It was a crazy busy week, adding on surgical assisting in the operating room as well as my full office, covering a colleague on holiday and many new hospital patients and a weekend on call. I wouldn’t change it for the world – remembering what it was like to have it all taken away. But, my batteries wear down quicker now and I am on holiday with time to share. I was assisting my husband, a surgeon in the OR – more time together – time that was nearly taken away so we love to take the opportunity to be together in the professional setting too – yes, we work together well, even if I am dreaming of cutting the knot closer or the orientation of the joint as I hold the camera in the knee. I was wearing my new cotton scrub hat that I made – that’s the answer! I am moving forwards, not backwards – I made a scrub hat that is similar in pattern to a chemo hat – made out of pink ribbon inspirational cotton left over from the curtains that now hang in my office! I will share the pattern soon and encourage you to have a chemo buddy make them out of fun and inspiring material. The scrub hat is comfortable and keeps the big face protection helmet straight on my head without slipping ( the helmet has an integrated fan that is perfect for those frequent hot flashes when you are all gowned up!)
I had some tough conversations this week to help people find inner strength to get through their tough hurdles. I am fascinated with the power of our mind: at the drive behind a disabled 93 year old to get back home to finish his autobiography but the difficulty with a 23 year old who wants to give up.
There’s a theory that if bad memory paths are recurrently used, like any neurologic connection, they become easier to access. In tennis we call it “muscle memory” – if we practice that shot hundreds of times, it works better and better. Everyone knows this when they have to sit down to piano practice and run the fingers up and down the scales. We are told to learn new things, do Sudoku, crosswords to exercise our brain pathways too. Some pathways we do not want to wear down and exercise – acknowledging the unpleasant thought and redirecting your mind before feelings are connected to it. It requires us to “notice” our thoughts. There are many ways to redirect our thoughts including meditation and grounding.
Grounding is a technique to redirect your train of thoughts as they sweep along that path of anxiety imagining one thing after the next until life seems overwhelming. It may be triggered by a word, a behavior or some new results….
It is a method of staying in the present moment by healthy distraction by consciously noticing things around you, redirecting your thoughts and focusing on your 5 senses to bring things to the present. It is easy to do and practice and helps to calm the moment. Count items of a particular colour, feel your baby toe and focus on it , recite a poem, taste a candy – notice and distract your mind.
We must not stop living life, afraid of the future. Remembering how to live each day and finding inner strength to take a step at a time whether you are 29 or 99 years old is so important. Like athletes, our mind can be our strength to get through pain and difficulty when the road gets so tough. I watch the interviews as these athletes use “self talk” to find that winning attitude when the body wants to quit. We may all meet these hurdles, maybe not in the Olympics but tapping into that determination and pulling our senses only to do what is right in front of us is a great lesson.
Inner Strength is a learned behavior that we can perfect, just like an Olympian.
To acknowledge that we are allowed to be afraid, that is normal
That all we need to see is what is in front of us right now
Life only makes sense backwards, trust that you will see that some day
We all have greatness inside us
When life’s storms make you fall
To get back up, on strength you call
To ask our hearts if we are tough
And find a way when things get rough
When its hard to find your feet
As waves knock hard to find defeat
With pain inside that some don’t see
Determination’s the way through adversity
Find your friends who can see those powers
That pull you through life’s hardest hours
Like an athlete of strength, believe that you
Can climb great mountains in all you do
Trust in the present, embrace the now
Don’t worry forward but show the world how
Your inner strength will keep you on track
It will only make sense when you look back