I spent a lot of time in the last few years wishing my life could go back to normal. Some days I longed for normal so badly that it made me cry. It wasn’t that I was just in pain from being injured in an accident; it was the frustration that I could no longer do some of the things that were normal to me.
In my career as a mind-body coach I watch people long for normal all the time. Many of my current clients suffer from IBS, digestive disorders, and chronic pain. They talk often about wanting a normal life. They want to enjoy themselves and go out socially and not worry about what could happen in an hour from now.
In my own journey with pain I saw the same thing. You feel that some external thing has taken away your freedom. You want to do all the things you used to do; you want to function in the world like a normal person. For me it got to a point that watching other people do common everyday tasks such as working on an iPad or riding a bike made me jealous and even angry. I wanted to do things the way a normal person would.
I’ve made great progress since a year and half ago when I was at that rock-bottom point in which normal seemed so far away.
What I learned in the process is living life with those thoughts is complete torture because you’re spending all of your time resisting your reality. All of this resisting leads to pent-up tension in your body, which does nothing good to help you heal.
If you are a person with IBS or in chronic pain, then you know that there are days when you feel that you are back to normal, and you start trying to do things you enjoy again and sometimes wake up the next day and find the pain is back. Then the cycle of fear, panic and self blame starts. Then you have to do the hardest thing: just sit with it and allow it to be there. If you’re someone who’s used to being active, the most difficult thing to do is surrender to the present moment when you hate everything about it.
But when you do learn to surrender to it and just be where you are, your body begins to react in a similar way. It calms back down and gets back to the process of healing. Calm is the normal function of your body, your nervous system, and everything about you. You just don’t know that because that’s where our mind gets confused and maybe a little bit lost.
So you need to take your scared, panicked self by the hand and bring her back to calm.
While being coached on this very subject many months ago, I could feel my body going back to calm. Then suddenly my mind immediately went back to my story “I want to be normal, I don’t even want to spend this time being here, or having to do this”. Then my coaching buddy said in the most loving voice, your normal wasn’t working for you because if it was you wouldn’t be where you’re at right now. Though my pain came from an injury, my “normal way” of handling it, wasn’t working.
Then I realized I had convinced myself that I had to get back to being busy, productive, and doing all my tasks exactly the same way in order to be normal. But when I did this I wound up feeling like absolute crap. So I’ve gotten used to the “new normal”, which is slower, measured, and full of modifications that I wish I didn’t need. What I have learned is that the new normal actually feels really good. I can see my progress day by day. I can take breaks whenever necessary, and I’ve slowed down enough to really appreciate what I do have going for me in my life.
I also stopped giving a crap about every little thing. And that felt really good!
There is always a lesson in pain and it can profoundly change your perspective, but you have to be willing to not be normal anymore. That shift comes with a great release and you become more powerful than you ever imagined. Letting go of “normal” allows you to be brave and create new directions in your life.
Being both a Certified Martha Beck coach and an Endorsed Mind – Body coach, I have learned a lot about how we can stand in our own way when it comes to improving our lives and our health. As a recovering perfectionist who suffered from IBS and injury induced chronic pain, I now use the mind-body approach in my everyday life and am amazed at the change it has created for me. I also love seeing how it transforms the lives of my clients! A lover of new places, at the moment I live in southern Florida with my husband and super cute dog Aspen. When I’m not coaching you will find me walking on the beaches of southern Florida and doing whatever else feels good in the moment. if you’d like to learn more about coaching together, please send me an email or check out my website www.ibslifestyle.com