Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Moving and an Apology

Well, last Monday I promised I would return to finish up my posting on the issue of Time magazine devoted to pain, but here we are. Luckily enough, my reading crowd happens to be particularly sympathetic to excuses like fatigue and pain. So, forgive me and come back next Monday for that promised post? Of course, next Monday I will spend the day moving, hardly a recipe for energy. So, I promise to fit in some advance writing this week in between finishing up with packing and have it all set up to auto-post.

I'll be moving closer to work (2-hour commute down to 1) which will make those days significantly easier on me. I'll be moving from a house to a first-floor apartment. So, no more stairs up and down to the bathroom, which will be much better for me, especially for the days when I don't have enough feeling in my feet. But there is a bit of an ugh or blech factor of apartment living for me, like less privacy and hearing noisy neighbors. But also on the big plus side, I'll be moving into a complex with a pool and a gym! So, I finally will have no more excuses for my neuro for why I haven't been using a pool for exercise!

these two window peekers are VERY excited for that pool!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Thankful Thursday: blog love

It's been a while since I've gotten my blogger love on. So, time for some more gratitude!

I'm grateful for:

These bloggers all offer me different things, but they all write beautifully and with great insight. They make me think, laugh, ponder, reflect and hope. Thanks, bloggers!

So far I've featured bloggers in this series that I've been reading for awhile. Next time I'll feature some of the bloggers I've only discovered recently.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Magazine Monday: Time Mag & Pain

Time magazine did a special double health issue focusing on the subject of pain way back in March, and I've been meaning to write about it ever since. Well, better late than never!

March 7, 2011 issue

As you may or may not know, nerve pain is a major part of my MS experience and very much affects my daily life, so these articles were very much of interest to me.

In The End of Ouch? by Dr. Mehmet Oz, the emphasis is that chronic pain is a serious and major problem, even a disease in and of itself, but there is hope because it is starting to be recognized in a new light. He suggests the following advice, something that I know has helped me:
Meditation may benefit chronic-pain sufferers by reducing the emotional impact of their condition. A settling, transcendent state puts the pain in perspective and helps it dwindle in importance. 
He points the way to this relaxation guided meditation exercise video from the American Chronic Pain Association. I think guided meditation like this can be helpful, especially if you're new to meditation, although I don't find this particular exercise to be all that worthwhile.

I would also recommend this exercise by the wonderful Pema Chodron, an example of Tonglen meditation. I love the idea she presents of changing pain into compassion.

I've had a consistent meditation practice on and off over the years, and I really want to get back into it and make it a regular part of my life. I try to practice life in a meditative state as much as possible - to live in the moment. My pain constantly calls attention to itself, and I've had to learn to accept this. Even though I feel the pain, I've gotten to a place where I can just be with the pain without letting it control me. Unless the pain is at its worst - when it is, all the meditation exercises in the world aren't going to help the constant loop in my brain regarding how bad my feet and legs feels. But meditation generally helps. Whether you deal with pain or not, give it a try!

I'll be back next Monday to deal with the meatier article in this issue of Time on pain which I seem to recall had lots of stuff I want to comment on and share.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Magazine Monday: lol

I was pleased to see this article on laughter yoga in the most recent issue of MS Focus magazine. I've always wanted to try laughter yoga, and would love to take a class sometime. I love laughter and I love yoga, so I love the idea of the combo. Even though at least some of the laughter would be fake or contrived, there are many proven benefits of "putting on" certain feelings - and often the feelings become genuine in the process. How can you not feel some joy when watching the following video, just one of many examples of the practice I found on youtube...

I'm pretty sure my niece would totally dig the practice, too, so I think I'll try doing some of these exercises with her the next time I see her. Have you ever tried laughter yoga or would you like to?

Sunday, July 3, 2011


wabi-sabi, in Kanji

Following a trail of links while traveling in blog-land today, I happened upon the Japanese term Wabi-Sabi.  One of those words that is pretty much impossible to simply translate into English, it's often described as a "way of living that emphasizes finding beauty in imperfection, and accepting the natural cycle of growth and decay." This is a major simplification; one site likened English translations of the term to be as difficult as describing the taste of chocolate. In any case, I love the idea of this concept, or worldview, and will add it to the list of Asian stuff I find awesome, like Thai food, Zen, tea, gardens, and Kaizen. MS offers plenty of imperfection, as well as cycles of growth and decay, and my MS muse is all about the wabi-sabi way. There is much beauty to be found, even in MS-land.