Peppermint iced tea: How I survived summer with Chronic Pain

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Pain management is something that encompasses many things to me. Recently, changes have been implemented in many different aspects of my daily living, including exercise, positive thought training, and new food items being incorporated in to my diet.

Finding things that both work positively with my body and are also delicious has been a challenge, but this simple homemade concoction is the perfect balance – and the perfect refreshing summer tonic.

Some foods contain compounds that aid the body with inflammation and pain. There is also some evidence which suggests certain foods are especially good in aiding a number of chronic pain sufferers. To clarify, I am not saying this may be a suitable option for everyone. For me however, amongst other things, some of what goes into my body has the power to determine whether I may stay balanced and functional, or end up bed-ridden for days.

Peppermint tea is one of those things that benefits me, and can potentially aid other chronic pain sufferers. It’s refreshing, delicious and healthy. Along with other coping mechanisms developed over countless runs of trial and error, this drink has become a staple for me. I drink at least a glass every day. This tonic holds so much value to me and my daily togetherness, that I have chosen to share it in hopes that it may help someone else who is also looking for non-medicated alternatives for their own pain management.

For those of you without pain barriers or able to drink alcohol, this also mixes into a delicious cocktail with gin and/or vanilla liqueur.

peppermint tea

Recipe:

1 litre filtered water

2 peppermint teabags

1 tbsp raw honey

a few slices of lemon

Ice

Method:

Add teabags to water.

Leave to steep on bench for four hours. Alternatively you can leave it overnight if you wish.

Take out tea bags. Dissolve honey in a small amount of hot water (about 1/4 cup should be enough).

Add dissolved honey to peppermint tea along with a few slices of lemon and add ice cubes to cool.

Optional: Garnish with a couple of sprigs of fresh mint if desired.

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Happy summer.

Get Alex Palmer to the BMX National Championships (NZ) 2015

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Please help my little nephew Alex follow his dreams by donating a few dollars towards him making it down to Christchurch for the BMX racing nationals in New Zealand this April! I’ve seen Alex work very hard to have this opportunity, and his family appreciates any support given for Alex to achieve his goals. Every penny counts, so please take a few seconds to share with your friends too.

Get Alex Palmer to the BMX National Championships

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What it is V:2.015

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Things have changed in my corner of the world since the first initial post was written, announcing my life passions and quiet ambition. It’s time for an update.

This blog exists to keep my thoughts and love of various things in one place. Bits and pieces it may seem, but these are bits and pieces that make me up to be a whole person. There are many things in which I am. A creative individual. Striving artist. Yoga enthusiast. Tea addict. Music lover. Amateur writer. Sometimes a stubborn-as-all-hell, semi-functioning humanoid.

I also happen to live with chronic pain. About a year ago, at the beginning of 2014, my body decided to unravel. Since then my everything has gone in to keeping myself together. From persevering with day to day functioning, keeping active and attempting to regain some strength and coordination, to taking a dose of humility and allowing others to care for me, love me and be supportive when I need it. There has been a real struggle to keep myself out of the bottomless bucket of depression, but with yoga, meditation and my support network that has been built with particular loving people who I care dearly for by my side, I have managed to keep afloat.

I am a good person with good intentions. Sometimes I remind myself, because chronic pain can sometimes play tricks on one’s mind, questioning if you may be simply a burden to your closest, and nothing else. I know better, most days.

Still a hopeless romantic. I feel Paulo Coelho speaks volumes in this particular passage in his book, The Alchemist: “You will never be able to escape from your heart. So it’s better to listen to what it has to say.” And I would speak in sentences only constructed by romantically inspired quotes, if it were at all possible(and if I knew enough by heart to do so).

More than anything, I wish to be a yoga teacher. Without it I could not have persevered through the last year, mentally, physically or emotionally. Yoga has given me so much that I cannot imagine doing anything more valuable with my life. With current financial and physical limitations, and a rather unpredictable future when it comes to my body healing, time is a huge variable. I have faith though, that one day(soon), I will become a yoga teacher and have the opportunity to pass the gift of asana practice to other individuals.

The ten year plan is still there. Priorities have changed. I still see the next decade filled with opportunity, adventure and achievement. So. I am still a twenty-something girl from New Zealand, with a dream and some empty pockets. Join me in my journey ahead.

Pathway to the sky

The impending journey

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https://fragmentedworld.wordpress.com/2015/01/06/the-impending-journey/

The impending journey, and notions of positive change from 2014

 

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2014. Setbacks, including prolonged health problems and unhelpful appointments with chronic pain specialists and the like. There’s been little ability to work and little opportunity to expend energy on personal goals. 365 days that have been a struggle to simply keep afloat, to get by and adapt to the new physical limitations my body has chosen to set me. I lost physical strength, self-worth, and, at times, hope. Yeah, believe it or not, coming to terms with developing a nerve disorder in your mid-twenties isn’t quite as glamorous as one may think it to be. Heh.

There has been not only a struggle of adjusting to slower progress and learning to better manage the too often crippling pain, but also the challenging psychological process of learning to be kind to myself, not allowing others’ uneducated judgements define me, and putting my pride aside to ask for help when I need it.

One’s perspective has evolved over the last year through these processes, which may seemingly be notions of defeat to some, but to me they can only be labelled as notions of positive change. So many aspects of positivity have come from these experiences, that I must in fact conclude my year as one of value. Here’s why:

  • I have become much more diet conscious. I learned that my chronic pain can sometimes be nearly completely managed by diet alone. Over the last few months plenty of research has been done, and, after somewhat of a roller-coaster journey, I am now almost entirely opiate free with my pain management. There may be a long while to go before I’m 100% medication free, however this development marks a significant milestone in my personal progress.

  • Who has two thumbs and stopped using cancer sticks? This gal! That’s right, I quit smoking. There is nothing more encouraging (or terrifying) than your body being unable to physically function regularly to help you stop inflicting bad habits on yourself. And I feel all the better for it.

  • I have learned to accept people for who they are more, and have accepted myself for who I am, limitations and all.

  • I have grown closer to my family and friends, and have an extremely positive support network of people I care dearly about. I also recently confronted my fears of rejection and got in touch with a friend I had a falling out with, planting seeds for regenerating our friendship. Needless to say, I do not take any person for granted who I allow and wish to keep in my personal circles.

  • I am less self conscious and less afraid of being judged by strangers. I feel more resilient and more in my own skin than ever before, being able to more accurately recognize projection from people who do not understand me or my limitations.

  • My patience has grown and there is an increased sense of self awareness. I believe it is important to be self aware on physical, emotional and creative levels, how you impact and touch others around you, and vice versa.

  • I can recognize wholeheartedly that I am a good person with good intentions. I have wonderful friends who see that in me too, and who share those same traits.

  • With the all too real limited capacities and time frames for what I want to achieve in life, I have found more direction. I am more certain than ever that I want to become a yoga teacher. Until I am ready and able to undergo training, I am focusing on creating a foundation of knowledge and skills around my own practice and potential adaptations of postures for others living with chronic pain.

  • I have learned new meditation and yoga techniques specific to pain management. Recently I have even begun to curate/trial some of my own sequences and mantras at home. I truly feel that my practice has evolved.

  • A 30 day bikram yoga challenge was conquered, the first since I started experiencing symptoms from my nerve disorder. It kick-started my redevelopment of personal health and love of yoga. I won’t lie, some classes were spent on the floor. And I honestly didn’t even think I’d make it halfway through. But sometimes the hardest thing is to simply turn up for a class and accept what you can or cannot do that day. And I accomplished that.

  • I’ve gone back to my roots and am finding myself spending more time outdoors among nature. I feel much more at home and have experienced more special moments in my time able to be spent in the outdoors.

  • The sense of limitations has given me more confidence in my long term goal of moving away from the city, in being honest with myself about what makes me happy, and in doing my best to achieve what I can within my capabilities.

This girl still has her pockets empty, and is no closer down the path of her ten year plan. My journey feels as though it may well still be impending. But this year is new. This year paints a future of hope, of progress, and of achievement.

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Sapere aude

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The heart throbs.
The mind opens.
Love. Girl. Quiet.
Sapere aude.

My latest creation, the first of a small series being brought to life. Made for someone who once meant the world to me. I love this girl, she is beautifully transparent.

Sapere aude is latin, meaning ‘dare to be wise.’ The phrase is also associated with the term ‘enlightenment’.

Watch this space/follow/subscribe for updates on this series and other happenings. ^_^

40 Ways to Practice Self-Kindness

After reading through this wonderfully curated list, I realised that, even though I am practising many forms of self-kindness, I could probably do with implementing a few more of these. Starting with getting myself some flowers(because I refuse to wait for a man who is smart enough to buy me some ^_^). Food for thought and food for the soul. This is worth a read, check it out.

Kindness Blog

selflove

40 Ways to Practice Self-Kindness

by Mike O’Connor

“The most powerful relationship you will ever have is the relationship with yourself.” ― Steve Maraboli

As we all know modern life can be very stressful. With so many demands on our time, through juggling family, work and friends, it can be a little difficult to give ourselves the attention that we really need and deserve.

Here we share forty pointers to YOU caring for YOU…

  1. Stretching – Treat yourself to a really good stretch before getting out of bed in the morning – It gets the blood moving, it helps to fire up our sleepy brains & it also gives us a few moments to connect with our body before the day starts.
  2. Drink plenty of water – This is simple, but it’s so good for you. Being dehydrated makes everything harder. H2O is pure liquid WIN!
  3. Regularly breathe deeply –…

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Aside

A place called home

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There are many things in which I am. I am curious. I am strong. I am creative. I am a child at heart. I am a thinker – sometimes an over-thinker. And I like to listen(you learn more that way).

This summer has consisted of many journeys through this wonderful land of New Zealand. And, slowly, I am falling in love with this place all over again. Discovering the out-of-city secrets of this land has been a truly eye opening experience. I am inspired more than ever to listen to my heart, follow my dreams and to do what makes me happy.

There is no longer a compulsion inside me to flee from this country. However, after much consideration over the last few months and a large amount of time spent contemplating what exactly I want from life and the living, the conclusion has been realised, that I still no longer wish to live in this  particular city. Or any city, for that matter.

You see, I’ve made a discovery. A small beach town on the west coast here, with its population being little more than three thousand occupants, and a fairly long drive away from any other place, completely immersed in its own radiating charisma, magic and beautiful surroundings. Sunshine. Beach. Bush. REAL human beings in touch with life and living. You can see the stars at night. Small, quirky things pop up, like yoga classes on wake-boards in the water. Like creative markets bursting at the seams with local art and delicious food. Like hang-gliding day events. Like impromptu acoustic blues music evenings. The windmill farm you can spot on your way in to the town. The waterfall hidden just off the main road. A small retreat perched at the top of a hill that has yoga classes and workshops for holistic well-being. A flooding sense of freedom in every step walked through this wonderful place.
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People can, and sadly often do, spend a lifetime avoiding any opportunity to identify who they really are or refusing to acknowledge what they truly want, instead expending their energy on conforming to society’s constraints, and obtaining what they are expected to want, never to confess their secrets or dreams or desires. Me? I don’t hide my wants, my flaws, or who I am from myself, or anyone else for that matter. I am forming a new habit of enjoying doing things that scare me, even if it means to shamefully expose my true self, or potentially result in others seeing me as undesirable company.  It is both awkwardly thrilling, and terrifyingly liberating.

Along this journey, I have found myself and what I want. I don’t need to be famous, I don’t need a PhD, and I don’t need a butt load of money. I don’t want to try and figure out how to be just another lemming. Give me a beautiful corner of the world, tools to create my art, and the means to practice and share my yoga, and I am happy. That is what I want in life. We needn’t complicate things, and I do not intend to complicate my journey any further.

I have fallen in love with living. I am discovering Me, and I like it. I have found my heart. I have found a place that is truly home. A place that welcomes the many things in which I am.

Show me your secrets…

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You Should Date An Illiterate Girl

“She is comfortable with them. She has bid farewell to a thousand heroes with only a twinge of sadness.” Yes… All ‘heroes’ but one. This is extremely powerful.

Thought Catalog

Date a girl who doesn’t read. Find her in the weary squalor of a Midwestern bar. Find her in the smoke, drunken sweat, and varicolored light of an upscale nightclub. Wherever you find her, find her smiling. Make sure that it lingers when the people that are talking to her look away. Engage her with unsentimental trivialities. Use pick-up lines and laugh inwardly. Take her outside when the night overstays its welcome. Ignore the palpable weight of fatigue. Kiss her in the rain under the weak glow of a streetlamp because you’ve seen it in film. Remark at its lack of significance. Take her to your apartment. Dispatch with making love. Fuck her.

Let the anxious contract you’ve unwittingly written evolve slowly and uncomfortably into a relationship. Find shared interests and common ground like sushi, and folk music. Build an impenetrable bastion upon that ground. Make it sacred. Retreat into…

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Across the ditch, or across the planet?

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Choosing a new city to live in and call home is a decision best not made under distress. Coming closer to the deadline that’s been locked in for move date, freedom from this country feels so very near, yet there is still that underlying, uneasy feeling; that the ‘wrong’ place might be labelled as ‘home’. Many influences have of course been helpful, and many others have instead left me confused and rather bewildered. There are so many options! There is so much to consider! Yes, choosing a new home is quite an overwhelming milestone to mark, with the time fast approaching.

Melbourne has been the preferred city of choice for many reasons, surpassing other options that have been weighed which are the likes of Berlin, coming in as a close second, and also Vancouver, Los Angeles, Japan, and Thailand, have been considered seriously. While all these places have a fair bit going for them, the conclusion has been made thus far, that the ultimate decision lies in a cultural face-off between Melbourne and Berlin.

Melbourne is somewhere that I have lived before, and, in fact, it still feels like home. The economy is strong and the people are friendly. Cultural and creative events are a constant and vibrant part of daily living. There are countless small, secret alleyways through the city and surrounding suburbs, where surprises of incredible street art and hidden bars, cafes, art galleries and other secret treasures wait to be discovered.

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Melbourne’s Yarra River

Food is a factor. After some recent and exacerbated health problems, my gluten intolerance must be taken more seriously and endeavours be made to comply with the way my body functions. (In the mean time, faith must be kept in science that there will one day soon be a cure.) Melbourne accommodates for a frustrating diet of restriction easily. In fact, I have never been to any other city that has offered more choice. A small bucket list for Melbourne bars and dining is currently under construction by my own hand, and is growing larger almost daily.

Horse and cart rides can be taken through the city and central suburbs – almost like something out of a fairytale. How fucking magical is that!? Melbourne is a city that is beautiful, magical and familiar, and I would feel confident moving over and starting a new chapter in life there on my own. Thanks to the luck of being a New Zealand citizen, there are absolutely no visa issues to address. And, as mentioned earlier, it feels as though my heart is still there. It still feels more like home than anywhere else on this planet right now.

There are some downsides too. Or… well, perhaps just one to confess. That is, I may have to face the potential of running in to the love of my life. It scares me. Only because we have not really spoken since our break up in June. I miss my friend that I had in him dearly, and I do not know how my mending heart might take another encounter (or an avoidance of encounter) with this particular person. That said, Melbourne is a big place, and we are different people, so there is some reassurance in knowing that this new chapter in my life could easily be built around things that won’t run a likely risk of us crossing paths. Who knows, perhaps I should be so lucky that the sting might have been numbed a little more when the time comes to move.

The other cities mentioned before certainly have some appeal to them as well. But the close second, Berlin, is one that my fixation draws upon. Berlin was explored briefly during my travels through Europe back in 2011, and even though it was only a couple of weeks spent in the city, a connection between myself and it was strongly felt. There is a massively strong cultural and creative following that is ingrained in the lifestyle I was exposed to there. The city is full of quirks and secrets and an exciting, rich history. German sausage is delicious, and there is so much of it there! Likewise for German beer – surely they must have some gluten free varieties? Berlin also happens to be close to many other places that I wish to explore. And contrary to the status quo, I find the German language to be quite fascinating and even pleasant.

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Berlin, Germany

It is a move that is considerably more daunting. It is on the other side of the world, after all! Culture shock may be endured, but also welcomed. The winter months may be harsh and will involve snow – one extreme of the weather spectrum that this girl has not experienced for nearly twenty years (I don’t even remember the snow!). A visa would need to be organised. Berlin holds a weaker economy than Melbourne. And as much as I do like the German language, it would be difficult to grasp and may create a barrier to finding work and settling in. The idea of living there seems almost like an unobtainable dream, but I know it might just be possible. A visa can be acquired, language courses can be taken, and extra layers of clothing can be bought. ‘TO LIVE IN BERLIN’ …excitement and a sense of liberation comes from even simply writing these words.

As I feel my fingers ticking away on the keys, a different plan is beginning to take shape. One that is the same as my initially planned ten years… But somehow Berlin has squeezed itself in there among the early stages. On the plus side, a year or two in Berlin would give me the opportunity to explore that side of the world before getting a bit more settled. It would give my heart more time to heal, which, if I’m really honest, is needed very much. So there is promise that may allow for both cities to be accommodated for, after all.

To throw caution to the wind across the planet, or to play it safe across the ditch? I feel both options are possible, but that perhaps Berlin may be best kept a dream… Surely though, there are some factors that I haven’t thought of yet that will help in deciding whether or not to accommodate this potential realignment of my future.

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Should you have any advice to give or light to shed on my impending endeavours, be it regarding the move, on the city of Melbourne or on the city of Berlin, I would be curious to hear your thoughts so that a more useful perspective might be gained before making this decision.