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Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Chronic Pain: When It Seems As If You’re Playing A Losing Game

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicLately, my pain experience has been much like playing that arcade game where you hold a hammer and wait for a thing – sometimes an artificial mole, sometimes something else – to pop up from one of the many holes on the game playing board. When you see the “thing,” you’re supposed to hit it with the hammer, driving it back down the hole and scoring points when you do. Seems simple, and it seems as if it would be easy to win.

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Alas…

No sooner do you drive one mole/thing down into its hole, but another pops up on another part of the board. Okay, you think, I’ll get that one, too. But, as you reach over with your hammer, you notice a third mole thing pop up from a different hole. And a fourth. 

No matter how much you work at it, you’re playing a losing game. The pain, like those mole things, won’t go away, but rather seems to relocate as soon as you get one area even moderately under control.

Of course, I’m not doctor, and we all have to work with our docs to cope as best we can with the physical and psychological parts of our pain.

But the spirit – now, there’s the part that can be more difficult. Why? Because it can become easy to get so frustrated that you throw down your mole-thing-hammer and give up, letting the spirit curl up inside and retreat. Yes, easy, but I try to work around it.

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I fill up every “hole,” every area where there is minimal or no pain, with gratitude – praising and thanking God for the relief there, specifically there.  I use the recognition of relief, however faint, in some parts of the body to turn into faith that some lessening is possible, and I trust that this could “spread,” just as, sometimes, the pain can spread.

In short, when I feel frustrated that pain won’t completely go away and it seems as if I’m playing a losing game, I give my spirit something else to do, something positive, and this helps me tremendously as I go back, yet again, to my medical team, treatment protocols, and other tools.

When the spirit is busy with pouring forth its goodness, it cannot turn sour! It cannot retreat!

Peace,

Maureen

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TLC Tuesday: Accept No Substitutes!

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author Pic“I’ll go to the gym instead of taking a nap – I’ll feel more energy afterward.”

“I’ll get this report done before I call a friend; I’ll have time later.”

“I take this easier class instead of the hard one; I’ll get less credit, but I won’t have to work as much.”

Each day, we make decisions to substitute one activity for another – and often, we put off the more important one, or at least the more loving one, and substitute it with something that seems better…maybe.

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Once in awhile, this might make sense – work, exercise, balance, each of these and other things are important, too. But sometimes, we opt for the obvious when, if we stretched ourselves a little more, or took a bit more time to consider, we’d decide differently – accepting no substitutes for excellence in our actions.

Today, think about the things you could do to take better care of yourself, your relationships, you job, your well-being. Accept no substitutes for excellence – and go farther than you ever thought possible!

Joys,

Maureen

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A Praying Spirit: One Word at a Time

posted by mpratt

When I was a youngster, I used to be really mad that people in church seemed to rush through the prayers.

“They’re going too fast,” I used to tell my mother. “They should slow down.”

As I developed my own prayer life, I realized that there were times when I’d pray quickly, too. Perhaps I was in a rush, or perhaps I knew the words to a memorized prayer so well that I just tripped over the words like so many stepping stones.

Now, I try to slow down enough to savor the words, one word at a time. I find that this helps me focus my prayer time and the words in a prayer, whether memorized or improvised, settle down more deeply into my soul.

When we take our prayers one word at a time, we realize how beautiful prayer is, and how profound each word is.

Yes, take prayer one word at a time – and open up a whole new world of understanding and spiritual growth!

Joys,

Maureen

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Chronic Illness and Pain: All Tied Up in Ribbons?

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of J Frasse/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of J Frasse/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I noticed that the cashier at a store where I shop was wearing a red dress ribbon, for heart health. I commented on it, and she said, “Oh, yes, we had a promotion for cancer awhile ago. I like the ribbon.”

“Isn’t the red dress for heart health?” I asked.

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The cashier thought about it and said, “Oh, I guess your right. I get these ribbons confused sometimes.”

And, so do I. For every color in the rainbow and more, there seems to be an awareness ribbon. And with so many causes linked to so many colored ribbons, I’m beginning to think that the overall effect of each individual cause is becoming diluted, at least on first glance. Lupus, for example, has been associated with purple, but also with orange (although, to be fair, that color generally is on a loop).  As for the multi-colored ribbons? Oh, I give up!

With May being Lupus Awareness Month, I thought I’d add to the conversation by saying that whether we have lupus or another illness, really the best way to gain awareness is to be our eager and articulate selves. We live the disease each day, so why not use our experiences as our ribbons, disseminating information to our circle of loved ones first and then, as we grow that circle, to others. If we put the money spent in manufacturing and distributing ribbons and other things, into research and verbal awareness campaigns, thing how much farther along we could be, especially with such under-funded diseases as lupus!

If you feel as if you’re all tied up in ribbons, you’re not alone. But by tackling the “knotty” problem with positive communication and example, we can make it very clear, yes loud and clear, that there are many things beyond ribbons and loops – there are people – and that is truly the point.

Peace,

Maureen

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