Reality

It may be that I am leaning towards the age of 50 and the things that used to matter so much to me now have much less weight in my day-to-day.  For example, I am finding that I am far more confident than I was even just 5 years ago.  One example of this lack of confidence showed up in my insecurities about my ability to effectively share yoga, when in truth I am a fine teacher.  It showed up during the times when I worried way too much about my appearance, or my speed running up a mountain or the amount of work I could pile onto my plate.  This all seems to be fading with every passing year.  I was driving home today thinking that I really don’t feed an internal need to be “liked” anymore, and with that falling away a sense of authenticity has begun to emerge the last few years.  My voice has gotten stronger and my attitude about life has gotten much richer.

And then life showed up in a real big way.

Three years ago this month, I severely tore tissue in my hip called the labrum. It is likely that it was already slightly torn, but during a snow storm while shoveling my driveway, I tore it to then point of needing to go to the emergency room.  I was prescribed pain medications, although since I had just had foot reconstruction a couple prior, I had some leftover and opted to not get the prescription filled. When the surgery to repair my hip came in April, I had been taking pain meds off and on since the January snow storm.  The surgery had a rough 4-6 week recovery time and the pain control was tough.  By the time August came, I knew that my hip was still not quite right despite my greatest efforts to heal.  Another MRI and unfortunately another tear.  A bigger tear.  Another round of pain meds while we waited for surgery.  Surgery was the end of December and that meant another 4-6 weeks on crutches and another round of pain meds.  When March came, I again knew that my hip did not do well with the 2nd surgery. The month of May brought a consult with a specialized surgeon in Denver who does nothing but reconstruction on tissue of the hip.  Surgery was scheduled, but not until the month of September, which meant 4 months of pain meds.  The surgery in September was a HUGE and long surgery that encompassed two very detailed procedures.  I had a couple of nights in the hospital and an even longer recovery than the first two ahead of me.  And more meds. My body had taken a toll.

It has now been 4 months and my hip is finally starting to stop hurting every minute.  Sure, some days are hard and when I do teach a lot, I feel hip pain, but it is tolerable. What is not tolerable is the effects of long term—low dose—narcotics.

When we hear on the evening news the term “opioid crisis” some of us may see in our minds a picture of the strung out druggie doing anything they can to get high.  We might even see someone in chronic pain who has given up and chooses to self medicate with more than the needed amount of pain meds. Who you might think of last, is a person like me.  A healthy, vibrant, positive and upbeat Yoga teacher.  Someone who has been prescribed rounds and rounds of narcotics because life has handed her some hard physical challenges in the last 4 years.  I have never taken more than I was prescribed, in fact I take half of what they tell me to.  Why?  Because I know the power that they have.

So in my authentic truth, I am dependent on opioids and I am fighting with all I have to get off them.  I am working with doctors and I have a strong plan of tapering them out of my system.  Even going slow, and barely taking any, the effects of withdrawal are living HELL—runny nose, shaking, lack of breath, stomach issues, racing thoughts, adrenalin, anxiety and panic, and PAIN.  Pain that makes my hip pain a walk in the park.  You see, our brains have the capacity to change—both positively and negatively—its called neuroplasticity.  My brain and its chemical structure has become dependent on the external chemical and without it, my brain sends different pain signals to other areas of the body, until I take the drug.  Once I take it, my symptoms go away….temporarily until the brain wants it again. And again.

Besides lowering my dose, I have some strategies in the uncomfortable moments of withdrawals.  I take epsom salt baths, I walk, I meditate, I cry and I use essential oils.  I have come up with an amazing blend that helps reduce the symptoms of withdrawals.  I apply the blend to my spine, the base of my skull, my wrists and under my nose.  Within minutes, the symptoms are tolerable. Sometimes I have to apply every twenty minutes, and sometimes the effects last longer.

This is not a post about essential oils.  It is about reality.  It is about authenticity and being real.  It is MY face of the opioid crisis. It is about my truth. It is about being confident enough in myself to be transparent.

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In a 10ml roller combine the picture of oils, 8 drops each (yes it is a TON of EO), top with FCO. It may be trial and error like it was for me.  I researched and looked in my resources to find what is best for me.  I also take zendocrine detox daily and put lemon in my water.  If you want more info, or you are also struggling, I would love to connect—doing this alone should never be an option.

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Disorder to Contentment

A childhood where the state of fear, anticipating reaction from others and a consistent undercurrent of stress was my reality. My earliest memories involve being on edge; wondering what others thought, fearing the verbal explosion of divorced parents, worrying about being good enough and sensing the financially woes of my single mother.

As an adult I am looking at how easily I find myself with an overbooked schooled, continually looking at my budget, rushing from one job to the next and rarely sitting still. Is it possible that I became addicted to the adrenaline rush that living in the constant state of flight or fight causes?

When I look at my adult life and the patterns that I am so easily drawn back into, it is easy to conclude that it is very likely that I am in fact addicted to the feeling of unease.  The hormone that is produced when stress is present gives that rush of explosive energy that says GO. Recognizing this recently I realized that when my life becomes settled, I become uncomfortable.  When my life is chaotic, I am in my groove but my body, mind and spirit eventually suffer.

Catching myself feeding on adrenaline, here is my game plan for easing into a life of contentment:

  1. Meditate before my feet hit the floor.  I tend to jump out of bed with a burst of energy and do not stop until I crawl into bed 14 hours later.  Although I do meditate every day, it is often rushed through to get onto the next thing on my list.  By rolling over and taking that first really intentional breath, I am able to slip into an easy and open meditation before my mind has a chance to get busy. I set my intention of ease and balance for the day and I spend time with spirit and gratitude.
  2. Review my calendar. Five minutes looking at my day and setting a game plan for the day.  Knowing what is ahead is much calmer than getting the abrasive alerts on my phone, then reacting with a surprise that then causes a flurry of activity, which leads to more adrenaline and more chaos.
  3. Say no more often. Whether it is the extra trip to the grocery store for the unnecessary items or getting distracted on the internet.  It is imperative that I say no to the things that cause me to be late, rushed or stressed.  I tend to squeeze as many tasks as I can into the least amount of time. The result is I am often late and that feeling feeds the flurry of chaos.
  4. Practice, practice, and practice. Yoga is key for my mind, body and spirit to stay aligned.  Five minutes on my mat will alter most states of disorder. I have my mat rolled out and waiting most days, and I am learning to consistently go there for solace and to get grounded.
  5. Breathe.  Simple right?  Pause and breathe.  Often times just taking three really good breaths I am able to take the internal state of pandemonium and create a calm and serene feeling.  Watching the breath come in and watching the breath go out.  Affirming with each breath that all is well.

Check in with yourself and explore the possibility that your current lifestyle and pattern of chaos may be rooted in the addiction of adrenaline.  Look for ways that you can move away from the craving of disorder and into a dependence on contentment.

No more sugar

My weight-loss journey and dedication to health began about nine years ago and throughout those years I have been a vegetarian eater, a paleo eater and a few things in between. The last two years I have eliminated most dairy, grains, some meats, legumes and a host of other items.  Through all the choices, I had held on to a belief that I needed wine and chocolate. Never in a zillion years would I have considered that I would not be eating cookies and dark chocolate regularly. A daily glass of wine, or two, was standard.  Until the last two months.

I have had a total of about three glasses of wine in the last two months. Up until I taste-tested a holiday cookie yesterday, I had been completely cookie and chocolate free.

Was it worth it? Not at all.  The cookie tasted horrible despite my family raving about its goodness.  Totally not worth it.

Our bodies are amazing in the their ability to adapt to what we put into them and how we nurture them. I have learned through this recent change that sugar is indeed a powerful addition that can be overcome.  Since ditching the sugar I have noticed clearer thoughts, better sleep, increased energy, and overall sense of well-being.  I was certain that before the wine and chocolate elimination I felt great, but it has become evident to me that now I feel really great. Clean, clear and no longer at the mercy of sugar.

Give it a try.  Really, give it a try.  You can get off the sugar drug and you can increase your vitality.  It is not easy but once you are over the withdrawal hump, it is amazing how easy it is to say no.