PS, I love you


button heart_shutterstock_109762442Ever struggle with something?  A something that you strive to hide kind of thing?  Something that is so in your face on a daily basis; so out-there-for-the-world-to-see if you do nothing about it… For those of us with Psoriasis or skin conditions like it, it’s a daily reality.  It’s a daily reality for me and has been for 12 years.

My Psoriasis was triggered by my first pregnancy.  A joyful time quickly became one wrought with focus on spoltches and patches that itched and bled, splotches that made this new mom want to avoid being in pictures with a darling newborn, splotches that were more than uncomfortable, more than annoying, more than unsightly — they were embarrassing and infuriating. almost more so than the lingering baby weight, because at least that had a recognizable root cause and at least that I could do something about.

Even with dermatologist prescribed lotions, salves, shampoos, ointments, tablets and treatments, my skin didn’t improve.  So, I decided to accept the hand I was dealt, put my best face forward, even though that face has some significant patches of the dreaded PS. 2014-12-31 08.51.08 This is the story of many with PS, and there are MANY of us.  According to current studies, as many as 7.5 million Americans have psoriasis:  that’s approximately 2.2 percent of the population, which matches the current trend worldwide.

A second pregnancy, our second boy… brought more than joy and love and diapers… Psoriatic Arthritis was another gift.  Over the years, it’s been crippling at worst and achy at best.  There have been some great days and some better months, but chronic pain is what it is and does what it does.  It grates on a person. It hardens parts.  It shortens fuses.  It kills desire and drags hopes through the gutter.  But, there’s something that happens over time…

At least for me, at least with time, Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis have given me the gift of a perspective that even my cancer didn’t give me.   This skin I’m in is some crazy skin; it’s thin, it’s thick, it’s sheds, it hurts, it responds to stress and loves the sun.  This body is wrought with daily pain, with twisted joints and knarled fingers, with aches in odd places and swelling and heat.  This body betrays me as boldly as it supports me.  And this dis-ease the same.  I am, all at once, thick skinned and vulnerable; able to bear great pain and be brought to tears with a feathers touch; a lover of the sun and a hater of bearing my skin in the light of the world.  I have hands that were once angels on the strings of my harp and lighter than air on the keys of my flute… they painted and drew and scribed… I made a living for years in the arts.  And now I have to fight to find enough strength to pull on a pair of pants (never mind zippers and buttons most days), wash my hair, brush my teeth, sign my name, use a fork and knife.

But there is enough strength and it is a gift.  After years of this life, in this body, I am stronger in many ways than I was before.  When I wake every day, I am grateful and thankful for the pain in my hands because I know that they are still there and that I am.  When I wash my face at night and clear away the powder that shields me from stares, I see a survivior.  When I find new ways to access joys of old, singing bowls to make music and paints instead of pencils… I thrive.  I have never been a mouse and I wouldn’t say that I have ever been ashamed of my skin badges, but when, day in and day out the eyes of the world gaze upon the imperfections there is a longing for sameness, for that same skin that you’re in, so you don’t look at me as less than, as weird, as sick.  So, I powder my face pretty perfectly and tend to wear long sleeves and long pants even on the hot days at the gym… because it’s easier than having to muster up the energy to address the stares and glances.  But the greatest gain I’ve made in these 12 years is that I have come to love the skin I’m in.  I am courageous because of it.  I am healthier because of it too, from my approach to nutrition and exercise to stress relief and self care, even to how I manage  work and relationships.

With another Valentines Day just a hair behind us, I thought it a fine time to acknowledge that loving our imperfections, our pains, our hot spots and those things that we hide away from the world is healing.  In the Psoriasis community, PS is short for psoriasis/PsA for Psoriatic Arthritis.  So, here I am, PS and PsA.  I love you.  I love you for what you have brought forth in me, for showing me my strength and creativity and passion and purpose.  I would gladly accept complete health, freedom from pain and joint damage and clear, glowing, gorgeous skin in a heartbeat.  But, I accept all of me, happily.

What is it in your life that you’re shuffling to the side and hiding?  What aspects of you make you unsure about your worth?  Look at them!  Sit with them and chew on them and see if you too can find some light in those dark places.  I bet you’ll be surprised by what beams out of the broken places,  and by what can grow when you give it a little water and sunshine.

For me, it’s PS, I love you.  It’s freedom from the fear of falling into the darkness of dis-ease.   Be brave now… peek into your darkness and peel back a layer… do it with love… and let me know how it goes.

Sarah

and, p.s.  I love you — :)

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Do you have a minute?


One Minute Meditationrelate

I don’t know about you, but my world is crazy busy most days!

Doesn’t it seem like we are constantly surrounded by the hustle and bustle technology and a hyper fast-paced work world? No matter how hard we try, the stress of our go-go-go society just creeps in and blocks us from reaching our full potential…  this is true for work, relationships, self-care… you name it!  Think about it:  when was the last time you felt truly able to focus on being the best YOU at work, at home, or alone?  We’re living in a world that is so interconnected that our sense of self can get muddled.

If you’re the kind of person who’s got a little more stress than you’d like (and, honestly, who doesn’t feel that way, sometimes?), I invite you to try this one-minute meditation.

Give me your minute and we’ll get you a little bit closer to feeling more like you!  This quick meditation will help you to center yourself and find some inner peace amidst the chaos of everyday life. And believe it or not, even this simple minute meditation will help you to reduce inflammation in the body and decrease the toxic load on your organs.  In life, every minute counts.  Honest.

You ready to try?

Okay.  Just read these instructions and get down to business, right where you’re sitting… the only requisite is that you’re able to be safely still for one whole minute.

To do the one-minute meditation, breathe in slowly for 15 seconds, then exhale slowly for 15 seconds. Then repeat.

That’s it. It’sback to center really that simple.  But…. 15 seconds can actually be a looonnnnggg time to inhale if you’re not used to it.  So, what do you do?  Well, give it a good college try before you pooh-pooh the exercise.  I like to count while I’m breathing in-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12-13-14-15 AND out-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12-13-14-15.  If it’s too deep too soon, just try going in 10 second intervals.  No worries.  You don’t want to go much below 10 because we don’t want you to breathe too quickly.  The aim is slow, steady, mindful, deep breathes in and out.

If you’d like to change it up, you can breathe in one nostril and exhale out the other, switching the nostrils for inhalation and exhalation on the second round. You could also play around with how long you breathe in for and how long you breathe out for. The longer the inhalation, the more energy you will have. The longer the exhalation, the more relaxed you will feel.

Experiment, and see what works for you.

What did you think about this exercise?  By integrating simple things like this and coupling it with a little sweat and good nutrition you can make a real impact on your health and well being.  I’d love to help you reach your goals.

 I have a few spaces left in my Autumn Glow Detox.  This 15 day, whole food reboot is a no powders-pills-gimmicks- program that offer practical guidance designed to help your body eliminate some of the toxix burden that’s built up, while promoting a strong immune system and healthy digestion. You’ll get access to over 60 vibrant, tasty recipes, daily inspiration and support via email and a private Facebook group.  We roll in 3 days, so if you’d like to join us click over to www.sarahlawrencehealth.com/autumn-glow-detox for the details and to register.  It’s your time.  Give your body the benefit of some focused TLC that’s really do-able: 4 days of Pre-detox that allows you to gently reduce or wean off caffeine/sugar/alcohol and processed foods; 7 days of gentle, whole food based detoxification that does not leave you feeling hungry or deprived but also doesn’t require you to purchase crazy ingredients or mad kitchen skills; and we wrap with 4 transition days to help you integrate what you’ve learned with the more familiar things you love.

Sound good?

Pop over to www.sarahlawrencehealth.com/autumn-glow-detox and claim your space before it’s too late!

Xoxo,

Sarah

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