Reprogramming Destructive Beliefs About My Leg Strength

It’s time. It’s time, to change my thoughts about how I move. I have been thinking and expecting climbing stairs and moving quickly to be difficult for my legs, for them to have a hard time with such movement, and my body has complied flawlessly with my thoughts. While I appreciate such compliance, it is my thoughts that are taking me ever downward into pain and difficulty. I do not want to be an invalid; I want to always be able to get around and walk easily as others do. I have always believed that I could not perform as well as others physically since my youth, and this belief has led me to a place of no return: either I reverse my course, or I lose the use of my legs and become a burden to Ben. I WANT TO REVERSE COURSE!!!

To do that, I must change my thoughts. There is no other way to accomplish the task of getting my body back to strength and health. Even if I went to the gym and exercised faithfully, I would not make much progress if I still retained these negative beliefs about my body. So I must address my beliefs, first and foremost.

Even though they are bad beliefs, bringing me pain and trouble, a big part of me is used to them and does not want to change them. To do this, I will have to embrace the change and the new thoughts. This is a critical point; I am standing on the edge of the cliff, and I do not want to go forward in the direction I have been traveling for these 58 years.

So I will begin, by documenting each movement and recording the thoughts I have when performing it and the thought I want to replace it with.

Task: Change my thoughts
Negative Belief/Feeling: I am used to how I think; I don’t want to change. Affirmation: I am willing to change and to grow. I now create a safe and healthy new future. I can do this, and I am doing this now.

Task: Walking
Negative Belief/Feeling: I can’t walk as strongly and quickly as others; my legs are weaker than most. I am slow and sometimes in the way.
Affirmation: I walk easily and with pleasure; my legs feel good and energized.

Task: Going up stairs
Negative Belief/Feeling: Climbing stairs is difficult; my legs strain to raise me to another level; I am afraid my knees will go out of alignment and hurt and be damaged. I am really slow and awkward; I know I am in people’s way.
Affirmation: My legs are strong and I go upstairs easily, with balance and power; I enjoy the smooth ascent.

Task: Going down stairs
Negative Belief/Feeling: My left knee will not support me going down the stairs, so I must descend by stepping down with the left foot and then stepping onto the same step with the right. I also have to hold the handrail with both hands. I know I look old and dumb; my awkwardness makes me feel so stupid. I know I am sometimes in the way.
Affirmation: I descend stairs easily, each strong leg smoothly cooperating with the other. I feel good and enjoy the flow.

Task: Getting up from sitting
Negative Belief/Feeling: I know I will be stiff; I have to be careful or I will fall over and make a fool of myself as well as hurt myself. I know I look old and cripple staggering along in the first little bit after I get up. If people have to notice my lack of strength I hope they will be sympathetic.
Affirmation: I rise easily from a chair on strong and graceful legs and proceed to the place I’m heading confidently and with pleasure.

Task: Sitting
Negative Belief/Feeling: I have to be careful how I move my legs; my knees can hurt unexpectedly.
Affirmation: I sit with ease; my legs are comfortable and feel good.

Task: Movement
Negative Belief/Feeling: I move painfully and awkwardly because my legs are weak.
Affirmation: I move with grace and ease on strong legs. Movement is pleasure.

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After making this list into a table, I reduced it, printed it and laminated it to take with me to work, to remind me of my new choices of belief. Several weeks later, I can tell the difference in my leg strength. : )

Answering a Fear

This was an experience I had last summer…

I was listening to NPR news on the way home, and a nature-loving man was talking about the plans by the Keystone Pipeline people to construct part of the pipeline right through the woods and clear stream that he owned. I felt such grief and fear for him and his beloved property. I knew it was a seriously negative emotion I had to reroute, so that is why I am sitting here writing this.

The feeling is similar to the extreme fear/grief/pain combination that I have felt when hearing of or imagining some terrible fate befalling a kitten or cat. I have felt completely helpless and agonized with suffering terror on behalf of the helpless beautiful creature. Knowing that I cannot control what may happen to cats not under my own roof, I have chosen to channel those energies into loving my own cats with wondrous love and appreciation, and trying my best to give them the best possible quality of life. I am NOT speaking of the kind of pampering that some people give to their pets by painting their nails and dressing them up and doing other ridiculous things they think gives them a good life—by quality, I mean that I seek to keep love and communication is at its highest possible vibration between us, and I seek to nurture their spirits as well as their bodies.

So I am now faced with a new terror that I must find a way to disarm. By considering this statement, the thought presented to me is that of simply deeply appreciating our own natural surroundings, and seeing them as always healthy and thriving. The fear waiting at the door says, “And you think those thoughts will keep the oil companies from your door if they come visiting??!” And I say to it, yes, for to fear is to invite the thing feared to come visiting, so I will not be inviting it by loving and appreciating my land, and by celebrating its well-being. This way I will draw more health and well-being to it. And fear has nothing more to say to that.

So when that fear comes knocking again, I will think of the beauty and health of North Carolina, and I will celebrate living here with its beauty around me. I will breathe in the wonder of it all, know that it will remain, and I will rejoice.

Cat with a Broken Back

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I dreamed that I was traveling around with a young cat/kitten in the car, and I would take it into stores with me when I stopped. In one store, I looked more closely at the cat, and saw that it was more like a Chihuahua, and the surface of its eyes were covered partly in fur that matched its coat, although it seemed like there was enough clear eye surface that it could probably see blurrily. I thought that was strange. Then it seemed to be a cat again, and it struggled in my hands and fell to the floor, where it seemed to have hurt its back. I suddenly felt that it might need to pee or poop, and I picked it up gently (it meowed with pain) and found an area of green grass outside that looked smooth and peaceful, where I carefully put it down. But the cat just lay there on its side. Its back was broken. I felt great grief and shame.

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When I have a dream of a cat whose needs I am neglecting, there is some part of me that I am neglecting or denying. I carry this part of me around all the time, like I take the cat with me in the dream, but I am not aware of its needs, or I won’t be—this dream is telling me—until something bad happens. So I am breaking my own back. I think it’s probably my physical self that desperately needs more nurturing. Exercise is such a terrible word; I loathe it and fear it with all my being. But my body needs to move and stretch and use its muscles in order to nurture it. And I am denying it. And my inner self is grieved, and calls my attention to the need through my dreams. And I weep for the grief I feel, now that I see what is happening—the fur on the Chihuahua’s eyes is me trying to hide this from myself. I very much need some help in getting past my fear. If all my needs can be met from the resources within myself, I am in great need of finding where they reside.

The fear of movement came from being ridiculed when I was young, because I did not have the stamina to perform physically like the others due to a faulty heart valve, although I was not aware of the cause until recently. The mockery I received from my classmates caused me to feel that it was dangerous to move outside of simply walking, because it was always accompanied by the grief of ridicule. In my emotional programming, exercise was set in cement with torment and pain, inflicted by institutional dictate. I yearned to get through and out of school so I could be free of having to exercise, and I did everything I could to avoid it. I am still avoiding it, because that same programming remains deeply embedded in my psyche. I desperately need to dig it out and dispose of it so that I can take good care of myself.

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Christmas Vacation 2013

The first day of my holiday vacation, I made an affirmation:

I am going to have the best Christmas vacation ever.
I will forgive myself if I can’t think of something to do at any moment.
I will give myself permission to be who I am at any given time.
At those times, I will remember all the things I appreciate and am grateful for, and think of the wonderful future I want.
I will look in the mirror and tell myself, I love you, and feel it, and know it.

I made this affirmation for the purpose of avoiding the strange frozen/depressed feeling I have experienced previously on long vacations.

I will not be doing that this time. This Christmas vacation, I intend to make the most of my days off with making music, writing, designing new pottery projects, playing with the cats, and maybe even purging some old collections that are gathering dust.  Planning and intending and making corrections in attitude as I go are going to make this the best Christmas vacation ever! I hope yours will be the best, too.

The Dragonfly Wine Market in Shelby, NC

Ben and I just took all the pottery I had remaining, including the Serengeti bowl and the Horse Pasture Jar, to the Dragonfly Wine Market in Shelby, NC, where it will stay until sold (I presume)! This is one great little shop, with a huge and amazing selection of fine wines and beers as well as all kinds of beautiful crafts, and a bar, where Ben and I will be playing our Renaissance Christmas music set on the evening of Dec. 27! Be sure to visit this place if you haven’t finished your Christmas shopping, or want a special treat for yourself.

Delightfully unexpected

Fireside Books in Shelby, NC is more than a bookstore; it is a lovely unusual gift store as well. I had not been to visit Linda Parks at her new location until yesterday’s book signing, and found it a wonderful place, full of books and curious, amusing, delightful novelties. Linda told us that the items she carried were esoteric; she would not carry anything you could find at Walmart. As I often seem to do, I ended up spending money where I was supposed to be making money, as I collected the last items on my list of to-be-acquired Christmas gifts.

I highly recommend doing your Christmas shopping at Fireside Books!