Stick in the Mud

Whenever I try to figure out how I became such a stick in the mud, I am mindful to stop trying to figure it all out. One thing I have always liked about myself is that I haven’t spent much time pondering, why this or that happened to me.

Last May, for whatever reason, I started getting severe migraines at an alarming rate. Sure, I’d had migraines as a teenager but they were sporadic. I could take to the bed for a day and then, move on with my life. Last spring, it became completely different and nearly constant.

Now, I know that I’m not the only one who suffers from chronic migraines, but in the past, I thought, “Meh, it’s just a headache, so no big whoop. Suck it up.” One of my dearest childhood friends began suffering with chronic migraines as a child and she still suffers. It wasn’t until last spring that I truly understood the challenges my girlfriend was up against.

Migraines have mostly ruined the last year of my life. They’ve battled with my relationships, my ability to be at my best at work, at home and absolutely anywhere I happen to be, and therefore, my sense of identity and self-esteem took a big hit.

I haven’t wanted to address the truth about this, even to myself. I mean, seriously… it’s just headaches. “Take some aspirin and move on. There’s a freakin’ pandemic going on and I have no right to complain about anything!”

Of course, I have been working with a neurologist who I believe is the bees knees. I trust him implicitly. We’ve tried a slew of medications and procedures, most of which I cannot pronounce. Last week, in partnership with my neurologist, we embarked on a totally new regimen. So, I’m writing this today because I feel better and I want anyone who’s reading this to know there’s hope for chronic pain sufferers. I’ve had time and space without my head hurting and it feels like a miracle. I’m sharp, funny and loving; all of which I desperately needed to be reminded of. It’s eerie as to how much my chronic pain seemed to alter my identity. In my own painful head, I became so completely miserable, I thought I would die. (And sometimes, the pain was so bad, I felt like I wanted to die.) Today, I feel more “me-ish” than I’ve felt in almost a year. I am very grateful for it.

So, if my clear, pain-free head continues, great. If not, I will keep trying new things to try and help myself.

For chronic pain sufferers, I see you and love you exactly as you are. You may be feeling 100% unlovable, but it’s just a lie your pain is telling you.

You are lovable, exactly as you are.

Me too.

A Cleansing Blog on a Gentle Cycle

It’s not a perfect science. It’s a practice.

Each day, and sometimes, minute by minute, it takes a commitment to practice accepting things I simply can’t change. Of course, this is not revolutionary. Most people know at least parts of The Serenity Prayer.

serenity prayer
Every day, and sometimes, every minute.

Every so often, people question why in the hell I open myself up on this blog and on social media streams. Some individuals are critical of what they perceive as my being fully transparent. I respect their opinions and usually, if they’re interested, I share more about how helping others is exactly why I do it. I hope it helps them accept what I do, but it may not change their opinions and that’s okay. It still doesn’t change who I am.

There are countries I’ve never heard of who read this blog and thank me for it. If I help someone…ANYONE, this is worthwhile.

My hope is that you and others feel less shame and get okay with your own mishegas. I pray you accumulate moments of peace, love and happiness in your life. I have moments and am grateful for every single one of them. Some of my moments get widely published and they are sometimes hilarious. Especially the ones with my daughters. THIS is joy, pure and simple.

If you’re shaming yourself or someone else for something you may not understand, I hope YOU are open to learning that you are capable of loving someone and accepting them as they are, right now, in their imperfect form. You may not understand why they are the way they are, but do you really have to?

I have faith and hope in people. I believe that people can be better. I have spent years experiencing and examining communication and the impact of shame. My on-the-job training and its associated studies, have proven that loving communication opens the path to the release of shame, with access to the location of joy.

It’s not a perfect science. It’s a practice.


I wear mismatched socks sometimes, because you know, laundry madness. C’mon. We all suffer from the laundry madness of single sock disappearance. In the scheme of a challenged history and even a difficult “here and now,” I embrace my new fashion sense.sox

I really hate doing laundry, especially when I have a headache. On some level, I’ve had a headache for about six months. This is not an exaggeration. Doing laundry and other cleaning chores makes my head worse.

So, to my right, there’s a big pile of laundry that has to be done. There are single socks everywhere, towels, everyday clothes and delicate lingerie that needs to be in a lingerie bag and washed on the gentle cycle.

Just for today, I have one load of laundry in me. Today, everything will be done on the gentle cycle.

The content I post on this blog and on social media is also communicated on a gentle cycle. It gently rocks as it moves. It’s not the ultra power pressure washing of the nitty gritty stories of trauma, post traumatic stress disorder, cancer or addiction. It’s gingerly and carefully relayed here and other places, for you and for me.

So, here I am. My head hurts and I’m off to do my one load of laundry on the gentle cycle. The more detailed version of my stuff’s history and how I practice/d hard to get comfy in my skin, will be included in the book I’ve started writing.

I’m embarrassed and almost ashamed to even state that I’m writing a book. I’ve written lots of books actually, and still, I can hardly call myself a writer.

Like I said – I have a commitment to practice. I practice and practice, but am far from perfect. It’s the commitment to practice that provides the moments of joy.

Today, I have the forethought to choose the gentle cycle for my clothes and for me.

I wish you tender loving gentleness today, even if you’re power washing. May we all have the wisdom to know the difference.

 

 

Jake Lawler

Writer | Director | Motivational Speaker | Storyteller

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