Monica Bishop Talks Overcoming Pain & Choosing Happiness
The 8-out-of-10 shoulder pain came out of nowhere. I hadn’t hurt myself; my shoulder just started hurting. A lot. But my doctors couldn’t figure it out. There was so much testing, poking, prodding, trying this and that, but the pain continued and threatened to derail both my career and personal life. I had so many questions but no answers. Would I bike again? Could I continue my marketing business? Could I take care of my family? Would I be able to finish my yoga teacher training?
I wanted to feel solid and secure again. Limitless. I felt anything but.
I’ve never been one to sit still or let outside forces dictate my path. I’m a fast-moving, outdoors-loving Southern gal. Yoga, bikes, paddleboards, two acres of land, and a flock of chickens — I got stuff to do! I started my first business in 2015, and in 2019, went all in with my marketing and coaching business. I even helped start the Velo Vixens, a women’s cycling club. I’d built a life centered around helping others … but now it was time to finally help myself.
I was in so much pain. It took months and months to figure out that I needed shoulder surgery. Even so, the pain continued — this time in my neck. The frustration of anticipating a solution only to still be so limited was challenging. I kept asking questions and kept seeing other doctors. I finally discovered and found relief by getting a nerve-zapping procedure (Radio Frequency Ablation or RFA for short). So far this has been a miracle and has allowed me to restart my life and tend to my businesses again. Even though I have to repeat the process every year or so, it still allows me to live an active lifestyle.
Throughout this ordeal, I realized that pain is just another sensation. Our mind chooses what to do with this information. Often, we create a story around pain – that it’s bad, it’s never going to end, or a whole host of other disparaging, lackluster movie plots. I discovered a meditation and mindset practice that taught me, as the CEO of my own life, I get to choose how to deal with my chronic pain. That where the mind goes, the body follows. Realizing I actually had a choice in how to feel, act, and live with my new reality completely changed my trajectory. Giving myself permission to choose my path, thoughts, and emotions through this lens of “it’s easier than you think” has been transformative, to say the least.
I finally finished my yoga teacher training and now get to share my practice with others. My digital marketing and coaching business is booming. And, I’m back on the bike around six hours a week. I`m so happy to be able to get that adrenaline rush, reconnect with my cycling friends, enjoy the outdoors, and just be fully present. I can take the odd life or bike crash boom (what my eight-year-old stepdaughter calls a bike wreck) in stride because that’s how it goes, right? If you aren’t crashing, you aren’t improving. It’s just as true for business as for biking. You gotta push the outer limits, challenge conventional wisdom, and ask yourself ‘How can I …?’ More often than not, if you practice working with your mind instead of believing it rules your day, you’ll find that it’s way easier than you think!
Do I still have pain? Yes. But it’s down to a manageable two or three rather than the previous, excruciating eight. Where there was sadness, there is now solidity. When you fully embrace that you have the choice to change your life, to notice each and every moment, to infuse every action with compassion and kindness for yourself and others, that’s when you find your power.
Monica Bishop, Hixson