Wherever you go there you are

“A full life is painted with broad brush strokes. Many parts can lead to understanding and wisdom. Each of us has different needs to address and things worth pursuing over a lifetime. Each of us has to chart our own course, and it has to fit what we are ready for.” John Kabat-Zinn

I love the above quotation  taken from  John Kabat-Zinn’s  book, Wherever you go there  you are.  Reading it provides a  perfect antidote to the cauldron that built  up over Christmas. I try my best to keep a lid on things,but invariably I get ridiculously stressed.  This year seemed really challenging which was in part due to an increase in migraines, which were probably caused by increased stress! Its a difficult time of the year when expectations are high. Maybe next year………….

Despite all that it was really lovely to have a few days with family, as its the one time in he year we all get together, and long may it continue.

Now its a new year……

winter sky


Historically   for me, and many others,  January  is not an easy   month.  It  can be bleak and cold and I find my self dreading it.

So far this year I feel like moving out of my comfort zone…..easier said than done.  Its important for me  to have some goals and plans no matter how small.  One thing that helps  with  all of this  is meditation, for others it could be something else. It takes time and patience  to find what works for you, but its worth it if it helps to alleviate some of the challenges of living with Chronic pain.

” Meditaion means learning how to get out of the current, sit by its bank and listen to it, learn from it and than use its lessons to guide us rather than to tyrannize us” JKZ

One of my plans  for the start of the  year is   to design and print my cards, thus easing the stress that comes later in the year in preparation for Christmas, there I go mentioning the C word already! Even though it might seem  an obvious thing to do , for me finding the energy and motivation can at times  be  difficult.   I don’t  think I could do this without the  support and knowledge I’ve gained from pain management programs I have done  over the years, including the Self Management Program, run by Chronic pain Ireland,   which I have just completed.

card johnny arthurbelldrawing


We had our first follow up meeting  of  the program a week ago. Phil Zizer gave us a very interesting talk on managing chronic pain, with emphasis on relationships and pacing.  Phil,who is a tutor with the Scottish Pain Association,  is a regular contributor to Chronic pain Ireland, giving self management talks around the country.  Pacing is a very individual thing – no one size fits all.  According to Phil it is more “Art than Science”.

I like the analogy he uses of a ‘fuel tank’ and how it is important to keep it topped up, to  always have something in reserve. There are  ‘filers’ and ‘drainers’ of the fuel tank. Drainers  include things like worry, tiredness, stress, isolation and anger. Filers can include, meditation, company, fresh air, and rest. I’ve no doubt Phil explained it better but I hope you get the point!

I’d  also like to mention a  particularly interesting talk from  a women representing  the National Learning Network.  Its a great organisation with amazing courses  and  facilities. I really recommend checking out their  website. It may not be possible for me to do any of their full time courses but there are many other options which I intend to check out.

National Learning Network provides a range of flexible training programmes and support services for people who need specialist support (job seekers, unemployed, people with an illness or disability) in 50 centres around the country. The SOLAS & HSE training programmes, all of which include work experience, offer nationally recognised qualifications including QQI, ECDL, and City and Guilds ensuring that students are ready to get a job or go on to further education.


Finally I would like to mention another useful website Princess in the tower. See what you think.




2 thoughts on “Wherever you go there you are”

  1. Great blog Bernie. I agree with you about January. Just two more days to go. Love the design for the new cards by the way.

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