Self-care on the tough days

I really like Darlene Cohen’s description of “down ‘n’ dirty comfort” on the days in which you’ve hit your limit. Cohen lived with painful rheumatoid arthritis for many years, and unfortunately she is no longer with us. She died from cancer earlier this year. She knew what it was like to hit bottom, and she had some wonderful ideas about what to do about it. Cohen wrote in “Turning Suffering Inside Out: A Zen Approach to Living with Physical and Emotional Pain:”

Even though it’s an ideal time to “embrace the suffering” or learn to “dance with disaster,” you don’t care. Furthermore, you don’t care that you don’t care. You’ve had it with trying to expand your consciousness. You hate your life and everybody in it. Nobody else cares; why should you? You’re at the end of your rope. It’s time for down ‘n’ dirty comfort. What you need is whatever will get you through the next few hours. (p. 36)

Now, I’m a big fan of reframing, of seeing the lessons in our suffering that help us to develop more wisdom, compassion, and love. But I think that on the days in which we feel most frustrated and downtrodden, we find our greatest compassion in our compassionate actions toward ourselves. If it means pampering ourselves for the day, then so be it. Cohen wrote that when we feel this crappy, we can “start with a refuge, a place to which to retreat when you can’t cope–just to find out what relief feels like.”

She advised us to write a list of activities that can help us feel like we have a refuge:
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Every moment is so precious

A few weeks ago, Sally Massagee told CNN’s Anderson Cooper about how it was for her during the time in which she was had a mysterious disease. For four years, she did not know what was wrong with her body or if she would ever recover from the disease. Sally sought treatment from many doctors at Duke University Medical Center before she was accepted at the National Institutes of Health Unexplained Disease Program. She went through yet another week of testing, but this time it was not in vain. The doctors found that there were abnormal proteins in her body that were triggering her muscles grow uncontrollably. Sally’s tremendous overgrowth of muscle made it extremely difficult for her to even move her arms. Dr. Sanjay Gupta added that the muscle overgrowth could have eventually crushed her ribcage and organs. More

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