Shame, resentment, hurt, and pain

At my first ever Writer’s Camp this summer we were given a writing prompt about shame. Shame is a tough thing to write about, it’s something I’ve wanted to write about for quite a while but I’ve been ashamed to. It’s hard to be that vulnerable, that bare. It’s hard to let the world see into those deep dark places.

Goals. Whose goals are they, ours or theirs?

I went for a walk today and took pictures, a favorite pastime of mine and one I’m very grateful for. As I was perched on two rocks, squatting to gain a better perspective for a photo, I started thinking about a few things, namely goals and motivation.  For a long time I couldn’t squat, at least not with any comfort.

Successful living: redefining living with chronic pain

I would like to make a plea. A plea to stop framing pain as the enemy, a thing to be battled, defeated, beat, eradicated. A thing not to be tolerated, to be vilified and stamped out. Perhaps our emphasis on pain as evil, pain as punishment, pain as suffering is only serving to make pain worse. Perhaps using warlike, military


Trail running: imperfect steps to getting back at it

I started this post about trail running just over a year ago. I thought I was on track to being back at it. I thought trail running was going to be a regular part of my life again. It wasn’t. I didn’t finish the post because that whole being a runner again thing didn’t quite materialize. I’d flare-up, I’d feel the

A moment to reflect: how changing my environment changed my pain experience

I recently attended a writer’s camp in Big Sur, California, a stretch of rugged coast, and afterward took six days to drive from there to Colorado. I wanted to keep myself immersed in nature to let all that I’d learned percolate. I wanted to reflect, to think without distraction, particularly of the digital sort. I didn’t have cell reception for most

Regret and facing that which is not easy

My grandpa Fred died earlier this month. I went home to help my mom out a bit after his passing and have had time to reflect on life, meaning, happiness, compassion, regret…I think death tends to make us philosophers, does it not? Especially when we have regrets. Regret I told my mom that I felt guilty for not coming home


Why do I have pain? Searching for meaning beyond a diagnosis

The question of why people living with pain seek a reason for why they have pain recently came up in a Facebook group I’m in. It’s a good question, one I used to struggle with myself. Not the why of what’s causing my pain (that’s really more ‘how’ question, isn’t it?) but rather why do I have pain at all? The why

Connection, disconnection, and chronic pain

Many of my recent conversations, with both practitioners and patients, have come around to the idea and importance of connection. Connection with others, connection with the world, connection with ourselves. So it’s perhaps unsurprising that there have also been a glut articles of late about the importance of social connections in everything from all-cause mortality to addiction to physiotherapy. But


Managing thoughts and behaviors when living with chronic pain: lessons from a road trip

A lot has changed for me this past year, I’ve experienced successes I wouldn’t have imagined possible 6 years ago (heck, 3 years ago, or even just a year ago). But this most recent success is a pretty huge one for me, even bigger than the long hikes, starting to run again, and snowshoeing adventures that have happened in this past year.

Musings on the 2016 SDPain Summit (part 2)

This is part 2 of my initial musings on the 2nd annual San Diego Pain Summit, it has to be two parts because there was so much good stuff it was way too much to include in one post. Here’s Part 1 if you missed it which went over stress, motivational interviewing, acceptance, creativity, and being human. Awesome, right? On to


Musings on the 2016 San Diego Pain Summit (part 1)

I am just a few days home from the San Diego Pain Summit (check out #sdpain on various social media sites to check out the action!) and my mind is awhirl with thoughts, ideas, reflections, questions, people, pain, approaches…so much so that I don’t know what to write right off! But I do want to get some thoughts down that I

Labels, narratives, identity, and chronic pain

I have been thinking about the language we use with ourselves lately, particularly our self-talk and our labels. I’ve been thinking a lot about the words chronic, pain, and patient in particular. How does continually using, or hearing, these words reinforce our pain? Does being identified as a ‘chronic pain patient’ become an integral part of our identity that then makes it more difficult to change our