Good morning, everyone!

It’s 4:33a.m. as I sit down to write. If not for the frogs/toads calling their lover-come-hither songs in the night, the world would be very quiet indeed at this early hour. Despite the small amount of rain in this area, these wee creatures are confident that they have “enough” on hand to complete their biological mission for one more season. Ahhhh ~ Summer! The heat, humidity, almost-daily storms! If only there were enough frogs/toads to decrease the population of mosquitoes!

Does The Weather Affect My Pain? | Gav Noble

Such weather can increase our physical pain levels. The fluctuations in barometric pressure affect how our bodies respond. For some, higher levels of atmospheric pressure prove pain-relieving. The increased pressure helps hold bones/muscles/tendons in proper place. Nerves are less pinched; thus, pain-relief. For others, the lower levels bring relief as bones/muscles/ tendons are not squeezed into nerve-pinching tightness. 

There is no one-size-fits-all method of pain management. It’s a very personal — and thus, personalized — thing. 

Adjusting to the weather conditions of a geographic location other than the one you grew up in can take years. In some cases, it is a perpetual condition of adjusting. My brain-files, for instance, are mostly of my NC foothills weather — 41 years there, as opposed to 26 years here in north-central FL. 

Summers there: hot, dusty-dry. We carried water from a spring to keep the farm animals and garden alive-n-thriving. Tubs/buckets/largest pots were set out to catch rain from storms. We walked to the nearby creek to sit in its always-cold mountain-water for a refreshing break from the heat. (Once, we saw a black bear doing the same thing. Drought in the higher regions had forced it to the lower in search of water.)

Summers here: HOT, humid, with almost daily storms, followed by increased heat/humidity. Water flows freely from taps, yet not for free. Set out tubs/buckets/pots or anything else to catch storm-water here and you’ll find them filled very quickly with mosquitoes (and frog eggs!). Plants droop from the par-boil conditions between storms, or else rot in their pots from the constant wet. My gardening efforts typically fail as the slugs/snails, deer/rabbits/other wildlife take advantage of my efforts. I droop!

Physical, mental, emotional, even spiritual pain here is different from there; yet, the two types of brain-files are cross-filed in my memory banks. Only with my mind can I sort them out, learn to cope, learn to thrive instead of “just survive”. It’s a hard job, this form of self-training; yet, all of life is a hard job of self-training, eh? I am the only one who can do it for me. It can be done! I see proof of that truth in others. 

Willingness to do the hard job — that’s the starting point. Nothing gets accomplished well without willingness. I do want to be/feel as well as possible. What I am discovering, however, is that I must frequently renew my willingness. Very similar to how, in childhood, I had to renew my willingness to do my share of the hard work on that hard-scrabble, foothills farm. Carrying enough water from the spring to supply the animals’/human needs required frequent renewal of willingness. My aging body requires my oft-renewed willingness to do the hard work of self-training: facing old brain-files and dealing with their content, adjusting my desires to better fit my elderly bones/decreased abilities, and learning how to cope with continual changes (inside myself as well as in the outside world).

This Week’s Challenge:

(A) Tell me a story about your own changing needs and adjustments. Even if you grew up in this region, there have been changes from then until now. How are you learning to cope with them? What keeps you motivated/willing to be willing?

(B) Internal dialogue (self-talk) flows at a rate of 300-1,000 words per minute. Is your conversation with yourself a high-quality feedback (yielding deeper understanding), a yes-no feedback (no information/nothing learned), or no feedback (someone else’s voice coming out of those brain-files)?

Last Week’s Challenges:

What “psychological furniture” inhabits your home; and, why?      

ANSWERS: keeping a full pantry (as a result of memories of hard times, when food had to be rationed) ; types of comfort foods similar to those in childhood ; favored styles of clothing that trigger happy brain-files from childhood ; porch-time conversations ; singing the old hymns. 

There’s an old but true statement: If we do not learn from our Past, we are destined to repeat it. Our personal past (our brain-files) contains a mix of challenge and reward elements. We can learn from the challenges (no matter how difficult); and, we can celebrate again-n-again the memories of reward — nuggets of truth, coping methods, vital information about who we are and the caliber of person we have been throughout our lifetime. 

We’re all put here on Earth to help each other, my father once told me. Those who have learned how to be their best-possible self are the best at helping themselves learn the art of helpful internal dialogue. Having learned how to learn, they become the best guides/teachers/helpers for others. “God helps those who help themselves,” and maybe-just-maybe by leading them into leadership of others. 

“Just surviving” is the bare minimum of what any one person can achieve. “Thriving” is beneficial to the entire community. Let us begin choosing what to repeat from our personal/collective Past. Let us consciously choose those elements of communal thriving.

 It is now 5:57a.m. and the songs of frogs/toads are being replaced by the early-rising birds. Dawn will soon arrive, and my desire is to see that from the sanctuary of my porch swing. There, I can pretend that this Florida landscape is my beloved Carolina foothills. I anticipate another good conversation with myself and my God and all the little living things that are waking up to this new day, doing what comes naturally … repeating elements from their Past that have helped them thrive. 

Be well, my friends! Keep doing good things with your brain-files! Be the best relationship you’ll ever have! It’s good for communal thriving. 

Gentle hugs/much love,