Embrace.

 

Embrace yourself.

The whole of you. From head to toe.From skin to core. Every little scar, every little mark. Embrace every part that you think is too fat or too skinny. Every area that you’d rather cover, and every area you want to flaunt. Embrace the extra weight that you’ve put on or the weight you simply can’t gain. Embrace the ability for your body to change, and the truth that it has. Embrace everything that’s on and in your body, for it reflects the journey you’ve had, and the journey you are on.

                                                                                        •••

Embrace every little flaw that you think is a flaw – the bumps, the curves, the blemishes, the dimples or the moles. The thigh gap or the lack of one. Embrace every single dislocated joint, every set of horribly painful muscles. Embrace the faulty collagen that once made you feel at fault. Embrace the complexity of the cells that form you. Embrace the simplicity of your breath. Embrace every weakness, every strength that you have within you. Embrace the limitations, for that’s the first step towards working with your body and finding opportunities. Embrace your emotional, mental, physical and spiritual self because they make you the you that you are and the you that you’re about to become.

                                                                                         •••
Embrace your experience – it has torn you down into pieces, ripped all the courage out of you and built you up into a strong and beautiful person that you are. Embrace the conscious and the subconscious story you’ve written so far. Embrace all that you are creating from here on. Embrace every fragmented part of you that needs a safe spot to come together and bloom again. Embrace those cracks in your heart, those holes in your soul. Embrace that part of you which still needs to develop, learn and grow. Embrace the power within you to do all of it. Embrace the fear, the guilt, the despair and the grief that you have overcome. Embrace all that is still left to overcome. Embrace each of those disturbingly dark emotions that you feel, for that is where the alchemy begins. Embrace your deeper need to heal, for that is how the world starts to heal. One person at a time. Embrace your need for boundaries and personal space. Embrace your need for valuable connections and healthy relationships. Embrace your need to be what you want to be, and not what the world wants you to be. Embrace the disorder in your, the clutter, the chaos – it is what makes you human. Embrace all of it.

                                                                                         •••

Embrace your skills, your talents, your passion and your drive to keep moving forward. Embrace your need to go slow. Embrace your ability to know. Embrace the possibility to be lost, for you won’t always have the answers. Embrace the fact that you are unique, that you are different – like everyone else, and yet not. Embrace the sensitive being that you are. Embrace the truth that you feel more. Embrace the light and the shadow within you. Embrace the love and the pain that fills you up every single day. Embrace all the muddle and the uncertainty that you face, for each of us feels this way at some point. Embrace all that you are and all that you are not. Embrace your reality, your story and your dreams.

Embrace the perfectly imperfect and glorious mess that you are!

❤︎

Some Days At Work.


Some days at work look like this. Doesn’t matter what you’re doing. When you’re body tells you to stop. STOP. When your body says lie down, DO IT. If you can’t walk to your bed, JUST LIE DOWN on the floor. Wherever you are.

Listen to your body.

Listen to what it has to tell you.

Ask what it needs out of you and do it.

Be aware of what it’s trying to remind you.

Close your eyes. Pause. Breathe. Let go. Forget. It’s all okay. It will all be okay.

Everything that must wait, can wait and will wait for you. Anything that doesn’t, is not meant for you.

❤︎

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And just as you think you’ve got it all under control, everything changes. It turns into a complete mess. Everything falls apart. Your control doesn’t count for anything. Nothing at all. You find yourself standing on an unstable foundation. Uncertainty takes over. You find fear building up inside of you. One bit at a time, every aspect of your life begins to alter. You are forced to evolve and grow. Your story changes. Your goals and aspirations look different. Your priorities are reshuffled. Your relationships are affected. Your truth starts to unfold. You realize you don’t seem to fit in anymore or that you never did. Your plans were just a dream. Your present becomes your reality. Your reality creates more opportunities. You realize that stepping forward requires stepping inwards first. A new set of doors suddenly open for you. You look back and see that some doors remain closed, some people belong in your past and some plans you thought your life depended on, just don’t matter as much anymore. Nothing looks like what you expected it to one day but you know it was meant to happen. Even if you don’t fully understand where it leaves you at, you know it was all for good.
Life continues to take place; every moment, every breath. Stay true, stay present. Stay grateful for what you have now because chances are, life won’t always look the way you thought it would.
❤︎

Last Night. 

What a messed up night.

I.

Did.

Not.

Sleep.

One.

Bit.

Instead,

I took extra pain medicines.

Twisted and turned. Carefully I think.

I’m still together. All parts.

Massaged my joints and used hot bags.

Ate a chocolate cookie at 4:00am.

Spent sometime on Pinterest.

Tried sleeping.

Failed again.

Did some breathing exercise hoping I’d sleep.

Didn’t work.

Couldn’t move much anymore.

My body has kept me up all night.

Or maybe it was my mind this time.

No, I’m not sure. I can’t think right now.

Maybe I had too much green tea yesterday?

Ok. I seriously do not know what kept me up.

The pain in my back was horrible. I know this.

And I’m in pain even now. As expected, as usual, as per normal.

It’s just one of those days. I can do it. I have done this before so many times.

But it doesn’t get any easier each time.

No sleep = pain level amplified.

I could’ve just taken a warm shower.

But yes, I couldn’t move.

Am I even making any sense?

Okay.

I’m done. I can’t write today.

I.

Am.

Too.

Tired.

For.

Anything.

I can’t wait to be able to nap later. I need a long 9-hour nap.

Goodnight. No wait, Good Morning!

❤︎

My Response To A Request : Tips For Taping Of Joints (Unstable Shoulder).

A couple of days back, I received a request from a wonderful Family Nurse Practitioner in Seattle, Medea Karr (http://medeakarrfnp.com/), to share any tips or recommendations I might have about the use and application of Kinesio Tape (KT). For years now, I’ve had to make use of all kinds of guards, slings and “protective shields” for the eight (oops, no, Nine!) joints that I have to deal with and manage on a daily basis.
Medea mentioned that she has a patient who tends to have her shoulder joint move out of place while sleeping and wanted to know if taping might help. Yes! taping helps me keep my joints in place even at night. Once I put the tape on, it stays fine for about three to four days. It’s not as if it completely erases the chances of injuries during sleep (or in the day!) but it surely provides a decent level of support, as good or even better than some guards. I experience multi-directional instability in both my shoulders and trust me that I know, it can get exceedingly painful and annoying to wake up through the night because your shoulder joint is a little off. So I truly understand.
There are various methods of application, each focusing on a different set of muscles or ligaments, or for a different benefit/relief altogether. Personally, my symptoms are ever changing  and so I’ve had to experiment quite a bit before noticing the slight difference each pattern can make. I’ll be sharing some links to videos with specific patterns that have been working for me, along with a few tips to keep in mind while using the tape. I really hope this is of some help!
Please (here goes my little disclaimer), I am not certified in Kinesiology and I know from speaking with my Physiotherapists, that there is a particular art and technique behind using this tape. I would genuinely recommend you seek advice from a Therapist who is certified in Kinesiology and see what pattern would work the best for your condition and requirement. It also depends on the degree to which your joint is off, etc. If the tape isn’t applied in a particular manner, it is only as good as  some body art :)
You’ll probably find a lot of brands for the tape out in the market and naturally, some are stronger than the others in terms of tension. You might find that one brand irritates your skin lesser than the other and stuff like that. This is something you’ll have to just experiment and figure out. My personal favourite is the Rock Tape (http://www.rocktape.com/) .  A lot of athletes tend to use this brand, possibl because it seems like one of the toughest and most durable. I’ve seen for myself that the adhesive side really sticks onto my body well.
Here are the links to patterns that have been helping me with my shoulder instability, pain due to rotator cuff injuries and also with general posture improvement. I thought these videos were very informative and super easy to follow.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MoWa1s56VNI
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPx_cODeuTw
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1FPlptjGiSk
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GxOHLjkLzXU
Some tips to keep in mind while using the tape:
  1. Do not use the tape on any damaged, broken or sensitive areas of the body. It is recommended that you do a mini” sensitive skin test” whereby you put a small piece on a part of your body and watch if your skin has any adverse reaction to it.
  2. Once you know you’re safe and are ready to use it : Make sure you’ve cleaned the skin properly, removed any oils or lotions that may be on it. I use soap and pat dry the area before application. You could also use rubbing alcohol.
  3. Remember to always take a rough or an approximate measurement of the area you want to tape up before cutting out the pieces. That way you’re not unnecessarily wasting your tape.
  4. Make sure to snip off the sharp edges and make them rounded. Sharp edges and upturned corners  tend to stick to the clothing and causes the tape to peel off faster.
  5. Be careful not to touch the adhesive side of the tape too much while handling it. I suggest you roll open the adhesive side as you apply it over the skin instead of peeling off the sticker first.
  6. While putting on the tape, remember not to stretch the ends of it. Any sort of stretch or pull is usually in the mid section of the tape; never at the starting point or the end (the anchors). We need to leave these two points entirely un-stretched so that they’re able to hold the tape down for us. 
  7. Remember to rub the tape after application – the starting point, the ending point and along the whole structure/pattern. This is to create friction and generate heat so as to activate the adhesive. It ensures that the tape stays on for longer. 
  8. You can shower or bathe as per normal with this tape on. However, try to keep the area as free of soap as possible. For me,  if the residue from the soap sticks onto the adhesive side of the tape, I get an allergic reaction on that spot and the bumps and redness takes a very long time to subside. I have to leave that area to rest for a few days before I’m able to use tape on it again.
Other than making sure I have my shoulders taped up on the days they’re feeling loose and dangly and giving me too much issues, I make sure I create a little nest for myself every single night. I’m so sure most of us do this. I use a lot of pillows, cushions and towels when I sleep. They each have a strategic location on my bed and they work together to nest me up as I sleep through the night. I have had to train myself to sleep on my back because any other position is just too painful and seem to exert too much pressure on some of my joints. Sleeping on my back throughout the night is not the most comfortable but it is  something I’ve learnt to get used to. I make the most out of whatever soft items that I have, and in the past, it has even been my huge, fluffy teddy bear. 

❤︎

An Extra Mile. 

 
You see, if you’re dealing with an invisible illness, a chronic or rare illness or some sort which doesn’t always show, you tend to get a lot of this:

“But you don’t LOOK sick!”

A funny meme that I found on invisible illness had a response to the above going somewhat like this, “Please tell me, what does sick look like? I’ll make sure to harder next time.”

Yes, there are times I feel frustrated and would want to give a similar reply but I rarely ever do. Because I understand it’s only normal to expect a “sick” person to LOOK sick. You’d usually expect a handicapped person to be on a wheelchair, right?

The truth is, a lot of us choose to not look sick. All you have to do is turn our bodies inside out and you may see it for yourself. It’s a conscious choice. One of those daily choices we make; one of those which may not even come across as something anyone else might need to stop and think about.

I know, life is all about making choices for all of us. Whether you’re sick or not.

But making a choice out of limited options, creating possibilities out of painful hurdles, turning physical weaknesses into mental and emotional strength, using all the brain power to keep you up and going, and having to consider bodily consequences for every little action, every move, through the day, is simply not the same.

We love to talk about strength; about how strong our body is, how toned or attractive we are, and that’s brilliant! But I’ve learnt over time, through personal experience, there is no strength like the strength that comes from within. From deep within. It’s the kind of strength that sometimes lies underneath the most nasty emotions but it’s still right there, to keep you motivated and to help you up each time you fall (literally and metaphorically).

That’s why I like to think, a lot of us may be physically fragile, but we’re mentally unbreakable. We might lose our balance, but we come right back and we’re stronger each time. We spend so much time and effort on our body and its needs that nothing else is as important anymore. What can be more of value than your own health? I can say this today, barely anything. In fact, I’d like to say nothing. Nothing comes close to health in terms of priority.

On days like today, I have to go an extra mile – to look less like a patient and be more patient with my body. It has come a long way and it has a long way to go.

Love,

Manasi Dalvi

Down.

 One of those days when all you can do is sleep with oils and hot packs.

My sleep was terrible last night. In fact, I haven’t been sleeping too well and I assume it’s because I’m still getting used to my new place. I usually need some extra time to settle in and get used to a new space. We all do I suppose.
It took me a while to fall asleep last night and I got up far too early. 5:20am? I woke up feeling extremely cold; to a point that I was shivering and needed to wear a sweatshirt, put on my socks, switch off the AC and get myself two hot packs to hold on to. Getting out of bed was a challenge because I hadn’t slept enough and my back as tight and in pain. Nope, I didn’t get a dream and nor did I wake up feeling anything. I just woke up feeling abnormally cold.

No, I wasn’t running a fever either. I checked. My temperature was kind on the lower side instead. I don’t usually get up because it’s too cold in my room. I’d get up if it gets too hot sometimes. The AC needs servicing, so you can imagine, it really wasn’t that cold to begin with. I decided to push myself out of bed, even if I was freezing to death, and start with my day. I had to because my brain was active (tired, but active) and my body didn’t want to cooperate. I know it needed rest but staying in bed wasn’t helping.

Within an hour or so, I got back in bed again. There was no way I could’ve continued with the day. There is no way I’m going to be able to sit with my laptop or get anything done, even though my brain could handle it. It doesn’t even seem like a work-from-bed day. Today, my body needs extra care and rest and that’s what it has to get.

That’s just how it is – every day looks different, yet can feel the same.
🌷