Have you ever thought, once the pain and struggle of endometriosis is gone, then I’ll be happy? I know I have, plenty of times.
I remember when my endometriosis pain was so bad I would barely get out of bed. Menstruation was incredibly painful, and so was ovulation. So for two weeks out of the month, you could find me curled up in bed…or maybe on the sofa if I was feeling adventurous. I remember thinking, I will be so much happier when I can get out of bed. I understand how some days feel like a shit-storm of awfulness, and how you would give anything to anywhere but where you are. I always thought when my pain is gone, we are going to go on an awesome vacation to celebrate. I cannot wait for that day.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I think setting goals and celebrating is an essential part of the journey to wellness. However, hinging our happiness on a time in the future is not always helpful. What I didn’t realize was my dream for the illustrious future, was actually creating discontent for the current moment. Hang with me here, as I know this sounds counter-intuitive, but verbiage that makes our current situation seem bad, wrong, or less desirable will tighten the knot tying us to our current situation. Making our current situation wrong hardens us, making the path to wellness even steeper. Recovering from chronic pain and disease is not quick or easy. The manifestation of pain and disease did not happen in one day, and it’s not going to go away overnight. So the question becomes, what do we do in the meantime?
Break the habit of tell ourselves, “I’ll be happy when…” Happiness is not situational, it is not based on external factors.
What if you could find happiness no matter where you are in life or with the disease? How do you even do that? One way to start is to choose to embrace a practice of gratitude. Being grateful for what you have in the current moment. I suspect that we’ve all done this on some level. I know every November there is the “30 days of Thankfulness” in honor of Thanksgiving swirling around Facebook. Have you noticed pretty much everyone’s looks quite similar? I am thankful for my spouse, my kids, and my family. Of course we are! And then what happens for the next 30 days is we re-invent the wheel of how to be thankful for our spouse, kids, and family. Shockingly, towards the middle of November, our Facebook feed is no longer filled with how everyone has the best husband in the world. He is so supportive, and I couldn’t live without him. Yes, I know…I feel the same way!
A lasting gratitude practice looks more like finding joy in the mundane. On some of my most painful days, my cup of hot tea brought me happiness. I enjoyed savoring the calming affects of the hot liquid throughout my body. On days like where I described my Annual Exam Fears I was grateful to be breathing. Literally. As I had my first annual exam in fives years, I continually repeated to myself…in this moment, I can breathe. On regular days, like today for example, my gratitude journal reads; I love waking up to the Kitty Pile. I love it even more when the house is quiet and I can hear Tess snoring. Lol!
My point is that somedays are profound, and somedays are mundane. But the ability to express joy and happiness in both the “ups and the downs” will help your body accept the full spectrum of life’s emotions as “it just is”.
Want to learn more about incorporating these principles into your own life? My Journey Classes – Love. Heal. Celebrate. are starting soon. Learn how to love yourself, heal your body, and celebrate life. Click here for more information and to find out when the next class starts.