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Pain and Me . . . .

25 Feb

 

What goes on behind the eyes of a woman?

What goes on behind the eyes of a woman in the dark of night when the pain becomes a lover?

In nights of physical pain, I lift from my body, hover above, and watch my weakness with disdain. I dream without sleeping, float in a sea of nerve endings glowing red. I write beautiful words in the dark; they are slender threads of silver and gold, pulsing with meaning and truth. Pain purifies thoughts, sharpens the senses. In the night hours, I pity the part of me who  demands attention to the fiery current racing down my spine and legs. I toss, turn, and wish it would stop. I argue my case, and pain argues back its own. One night, Pain opened up to me and said, “At times, I’d rather be called something else, like beauty, or hope, or joy. Do you think it’s easy being hated and feared? I do my job and that is what I do. Who told you life is lived without pain?” I answered, “Do your worst! I am strong!” And I lay there, and I felt Pain, and thought, who would I be without Pain? It’s become a part of me, attached to me as if an extra body part. It’s mine. And I can take it. I am strong.

 
Photos-Video: No Words (and a link to interview)In the quiet dark, I think how one day I will be a very old woman. I’ll walk crooked to the coffee pot, pour a cup, and holding the cup with trembled hands, I’ll shuffle to the porch, carefully sit in my rocker, pull a throw over my knees, and rock rock and think about pain and me and how we had a long good life together. I’ll wonder, did pain take away or did pain give insight, and empathy? I will drink every bit of my strong black coffee and I’ll be grateful for its taste and heat, and I’ll say, “Come on pain, today we will write, and then we will rock some more, and then we will read, and then we will rock some more. Life is good.” And it won’t seem but a minute that I am on Earth, just a minute. Just a minute. A minute. Minute.

 

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1964980_10152466287074176_8369086502746553258_nTouty plug of the day:

I have noticed that my Graces Series books are fluctuating “on sale” on Amazon Kindle, at least two (Secret Graces and Family Graces) are right now under $5, with Tender Graces being under $8, so, I hope you will check them out while they are on sale.

My brother composed some music for the final book in the Graces Trilogy: Family Graces-remaining at a five-star review, though not as many reviews as Amazon would like, I’m sure *laugh.* I’m proud of the Virginia Kate Sagas, and VK will remain one of my all-time favorite characters, ever. I loved writing these books. Tender Graces (A gentle yet unflinching look at how we find our way home) was my first published novel. That was when anything at all was possible – and it still is. There are always possibilities. Tender Graces was nominated for an award, has been on the Amazon best-seller lists, and even was No 1 on Amazon over The Help, which at the time was a big best seller, and TG remains at a near perfect almost five-star review status, as does the other two Graces books. But all that is just Stuff – the writing of these Graces books were magic times for me.

There’s not much to this video because I just wanted my brother to know I respected the time he took to compose this music. Thank you, bro.

He took this music and renamed it “Ghost Horse Mountain” and developed a cd around it, called Ghost Horse Mountain. My brother never gives up on his dream – ever. I have to give him that. He’s his own unique brain – hey! I meant to write “brand” but that, too *laugh*

Now go after your dream – no matter where it leads you, it will be a journey you’ll never regret.

The phrase “I will never . . . .” is a coiled snake ready to bite us on our asses

18 Mar

Snake_strike_coiled_HIHow many times have you used that phrase only to have it come back later and bite the shit out of your ass? Now, that doesn’t mean the biting isn’t going to be a good thing—maybe you needed to be bit on your ass to propel you in to some kind of motion. Maybe you’ve been stagnant, bored but not recognizing that, or meandering around aimlessly, or unhappy with a situation but in denial.

007Maybe you said “never” with the fever and fervor of THIS WILL NEVER EVER CHANGE and have just been bitten on the ass and aren’t sure if that bite will propel you towards something better, or just as good, or towards—THE SCARYASS UNKNOWN! *cue dramatic thunderous slightly dark music*

Or perhaps, my friends, you told someone, “I will never,” and you didn’t really mean it. It isn’t that you lied, it’s just that you could not face up to the truth inside of you—buried there deep, where only the snake biting you on the ass could cause a draining away and revealing of your truths. You said the words because to admit the other words would cause pain and turmoil and disruption and feelings of failure and that SCARYASS UNKNOWN looming. You said them so the other would believe and not be hurt, yes, but also to force yourself to believe so you wouldn’t do the hurting.

We do have our “Nevers” that are iron-clad. For example, “I will never kill another human being,” but then, is that true? If someone were going to fatally harm me or mine, wouldn’t I kill the shit out of them? “I will never jump off the Empire State Building!” Okay, that seems pretty safe. But what if I’m up there and there’s a fire behind me and no escape—I  either have to jump or burn up. I’m jumping! Okay. Well. Huhn. “I will never stop loving my son and granddaughter!” There. That’s a never that holds forever true! But those iron-clad “nevers” are few, even when we think they are not.

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Then . . . .

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Now . . . .

“I will never grow out my hair.” “I will never write erotica.” “I will never sit around crying like a big baby because I’m a tough-ass bitch.” “I will never leave *insert something or someone here*” “I will never give up/give in/give to/give back . . . .”

Oh, my friends. The phrase “I will never . . . .” is the universe’s big laugh at you; it’s the coiled snake ready to bite you on your ass; it’s the swallow those words you spoke because, guess what? Never became “oh shit, it’s happening/happened/going to happen.”

Maybe that snake did surprise you. Or, maybe you sat on that badass snake so it WOULD bite you! Maybe you pretended you didn’t see the snake and just stuck your bared ass right in its face and taunted it while pretending you were going about your business all la tee dah.

So. Little things are easy to talk about first. For instance, I remember clearly and distinctly standing at Hart Theater in Waynesville, North Carolina a couple years ago, talking to a theater friend who’d just cut her hair short, and I said (there’s a metaphor here, isn’t there?), “Yeah. I love mine short and will NEVER go back to longer hair. Ever.” Um. Yeah. Guess what? I not only grew it out, but longer than I ever thought I would have. But that night as I stood there smiling and confident, I really truly believed myself. I honestly thought the words “I will never  . . . .” were true and real and were never to be altered. I thought myself completely  happy with my shorty ole hair. I couldn’t see a day when I wouldn’t be satisfied with that look. Oh how we tempt the fates with our ultimatums and declarations!

SEDUCTION COVE CVR6_edited-1 for amazonOr, I remember standing by my mother, my face all sincere and true: “Nah. Not for me. I’m not going to write trashy erotica stuff! I will never do that. I will stick to what I write.” And then, three months later, on a night when I was full of vodka and bad intent and after I’d smashed a writer’s conference mug against the tree outside my little log house and yelled into the night, “I QUIT! I am NOT WRITING ANOTHER WORD! I AM PISSED OFF AT THE WHOLE BUSINESS! FUCK THIS SHIT!” (the snow hid my shame, until it melted – lawd), I preternaturally-calm opened my word document and wrote Seduction Cove and I laughed a vodka-infused laugh, and of course, I ain’t telling my mom. I also said, “I will NEVER tell anyone I wrote it–I’ll keep Tasha a secret.” Oops; didn’t happen that way. Mom, if you happen by here: I’m sorry. Dang. And now my writing world has altered. Where will I take it next?

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I will never leave this beautiful place

So, my friends. There have been some changes in my life, and more are coming. I’ve spent the last six months or so (actually, the last two years after my father died—something about a parent dying sets a woman on quests and questionings and searchings)—wading through the molasses of change and discovery and heartache and decisions that changed my life and the life of others and etc etc etc – ET CET ER A!

I will begin a series of posts about my “nevers” and my “soon to comes” and my “already happeneds” – and I hope you’ll learn something from them, or be entertained, or nod or shake your head, or ignore it all—but I need to write it. That’s what I do. I am a writer. I write things out. And when I do not, I bother my friends with my whiny angst, or send texts that are full of self-indulgent whines that I later regret (that’s a post in itself). So write I will.

Some topics—and I will never stray from them (hahaha!) are:

  • What not to do when you are alone and vulnerable
  • When you are the one you says, “I want a separation”
  • When you have said you “never” have writer’s block and suddenly you cannot write
  • When you have to leave a place/an ideal/a way of life that you thought was “forever” because you said “never will I leave this place/ideal/way of life
  • When disappointment in people attacks—when you realize the people you thought would call never do, and the ones you never thought would reach out to you do.
  • When the word “lonely” expands beyond and above what you ever thought it could be
  • When you think you cannot, absolutely cannot, face something—but then you do
  • What happens next?
  • At my age! . . . the prospects of dating and all that jazz (and being called a cougar—? Um, what?)
  • Etc.

I’ll be back soon . . . .

Wednesday F4A: Back Pain doesn’t mean you should be couch taters, y’allses!

28 Mar

(Email subscribers may receive this twice -if so, my apologies! I accidentally hit “Publish” last night instead of “Draft” – ooooops! Lawd!)

I first hurt my low back in my mid-twenties, and had surgery on a ruptured disc in my early thirties. I didn’t know how to care for my back then, but I sure as danged learned so I’d never have to have surgery again, and I haven’t. Yay!  I did my research and learned about the spine and its support sytem–knowledge really is power and creates understanding of how your body works, so that you can care for it/be mindful of it, strengthen it, ease its pains and discomforts. Learn what may be causing pain and work to alleviate it.

If your level of pain is severe, then for all gawd’s sake in heaven and on earth don’t ignore that–Lawd! If you are not sure if your pain is “normal aches and pains” then do not suffer and wonder, go have it checked. Pain is an indication something is amiss, even if only that you over-did your gardening/weekend sports/marathon-pie-eating contest that day. Of course, if you over-did something, you may expect to have some pain. Learn to listen to your body–it’s an old platitudish cliche-ishy statement, but one that stands.

I gots the 'ritis in my back, mooo-hooo-hoooo!

The more we do to help ourselves naturally, the less we have to rely on some medicine that may make us feel yuckity–and, y’all, some type of aerobic exercise, strengthening, and stretching are wonderful ways to alleviate pain, or at least make it less irksomely ARGH!
When I became a personal trainer, I studied “body mechanics,” and as

Naw, not that kind of downward facing dawg!

well, I became a stickler for Form (see last Wednesday’s post on Form), and for not taking the body to such silly-arse extremes I see in the gym (and on some tv programs) that lead to injury and burn-out. While we should challenge ourselves and our bodies, pain should not be used as an indicator that we are doing something right–right? Riiigghht! I tol’ y’allses before, your gym grunts and screams and near-vomitus-stupidus-ickypoodicus (that’s Latin for “STOP IT, Fool!) just makes me want to bomp you upside your heads. Unless you are in some super-duper-stupendous-special training program/military/whatever-specialty, and have someone monitoring you who is uber-duber-trained–and I don’t mean some “looks in shape” dude/woman in the gym who tells you they know what they are doing and you end up in traction– then stop trying to go all out for nothing and then drop out because you injure and/or exhaust yourself.

I use these ThermaCares for my back. They do heat up nicely and warm my back area, which helps the circulation/blood flow to the area. This is another idea behind exercise–circulation/blood flow. In summer, I rarely use these warming pads, as they heat me up too much, but in winter they are heavenly because not only do they help my back pain, they keep me feeling warm and toasty.

You may feel as if you want to do nothing if you have back pain, but lawdy folkses, you have to move. You must strengthen and stretch, and that includes your core muscles (think of a band wrapped around your waist/back, your hips/pelvic floor, that is strengthened to help hold you in good posture and balance, that will keep you upright and strong into your olden golden years)–don’t just work the muscles that you think make you look good in a bathing suit/shirt-off-on-the-beach, but all of them, your entire body. (Many men tend to work only the muscles they can see in the mirror in their upper body; many women their thighs/butt/abs–work them all!).

Of course, as I always tell you: consult your physician before you begin an exercise/training/stretching program–especially if you have pain or weak areas. Listen To Personal Trainer Kat when she says Pain is NOT an indicator you have been “working out like a hot-damn house-a-fire,” but instead a sign you may be damaging muscle or something worse. People think they have to be sore to indicate they’ve “really worked out,” but I was so gratified to see new studies that prove what I have been saying for years–that soreness may be holding you back, not helping you. Of course, a little soreness is to be expected if you haven’t worked out in a while or try something new.

For your back, try some “reverse sit ups,” where you lie face down and lift your upper body, and/or your upper body and legs, just until you feel a tension in your back–I said TENSION not pain, y’allses. Lawdy be, why do we feel exercise has to hurt to be effective. Huhn.

dawgs know how to rest and sleep!

Find time to rest. Sleep/rest is also important. How you sleep could affect your back. Experiment: if you lie on your back, put a pillow under your knees; and on your side you may find a pillow between your knees helps. Sleeping on your stomach is usually not recommended, but if you must, put a pillow under your lower abdominal/top of hip region. Your body will tell you if you messed up, oh yes it will–how? by your going OW OW UNGH UNGH OHHHHHH ERRGGH as you struggle to pull yourself of bed and across the room. Haw!

No matter which yoga poses I do, I always include child’s pose at the end. It is hard to feel anything but peace and serenity when folded into a facing-down fetal position. My eyes are hidden from the world, my body tucked tight, yet my spine is vulnerable to the sky and anyone who may come near me. It is at once a trusting pose, while a very private and protective one. It  helps stretch out my back from my workout, opening up the spine. I breathe in and out, slowly and evenly. I stay that way until I can face the world again. Then I carefully curl up and sit into half-lotus pose, ardha padma-asana, bring my hands to prayer position, close my eyes for a moment. How can I feel anything but contentment, peace, and gratitude when in this beautiful pose? I cannot. And my back thanks me for it, too. Namaste.


(Note! >> Tomorrow, Thursday the 29th, I am the “author on parade” at Sharla Lovelace’s blog, where the give-away that day is a signed copy of the soon-to-be-released Family Graces. Stop by! Sharla writes:  “A random commenter will be chosen each day to win fabulous books.”).

Pain and Me

16 Aug

In nights of physical pain, I lift from my body, hover above, and watch my weakness with disdain. I dream without sleeping, float in a sea of nerve endings glowing red. I write beautiful words in the dark; they are slender threads of silver and gold, pulsing with meaning and truth. Pain purifies thoughts, sharpens the senses. In the night hours, I pity the part of me that demands attention to the fiery current racing down my spine and legs. I toss, turn, and wish it would stop. I argue my case, and pain argues back its own. One night, Pain opened up to me and said, “At times, I’d rather be called something else, like beauty, or hope, or joy. Do you think it’s easy being hated and feared? I do my job and that is what I do. Who told you life is lived without pain?” I answered, “Do your worst! I am strong!” And I lay there, and I felt Pain, and thought, who would I be without Pain? It’s become a part of me, attached to me as if an extra body part. It’s mine. And I can take it. I am strong.

In the quiet dark, I think how one day I will be a very old woman. I’ll walk crooked to the coffee pot, pour a cup, and holding the cup with trembled hands, I’ll shuffle to the porch, carefully sit in my rocker, pull a throw over my knees, and rock rock and think about pain and me and how we had a long good life together. I’ll wonder, did pain take away or did pain give insight, and empathy? I will drink every bit of my strong black coffee and I’ll be grateful for its taste and heat, and I’ll say, “Come on pain, today we will write, and then we will rock some more, and then we will read, and then we will rock some more. Life is good.” And it won’t seem but a minute that I am on Earth, just a minute. Just a minute. A minute. Minute.

(this was first posted on the yog blog a couple years ago)

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