Author: Carolyn Tucker

Loving Pain

 “I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.”
Mother Teresa

Many situations in life cause pain. Scorching, excruciating, soul-searing pain. It can come out of nowhere, your lover leaves, you lose your baby, cancer. All destined to turn your world on its ear and to leave you with deep, abiding pain. Alice Cooper described it as feeling like “the man with no skin.” Sleep is evasive, being awake is intolerable, and it feels there is no escape. The only thing that is for sure is that it feels like it will never end.

The more we struggle against this psychic pain, the more difficult it is on us. Like having our wrists bound with barbed wire, the struggle drives the barbs deeper and deeper. The saying goes “what we resist, persists.” There is relief to be had from the pain, but the remedy sounds too radical to be real, too dangerous to risk trying. Believe it or not, love is the cure, because only love heals pain.

There is a point, when you have fought all you can fight, resisted with all your might, and finally have come to the end of your strength, where something amazing can occur. You see, at the end of you lies a miracle, where only the brave dare to tread. It is a place so terrifying, so beautiful, so radical, that I hesitate to direct you there, lest you fear I have lost my mind.

When you’re finished being pissed off, finished fighting, finished trying to create a different outcome by manipulating the world like a Rubik’s Cube, a phenomenon occurs that feels much like what J.M. Barrie describes in his book Peter Pan. “When the first baby laughed for the first time, its laugh broke into a thousand pieces, and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies.” When you let go of attachment to “what should have been”, and you roll over in acceptance, you will find that your ego shatters into a million tiny little pieces, and that an ocean of bright, beautiful love comes from your soul, radiating out in a tsunami so violent that it threatens to flood the world. Then you can love your pain.

Yes, I am suggesting loving cancer, and loving loss and loving grief. You see, as terrible as they are, they are your tutors that bring you to this beautiful land of love. They are the signposts on the path to a love so satisfying that it feels like you have transcended this world and have been transported to the next.  This journey is not for the feint of heart, but if you want to weep with joy at the beauty of a sunset, or be brought to your knees by the sound of a bird singing, this is the path for you. It’s only a simple shift. Just roll over from the fighting, the anger, the fear, and decide to love.

By giving up, you save yourself. As Antoine St. Exupery said, “A single event can awaken within us a stranger totally unknown to us. To live is to be slowly born.” The journey is not pleasant, few would choose to begin, knowing the cost on the road, but the destination is surely splendid.

 

Written by: Carolyn Tucker LPC  carolyn@inmindcollaborative.com

How to Build a Quality Life Despite Anxiety and Depression

When you suffer the symptoms of anxiety or depression nothing seems quite right. It is like the picture on the wall is slightly crooked, and your perceptions of everything are slightly skewed. Thoughts and feelings can feel muted. It may have been a very long time since you remember feeling good or being happy. To get back to that happy place requires a bit of discipline.

When I ask my clients with anxiety or depression what they do to take care of themselves, inevitably they answer “nothing.” The first step to building a quality of life despite anxiety or depression is radical self care.  Taking time to do the things that make you feel pampered is so important to helping you feel better. Some clients like a bubble bath and a candle with some lovely music playing in the background, eating at the table on good china with cloth napkins, or some may prefer a massage or going for a run. Each person experiences the feeling of nurture differently, so it is important that you choose activities that speak self love to you.

Gratitude is a quick way to tune in to life and to turn around negative feelings. Studies show that focusing on gratitude develops new neural pathways in the brain. Develop gratitude for finding a parking space, or for soft tissues to blow your nose on or for a fluffy comforter on a cool evening. Be grateful for the little things and be vocal about them. I personally note three things that I am grateful for every day on Facebook. It keeps me accountable for noticing the blessings in my life. Since I started the discipline I have many friends that share in the practice. Develop a community of gratitude and it will be difficult to dwell on negativity.

People suffering with anxiety and depression may have lost touch with a sense of joy. Actively searching for things that make your soul sing is a wonderful step towards creating that life you want. I am not talking big things, but little ones, like noticing cloud shapes or the color of the changing leaves or the feel of the fall breeze on your skin. Put a hard candy in your mouth and be carried away by the taste and the sensation on your tongue. If you are constantly scanning your environment for things that bring you joy you will eventually find quality of life strung together like beads on a thread.

Using these simple interventions I have seen clients literally turn their lives around. People who came into my office only a few weeks before looking morose are almost unrecognizable after instituting these practices. Sometimes it is almost difficult to convince people to try them, but the dramatic impact that I see after a few short weeks is well worth the effort. If you need guidance instituting these practices or dealing with the symptoms of anxiety or depression feel free to call me at 770-789-0847, email me at carolyn@inmindcollaborative.com or see my website at www.inmindcollaborative.com to set up an appointment.