123. A Fine Line

What we focus on is what we find showing up in our life.  So, is it good to focus so much on something like COVID19, which no one wants?  Probably not. Definitely not!  People feel like they need to talk about the problem to get through it.  I understand we need to prepare and know what to do for prevention.  So, we do need to be aware.  But, it can be a fine line between being aware and being obsessed, or too focused.

Hoarding groceries and toilet paper, of all things, comes about when you cross that fine line.  Crossing the line leads to increased stress.  Stress leads to gut dysbiosis, which leads to a decrease in your immune system, which no one needs, especially now.  It’s a slippery slope.

We must try not to focus so much on the nightly news, the almost daily presidential press conferences, and all the negative news related to this virus, the daily counts of how many were diagnosed, how many died.  Think about what you can do, instead of feeling helpless. You can eat well to give your body what it needs to stay healthy.  Now is not the time for dieting.  It’s time to eat and drink heavily… scratch that… I mean healthy!  We need to make sure to take time out each day to find ways to boost your mental health.  Your immune system is not just your physical health, but also mental health. Meditation, yoga, walks in nature.  Just sitting in your yard (yes, touch the ground, or a tree, you’ll feel better, it’s actually good for you…more on that in another post), or on your deck, doing nothing.  Reading.  Learn something new with all your extra time, finding something besides your health to focus on.

Practice gratitude.  Remember all the good things in your life right now.  Do you have a job?  If not, focus on something else.  Do you have a comfortable house or apartment to stay in?  If not, focus on some other thing that you do have.  Do you have enough food?  Are you warm?  Are you able to breathe on your own?  Did you wake up today (if not, you wouldn’t be reading this… Unless people who have crossed over still enjoy my posts… which.. well done to me)?  There is always something to be grateful for.

I’ll leave you with something fun to watch.  Remember, there is always something good in life to focus on other than the bad stuff.  The more you think about the good stuff, the more amazing things will come your way.

 

122. Sing Along

Sing along with the video…. “It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine! ”

Just because it’s the end of the world, as we know it, doesn’t mean you can’t feel fine.  You will be okay.  It will all be okay.  Really.  All this social distancing isn’t that bad. I do it every day.  ALS has prepared me for this for years!  When life gets tough, and we are feeling down,  I always turn to music.  No matter what the question, music is the answer.  Music can make you step away from your problems and forget about life for a while (thank you, Billy Joel). When we are sad, we turn to music.  Sad songs, they say so much (thank you,  Elton John).  When we hurt, and everybody hurts sometimes, we turn to music ( thank you, R. E. M. ). When we are happy we hold a celebration with music (thank you, Kool & The Gang). Music is always there to help us with whatever we are dealing with.

As we do the walk of life, music is there (thank you, Dire Straits).  No matter what you are dealing with, there is a song for that.  It can help you realize that you are not alone, no matter what it is, someone somewhere has gone through the same thing.   There has been a song written for every emotion, a song for every feeling, one for nearly every woman’s name in the English language.  A song for every situation you will ever find yourself in.  Really.

Music can bring us together even when we have to stay apart (thank you singers from Europe).  Hope springs eternal.

 

 

121. My Sky Is NOT Falling!

Do you remember the children’s story about Little Henny Penny, the chicken who was convinced the sky was falling?  She pulled out her phone and posted all over social media, “The sky is falling! The sky is falling! ” Henny Penny got all of her friends all worked up about something that could have been just a bump in her day.  For Henny Penny, who had something literally fall from the sky and hit her in the head, it made sense to worry that the end was near.  After all, something, an acorn, I believe, hit her in the head.  She felt like the sky was falling at that moment.  Then she went around, like a chicken with its head cut off ( I’m not sure I like that visual) and got all of her friends believing their sky would fall too! After all, she had proof that the sky fell!  She probably had a bump on her head, and how else do you explain that?  She was just going on about her day when something fell and hit her in the head, why wouldn’t it have been the sky?!  That was her reality.

What Henny Penny didn’t know, was that her reality didn’t have to be her friends’ reality.  She was probably having a bad day anyway, and maybe she was mad at herself for how long it took her to get out of bed that morning because she stayed up too late the night before.  Getting up late made her miss her usual breakfast, and she was out trying to find a substitute meal and was thinking angry thoughts, and making angry chicken noises, and BOOM,  her horrible reality caused something horrible to happen to her.  She could have looked down, seen that an acorn had fallen from the sky, and been thankful that now suddenly she had something to eat for breakfast.  But, instead, she kept on with her terrible mood, and attitude and went on to complain to her friends and got them into a scared and bad mood too.   Foxy Loxy might have been having an okay day, which could have improved to a good day if he would have just tried a little, but then Henny Penny shows up talking about the sky falling, and that was all it took for him to run down the rabbit hole with Henny Penny, and he was scared too!

Goosey Loosey’s day was just fine until she heard the other two shouting from the rooftop about the sky falling! Instead of ignoring them and going on about her business,  she started thinking, well, she did hear something odd outside this morning, and maybe that was what she heard?!  It could be,  you never know what bad thing might happen.  Maybe she should go get supplies just in case the sky really was falling.

You’ve probably heard about Ducky Lucky, Loosey Goosey, Foxy Loxy, and Turkey Lurkey, but had you heard of Kitty Catty?  She was a Siamese cat, and she rarely followed the crowd. She followed her own path, and things always worked out for her.  She didn’t buy into the whole, “the sky was falling” panic that all the others were shouting about.  She just pointed her nose and tail up in the air and walked in the other direction when all her friends and neighbors came by shouting as loudly as they could.  What her friends didn’t realize was, that her sky wasn’t the same as their sky.  She believed that her reality was her own, controlled by her, and her alone.  So, her sky never fell in.

Depending on the version of the story that you have heard, either Henny Penny and her friends finally realized that the sky wasn’t falling.  Just because one thing fell from the sky, or just because something bad happened, that didn’t mean they were doomed.  They realized that how they felt about the situation had a lot to do with how things turned out.  Perhaps you heard the version of the story which does lead to doom for Henny Penny and her friends, their belief that the end was near, really did bring about the end for them when they were all eaten in a cave by some big animal!  All, except for Kitty Catty that is, who of course didn’t believe in all the doom and gloom, and lived to experience another day. Be like Kitty Catty.  What you think about, really does affect the way things happen in your life.  Take care not to focus on what you don’t want, and think about what feels good, what makes you happy, and what you do want to happen in your life.  If you can do that, you will find yourself living a healthier and happier life.

120. Follow Your Gut

We’ve all heard that saying before, to follow your gut.  It’s good advice.  Your gut always knows what you should do.  You just have to learn to pay attention to it.  That’s the tricky part. Maybe because we have such an epidemic of poor health these days, especially in America, we are used to our gut feeling upset all the time.  So, we don’t necessarily notice what our gut is trying to tell us.

Just like this awesome video by Devo, Gut Feeling, our gut isn’t really into expressing itself with a lot of words.  Once it does start talking to us, it can really seem like it’s just screaming at us, especially if we aren’t really paying attention. Watch the video, and you’ll see what I mean!

Doctors and researchers are just now discovering how complex your gut truly is and what it’s all about (yes, I’m ending my sentence with a preposition… but, not really because of this little note). They are now calling the gut our second brain.  It turns out the gut is just as important at running the body as the brain is.  So, all this time, whenever people have talked about going with their gut, or their gut reaction, it was more than just talk. More than just a metaphor.  Your gut really can tell you what is best for you!

“Follow reason but don’t ignore that gut feeling. We create reasons with our limited knowledge and experience, but gut feelings often come from universal knowledge.”
― Debasish Mridha

Listening to your gut can really come in handy.  I do it all the time, or at least I try to remember to do it.  I did it when I went to England right after 9/11. My mother and I went to visit my aunt who was living and working in England at the time.  We weren’t sure if we should fly at that time, but my gut said, “go for it“!  My mom reasoned that it might have been the safest time to fly because all kinds of new precautionary measures were in place. So, we went, and we were fine.

Have you ever tried to decide if you should buy something? Maybe you decided not to because something about it just didn’t feel right?  That was your gut telling you that you shouldn’t do it! That uneasy feeling, that is your gut talking to you.

Today, people are worried about the coronavirus.  I know several people who are trying to decide if they should travel now.  Is it safe?  I think it all depends on what your gut is telling you.  Some people will do everything under the sun and be fine.  Others, won’t be so lucky.  Listen to your gut!  That feeling is there for a reason!  God made everything for a reason!  When you are trying to make a decision, and you get a weird feeling in your stomach, that weird feeling you get isn’t just a fluke, it’s God or the Universe telling you, “no”!  It’s a bad idea!  Listen!  If you will always listen to your gut, your life will go much more smoothly than if you let your brain make all of your decisions.  Your brain can tell you if it’s statistically a good decision to do something or go somewhere, or buy something, but your gut knows if it’s best for you as an individual.  Your gut knows you better than your brain knows you. Keep that little tidbit in your brain, and you’ll be just fine!

119. Your Spidey Sense

Okay, we all have that voice inside our head that keeps yammering away, no matter what.  But, have you noticed the other voice that is much easier to ignore?  It’s much much quieter. You won’t even notice it if you don’t pay attention. But, if you do, you’ll find that it’s a source of great advice.  It will tell you when you’ve forgotten to check something or forgotten to do something.  It will tell you which item to choose when you are trying to decide which one you really want or need.  It is a never-ending source of guidance and encouragement.

Some people call it intuition.  Some people would say that it’s a gut feeling.  It could be called your inner guidance system. Your higher self.  Your spirit guide. Maybe, your internal GPS.  Yet others would say their spidey senses are tingling!  It really doesn’t matter what name you give it.  Just know that it is there to help.  Always.

“The Higher Self is whispering to you softly in the silence between your thoughts.” ~ Deepak Chopra

That quiet voice is filled with knowledge that you may not remember learning.  It is full of a wisdom which is greater than yourself.  It’s unlike learned knowledge, which you may have to stop and try to remember or think about.  This information comes in a flash, or quickly.  When you have a problem, it’s often the first thing that comes to mind.  If you pay attention.  It doesn’t always have to be a big thing, sometimes a thought pops into my head to remind me of some little thing I should do.  If I am paying attention enough to realize it, and I follow the advice, it always works out for the best.  If I ignore it and let my brain enter into the conversation, I almost never end up following the advice, and I regret it later.  Say, I’ve asked my husband to help me adjust my computer (I can’t do it myself because I can’t move… ALS), I may suddenly have a thought that I will probably want my blanket adjusted too, sooner rather than later, and I should ask my husband to do it now while he’s standing right there.  If I pay attention to this thought, and I have him pull my blanket down, I’m fine. If I’m thinking of other things, and don’t listen, or my brain says, no, you can do that later, you’re fine!  Then, more than likely, when I really need to move the blanket (which again, I can’t do myself because… ALS) because I am suddenly burning up, he will probably be outside, and I will be stuck waiting, for whatever reason, wishing I had asked when he adjusted my computer!

Have you ever run out of the house, in a hurry to get somewhere, only to realize, too late, that you’ve forgotten something?  Have you done the exact same thing in a different situation, but that time you remembered right before you left that you had forgotten something and you went back to get it, saving yourself some time, maybe an extra trip, and anger at yourself for forgetting?  That was you paying attention to your intuition.  You weren’t too busy listening to the thoughts produced by your brain, thinking, and you heard your higher self.

How do we hear that little voice?  You have to slow down, and pay attention.  You may be listening to the advice you receive on a daily basis but have never stopped to think about it.  Your brain often gets credit for the work of your intuition, or internal GPS.  But, whenever you catch yourself thinking of an answer to a problem immediately, it might just be your inner guidance system at work.  Try to differentiate between the two and you’ll find your life going much more smoothly and easily.  Your intuition or your internal GPS is like a muscle, it can increase in strength the more you use it.  Lucky for me, it is not really a muscle, because I have that muscle zapping ALS!  So, work your spidey senses muscle, and before you know it, it will be tingling constantly!

118. Mind Chatter

I have a voice inside my head that never shuts up! I do mean, never.  Ever.  I try my best to quiet it with meditation, but my mind is constantly interrupting with thoughts.  Stupid thoughts, like, I need to make sure to get bread today.  Or, I’ll suddenly remember that I forgot to email someone back after I read their email.  Or, maybe a blog post idea will pop into my head.  It’s always something interrupting my meditation. I try distracting my thoughts with TV and movies. That just makes more nonsensical thoughts pop up, “Oh, what was that other movie she was just in?  You know, the one with the monkey?  That one that other guy from that other show was in!? ”  Sometimes I can read a book, or write a blog post, and it seems to slow down, but it’s always there in the background.  We all have that little voice that incessantly chatters away.  Even when there isn’t much to discuss, our little voice makes up scenarios, what if this or that happened?  What will so and so say?  If the voices in our heads were audible, we would all be in trouble!

Thoughts are different than thinking.  Random thoughts float through our minds almost constantly, but thinking is when you purposely try to find an answer or have control over the pondering. I say, any thought that doesn’t make you feel good, is a thought you don’t need.  Whenever you catch yourself with one of those thoughts, shut it down!  When you hear about a job opening at your place of employment, but you find your thoughts saying, “Well, I probably wouldn’t get it anyway”,  shut them down!  When you have a test to take, and you study and study, but just can’t seem to remember everything, you could find your mind saying, “I’ll never remember all of this!”  Stop your thoughts in their tracks.   How many times have you been cut off in traffic by another driver and find yourself going through what happened in your mind and keeping yourself upset long after it happened?  It’s over and done, yet your thoughts are still going over it in your mind and making you upset.  There is no logic in allowing your thoughts to affect your mood in this way, yet we do it anyway.

Why oh why do our thoughts seem to repeat endlessly on situations that were negative or traumatic events?!  Those thoughts would be best never to be remembered again, but our minds dredge them up every so often, nevertheless.  Psychology tells us when our minds run through all the occurrences of a traumatic experience, our bodies react the same way as we did when it was happening for the first time, your body can’t tell the difference.  If that is true, is it any wonder so many people have problems with depression, anxiety, and other health issues?!

Lesson four of A Course In Miracles says, My thoughts do not mean anything.  If we are willing to accept that our thoughts are meaningless, then we can accept change much more easily.  Those long-held beliefs (thoughts) of ours might not be right.  We really are good enough.  We might actually deserve to have things work out for the best.  Whatever those nagging thoughts are floating through our heads on a never-ending loop mean nothing.  That is a good thing! Don’t let that voice in your head, and those thoughts run amok ( this memory always pops up in my mind when I think of the word, amok) anymore.   Remember they are meaningless.  Be mindful of your thoughts and don’t hold onto them, but let them come and most importantly, let them go.  Allowing them to flow without attaching emotions and meaning to them is the key.  It takes practice.  I am reading a great book about The Course In Miracles, by my favorite author, Pam Grout.  I invite you to give it a go as well.  She makes learning about life interesting and more importantly, fun.  Life is all about fun.  If you aren’t having fun, you might just benefit from this book.  Until next time…

117. What You Didn’t Learn In School

There are so many things that we just don’t learn in school.  The last I heard, school was supposed to prepare you for life.  But, it really does so very little in that regard.  School teaches us so much when it comes to math, science, and history, but it falls short when it comes to daily living.  If you are older, then you probably took a Home Economics course in school.  What we called, Home Ec, is the closest school has ever come in teaching us how to live our daily lives.  In Home Ec class, we would learn to cook and sew, among other things.  In something called, Industrial Arts class, we learned to make things for ourselves and how to use tools, including power tools. I think I made a wooden tic tac toe game. Maybe not essential for living, but, I did use some power tools without chopping off any fingers, and that is a pretty important thing to be able to do!  Some people just don’t need to know how to do calculus or much past the basics of chemistry to survive in life, but you do need to know how to sew on a button and make food to eat, you need to know what foods you should be eating. and maybe how to run a power saw at some point in your life.

I remember taking a health class in high school. I don’t remember much of what we learned.  I could recite very few of the bones in the body today, although, at some point, I knew them all.  However, after the test was over on that subject, my mind seemed to put that knowledge in the unneeded information category, never to be thought of again.  I don’t remember learning much about what foods we should be eating.  That is, other than that food pyramid that was all the rage in those days.  Every doctor’s office and school health class in the world had a poster of a food pyramid back in the day!  It turns out that the food pyramid was a bit off according to today’s information.  No one paid much attention to them anyway, when we had Coca-Cola and McDonald’s to drink and eat, those options seemed so much more appetizing!

Today doctors are just now learning about the power of our gut, and something called a Gut Microbiome.  It turns out that we have what the medical community is calling a second brain in our gut.  Weird, right?!  It may actually be just as, or even more, important than the brain in our heads.  Your local primary care physician might not be on board with the whole gut health thing yet.  But, it’s pretty important.  Just like those food pyramids, that most doctors have reconsidered and would not go by today, one day all doctors will be up to date and concerned with your gut health.  It turns out that the standard American diet is the worst possible diet you could ever eat for gut health, and in turn, your overall health.  Who knew, right?!  Our fast food, snack foods, and chemically filled drinks ( sorry Coca-Cola) are horrible for your gut health.  Of course, those of us that grew up eating and drinking those foods didn’t learn about how bad they really were, because people just didn’t know back in the day.  Our parents probably grew up with Coca-Cola, and some fast, or maybe “faster” foods, but that was the exception to their daily diet.  A milkshake or a Coke or Pepsi was a treat, not a daily occurrence.  So, no one thought anything about eating that way more and more often.  Thanks to advertising and tricky marketing, it just sort of happened.  Because the results of poor food choices don’t always show up until years later, we can eat those bad foods and mistakenly think that it isn’t affecting us negatively. And, don’t even get me started on GMOs ( genetically modified organisms)  and the chemical pesticides that are supposed to be safe for human consumption!!  Our gut is filled with bacteria, good and bad bugs.  Yes, they are like bugs.  So, knowing that pesticides are meant to kill bugs… Is it any wonder we are all feeling bad when we eat food both genetically modified and sprayed with gunk meant to kill off bugs?!  We are not only killing the bad bugs, but also the good bugs in our bodies!

The point of all this is that we need to keep learning on our own because we can’t learn everything we need to know in school.  New information is always popping up.  Health has been my focus for years, so I have continued to research and learn on my own about health-related issues.  If you are interested in health, there are many great sources out there, on the worldwide web.  I am looking forward to watching a docuseries online called,  The Healing Key Series.  It is totally free.  Of course, I’m sure there will be a chance to sign up to continue to receive news on the topics discussed for a fee, but that is not required to view the docuseries. I have watched another series created by this couple, about gut health, and they are very sincere people who have come to this path, like most people, because of their own health issues.  Check it out if you have time, or find your own answers, but keep learning, no matter what topic you are interested in, and find out what they didn’t teach you in school.

116. No Worries

Let go and let God.  I’m guessing you’ve heard that before, or something similar to that?  Easier said than done, as it turns out.  But, we really need to remember this and try to practice it daily.

If you knew everything was really all right, and that it always has a happy ending, then you would not feel trepidacious about your future. Everything is really so very all right! If you could believe and trust that, then, immediately everything would automatically and instantly become all right.

Excerpted from Silver Springs, MD on 4/11/99

Our Love,
Esther
(and Abraham and Jerry)

Just reading the quote above brings about a sense of peace and an air of calmness to me.  Things will work out.  No matter what the situation.  God, or the Great Spirit, or the  Universe… etc…, has our back.   You don’t need to worry about every little thing or anything.  Put out your prayer, or your intention, and sit back and let it work itself out.  I need this advice right now.  I won’t go into details, but really, not a day passes in my life when I don’t need to remember this.  You may or may not know, I live with ALS and am host to several other health problems.  It’s like a party in my body, every day!  Hahaha (LOL)!

It’s great advice because, when we concentrate on the problems we are having, no matter what they are, all we are doing, generally, is hanging onto the problem, and not allowing the solution.  So, if we can let go of the issue, then we can more easily allow the answer into our life.  Let it go.  Go with the flow. Swim downstream instead of upstream.  It has been put in many different ways, but it all has the same meaning.  If you want to feel better and have life flow more smoothly, just do it (even Nike knows it)!

115. Imagination

Some people have great imaginations.  Some people, not so much.  We all used our imagination when we were kids.  It seems older generations did more so than kids today,  but that’s another story.  The point is, that imagination isn’t just for fun.  It is actually a really important tool for living your life.  Who know knew, right!??  God gave us our imaginations for a reason.   Of course, using your imagination is fun, especially when you are a kid.  But, it turns out, that is how we should be planning our futures.  We are all supposed to be imagining whatever we want out of life, thinking about it as if it has already happened. Really feeling how you would feel when it happened.  If you do this, it will come to be. That is the law of attraction.  And that is kinda all there is to it!  Simple, right!?

Using your imagination to create what you want your life to be, seems to be a bit of lost knowledge.  I mean, people talk about it, but you certainly don’t learn it in elementary or high school.  You don’t learn about it in college.  Nor do most churches mention it, but it definitely works.  The catch is, we don’t usually think about planning our lives in this way, so we end up creating our lives by default. We think about things we don’t really want and imagine them happening, and then wonder why things never turn out the way we want them to.  We have all done this without realizing it.  Have you ever worried that you would get a bad grade on a test in school?  Maybe you thought so much about that bad grade that you accidentally put all your focus on a bad grade, and, in turn, that is what you got.  Have you ever had a job interview you really wanted, and because you wanted it so badly, you convinced yourself that it probably wouldn’t happen?  How about when you seem to have more bills than money?  Most of us have been in that situation at one point or another. Did you find yourself thinking about your lack of money?  Or did you imagine that you had plenty of money for whatever you needed?

I am not saying that you don’t have to do anything except imagine what you want.  I mean, if you daydream about becoming a wonderful physician, then in addition to imagining it happening, you will have to go to college and medical school and do an internship.  But, getting good grades, and getting into medical school, and getting that internship, and becoming a wonderful physician will all come about easier if you work at it, and use your imagination.

If you want better health, then use your imagination to picture yourself in enjoying better health.  Don’t concentrate on how bad you feel.  If you want a new job, imagine what it would be like to have that job, and stop thinking about how much you hate the job you have now.  Get the idea?

I haven’t got it all figured out yet, but I know our imaginations are an important part of the puzzle of life.  They are fun because life is all about having fun!  If you aren’t having fun, then work on exercising your imagination and see what you can create in your life.  God made you a creator, so start creating!

114. A Year Of Surprises

When I was a kid, I, like everyone else I knew, went to see Santa every December in the shopping mall.  I sat on his lap, and I told him what I wanted for Christmas.  My mother always encouraged me and my sister to ask for a few things we wanted and then ask for surprises. Of course, that was her sneaky plan to get us excited about getting things we didn’t expect to get.  So, every year I did just that, and every year I ended up getting some things I wanted as well as some other things that were surprises.

Life kind of works like that.  If you only got the things you ask life for, your life might end up pretty boring.  How fun would it be to only get what you ask for?  Never any surprises.  Boring.  But, if you allow life or the universe to surprise you, your life will be much more interesting.  I promise.

Even those things we think of as bad surprises can eventually prove to be some of the best things that ever happen to us.  I am not sure I will ever be grateful for ALS, but I have learned to be thankful for the changes it has brought about in my life.  I am surprised at the changes it has brought about in every part of my life.  I have learned so very much.  I have become a whole different person over the years.  That happens to us all though, life changes us, hopefully for the better, depending on what we experience.  I have friends who have been surprised by divorce affecting their lives.  They are much happier now that they have gone through it, even though they never thought, at the time, they would be able to say that.  Some people get fired from their jobs and end up finding an even better job that makes them much happier.  The bigger the surprise, the more chance for a surprisingly happy change.

Fun fact:  Robert Burns who gave us the most popular New Years poem/song, “Auld Lang Syne“, also penned a not so popular poem called, “Address Tae The Haggis”.  Possibly the only poem about eating sheeps guts.  I have a feeling Mr. Burns knew how to accept life’s surprises and enjoy them.

We must learn to get excited about the changes in our lives.  The good, and also what we think will be bad.  Accepting change will make life more fun.  It’s all about having fun.  So, try to enjoy your new year filled with surprises.  How you accept and deal with those surprises is up to you.  So, try to make the best of whatever happens, and remember to go with the flow and have some fun.