As the changing weather of Fall approaches, I am mindful of the many seasons of life and the changes they bring.
It has been almost four years since I wrote my first post for FibroHaven – four years of change and adaptation, breathing in, slowing down, speeding up, crashing, recovering, celebrating, and the many other sensations change brings. But mostly, it has been a joyful four years because through FibroHaven I have truly found my community and my purpose – my Dharma – being in service as leader, yoga instructor, and life coach.
So what’s different? What has changed?
I still live daily with the symptoms of my illness. Today as I sit here, I have taken three breaks in my writing so far because my pain and fatigue are high, and my brain is foggy. There is a message I feel inside wanting to come out, but today I am challenged to express it. So I am doing what I have learned to do through my yoga and life coaches training – I am pausing, focusing on my breathing, changing my physiology by moving and stretching gently, and most importantly, I am treating myself with love and compassion.
That might be the biggest change – self-love, self-compassion, along with an acceptance of my illness, and an awareness that my Being is still present and whole in spite of it. Or maybe because of it. I know myself so much more completely now than I ever did before.
What got me here?
Through the practice of yoga I have reconnected to my body after many years spent trying to disconnect. I now better understand the messages and signals my body sends me daily, and know when to move, when to rest, and when to breathe deeply. Pain is still present, but no longer all-consuming.
And with the life coaching I have reconnected to my sense of Being – the sense of ourselves that we are born with – the understanding and knowing that we are perfect and whole, despite our circumstances. My coach calls this our Felt Sense of Being, and it has become a daily practice for me to reconnect with it.
What does a practice of connecting to my Being look like?
In the past when my desire to accomplish something, like writing this post, is challenged by my symptoms, I would often just quit – close my computer, focus on my symptoms and all they are preventing me from doing, and be in the frustration of what I felt was not possible.
But now when I practice connecting to my Being, I am building a new muscle that enables me to create space to move through moments when I feel like giving in to my symptoms, and ease into a space where I remember that I am so much more. In that space I am able to reconnect to my core self and my experience of living from my essence – my Felt Sense of Being – a place untouched by illness and impossibilities.
When I am feeling the familiar sensations of overwhelm, anxiety, fear, and defeat – I stop, close my eyes, place my hands on my heart, and breathe. Breathing smoothly and evenly – in and out through my nose, I follow my breath from my nose, down my throat, and into my heart center. I let my breath be the bridge that guides me gently away from my thoughts, away from my physical and emotional discomfort and into my core – my heart center. And there is where I connect to my Felt Sense of Being. There is where I know that I am so much more than my circumstances. There is where I remember that I am whole and worthy and full of light. And there is where my desire to live my Dharma becomes greater than any physical or emotional distress.
And it takes practice
This truly is a practice and somedays I am better at it than others. Somedays I resist, holding tightly to my pain, fear, and frustration. And that is okay. This is why we practice. Those days are simply opportunities to take on other practices – like practicing being with what is, and practicing loving self-compassion, and practicing reaching out for support.
That is so much the key in all of this – Practice. Practice taking on your life with a new intention and commitment to all that is possible even in the midst of fear, pain, emotional distress, burdensome energies. Practice connecting to that part of you that is untouched by your current experience of illness/disease/distress. It is there. You were born with it, and you will die with it – the Purity and Possibility of your Being. How will you practice connecting with your Being today?
For more information on life coaching – private and groups – please Contact Dannette.
Rose - The Center of My Self says
What a wonderful, affirmative post! “…practicing being with what is… practicing loving self-compassion … practicing reaching out for support.” We learn to recognize when we need to practice each of these or a combination of them. Yoga has been transformative for me, too. I’ve learned to Be with what is, to accept that sometimes I need to take a break and it’s OK, to recognize the freer times when I can do more without inducing a flare. Every time I step on my mat is a new experience and I open myself to what my body feels that day. I apply that in my life, too. Some days, I say Yes to every good thing; some days, I know to say No and not beat myself up about it. If I am tired, I rest; if I am hurting, I move on to something else; if I am foggy, I practice patience with myself. Most people aren’t even aware when I’m in pain because yoga has taught me to manage it so well.
D~You continue to amaze, inspire, touch, guide, encourage and support me. You heart, (so completely filled with love), your mind(knowledge filled), and body(which is healing like most of us)! You continue to share and give of yourself and freely open your arms to anyone who needs anything from you. Thank you D. I know WHY you’ve come into my life and for this and YOU, I am so incredibly grateful. I am working on getting to where you are. You have so much to be proud of AND I am proud to call you my friend. Thank you. <3. Xxoo
Valda Garner says
Hi Dannette! I have missed you! It is so wonderful reading your message of love and compassion. You really know how to express your thoughts and I so appreciate your supportive thoughts. It is so important to gain a sense of peace with this illness and despite your struggle with pain and brain fog, you have expressed this quite eloquently. Thank you for all you do inspite of your own pain and for all the support. Blessings to you! Love, Valda
Rhonda Johnston says
I am interested in joining a group. I live in Madison, Ohio, about 60 miles East
You put this in very good words ive never tried yoga yet. I have a hard time explaining how I feel and what happends with ky illnesses. Thanks
Denise Sheehan says
Hi Dannette, this is the first time I have ever seen your post, caught my attention, on F.B. I am so glad I read this, nothing has ever inspired me as your words just did. I am bitter and angry and have pretty much given up on life. I would never do anything to myself, I mean, I just lay here, hurting missing all of the things I used to enjoy doing.You sound like you are somewhat at peace with it and maybe still find some joy in life? Is yoga a big part of that? Do you have to leave your home to learn yoga, or can you learn from a dvd?? I leave home to go see the Dr., maybe do a little shopping once every couple months, was always my favorite thing to do but can’t hardly do that anymore. Thank-you, sincerely Denise Sheehan
Lynna Gibson says
Thank you for this post! I too have been down this road in the past 3 years and this year it has been my goal to share with others. It isn’t just Fibro that benefits this kind of love, but everyone can gain something from slowing down & breathing. By being mindful & aware of my mind, body and spirit, I can do more than I’ve done in the past. The biggest change for me has been letting go of the negative and focusing on the positive. There are so many things I see today, that I would’ve passed by in the past. Live for today because you never know what tomorrow will bring. learn how respond to things in a calmer manor and you’ll be 1 step ahead of most people and a lot happier too!
I will share this post with my Fibro support group, because it is a great message and because so many of them are trapped in a rut or depressed. Every day is a new chance to take back your life and accept the things we cannot change. Thank you again for posting this wonderful, uplifting message!
I enjoyed reading your article. I haven’t spoke to anyone in regards to my illness. Or know of any support group in my area. I’m in northwest Detroit Michigan. And do not even know that much about it. Execpt it has changed my way of life. Thanks. Cheryl
Mrs. Dubose says
I have had health problems for most of my adult life and have just started a blog reflecting on my experiences. I was googling FMS blogs and came across yours. I have found that Mindfulness not only helps in the moment but it also helps you file away good memories for when you are having a bad day. I would love to invite people to follow my blog and feel free to share this post about when I first learned about FMS. I have not evolved completely to acceptance, but I am getting there.
Hiya,Id really like to try yoga again, but I struggle with feeling too ‘broken’ for such a practise. I always see images of slim beautiful toned women doing yoga, and feel like Im never going to be like that so what the point? I have problems with pain from trauma, as well as fibro. I feel all wonky and asymetrical. I did try doing some chi kung a week or so ago but i seem to have set off a bad flare-up.
I will read a few more of your posts on yoga though.