How I Beat Chronic Pain

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“Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough We must do”.

– Bruce Lee

 

We all have a nemesis. That thing that just takes you down when you’re about to do your best. That part of your life that holds you back. For me that was chronic pain.

It took me 15 years just to be able to face it. I had to work through things like PTSD, bipolar disorder and so on. Those were easy to face and look at compared to this. But 15 years ago, my body went completely numb. I couldn’t meditate, I couldn’t do yoga. I felt completely disconnected from myself, other people, my emotions; it felt like my soul was trapped in a box and couldn’t get out.

I think that we all have things that keep us from feeling life fully, from feeling refreshed in a beautiful morning or appreciating the warmth of a loved one.

The problem, for me has always been internal.. I’m very good at fighting and not so much at nurturing myself. Chronic pain was one of those things.

First I had to do a lot of research in terms of what diet I needed, and started juicing and making smoothies filled with fiber, plant-based protein and fruit. Then I experimented with jogging, yoga & weight training to see what would work best. It turns out exhausting yourself when you’re already tired isn’t very effective. Slow stretching while in burning pain is torturous. So I have to let go of some ego and accept that the elliptical is where my body needs to be.

Next I found an interesting article about the fight response and how it creates a buildup of lactic acid when we live with people we have very tense relationships with…I live with my mother. Enough said.

So I had to forgive her! I, for my own sake had to do everything that i could to fundamentally change my relationship with her. After forgiving her I realized how much I judge other people and let it go…I physically felt the anger leaving my body. I was now able to meditate for what seems like hours.

With this peace I realized that I had to change my thoughts about pretty much everything. I decided to focus on a mantra that my body was healing and I was feeling great.

When we focus on something positive we start noticing the things right in front of us that we didn’t notice before. I looked and in front of me was a bottle of pills that stop neurological pain-I hadn’t opened them because they were prescribed for something else. Long story short in 3 days I went from chain-smoking, drinking ten cups of coffee a day, being (relatively numb and bitter) to energized, exercising, living a primarily vegan diet and regularly meditating.

They say that sometimes the obstacle is the journey. This was very much the case for me. I realized that my goals in life, while wonderful, were really aimed at what I thought would make me feel the way I’m beginning to feel now.

I’m sleeping better, not perfectly, I have much more energy, it’s not perfect but I feel a hope and a power inside a renewed connection with life itself. It wasn’t about pain or numbness, for me it really was a journey of personal transformation.

It turns out that applying the things that I’ve been studying my entire adult life actually served a purpose. But in the end I feel kinda badass. To quote Bruce Lee

“Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough We must do”.

 

 

 

A letter to those moving through tough times

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I’ve struggled with some health problems for decades. They’re the sort of things that most people go their entire lives without sorting out.

I decided a long time ago that I wasn’t going to give up, no matter what. There were times when I was tempted but every time I had a loved one tell me that giving up wasn’t an option.

I was walking through hell with sometimes only an imaginary light at the end of the tunnel. About thirty years later I’ve turned that light into very real concrete solutions and I am building a life around that journey, extracting all of the good, throwing out the garbage accumulated (mental, physical and emotional) while healing the wounds. This is always a process but it’s made me stronger for it. And all of the spiritual truisms I’ve heard along the way such as “everything happens for a reason” “you never have more than you can deal with”, I have lived, experienced and embodied.

In the end I am the amazing man I’ve always dreamed of and have truly learned to love all of him.

The hope in this story is that we ALL have trials and growth opportunities to move through in life. Sometimes victory seems out of reach or can’t be seen at all. This is when we must reach out to others. To learn how to trust and connect. Most of all, if you’re going through helm you must keep going.

The other side of what you’re going through may not look like what you think but it will be GOOD! And you’re worth it. More importantly if you think that you can’t get through your trials, look yourself in the mirror and TELL yourself that you can.

Also if you think that you’re putting off your own healing journey, just begin now. The whole world can and will help you. I know this from experience from the bottom of my heart. And sometimes the help you’re looking for may be different than you thought. Stay open have hope and move forward.

I believe in all of us. I believe in me and in you too.

Sincerely,
Ammanuel.

To Whine or to Win, A Guide to Awesomeness!

First of all, this post is for those who Choose to Be Awesome. It’s not intended to put anyone down, because first of all, we all have access to our own Inner Awesomeness. The information is pretty much freely available on this site and a thousand others in a million different ways. It is free. The guidance is there and the power is in there for you too!

Secondly, we’re going to be dealing with some harsh truths today: The fact that we’re responsible for the lives we lead and even when something is 99% someone else’s fault, it’s your responsibility to take 100% of your 1%.

Finally, there is a difference between whining and expressing discontent. One is draining, consistent, and obnoxious and the other is a form of healthy human articulation of an undesirable situation. I liken expressing discontent to saying “ouch” when you get a cut and whining to calling all of your friends, posting on Facebook, and taking your partner hostage as you are baffled why your cut got infected because you failed to….put a bandaid and Neosporin on the same sized cut.

I listen compassionately when my great friends are going through difficulties and I am on the opposite side of the spectrum where I have had to learn to express my own difficulties.

However, I am extremely pro-active. If there’s a part of my life that I can or even think that I could change for the better, I’m right on it. A week or so ago I was uselessly worrying about something. So what did I do? I wrote complied and published “Ammanuel on Words“.

There’s no time to worry about things that are outside of my control when I’m working a 30 hour weekend getting my first (Awesome!) book of poetry out on the internet. And go figure, people like it! This is what I decide to do rather than worry and whine.

I intuitively knew for a couple of weeks that I had to make a blog, but when I was approached by the beautiful (and turns out, Soul Sibling)Heather Waxman and she told me to make a blog, I didn’t hesitate. I just decided to make blogs every day. And thus, AmmanuelSantaAnna.com.

These are all examples of being pro-active and they are just part of being a Divinely Awesome person.

But you don’t even have to start with projects. If there’s something about you that you’d like to change about yourself or your life, you can pray about it! And for all the Awesome Agnostics & Atheists reading this, affirmations work just as well! I use both, but I have a pretty broad definition of what spirituality and empowerment mean to me.

So we have choices to make. There are ways that we can change our life, take control of our existence and with dutiful practice, they work. be it on the realm of thought, spirit or taking action. I prefer all three. Why?

Mostly because Being Awesome is (by definition) Awesome and it keeps me from my greatest fear: Being the Whiner. Whining is a contagious ailment of the soul. You’ll know that you’ve been infected because you’ll take a break from your winning regiment and start doing it yourself.

The cure for this disease? A prompt quarantine (ie walking away, changing the subject or accepting that you are being subject to whining) of the source of the disease and, in the words of Abraham from Esther Hicks (in their apt email this morning) “bless them all, and get on with the only thing you have any power about, which is [being awesome]”

Good luck and have a great day!

– Ammanuel Ravi Desta Santa Anna

It’s All Possible Once We’re Open to It!

I was just reading this article here about applying the four agreements in project management. If you don’t know what the four agreements are, they’re best described here and are based on a great book of the same name by Jon Miguel Aruz. While it’s a great book, and I highly suggest it to anyone looking to live an Awesome way of life, explaining it would take a post of its own. Which I will do, all in due time

What is important is the fact that spiritual principles (which are basically good ways to live life in my opinion) are often applied in isolated parts of our lives. However, work, play relationships and everything else are ALL part of our existence and can and should be applied to every part of our existence (you know, to the degree possible)

What’s amazing is that it really works. I decided that I wanted to learn how to conduct business in a harmonious, peaceful fashion, in a way that’s based on relationships and win/win situations. Coming from a background in which I thought that was impossible, (and me knowing that nothing is ACTUALLY impossible) I decided that I needed to change that.

The wonderful result is that I’m learning from so many different sources in my life how to do that. A testament to the reality that when we open ourselves to possibilities, they form (and we form them) in our lives.

Funny thing is that the article that inspired this, I got from my current boss, who’s all about this stuff.

My process to open myself to new possibilities is to first decide that they are possible, and then when I see opportunities to realize them, I simply accept them into my life. Because they can and will appear.

By the way, if you’re interested in The Four Agreements, you can pick it up on Amazon, here