Monthly Archives: November 2015

Hidden Messages

PandGI recently read a book by Dr. Wayne Dyer titled Memories of Heaven. It’s a collection of short stories told by parents about their children’s fascinating stories and proclamations of being with God in heaven before birth. As I read the book, a few of my own children’s stories were validated. I had no idea so many other parents have experienced the same thing. Here’s one of my stories.

Before my daughter’s birth, or even the thought of her birth, back in the My Space days (for me 2005-2007) I blogged about a bizarre but comforting phrase that popped into my head every morning and frequently throughout the day. The thought was a little voice that said “I love you.” In the beginning I thought it was so weird that myself was telling myself “I love you”…almost every day. “How selfish” I thought, but as it continued I accepted that maybe it was God or my grandmother telling me “I love you.” This made it feel more normal. I continued to be perplexed at how and why…even when I thought I’d forget for one day…there it was “I love you.”

About 2 years after it began it disappeared, and I didn’t even realize it–until my daughter started talking. The first time she told me “I love you mommy,” brought tears to my eyes and made life so totally worth it! From that day on she tells me multiple times a day and at random “I love you.” She’ll pause her favorite show on YouTube and yell “MOMMY!” I’ll come running in thinking there’s a minor emergency, and she’ll politely say “I love you.” Today I dropped her off at her class, she got half way through the door, ran back out in a hurry, tugged on my sleeve, and whispered in my ear “I love you,” then happily ran into her classroom.

Her consistency made me remember the little voice that paraded through my mind continuously for two years “I love you.” I can consciously think “I love you,” but it’s not the voice…it’s not the same. I can’t help but think it was her the whole time. God proves to us what is real in the unseen, we just don’t take the initiative to realize it…silly, left brained humans we are!

Her diligent nature also encourages me to love myself. She’s so deep in her five years of wisdom! Loving yourself is hard…really hard…I’m still figuring it out—trying to erode years of low self-esteem and unworthiness—it’s getting easier and more clear so that’s good.

Pay attention to those little “downloads” you receive either in an odd thought, or in a repeating phrase that may come through friends, billboards, coworkers, kids, and spouses—it may be the voice of something divine trying to get your attention.

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The Switch Up

After 25, let’s face it, things start going downhill a little. Not technically downhill, just status quo. What I mean is that up to the age of 25 or 26, our bodies are rapidly developing, changing, growing (our brain), repairing, and regenerating—We. Are. Invincible!   Our first excuse is our 30th birthday…”as soon as I turned 30, my back started hurting,” and every decade after our excuse becomes more unarguable.

Once we begin to perceive pain, there’s a switch up. Some people are highly motivated to find the culprit, fix, and eliminate it, while others hold fast to the belief that it’ll just go away or that it’s a fundamental part of aging—a slow decline with increased pain (deal with it).   At this point, we have simply discovered that we are in fact destructible; however…and here’s the kicker…we can prevent decline and move into a state of maintenance. It’s not about living to die, it’s about thriving while alive.

Maintenance requires constant touch ups. This may mean moving around some physiological furniture and dusting. Say you develop elbow pain. Are you leaning on the elbow at work all day, do you constantly prop this arm up, have you been subjecting this arm to repetitive stress (hammering, drawing, throwing, etc.)? It’s time for a switch up! Switch arms for the task, become more ambidextrous, switch your work posture. Pain = time to change.

For a runner, it may mean new shoes. Yes, 10 years ago you were fit for the perfect shoe for your foot type—well, that was 10 years ago! Ligaments stretch, muscles change…take another look at it. Maybe you need a different type of insert, a wedge, compression socks, or a totally different type of shoe. It may also mean that more strength training needs to be done. It is well documented that strength translates to endurance; however, endurance does not translate to strength.

For a musician it may mean adjusting the heights of microphones, stands, props, pedals, changing playing and practicing posture to sitting, standing, more support, improved ergonomics, etc.

Become an investigator, google some stuff, phone a friend. Pain is normal, but you may be able to ease or eliminate it to maintain your current lifestyle and leisure activities.

Food, Supplements, and Exposure also play a huge role in life maintenance. I could eat McDonald’s and Dairy Queen as a tween and young adult too, but now I am not invincible, my guts have become sluggish…I can’t do it anymore! Eat clean and drink water—yes, water…PLEASE stop the soda and juice (unless YOU juiced it or it contains nothing but fruit juice)—bad food (stuff not from the produce or meat isle), soda and sugary juices are a request for a chronic illness. MOST days of the week be good, have some fun on the weekends. Supplement with things like probiotics, magnesium, or something else pharmaceutical grade, use high quality essential oils, and parooze the fermented food section or google what the heck fermented food is. Cut dairy and gluten MOST of the time, and eat organic as much as possible.

A little investigation and house cleaning can eliminate or decrease pain and keep you keeping on.

Spinal Strengthening, No Equipment Required

Simple spinal strengthening is an important key to resolving neck and back pain. It’s all about symmetry. Not only symmetry right to left but front to back as well. As my OT friend says “the world is in front of us,” making it difficult to balance spinal flexion with extension. Over flexion promotes postural pain and overuse pain syndromes in the neck and back. One of my token soap boxes is that God made our bodies to move in all planes so we must continue to utilize every plane to prevent pain and treat pain. In the present age we utilize our extensors less for climbing trees and swinging and over use our flexors for sitting and reaching.

Done a back bend lately? Pretended to fly like superman? Well tusk tusk! Spinal strengthening doesn’t require equipment, and the exercises are simple but the difficulty is unbelievable. The deep and superficial back extensors, deep abdominals (transverse abdominis, obliques), and pelvic floor are the focus in these exercises as they are the core of the core. Here are some beginner exercises:

Tummy Tuck (Transverse abdominis): This is the exercise that prefaces ALL movements. Simply pull your belly button in very gently without holding your breath. Another way to do it is by gently pushing your back into the floor without holding your breath. It may take practice before you can do it while breathing! This can be done sitting, standing, lying, and walking. Do this throughout the day.

ab_brace

Pelvic floor: This exercise also prefaces ALL movements. Gently contract the pelvic floor as if you are stopping the flow of urine. Hold for 1-3 seconds. This can be done throughout the day as well.

Prone press up or cobra pose: Gently press up using your hands, do no lock your elbows out, your back will have to work to maintain this position. Hold 3-5 seconds and repeat.

cobra

Prone chest lift: Tighten your glutes and lift your chest keeping your arms by your side. Hold 3-5 seconds.

chest lift

Prone arm lift: First perform one arm at a time, advance with arms in a “T” position, and the hardest will be with the arms up by your ears at the same time. Hold 3-5 seconds.  Head can rest or elevate with the lift.

 

Prone leg lift: Perform one leg at a time. Progress by lifting both legs. Hold 3-5 seconds.

 

Plank: Raise your hand if you love planks! HA! Up on your hands or down on your elbows and lift your booty up in the air. Keep you abs and glutes engaged, no sagging. Hold 10-30 seconds.

 

Bridge: Lying on your back with knees bent. Simply lift your hips up in the air. This exercise can get fancy by straightening one leg after the hips are lifted. Hold 3-5 seconds.

bridge

Bow Pose or Half Bow Pose: This is the pose I dread in yoga class! Grab your ankles with your hands and push your legs out lifting your body into a bow or ball shape. Hold up to 30 seconds.

 

Back Extension Stretch: Sitting with legs crossed or up on your knees. Place your hands on your back or on your ankles (depending on how flexible you are), and bend back, let your head fall if comfortable. Hold at least 30 seconds.

 

Repetitions will vary–as few as 3 or as many as 20. Perform these exercises or some variation every week. The important thing is that you use this information to adjust your exercise routine to include specific, deep, spinal strengthening. Spinal strengthening will decrease pain and improve movement patterns which will likely result in heavier lifts (if that’s your goal) and more effective exercise.