Saturday, May 29, 2021

Accepting Our Limits While Exploring Our Passion


Courtesy Celeste's Photography


As people who live with chronic pain and illness, we know the importance of identifying our limitations and learning to work within our boundaries. These coping impositions and repositions mostly affect our physical capabilities and our abilities to perform certain tasks.  We talk about Measuring Limits” in our book Integrative Therapies for Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Myofascial Pain: The Mind-body Connection. (Cooper, C and Miller, J, 2010

Regardless of courage or decisiveness, your first task is to accurately assess your ability today. You need an objective measure for determining if this is a “terrific” or “semi-terrific” day... Every day you should spend all your available energy pennies, but not one more. One extra penny of effort today will cost a dollar tomorrow. Make daily deposits in your well-being bank... At the same time, you need to do a balancing act with your unconscious process of self-accommodation and deceit, the permission we give ourselves to loaf, stall, or nonperform. This tendency to give up prematurely, surrender to dread, to drop our own ball at the first sign of difficulty is universal. That’s right, universal. Everyone knows the decision to let the Frisbee pass without diving to try to catch it... The key point is that the one judging is also guilty

at some time.


Who we are is more than the body or the personality.

Ram Dass


It is equally important to explore what we can do. In Broken Body, Wounded Spirit: Balancing theSee-Saw of Chronic Pain Spring Devotions,  we call this Optivity."


Optivity (our word for envisioning positive thought, word, and deed) empowers us to balance the four-seated teeter-totter we talk about throughout this series. Each seat, which makes up our teeter-totter, represents physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual elements of who we are as a total package, and it is based on - and inspired by - the wisdom of the Native American Medicine Wheel. Each seat should be equally off the ground with the same weight and attention.



There are many ways to become full of life in thinking. We can be present in our compassion for others, be active in mindfulness, and look at things from a different perspective. These things help us broaden the boundaries of not too much, yet enough. It allows us, gives us, permission to explore our hidden talents. For instance, I learned that writing poetry allows me to immerse myself in learning new words and new ways to express something I find interesting. It gives me a different perspective that takes me to a place where I can put my pain or current health issue in the backseat.  It was really fun and rewarding to write this poem.


The Promise of Like ©
I like camping, picnics, mountains with streams,
Invading my space and into my dreams,
Loony family, self, friends, and birds,
Even failing to speak with words.
Fortune to learn, watching children at play,
Scenery, lakes that reflect on the day,
Cakes, spirituality, flowers, a good book,
And cactus that winks with a funny look.
Mixed sun, rain, fall, a cloud that churns,
Laughter, antiques, Hummel’s and urns,
Gentle music, dogs, sea horses and cats,
Wildlife inspires me, even the bats.
I like promise and hope, flowers I like.
I like beginnings and endings, I just like.

I wrote this poem from a random list of things I like and found a stirring of many passions I might not have thought of otherwise.  Maybe you will try it.

In healing

Think adversity?-See opportunity!

The Pained Ink Slayer

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Additional Reading:  

Saturday, March 6, 2021

Spring Pleasures: Hobbies, Pain Diversion, And Discovery


Photograph Courtesy Celeste Cooper, Author

Spring is a time of reawakening after a long cold winter and this year it means so much more. It is a time to explore things that bring us pleasure as we break through the shell of our own winter cocoon.


I find great enjoyment in photography, and I am thankful that I have found ways to fill up my thought spaces on this learning journey with my digital Canon EOS. I am grateful to have hobbies that occupy my time in isolation from chronic pain, but this past year has been difficult because of the COVID-19 virus. In some ways, those of us who live with chronic illness have had a head start on the isolation that has affected so many because of this horrible pandemic.


That said, I still have plenty to learn about my camera, so there was no shortage of building on the mental seat of this four-seated teeter-totter I try to keep off the ground. Understanding the importance of mental, physical, emotional and spiritual balance has given me the foundation to make it through these trying times.


The canvas of life to a photographer is limitless and spring provides many photo ops as the season of birth gives rise to new photo moments. I anticipate a plethora of opportunities as I guide my lens toward my new granddaughter, who is full of light and life. I look forward to capturing butterflies and bees spreading their wings, trees blowing and bowing to the wind beckoning me outside to experience the essence of light and love for photography.


…Hobbies create the presence of desire in our lives and keep our mind open to opportunities for exploring our creativity. Learn to make jewelry, read palms, fish, line dance, take photos, make bird houses, collect antique watches, start a joke book, crochet, or hand glide. Take up scrap booking, wood burning, or calligraphy; it's totally up to you… [Excerpt, day 69, Spring Devotions in the Broken Body, Wounded Spirit: Balancing the See-Saw of Chronic Pain series.]


My hobbies are huge self-esteem boosters for me as one who lives with chronic pain. 
What hobbies would you like to explore this spring?


"We are all subject to the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune; they are around us, in a space we do not control. This book is a gentle, yet forceful reminder that the best defenses against them reside within- in a space we do control, welling up from resources we can learn to cultivate. Hope here is equally soft and irresistible, much like Spring itself."


Dr. David L. Katz, MD, MPH, FACPM, FACP

Director, Yale University Prevention Research Center


[Inside the Cover, Broken Body, Wounded Spirit: Balancing the See-Saw of Chronic Pain, Spring Devotions.]

In healing,

Celeste Cooper, RN / Author, Freelancer, Advocate

Think adversity?-See opportunity!

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