I am back at work, coaching, teaching, and creating again. Yay! I am forever grateful to all of you, my friends, clients, colleagues, and family, for your enduring support over the last several months. (If you’re new to the blog, you can read about my mind-body healing story here.)
After taking a few months to truly allow my body to heal from childbirth and surgery, I feel much, much, much better! I want to fill you in on what I’m doing in my own mind-body practice right now, and what I’ve learned recently. (In short – a lot.) Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing much about that!
I’ve come to realize that I have been dealing with a combination of an actual physical injury, surgery, AND a mind-body syndrome (otherwise known as TMS). Confusing! (What is a mind-body syndrome/TMS? Click here to learn more!) Plus, I’ve had to mentally recover from having what might be the world’s most embarrassing surgery. Seriously. It is called a sphincterotomy (commonly used for anal fissures, which is what I had, and extremely un-fun). First of all, it sounds like the doctor removes one’s sphincter, which in fact, he does not. Thank God. Secondly, it has the word sphincter in it, which is not a word I love to bandy about in casual conversation.
Kind, caring person inquiring about my health: So, how are you doing? What surgery did you have to have?
Me: Coming along, getting better! It was a, um… shmmmumble.
Though there were many times in the last several months where I thought I might die of mortification and or extreme pain, I did not. I survived. Now that I understand the childbirth-anal fissure-TMS combo, it’s so much easier to use my mind-body tools and allow complete healing to happen.
In fact, I feel pretty much back to normal in almost every way. I feel creative, alive, and joyful. I still feel my emotions, and I still have the full array – anger, fear, sadness – you name it. But the sense of underlying contentment is back. Hallelujah! I am enjoying being a mom, honoring the frustrations that come with motherhood, and reveling in the amazing combination of getting to be a mother and a coach. I have created exactly what I wanted to create, and for that, I am supremely grateful!
My mind, body, and soul feel in sync again, and I am clearly hearing the messages from them all. My body still wants rest, so I am giving it much rest. My emotions are asking to flow, and giving me information daily about the best paths to take in every area of my life. And my soul has requested more meditation, which feels delicious, when I squeeze it in. Anything one does when following soul-guidance feels delicious!
Dealing with TMS
As far as the physical pain goes, well – I have dealt with TMS before, of course. I know where I am in the process. I’m at the point where all that’s left is a conditioned response to certain activities. In other words, the brain is used to experiencing pain and guarding against it when doing a certain activity, and it has linked that activity with pain. Even though there is no injury or reason for pain anymore, the activity still seems to cause pain. This is just the way the brain learns in everyday life, for everything. It connects the dots and makes associations.
The tool to use for this is a simple technique. Basically, you’re teaching the brain that there is no reason for the pain to occur, and that it does not need to fire off pain signals when you perform the activity. For me, the triggering activity is sitting down. So, every time I sit down, I say to myself, “Sitting down does not cause pain! I’m perfectly healthy. I’m listening to my emotional messages and no longer need pain to alert me.” Repetition is the key to success. You sit, (or do whatever the activity is) say the statement, and focus on inner emotions instead of any pain that arises.
The brain is pretty fascinating, isn’t it?! I know this process works, because I did it before, when I was dealing with the TMS pain in the past (vulvodynia and interstitial cystitis). I had to disconnect sitting, wearing underwear, wearing jeans, sex, walking, and riding a bike. This time, thankfully, there’s just one trigger!
The process is kind of interesting – it can take some time, but it happens much like learning a new piece of music on the violin. (It’s really the same process.) You practice, you practice, you practice – you go in the practice room every day and you feel like nothing is happening. You aren’t getting anywhere. Then, suddenly, you realize you have made a little progress. You can play a few passages better than before. Then, one day, you realize you have learned the whole piece and it’s no longer hard. Changes happen subtly, but they do happen.
So far, I’ve been doing this for three weeks. I can already see huge gains. Suddenly, there are several comfortable sitting positions, where before, I couldn’t take any of them. Ha! So there, brain! I am onto you!
The key to doing this process is to just keep at it. You have to recognize the fear of the trigger as part of the conditioned response, and use the same technique on that. The other important piece is to be quite gentle and loving with one’s self. That has been the theme of this mind-body learning experience for me. I am truly learning self-love, no ifs ands or butts. Ha ha! Sorry.
Intentional Self Kindness
My current daily mind-body practice is intentional self-kindness. I also notice whenever I am not being kind to myself and to shift toward kindness again. The self-love I used to offer myself is nothing like what I do now. Now, I am on a self-love mission! (More on that in the coming weeks!)
The other interesting thing about this process is that it is completely in line with the law of attraction. To bring about what you desire, you must “act as if,” to borrow words from Abraham. Act as if sitting is completely fine. Live like you would if you felt no pain. Feel the joy of that, and health follows. I also know this to be true, having done it before. So I am on the fun plan. I am finding as many ways to have fun while sitting down as possible. Luckily I have the cutest, sweetest companion for this – Aela, my little eleven month old daughter!
Thus far, I have enjoyed the following: sitting to nurse, read stories to Aela, play in the sandbox, play in the backyard, roll the ball to her, eat picnics with her, and snuggle. I also get to sit a lot when I work, and I have the best job in the world. So, that’s pretty darn fun.
I’m currently training a new batch of mind-body coaches, and I’ve decided to take the training right along with them. Listening to myself teach (which is always about listening to the soul wisdom that is flowing when I’m teaching) is helping so much. We always teach what we most need to know. The mind-body journey is about learning, learning, and more learning. I am learning so much right now, and I’m very inspired to blog again! I so appreciate your understanding during my healing break and your kindness this past year, amazing readers! Your emails, Facebook messages, and other support have been more helpful than you’ll ever realize.
I’m also back on my Anamsong Facebook page! I’d love to join you all again in fun mind-body/life conversation over there. Thank you to the fellow coaches who posted lots of inspiration there while I was in healing mode.
So, yes – I am back in the saddle! Though, thankfully, not an actual saddle. Baby steps, you know!