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Diabetes is really really really hard

Yesterday I wrote this poem about diabetes. I find writing to be many things, its a way for me to express how I see the world without having to verbally express. My thoughts can get jumbled and I like to use words on the page to iron them out. Poetry is even easier to write than prose. the words don’t have to make sense. They can just be an expression of an inner landscape. A brushstroke, a paint splash. Incomplete feelings that suspend in the air. For me living with diabetes has many shades. There’s the part where I control things to make living with it easier. There’s the part where things feel really out of control. And then there is just getting on with life. Remembering that who I was before my diagnosis is still me.

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Zooming in and Zooming out

The last few months have been trying. Lots of juggling, no new experiments, just keeping my head above water.

That’s because I have a life and it takes priority. That doesn’t mean I ignore diabetes, far from it. It means I work extra hard to keep an even keel. I double down and get laser focused. This means sticking to routines, keeping up with my yoga practice and making sure I don’t get caught out with a scary low or uncontrollable high.

But still amidst all that, it’s been frustrating. I’ve been wanting to take a longer hike to test out newly acquired info about how to drip feed myself to prevent ongoing hypos or try a Fusilli pasta dish again to see if I need to change the ratio for my split dose.


I’ve been asking myself how can I be adventurous and try new tacts and still be present for all the tasks I need to accomplish?

Zoom in…. and Zoom out

Zooming in means focussing on one thing each day that’s fun or challenging or testing me beyond what I would habitually do. It might be; a new food combination, adding a food I haven’t tried before. Splitting my dose a different way or making sure I snack almost an hour before I generally start to hypo. It might even be challenging myself to walk an extra ten minutes deeper into the forest and being willing to treat the hypo without chastising myself for not snacking before we left. Whatever the task, just making little changes and facing small challenges means there’s progress. The effect is cumulative.

It’s the same in yoga practice, like when you commit to holding a pose a little longer each day to build your strength. Or stretching an area of the body like the hamstrings even when you know that’s your tightest area and you’d rather not.

Slowly and over time repetition creates lasting change. It’s taken years to accept my body and its limitations. I’ve had to learn to trust the process. Yoga practice and what happens to the body is not a continuum. In fact, what once was free and open at the age of 19 is now much more restricted due to hormonal changes and the aging process. I’ve had to learn to modify postures and accept my limitations.

Which leads me to step 2: Zoom out

Zooming out means accepting the fact that over my 35-year career as a yoga teacher and practitioner what I’d hoped to achieve and what I’ve actually mastered are very different. As a young yogi I zoomed in on acing a drop back or a handstand. Now I could care less if I master any pose.  I am more interested in my overall wellbeing. Am I able to respond rather than react to challenges, am I compassionate and caring towards others and myself?

Studying the deeper teachings of yoga called Atma Vidya has shown me that zooming out is not just about achieving outcomes in the world. It’s about understanding the nature of who I am. That no matter what changes go on in the relative physical world, awareness, consciousness which is the nature of who I am, does not change. The awareness gazing through the eyes at 19 is the same at 56. The only thing that has changed is the recognition that the body has a shelf life and keeping the body well and balanced throughout the lifespan means maximum enjoyment no matter what is going on.

Living with chronic illness definitely highlights the hard knocks and road blocks, but zooming out gives me perspective and develops self-compassion. Asking questions like; overall in the last few months, am I more in range? Are the highs and lows washing over me more? Am I able to take the wins and forget the rest? Do I feel more daring and freer in my daily life?

And the big question I’ve been honing in on lately? Am I more prepared than I was a year ago to take risks and try new things.

The resounding answer is YES! Through zooming in I’ve made incremental changes and through zooming out I’ve eased up and am truly enjoying life.

Here’s to that!

With great respect….

Rachel

P.S want access to yoga classes and more with me check out Sundaram Online Ashram…it’s the hub for all things yoga and Self knowledge or visit us on YouTube or Insight timer.

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Flavours of Ignorance

There is only one seamless reality. That awareness flowing in and through every animate and inanimate object. Self is not available through any of the senses, yet it is throughout all of the senses. Call it the knowing principle – awareness- consciousness, we human beings personalize it as “my” awareness. Yet logic dictates that what is common to all cannot be personal.

What else is common to all? Ignorance.

We do not know who we are. We do not know that we are nothing but awareness. We think we are a body, a mind, a thought, an idea and an ideology. And we fight for our ideas. We fight for our particular flavor of ignorance.

The latest decision in the US to strike down a woman’s right to choose is hopefully the last straw. The event that pushes us over the edge in a good way. The domination of one belief system over another, one ideology over another is just another nail in the coffin of delusion.

When did anyone have a say over anyone else? In history we know that the repression and domination of one human over another is a fact. So, the question I ask today is; If ignorance is the fundamental problem and ignorance continues unabated where does the solution lie?

Yes, I can vote in a kinder saner government. I can move to a state that protects my freedoms. I can send money to charities and organizations, I can do everything I can on a relative level to make this world a better place for my children and grandchildren. But what is the deepest and most profound action I can take?

I can wake up!

I can undertake the greatest purpose of human existence which is to know who I am. I can know mySelf. I can know Self as that constant ever present awareness flowing in and through everything. Unaffected by the slings and arrows.

Knowing this brings the deepest comfort. The greatest peace. If we would all be willing to even begin to ask this question. To remove the darkness of ignorance then there is hope for this very dark time we find ourselves in.

With great respect…

Rachel

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The power of effort

Every morning I tell myself, it’s a new beginning when it comes to my life with diabetes. No matter the circumstances at bedtime, waking up is always a fresh start. But I didn’t always see things like that. There was a time not so long ago that I dragged the past onto the present and my mornings were spent in the gloom of dreadful numbers, too many lows or other diabetes related disasters. It’s taken effort and diligence to see things differently along with the help of health care providers with an open mindset.

I’ve talked before about the indoctrination that happens in the Diabetes Online Community. How finding what seems to be the right support group on Facebook or Twitter can turn into a place where one can feel shamed and hopeless. This happened to me.

After being told to read low carb books, to avoid this or that, to make sure my time in range was between such and such and comparing myself to others and their perfect flat lines and A1c’s, I started to feel like everything I did was doomed to fail. What made matters worse was when my diabetes educator confirmed that my plan to stick to avocados, eggs and five green vegetables was a good idea because my numbers were so good.

I didn’t realise I could ‘fire’ my CDE, leave the Facebook group and STOP reading those books. I didn’t know that there were other answers because I wanted what I was doing so desperately to work. Things weren’t as desperate as they felt. I was so busy telling myself a story about my diabetes management and what it meant to live with diabetes that I couldn’t be honest with myself.

There is the reality of living with diabetes, and the story I was telling myself. In fact, my relationship with diabetes seemed completely incongruent with how I approach the rest of my life.

I see life as whole and complete. That there is no separation or conflict other than the one I create. The sense of I, the idea I have of myself, creates the problem. Not the external world. Being alive with this knowledge and actualising it in relationship to the very real challenges of living with diabetes has been my effort, called tapas in Sanskrit.

Luckily life is not static and being someone who has always been willing to try and try again even when it feels challenging things have shifted.

But not without tapas.

Before I’d fully decided to put in any conscious effort to see things differently I found myself being drawn to a post on Instagram or a tweet that made sense.  I’d read about someone trying a different way of eating or tweaking their bolus or basal rates. Or that they’d found a new HCP or tried out telehealth with a new diabetes clinic out of state. Then someone recommended a book that had helped them or an enlightening podcast.

Instead of watching everyone else try new approaches I took the plunge. I hired a new health care team, I tried a diet much more conducive to my mindset, one that aligned with my core values. I reached out to a diabetes specific psychologist to manage the accumulated daily stress and after making those changes I started to put in the effort to implement their suggestions.

That meant, weeks of trial and error to get my insulin to carb ratio right for a variety of foods. Being willing to experiment with more adventurous exercise. Daring to go low or high even when it felt terrifying. Reframing what I told myself about my A1c and my time in range and quitting Facebook groups that weren’t aligned with my expanded view.

The effort has slowly but surely brought rewards. I’ve been able to eat a wide variety of foods again including my favourite, sourdough toast with avocado. I’ve been on some adventurous walks in wild Africa. I’ve felt more relaxed about the lows and highs and even with a few setbacks have bounced back more quickly. Most importantly I’ve developed strategies that feel sustainable and I keep reaching out for support when I get stuck.

I may be juggling cats while riding a unicycle on a leaky boat in a stormy ocean but OMG I got this!

With great respect

Rachel

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The balm that frees the world

Everywhere out there I feel trauma. Standing in the chasm is terrifying and it hurts. How can we let these insane things happen? How can we be in the midst of what looks like another world war? What can I as just one of 8 billion people do?

Practically I’ve been donating to various charities like this one spare a rose, and offering my services to raise money for flood recovery here. And I’ve been sharing as many of the stories of real people going through these harrowing times to raise awareness on social media. On an inner level I have been practicing this meditation daily. Being and beaming light to those in need.

As good as it feels to help and be part of a larger community willing and wanting to serve others in crisis I keep thinking about the broader and bigger picture. How can we truly ‘be the change’ we wish to see?

My Vedanta master in his talks on the nature of conflict puts it simply. “Countries don’t fight, countrymen fight. Beliefs don’t fight, believers fight. Idea’s don’t fight, the ones having the ideas fight. Countries, beliefs, ideas are all innocent.”

The one wielding the sword makes the scar. And where is the battlefield? In our own heads. A war begins with one thought, which becomes an idea, and an ideology. If my idea takes a hold of me, it can take a hold of others and become a shared idea. Shared ideas of community, growth, and service or shared ideas of conquest, suppression and slavery. It’s all up to us.

The problem isn’t even our ideas. The problem is we haven’t a clue who the ideas belong to. We don’t know who we are. We don’t even know what we’re doing here. We’re walking around on the most beautiful planet, in a creation where absolutely everything is given to us, with the ability to enquire into the inner workings of any aspect of creation I.e. the composition of a banana. Yet we never enquire into the nature of ourselves, the enquirer.

The conflict begins when I take everything that I have to be who I am. Starting with an idea that I’ve created of myself. “The sense of I”. I am so and so, and I have these beliefs and I like these things and I do this stuff.

There’s only one thing causing the problem. Ignorance. I haven’t a clue who I am. I know who I ‘think’ I am but who I actually am, eludes me.

I am innocently ignorant.

As my teacher shares all that’s needed is education. Knowledge.  Knowledge is the balm that frees the world.

with great respect…
Rachel

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A meditation for Peace

Peace, such a simple word with huge ramifications.  Asked to describe peace what would you say? Being still? Feeling content? As sense of safety and security? Unending happiness, bliss and trust?

Whatever words describe peace, peace is something we know intrinsically. Why? Because we experience it every night in deep sleep. Peace is the very nature of who we are. Which is why we look for it in the world. We can’t bear situations that are not peaceful.

You can’t ever reach for something you don’t know. It’s impossible.  Like striving to climb Mt. Everest when you’ve never heard of the mountain and have no knowledge of climbing is pointless. First, you are taught how to climb, then you hear about Mt. Everest. Then you set your goal.

It’s the same with peace. The word peace describes a feeling, an inherently familiar state of being. But, before you learn about peace, you already are the living, breathing peace itself. Everyone and everything in the creation is peace. Just like everything is love, stillness and happiness.

The confusion sets in when I see peace as something separate to me. Something to gain or fight for. And certainly, as events are unfolding right now on the planet we are in shock to discover how tenuous peace is.

When one person can affect the stability and peace of millions in an instant. That’s insane! The question I am asking right now is where does peace go in war? Does the peace disappear? Do we need to reclaim peace, or can we remember that peace isn’t outside of us nor inside of us? It is the very nature of humanity.

A few years back John and I were in an unexpected earthquake. One minute we were sunbathing on the beach, the next the ground was shaking. I freaked and ran for the car yelling at John to drop everything because a tidal wave was coming.

John, way calmer, grabbed essentials like computers and clothes while telling me to relax. As much as he knew we needed to drive off the coast he reminded me that creation was just fine. Looking around at the birds, the bees and trees, nothing had changed. The ground shook for a minute, but I was the one shaking and going crazy and freaking out. The peace had never left me or creation. I had left the peace.

In this very stressful time, with ongoing challenges and uncertainty. The crisis may not be on your personal doorstep, i.e. you might not be in a war zone, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t challenged and affected by the suffering of others. Asking what I can do right now for others and getting practical might be one way to be part of the solution, but also simply remembering yourself in a few quiet moments, being still, being peace is a potent tool.

The meditation below is something I shared as part of our intention setting practice on Sundaram Online Ashram. It’s a group heart meditation. A gentle and positive way to align yourself with all those praying and sharing themselves as the remembrance of peace right now.

with great respect…

Rachel

P.S we are still in the middle of our Sundaram Online Ashram intake, the perfect way to study with me in a deeper format. If you’d like to join us for the next few months on the Ashram, but not sure if its right for you or have any questions lets chat! I am happy to jump on a zoom call and take you inside the ashram for a guided tour.

For those of us on the Ashram these teachings are transformational and supportive in navigating what’s happening in the world right now.

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Dear Diabetes

You came so unexpectedly. You freaked me out, exhausted me and made me confused. You forced me to look for answers, but for a long time I looked in all the wrong places. Endless doctors, naturopaths, homeopaths, people without a clue as to what was going on. You hid like a rat, slowly gnawing away at me until it was almost too late.

Touching was uncomfortable, walking exhausting, weight fell off me and still I refused to face you. Then the finality of it all. I am diabetic. I need insulin. Without it a death sentence.

I did what I was told. But I cried and cried. I cried every day for a week until I took that first shot. The lady who helped me telling me, “This isn’t your fault.” Even though I still felt like it was. I found it hard to love my body, to accept you, to welcome you. Even if everyone told me I could live a normal life.

You made me restrict food, you upset my stomach, I lived a rigid life because of you. Every time I wanted to open up, you asked me to shut down. Fear fear fear. Fear of lows. Fear of highs. Fear of complications. Fear of life.

I tried to meet you. To accept you, to master you. Every day trying to get it right. And for many years by boxing myself in I succeeded. Everyone saw my struggle, no one able to help. Me feeling my education was incomplete. Did I mourn my old life? I didn’t even have time.

Now things are different, 13 years is a long time to hold on. No longer a fight I have softened and am willing to learn from you. Maybe this isn’t about my ideas about how to master you. But yours. What can you share. What can you show me?

Days of trust, quiet listening, taking risks, doing it scared, bringing in solutions out of the box. Rather than relying on external forces I take you into my heart and whisper.

Diabetes what do you need?

You whisper back, “Care, love, acceptance, trust, rest, whole nurturing food. Movement wild and free. There is nothing I don’t need. I need you to be you in spite of me.”

I wrote this as part of a behavioural challenge on the Diabetes Psychologist Membership program

With great respect,

Rachel

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180 Decisions a day

It was in a coffee shop after consuming a giant banana muffin that I made the first big decision of my adult life. Picking up the coin operated payphone wasn’t easy, but I had to do it. It was time to call it quits on college. “Are you sure?” My father asked. I had no doubt; it felt good to be an adult and make my own decisions.

The decision to irrevocably change my life was easy. In fact, every major life decision after that just fell into place. Now, it’s the micro decision making thrust upon me since my diabetes diagnosis that drives me crazy.

I mean seriously? 180 decisions a day?

Like waking up with an unusual low on Thursday, what to do? Did I take too much long acting last night?  If that’s the case, how much long acting should I take for my morning dose? Was it a fluke? And how much sugar do I need to correct the low? And what about the Dawn Phenomenon that’s going to kick in? And when I rebound high and it’s time for breakfast, how much do I need to correct? ½ unit or a whole unit? OMG just one tiny unexpected event means every decision after that is like walking on a knife edge.

I’m seriously pep talking myself through every decision right now.

Why was it easy to quit my job and move to another country, but impossible to decide how much insulin to take for a sweet potato, corn fritter?

In the past when I had to make big decisions in life, especially hard ones I’d imagine myself in the future after I’d made the decision. How would I feel, what would my life look like?

Trying to apply that to a correction for a high or a low doesn’t cut it. Diabetes decisions are a combination of logic and guesswork. Who cares how I’m going to feel.

And the worst part? No one can make the decision for me. I’m the one guestimating the amount, dialling up the dose, and trying my best. Like my dietician recently said. In the end you just have to give it your best shot.

So, the last three roller coaster days that’s what I have been doing. Trying not to let the decision making get to me. Literally sucking it up, making the decision and letting go. So far, it’s not as much of a train smash as I thought it would be. Phew!

with great respect…

Rachel

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Indoctrination

I want to take a minute to talk about indoctrination. Specifically, indoctrination in the diabetes world. When I was first diagnosed and for the first 6 years I didn’t really understand what it meant to have diabetes. I was told by my HCP to change my diet, to exercise and that eventually I might need medication. Being involved in yoga and healthy living since the age of 19, I had been taught that medication was always a last resort, to be avoided at all costs. That’s why it was terrifying to start taking Insulin. I nearly fainted when I took my first injection and for weeks afterwards every shot gave me crippling anxiety.

Eventually I got the point. Insulin was saving my life. When I reached out to the diabetes online community to learn more about how to manage my insulin with diet I was encouraged to read several books that emphasised something called the law of small numbers. The less insulin I took the less I needed to worry. That was coupled with my GP recommending I try a ketogenic diet.

Being someone who likes to be in the driver’s seat with my health I took everyone’s advice. I whole heartedly embraced low carb living. I did everything by the book. I restricted my diet, I took as little insulin as possible, I exercised religiously. From the outside I seemed happy, I was managing my health impeccably and had perfect blood sugar levels and a perfect HBA1c.

On the inside, my strict regime and lack of flexibility was slowly eroding my confidence. Eventually my body started to say WTF. Endless digestive issues, insulin resistance, a feeling of hopelessness around food culminating in a point where I stood in my local health food store gazing with longing at all the things I knew were out of bounds for me.  I’d race back to my supportive facebook groups looking for familiarity and reassurance. In spite of the feeling of despondency, I was ‘killing it’ they told me. Donuts are for sissies!

Indoctrination 101: If you think it’s true you’ll find a whole bunch of other people who think it’s true too. Fact and fiction become faction.  Marginalising and exclusivising myself into a corner where there’s no way out but to keep hitting my head against the same proverbial wall. Until I am bleeding so much it’s hard to miss.

That was the turning point for me. No matter how much I wanted to believe that restricting myself was the way to avoid all the pitfalls of living with diabetes, I couldn’t help noticing that there were lots of people living with diabetes who were managing their blood sugars just fine without restrictions. How did these people do it? What was their secret and why weren’t they shouting about it from the rooftops? Because THOSE people were getting on with their lives. And happily so.

I wanted to be one of those people and now through reaching out and getting the support I needed I am one of those individuals. No fancy diet or tricks. No indoctrination into another diet. Just me making decisions understanding how my body responds to diet and exercise. Lots of experimenting, lots of failures, lots of scary moments of stepping out of my comfort zone and tons of acceptance.

Eating toast and avocado, sweet potato and potato, watching the flat lines return on my meter. Making recipes, trying foods I never thought I’d ever eat again has built up my confidence and made me so much more comfortable living with this condition.

With great respect,

Rachel

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Three sentences for the new year

A yoga intention setting gift for you

OMG there are just 12 days left until it’s officially Christmas! I feel like December and January always sneak up on me and before I blink it’s a new year. These last two years have been gut wrenchingly challenging for all of us and as the new year approaches I am both hesitant and expectant and personally, charged and ready to respond differently to what life brings. This is in part due to investing in myself and my health over the last few months. Finding a new health care team to get down to the nuts and bolts of how my body responds to food and insulin and also following inspiring people in the online diabetes space.

The Diabetes Psychologist podcast has been a game changer for me, it seems ironic, being a lifelong yoga teacher and having all the best tools at my disposal to manage my mental health that I still gain so much benefit from understanding how my mindset around diabetes can improve.

I know I am not my body, that I am not my diabetes, but simply knowing this doesn’t change the nitty gritty of that super frustrating unexplained high or stomach dropping scary low. All the yoga and yoga knowledge in the world can’t fix a practical miscalculation that sends me on a physical roller coaster.

Three things that I have learned since tuning into the DS Podcast are;

  1. Diabetes is challenging, but I got this
  2. Be strategic in my decision making, strategy is the best defence.
  3. Have a clear vision for myself and how I want to feel about managing my diabetes

Waking up every day and being willing to face the challenges and telling myself I can handle them has brought more acceptance. When I skyrocketed to 15 yesterday after not taking enough insulin for breakfast, instead of freaking out, I grabbed my spade and gardening gloves and planted some flowers. When my meter showed a straight down arrow after 15 minutes of digging I refused to panic. I sat down, waited 10 minutes to see what my blood sugar would do.  After it stabilised, I was able to finish gardening without having to treat a hypo.

When I started to go low before my regular afternoon walk, I got strategic and pre-empted the low with a small amount of fast acting carbs trusting that I would come up enough to walk without worry.  On reflection, strategy is my new best friend as I get more confident with splitting my dose for foods that were near impossible to eat just 3 months ago.

And finally having a daily vision setting practice (called Sankalpa in Sanskrit) has given my day more meaning and focus. Instead of expecting the worst I see the best and brightest. I see myself filled with confidence as I do all the things I love, I see myself managing the ups and downs with grace and security. I see myself as a participant in managing my health rather than a victim of an unpredictable pancreas.

I’d love to share this summer sun solar intention setting practice with you this month as a holiday gift. Enjoy!

With great respect,

Rachel

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Doing it ‘scared’

Today marks another World Diabetes Day.

A day to share that people living with any kind of diabetes can do whatever they set their minds to. We are not defined by our condition. Spreading awareness of all the facets of living with diabetes, including access to medication, daily management and mental health help people not living with this condition understand more of what we are dealing with.

Each year I’ve been involved in one way or another. This year I’m more detached. That’s because this year I’ve been experiencing diabetes burnout.

13 years of living with diabetes, five years misdiagnosed and managing without insulin, four years solely on long acting insulin and four years on a full insulin regime. Once I went the full gambit I managed brilliantly by taking very little insulin, implementing the law of small numbers. Low carb=low insulin needs.

Things changed in March 2020. I felt drained, arthritic, suffered from multiple digestive issues and became less and less tolerant to foods and more and more insulin resistant. A few friends in the diabetes community recommended I try a new approach. Namely wholefood, vegan, high carb, low fat. I was ready, and dove in. After just a few months, my numbers rocked in the 5’s, I felt awesome. My digestion improved. I added more and more variety back in to my diet. I had energy, I felt hopeful and I was willing to experiment and make mistakes.

But then…I had two severe lows in a row. Nothing to do with my diet and everything to do with a faulty injection site. My long acting insulin sending me into a near death nose dive. It’s been a slow recovery.

Yoga has always been my main support and anchor. My mat a safe space. On the mat I drop the uncertainty, creating room for reality. I am not the body, I am not my thoughts, I am not the one identifying with the thoughts. Even the thought of myself.

Even though I have the right perspective and incredible tools on hand, the raw reality of injecting 7 times a day, not knowing if I’ll make another mistake and go low, not knowing how my body will respond to a piece of sourdough with avocado has been unnerving.

So, I’ve had to take a deep breath, consider that yoga cannot ‘fix’ this very real physical issue and reach out.

Thank goodness for Twitter.

On a random scroll down my feed I found a Telehealth Diabetes Clinic in Australia. I resonated with their message. ‘You do diabetes your way.’ Made an enquiry and just a few days later scored an appointment.

Right now, I am working with a diabetes dietician and we are testing foods, working out how fast or slow a food is absorbed into my blood stream. It’s true nuts and bolts stuff and takes a ton of time. Eating the food and recording the results. Taking a few days to recover if I misfire, learning, adjusting and trying again.

This past week I learned how to make recipes and create servings for carb counts. It should be a no brainer, but I am TERRIBLE with math. There were lots of scribbles and diagrams to look at and screen shots and charts to work stuff out.

I’m committed to the process.  Like doing full wheel or handstand for the first time I’m ‘doing it scared’. Terrified might be a better word to describe how it feels watching the arrows on my freestyle libre after a meal. There’s been lots of tears and glucose gummies under the bridge in the last two months. But I’m okay with that. Yoga has taught me discipline, persistence, patience and courage.

Happy World Diabetes Day!

with great respect…
Rachel

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Thinking outside the box

My yoga teacher used to say “the mind is a box”, a self-perpetuating entity that endlessly recycles itself loop upon loop. In yoga these loops are called vasanas. Habits etched so deeply in that we don’t even know they are there. Think a habitual response to a stressful event. That’s a vasana

I have definitely developed some indelible grooves after having weathered diabetes the last 13 years.  The way I inject, the way I finger prick, the way I scan my freestyle libre. Habits I do on automatic.  Then there’s the other stuff; like how I deal with a low or the things I tell myself about my diabetes. Do I really need to perpetuate these habits? Is it worth it?

Going plant based has definitely pushed a lot of habits to the surface. My metabolism has increased so I am way more sensitive to insulin. Which means anxiety about lows is at an all-time high.

And because I’m trying a low-fat approach, even increasing my fat intake by a smidgen means some sustained annoying just over the range highs. It’s hard not to compare. “Why can’t I be like all those other people on Instagram or facebook who sport their perfect A1C’s and flat lines?”

Reflecting on these habits has propelled me to make some changes. I’ve started working with a new CDE who encouraged me to work with a diabetes dietician.

Right now, we are tackling hard to dose for foods like bread, rice, potato, sweet potato and oats. These foods hit my blood stream 2-3 hours later. To work out the dose I’ve been doing ‘experiments’ eat, wait, record and stay equanimous.

Thinking about my blood sugars like they aren’t ‘my’ blood sugars.  Accepting that a rise in 2 mmol or a drop in 2 mmol is to be expected.  Being willing to move from a tightrope mentality to a balance beam. Giving myself some mind space. I.e. If I hit 12 mmol during an experiment, it’s to be expected. Even an hour or two at that number isn’t going to be a train smash.

Switching up my mindset is not new to me. Yoga affords me the ability to be able to watch my thoughts, to know I am NOT the thoughts. The thoughts are coming and going in my presence. I have learned that this ‘I’ who turns an action into a habit is just a role, it can’t be who I am. Stepping back from the action, the thought, the one identifying with the thought and recognising myself as that presence in whom all identifications, thoughts and habits are taking place, has helped me cope mentally and emotionally to no end.

And yet, I am still dealing with the reality that an essential component in my body does not work like it should. That the medication I take, the timing, the dose and how it will actually work on any given day is unpredictable.

Having outside support, asking for support and taking my time to observe, adjust and wait for me is thinking outside the box.

With great respect…

Rachel