Ankylosing Spondylitis Journey, Happiness, health coaching, Physical Wellness, Working Mom, Working Parent Life

Returning to Work from Maternity Leave and Depression at One Year Post Partum.

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Currently I’m working through a hard season.  I’m in a disease flare-up (severe exhaustion and pain) and a depressive episode.  The two intermingle and make it a very difficult time mentally, emotionally and physically. The gravitational pull is hard to overcome and this is where self-care checklists feel almost impossible to accomplish. You’re just in an entirely different head space, mood space, and body space where any one of the checklist items that used to make you feel good, that you logically know will help you, just don’t appeal enough to overcome the total lack of vitality.

I’m not writing this post to have a giant complaining session, because there’s an important point I want to make at the end when you’ve read through this.

First, that you are not alone, and second, that this kind of stuff is a great gift.  I know, that sounds ridiculous, but read on…

xo

 

I’ve been through both before, but this time it was compounded by driving myself into the ground at work. And truth be told, this round doesn’t feel straightforward to get out of. There is a deeper matter here of who am I and what does my soul need?

I think THIS is the million dollar question that we must ask ourselves, when we find ourselves in a state of dis-ease.  Not just disease (illness) but not at ease.  Unhappy. Dissatisfied.  Frustrated.

With my return to work, I came back to the same pace I had always gone at.  Except, this time I was ill, tired and also the mum of three kids.  I jumped straight back into my old habits . I just kept working bigger, better, harder, faster.  I stopped taking breaks, or self care, or anything.  I love what I do, I truly do and that’s why it was so easy to get back into that crazy unbalanced work mode.

But here’s the thing. My symptoms don’t discern between work I love and work I don’t love.

They discern between  I am taking care of my soul and I am not taking care of my soul. I beginning to suspect that disease + depression are so closely intertwined with whether we are on the right path for our souls at any given point in our life’s journey, or soul’s journey.  I believe they are a reliable indicator that we are ignoring our own intuition, and the body’s best way to yell at us to pay attention 🙂

I had returned to work in the summer fresh off my disease diagnosis, surgery, 3 kids under 5 and major passion for my side projects and full time work.  I was excited that I had negotiated to work 4 days a week for the first few months.

Then, it began to all fall apart.  First, I was feeling great so I came off of my SSRIs. I think that was not the wisest choice in hindsight.  If you are on anti-depressants, no matter how good you think you are feeling, do not come off of them in a major transition!

As I found myself back at a desk and in pain, I began to struggle with a level of exhaustion that I’ve never known.  It was so bad that I desparately sought out places to lie down on breaks, struggled to put my socks on (immobility) in the mornings, a few urgent care trips, and increasing panic at work with every additional meeting, or project in an already full schedule with people waiting weeks to get one of a few coaching slots. I have an hour commute each way, and each commute was filled with this horrible impending sense of dread – dread that work demands were far exceeding what I was capable of.  Doubts that I could keep up to others as a mother of three That I couldn’t handle my own life. Usually, this is a pretty good sign to buckle down and take care of oneself.  Except, I was so far in, I couldn’t even claw back the time for ANYTHING that fuelled my spirit. Nor was I motivated to.  Being outside in nature. A social life. Creative expression.  My happiest places couldn’t lure me back.  Mostly, I just wanted to lie still, sleep away the pain and exhaustion and shut my panicking mind down.

My days became – Just drive to work. Work like a madwoman (keeping up the standards of a worker without 3 kids.) Buy unhealthy snacks and a crazy amount of coffee to keep me going.  Drive home. Make dinner. Put the kids to bed. Pray for no-one to wake up. Go to bed at 9. Repeat.  This is the story of so, so many people out there. 

Nothing was keeping my soul afloat, and I could tell that was making the disease worse too. Yet, I couldn’t clamber out, because in my mind I would say to myself “ah, you’ll get through this just start going to the gym, get an extra nap, etc.” You know, the usual self-care checklist. But I literally couldn’t move past the exhaustion, pain and total lack of desire to do anything.  I ignored intuitive alarm bells.

And that friends, is depression.  You feel so utterly overwhelmed and exhausted that you want to curl up in a ball and hide from the world. You don’t know where or how to begin, because nothing you knew before, seems to work this time (or it still does but you’re in a bleak place and totally unmotivated to do them, and the gravitational pull of the bed / rest is too intense to overcome.)

That is depression and auto immune disease intertwined.  And this, for any of you parents out there reading this,  is when you get your ass to your doctor, and a psychologist and be KINDER and more LOVING to yourself than you have ever been before. That is when you dig deep and listen to what your soul really needs.

It’s time to start listening closely to your intuition in the moments when your brain stops panicking and rushing.  The Universe has been sending you hints all along as to what is right for you, it’s just that you’ve been ignoring them.

So at this point, it is sending you MAJOR hint bombs that what you are doing is not ideal for you at this stage, place, moment in your life’s journey and that change is ahead.

Depression and disease can be one of the greatest gifts you’ll ever receive because on the edge of massive shifts for the better, is suffering.  Suffering prompts us to shift, to change, to grow, to listen to our intuition and get one step closer to who we really are.  Yes, it’s a shitty process, but it is one where pain overcomes fear.  Suffering forces you upward and forward and will not allow you to stay where you are.   There are always, always gifts and rewards from the hardest moments and that knowledge is never lost, even in tough times like these.

 

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Grounding, Happiness, health coaching, Mental health, Nature, The Fourth Trimester, Trail running

A Nature Based Meditation You Can Do While Walking With a Stroller! This Will Help with New Mom Anxiety.

I do something called nature coaching where I use the natural world to help clients shift their mindset, physiological and psychological state.  It’s fun and I never know what lesson nature will offer that day, so it is a practice I enter with curiosity and excitement. I’ve developed many of the techniques while out walking with my baby on each maternity leave, and I wanted to share one that has stuck with me. I find it very helpful when I experience the anxiety of the fourth trimester when my body is on high alert for everything(!)

This is a very calming and grounding mindful practice, and short nature-based meditation that you can do while walking that uses your senses instead of your breath.

This is perfect for the days when you are out with the baby in a stroller (and hopefully said baby is sleeping!)  I also find this an effective technique when breath-based meditation is not available to me (I suffer from chest pain when I take deep breaths, as a result of an auto-immune disease called ankylosing spondylitis which causes interesting flare ups in unexpected places haha.)

This practice has the same benefits as breathing-based meditations and walking-based meditations, but it includes a sensory component (since you are out in beautiful nature.)  The sensory component I actually adapted from some training that Navy SEALS do (!)

I explain in this youtube video!  Enjoy, and try it out on your next stroller walk!

Free Life Coaching Guides, Happiness, health coaching, Learning, Life Hacks, Lifestyle Design, Mental health, Personal Development, Spirituality, Working Mom

What Does a Life Coach Actually Do? Ask Me Anything about Life Coaching.

www.trajectorycoaching.org
Carina Huggins

Carina Huggins

BA, MSS, ACC, MBTI®

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I was chatting with someone the other day about being a professional coach, and they said to me, “so basically you listen to people’s problems and give advice?”

I stopped and thought about that for a moment. The answer that I gave?

“No, actually I don’t do either of those.” Hardly the reply my acquaintance was expecting.

We were having coffee, so there was time to explain.

I wanted to share this question tonight, because it was an opportunity to both clarify the art and science of coaching and address a common misperception. Two birds with one stone.

There are so many definitions of ‘coaching’ out there. Yes, there are some out there who solve problems, give advice and act in a consultant model (which are certainly excellent models) but what is it like with a professionally certified ICF coach?

Let me tell you, because it is an interesting distinction.

I don’t ‘listen’ to my client’s problems.

In fact, the actual problem doesn’t sweep me up the way it does for a client. Though I listen with my ears, as a coach, it is not serving you if I dive right in with you to the story and resonate with it, body mind and soul. When a client is working with a problem, they are swimming in it. I like the analogy of choppy water on a lake – A client is paddling, working hard, staying afloat, solving the problem, coming up for a gasp, and then another problem arises… from the same exact lake.

It’s not easy swimming in choppy water. A client’s problem can easily take up an entire coaching hour, and it is up to the coach to respect the client’s needs and goals for a session, have them know we truly hear them, but also know when it is time to gently guide them out of the water, and have them wade onto the shore. From the shore, together a coach and client can examine the entire lake from an outside perspective.

Coaching is like finally deciding to clamber out and sit on the shore after battling the waves. I always tell potential clients that they must be able and willing to step into the mode of “a human simply being” and approach things with curiosity and an open mind. To be with themselves and be with the coaching process. Be willing to put some things into practice and be willing to stay accountable. If they stay in “human busily doing” mode with a strong desire for benchmarks, outcomes, a fixation on the goals, they are basically out there still swimming in the lake, just harder and faster. They won’t trust me enough to come sit on the shore beside me. They won’t develop trust in the relationship or go dive deep in session.

But back to the lake…

I am not listening to my client’s problem. I am listening with my ears to a client and their problem, yes but I am listening on several other levels, as well. I am watching the subtle shifts in body language, eye contact, gestures and posture. I am quite literally feeling the energetic shifts in a conversation and the associated moods and emotions. A client doesn’t have to tell me when they move into sadness or happiness in a story, the change in the air and energy of a room is palpable. I may offer this as a gentle observation to deepen awareness and context of the discussion, particularly if we are working not just on a conversation and logic level, but an emotional and intuitive level.

As I listen to a client, I am not listening to their problem. I am listening to the person behind the problem. The helpful beliefs, the harmful beliefs, the statements that shut down future possibility, the statements that open it up. The vast background of emotions, moods, experiences, and beliefs that have made this neutral event in this person’s life a problem for them that is keeping them from where they want to be.

And giving advice? Nope. Definitely not that either.

I don’t give advice in a coaching session.

After 3000 coaching sessions, I know for a fact, that the only true expert, the only content matter expert in that specific client’s life is themselves. Only they know precisely where they truly want to be, and only they truly know why their ‘right now’ is not doing it for them. I don’t have to wake up with them every day. They have to wake up with themselves every day for the rest of their lives. I think about this all of the time, because I really appreciate how profound that statement is.

It is a catalyst for ownership, responsibility and accountability in clients. Try it yourself. Write on a post-it note, “I will wake up with you tomorrow, and every morning for the rest of my life. Love, me.”

Giving advice doesn’t result in someone crossing the bridge from where they are to where they want to be. It simply gives them a brief glimpse of the other side, described by someone else. They don’t see how amazing it is.

What makes someone walk over to the other side of the bridge and truly step into their new life, finally take action and get results? Well, I can tell you it is not advice giving.

I cannot walk that bridge for them and shout out from the other side “It is amazing over here you should join me! Just start walking!” (by the way, a lot of coaches do this.)

However, I can walk alongside a client over that bridge. As we step over the cobble stones together we co-create what the other side looks like. We partner in helping the client gain perspective, awareness, clarity and choice. And when they get halfway over the bridge and slow down or perhaps move backward, we can deepen practices, accountability and move deeper to remove final blocks that have held them back all these years. When you are moving forward, you develop ways to move forward, but you also develop ways to fight the urge to move backward, to where you came from. To safety. Security. Familiarity.

This is another important piece of coaching; the call of safety, security, familiarity is strong. It is literally wired into the brain. As a client moves into new possibilities for their life and new opportunities, the brain will use its best tools to convince a client to return to where they were. Coaching is a dynamic process and this bump in the road shows up in different ways depending on the client. Recommitment to the original problem and way of thinking, with even more passion, rescheduling a session or a lot of “I don’t know”s in a session. These to me are not obstacles but opportunities. It’s an exciting indicator they are moving well along the bridge and the best work is about to happen.

I don’t give advice.

In fact, you are giving me advice on your life, where you want to be and how it is going to happen, and why you need help. I’m asking you LOTS of questions precisely so that you are in that place of giving me advice on you. I’m simply a highly invested partner on this journey of YOU believes you’ll get there and sees how that is possible (even if you don’t yet.)

The moment you step out of yourself and take that outside observer approach you’ll find yourself stopping mid-sentence and realizing what you’ve just said – then, you’ll realize the incongruency of what you just said with what your future life is supposed to be.

And then you’ll look away, perhaps sip at your coffee and I’ll thoroughly enjoy that moment, because it is a magical one. When it comes to a client having a true moment of insight, or an “ah hah moment” I know at that moment, whatever has been seen in your inner perspective cannot be unseen.

I am here as a confidential, supportive, professional partner in your journey. I’m here to have the conversations that you don’t get to have with anyone else, that dive deep inside to who you are as a human being. Unlike therapeutic or clinical approaches (healing, recovery, issue resolution) my time is spent focusing on your elevation, enhancement and growth.

Coaching is an evolutionary, forward facing process. We have all of the information in the world to get us to where we want to go, but we don’t, do we? And that is what coaching focuses on. It gets us there, and then acts as a catalyst for flashes of insight which will ensure you’ll never see anything the same way again and you won’t go back to old patterning or beliefs.

On a personal note, I think that at this time in our lives, we are all in deep need of deeper conversation, deeper connection and more engagement with who we really are. In the 2018 world of humans doing, we all desperately want to be recognized and engaged with as humans being. We are deep. We are growing, and evolving and going through massive shifts. We want someone to bear witness, to support, and be a partner in this process. We should have someone who can be that. It is tragic to experience this rich evolution in this lifetime and not share it with anyone, collaborate with anyone or use our experiences in turn to serve others.

Maternity leave for me has been the CRAZIEST personal growth, evolution, awakening.  Truly on body, mind, intellect, soul, spirit, love – on all of those levels I was cracked wide open, rebuilt and vastly different (in a good way.) Early parenthood is an accelerated growth incubator and it is a gift in that ALL of the above is revealed to you.  It is a wild ride, and I engaged with a coach during it, because I wanted to make sure I was clear on my dreams, the life I wanted for my fam, and wanted to let a few self limiting beliefs go.  I also worked with a psychologist to heal some old wounds, and endeavoured to undertake a variety of “great maternity leave projects” to keep my focus forward facing and fun!

Amidst the surface level day-to-day life of humans doing, we are all hopping online to have deep conversations, listen to podcasts, read books and learn. Have you noticed the explosion in podcasts, following shortly on the explosion of blogs? We are all humans being – yet we do it silently, and alone.

In my gratitude practices (5 minute journal format) I often note down the internet – I’m incredibly thankful for the opportunity to write and share and express my own deep internal worlds.  Motherhood can be lonely, I have a 3 hour window where all of my three kids are happy and awake (9-12) and then they turn into pumpkins and it’s go home for nap time.  Did I mention I work full time? So there’s very little time (and sacred space) to dive deep into these conversations.  I don’t think it’s our fault that we mothers are left scraping the surface of connection with surface level conversations.  We don’t have the time and space to go there, yet.  But, when in just a few years, that place will open up again we will have SO MUCH TO TALK ABOUT.

But in the meantime, I think it’s really, really important to talk now, endeavor to grow, enjoy the journey and have a partner in the process.

For a long time, I didn’t want to because of my own limiting beliefs and reference points, which I worked through and overcame with a coach. I can feel my old mind saying “Carina, this is a really long post and it’s way too personal” but my new mind says, you have a choice in whether to believe that or not, and you no longer do. You know the way to move forward is to share your deepest thoughts and insights and help people understand the profession.

I am here writing precisely because I decided to collaborate with a coach to dive into my deeper internal worlds and clarify where I wanted to go. I am eternally thankful for the rapid evolution and elevation it set me on.

I hope you enjoyed this deeper dive into the coaching profession. I write these from a totally authentic viewpoint of someone who was unsure what it was, went through being coached, and then became an Associate Certified Coach with the International Coach Federation.

I enjoy writing these because I enjoy sharing human stories and help people understand we are all connected and growing together.

To become a coach isn’t to figure it all out instantly, in fact, most coaches are on their own *fun* ( because it’s what they love to do) evolutionary paths. Every day they work through the same thing their clients do. Gaining some tools and insights, reframing, shifting their perceptions, priming their state, practicing awareness and choice. Even the greats like Tony Robbins or Oprah Winfrey do this. Every day.

If you are interested in gaining the tools, shifting your axis and a partner to work with the big shifts and evolution in your life, you are most welcome to shoot me a message.

And do leave a comment if this lands with you – or even better if you have an additional insight to offer that this sparked for you! Reading articles and engaging with others in the comments, let me tell you, has been (and still is) a fundamental part of my own growth path. My mission is to now serve others in their own growth.

Grounding, Happiness, health coaching, Lifestyle, Lifestyle Design, Mental health, Nature, Personal Development, Physical Wellness, Trail running

Advice for Trail Runners. The Diary of a New Trail Runner and Life Coach.

Trail running is amazing because it puts us into flow state, from which our greatest insights and ideas come. I love to coach in nature (I guess you could say I do “nature coaching” or “nature life coaching”) and for me, trail runs are like a ridiculous download from the deepest recesses of my mind.

Today I offer you a wonderful tool on how to leave your past in the past, and start moving towards your future mindfully.

Xo Carina

Ankylosing Spondylitis Journey, Happiness, health coaching, Learning, Lifestyle Design, Mental health, Personal Development, Physical Wellness

My Favourite Resources for Ankylosing Spondylitis

 

Recently Diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis_

One of the podcasts I have been listening to as I begin my journey of understanding and addressing my Ankylosing Spondylitis disease and symptoms (I am in a bad flare at present) is the AS Natural Health Podcast with Michael Eisner which has been a wonderful resource.  There are 22 episodes available.  When I began suspecting I had AS back in December, I was in Kau’ai and I will always hold such good memories of listening to the first episode where he interviews Michael Smith (Episode 12) which I particularly enjoyed.  I’ve just finished listening to all of the episodes and I’m eagerly waiting for the next. It keeps me in such a good health / growth mindset and it is incredibly inspiring and illuminating to hear others’ journeys.  Put simply, it makes you feel a little less alone.  Statistically, AS afflicts hundreds of people in each city, but nobody I’ve spoken to has any idea what it is, or have heard of it.  And certainly no other ladies in their 30s with kids.  So, the value of Podcasts, among the many benefits, is feeling a bit less alone.  So thank you, Michael!  Keep doing what you are doing.

In my last post, I talked about how there’s two distinct paths you can go down in the days of diagnosis.

One is fear, fixed mindsets, believing that this problem is permanent, incurable and pervasive, and one that IS your life. I dabbled in a bit of this for a few days and it was a bit terrifying.  Oh, and my flare was terrible, I didn’t sleep, and I made terrible nutritional choices that I KNOW don’t work well with my body (those I knew pre-AS diagnosis.)

The other path is courage, growth mindsets, believing that you have been pain free and you will be again, that it is a very fluid and impermanent condition, that it is only a minor piece of your life.

I decided that the only acceptable path for me is the latter path, and I began to seek out people, podcasts, blogs, resources that would help me begin this journey of rich growth and deep personal healing.

The internet is so amazing, because there is something for every belief, and EVERY path you want to take in tackling this diagnosis and your symptoms.

From my listening to podcasts, reading blogs, watching videos, participating in facebook communities and connecting with others who have healed there are a few pieces I’m adding to my toolkit in the coming days, and it has been a really fun enlightening journey so far (if there’s one thing I really enjoy it is learning.)

So, here are some really helpful resources if you, like me, have been diagnosed with AS and have decided the latter path is the only one forward.

People:

Michael Eisner of the Ankylosing Spondylitis Natural Health Podcast interviews people who have successfully put AS into remission. This is what I started with, while I was on maternity leave, listening to each episode on walks with my baby (bonus:  hour walk and stretching!)

Peter Winslow and the Community of People at AS Victors.Com who share their successes.  There is a vast library of resources. I can’t wait to read Winslow’s Heal for Real book.  One thing at a time though.  It’s deep work. Don’t dive into all of these resources at once!   His blog is a wonderful resource as well.  Take a topic at a time.

Ralph Ruiz, Professional Life Coach and his Website & Facebook Group, Mindbody Healing.    His Youtube video series AS I see it is amazing and so deeply insightful.  Honestly, buy a journal and work through things with him.

I am currently (very slowly) working through John Sarno, M.D. Healing Back Pain:  The Mind-Body Connection.  This is kind of my main starting point of immersion.

This book is confirming so many things I was beginning to suspect and many describe this book as “blowing their world apart.”  Again, deep work and insights.  I personally am reading it on kindle because, well, small children, but wish I had a paper copy so I could write ALL over it.  I am highlighting so many things in this book and going to my “healing journal” with thoughts, insights and things to process.

Finally, the most important book and resource in this process?

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A blank one.  My mermaid journal. I bought this in Kau’ai in December when I decided I was ready to begin this healing journey.  The true work is the inner work, and by putting pen to paper, I am finding that I am able to access deeper thoughts, and feelings, and dive deeper into unconscious and subconscious beliefs, programming and repressed things which I am sure on many levels have contributed to this inflammation and pain.  As I work through things, have insights, collect knowledge or experience shifts in my observer / the lens I see through, I record them here.  With doodles, pictures, even long rambling free writing sessions to allow things to come through my hand and the ink flowing on the paper.  This, this is the single most important piece.  If you’ve never bought a journal or had the chance to bring this practice into your life, perhaps now is the time. 🙂  Pick a beautiful one that speaks to you, and find a nice pen.  You deserve it.

Ankylosing Spondylitis Journey, Happiness, health coaching, Mental health, Personal Development, Physical Wellness

How to Get Yourself out of a Funk or Climb out of a Downward Spiral.

Our family is growing.

Today I wanted to share one of the models I use on myself (and clients) to get unstuck, and out of funks. It is a beautifully simple yet profound model.  The visual image of a spiral is important, because one of the most important parts of climbing out of a funk, is knowing when you are in one.  That’s easier said than done!  When you are in the grip, you don’t realize how far you are in the grip (the centre of the spiral.)

I used water colour paints in the video below explain because, well, I fell like it illustrated it really nicely, regardless of my actual water colour paint skills (Oh right, I have none!)

This model is great if you are beginning to notice you are going into a downward spiral. In my own mental health journey, I have learnt that sleep  and avoiding fatigue is a key strategy for me, and in developing my “mental health” awareness, I am better able to pick up on little habits that tend to mark a spiral for me, and catch them before it goes too far.

This video illustrates the importance of these simple actions, and the surprising importance of the small promises we make (and can break) to ourselves.

Take five minutes and watch it, let me know if it lands with you in the comments.

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Grounding, Happiness, health coaching, Mental health, Personal Development, Physical Wellness, Sleep, Spirituality

What I’ve Learnt from Five Years of Meditating – Moms who Meditate

What i have learnt from five years of practicing meditation2

My husband and I are always game for a challenge, and last month when my car was stolen, we saw it as a fun opportunity to try and get by with one car for a month. We enjoy challenges like this.  It definitely has been interesting and challenged us in many ways, most notably logistically.  You become an expert at logistics when you have 5 people going in 5 directions and one car between all of you, and you’re trying to get back into work after a year’s mat leave and you’re both kind of spontaneous people.   But I digress.  That’s another blog post entirely.

The reason I mentioned this though, is because it provides a bit of background for why I have had so much time for meditation lately:  I’ve been taking an hour-long train ride to work and am back on the meditation train (pun intended.)

Each time I get on the train, I excitedly open my favourite app, Insight.  I first downloaded the Insight meditation app last year and it was the third app I tried after Headspace, which I still love and use for my kids, and Calm, which I didn’t love.  Calm just didn’t catch on for me.

I enjoy the fun of hunting for and saving new meditations with different voices, approaches, topics and lengths.  Insight is like the facebook of meditation where you can follow people, and do meditations based on how much time you have, topics or even styles. You can follow people, or save individual meditations. I have a stash of meditations saved in my bookmark folder, and I choose them based on what I need.

Lately I’ve needed to ground myself and simply feel peaceful amidst a ton of chaos in external life.  In July I returned to work after a year on mat leave, had my car stolen, been diagnosed with a disease and had a major surgery.  So, it’s not surprising I’ve felt the need to pause.   What marked a major change for me in July, after years of meditating, is my first thought when I considered what I needed was – yes – meditation.  This is a shift.

I have moved from I should do meditation (and then remember here and there) to I am craving meditation (and make it a daily practice) 

(please note this is not a sponsored post, I genuinely love this app and it’s part of my daily habits, which makes it worthy of a mention, in this mama’s pursuit of an elevated life.)

I’ve been practicing (and exploring) meditation on and off since 2013 when I had my first baby and attended a mama meditation workshop.  From there, I was hooked, though I should have known it would be my jam way back in my hot yoga days, when I LIVED for savasana and spent the hour looking forward to that divine rest at the end 😉

As I shift into a daily practice that is now a habit that I crave, there’s a few things I’ve realized.  So I bring to you, the things I have learnt from five years of practicing meditation.

-You have to find the style.  I am picky about voices.  I hate bells and “unexpected sounds” in meditation.  I like deeper voices.   In the early stages, find what seems to resonate with you and soothe you.  We all resonate with different energies and that includes the energy that a voice projects, or the sound waves in a meditation recording.

-There are many styles of meditation:  Music or sound-based (like crystal bowls) walking meditation, nature meditation, guided meditation, mantra meditation, breathing meditation, even swimming meditation. As you go down the meditation road, you have no choice but to try them all on for size, find out what you like and don’t like and take note of the ones that seem to get you into a pretty deep state.  I discovered 2 years into the process, that I loved guided meditations.  These seem to be my jam.  I loved savasana back in my hot yoga days but found the silence too long for my untrained brain.  I still find long silences hard.

-It does get easier to get into a deep meditative brain state with practice, but you have to use it or lose it.  If I have meditated consistently (daily) for a good week, I’ll get into a deeper state faster.  If I haven’t done it in a while, it will actually take 2 or 3 separate meditation sessions to ‘get back’ to that zoned out state.

-Meditation opens up your intuition and creative brain.  In times of regular meditative practice I find myself much more creative, full of good ideas and able to think outside of the box.  There’s extensive neuroscience that supports this theory.  If you want a super interesting googling session, type “meditation “flow state” “creativity” “intuition” in that little google box and prepare to be fascinated (and probably up reading until 1am.)

-It is very  (we are talking profoundly) true that meditation enhances your ability to take a gentle approach to all of the events in your life, and it cultivates a kinder, gentler, quieter version of self-talk.  Meditation cultivates your ability to pause, take a step back, notice what is happening and be able to practice peace and non-attachment.  You find that you begin to treat yourself kindly and gently, as you do the events around you.

Meditation cultivates your outside observer, or spiritual side.  The eternal part of your soul that is watching the human experience unfolding before you (that is your life as you know it) with a knowing smile.  This is one of the main reasons I am so thankful that I discovered meditation.  It has been an amazing tool in tough times.  It has been a key in mental resilience and my eternal positivity.  It has let me handle some wild rides in this adventure called life.  I’ve used it a lot in the last little few years, particularly the most profound moments.

I did one in 2016, before saying goodbye to my father in law who was on life support in the ICU.   It helped me say goodbye with peace and love, without attaching myself to the human drama going on around me that was not of my own.  I was able to think and act with clarity and honour my emotions in the days following, without attaching to them or judging them.

I also went into meditation the night my mum passed away in hospice in 2013.  In that state, I was able to feel the moment her soul departed and sat up, waiting for the nurse to enter to let us know.   I’ll always see that as a special gift and one of the profound moments that led me deeper into exploring meditation and the spiritual side of things.    If you engage with the meditation journey, and stick with it, you will have a few profound moments.  These will be the proof that your mind wants. These will also be the truth that your soul has always known (that your brain may have ignored for a while.)

-Meditation has been the best tool for helping me ‘reset’ when I shift into a different environment or role. Meditating on the train this past week has helped me leave my work behind, re-ground, become peaceful and set a blank slate for the next part of my day:  Returning home a present and mindful parent for the kids (and not preparing dinner in a panicky get-it-down rush.) I do some of these exercises with coaching clients, particularly if they walk into the room with their energy and emotions from earlier events in the day.  Together we clear the space, the energy and their minds before engaging in coaching.

-Meditation before bed has helped with my nightmares.  I’ve always had an extremely creative imagination which makes for some absolutely wild nighttime dreams, many of which have been quite scary.  I go through phases of nightmares, especially when I feel my mental health backsliding a bit or my healthy lifestyle habits slipping.  Meditation seems to help before bed and prevent the wild and wacky nightmares.  I can’t explain why, but once again, I’m sure a bunch of googling and scientific research will reveal that!

If you’ve been fascinated by it, honestly give it a go.  You can’ t just lie on the floor and meditate with kids running around, so some tips from this mama to other mamas:

Sneak it in when you are putting your kids down, try the headspace app or a children’s meditation but go along with it as well as you lie by your kids.  you’re doing a great thing for them too!

Get over worrying about other people. If you do it at work, you’ll be somewhere with your eyes closed, and someone will look at you while you have your eyes closed.  Don’t worry about it.  It’s increasingly commonplace.   Remember that 15 minute break you never take?  Yes…  you know where I am going with that.

Take 10 minutes in on your commute before you “enter” the next stage of your day.  Or, even the next role in your day, ie: from employee, to mom.  From mom, to wife.  From awake, to asleep. It’s a really nice way to transition.  Meditation doesn’t just “clean the slate” of your mind and thinking patterns, it truly does reset your body, your posture and the energy you bring to your next interaction.

The next time you can’t sleep or have a toss and turn night, take 10 minutes and do one, I strongly recommend “bone deep sleep” (link below.)

To get you started, here are a few of my favourite guided meditations on the Insight app, as well as a link to the Mindful Kids youtube channel which has the most AMAZING relaxing music for the kids. We have two favourite videos from this channel which I’ve screen shotted for you (click on the picture and it will take you there.)

 

Insight App – My Current Favourites:

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Jennifer Piercy’s Bone Deep Sleep – A short Yoga Nidra Meditation for sleep

Youtube: My Current Music Favourites / Kids Favourites

This one in the evening or quiet time, the imagery is lovely to play on our tv in the background.

Mindful Kids Meditation Music Channel

 

This one for bed time (it relaxes all of us, not just the kids!)

Mindful Kids Youtube Channel
The Mindful Kids Youtube Channel – meditative bedtime music. Relaxation music for toddlers and young children. Meditation music.
Ankylosing Spondylitis Journey, health coaching, Mental health, Physical Wellness

What to Do When You Are First Diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis, Healing Ankylosing Spondylitis, Ankylosing Spondylitis Remission.

Recently Diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis_

A few weeks ago I was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease which I have lived with for about 15 years now, so it came as no surprise, in the first days of diagnosis, I felt only a sense of validation that my gut was right; that something was definitely not right and this was definitely not just the pain of herniated discs, or the fatigue of toddler & baby mom life.

There was also a sense of excitement that I could finally approach this from a different angle.  Now my pain and fatigue was a disease to put into remission, as opposed to what I had done for 15 years; an injury and chronic pain to “work out” and “physiotherapy” out of me and then feel like I was failing when it didn’t resolve.

I guess my professional coaching background is a unique experience on this journey, because now I am taking the tools that I use with my clients, and am applying those very tools to myself and truly walking my own talk.

I hope to write about this in the coming days on this blog so that you can see the combination of health coach perspective and patient perspective.

Google

In the week following diagnosis, aside from googling a TON (duh, I’m not even going to tell you not to do that, because you will…) I gave a lot of thought as to how I wanted to take this experience and shape the days and weeks to come.

I knew I needed to give myself some time to let myself feel whatever emotions were to come.  In the past, I have repressed emotion which only served to intensify my pain.  Many AS people will tell you a big learning for them is learning not to repress emotion.

In the coaching world, we are trained in moving one step beyond how a person acts and behaves, to understand how they see the world and how that in turn, shapes how they act and behave.

If I take this concept and apply it my own experience, I immediately think of how we let a disease shape us, or how we shape a disease.  These are two distinct approaches.

When I walked out of my rheumatologist’s office with a ton of paperwork, tests to book and a follow up in a month, I realized I was on my own for the next few weeks as everything swirled around in my brain.

In the first days I decided to seek out a few scientifically accurate resource pages, and then once I felt comfortable with the science of Ankylosing Spondylitis, a few communities and Facebook groups to add to my arsenal, because I knew that the first week or two, I’d be embracing and just riding out any emotions associated with the diagnosis, and I’d probably want to talk about it as part of processing it healthily.

I joined a number of facebook and online groups / forums, and I began to notice two diverse streams of people with AS.

One stream very clearly held their AS as part of their identity, but to one extreme, where it dictated what they allowed thesemselves to do.  Ankylosing Spondylitis wasn’t just the human doing life with AS; for them, it was their very being.  Humans being AS.  Everything was shaped through the lens (or personal narrative) of “this disease has me, and I operate from within the disease and its constraints.” Many conversations seemed to spiral down into a rather grim comparison of symptoms, fear, expression of limitations and reinforcement of self limiting beliefs.

As I read through the comments feed, I could feel some anxiety, stress, and fear stacking up as I read story after story about how shitty flare-ups are.  Other people’s stories combined with my own memories of particularly painful debilitating times and it sunk me down into a crappy energy space.  I found myself eating cheerios, staying up late reading, choosing gluten and dairy (which flare me – I didn’t need a diagnosis to do that) and funnily enough, making all of the wrong choices as I steeped in this mindset.  I stopped going for walks at lunch and became hyper-conscious of how uncomfortable I am in an office chair.

After a few days of wallowing, general self-pity and further regression into old habits, I came across significantly more positive communities and resources.  The key difference was their mindset around ankylosing spondylitis.  It was much different from the first handful of communities I explored.  These communities saw it as just a passing phase or even a small side lane, compared to their overall greater journey and life experience. There was a sense of confidence and growth.   A fun challenge to conquer and opportunity to enhance lifestyle –  as opposed to a debilitating progressive disease with no cure.

Rather than the human BEING ankylosing spondylitis, I saw humans DOING AS (among many other things.)     They operated with the mindset that AS was outside of them, simply another (external) life experience happening, to be navigated through.

The disease wasn’t them, just something they were coming across, amongst many other things on their life journey.

What marked the conversations of these communities?  Uplifting comparisons.  NOT of symptoms, but of remission or resolution of symptoms.  Courage, enthusiasm and forward-looking attitudes.  Expressions of potential and reinforcement of expansive, growth mindsets.

In the week or two following diagnosis it became clear to me, as a 36-year-old mom of 3, that I could let AS draw a fence around me and remain within that yard, or I could hop the fence and look at it as a side yard (one of many) as I continued down the road.

Which brings me in a long winded way to my main point.  If you are in the process of disease diagnosis, give intentional thought to the way that you want to approach it in the days to come.  In the space between doctors’ appointments, MRIs, bone scans, meds and blood tests, there is you, yourself, and you.  You’re going to spend some quality time with you and your thoughts about all of this. Personally, I don’t think enough attention is given to this crucial early stage, where you develop either a fixed or growth mindset around the whole situation.

Yes, you are going to have your urges – your background is going to come into play as you develop your mindset.  You’re going to process the diagnosis in the way you know, in the way you have been conditioned to process it.

Perhaps you are still in a place where you repress everything and move on.  Perhaps you are in a place where you’ve become more comfortable with emotions and let yourself feel some sadness, frustration or disappointment, which confoundingly occur simultaneously with happiness and relief.  Or maybe you even go off the other end to sadness, doom and gloom and a pity party.  We all have different experiences and different tools based on our lives up to the diagnosis.

The point is to be aware of these influences and to work with them as you choose a growth approach.  A human doing AS rather than a human being AS.

Remember, regardless of your conditioned tendencies, when you come to terms with a diagnosis, there are two distinct paths that are presented to you and ultimately it is your choice which mindset to cultivate in the weeks between now and your next rheumatology appointment.

You can become your disease and live your life through it. you can sit down in that yard with the weedy grass and piles of dog poop and build yourself a 10 foot fence to ensure you never get out, or ever see the gorgeous yards of the neighbourhood beyond.  And then, you can talk to neighbours with equally terrible yards, that help you build that fence even higher.

Or, you can plonk down in that yard for a bit, honour that you feel a bit sorry for yourself, step in a few piles of poop, but then decide to hop the fence, knowing you don’t just live in a yard. You can leave those neighbours behind. You can keep walking down the road, admiring and enjoying other yards with flowers growing, and know that that delipidated yard that you came from is in your rear view mirror.  It’s still there, but you’re not sitting in that yard with a 15 foot fence picking up dog poop and weeding.

I don’t even know how I got into an analogy of dog poop and weeding as a way to explain how you process an ankylosing spondylitis diagnosis, lol, but there you go, it happened as I typed.

But you know what?  It made sense to me, as someone going through this very process right now.  I hope my combined perspective as health coach and patient is helpful as you negotiate your own way through the weeds and dog sh*t and bust out of that yard and design your days ahead of you.

 

Ankylosing Spondylitis Journey, Happiness, health coaching, Spirituality

My Ankylosing Spondylitis Journey – Understanding Energy and Dispositions and Our Pasts.

Recently Diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis_ (3)

Recently I was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis, but it was a long time coming and is but a small stage in my interesting journey understanding health (in all senses of the word) and pursuing vitality.

With my diagnosis I’ve been turning my coaching eye onto myself and so many things are connecting for me right now, especially as I listen to podcasts and hear others’ journeys with AS. I wanted to contribute to the blogging space with my own learnings and journey, and add my “me too!” to a few stories out there, especially when it comes to the connection between our own pasts, upbringing, and energy, and our pain.

I am seeing so many similarities between my own background and those of others on the AS journey, and I think that the more people share their story, the more they help others understand their own path back to health and vitality, and spark that creative problem solving process.  Everyone’s AS is so unique, yet many have similar strands and stories and themes.

Though it is important not to live in the past, gaining a bit of understanding about it can illuminate the way forward and help us write new chapters in our book, without getting stuck in repeating patterns or unconscious ways. We can intentionally choose different ways, and reject that which no longer helps us on our new path to wellness.

Today I wanted to write about something I am seeing emerge in people’s AS stories (not all stories, but it IS a common trend) and connect it with some things I’ve learned as a coach.

Energy, Dispositions and the Body’s Messaging System of Pain.

Today I wanted to talk about dispositions.  You can call it energy, or vibes, but those words don’t adequately explain it, because the word “disposition” also describes someone’s physical, mental, emotional, spiritual presence as well. Those of you who are into body language will find this an interesting one.  As a coach I  believe that we don’t exist simply on an intellectual level. We exist in a body, we exist in an emotional space, and we exist in a soul or spiritual space. We spend different amounts of time in each space.  Some people are deeply integrated on an intellectual and body level, or perhaps an emotional level and body level.  Others are not.  Everyone has unique combinations of where they spend their time and awareness. I USED to be strictly intellectual, no emotions, total logic.  My journey has been learning to embrace the other parts and integrate them all as a whole.

How is energy, disposition and posture important to Ankylosing Spondylitis? 

For those of us with AS, an important theme is the hard-charging, forward-pushing type. In coach school they called this the “resolute” disposition. I wasn’t entirely surprised when listening to podcasts, I heard many stories about AS victors talking about this aspect of themselves especially in their childhood and earlier years pre-diagnosis.

Forward momentumEnthusiasm, Striving, ChallengingPushing forwardCourage, High energyBut_High standardsInner + outer pressureexhaustionego

Someone with this energy is dynamic, driven, motivated, always growing, pushing forward and knocking down obstacles left right and centre.  Even as a child, they remember getting frustrated with homework they didn’t understand, having standards for themselves, maybe loving competition and they were noted for their enthusiasm and achievement in various areas.  They wanted challenging things.  They were also quite anxious at times.

This is a disposition that society looks upon favourably. Especially corporate environments.  Gogogo! Energy! Achieve!  Merit!  Recognition!  The ego loves this stuff.

I want to outline that we are born with innate dispositions but they can also be nurtured through our external environment – whether that is family, media, culture or society.

I myself had a fair degree of these inborn characteristics, but they were nurtured to the extreme, which led to an early life full of pressure, perfectionism, anxiety and high standards in every sense of the word.  I was a model student, involved and checked off all of the successful boxes.

Where the disposition piece gets fascinating is how it shows up in the body.  Our emotional, spiritual and intellectual environment doesn’t just exist in the brain.  The brain is just a funny little device connected to another 5-6 feet of body, and it is not separate from all of those other cells.

So how does this kind of forward-charging energy show up in the body?  I think we can all guess!

Common sense tells us this is someone who likes to move forward and upward in life.  Have you seen the body language and positioning of someone like this? Walking through the crowds with purpose, head pitched forward, getting stuff done.  Leaning forward, enthusiastically?

But what if you are also strongly pressured to be like this from the external environment? 

Disease means dis-ease. Not at ease.  Not in our natural way of being.

I think this is really when we get into pain and disease (disease means dis-ease, not at ease, not in line with our natural way of being.)

What if we are being pushed into this way of being?

What if we enter an unhealthy degree or an extreme of this disposition?

If you want someone to go forward, get shit done, and you were standing behind them, where would you want to push with your hands?  Right in the middle of the back.  The thoracic spine.

Funnily enough, this is ground zero of my pain.  The back is ground zero for many of us with AS.

I had some of these forward-moving qualities but then was pushed hard.  Then it snowballed, because I began to associate pushing hard and achieving with gaining attention and love from those I wanted love from the most (parents.) When you connect something intellectually, emotionally and physically it becomes deeply entrenched in the body.

I believe years of this has contributed to the disease symptoms presenting themselvesin my spine.

An interesting thing about healing the body and the complexity of Ankylosing Spondylitis, is that you become immersed in learning about different modalities and what each area of the body represents.  We learn that yes, we exist on different landscapes other than simply intellectual. There is something to be said about emotion, energy, the soul and spirit.  We learn that western medicine can’t always pick up on a clear physical symptom, and our clinical tools and knowledge are not quite there yet.  We learn that a large part of this journey is learning, and that learning is up to us.

As I began to untangle my thoracic spine pain on different levels, and what it may mean I learnt about other modalities and what they have to say about the spine.

I admit I haven’t learnt a lot, but I did become interested in the chakras.  The chakras are particularly fascinating, because they weave together the experience of pain in the body, but also the emotional experiences we have.

As soon as you start reading about the heart chakra, located around the same area as the thoracic vertebrae, things begin to connect.  Pain and personal story interweave.

The heart chakra is about loving not only others, but yourself. Many people with AS talk about their struggles to love and appreciate and be gentle with themselves.  The heart chakra is also about reconnecting with yourself.  Forward chargers are so connected with the external world, with ego, recognition, benchmarks, that they forget about that part so easily.  Again, I speak from experience in my teens and 20s.

Torticullis was a Turning Point:

Another story:  Earlier this year,  the disease affected my neck in a nasty way, which wound up in a few acute torticullis attacks that sent me to the emergency room – they were probably the most pain I’ve ever been in.  I really connected with Sky Denton (AS victor) and his story about being unable to sit up out of bed with neck pain.   It was such a low for me, and was probably a key incident that made me take my symptoms more seriously and advocate for myself in the medical system.

Again, I traced back through emotion, story, soul and pain to understand this area of the body and try and draw some connections.  How am I healing this year? Why am I experiencing massive pain in this area?  What might it be hinting at?

In eastern medicine, this area of the body ties in with the throat chakra. What does it represent?  Self-expression, having a voice, speaking the truth of who you are, authenticity.

This was an interesting discovery, because something that has been on my mind this third maternity leave, and something I am trying to embrace, is speaking my voice, blogging, instagramming and sharing my truth.  I feel a really strong urge to write and connect through story, and share.  Reading others’ blogs has been so, so important to my own self-growth and development that I want to give back – but it takes vulnerability and courage. The internet is a harsh place and we are all scared of being judged, or that troll waiting to hurt us with a stinging comment. I’ve been trying to follow the whisper that says “share your story” because it feels right intuitively, but not without trepidation.

I grew up in a family where my voice and opinions were disregarded even though I felt I had valuable things to contribute.  Over the years I learnt to suck everything up, not share things and protect my inner fortress, and that is a process I am learning to reverse now.  I’ve come to understand that the neck flare-ups this year are not tragic, terrible things but messages that I am on the right path, and that I am dispersing that negative, inflammatory energy through finally granting myself a voice and the authority to speak.  That torticullis attack was, in a way, saying “yes, you are on the right track with thinking about opening up, but  you really need to embrace it and DO IT”  Everything is unfolding for a reason, and nothing is a coincedence, and that friends, is the key lesson of the AS Journey.  It’s all meant to be, and we are meant to uncover the meaning.

 

 

 

 

 

Ankylosing Spondylitis Journey, health coaching, Physical Wellness

I am a Mom Diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis after Having a Baby.

Copy of Copy of saturdaymarch 23, 20194_00 pm (2)

Last week, ten years of questions and confusion around my back pain were finally resolved, and all of the “hot spots” in my body (that were seemingly unrelated) all came together.  I was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis (though I do still have herniations and injuries from a car accident.)  It explained SO.MUCH.IN.MY.LIFE.  Particularly the crushing fatigue which is leaving me struggling to make it past lunch time, the absurd brain fog (forgetting which way to drive home and unable to think out of the box) and the pain.  Ick.  The pain.

Mostly, I felt relief and quite happy.

First, happy that I wasn’t crazy and second, I felt a bit validated to be honest!

For the last…well… forever…  Since my 20s – I have been trying to rehabilitate what I perceived to be injuries and was beginning to wonder what the heck was going on and why my dedicated work in rehabilitation, corrective exercise, nutrition and mindfulness weren’t giving me the results I expected *if* it was an injury I was dealing with.  I had gotten my mind into an optimal state, lost 50 lb, redesigned my lifestyle, yet I was still dealing with exhaustion, pain and strange “incidents” in my body.  Two of which left me debilitated and sent me to urgent care, after having to call my daycare provider to help me off of the floor.  Yup, it was that crazy.

At rheumatology last week, after the initial glow of “ahhh, this all makes sense now” I did had a few sad days.  And that is expected. And totally okay.  You just don’t want to sta in those places.  But you do have to move INTO them and THROUGH them.  It is so important to honour whatever emotions we experience and let them be without judgement.  If we don’t, guess what, they’ll get pushed down into our body somewhere.

There were two reasons for those feelings of sadness.

First, I was a bit taken aback at the medication I had to start to cool the inflammatory jets and get back to a comfortable place.  I went from NSAIDs, fish oil, and a few other multis… to 4 prescriptions and DMARDS.  I’ve always been a bit averse to taking prescriptions, but now I realize the systemic nature of my disease and the damage that has occured in my spine & joints.  In all honest, I am now glad for (and appreciative of)  western medicine and its ability to pause the progressive disease.  It is not a panacea though, and I definitely see it as simply an extra tool in my tool kit 🙂

Since the birth of my 3rd baby I have been very symptomatic and have definitely been in a flare up for the most of the past year, but in previous years, I made some progress in deepening my knowledge and extending the time between flares.

2008-2010 was a very, very bad time in my back pain / body issues life, and I look back and am so glad I am not quite that bad now, and that I had a relatively decent run between 2011 and 2016.

2016 – 2018 have been quite up and down though.  I have had some big stress, and big illnesses not to mention, 3  pregnancies, so this is definitely a stage where my body is kind of in a bit of turmoil.

The second reason I felt sad after my diagnoses, is that I felt sad for all of those years I had battled against myself and tried to “beat down” back pain with a “suck it up” and “warrior” mentality.  I used to look at my body as an enemy to fight and then conquer and have mastery over.

I moved away from this mindset only in the last few years with the birth of my beautiful little babies.  It is, indeed, one of the greatest gifts they have given me.  Self-love, being gentle, slowing down and surrendering to the universe.

Since the arrival of these three sweeties ( 3 children in the last five years) I’ve changed.  I feel a deeper love and appreciation for my body, what it has done and what it continues to do.  I love it now, but I do feel sad for how poorly I used to treat it.  I don’t feel regret, but I do look back with a bit of sadness for all of those years I spent hating it, controlling it, and trying to gain mastery over it.

In 2018, I don’t see pain as something to be crushed, but something to be embraced with love, because it is our body’s messaging system.

It’s like when my 3 year old comes up crying. It sounds crazy to for me to tell him to STOP CRYING THATS ANNOYING, repress his emotions and ignore him / tell him to suck it up.  Of course I wouldn’t do that.  None of us parents would!

I would embrace him, connect with him down on his level and ask what is happening, how he feels and how we can work through it (while reassuring him that is okay to experience those emotions.)   So why would we take the former approach to ourselves when our body is communicating with us through the language of pain?  Yet, we do.

I wrote an article on managing back pain (note, this was written when I thought I was had the perspective of repairing injuries not an auto-immune disease)  with young children, and what I’ve learnt helps me over the last ten years – and you can see that the improvement all comes from a place of loving and appreciating my body. Not fighting it.    

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In fact, one of my favourite meditations over the last few years of deep immersion into meditative practices, is the inner smile meditation. To feel gratitude and fill my inner world with happiness, gratitude and the warm flow of love, is something my body desperately wanted (and did not get) until a few years ago.  I always recommend insight timer as it’s free, there’s so many meditations you can choose from, and an entire category dedicated to chronic pain management, inner smile, gratitude, etc.  They range from sparkly noises and tweeting birds and woowoo style, all the way to practical no-nonsense style.  There really is something for everyone. You just need a phone, “do not disturb” mode on, and the app open.

On this blog, it is my intent to openly share some of the things I have learnt on my long back pain journey and share the process of implementing tools.  Even though I am in a current flare-up, I truly believe I have found many of the right tools to manage Ankylosing Spondylitis and as I re-implement them in my life with new perspective, I hope to share with you the journey.  I also hope to connect with other mamas with AS as well, so we can support each other in our growth and elevation.

I am early in this journey though, and there are many more tools outside of the realm of western medicine that I am excited to learn about, and try out.  I hope to share these as well!

If you would like to read more posts on this journey, check out these:

https://thegreatmaternityleave.com/category/ankylosing-spondylitis-journey/

 

 

 

 

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