everything) There are many people who do have chronic pain and suffer for the exact same reason.
In my life, pain is inevitable…but suffering feelings of an unfulfilled life is not.
THAT is a choice.