Over the past 18 months, I have been learning how to manage pain in a whole new way. It’s completely changed my life, and my outlook on health. Pharmaceuticals can only do so much. After a while pain medication can stop giving the body the originally intended benefit, and actually cause more harm than good. I found that my pain receptors were shot, and pain to me is ten times what it would be to a normal person.

My nervous system is like a circuit board that has gone haywire. Being introduced to Mindfulness as a way of pain management, along with breathing exercises and physical therapy has allowed me to slowly taper off the pain medication and I am already half way there. I am feeling so very much better.

Mindfulness is relatively simple concept that can yield extremely powerful results. One of the foremost authors on the subject of mindfulness,

Jon Kabat-Zinn, says :

“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way:

On purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgementally.”

What I am learning through mindfulness practice is how to be here, and only here, fully present. I notice myself wanting to worry about the future, and just bring my awareness back to right now. I notice thoughts about the past, and how I could have been better, but it’s just a thought, and I let it pass by. Very cool. Now I’m not saying that I never worry or think about the past, but mindfulness has helped me tremendously with feeling anxious, and depression.

Here is another explanation:

“Mindfulness means deliberately attending to and becoming more aware of our experience: our thoughts, feelings and body sensations. This allows us to clearly perceive thoughts, physical sensations, emotions and events at the moment they occur without reacting in an automatic or habitual way. Experiences don’t overwhelm us and we become steady through life’s ups and downs.”
Vidyamala Burch
Founder of Breatheworks
where her site says:
“The Breathworks approach to Mindfulness-Based Pain Management (MBPM) is the most comprehensive, in-depth, scientifically up-to-date and user-friendly approach to learning the how of living with chronic pain and reclaiming one’s life that I know of…..I admire Vidyamala tremendously… her approach could save your life and give it back to you.”
Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD author of Full Catastrophe Living and Coming to Our Senses Professor Emeritus of the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
As for my pain management, the psychologist I see uses the same program developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn, and has done some mindfulness exercises with me, in his office that have really helped me calm my pain down. He recorded them so I can listen any time. One is a Body Scan, which takes you through each part of the body very slowly, but in a specific way. Jon Kabat-Zinn is the authority and pioneer in this field. His books are very good, like Full Catastrophe Living and Wherever You Go, There You Are. Look him up on You Tube and Amazon.

Meditation and more specifically Buddhism, Yoga, TM, and other types of spiritual practice is also mindfulness practice, so it’s by no means new, and in fact thousands of years old. Allowing your mind to quiet, being still and going within is the first step. There’s noting to do believe it or not. Just sit, be still and allow thoughts to pass, allow peace to come, Allow God to speak to you. It’s amazing.

Pain can be diminished greatly by taking focus to present moment awareness, and simply breathing. My physical therapist showed me this video about

Simple Diaphramatic Breathing
As you see the diaphram is free moving, gently expanding and contracting. It’s separate from the lungs, and can be very beneficial in helping the body to relax. As it pertains to mindfulness, when you concentrate on the diaphram going up and down inside your body, and picture it suspended like this video, breathing becomes focused, and more calming,very quickly, the blood pressure can go down, pain and stress can be reduced as well.

I am JUST learning this stuff, so this is a very basic overview, and if you want to learn more I would recommend a few things. First off, if you have any kind of chronic condition, this works wonders, so ask your doctor for a referral to a local therapist or mindfulness program in your area, if you don’t go to one already, and ask about mindfulness exercises. They will know.

Some great mindfulness resources are:

Any book or video by Jon Kabat Zinn


Finding Peace in a Frantic World

That should get you started. It does not take much as it it extremely easy and very simple. You will love it.



It’s Halloween week, and the gools and goblins are all around. While a positive, grateful and empowered life is my #1 goal, I wrestle a few beasts in my quest to stay well, grow and empower myself and others each day.

It’s makes me think about the dark places that lurk around the corners of our minds, and those 7 nasty mind monsters that can fuel pain and depression, stop you from achieving your goals, ruin relationships, and much more. With some work and attention, we can banish them, or at least tell them they are NOT welcome! The whole key is to consciously invite them to scram, show them the door..and work on positive replacements instead.  To heal anything, it must be acknowledged. Who are these monsters?

1. Guilt
 is one of my biggest “Nasty Monsters” that follows me and makes for more knots in my stomach and pain in my body. Feeling guilty is something all of us are good at in one way or another, and if we are living with a chronic condition in any way, we are probably MASTERS at it. We tend to use our inner guts as punching bags for what we cannot do, should have done, messed up, forgot, and could have done better…need I say more? I can’t tell you how much time I have wasted feeling guilty about so many things I could have, or should have done. Let it go!! The truth is you are doing the best you can with what you have, and guilt is a totally useless emotion that makes you sick! Forgiveness is the opposite of guilt and an be a wonderful healing to your spirit. Every time you feel yourself “beating youself up” say: “I love myself, I forgive myself and I now let it go”.  Give that Guilt monster the boot, show him the door..Baam!

2.Anger. That’s another Monster that when not dealt with can rot your insides, and can hurt you, and your relationships. If left unexpressed, the anger monster knows how to get to into the deepest, happiest parts of your heart, and  rule over them, until you take over and deal with that anger. It is said that anger is nothing  more than hurt deep inside you. Do you think the person who yells and screams is healthier than the one who internalizes everything? Something to think about. If you have anger toward someone, get it out! Your body and mind will thank you for it.

3.Fear. is simply the opposite of love. This monster knows exactly how to stop you from getting everything you ever wanted in life. He’s the most keniving and crafty. He is powerful and will overwhelm you if you allow it. This monster is not always easy to confront, but once you face him, you will never feel so amazing! Walk up to your fear, look him right in the eyes and say “I am NOT AFRAID OF YOU and I will NOT ALLOW YOU to rule over me anymore!, I CAN DO THIS!”

4. Mistrust is a monster that is common with the loners and control freaks of the world. This monster hangs around and convinces you that the world is a tough place, only you can do things the right way or no way at all, and nobody can be trusted to help you. Trusting others means opening up and being vulnerable  to love, and allowing others to see who you really are. You must be willing to ask for help. Sometimes mistrustful people feel they have to take care of themselves, when there are people all around them waiting and willing to support them. Asking for help and giving up some control can free you more than you know. Trust others and let them in if this is an issue for you. If it is difficult for you, take it one at a time, and you’ll see that when you open up to people, your life will be more fulfilling.

5. Envy is the Green monster! He is the one that gets under your skin like a parasite that slowly eats away at you. He tells you that you are not good enough, that others are better, and makes you compare yourself to others. This horrible NASTY Monster must be evacuated and killed every time you even sense a hint of him near. The truth is, there is only one magnificent person exactly like you in the world. You have talents that uniquely your own. How can you compare yourself to anyone? You rock! Be the very best you that you can be. My mom used to say “Don’t worry a minute what others are thinking about you..they are too worried about what you think of them!” She’s a pretty wise woman!

6. Self-Pity is a weak, quiet, and sneaky little monster. She comes in night and hits when you’re down and least expecting it. You are dealing with life and all its complications, and it can be overwhelming. When you allow this monster of self-pity in, it weakens your ability to handle those complications, and dis-empowers you. I know that when I get down, sad, and feel sorry for myself, all I do is stop the flow of positive things into my life. Ideas, circumstances, people that can support me, and miracles of all kinds are slowed down! The GREAT NEWS is changing your mind to self empowerment can be as easy as “flipping a switch” and telling that self-pity monster to HIT THE ROAD! When you DECIDE to be grateful for the good and the bad (yes) in your life, while focusing on the GOOD, being extremely GRATEFUL FOR ALL YOUR BLESSINGS, and feeling the APPRECIATION FEELINGS as often as possible, self-pity will not come around and MIRACLES will!

7. Negative Self-Talk is a monster that is pretty much like a constant nagging little ugly fly that sits on your shoulder. You have to keep swatting it away each time it comes up. He tells you that you “can’t”,  “aren’t good at that” , and makes up many scenarios in your mind to worry about that NEVER come true!  Did you know that 95% of the stuff we worry about never happens? The better you get at POSITIVE Self-talk, affirmations, and grateful thinking, as well as daily meditation  and visualization,  makes this little monster come around less and less!

I went through a severe depression recently and got to know these nasty monsters all too well. It took some serious reflection that living positively, and healing my pain was far more important to me than hanging out with these disgusting, life-sucking maggots. Sometimes when you have a chronic condition, you cannot see anything BUT the monsters.  They will eat you alive if you let them. All I can say is, there IS HOPE. There is a LIGHT at the end of the tunnel, and a rainbow out there. Now, I am in a totally new light filled place and each day I am getting a little bit better. I think one of the biggest keys for me was separating myself from these monsters, and realizing that they were just that- MONSTERS! Just like a child seeing shadows in the closet at night…Dad comes in and flips the switch on to show you “They are not real!” and ultimately you can make the choice at anytime to crawl out from under the bed and ask for a hug. Thank God!






Allowing God to handle it-It’s been the one thing that has challenged me for years. It’s like jumping off a cliff. Being out of control, letting go of control, and turning the outcome over to God. Let’s face’s scary!

Why do we feel such a strong need to be in control? Do we actually presume to believe WE can do a better job than God The Universe, our Higher Power (here to for referred to as God, but I respect what you believe).For God to bring us what we want, the ONLY WAY it will manifest is by letting go of our attachment to the outcome!

If we don’t keep our fingers in every single thing going on around us, especially as mothers and fathers, we somehow think the world will come to an end! I have always needed to do it all, and have literally made myself sick by not giving up control. I have come a long way, and consider myself a recovering perfectionist. Deeper than that I have suffered from chronic pain, anxiety and depression for years, and part of the very complicated web that is pain, anxiety and depression,  that grounds me into isolation every time, is the belief that if I can’t do it perfectly, I am a failure. Self loathing is a big part of anxiety & depression. [click to continue…]

{ 1 comment }