You may have read my post about celebrating 7 years in business – this past year has been such a highlight with various new developments including my podcast, branching out into different work, and most recently designing a deck of inspirational cards.
There is another side to the story too. If you know me, you will be aware that I am whole-hearted in sharing my experiences and openly share when there are challenging times too. To me, that’s real life… the yin and yang, the light and shade, and a healthy dose of honesty that goes with it all.
In the same period as I was enjoying and celebrating highlights in home life and through work, I have had some occasional dips in energy levels due to prolonged effects of having covid. In October, I found out I have arthritis too. It remains uncertain whether it is wear-and-tear (osteo) or inflammatory (rheumatoid), although at the moment it’s looking like the former.
I was a bit upset initially as it has come on very suddenly, and possibly a little resistant to the doctor telling me I’m ‘in the age range’ for arthritis. I’m not even 50, for goodness’ sake!! 🙂
After a couple of days to take stock, with the healthy perspective that many people live well with arthritis and mine is relatively mild at the moment, I consciously changed the way I was framing the experience.
Instead of talking about pain and not being able to grip things properly, I now say: “I’m learning… getting to know what this is like, and finding ways to work round it”, adopting an attitude of curiosity and noticing my thoughts, feelings, and sensations as they come and go.
Through studying mindfulness I understand that it’s the relationship to the thoughts that makes a difference to the level of discomfort, or even suffering in extreme circumstances.
We always have a choice.
As a result, the pain has faded a little and I am finding ways to open cans, lift pots, and squeeze cloths (who knew how often you have to do THAT day-to-day!), and I have a renewed appreciation for what I CAN do.
By coincidence, I started having acupuncture to help balance hormonal changes and I believe that has helped too. I have found my zest in the mornings again (mostly!) and in the past four days I have been out walking my dog at sunrise, on a longer route than has been typical for a while. What a treat for the mind and body to start the day like that.
Yesterday I was waiting for the doctor to call to follow up on some blood tests. I was hoping for a definite diagnosis, but it’s not possible to say yet. I thought of what I would like to do… something which I appreciate and which reminds me of my resilience no matter what the outcome is. I immediately thought about my salsa dancing shoes shoved somewhere in the back of the wardrobe.
I pulled them out, dusted them off, and set them neatly down beside me, resolved to ‘have a wee dance’ no matter what the doctor said. I squeezed my feet into the tight silvery straps.
I can’t say I was anything like as coordinated as before, and my feet were killing me after just 5 minutes, but I am so glad I did it anyway!
Now I feel a renewed flow of creativity and a sense of fun, very much being in the present. It’s like a few pieces of the puzzle have come together, almost with a life of their own, and something is settling within me.
If I hadn’t taken time to sit with it, and gently notice and explore what was happening, I could have ended up having an unhelpful frame around my health.
It’s important to me to ‘walk the talk’ and live by the values and resourceful ways of thinking which I share with my clients. I do this because it works.
And now…there will be much more dancing – as if no one is watching – and I don’t care if they are 🙂