Monthly Archives: April 2018

7 Months

I remember Davis, Dr. Shukla’s assistant, telling me that 7 months was when I could expect to feel less pain and more strength in my right leg and hip. Turns out he was absolutely right! Just in the last couple of weeks, I’ve noticed that I can contract my glutes and not get a jab of pain. This, of course, makes working the muscles much easier, so I’m gaining strength. I also notice that my energy is returning and I’m beginning to finally feel more myself. As extra bonuses, my flexibility and balance are improving. Yay! For the first time, I have hope that I can get used to the cable around my right femur and not have to have it surgically removed.

I think all these improvements in my right side and my energy have given me an emotional lift as well. Right now I can honestly say I’m ready for my next surgery. I didn’t feel that way a couple of weeks ago. After my last blog entry, I continued to struggle with ups and downs–going from confidence to despair on an emotional roller coaster. I tried to stay present with whatever I was feeling. I journaled and prayed a lot, talked to friends and family who listened, supported and consoled me. Something shifted on Easter Sunday, which made me smile. Resurrection Day–symbolic of the Light returning to the world and the beginning of spring and new growth.

Now I feel peaceful, calm and confident. I have faith this next surgery will be a success. I know what to expect now and how long the healing process for my body actually takes. I know how to support my healing process, what helps and what sets me back. I’m glad to be going into this one in the spring, so I can recover in the warmer and less stormy months. Recovering in winter was not easy. My Buttrometer was a definite pain in the behind with all the barometric pressure changes!

I am now only a month away from the replacement of my left hip. While that is still hard to imagine, it is not as daunting an idea as it was last month. I am so grateful for this shift.

For my fellow hip people, I wanted to share what I’ve been doing to prehab my left hip and continue to rehab my right hip, and deal with the increasing joint pain in my left hip:

  • I’m achy and stiff when I get up, so I do about 20-30 minutes of gentle yoga, Tai Chi and Qigong. This helps me loosen up. I do squats and some of the Foundation back exercises for strength and range of motion. With this routine, I haven’t had to take anything for pain in the morning. I also spend about an hour doing yogic breathwork and energy practices, praying, meditating, and reading spiritual texts.
  • During the day, I play Goldilocks. I seek the “just right” amount of sitting, standing, walking, stretching. Mostly, this means I don’t do any one thing for very long. I can sit the longest–up to 2 hours. But it helps if I get up every hour and walk and stretch. Standing is limited to 20-30 minutes. I can walk 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile, some days. Other days, a block is all I can manage. If I get the balance right, I don’t have to take anything for pain all day.
  • In the afternoon, I either swim laps for 30 minutes or do an hour of more intense yoga & Tai Chi, PT exercises to strengthen my hips and legs, pilates mat work for my abs/back, and free hand weights for my upper body. Before and after my swims, I spend about 15 minutes in the whirlpool. Great for loosening up and stretching my muscles.
  • In the evenings, I have a glass or two of wine and enjoy a nice dinner with Scott. Often times we include family and friends. We watch positive, uplifting shows or movies. We talk with each other and snuggle. It helps to feel loved and supported by the people around me and to stay to the positive and avoid the negative.
  • Towards avoiding the negative, I don’t expose myself to news, except for one brief look mid-day to be aware of the latest developments. Often, I then immediately turn it all over to Spirit and pray for what is in the Highest Good for us all.
  • I’ve been striving to eat nutritious, healthy food and to avoid overeating and gaining weight. I seem to have ups and downs with this, but that may be more related to menopause than my hip situation…
  • At night is when I have the most problems with pain. At bedtime, I take 2 ibuprofen, a dropper full of CBD oil that doesn’t have THC so it doesn’t get me high at all and is legal to obtain in all 50 states (here’s my source for 1000 mg full spectrum tincture:, and I rub CBD salve on both my hips. I’m finding I sleep 1-2 hours at a time before I have to change position. Sometimes I wake up achy in the middle of the night and I rub on more of the salve, usually this is enough to get me back to sleep. If I’m having a really bad night (only happens if I overdo it during the day), I take another 2 ibuprofen. I find the CBD oil has a very soothing, anti-anxiety effect and deepens my sleep. Scott tells me he has noticed a real difference in my sleep since I started taking it.

I’m guessing that I won’t be doing an 8 Month update, since my next surgery is on May 16th. I’ll plan to resume at 9 Months Right Hip/1 Month Left Hip sometime around mid-June. Wish me luck and keep me in your prayers!

Either/Or vs. Both/And

I was having a conversation with Mariellen, a fellow editor of WCTS?, about a piece of writing. She wanted to know if a suggestion I made was an either/or or both/and suggestion. I told her it was a both/and.

The next morning, while meditating, it occurred to me that I have spent much of my life in either/or thinking. The suggestion that came through in my meditation was, “Perhaps it would be better to spend more time in both/and thought and less time in either/or thought.”

I was immediately reminded of this diagram I used with clients when I was a therapist:

Most things in life are some play of opposites. Examples: black/white, love/hate, good/bad, male/female, joy/sorrow, stress/relaxation, peace/aggression, etc. When we get stuck in either/or thinking, we tend to end up in one opposite and either condemn or long for the other. For example, we might be focused on how stressed out we are and long for relaxation, or we might be so identified with our gender identity that we condemn the qualities of the other side.  In my own experience and observations, it seems to me that getting stuck in this kind of thinking is distressing. It divides us unnecessarily, both internally and externally. It can be useful, on a certain level of discernment, for us to examine the differences between states of mind & body, people, objects, and experiences. It helps us make skillful choices about where we want to be on the continuum. However, too much time spent in black and white thinking  causes us to miss that which unites opposites and robs us of balance and peace.

The secret is to rise above the play of opposites and see the balance which contains both. The bigger trick is to become the balance! We have every opposite within us. Life happens mostly in shades of gray along the continuum between opposites. Have you ever had a day that was entirely sad or entirely happy? If you watch any state of mind or feeling, you will notice it is always changing. Sometimes I can be crying and a few minutes later laughing. Just like my last couple of entries, I go from despair to peace and back again.  Yet, there is also a witnessing awareness that sees and holds all of it, that knows the real me exists beyond all opposites in a field of unity–the eye over the pyramid. When I can remember this, I get less caught up in black and white thinking and I’m automatically more open, tolerant, accepting, loving and peaceful.

Within all of us is the play of light and dark. It’s good to remember we can all be villains and heroes, sources of love and peace or hate and aggression. When I can remember this, I am more compassionate towards all of me and all of others.

I once created this mandala to illustrate this idea:

The caption reads: The play of light and dark is contained within a field of pure, loving awareness. The yin/yang symbolizes the play of the opposites. Within each opposite is the seed of the other side, represented by the black and white dots. This play of opposites exists within a field of pure, loving awareness.

Next time you catch yourself judging someone, try seeing yourself in them or seeing ways in which you are alike.  When you are stuck on one end of the continuum, try consciously shifting yourself towards the other side by experiencing the opposite. For example, if you are feeling sad, recall a time when you felt happy, feel it again in your body and heart. Notice what shifts. Playing on the continuum in these ways can lift your perspective and help you find balance.

Here are some examples of my either/or thoughts and how I play with shifting them to both/and:

  • It’s either perfect or it’s crap. My writing is a place where this one plays out all the time, but it can apply to anything I do. The both/and reframe: Parts of this are really good, most of it is mediocre, some of it is crap. Free from my rigid B&W assessment, I can then sift through a piece of writing, and decide what stays, what goes and what I can live with before I press the Publish button or send it to an editor.
  • We either agree 100% or we disagree 100%. The both/and reframe: There are things we mostly agree on, things we don’t really have an opinion about one way or another, and things we strongly disagree on. Most of it probably falls in the middle. With this reframe, I can calm my emotional intensity and seek common ground while having an exchange of differing opinions. I am more able to see when it is time to agree to disagree and move on to a neutral or agreeable topic. I’ve found this one particularly helpful in the current political climate!
  • You either love me totally or hate me totally. This either/or is the tyrant of many relationships, particularly of the romantic kind. For me it is fueled by my fear of abandonment. At its worst, it can cause me to either abandon myself to please another, or to pull back at the first sign of conflict and run for the door. The both/and reframe: You love some aspects of me, are neutral about most of me and hate some aspects of me. It is quite likely that none of this has anything to do with your love for me, which (hopefully) exists in the eye over the pyramid which sees all of me and loves me anyway! If this is not true, we probably need to have a look at our relationship…
  • I’m either pain free or I’m full of pain. Most days I have pain, so this either/or is particularly painful for me. The both/and reframe: Some parts of my body hurt, but most of it is pain free. Some parts hurt more than others and require some action on my part to alleviate my pain, like taking an ibuprofen or getting up to stretch and walk around. Most of the time, all that is needed is for me to notice the pain and be with it for a few minutes. During this time, I observe that it shifts and changes. The sensations are always moving like energy waves. I take time to notice all the places I don’t have pain (playing on the opposite side). Pretty soon the sensation of pain has calmed and I feel relief. The worst thing I can do is to close down around pain, fearing that it is taking all of me over. It never does that if I can pull up into that higher perspective of balance. I then notice there is a part of me that is beyond pain, that is one with that great field of pure, loving awareness.

I believe that who we truly are is beyond all form, thought, sensation, action. We are part of that field of pure, loving awareness. Maybe if we just remember that, all the rest of it will fall into place?