Taking Stock and Looking Forward


Evaluating the end of the year and anticipating a new year is often a challenging time for most people. Rarely do people fulfill all their New Year's resolutions and accomplish all the things they had set out to do at the beginning of the year. Many people end the year disappointed in themselves and embark on a mission creating an overzealous list of items they would like to complete or conquer. Some of you may be disappointed that you are not further along in your recovery process and may even feel despondent that you may never get better. We would like to ask you to reframe the way you look at your New Year's resolutions and self-assessments and ask you NOT to look at each year as a whole. We ask you to look at your life as a series of moments and to take each day or even every hour at a time. There may be hours when you are in more pain than you would like to be or a treatment or medication that you tried did not work as well as you would have liked. Or there may have been a medical professional you saw who did not live up to your expectations. Of course we recognize how difficult these disappointments can be and don't ask you to revel in these challenges. But we do ask you to recognize the moments in your life that give you pleasure such as an unexpectedly touching card from your child, or an exercise that you couldn't do two months before, or a new friend you met in a support group, or even the moment you made a difference in someone else's life by merely sincerely asking how he or she was truly feeling. We don't believe in the term "baby steps" -- these don't exist. All steps in life are monumental and NONE should be minimized or belittled. We also ask you to believe that your health can and will improve. For many people, recovery moves at a snail's pace and that can be discouraging. But any improvement should be celebrated and every year new treatment options become available to help ease your pain.

We also ask you to recognize that you can do a tremendous amount to help in your own recovery. Mindfulness and meditation can truly help you manage your pain and actually help rewire your improperly wired central nervous system. Whether you do yoga, Tai chi, or practice meditation on a regular basis, you are helping in healing yourself!

As you end 2012 and enter 2013, please make these New Year's resolutions -- practice mindfulness, reach out to help someone else, treasure moments in your life, and whenever you can, REMAIN HOPEFUL!  And remember, you are never alone -- there are so many people out there to support you.

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