I assumed somewhere in December there would be a day that I didn’t feel grateful. At all. And the more I tried to talk myself into gratitude, the crabbier I would get. Well, I didn’t expect that would be day #3.
On Dec 1st I lost a filling, which I don’t like, but no biggie. On the 2nd, I lost a 2nd filling…and thankfully I didn’t lose three on the 3rd, BUT I found it will require intensive dental work to get these babies taken care of and will likely take at least the next 5 weeks to complete (long story…). After spending most of September on soft foods, smoothies and liquids for the last obnoxious round of dental misadventures, I’m hugely tense even thinking about this. I’m angry. I’m frustrated. It feels unfair, and I feel like I need to justify myself, like I’ve done something wrong and it’s all my fault.
And I got so stressed over it that I had an autoimmune flare which feels like a piece of glass is in my eyes, which is what happens when I get over-stressed.
Fortunately, I rarely have the eye symptoms and that was enough to snap me out of my misery overdrive.
Sometimes when I have chronic pain I’m furious at myself for being “weak”. I’m enraged in “why me” and “this SUCKS” and “seriously, what did I do to deserve this?” When I’m lucky, I’m able to step back a little and realize the self-loathing is worse than the pain.
It’s as though there’s a little girl, crying because she’s in pain. And my habit is to unleash fury that her pain is interfering with my life, my plans, my dreams, my goals. How dare anything get in my way. And when I’m able to see her eyes and really feel, deeply, that she doesn’t mean to do anything wrong, that she didn’t choose to be in pain, I finally can feel compassion and grief.
Because it can be sad to have pain and limitations. But it’s much sadder to be furious at my body, at myself, when I’ve always done the best I can. Obviously there have been many mistakes in hindsight, but those are mine, too.
So there’s real joy moments when I’m able to re-claim my own story, to hold my own pain with compassion and know that this, too will be okay.
And then I can get back to the business of gratitude.
So I’m grateful for self-compassion, I’m grateful for resiliency, and I’m grateful for eye drops.
More on the December Sanity Retreat 2013
The holidays can be a beautiful time of family bonding, celebration and beauty. They can also be an overdoing, overspending, overstressing time of all flavors of excess. For the last 3 years, I’ve been delighted to host the December Sanity Retreat and the July Self-Care Retreat. This is our 6th retreat! It’s been wonderful for me to have an extra excuse to focus on self-care and rein in my natural tendency to need to bake (at least) 18 kinds of cookies.
I know how powerful it is for me to focus on self-care, and I imagine it’s similar for most of you, so as a gentle extra nudge, we’re doing 2 giveaways.
Giveaway #1: Let us hear your voice!
Prize: a $50 nuts.com gift certificate) they are not sponsoring, I just wanted something with healthy gluten-free, vegan, sugar-free, etc. options (US/Canada)
Comment on any of our hostesses’ posts on the Sanity Retreat, like this one. Leave me a comment on how you cultivate gratitude in your life, OR what you’re most grateful for on this week’s post HERE
Giveaway #2: make the challenge your own!
Blog on your own self-care plans, and a post will be chosen at random as the winner. If you don’t have a blog, contact the hostess of the week and they’ll post for you.
Prize: um, ironing out details–either a gift certificate or a box of self-care books, meditation CDs, chocolate and other fun things from me.
As always, self-care is whatever it means to you. So the December Sanity Challenge can be on whatever YOU need to work on to stay sane during the holiday season
Balance around food * Joyful movement * Sanity & stress management * Making space for art, expression, and spirituality * Connection with friends and family
Or whatever else speaks to you along those lines.
The challenge—post on what you plan to do to make your holidays sane, happy and healthy. Make it specific! Not just “I’ll get more sleep”, but “I’ll get at least 7 hours of sleep, 5 days a week”. Not just “I won’t go crazy making desserts”, but “I’ll make a maximum of XX desserts, and space them out over XX time”. You know what you need to do to keep this doable, and writing it down will help you get there!
I’m delighted to be joined by wonderful hostesses with likeminded blogs:
- Kickoff: Gluten Free Goodness (moi)
- Dec 7th Kate of Eat, Recycle, Repeat
- Dec 14th Carrie of Ginger Lemon Girl
- Dec 21st Valerie of City Life Eats
- Roundup: Gluten Free Goodness (moi)
I hope you choose to join us, too. Grab a badge and we’re good to go!
We’ll also be meeting up in our Facebook group for extra encouragement and support. You’re more than welcome to join us there.
Posts so far:
- Valerie’s Kickoff post
- Carrie of Ginger Lemon Girl’s Seeking Joy
- Eat Recycle Repeat’s Joy to the World
My 30 days of gratitude:
- Day 1: Gratitude
- Day 2: Grateful for Genghis Khat
- Day 3: Grateful for amazing people
- Day 4: The roundabout road to gratitude
- Day 5: Grateful for beautiful weather
- Day 6: Grateful for New Experiences
- Day 7: Grateful for Local Apples
- Day 8: Grateful for Acts of Kindness
Thanks for sharing that. I think enemies are a figment of our imaginations. We do a good enough job at beating ourselves up from time to time, we simply don’t need any outside help. And I so get how illness and pain can bring it on, and love and acceptance are about the only ways to reel it in.
The best to you.
thanks, Pamela. Much appreciated.
I don’t know how to word this so it doesn’t sound like I like it when you’re in pain! 😛 But I truly appreciate the honestly in this post Cheryl and how you were able to find something to be grateful for even through the frustrations of health issues. I’m so sorry about your dental fillings and that it will take weeks to get that fixed!! And for you to be able to find gratitude when you know in the upcoming weeks as well that you may have some very hard days is remarkable. I truly appreciate you sharing this and I really hope for days as pain-free as possible while you have to get the fillings repaired. ((((((BIG BIG hugs to you!)))))))))) (and for lots of chocolate afterwards!)