Hip #2, 3-Week Anniversary

This always feels like an important date in my hip recoveries. It’s the point where I feel like the new hip becomes part of me and a lot of the tightness and guarding of the muscles releases. I definitely feel that today. Again, I am back on my yoga mat on the floor. But this time, I am walking around the block without a cane or limp (see the last video in: Rhonda’s Hip Adventure Videos), can do stairs already and 24-short form Tai Chi! This hip is much stronger and more flexible, with much less pain than my right hip at this point. I can already stand on the leg and balance in all directions. I can do side leg lifts from a prone position, and the clam shell exercise. These were agonizing for months on the right hip and totally impossible at 3 weeks. I absolutely know now that it was the result of the cable, especially the tightening mechanism (the knot on the side of my leg in the xrays). As my muscles snap across that cable, it causes pain, weakness and a tightening of the muscles. Now I can feel the difference so clearly.

I went to physical therapy last week and both Lori and her assistant, Jessie, were amazed at the difference between my two recoveries. We all agree that it is the cable. Already, there is a marked difference in the muscle mass between my right and left legs and glutes. My right side is atrophying. This is not a good sign. If it continues and I cannot get used to the cable and fire my muscles normally, the cable will have to come out. I anticipate we will make that call at my September, 2018 annual checkup on the right hip. Until then, I’ll keep trying to get used to it and strengthen the leg. We will see what happens…

My body is feeling good and my energy level is coming back. I’m able to resume much of my normal activities, in moderation. I do poop out more easily than normal and have been taking afternoon naps. Still loving my ice/compression machine a couple of times a day. I’m only using about one Tylenol a day now and my Celebrex. I think I’ll try stopping the Celebrex and Tylenol this week and go back to ibuprofen as needed, see how that goes.

Reading through my 3-6 week journey on my right hip, I realize that this is the point where I started to push beyond my edge and really set myself back last time. I am determined not to repeat that mistake this time. And, really there is no need. I am already where I was fighting myself to be last time. But, I couldn’t get there because of the cable! At least I know why now.  When I am effortlessly able to do something like lift my leg to the side, I still cry when I remember how difficult and painful it was last time.

I am so very grateful for this miraculous difference!

 

Hip #2, Day 15 Post-Op Checkup Day

This is always a big day, the post-op appointment where my bandage comes off and they take the xrays! This means I have some show and tell today and that involves bandages and scars, so if you don’t want to see, don’t scroll down!

First I’ll tell you about the appointment… Danielle brought us into the office and pulled off my bandage. The incision looks really good! Then, Scott and I met with Davis, Dr. Shukla’s assistant. He wanted to know how I was doing. I got up and walked around the office for him, showed him that I could do Tree pose and then told him to breathe while I bent into a forward fold and touched the floor. He wasn’t particularly thrilled about that last part and made me promise I wouldn’t show Dr. Shukla :-). NOTE: If you are 2 weeks post-surgery, you should never do this unless you’ve been practicing yoga for a very long time and have already successfully rehabbed a hip replacement and know exactly where your safe range of motion is!! Keep your 90 degree precaution until week 6.

Then I asked Davis what happened surgically to account for the HUGE difference between my right hip and this left hip? He said that the most likely culprit was the ziptie (or cerclage cable in medical lingo). In the right hip (#1), they had tried one size implant and it didn’t fit properly, so it had to be pulled and another one inserted into the femur. The femur was already showing signs of stress (bone spurs), so they decided to cable it for safety and support until my bone could grow around the implant. On my left hip (#2), they inserted one implant and the femur and bone integrity was better so they could drill further into the pelvis for the cup and only use one screw to secure it (there are 2 screws in the right hip), and they didn’t have to use the cable. Basically, #2 sustained less surgical trauma than #1 and the muscles are clearly impacted by the cable, which made my recovery slower on #1.

We all agreed that we would give my rehab a year, and if at that point, I still cannot walk over a mile without the muscles in my right leg seizing up, they will remove the cable. This is about a 20-minute procedure, using the same incision (but smaller) and I should be out same day with no restrictions and a very fast rehab. I am satisfied with this decision. So, I’ll work on my rehab on leftie and see what rightie decides as we go along. My experience at this point is that the right hip feels more stable and has less pain than before the surgery, probably because I am finally balanced out for the first time in my life.

I am officially no longer dysplastic (though I will make no promises about no longer being dysfunctional :-)…

After May 31, 2018                               Before July 6, 2017

Here’s a picture of the cool silver, antibacterial bandage. This is worn after surgery until the post-op. This is what gets covered with Glad Press n Seal for showering.

And here are my matching pinstripes:

Left hip: Surgery 5-16-2018                        Right hip: Surgery 9-20-2017

I was impressed with how good even the scar looks already! Yay!!! This feels like the day it becomes official.  IT IS DONE AND I NO LONGER HAVE HIP DYSPLASIA!!!!!

I want to thank my amazing surgical team Dr. Shukla and Davis Ayers for their excellent work. You guys are the best! Words can never express my gratitude at getting my life and my mobility back.

I also want to thank all of you who have been by my side supporting me, in person or at a distance, through my hip adventures. I will continue to post regularly through the rehab process, so keep checking the blog for updates.

Hip #2, Day 10

What a day for me and my new left hip! We started out with qigong and I was able to do Monkey, which requires a lot of balance and I’ve never done without wobbling on my ankles. Imagine my surprise when I discovered I could do it steady and even for the first time! That inspired me to try Tree Pose.

How cool is that? And I can hold it! That took about 3 months last time, due to the problems in my gluteus medius which couldn’t stabilize me on my right leg.

Marta, Larry and Ray came to visit this morning and couldn’t believe the difference in me this time vs. last time. We drank mimosas to celebrate and watched as the old Chevys paraded by, going into the park for the annual Chevy Classic Car Show.

Then I was inspired to try walking around the block without my hiking poles. I couldn’t do that last time until the 4th week! And then it hurt a lot and I wasn’t sure if I’d make it back. I had to sit and rest along the way. Today, I cruised right around slowly without pain and then marched up the stairs at the end! Last time stairs were the bane of my existence for MONTHS. I did everything I could to avoid them.

I walked in the house, sat down and immediately began to sob tears of joy and relief. I had a moment of compassion for myself, fully realizing how very hard it was last time. Theo hopped up on the table and looked at me with concern. I patted his head and told him not to worry, “These are happy tears.”

Hip #2, Day 8

I continue to be blown away by this experience, which is so different from the last! I just finished walking down to the end of the block and back! It took a long time before I could do that last time. Today is beautiful with fluffy, white clouds dotting the sky and it is wonderfully warm. The neighbors are all working on their yards and the flowers are blooming. It feels outside like I feel inside.

Yesterday I had my first physical therapy appointment with Lori. I walked in with my hiking poles, but just left them by the lockers in case I needed them. She watched me walk up to her, unassisted, in amazement. “Look at you!” she exclaimed. She had me get up on a table and checked my range of motion. “Unbelievable, I’ve never seen this at one week post-op.” I showed her all the things I could already do, including getting up on my hands and knees and alternately lifting my opposite arm and leg. She observed that I was already able to safely pass the 90-degree angle limitation, but cautioned me against crossing the leg against my body. “Don’t do that until 6 weeks, even if you feel like you can.”

I really enjoy working with her, because she can so readily assess where I am and not try to fit me into a “standard protocol.” I told her I’d been doing the exercises she’d given me last time, since Day 4. I also demonstrated that I could stand and balance on the leg and weight shift, which I could not do on the right leg until some time after our last appointment. She decided that meant I could work on the balance board right off! I never even made it to the balance board after 6 weeks of therapy on the right side! But, today I’m sore and stiff, of course. Not nearly as bad as last time, though.

I showed her how my muscles snap over the cable surrounding my femur on the right leg, and told her that hurt until the 7-month mark and that I still can’t walk over a mile without the leg muscles seizing up. She winced. I said I thought that was the difference between this time and last time, that and not waiting as long. I also showed her how I still can’t stand on my right leg and extend my left leg back very far without it buckling. She wondered if I could have the cable removed? I said, that my agreement with Dr. Shukla was that we’d give it a year and if it was still seriously giving me trouble, like keeping me from walking over a mile, he would do it. I’m hoping my muscles will continue to get used to it and I won’t have to have another surgery.

The statement she made that really stuck with me was, “The first one was atypical (bad) and this one is better than I’ve seen at one week from surgery.”

I decided that means the whole thing averages out, and I’m just happy the golden girl was my second one and not my first. Imagine how depressed I would be if it had been the other way around?

When I got home, I cried with relief. I realized that I didn’t know if I could make it through another agonizing, long rehab. I am so very grateful to have this miraculous post-op experience instead! I wept tears of gratitude and thanked God, all my angels, and my great team at Reno Orthopedic Clinic!

I had this knowing deep down: It Is Done. Now, I move forward with steady, balanced devotion to healing and rehabbing, while being kind and gentle, yet persistently determined.

Day 4-Surgery #2, 8 Months-Surgery #1

Yesterday was a tired day, so I slept instead of blogging! Today I’m more energetic and thought I’d reach out and update all of you.

I continue to do so much better than last time! It is truly amazing the difference with this hip. I have way less pain, much more strength and flexibility. I can actually stand on my left leg, which I couldn’t do for a long time on my last one. Because of this, I can walk better right from the get go! I hardly need the walker anymore, but do use it to carry things. I use my hiking poles for stability when I’m just walking. But, honestly, a lot of the time I don’t need them either and this is only Day 4! I am absolutely stunned. I think videos are always worth so much more than words, so let’s do that…  Rhonda’s Hip Adventure Videos.  See the video of Day 4 Surgery 2 and compare it to the first video which was Day 4 Surgery 1. Pretty incredible difference!

My body seemed to get back to its regular functions yesterday and I was able to take my first shower. Last time, this was quite the ordeal, requiring several days. I don’t think I could shower until the 5th day and that was a multiple-step process requiring resting in between steps. I couldn’t shower unattended for 3 weeks. Yesterday, I did it myself.

Once again, I’d like to recommend to anyone having surgery, make sure you use stool softeners like Colace and a stimulant like Dulcolax to get your BM’s back on track. It really helps to start the softeners 3 days before surgery  (stay on them until you are off the narcotic meds) and then use a couple of stimulants on the 2nd night after surgery. This usually takes care of things by the 3rd day, and I haven’t needed a stimulant again if I eat right and stay on the softeners. This time I also cut down on eating meat 2 days in advance of the surgery and I’ve eaten lighter during the first 72 hours of recovery. I think this also helped my surgery-sluggish digestive system.

Yesterday, third day after surgery, was a sore and tired day. It’s like the muscle soreness after an intense workout times 10. I find this is also a predictable pattern, but by today I am feeling much better and less stiff. Scott has set up my PT room in the back bedroom again and the cone walk:

I am amazed at how much more flexible this hip is! I can draw my heel to within about 6-12 inches of my behind while sitting up against the pillow. I can also open the leg a lot farther this time. You’ll see me do the cone walk in the video link above.

So, I am SUPER EXCITED!!! Now the big thing is staying in my Goldilocks zone and not doing too much or too little, but just right. I can tell that’s going to be an extra challenge with this one. I remember Davis telling me at my pre-op appointment, “Now, remember, no 2 hips are alike, so expect this one to be different.” I’m so thrilled it is such a wonderful different!

Thank you to all of you for your thoughts, prayers, emails, texts, calls, cards, flowers, food, visits and loving support! Thanks to my Beloved Scott who is always here for me, though this time, he gets off way easier! I could never get through this life without you my dear, sweet partner. Ok, time to sign off, mom is bringing us scalloped potato and ham casserole for dinner–one of my favorites.

 

Rhonda’s First Email Post-Surgery

Dearly Beloved,
     I’m back home and oh so much better than last time!  This is more what I’d expected the first time–minimal pain and disability, easily manageable. I am so grateful! As you know, I was dreading another tough rehab. This time they didn’t have to use the zip tie (cable) around my femur and I’m feeling like that is the difference.
     This time I was very calm and I had a feeling it would be better. Most of you shared that same sense. I’m so happy we were all right! See the power of positive group intention!
     I seemed to come out of the anesthesia and all the meds they give you at the hospital much better this time. I was clear almost immediately in post-op recovery. My experience was that I was out one minute and back the next with a new hip and very minimal pain. This time they gave me 5 mg oxycodone, instead of 10 and that worked better. But, my blood pressure was still too low to get me up for much of the night. Luckily it wasn’t in the danger zone this time and I didn’t need oxygen. So it was a much better night in the hospital.
     I was home by noon yesterday. At 3:00, a nice lady came by with this really fun piece of medical equipment! It is a unit for circulation and icing and it is so cool (pun intended). It wraps around my hips and circulates cool water to reduce inflammation, while it also compresses the surgical site to keep blood flowing. It also has calf attachments that squeeze my calves to improve circulation as well. This means I don’t have to spend the day with my nose below my toes, which is much more conducive to things like writing emails! Plus, it feels so good. I attached a photo of it.
I also attached a video of me walking after I got home yesterday–one day after surgery. Amazing. I couldn’t even consider walking without the walker for the first several days last time… (Since I can’t load the video directly into the blog, I added it to the Google photos link with all the other videos: Rhonda’s Hip Adventure Videos.)
     I want to thank all of you for your thoughts, love, support and prayers during this time. It means so much to me. I have again felt buoyed by your good wishes right over the hump of this surgery.
     Since I am able to use my laptop, and I have the blog set up, I’m going to switch over to that format to keep you posted. Then I am not inundating your mail boxes with things like videos :-).
     The blog can be found at https://rhondaashurst.com. If you want me to add you to the new blog post email list, let me know. That way you’ll get a brief message letting you know when I post with the link included.
Much Love to you all,
Rhonda, aka the Bionic Woman

Email from Scott Post-Surgery

Hi!
 
All is well, again!
 
Rhonda and I left the house for the surgery center at 5AM this morning.  We checked in and Rhonda was prep’ed for surgery.  They put her under and took her away at exactly 7:30 am as scheduled.  Once again, the replacement took only 90 minutes and the doctor was happy with the results.  She was in recovery for a little over an hour and up to her room in the hospital at 10:30 AM.  
   Rhonda in Pre-Op for Round 2       Rhonda back in her room post-op
 
The doctor said it was good she decided to go ahead and replace the hip as it was as bad, if not worse then the first hip he replaced.  Her bone integrity in the left side was slightly better than the right and he was able to bore deeper into the pelvis to make a cup, and he did not need to Ziptie the femur this time.
 
Rhonda says the pain level is minimal and she is keeping ahead of the pain with meds.  She was hungry and ate a good lunch.  She has not gotten on her feet yet but should before the day is over.  She is now taking a nap so I came home for a couple hours and will head back to the hospital later.
 
Rhonda should be back home tomorrow.
 
Thank you all for your kind messages, thoughts, prayer and well wishes!  They are extremely helpful!
 
scott

Row Your Boat

In two weeks I will have a new left hip. In the last few days all my pre-op appointments have been scheduled and all the paperwork arrived in the mail today. I stop taking all my supplements tomorrow. I’m actually doing pretty well physically. I feel strong and my energy level is good. My pain is so manageable, I sometimes don’t take my usual 2 ibuprofen at bedtime. Moving forward with surgery sooner has meant less pain and disability than last time.

This is the moment when I realize I’ve just pushed off the shore of the river and into the flowing stream. The current is fast and all I can do now is steer through the rapids.

I keep hearing that old rhyme in my head:

   Row, Row ,Row your boat, gently down the stream.

      Merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream.

Since my last entry, I’ve had some anxiety. I resisted, it insisted. Feeling states are like that–relentless until acknowledged. Finally, I turned to my anxiety and listened. I realized I’d had the mental conception that because I have just done this, I know what to expect and so this surgery will be easier. Anxiety reminded me that this one is different. It said, “Now, you know just how hard this is for you and how long it takes to rehab. Last time you thought it would be easy and you would be hiking in 6 weeks. Now you know that hiking is likely 8 months to a year away. You know how hard this is going to be.”

I let that sink in, feeling the constriction in my chest and the wild beating of my heart. Then I asked for help. “Please help me through this. Carry me, because I’m not sure I can carry myself. I surrender, completely.”

Then I had this thought come into my mind from somewhere beyond me, “You will be ok. Step-by-step and moment-by-moment, you will get through this. When you need to be carried, I will carry you, or send someone to do it. Don’t be afraid. Trust me. This is the final lesson for you to learn on your Hip Adventure. Let go and trust. Surrender. And keep eating right and doing your exercises! Think positively, visualize a perfect outcome, in time. Surround yourself with positive, supportive, loving people. Unplug from anything negative that brings your energy and heart down. You will be fine.”

I am not a stranger to this Presence which gives me these succinct, powerful messages. It has been with me in every time of need in my life. It has always been right. After this experience, I was not as anxious. As I reflected on the message and honored my feelings, my peace grew and my pain decreased. It always surprises me how that happens.

I talked to Scott about it. He said, “You’ve been anxious?” I guess I don’t show it on the outside. I nodded. He said, “Well, that explains why I’m having all this anxiety I can’t figure out! It’s yours!” He told me he hadn’t been sleeping well since my anxiety began and couldn’t figure out what was wrong. The next morning he announced he’d slept like a baby, which is normal for him. The whole exchange between us reminded me that our partners are on the ride with us when we have these surgical adventures. It’s important to communicate with them what is going on inside of us. Then we can both be free and sleep again. I’ve been sleeping again too.

Now I feel peaceful and ready. I know deep down it will all be ok. I will come out of this. Last night I dreamed that this one would be easier and I would recover faster. I hope this is true, and I nurture that hope in my imagination, seeing myself recovering with ease. At the same time, I don’t want to fall into the trap of that expectation. It will be what it will be, and I will paddle this river stroke by stroke. It’s all any of us can do.

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: https://www.thecbdistillery.com/), 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?