This is one of my favourite uplifting videos to recommend to my patients. Brené Brown is a social work researcher (and an excellent story teller) who is dedicated to exploring “shame resilience”, the techniques that happy, confident people use to feel good about themselves. Her material applies to anyone who has ever experienced bullying, is prone to perfectionism, feels inferior to others, has self-esteem or body image issues, has experienced infertility or illness, strives for approval from others or feels inadequate in any aspect of their life. I won’t say much more, but store this link so you can access it in the future when you need a reminder that “you are enough!”.
You can access Brené Brown’s website and blog here. She has also written some excellent books on this topic.
This post was written as a motivational speech by someone very close to me who suffers from several health problems. She was happy to share it. It’s one of those things that’s good to read now, and then put in a safe place, so it can be read again, when inspiration is needed.
Rekindling the Flame
When things get tough and you feel burnt out – mentally, physically and spiritually, how do you rekindle your flame and find the inspiration keep meeting life’s challenges?
For some, it comes from the beauty and peace of nature. For others, it’s the company of family and friends or even pets. Yet others, seek the wise words of our gurus or the magic of music. All of these can teach us wonderful things, but sometimes, it’s something completely unexpected that makes the biggest impact.
Let me tell you, how it happened for me.
I’d been ill for a long time with debilitating arthritis and going downhill, no matter what I did. One night, I was home alone – feeling dejected – but I was glad to be alone because I didn’t have to pretend to be upbeat. I could just vegetate in front of the televison ’til 8 0’clock and then go off to bed.
I was willing to watch just about anything – except football, so, guess what came on? Aussie Rules Football. That was the last straw! I hated sport on television, and football in particular. I never watch it and I’ll confess, the closest I’ve ever come to playing any sport was to chase a piece of chocolate cake around a plate with a fork!
If I’d had enough energy to get up and change the channel I would have but I didn’t. So, I just sat there thinking, “I might be stuck here but they can’t make me watch. I’ll just shut my eyes.” Try it sometime – it’s harder that you think. In fact, it’s impossible, so I opened my eyes again. Open eyes have a mind of their own. Mine focused on a footballer running across the screen. He had all the grace and power of a god. I wondered, “How can his body do that, when all mine could do was creak?” I watched on in amazement, as another player leapt effortlessly into the air to catch a ball flying over his head. “How could he do that?” I wanted answers, so now, I was watching with real interest as yet another player prepared to kick a goal through distant goal posts. “Impossible!” I thought, but the ball soared high in the air and then straight through those posts. A mighty cheer rose up from the crowd and a mighty cheer rose up from every cell in my body. They were alive and they wanted me to know it. “Wow, Wow, Wow!” they screamed and in that moment, I knew that life energy was still there. It just needed rekindling. That was the beginning of a wonderful recovery.
Since then, I have come to realise that inspiration is all around us, if we are willing to see it, and even if we are not, the message is repeated over and over, in a hundred different ways, until we do. It’s a bit like the saying “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”
Everything begins with the readiness of the student and there are messages everywhere constantly readying us for our next step. For example, it’s easy to see that good nurture will make things grow, but if you want to see tough, watch a weed grow in a crack in the path. Sometimes, you’ll need the tenacity of that weed and at other times you can be footloose and fancy free like the fluffy, floating seeds of a dandelion. Sometimes, you’ll be the early bird that catches the worm and sometimes – you’ll be the worm – so take care.
Knowing when to go with the flow and when to stand your ground is important but sometimes, it’s more important to do nothing. Take the time to rest, lick your wounds and wait for clarity – but don’t wait too long or you’ll cut yourself off from the very things that can sustain you, when you need them most, because, from time to time, we all face serious challenges.
Mine was health. Yours may be something else – it doesn’t matter what. What does matter is to remember that help is out there and often in the strangest places. So, whether it’s to keep your inspirational flame burning brightly or to rekindle it when you’re just about burnt out, look around – somewhere there’ll be a message, just for you.
– Erica, Shailer Park QLD
To book an appointment at the clinic or further information on Chinese Medicine contact Dr Sarah George (Acupuncture). Sarah is a practitioner of acupuncture (AHPRA registered), massage therapy and natural health.
On Friday 14th January, a group of acupuncture colleagues decided to put their skills to good use and assist evacuees and volunteers based at the Brisbane RNA Showgrounds.
The group, named Acupuncture Recovery Clinic (ARC), worked from 8am to 8pm daily providing massage and acupuncture treatments, free to all.
Sarah George joined the team on Friday and worked throughout the weekend treating evacuees and volunteers for stress, insomnia, fatigue and body aches. She was joined by at least 30 other volunteer professional acupuncturists and massage therapists.
Sarah recalls giving perhaps 50% of the people she treated their first ever massage. “It was a honour to be able to assist the evacuees and volunteers who all looked so tired and worn out. Many commented that sleeping at the evacuation centre was difficult. Some had heartwrenching stories of loss. Mostly, the stories were inspirational of flood evacuees and the homeless, helping others who had lost their homes. A massage or acupuncture treatment, gave them some time out, and recharged the spirit and the batteries to continue on.”
Acupuncture supplies were donated by the practitioners and local clinics (including HealthWise) and industry suppliers.
Sarah is taking an active role in ARC to continue the efforts of the volunteer group once the RNA evacuation centre is closed. The group plans to provide discounted treatments to those seriously affected by the floods in the weeks to come.
On the eve of registering a team for this year’s Kokoda Challenge, I take a look back at last year’s achievement…
At 3.45am on Saturday 17th July my alarm beeped, forcing me to get up and face The Kokoda Challenge, an event we had been training hard for since February.
The Kokoda Challenge is Australia’s toughest endurance event. It involves walking (or running for those who are that way inclined) 96 km through some of the steepest sections of the Gold Coast Hinterland within 39 hours without sleep (that’s more than double a marathon, non-stop and over hills).
My team, known as the M&M’s (for Michelle, Melissa, Sue and Sarah), wondered as we headed towards the starting line just before 7am with our little ninja M&M mascots hanging from our packs: “Had we done enough hill, night and distance training?” “Would our niggling injuries behave themselves?” and “Would we make it to the finish line as a full team as is the spirit of the event?”
Armed with a supply of energy tonics, anti-inflammatory herbs and some nutritional supplements that I had put together from my natural medicine clinic plus some acupressure knowledge for nausea, anxiety, pain and fatigue, the M&M’s (a determined bunch of ladies) survived the high and lows of the track. The steep up-hills, the steep down-hills, the creek crossings in the dark, the times when your body struggled, the times when your mind struggled – these were all balanced out by some very memorable moments. Looking behind you in the dark to see headlamps twinkling in the distance like little fairies, or seeing the gold coast lights shining from a peak we had just climbed, and even the many hours we passed through the night thinking of and singing any song with the word ‘night’ in it.
Yes, our feet hurt more than we could imagine. Yes, injuries were aggravated – but luckily no new ones were sustained. And yes, there were many quiet, contemplative moments overnight where we all were thinking “I could be fast asleep in a warm bed right now”. But these thoughts were all overshadowed when at 32 hours and 8 minutes the M&M’s crossed the finish line – there were tears, there were smiles, there were hugs and there were yawns. And despite taking a fair amount longer than we had planned on, we were in the 50% of teams who made it across the line as a whole team within the time limit of 39 hours. Not only that, we also adopted two honorary M&M’s who had lost half of their team to injury and needed another team to walk with. The more the merrier I say! And not bad for a first effort, either.
If you have an opportunity to be a part of this event in the future – do it! The event (and training leading up to it) is hard, yet incredibly rewarding. You will employ each of the Kokoda Challenge’s values just to make it to the finish (even if you don’t think you will beforehand): endurance, courage, sacrifice and mateship. The event supports young Australians (The Kokoda Kids) to develop these qualities through physical endeavours and charity work in Papua New Guinea. The Kokoda Kids that I met on the track were a credit to the organisers – I’m proud to have been involved and support this event.