Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Painfully Yours

In pain
        What does pain do to my overall well-being … besides the obvious, that is? When I stub my toe I jump around and moan … for about 20 seconds and then the pain begins to subside. But what about pain that lasts and lasts? There is a huge cadre of people, many of them senior citizens, who live with pain everyday of their lives.

          Yesterday, I received a new partial which replaced an old worn out one. The minute I popped it in my mouth, when it clamped around the two anchoring teeth with a vengeance, I knew it wasn’t going to be coming out anytime soon. Sure enough, now I can’t get it out. And it’s digging into my gum, and I’ve been in pain pretty fiercely since yesterday.
          The pain in my mouth hasn’t been active even a full 24 hours, but it made me wonder about what chronic pain must be like for people – especially older people. I’ve been feeling sort of indignant, “Why in this day and age does pain have to exist even for a short period of time?” I've tried being at one with the pain and so far, it's winning.
          While I’m not a big pill popper, I sure would welcome a break from the pain, even if it was just temporary. “Oh, buck up,” you say. Yes, perhaps you’re right.  Excedrin allowed me to sleep without as much pain, but what about people who have no choice because, for whatever reason, their pain isn’t going to go away anytime soon? I believe they learn to somehow live with the pain.
          Right now these people have my admiration. The things currently at their disposal are:  biofeedback, chronic pain management clinicians, meditation, breathing exercises, increasing endorphins through physical movement and support groups, none of which provide a quick solution. 

          An acquaintance of mine has a pretty bad headache, a headache she’s had for a couple of years. What!?! Obviously, she’s sought medical help from a cabillion doctors, had hundreds of tests and even was evaluated in the hospital with various possible remedies.
          I think I’d be pretty cranky if I had to live with this discomfort for very long. Perhaps there will come a time in my life when chronic arthritis or some other condition will force me to cope with an uncomfortable day-to-day level of pain.
          Hats off and cup fulls of OTC pain meds to those who currently suffer. I can’t imagine how you cope. If you're reading this and aren't in pain, be grateful. In the meantime, my dentist will try once again this afternoon to get the partial out, and I'll have him shoot me up with Novocain first! 
Contact me at antoniasseniormoments@hotmail.com or
Antonia's Senior Moments on Facebook

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Two Year Anniversary

          Two years ago today I created my very first blog post on Antonia’s Senior Moments. I can honestly say it’s been one of the most creatively fun things I’ve ever done.         
          I’ve written some highly appreciated gems and some not so great, boring posts. I’ve taken a few chances to post slightly controversial as well as highly personal information.

          Through it all, I’ve felt the love and support of many people along the way. Without these people Antonia’s Senior Moments would not have been enthusiastically viewed by thousands and thousands of people all over the world.

Edward Viljoen, my mentor and teacher
Kris Oxford, my dear friend and voice of reality

Guest bloggers:  
          Gretchin Rubin
          Chris Michaels
          Jane Beach

          Margaret Stortz
          Carol Fleming
          Ron Donoho

          Suzanne Sackett
          Randall Friesen
          Thank you also to ALL my girlfriends and husband, Rod,  who spoke honestly and loved me in spite of some of my silly choices.

Contact me at antoniasseniormoments@hotmail.com or
  Antonia's Senior Moments on Facebook

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Be Here Now: Cliché or True Wisdom?

          Have you ever spent days ruminating over something you did in the past or on a decision you made that can’t be changed? Have you ever noticed yourself so focused on something in the future that when you get home, you don’t remember driving your car there? The “now” in both of these examples is merely a fleeting concept, yet, for me, being in the now is the richest, most delicious place to hang out – in both challenging and fun times.

          When I’m inside, I wish I was outside and when I’m outside I’m sure there’s something I should be doing inside. Again, experiencing the now is nowhere in sight. It is also challenging to be in the now when I’m worried or in pain or stressed. This is the best time, however, to practice being still and calm and centered on what is right in front of me.

Monkey Mind
          My “monkey mind” – that incessant chatter that rolls around in my head – sometimes keeps me from focusing on being calm. I have struggled with this when I meditate and when I
consciously focus on what’s going on right now. This monkey mind isn’t the enemy, however, but if I treat it as such, it only gets louder. If I treat it more like an insolent child, shushing it with compassion and love, it begins to quiet immediately.

Letting Go
          When my spouse passed away a few years ago, I promised myself one thing and one thing only. I promised to stay in the moment and feel all the feelings of the experience. I let go of doing and saying the appropriate thing. I let go of not taking time for myself when I needed it (I even pulled away from the group later that day to get my nails done, to get human contact and get calm without having to say or do anything.). I let go of comforting others and of eating this and not eating that. I can say today that my grieving process progressed much smoother than it could have – all because I did it my way, and I let the feelings of pain come in and not try to avoid, cover up or postpone them. My feelings and actions didn’t match what others might have expected, however, I was in the now throughout.

          Okay, what’s the advantage of being in the now? Doesn't it help us sort things out if we can take our time at the present to review and debrief the past? Doesn’t it help us prevent future mistakes if we analyze possible future problems now? Yes and no.

           Sure, in order to avoid past mistakes we need to take stock, and it is also prudent to take the time to review and plan for the future. BUT, to make best friends with all that did go or could go wrong is a waste of time. It serves no purpose except to detract from the joy of right now.

Take Stock
           What is in front of you now to enjoy and appreciate? Is there anything from the past or the future that might be clouding that lovely and exciting look at the now?

Contact Antonia at antoniasseniormoments@hotmail.com
 or Antonia's Senior Moments on Facebook.