Please check out the upcoming 21 day meditation challenge at the bottom!!! So I wrote my last post about being Zen about the blizzard that dropped three feet of snow on us. Well by the day after that post, I threw most of that out the window. I will post the picture from that day at some point. It was raining. Grey. The car was stuck in the driveway. The white snow had turned black. As the freezing rain poured down on me, I literally texted my mom: “I’m coming to Florida.” My parents spend a lot of time down there in the winter. It was a debate in the fall if I was going to come down then we eventually decided no since the trip itself would be hard and all of my “resources” were back home. Well, that dreary, gloomy, sleeeting winter day, I decided on the spot, no matter how hard the trip was going to be, the current weather and situation wasn’t conducive to ANYONE’s health.
The flight down went smoothly, my mother made it very simple for me and we decided to make it super simple by doing the whole wheelchair thing from gate to baggage claim. I know I will get to look back with big smile soon and really say: look how far I have come. I had a hiccupp a couple of days after arriving but it’s been all good uphill since there. And I am not discussing any of that any further as I am doing a “brain retraining program” right now :)
It’s been a bit of a time warp,my emails and texts have piled up. Meanwhile, I have been out in the sun, meditating like crazy and going “back to the basics.” I brought down the bare bone supplements that I know defintley help and other than that am taking a break from everything and focusing on natural vitamin d, destressing and taking a life break. Although I don’t think of anything back home as particularly stressful, I didn’t realize how running around to appointments, going to work and trying to keep up with things to the best I can is stress even if it’s not perceived that way by me. Even removing TV from my life for awhile has impacted how much more quiet my brain feels.
It’s been nice to pull away from everything and get some clarity on things and to just stop trying so hard. I came down here with a plan to read a long list of books that I found interesting, journaling assignments, this that and the other thing but I got down here and sort of threw it away. It’s a time to just be.
The only thing I am working hard at is the Dynamic Neural Retraining Program I am doing. It was orginially designed for people with Multiple Chemical Sensitivites but has branched out to CFS, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain, PTSD, etc. It is similar to Gupta’s Amygydla retraining program, I simply choose DNRS because I was looking to buy one of the programs used and it was the first one I could get my hands on. It is based on the growing field of neuroplasticity. It basically helps to bring the nervous system out of the chronic flight or fight mode that it has become stuck in from an initial trigger, in the case of CFS, the trigger is normally a virus or infection. I will post a lot more on this soon but I am impressed. It’s just a lot of work so this break was a really nice time to start it because I truly have the time. It requires a minimum of a hour of a day of assignments after you complete watching a long DVD series. I have talked to a lot of people and most will tell you, you really only get out as much as you put in and as you learn, repetition, repetition, repetition is so important for “brain retraining.”
I am starting to slowly sleep better. And anyone who knows me knows this is huge for me. My sleep patterns have been disturbed for so long.<
ANYWAYS: The real reason I wrote this post. Starting tomorrow is another 21 Day Meditation Challenge through the Chopra Center. This time Oprah and Deepak are teaming up together. The theme is Perfect Health. I highly, highly, want to reccommend this to anyone. Even if you are reading this late, you can join at any point. This 21 day challenge in November is what truly exposed me to meditation. It's 15 minutes a day. We all have 15 minutes. I really reccommend just setting your alarm clock 15 minutes early and not getting out of bed until it is done. I can attest to how hard it is to actaully to do it as the day goes on. I am no different.
The meditations are a really gradual way to get into them. They have an inspirational message for the first couple of minutes followed by a meditation with a mantra. If it's overwhelming, start in small doses and work your way up to the 15 minutes. It can seem daunting at first, I know when I first started them they felt long and I couldn't get my mind to quiet, I was amazed at the end of the three weeks how much easier it had become and how quickly they went by. Now, I look for longer ones because 15 minutes doesn't cut it. I remember being really amazed at how much more centered I felt towards the third week of the last challenge.
Many people get really intimidated and put off by meditation. But meditation does not have to be intimidating and is truly beneficial to everyone. Look in Pubmed for all the studies on meditation and the positive effect on health and well being https://www.google.com/#hl=en&q=pubmed+meditation&oq=pubmed+meditation&gs_l=serp.3..0j0i22i30l3.1873.3771.0.39188.8.131.52.0.0.0.177.1007.7j4.11.0.les%3B..0.0…1c.1.5.serp.2NQIkWZRHbc&bav=on.2,or.r_cp.&bvm=bv.43287494,d.eWU&fp=a7c13f9524bf647b&biw=1600&bih=783
Meditation helps to decrease cortisol which a lot of us tend to have LOTS OF in our high stress society. Chronically high cortisol levels leads to belly fat, insulin resistance, depression and a long list of unwanted things. Meditation has been found to lower blood pressure, cholesterol levels and improve sleep. For the long list of meditation benefits click here: http://http://www.chopra.com/ccl/why-meditate/?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Meditation%2BNewsletter
I think most importantly, meditation allows us an opportunity to slowly start to learn how to “shut off” temporarily and connect with ourselves. It is amazing how much easier everyday life becomes after consistent meditation. You will find your reactions to people and situations may not be so extreme, other people may find you more “happy” in general and the things we truly desire out of life start to become that much more clear. I could go on.
It’s 21 days. It’s delivered to your email every day. It’s free. Try it. I dare you.
And that is all. Do you meditate? Are you undertaking the challenge? Let’s hear!
HAPPY BLIZZARD!!!! (Check out more pictures at bottom)
So I stated in the last post if you ask five people, “what happened?” you will get five different answers. How true that it is. I was surprised how many different responses and interpretations I got on the last post. I was slightly defensive about it and felt like I didn’t convey my positive message right but than I realized this is no different than what I talked about. We all bring something different to the table and we all walk away with our own unique taste based on so many things.
I write this blog to be about one journey with life, to share life lessons that everyone can relate to on some level. My lessons just happen to be learned through a healing process from some health conditions.
I will have posts sharing health info, like the next one coming, (it is something that I am very passionate about), treatments, food, etc. But my overall goal is to simply be honest and real.
Finally, sure, I would like to raise some awareness about CFS just so people understand a little more-maybe help other people be exempt from the many comments such as the typical (yes these are things i have heard) “I think I have that- I am really tired too.” “Depression is hard.” “You should drink more coffee.” ” Oh well, why haven’t you gone to Doctor X, Y,Z, Hospital A, B, C?”
But that’s not my focus, that’s not what my passion is. Other than spreading some basic awareness, I want to share life lessons, information, inspiration. I am simply documenting one human journey through life.
So a continuation from the last post and perfect timing with the Ice Age 3 that just happened: finding contentment from within. When I finally shifted recently after my crash, I took yet more lessons to go onwards and upwards. In many ways, we all “crash” at points in our life even if it’s not a physical deterioration: we get in a rut, we become discontent, we find ourselves facing a difficult series of events. It’s what you walk away with that matters. These are the tools that allow us to move forward to face our next challenge with a new perspective.
The meditation I put on the day after I wrote my last post (mind you, I just randomly put them on not paying attention to the title) couldn’t have coincided better like they all seem to. You really do always get what you need!
“Everything I desire is within me.”
I was brought up with this concept, along with, “life is what you make of it,” but I used to just get pissed when I would hear it. I’d always shoot back at my mom “well you just don’t get it.” But whether we like it or not, it is so true and this is the very concept I was arriving at. And this last crash left me no choice but to step up to the plate and face this.
Assuming the basic needs of food, water, shelter, are met, we always do have what we need to make our lives “something” and to truly be successful. We tend to start running quickly with the idea “Well I don’t have, x, y, z.” We all do it. And I won’t lie, I’ve done it plenty with the whole health situation.
But all of this is simply looking outside ourselves or everywhere but our own lives for happiness, security, contentment, you insert the blank. All of us experience difficult times, or have difficult situations in our life. Whether we like it or not, life can throw us a lot of shit: sometimes all at once, sometimes over gradual time, some of us more than others but we all have that something. As an article that I read in a magazine put so well, people seem to be so consumed when something terrible happens to them, they can’t understand why. “Why me?” “Why not you?” The author stated, “Who do you think it should be instead? The neighbor?”
It’s what we do with this “pile of shit” that defines our lives. In this very moment, many people are experiencing difficult times all over. But every setback in our lives is simply another opportunity. It’s an opportunity to take that outside look, a chance to redefine priorities, re appreciate something, find another route, create new options and move forward. “The seeds of success are found within every challenge.”
The theme ties the last posts together well. Technology dependence for constant connection, feeling stuck, and the likes…
I know that I was finally to shift from this recent crash to relight a fire of determination, to reexamine the importance of mindfulness, and to alter my healing plan once again. My list of things which I will be excited to share and write more about, especially for the fellow health journey readers, includes: DAILY Morning Meditation, Stillness Buddy (courtesy of Johannes Stark’s site), more EFT, tweaking with methylation protocol, and more. But most importantly: I used this recent setback to rememembr how to be content with ME, with whatever my current situation is.
There’s always that something that can bring us back to that place if we get too far. Maybe it’s a walk outside, listening to a favorite song, playing a piano, reading a book, art, taking a bath, playing with your pet, the list goes on. What’s yours?
Finally: TO TIE IT IN TO THE CURRENT BLIZZARD:
Well in the good old Northeast, we have all been stuck in our homes for over 48 hours. The plows can’t get through so they have had to resort to tractors. I’d say that slows down the process. I can’t help but feel a little entertainment/amusement the way everyone I have talked to is going so incredibly stir crazy/off the wall being stuck in the house. 48 hours!!! This has been my life on and off for over the past year!
I do get it, I know when I start feeling well is when I go really stir crazy being in my house too. But it is the perfect opportunity to take that moment and realize how to find contentment. We can’t change when the plows will come but we can change the way we respond to the situation. We can use it as a time to appreciate what’s around us. We can appreciate all the things we do have: power, heat, etc. Best of All: we can just simply LAUGH at how absurd the whole thing turned out to be.
But most importantly, we can remember that “each situation that challenges you fund the seeds of success”***
***Deepak Chopra’s 21 Day Meditation Challenge: Creating Abundance. Check it out!
Check out the pictures!!
I found the bird pretty special. He was the only thing out there riding the branch during the storm. He was right outside my window- I found it to be very symbolic. Check him out at the bottom.
Have you experienced a blizzard?
I have a ridiculous long post coming. I have the little interesting tidbits in it on different things like what stress does to the body, acupuncture, the role of viruses in CFS and many chronic illnesses, bla, bla, bla. And it was taking me too long. So forget it that’s for later.
I crashed two weeks ago. And I crashed hard. (A crash is when symptoms flare up with a vengeance and all the lovely “sick” feelings come flying back at once). I didn’t leave my house for 5 days and didn’t have any real turn around until about 10 days (I am very lucky compared to some out there).
This crash was difficult for me. I normally go with the flow and just ride it out, if anything I am used to it. But this one was intense. I was extremely down, frustrated and soon became my own worst own enemy.
I truly thought the days of intense crashes like this were in the past. Not that I thought I was healed or anything like that but “a crash” is very specific, it’s different than a flare, it lasts for a long time and it’s at an intensity that is truly debilitating.
I felt defeated for a couple of days. Then I felt fed up. WITH EVERYTHING. I felt like if I had to look at my house for another minute of my life, I would lose it. The monotony: the same town, the same drives, the same scenes, the same minimal schedule, the same limitations.
Mid week I had a visitor, an old friend from the other side of the Earth (literally) who was on a trip in the US for a bit, part of a big graduation trip before starting a new job back home. We made do with the situation. But when he left, that old feeling of “being stuck” came back rapidly. My friends are all doing amazing things with their lives. I am so genuinely happy for them. But I’ll be honest: it can be hard to feel like you’re just in an idle, limbo land.
Even my good friend from around here who deals with her own chronic illness has started working consistently. Yes, part time, but 5 days a week and she loves it.
So soon I became my own antagonist. “I wish I could work” “Same old scene.” “You do so many things to get better but what difference does it make?” “This illness sucks” “Wow you really have been stuck in this town for over a year.” Then the whining. “I want to move on with my life.” “I am so sick of all of this.” “I want to be able to work.” “I want to be able to run” “I want to get out of here.” “I want to be able to do something to light up about.”
But at a certain point this becomes RESISTANCE. AND IT REALLY DOESN’T GET YOU VERY FAR. And I know illness or no illness, everyone can relate to this at some point in their lives when they want everything else than what their current situation is. Or better yet when that inner voice takes over and soon you start finding life that much more difficult. All of a sudden you truly can’t tolerate your boss for another day, your clothes aren’t good enough, your hair isn’t pretty enough, you need a new car, you’re never going to find a guy/girl, your body sucks, the list goes on.
Ever notice the more you brew in it, the worse it seems to get? Or all of a sudden you’re now fighting with people, or shit is just going wrong in your life?
Monday Morning I decided to try to pull it together. I have vowed to start mediating every morning to start my day more centered, to simply remind my body of what homeostasis it. Plus, it just seems to be a common theme for people that have gotten better, and hell, it’s a common theme for people who are very successful in life. Yes- meditation does not mean you have to have hair down to your butt and flowers in your hair. THE NBA team, THE LAKERS, MEDITATE !
I threw on a random one that was on my itunes from my awesome Christmas present of Chopra’s 21 day meditation challenge (Thanks Dad!). Hey-you really always get what you need. I started laughing a minute in when I heard the words. The theme of the day: “Today I focus on what I want to attract in my life.” He went on to say if we focus on resistance and difficulty, well, we will simply continue to have it.
Just because we do not have something in this very moment does not mean it cannot happen or exist. Some people will look at their lives and see lack while other look and see abundance. Who do you think out of the two feels limited? I have posted on this before, changing your thoughts and beliefs can change your situation. You can’t change everything but “reality” is changeable. Thoughts, intentions, attitudes and expectations are really what makes our reality. So I guess you could say in some ways that means reality is very multi dimensional. Ever notice when you ask, “what happened?” to a group of people, you’ll get five different answers?
I felt better for an hour or two and then back came everything! I finally had a long chat with my mom about everything that night. My frustration, the situation, the lack of people that understand yet alone even believe the condition is real, the forwards-backwards, the I have had enough.
She was tough on me. But I needed it. “When life makes you lemons, make lemonade.” “You have to make the best of any situation given to you.” At first, I was just pissed. But the more I talked through it and softened, I knew it was true.
I stewed in all the negative emotions for awhile. I needed to and as I always propose on this blog: you should. Feel things, they’ll just come up down the road in a ridiculous magnitude if you don’t (ever had that over the top break down that comes out of no where?). But it’s not productive to sit in the same thing over and over again and not move through it. That really is the definition of stuck.
The next day I hung around the house but I cleaned my room and I painted for an hour listening to PANDORA, went to an appointment, and made some food. And I felt so truly happy for my day. I was mindful and aware the entire time.
And the hour I was painting, I had a surge of joy just realizing what I was doing WAS something. I did produce something. I did do something with my day. I wasn’t stuck any more than a gerbil thinks it’s stuck on the wheel. Maybe my Tuesday was not what “it should be” or maybe it not “what everyone else is doing” but I got up and lived a day to the fullest that I could.
And that’s more than enough.
I will post the stuff I have vowed to do later. One is being mindful and not pushing through my limits. Hence the end of this blog post.
All is well.
I am going to have to do some post flipping. I have a post already started that I guess will have to post after this one. As it is almost the end of the day, I am proud to say that I have officially not checked my email all day. Roll eyes at how ridiculous that sounds. I wanted to throw my phone out the window yesterday because I was checking it so much. And then getting mad that I was checking it so much. I was on a spree of catch up this weekend which I try to do when I’m doing well. Catch up normally consists of the list of callbacks, emails, cleaning, etc, the typical pile up stuff that creeps up on everyone. Between Sunday and Monday, I put out probably a good 12 emails for every reason possible: career interests, responses to old emails, inquiries, a project that I am slowly trying to work on, etc. I then went on a Ebay rampage from recent de cluttering efforts to make a little money from the shoes I am finally accepting will no longer be ideal for me anymore. (Anyone want to buy my stuff ??? :) Lots of shoes!) Well as of the end of the day Tuesday, I had not received ONE response and my shoes had ZERO bids. NOT ONE. FOR EITHER! And somehow I thought hitting the mail icon every thirty two seconds on the iPhone might change that. I drove myself off a wall and I got to a point where I wanted to take it and chuck it out the window into the 8 degree weather outside.
I think of myself as not particularly attached to my phone. I laughed when I watched the special on TV about the four girls who had to go through a 2 week detox from their smart phones and basically had complete breakdowns. … When I was in my very rough patch this fall, I would turn it off for days at a time. Minimal word response texts of “bad day call you when better” became universal language. I learned to embrace not being so dependent on it. Somehow it has creeped back in. I have forced myself to only put it on the charger in my bathroom at night so I don’t use it before bed (also better for sleeping environment…need to post on sleep at some point). But still, the second I wake up in the morning and stumble my bathroom with a sleep mask on , I pick it up and hit the mail button.
So this morning I vowed to not check my email all day. You think a better response would be to leave my phone at home all day but I’m not at that point yet. Maybe that will be tomorrow’s venture. I figured the chance something pressing comes in that needs to be answered immediately is slim to none. And the chance my stuff has sold on Ebay is even more slim to none. It’s one of those weeks. I bet if I went to one of those astrology sites, it would probably say it’s a terrible time for me to do business or communicate with people. Try again. Ha!
It is disgusting how bad the habit has become, I got off the phone (after trying to find a way for my slippers to get home from Starbucks an hour away, don’t ask) and I hit that evil mail button without even thinking about it. I yelled out loud when I realized it and quickly turned the screen off. AND I did it a second time later.
Technology is amazing. I have this blog because of technology. But being completely dependent on anything in life other than the basic needs really isn’t healthy. And as this blog has a big theme of mindfulness and living in the moment, I don’t think I need to go into too much detail of how being attached to a smart phone, whether it be texts, emails, phone calls or notifications is just a distraction to avoid being present. Yes, many of us need it for work. But all of a sudden this gives us this guilt complex that we must answer people immediately and be on call 24/7. It makes it that much harder for us to take a night off.
I know I caught myself starting to feel so dependent on hearing back to make myself feel okay. This is not about being present. It’s about looking from outside sources for contentment. All of a sudden, I had this need for attention instead of just finding contentment myself. I know perfectly well that people are busy, they don’t check their emails every five seconds, etc. The reason they are not answering has nothing to do with me, but all of a sudden when I have things I am waiting for, I start becoming obsessive with my phone that allows me to check things constantly, it becomes (this is what RT calls headmind) why is no one answering me?! Or did I do something? Or NO BIDS on my items!? All of a sudden I have this ridiculous need to be connected. How many of us tend to do this when we are sitting somewhere waiting for someone? Or we are in a public place by ourself? We text, we call, we read emails, we read the news, anything from having to be present with nothing to do! My generation has become immune to the addiction. We don’t know anything else but being connected 24/7.
It’s evident for me that I need to go back to leaving my phone on the charger or leaving it in other rooms a lot more often or better yet leaving it at home for the day… I guess tomorrow I will have to check my emails for work and such but maybe I shall go back to toning it down.
You tell me: Are you a technology addict? Could you leave your phone at home?
Speaking of technology addict: I figured I’d supply the lovely image I did get to see this morning instead of my inbox:
2012 has been an interesting year to say the least. A lot of chaos, a lot of growth, a lot of bizarre. I remember starting 2012 so assured that it would be a good year because how could it not be? I had been through hell long enough, how could 2012 not be the end of the tunnel? I mean after all, it was time for me to be able to get on with my life. Well 2012 was far from what I imagined and far from what I planned for. I know it will go down as one of the most challenging years of my life. The physical deterioration, the emotional upheaval that resulted, the fear, the uncertainty and everything else. But after all that, I would not change it for anything. I can now officially say: 2012 has been the most transformational year of my life. Sometimes everything we don’t want is the very best and most pivotal things that we will experience.
And now here comes 2013. So what is the difference for me this time? There is no attachment either way. I am not hanging onto an idea that the year must be a certain way, that it must get better, I must get better, I deserve for it to go better or anything of that nature. I set my intention for this to be an amazing year and let the rest happen. I look forward to all the things that it will bring, whatever challenges, hardships and great times that it has in store. Whatever the year brings is simply part of my path through life. Through so many more ways than we realize, we create our reality. This is different than the blame, shame and guilt stuff. I am not saying we are at fault if things are going poorly for us or we are struggling. Life will always have the unexpected turns, the ups, the downs, the things we never saw coming, the things people shouldn’t have to experience. But what we do with these turns and events is how we shape reality for ourselves.
I spent New Years Eve with a friend that I met just this year though it seems longer than that. Her 2012 shared many similarities to mine of a long, drawn out year of many ups and downs, growth, setbacks, a long path of exploration physically, emotionally, spiritually, doctors appointments, insurance phone calls and tests up the wha zoo. She was diagnosed with EDS, type III, last fall so in many ways we were going through the same process, Denial, Grief, Anger, Acceptance. Sound much like a grieving process? Well in many ways when sickness comes about that isn’t acute, you quickly realize how you no longer have a life and identity that you have maintained for however many years. So through the process we went. Sometimes at different stages, sometimes on par. Point being? 2012 could easily be said to be rough for both of us. So on NYE, we decided to close the year in a way that made us really appreciate everything that happened.
We wrote down on sheets of paper all the things that we were happy for, all the things that we were grateful for, all the things that would make us appreciate how 2012 was so far from just the year from hell.
The list was amazing, the little things that you might not even think about in a year: seeing the movie, The Intouchables, reading many good books, discovering new foods, the car rides with my Dad, hanging out with my dogs…. and I know some of you heard from me in regards to the very special things that made it on the paper that you all did that touched my heart this year.
The bowl took a night and morning to go through.
There was one particular idea that shocked me. I just wrote and it as it came out of my hand and was in slight disbelief when I read it back:
” For getting so sick”
Yes. That’s right. I said it. Try to remember this can happen for you too when you’re at a point in life when you feel like you’re walking through hell.
It really has been pure hell at times and has had some very dark lifeless moments (hence the lazarus) but I can’t say that I would change it. I have learned more from it than I could have in an entire lifespan, it has changed my life and taught me lessons some people will never be able to learn. I have met amazing people, I have been exposed to things I would have never known existed, I have developed new interests and revalued my amazing relationships. And most importantly, this journey of sickness back to health has allowed me to (one of my other things on the list) be so lucky to have experienced the process of
I think that is the most valuable thing I gained out of 2012. As they say “you have to lose yourself to find yourself.” In some ways, we are all forced do this to a certain extent through any difficult event. Having your life completely disappear in a matter of what seems like a couple of months and starting from scratch will certainly leave you no choice but to start a journey of finding the true you. And when you do, it’s like finding a light that you never knew existed, a new source of power that makes life that much more amazing and meaningful. . Every day of our lives is part of that journey to find that true person we are and the end of a year is a perfect time to reflect on the culmination of all the things that have come along on your path.
If I looked at 2012 factually or even in a “realist and practical” way, my 2012 was filled with many weeks of being bed bound, months of being house bound, 16 more doctors/specialists to add to the long list, too many appointments all over the state of Connecticut and New York, 30+ rounds of bloodwork, medical “tests,” too many shots in my ass than I care to remember and many roller coaster rides between doing okay and being incapacitated. But that’s not what I choose to remember. Just like I realized one day this summer, we always have a choice. I could choose to be terrified of what was happening and what my future would hold or I could choose to have faith and know that everything was going to be okay. I chose the second.
So 2012: I choose the laughs, the joys, the time with my family, watching movies, becoming a professional Olympics spectator from my couch, watching the Voice (and winning the bet!), sitting outside in the sun, spending time with my Grandpa, my new discovery of painting for fun, and the many more things on the list.
Take a look back at your 2012, it’s never too late. What do you choose? What does 2012 mean for you? What will you remember? Take a minute, make a list, No matter how small or big of an event, let the list flow out. This isn’t forced optimism, it isn’t about guilt if you still feel the year wasn’t a good one. All it is, is a true genuine awareness of how much exists in your life every single day.
Let 2013 bring everyone health, prosperity and happiness.
I know it will-you are the creator of 2013 that you desire.
All is well.
It’s that time of year. After just finishing watching Love Actually with my dear friend of ten years (God we are old) and after blasting Cee Lo Green’s “All I Need is Love,” it sort of clicked what the next theme needed to be. Love. And unlike what the media,music and movie world has decided for us, love is not about being single or not single during the holidays. Love is infinite. Love is what connects us all. And with all the tragedies that have recently happened, the importance of love couldn’t be more understated. Love is healing. When tragedy, the unexplainable, difficult times, sickness and the other difficult waves of life happen, we become overwhelmed with the negative, toxic emotions. We soon become consumed with anger, rage, fear, sorrow and these are natural reactions. We need time to process these emotions and they should be expected, we need time to grieve. But when we become entrenched with these toxic feelings, we only hurt ourselves more, we trap ourselves in a place that becomes harder and harder to get out of. The only way to begin to heal is to realize the power of love. Love is healing. Look at what has happened over the past year, there has been many difficult times and tragedies. It is very easy to become consumed by the negative of “what has the world become?” But when we do this, this very “evil,” has gotten exactly what it wanted. And if you look at everything that has happened, it is amazing to see how “evil” has not succeeded. People have poured in support for one another, they have come together, they have facilitated the healing process. States, towns, communities, individuals have overcome unimaginable things with the power of love and forgiveness. And that brings us to today, Christmas, a time of love. Forget it being about being single vs in a relationship at the holidays, or the amount of people that you are surrounded by at Christmas. Look way beyond that. The holidays is a time to cherish the amount of love we are surrounded by, the one source that connects us all to each other. Love isn’t about having expectations on getting things in return, it isn’t about some ideal romantic dream, it is a true genuine feeling with no requirements on reciprocity. Love comes from within each of us. In fact, as one book I have read explained so well, if you’re living a life of gratitude, you are harmoniously living a life of love. The two seem to couple each other hand in hand. Think of the way you were surrounded by love in some way this Christmas, no matter what way you spent it. Maybe it was that phone call from a family member that brought a smile to your face, the random act of kindness you witnessed or heard about, the people in your living room, your dog’s wagging tail with the excitement in the air, the list could go on and on. As the song so fittingly changed in Love Actually
Christmas, “Love is all around me and so the feeling grows.” Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays Everyone.
Next…. Love, Health and the Healing Process
So this post is rather late. Better late than never? As Thanksgiving just finished up, I figured I would write about the oh so obvious theme of the holiday, thanks and gratitude. Thanksgiving was not completly “ideal” for me this year but I felt a stronger sense of gratitude and joy for the holiday than I probably have my whole life. Persepetives can change. And quickly. Sink or Swim as they say.
On Monday of Thanksgiving week I woke up with an upset stomach. I have so many digestive issues with this whole game of body malfunction, that it is absolutely nothing out of the ordinary for me. So I decided I would take it easy on my system for the next couple of days and stick to a lot of press made juices. (Yes, I have become a juicer, courtesy of my brother who put his Crohn’s and health issues into remission with juicing and major diet changes). Well long story short, Thursday arrived and I am in more pain and still unable to eat. We weren’t eating together until Friday but I knew it looked grim, I was barely able to handle applesauce.
I had planned on this meal for so long. I had been working on the cooking all week, doing it in small batches of time since too much time on my feet and doing something labor intensive can knock me out for days. I had worked so hard on the dishes and was so excited to enjoy this meal with everyone. And to be honest, part of the fun of cooking is being able to eat the meal with everyone after.
So what did I do with this sitaution? I cried to my Mom. I felt sorry for myself. I let it out for a couple of minutes. I needed to. I sort of have forgotten what it is like to cry and that’s not healthy either! I knew it wasn’t a big deal and I have made so many adjustments over the past two years but sometimes I just get fed up with having to do so over and over again, sometimes it would be nice if I could just have a break for a short period of time. I really never ever ask, “why me?” or “can’t I just have a break?” because I know, one, it’s a pretty pointless question and two, it just creates more resistance.
But sometimes you need a minute of self-pity.
Food is my passion. I am ridiculously obsessed with it. When I started to having to make drastic diet changes due to new food intolerances, growing digestive problems and the lovely Interstitial Cystitis, I made it a positive. I complained for a minute and moved forward. I did what I had to do. I learned how to come up with cool new recipes, I learned how to make alternatives taste good, I figured out how to make it taste good for other people to try. And as I continued to have new digestive issues arise, I rolled with the punches and made the adjustments necessary. My passion for food has become one of my only staples throughout all this. I can no longer run or let alone exercise, I can’t ride a horse, go for walks, travel, go out at night, the list goes on. Food has been the one thing I have hung onto and this was Thanksgiving, THE HOLIDAY OF FOOD. All I wanted to do was to be able to prepare and enjoy a meal with everyone.
My Mom was great (THANKS MOM!). She let me have the pity party for a minute or two and then told me clearly this year it wasn’t meant to be about food for me. It was just something else I had to rise above. I muttered that I was sick of having to always “rise above” but I knew she was right. And besides, she pointed out, Thanksgiving is about time with family, with or without a meal. I knew she was right. I brushed myself off and went downstairs to finish the cooking.
The next day I was not any better. In fact, I begged the staff at the gastroenterologist’s office to let me be seen because of the pain I was in. After all that, I was told it was probably just viral gastritis on top of my typical digestive malfunctions. AKA we can’t do anything about it. I helped my sister finish cooking that day and took a rest before dinner. I wasn’t able to eat a meal but I had one small bite of almost everything. I happily made myself a Thanksgiving plate that is still in the freezer waiting for me. But regardless of that, I was so incredibly grateful for the experience. I was grateful to even be able to enjoy the couple of bites here and there. I made it through the entire dinner (which for those close to me is big deal, there have been many gatherings and events I have missed due to a crash). I was able to socialize and function. I laughed. I caught up. The meal had great reviews and people got to try out new things. I even made it through half of dessert before I had to retire to my room.
My family was so amazingly supportive. I got to see my sister, her husband and kids. I got to see my Aunt and Uncle who I don’t see much. My 88 year old grandfather celebrated another Thanksgiving with us, still going strong. And of course I got to spend another Thanksgiving with my amazing parents who I have become closer to this year than I have over my entire 21 years prior.
They say gratitude is a being of existence not a temporary passing feeling. This adds to the list of difficult things to figure out and practice. This Thanksgiving, I felt so truly connected to this concept. Sure things have been rough this year and at times gratitude is the last thing I can possibly feel or think or “be.” But Turkey day helped me realize what it means to be living in gratitude. Simply being able to enjoy company with my family left me with a state of calm, happiness and joy regardless of physically feeling terrible.
Fourteen days later I have graduated to eating rice but not much more (I have probably consumed more rice in the past couple of days than half the continent of Asia) and drinking small amounts of a “medical food powder” (Sort of like protein powder but instead has vitamins and specific things to help bring down inflammation-Ultra Inflamx by Metagenics for those of you with health issues) Having my digestive system quit for awhile has made me continue to find out what gratitude really is. Although at first I was so frustrated that food the way i love is not an option right now, I realized there are plenty of other ways to be happy and much to still be grateful for. Nothing defines us even if it is something we feel strongly about. I am much more aware of how much I cherish all my relationships, how I love to hang out with my dogs or spend time with my family. I have some of the most amazing friends in the world, amazing family and I am surrounded by love. I am grateful for my body for doing its best to deal with this and heal. My digestive system is happy to have a break and I am even grateful that I am able to identify and give my body what it needs even if it frustrates the whiny child in me that says “but why!”
There are always things to be grateful for. They are just not always to see especially when our “egos” try to convince us of everything that is wrong. And that happens way too often. I started a journal activity in the summer (which I have even gotten lazy about) of writing 3 things that I was grateful for that day, no matter how small, trivial, or awful the day was. Try it. Reread them when you’re done. Do it day, after day, after day. It will soon no longer be forced but become natural. Before you know it, you will be “living gratitude” every day you are able to wake up.
Try it for the month of December. It takes all of thirty seconds. An extra 2.5 minutes a week. See what happens. You may be pleasantly surprised.
I am currently doing an online 21 day meditation challenge through the Chopra Center. The theme: Harvesting Abundance. Today is Day 13. The meditations are sent via email every morning and are available for you for ten days after the mediation is released. They last 15 minutes and are wonderful but it really is amazing how much of a struggle it has become for all of us, myself included, to take 15 minutes out of our day. There’s always a reason. We can’t get up 15 minutes earlier, replace 15 minutes of TV or the internet or simply make ourselves sit down to do something that seems like extra work. I know compared to most out there I have all the time in the world right now, working minimal hours, and juggling the rest of the time between rest and some appointments, yet even I find myself struggling to take the 15 minutes that I know are so good for me.
By the way, I am posting about this four days late because I am a a slow blogger. Oh well.
The Law of Detachment. A difficult concept but so crucial for life. One of the messages that I think is the most difficult for all of us, “You reliquinish the desire to manage circumstances and force solutions in order to manifest your desires.” I think we often struggle with this, particularly in the good old USA. It goes against our engrained cultural beliefs. The American Dream is founded on the idea that you go after your aspirations and don’t stop for anything. We set our eyes on something, decide we want it and put the blinders on so we don’t get distracted by anything else along the way. But here we are being told that sometimes hanging onto this dream with a death grip may not be the very best thing for us.
How often do we all do this? We get fixated or attached to an outcome or an idea. Maybe we decided something has to be a certain way because it was engrained in us from an outside source. Maybe it came from the influence of society, a religious authority, family or maybe we just derived an idea or goal on our own. It can seem like a positive aspiration: maybe we feel that we must graduate with a 4.0, become a lawyer, get an important job, work in x field, get married. The list goes on. These are all great things, and even Deepak says in this mediation: we should focus on what we desire and take the neccessary steps to manifest our dreams. But here’s the problem, we tend to become attached dearly to these ideas and refuse to part from them, leading us far away from the most important step of the process: to find security in the face of uncerainity to let go of any outcomes. At some point, we must “let the wind go where it goes.” And that can be the hardest, scariest thing to do in life yet it is the only way to allow for an “abundance of opportunity.”
Think about all the other ways we struggle to detach in life. How many times have we hung onto old relationships long after they’re over or don’t serve us anymore simply because we had a plan in our head about the future (whether it be a couple of weeks, months, years) with that person or because we are afraid to let them go to see who/what new might come along? How many times have we ended up in a job situation that leaves us with an emptiness because we are too entrenched with the belief that this was the job we everyone wanted us to do, the job we studied for, the job one would dream for? How many times do we resist the fact that something clearly wasn’t meant to be even though every sign is there in front of us? Better yet, how many hours a day do we spend on anything but the present moment, whether it be the past, future, or some other place your mind takes you because we are determined to control our lives be a certain way?
All of this because the idea of facing uncertainty is too terrifying.
Take a personal simple example of attachment vs dettachment. When I first started having things get a little out of hand with my health last fall and there were still no answers, it was collectively decided that I would spend the first couple months of my last semester trying to sort things out before going abroad for an internship that I had planned since my junior year of college. My health was competly erratic, my career path was clearly changing (which I was in complete denial of) and so was my life. But I simply had to keep applyimg for abroad programs. THIS HAD BEEN MY PLAN. THIS IS WHAT I STUDIED TO DO. THIS IS WHAT I HAD TOLD EVERYONE I WAS DOING FOR THE SPRING. I was simply fixated with this outcome. It was probably obvious to everyone else around me it no longer made sense but I was blind sighted. If I let go of all this, what would my new path be? What would I do with myself? Of course, I lost the $50 deposit and eventually conceded it made no sense to go abroad to another country in the middle of a health crisis. I learned it was time I had to drop the deadlines and the idea that I could still plan everything out.
So how can we detach from outcomes? Are we supposed to just sit in a chair, make a wish and then wait for whatever to happen? Of course not. We get things done in life by setting our intentions but from there it is the art of maintaing the difficult balance between taking actions to manifest these intensions and becoming obsessive over the way it is supposed to pan out.
I know I have to really apply the law of detachment for my “healing journey” as I call it. But there are plenty of times that I ditch this law and latch onto ideas that I HAVE TO GET BETTER, I HAVE TO DO THIS CAREER ONCE I’M BETTER, I MUST BE ABLE TO DO THIS BY THIS DATE, etc, etc. But that’s not how it works and I guess that’s what these “conditions” have taught me to start doing: detaching. In some ways, I guess it’s a blessing.
I have every intention and desire to get better, I have confidence that I will (though some days my confidence is most definitely tested), I am taking all the necessary steps and more to do so, but from there I can only let “the universe do its job.” Latching onto the idea that I must get better no matter what will do me no more good than latching onto the idea that I won’t get better. The days I am most centered is when I don’t worry about tomorrow, a year from now or an hour from now. I don’t panic that I am still not better enough to be out in the real world. I don’t think about the past two years. I don’t think about the lovely words of “could, should, need, must.” I think about the now. I have this inner stillness that everything will be okay and I will continue to control the only part I can, putting one foot in front of another and how I react to the present moment. And then the days come that this is all falls apart. I find myself getting caught up in the worry that things aren’t “fixed yet,” that I am missing out on life, that I should be doing this or that, etc. I am everywhere but the now. And it’s not a good place to be.
Lastly, there’s always the practice of applying this law to our relationships. No, we don’t need to isolate from the world but we do to tend to set up expectations of people and situations in life due to our own attachments. When the outcome doesn’t go as planned whether it be people don’t meet our expectations, our paths change and we no longer need these people in the same way, or any other good old life events, we find ourselves in a state of crisis because we don’t know what to do. Relationships constantly evolve, come, go, fade, and everything else. I am starting to realize all we can do is be the person we want to be, offer what we can and then trust that we will attract people into our lives who make us that much more complete. It is amazing the positive changes that can happen in relationships when we are able to do this. When you shift, everyone around you shifts or so it seems.
Of course, the law of detachment is a continuous practice, not something that we can just check off as either done or not done. I tend to forget this often. I guess we are all a bunch of “westerners” when we want to be able to learn something, check it off the list and just know how to do it from here on out. If only! I have seen it first hand through this experience. If you ever told me two years ago, I would be where I am today, I would have laughed at you. I could have never planned for this. I do know that if I was still hanging onto my old vision of my life, I would be in a much worse place and probably wouldn’t be writing this blog or even half the chunk of health that I have now. But it’s difficult to break old habits.
So this Thanksgiving week, take a step back and decide for yourself. Are they any outcomes or ideas that you’re attached to? Are they serving you any good? Are they helping you move forward to more opportunities? You decide.
Chopra’s Centering Thought of the Day:
“As I let go of the need to arrange my life, the universe brings abundant good to me.”
All is well.
Check out the mediation for yourself! It may just change your week or maybe your life :)
side note: All of this info can be obtained from this mediation. ….I learned way too much about copyright in Business Law during college…I think I have become slightly paranoid.
I have hated the word disease for a long time. What I don’t really know is if that became a new phenomena once I entered the illness world or if I really always felt that way and just had no personal attachment or reason to think about it. I had a long discussion with a friend about this in the summer. I just never liked the sound of the word disease. It sounds so gloom, doom and permanent. What kind of image do you think of when you hear the word disease? Hope, Inspiration, Light? I don’t.
I prefer to use the word condition. Now, I know this word does not necessarily sound all joyous and full of sunshine either. But conditions are transitory. They change. I don’t own a condition. Why should I get any better if I am convinced that I am plagued with a disease? Think about the word disease in context of our language. We typically talk about it in terms of very grave and grim situations. We talk about diseases wiping out populations. Diseases we have to get under CONTROL before they are a pandemic. A plague that’s going to take over. CDC= Center for Disease Control. Diseases in our language are either a) curable or b) not curable. Black and white. You fit it in one box or another. But this is another topic for another time. The importance of wording and beliefs.
Anyways. I don’t want to spend tons of posts writing about “dis-eases” but on the same token, I do feel responsible in sharing and promoting awareness of conditions not well known because I am not the only one out there. The current MAIN condition I am dealing with is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Also known as…ready for this?
1) Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome
2) Post Viral Syndrome
3) Myalgic Encephalitis (Europe)
4) Chronic Mono/Chronic EBV
5) Low Natural Killer Syndrome
6) Yuppie Flu (those poor people who dealt with this stigma in the 80s)
Never heard of it? No surprise. Most people haven’t. When they do, it seems pretty self explanatory and something any person could easily suffer from. The classic lines: “I think I have the same thing.” “I’m tired a lot too.” “Yeah people get depressed sometimes.” “You should drink coffee.” Silence or Change of Subject.
A lot of the medical community still hasn’t acknowledged it’s real, claiming it to be a wastebasket diagnosis. I thought the same thing for quite some time until I began to really understand it further than the b.s. name of being chronically tired. Ha. If that’s all it was.
Unfortunately, a lot of people tend to get thrown into this label if doctors can’t figure out what’s wrong with them hence the perpetual cycle of the waste basket diagnosis/lack of respect. And then after all that you get a diagnoses and then what? Most doctors don’t know what to do with it besides offering an anti-depressant and wishing you luck on pacing yourself. Well that’s really useful.
There are only a couple of doctors that deal with it throughout the country. They stay on top of all the research, think outside the box and use “out of the box treatments.” I am lucky to be working with some AMAZING people. I would be glad to give referrals for people who are in the process of trying to find their “right doctor.” My “team” consists of all different practitioners, MDs, DOs, NDs, PTs and more. I will devote another section to that for those that are interested. The best thing you can do: find people you trust, get a team together, make sure they are all on the same wavelength and make sure they communicate. It is probably beneficial to work with someone that specializes in the area. It takes time. I have seen 32 doctors over the past two years and I think there are only a couple of specialities I haven’t seen, one being geriatrics. But with this condition I can promise you one thing: your path to wellness won’t be in any hospital and the average doctor’s office probably isn’t the place either. But don’t give up hope. Please Please Please always remember you are never at a dead end.
To Be Continued……