Things that make me whole

Posted on February 15, 2017


Living with chronic pain and ensuing anxiety can be very hard. But I have a great life. I am just trying to capture here some of the things that really help me or have helped me in the past.

  • 13775865_1118034678318236_3090321155912780174_nExercise – even when I am distracted, going to yoga really, really grounds me. I may fall out of the easiest poses, and then I just smile to myself and thank myself for turning up. It makes all the difference. Especially when I go to the 6AM class. Every time I leave that class, I feel, “If I can go to a 6AM class in -15º weather , then I can do anything, overcome anything!”
  • Blogging – when I create something new – a poem, a post – it gives me a sense of accomplishment.
  • Volunteering – I remember not having a job, and feeling worthless. But in my volunteering stints – Alzheimer’s Association, Dolittle School, El Salvador mission trip from Chicago, or Distress Centres in Toronto – all have massively helped me in keeping me healthy.
  • Donating money – I am not trying to show off by declaring that I donate money. The truth is I feel less helpless when I donate whatever sum I can to a cause. Giving is not only for tax receipts; it is to empower myself that I can make a difference.
  • A good day at work – being in the helping profession does wonders for me. It had to be a guiding angel (and it was) that made me decide on an MSW. Helping others find small solutions to their big problems makes me feel less broken.
  • Journalling – writing a diary probably saved my life. Being a teen carer to my mom with dementia was fraught with depression, rage, cluelessness, worthlessness – no one understood really, or was available. My journal was. After 12 years, this year I have began journalling daily. Just jotting down the highlights of my day reminds me of the little things that happen. A stranger’s smile. The sunshine. Every. Single. Thing.
  • Random conversations on the subway – even when I am down, I am a compulsive chatter-upper of random strangers on the morning commute. I will find some elderly person and just talk to them about the weather, the book they’re reading, the crazy commute or even their glasses. I may be breaking inside, but the illusion of normalcy makes me believe that life is good. I actually do fake it till I make it.
  • Achieving little goals – I give myself one goal each day – whether it’s at work to do some admin stuff or at home to do something small like cooking one dish or a single load of laundry. When I do it, it makes me feel like I can do this. I can live this day meaningfully.
  • Reading – I used to be an avid reader. Till I got addicted to Netflix and Facebook. Now, I try to limit my TV and social media time. I am focussing on reading a book a month; it’s nowhere close to my voracious devouring of every book in sight and store, but it really makes me feel relaxed and rejuvenated.
  • Learning something new – the most alive I’ve ever felt was during the years that I was studying for my MSW. I loved learning, I discovered! The trick for me though is to find something just challenging enough – if it’s too hard, I drop it. I don’t like to feel inadequate. Especially with hobbies. I dropped my Kathak class because it was beginning to get advanced and I wasn’t practicing enough to keep up. I am currently reading an intriguing book and it has a lot of words that I don’t really know! I am going to write a post using all those words when I am done with the book.
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    “What lifts you?” – Nashville 2016

    Long drives with music – I am a bathroom singer, but I am also a stuck-in-traffic singer. I seriously do not have road rage. I basically belt out whatever song is playing at the top of my voice, and I may also be seen doing a little jig. B.E.S.T   F.E.E.L.I.N.G! The best part is getting out of the city and driving to explore little towns. Next stop, Stratford!

  • Meditation/Prayer – My blog-friend reminded me to include this to my list. I pray everyday. Some days it’s an elaborate soliloquy and on others it is a desperate plea to the universe to help someone I know in need. I think it works because it feels like I am doing something while acknowledging that I cannot handle everything for myself or for others.
  • Photography – I almost forgot to give credit to this HUGE aspect of my life. I love taking photos. I am not a pro or a photo snob. I love nature. And I love spending hours trying to get a few good shots. You can follow my instagram i_am_unity to see some of my pictures.

Share some of your life strategies in the comments if you’d like 🙂