I attended a Spiritual Writing Workshop last April with Joyce Rupp and Mary Kay Shanley. Our last assignment was to have a written conversation with our inner self as a tool for accessing our own wisdom. Having suffered from chronic migraines for a year, I chose this issue as my topic for this exercise:
I am so tired of you! I'm trying to do the right things so you can feel good, but you never do! I've said I'm sorry, I've thanked you, and I've sent love to you. I walk outside, breathe fresh air, have cleaned up my diet from dairy and sugar, I exercise, I sleep a lot, I give you ice, meds, and meditations – What do you want and need from me? What's so hard about having a pain-free day?
It's the pursuit of control over all of this that you must let go.
But it seems that routine, schedule, daily habits are supposed to be good and helpful.
It's the control over outcomes you wish to exert over your body that's the problem, not the habits themselves.
So I'm supposed to care of myself without the expectation or goal that I will feel good and healthy? That doesn't even make sense. That's why I do them.
Yes, but it's the tit-for-tat, the immediate response, the iron-grip on your daily life and habits that doesn't' work. It's an organic process; you get mad at yourself if you don't get the results you want from whatever you do – all that does is put more stress on your system rather than release stress.
I don't like accepting limitations; I was raised to produce to outcomes by controlling my actions.
Yes, but life is really the opposite. Accept how you feel, accept what you can do today rather than what you think you should do. Start with acceptance and love of what is, without an agenda or a "have to".
Why is this so hard for me?
Because it's the opposite of what our culture promotes and it's not the path of perfectionism. All these exercise programs say, "don't quit, don't give up on yourself, push harder" but every time you blow past your own body's wisdom, limits, and what's possible for today, you "give up on yourself" – your true self.
So you're saying I need to listen inward rather than outward?
Yes! It's easier to be healthy and pain free when you don't have an adversarial role or a conquering attitude toward your body.
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