42. Feel Good Today

Take a break from whatever is bothering you, and feel good today.   Forget about your problems for just one day,  or one hour,  if that’s all you can handle right now.  Even one minute.  Maybe start with one minute and then go for two minutes,  then five or ten minutes.  Work your way up from there.  Just focus on feeling good.  Focus on any thoughts that feel good.  If you have pain in your back,  and you think,  oh my back hurts so bad!  That thought doesn’t do anything to help you feel better, does it?  When you are thinking the thought,  it may feel accurate,  but it doesn’t make you feel better.  But,  let’s say you instead think,  oh,  wouldn’t it be nice if I woke up tomorrow and my back felt better.  Doesn’t that thought,  in itself just feel like a better thought?  Your back probably won’t feel any better in that moment,  but the thought of it feeling better at some point in the future feels good.  Pay attention to your thoughts,  because whatever you are thinking about is what finds its way into your life.  If you are constantly thinking about things you don’t like,  things you don’t like will constantly be introduced into your life.

When you are having money issues,  specifically not enough money.  Try,  just for a couple of minutes,  thinking good thoughts about money.  Did you ever notice how it seems so easy for people with a lot of money to make more money?  Maybe it’s because they are focusing on their abundance of money,  so they are attracting more money.   I know,  it’s easier said than done to feel good about money when you have none,  but that is what you need to do. When you think about how you have so little money and how you wish you could have more,  you are concentrating on your lack of money.  Instead,  try thinking in terms of the positive.  Don’t think about how you wish you didn’t have so many bills,  because you are still focusing on the lack of money to pay the bills,  and the debt.  Instead,  think about how nice it would feel if you had all the money you needed to pay all of your bills off.  Doesn’t that thought,  in itself feel better?

You know if a thought feels good or bad by the way you feel when you think it.  If you’re thinking about how tired you are and how you have so much to do that you’ll never get done,  your stomach may feel a little tight,  or upset,  or maybe you get a pain in your back,  or your head might start to pound a little.  There will be some sign that your body isn’t in love with that thought.   But,  if you are thinking about how great it will feel to get home and see what your kids are doing,  or maybe how great it will be to finish up that project you have been meaning to work on,  how you will feel relieved when you have finished and will feel a sense of accomplishment.  Those are good feeling thoughts,  and your body may feel relaxed,  or you may feel happy,  or content.  You might find yourself excited to get started on your project.  Feel the difference?

Try to take some baby steps in just beginning to notice what thoughts you are thinking.  Replace those negative thoughts with happier,  positive thoughts and feelings.   Always think in terms of the positive instead of the negative.  If you don’t want something to happen,  don’t think over and over again about how you don’t want it to happen,  because you are still focused on what you don’t want.  Instead,  focus on what you do want!  If you wish that you wouldn’t get the flu this year,  but you keep thinking about how you don’t want to get the flu.  You get your flu shot,  and you really hope it works.  You notice when anyone at your work is absent,  and wonder if they caught the flu.  You hear about how many people have been diagnosed with the flu that week on the news.  You think well maybe you won’t get it.  And,  then after two or three months of this,  guess what,?  You get the flu!  Or,  maybe you don’t.  But,  I believe that your chances are a lot better that you don’t get sick,  if you were to simply switch your focus to the hope of being healthy, and feeling good.  Don’t think about the flu at all.  Think in terms of the positive (health),  instead of the negative (flu).

If you have a bad day at work,  and on your drive home you continue to go over everything in your mind that went wrong in your day,  you will continue to feel bad,  even though your work day is over.  Instead,  try to find some happier thoughts to focus on. Maybe you could think about how good it will feel to get home.  Maybe just focus on how good it feels to be driving and not at work.  Maybe you can turn on the radio and focus on nothing except driving and the music playing.  Those would all be better feeling thoughts than thoughts about your bad day.

I recently had a weird freak type of accidental thing happen to me.  I was sitting in my chaise lounge chair with my computer on my table in front of me,  and surfing the internet when the sun hit our truck outside and was suddenly shining directly into my eyes.  I use an eyegaze system to control my computer, and it quit working because of the sun hitting my eyes.  I bent my head this way and that,  trying to get it to work,  and suddenly found myself with my head slumped forward and my chin on my chest.  My neck muscles weren’t strong enough to lift my head up.  I was stuck.  I had my computer right there,  but couldn’t see it enough to type.  I had my phone,  but because my chin was on my chest,  I couldn’t talk enough to ask Siri to call anyone.  My husband was outside mowing.  All I could do was wait.  I could have spiraled into thoughts about how much my neck was beginning to hurt,  and how long I might have to wait until my husband came back inside.  But, I tried to stay positive.  I thought that the situation was the perfect opportunity to try a little meditation.   I never seem to be able to find time for it,  so I gave that a go.  Then, after a full two minutes of meditation (I’m guessing),  I tried thinking about how good I would feel when I heard the lawnmower pull up to the garage.  I thought about the relief I would feel when this was all over.  How good I would feel when I heard my husband open the door to the utility room,  and then the door to the hall way.  I focused on how good it would feel when he lifted my head back up.  Did any of that help to get my head up any faster?   No.   But, you know what?  The time I spent with my head stuck in a horribly uncomfortable position went by amazingly quickly.  It was an hour and ten minutes.  It felt more like twenty minutes.   I also feel like I recovered really well from the whole ordeal.  Normally any fall or accident like that would affect me for days.  This time, not so much.  So, my positive attitude made all the difference.  And,  it gave me a good ending to my blog post!   Try to think in the positive,  no matter what is going on in your life right now,  and see if it makes a difference for you too!

 

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41. Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow

 

No matter what you are dealing with in your life,  money issues,  or health problems,  etc…   For those of you who had young children at the time you started on your series of unfortunate events (any Lemony Snicket fans out there), they probably provided you with all the reason you needed to fight the good fight.  Even if, like me, you had young children when you were diagnosed, you need to continue to find that energy and will to keep going as your children get older.  Those with children might be able to look forward to years with grandchildren.  But until then,  what will you do to stay busy and look forward to the future? 

It’s important to stay involved in life.  Find something to look forward to.  Whether it’s your child’s graduation day, watching a grandchild grow up, the next time your roses bloom, or just the next season of Orange Is The New Black, or Grey’s Anatomy (I could go on forever here).  Find something to look forward to, something you don’t want to miss.

Even though I, quite literally, almost can’t move a muscle (okay I admit, I can bend my thumb on my right hand), if it weren’t for me, many things wouldn’t get done around my house.  Even though I can’t physically do much,  I do a lot.  I can pretty much guarantee that the sheets on the bed would rarely be changed,  if I didn’t ask someone to do it.  No one would get a Christmas or birthday gift (well, maybe cash).  I am the one who pays all of our bills, online.  I also communicate with teachers, doctors, friends,  and family, with the help of my Tobii eyegaze computer system (Thanks Team Gleason).   I have hired housekeepers, online.  I make sure we don’t run out of toilet paper, and have food in the house.  I make travel arrangements.  I planned an entire trip to Ireland all online.  I garden and decorate my home.  Or, at least I get one of my unpaid children to do it.  I once organized (with some awesome  benefactors),  and raised money for a trip for a young Facebook friend of mine with ALS, to go to an IndyCar race in Long Beach.  I started this blog.  I could go on and on.  I find ways to stay involved with life, and find enjoyment in it,  no matter what health problems I might have. 

If you are going to have a reason to keep going, you are going to have to listen to your heart.  You need to enjoy life and have a passion to live it.  Life is all about having fun!  No one teaches you that in school.   If you aren’t having fun, sorry,  but you are doing it wrong.  For me, as my children got older and less of my time was spent concentrating on them, I was led to start writing down my thoughts.  A friend of mine, Sarah Ezekiel, was led to create beautiful artwork with only the use of her eyegaze computer system.  Whatever you find you have a passion for, go for it!   It only matters that you enjoy doing it.  You may find that your singing will make a baby cry, but if you enjoy it, go for it,  hit the karaoke club!  Just find something to keep yourself involved in life and thinking about and planning for tomorrow! 

40. Life Is Good

Life is good.  My life is pretty great,  except for that bothersome ALS  thing.  I have a wonderful husband,  who I’ve known for over half my life.  I have two great daughters,  and their boyfriends are awesome.  I have great families all in all, on all sides.  Not perfect,  but mostly great.

Life is good.  I always have enough money to do whatever I want (well, within reason).  And,  if I don’t have the money I need,  the Universe sends some my way in cash, or through some other means.  I mean, I doubt I could ever afford a mansion or a yacht or anything, but lucky for me, I don’t really want one.

Life is good.  I’ve inherited an appreciation for all things from Mother Nature.  Including everything with no more than four legs (eek!).  My grandfather was an excellent gardener,  and grew beautiful roses.   I would work in my yard/garden every day,  if I could.

Life is good.  Luckily I inherited an appreciation for the arts (both art and music),  and some artistic ability,  from both sides of my family.   I have a great-uncle who is a wonderful artist,  and who actually began a college of art.  He once owned one of the largest looms in existence,  and was going to give it to me,  but I had no room large enough for it!   I have famous musicians in my family.  They are awesome and I would say that at least one of them is maybe a little eccentric,  as most musicians are, which makes them even more cool.  I strive to be unique.  I hope one day someone,  somewhere will say, “Oh yea,  I remember her,  she’s sort of eccentric.”

Life is good.  My husband and I are at a point in our lives where we just do what we want.  We recently bought an RV,  and are going to start traveling anywhere and everywhere we can drive.  We started with a trip out West last year,  and we’re heading back there soon again this year.

That’s not to say that I don’t have bad days,  or that things don’t go wrong in my life.  If one thing,  like a furnace quits,  you can bet something else will quit too.  Recently,  our generator on the RV quit,  causing the cancellation of a month-long trip to Florida.  Soon after that our furnace quit,  and the transmission on the truck started giving out.  Everything all at once!  But,  I find something to be grateful for, and move on.  This time,  I was grateful that we were not in Florida when our furnace gave out in the middle of the winter.  It would’ve been disastrous to be gone,  probably returning to broken water pipes, and who knows what else.  We also happened to avoid some nasty tornadoes that hit the town in Georgia which we had planned to stay in on our way back from Florida.  Someone was looking out for us!  I think someone,  or a lot of someone’s,  know that I need all the help I can get,  and make sure I get it!

Life can be good,  no matter what is happening to you!  Nelson Mandela spent years in prison,  but managed to remain as content as he possibly could.  This poem by William Earnest Henley,  helped him face each new day with strength.

 Invictus

Out of the night that covers me, 
      Black as the pit from pole to pole, 
I thank whatever gods may be 
      For my unconquerable soul. 
In the fell clutch of circumstance 
      I have not winced nor cried aloud. 
Under the bludgeonings of chance 
      My head is bloody, but unbowed.  
Beyond this place of wrath and tears 
      Looms but the Horror of the shade, 
And yet the menace of the years 
      Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate, 
      How charged with punishments the scroll, 
I am the master of my fate, 
      I am the captain of my soul. 

If you can forget about your problems for even a few seconds,  you will feel much better.  If you can forget for a few seconds,  you can change your outlook and your reaction.

“It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.” – Epictetus

If you need a little push in the direction of happiness,  you can always listen to a great song.  You can’t help but smile and forget about your problems for at least a couple of minutes,  when The Muppets from Sesame Street and The Roots are singing a song!  Life is good!

 

39. Find Something To Believe In

Everyone needs something to believe in.  And, I don’t necessarily mean religion.  Oprah would say it’s the belief in something greater than yourself.  Many Native Americans would say it’s belief in The Great Spirit.   Stephen Hawking found his answers through science and in the cosmos.  People who find themselves living with any serious illness, often find the need to search for answers in how to get through it.  The answers may be different for everyone,  but faith in something bigger than yourself can help you find whatever those answers are for you.

I went to the Methodist church growing up.  It was a wonderful church,  but as I got older,  I wasn’t sure if it was quite the right fit for me.  Years later, my husband and daughters,  and I started attending our local Quaker church,  which felt like a better fit for me.  Then, one day my mother and I were in a book store, and I came across a little book called, Heal Thyself.   I read that book, and loved it.   I then found out that there were many more books by,  White Eagle Publishing    Searching bookstores and eBay, I read as many as I could find.   I discovered that this publishing company was a part of The Church of the White Eagle Lodge , which began in England.  And the rest, as they say, is history.   I had found the perfect fit for me.  I know,  the name sounds a bit, “woo-woo”,  but really it’s just a Spiritualist Church. 

Belief, be it in Christianity, Buddhism, the Wiccan faith,  or whatever fits for you, is a way to help make sense of whatever you are going through,  and the world in general.  Whereas in the past, people were limited to whatever belief was practiced in the town that they lived in, now we have the internet,  and access to beliefs all over the world.  You can go to  websites like Beliefnet,  where believe it or not, you can take a quiz which tells you which religion or belief system most closely matches up with what you believe in.  Don’t laugh!  I took the quiz, and their match ups were spot on.  It’s a great site to explore every belief out there.  When my girls were younger,  for years,  because of my illness, we didn’t make it to church as often as I would have liked.  Then there were many years when we didn’t go at all.   But I still wanted them to be aware of all the different beliefs there were, and wanted them to discover what would be a good match for them.  So,  I used to assign to them projects on some Sundays in loo of attending church.  They would have to pick a religion or belief and research it on the internet, using a few trusted sites,  like Beliefnet,  and write a few paragraphs on it (it seemed like a good idea at the time).  They usually spent less time on their project than they would’ve spent at church, just cutting and pasting instead of writing (they didn’t think it was as much fun as I thought it was… Shocking,  I know!), but I think maybe it helped us all learn a little something.  

Oprah did a seven part TV series on different theologies from all over the world,  simply called, Belief.   It is very interesting.   We may use different words to describe our faith,  but the meaning behind those words, often have a lot in common.  Beliefs can overlap and just because you may be a Christian,  doesn’t mean that you won’t also find yourself following the beliefs of the Buddhist faith,  for example.   Whatever you have found to believe in in your life,  it should bring you peace and joy.  Take some time to explore different faiths.  Even if you are perfectly happy with yours.  You might be surprised with what you learn, and find a new understanding of the people who you share this big blue marble with.