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What Matters

It doesn’t matter if we do things right, “doesn’t matter if we do things according to the book or what we expect or what others expect. What matters is the quality of heart and integrity we bring to what we do. . . . What matters is remembering that we care about as many moments of our life as possible.” -Tara Brach

So often I feel like I’m failing. Failing my family and friends by not keeping in touch, failing my husband by not being the equal partner I signed up to be, failing the folks I write for at Migraine.com by not submitting more posts. Failing you by not writing more often, by not responding to comments, by not updating my blogroll. Failing myself by not having a career, by not being able to support myself financially, by not doing more activities that nourish my soul.

The funny thing about these “failures” is that they are not my fault. I would participate in the world if migraine and chronic daily headache did not drag me down the way they do. This is not to say life would be cake and balloons if I didn’t have migraine; I’d still have challenges and frustrations, but chronic illness has hijacked my personality. I am not the unproductive, antisocial being that illness has turned me into. And so I fret. Fret about the difference between who I am fundamentally and how I behave because of migraine.

What if, instead of dwelling on what I cannot achieve, I view my life the way Tara Brach describes? What if I see the quality of heart and integrity I bring to everything I do, the intense focus I give to even the most mundane day-to-day tasks? Then I am not failing at all. In fact, I am overflowing with love and purpose and gratitude.

What matters to you?

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Personality or Illness?

Laurie at A Chronic Dose wonders if she’s type A by nature or by illness. “Too much energy wasted on wishing things were perfect and making sure everything unfolds just so?”, she asks.

Laurie’s questioning is similar to the questions I’ve been asking myself in the last week. Do my insecurities in social situations stem from pain preventing me from being fully engaged in conversations? Is my (generally) more laid-back approach to life because I can’t be the high-energy, high-stress person I used to be, or have I simply grown up?

These questions also lead to reflections on the path I might have taken without my headaches. Would I have found a career that was as fulfilling as blogging? Would I be so eager to do things that we dream of now instead of after retirement, like traveling? Since I can’t do it differently, I’m glad that I feel like I’m heading the right way. Still, I have to wonder.

Even Hart’s life would be different without his episodic migraines, albeit in minor ways. He’d drink more coffee and enjoy the occasional glass of red wine. He wouldn’t have the fear of being struck down out of the blue.

Do you wonder what your life would have been like without your headaches?

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Just What We Need

The title of the article says it all: Doctor Discovers Personality Traits Can Trigger Pain. Apparently people can develop chronic pain by the way they “handle stress and negative emotions.” According to the article the doctor has determined five pain-prone personalities. Each of which involve repressing emotions and, thus, predisposing you to autonomic overload syndrome. All this comes from this doc’s new book.

A beautiful example that having written a book doesn’t make someone an expert.