The Gift

thegift

Last week someone who I used to work with contacted me and asked how I was doing and if I was well enough to meet her for lunch in NYC. Unfortunately the answer was no and I explained that the fatigue and pain still prevent me from taking public transportation into the city. She understood and at the end of her email she wrote, “Health is a precious gift.”

How true is that statement and it is not often that a healthy person realizes that.  My previous coworker is enlightened and gets that health is the most important thing of all.  How come none of my other friends realize that concept?

Yesterday I was speaking with my oldest friend (Ms. E).  We grew up together, were college roommates, our parents were best friends and we have seen each other through many of lives triumphs and tragedies.   I said my oldest friend and not my closest friend as our lives have taken very different paths and we really haven’t been all that close lately.  Since I’ve been ill, my friend hasn’t visited me once (except when we saw each other at 2 funerals).  She lives about 60 miles from me, so I understand that she can’t casually drop by for a few minutes, but it is a little hurtful that in 5 years she hasn’t been able to visit me.  We do talk and text, but sometimes you expect more from some people.

While we were speaking yesterday on the phone, the instant she said hello, I knew something was very wrong with her.  Her voice sounded weird, had no life, no spirit, no personality.  It sounded dead and depressed.  In the 40 years that I have known Ms. E, I never heard her sound like this before.  I asked a few times what was wrong and at first she said nothing is wrong, but before the end of the conversation she told me she is very depressed and is currently taking 3 different medicines, prescribed by her psychiatrist.

Now I was concerned because she sounded out of it and was driving alone on a highway.  She assured me she was alright to drive and that she’s just been very emotional lately and they haven’t figured out the right dosage of her medications yet.

That made me feel  somewhat better, but then my mind starting churning.  While I was very, very sad that my friend was in so much pain, I couldn’t help but wonder what could Ms. E be so depressed about that 3 medications were required?  She has been married for 25 years, has 4 healthy children, her and her husband are physically healthy, she lives in a beautiful house and is wealthy beyond my wildest dreams.

Here I am ill for the past 5 years,  divorced, no children, rent a one bedroom apartment and I’m not depressed.  I don’t get what people expect out of life.  Maybe I’m becoming cynical or hardened but what does it take for someone to realize that when they have their HEALTH, the greatest gift of all, they have everything they need.

Out with the Old, In with the New

oldandnew

 

Welcome 2014!!   We’re all planning how the next year will be better and how we will try and improve upon ourselves, but what lessons have we learned from the past year.

I heard this quote for the first time about 10 years ago, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” and  never has there been a truer saying, yet we continually do the same thing over and over again (at least I do) and hope that the outcome will be different.  Does that mean I’m insane (lol), I hope not.

For example:

  • I continually go back to the same doctors, even after they tell me there’s nothing more they can do for me and that I just need to deal and adjust
  • I continue friendships with people that I know are selfish and sometimes hurtful in their actions towards me
  • I keep taking the same medicines and supplements, even though I feel no real improvement with my symptoms

So what can I change in this new year to try and make a real difference in my life?

  • I can and will seek out new doctors, who are encouraging and offer new treatment options
  • I can and will stop listening to all the doctors that just prescribe endless medicines without any real promise of help and that have possible negative long term side effects
  • I can and will make more educated decisions regarding my health and well being, as the doctors know less about my day to day struggles than I do
  • I can and will spend less time with those people in my life that just suck the energy and life out of me
  • I can and will spend more time with those people that energize me and lift my spirits
  • I can and will spend more time doing the things that I really enjoy doing and save my limited energy for these activities
  • I can and will seek out new creative activities that fill my heart with happiness

So as my journey in 2014 begins, I hope that this year will bring a return to wellness and that on January 1, 2015 I can look back on today and realize that it was the day I began to break old patterns and take more control of my life.

 

 

My new toy

Microsoft_Surface_RT

 

I’m so happy today.  My very good friend surprised me with this and I am ecstatic.  I can’t believe I was given this as a present.  I’ve wanted one for a while and because of limited finances, have held off. This is such a generous gift and this friends generosity over the years has moved me to tears.

Maybe now blogging will be easier and I’ll be able to post more.

I’m still learning how to use it fully, but I haven’t learned anything in a while and this is a welcome distraction from my normal chores.

Anybody have any good free apps to recommend or any good tips?

 

21

21

21 is a unique number, it has special meaning for a variety of reasons:  to mathematicians, it’s a number made up of 2 prime numbers;  to our armed forces, it’s an honor when you receive a 21 gun salute; to the black jack players, it’s a moneymaker and to our everyday folks, it’s the number of days needed to establish a new pattern in your life.

I had heard many years ago, from a good friend of mine, that 21 is a magical number if you want to change a particular pattern of behaviour, such as sticking to a diet or trying to stop smoking.  At that time I did some research and found a self-help book written in the 60’s by Dr. Maxwell Maltz.

Dr. Maltz reported that it took 21 days for amputees to  stop feeling phantom limb pain and from that research, came the Maltz Principle.  His research made him conclude that if someone consciously performs a new behaviour for just 15 minutes a day for 21 days, that individual could create a new long lasting habit.   His theory revolves around concentrating on forming a new habit and  before focusing on the results that this new habit could bring you (losing weight, bulking up at the gym, stopping smoking).

While I do believe that changing behaviours and establishing new habits can take some people years, we probably do create new comfort  levels in a shorter period of time,  which make performing new activities, or stopping old activities, alittle easier, even though it still may be with conscious everyday reminders, like alarms or notes on a calendar. Dr. Maltz said, “To change a habit make a conscious decision, then act on that behaviour.”

I have been participating in the 21 days of Gratitude program and when I started it, I was curious as to why 21 days and not 14 days or any other random number.  I remembered what I read about forming new habits in 21 days.  I wonder if this has to do with the length of the program.  I am noticing that I don’t need a reminder on my calendar anymore or click through the daily email reminder the Mentor Channel sends out.  We are on day 19 and I consciously go to the website to listen to the daily affirmation.  It has become a part of my regular routine and once the program is ended, I will continue to practice gratitude and meditate for at least 15 minutes a day.

Dr. Maltz wrote several self help books and another theory of his has to do with how an individual can improve their self image, which could lead to a more fulfilling life.  Many of us that are struggling with chronic illnesses are often down on ourselves and have a low self image because of the lifestyle we are forced to lead.  Dr. Maltz believed that if a person did not have an accurate and positive view of themselves, all of their goals and efforts will end in failure.  I believe this is true as I have learned the hard way over the past few years.  He believed that an accurate self image, helps us set goals that we can successfully accomplish.

At the beginning of my illness, I forced myself to do things that ended in failure, either as a result of me doing the task poorly or incorrectly or having my body crash and force me to bed for days.  This pattern of  behaviour made me feel worthless and useless and this pattern continued for a while, until I started to accept my illness and live within my current limits.

Changing my image of myself to a positive nature, came with my understanding when to stop a task, so that I can complete it correctly and feel good about what I accomplished.

 

Intention

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This past weekend, I had another Reiki session and it once again was an extremely peaceful and reflective experience.  I wish I could bottle the feeling I have during the session.  I have tried to recreate it through meditation and bringing my memory back to the room and the space where the Reiki session occurred.  I have a candle with the same scent that is lit during my treatment and I use it at home when I am trying to mediate.  It has worked once or twice, but unfortunately not every time.

This past session ended a little differently than my previous one.  The healer (Ms. N) asked me to pick a card from a mediatation card deck and the card I picked is the one pictured above.  I picked the INTENTION card.

I have been reading articles and books about spiritual journeys, listening to Gratitude tapes and also doing meditation and all of these things mention Intentio.

My Intentions create my experiences.  What do you intend to happen?  It is very important to make sure that my thoughts and feelings reflect my true Intentions.

According to Ms. N, by choosing the Intention Card, I am being asked to take an inventory of my expectations of what I expect to happen today, tomorrow and in the future.  My expectations are the seeds of my intentions and my intentions become my goals for the future.

Recently I had read that Intention is the starting point of every spiritual path. It is the force that fulfills all of our needs, whether for money, relationships, spiritual awakening, or love. Intention generates all the activities in the universe, the ones we can see and even the ones we can’t see.  My destiny is shaped by my deepest level of intention and desire. Once my intentions are planted, my journey unfolds.

I find it interesting that since I am really just beginning my spiritual journey, I picked this card.

Right before my Reiki session, I had listened to the daily audio from the 21 Days of Gratitude Program.  I kept repeating during the Reiki treatment, “Trust the Universe, it will Protect you” and also I just kept repeating the things in my life I am grateful for.  Without even mentioning this to Ms. N, she asked me about my thoughts during the treatment and said she felt a deeper connection with my thoughts than in previous sessions.  She was drawn to my head during this session, where as in previous ones, she concentrated on my legs and mid section.

What does all of this mean?  I don’t know.  This is all new for me.

During my past few mediation sessions, I have been repeating the following words “San Kalpa”, which mean My intentions have infinite power.

I have been imagining that the universe is a deep ocean  and that my intentions emerge from my heart, which is an extremely important place for intentions to emerge from.  These intentions ripple into the ocean, where they are fulfilled with ease.  Then I silently repeat to myself, “San Kalpa.”

For every intention in our lives, whether it be for healing physical pain, emotional heartache, ending a troubled relationship, beginning a new relationship or wishing for a new opportunity, we must picture the outcome we desire and the repeat the words “San Kalpa”.

Karma… Do good and good will come to you.

karma1

Earlier this week I was speaking with a very good friend of mine, probably my best friend, someone who knows my deepest darkest secrets and I his. We can talk about anything and everything and do. He brought up the subject of Steve Jobs and Apple and how he met someone who had a very high level position in Apple. This ex-employee said that all the rumors about Steve Jobs was true. He was a demanding, tough, nasty son of a bitch, yet his employees were extremely loyal to him because he made them all a lot of money.

My friend (Mr. X) said, “Makes you wonder if his painful death was Karma paying him back”. I quickly replied that I would hate to think that his Cancer was Karma, because if that was Karma, what did I do to deserve the 4 years of suffering I’ve been dealing with.

I have always conducted my life on a moral high ground. I always treat people with respect and kindness and always put myself in their situation. I was brought up by two parents who followed the letter of the law and never strayed from doing the right thing, even if it was to their detriment.

So it got me thinking, why am I suffering and is Karma paying me back for something I am unaware happened in my past?

I read alittle more about Steve Jobs and that he believed in Zen Buddhism, but in an interview when he was asked about whether he believed in an afterlife, he said 50-50. He wanted to believe that accumulated wisdom didn’t just die with a person, but somehow endured.

I looked up the definition of Karma and it stated that Karma is the sum of a person’s actions in this and previous states of existence. A human being is a subject with a consciousness and everthing is saved and this consciousness works as a spirit and when the spirit meets death, it separates from the body and then is reborn as another life.

The Buddha taught that one’s present condition, whether of happiness or suffering, is the result of the accumulated force of all past actions or Karma. So was my spirit reborn from someone who was cruel and hurtful and is my suffering the result of that spirit? If this is so, does that mean that I will never experience joy or happiness and that all my good deeds will help the person that my spirit is reborn into.

I would hate to think that I can’t reverse actions and do good in this life so that I can appreciate the goodness of my own actions. I would like to think that every action I perform has some effect now and in the future and that Karma is like “paying it forward”, so that you can do an act of kindness to someone else and then somebody one day in this present life will be kind to you.

I have never thought much about the afterlife until my dad passed away alittle over a year ago. When I go visit his grave, I know his spirit isn’t there and I know it’s just the shell of his body, so where is his spirit. If his spirit was reborn, I know he is now in a being that is kind, gentle and loving because that’s how he was every day of his life in this world where I knew him.

Karmacleanse

Happy (and Pain Free) New Year

NewYear

For some people, this week is the beginning of a New Year, as Rosh Hashanah is being celebrated around the world. Tradition teaches us that during the High Holy Days every person’s fate will be decided for the next year and whether one lives or dies or suffers is being determined. People are suppossed to make amends and fix any wrong doings, so as to enter the New Year with a clean slate.

I started wondering if that also includes oneself. Can we make amends with ourselves and accept our shortcomings and imperfections and move forward in this next year loving ourselves more? When one suffers with a chronic illness, we are often harder and more critical on ourselves than we would be on other people. I find myself getting frustrated and angry when I can’t remember something or fix something that I know I was able to remember or fix in the past. When my Brain Fog sets in, it is impossible for me to do the simplist of tasks, even add or subtract 2 numbers from each other. Yet, if a friend or loved one had a problem, I would just help them and not think twice, but I beat myself down when I forget something I should know.

I also wonder why I cringed everytime someone has wished me a Happy and HEALTHY New Year over these past few days. I get sad when I hear this phrase because I wonder how can I have a healthy year when I am not healthy at this moment. Maybe I would feel better if someone said have a HEALTHIER New Year. I started thinking why this bothered me so much and it brought back a painful memory from years ago, when my dad was quite sick and was in a Nursing Home. My mom and I went to visit him on his birthday and when we were leaving, she wished him a Happy and Healthy Birthday and he just broke down and started sobbing. As I’m thinking about this, I have tears in my eyes. I remember saying to her, “How can you wish him a healthy birthday when he is so sick” and of course she didn’t mean to hurt him with her words. My mom loved my dad more than life itself. Yet these words hurt him, as they hurt me over these past few days.

So with this New Year, I am also going to try and be more accepting of what people say, when I know their intent is well meaning. I do take offense sometimes to words my friends say because I think they are very uncaring but really, they just don’t have the same perspective as I do.

During this New Year I am also going to remember that even with a chronic condition we still can lead a good life. There are certain choices that we can make and certain courses of action that we can pursue, that have the ability to infuse our hard life with goodness and life, and there are others choices that can drain life. I am choosing the first option and choosing to be a person who embraces the kind of values, ideals, and choices that will fill my days with life, with positivity, with meaning, with goodness!!