67. It’ll Be Okay

It will be okay.  No matter what it is, it will all work out.  Maybe not today, or tomorrow,  but one day, you will realize you made it through whatever it is that has you worried.  Nothing lasts forever.  If you voted Republican, you might be pretty happy right about now.  But, don’t worry all you Democratic voters, your turn is coming!  It has always been that way, and will be so for the foreseeable future.  We go back and forth, with one side in charge of things for a while, then the other side takes over.  Lately, not really working together, like they should be, but maybe that will change too.

That’s the good part about change.  No matter how much we want things to stay the same, they don’t, and that’s probably a good thing.  So you might as well embrace change, because that is the one thing you can count on.

The tiny things will work out okay too.  I went to a concert the other night, and I mistakenly told my husband the time we actually needed to leave the house (6:30). Our daughters and I have learned, over the years, that if you want to be on time, you have to tell my husband, their dad, to be ready at least a half hour earlier than you really need to.  Maybe even an hour.  Because, he is consistently late.  But, for whatever reason, I didn’t do that, and with the concert almost an hours drive away, I knew we would not make it on time.  He knew we would not make it in time.  But, I decided to ask the Universe /God to get us there in time, and I tried really hard not to worry, or even think about it.  Guess what?  The concert started at 8:00.  At 6:00, I was still waiting to get up and go to the bathroom, and change clothes.  This is something, for those of you who don’t know me, I can’t do on my own.  So, it takes an unusually long amount of time.  6:05, and we just realized that the tickets didn’t print properly, so I had to find the email, in the sea of emails I have, and reprint the tickets.  6:15, and I finally made it into the bathroom.  Dressed and, almost ready by 6:35.  Then,  my husband still had to get the van pulled around, and take out the chair in the back so my wheelchair would fit in the back.  6:50 and we were out the door, but it would take at least ten minutes to get me and my wheelchair loaded into the van, and the chair strapped down.  Then, to go next door and pick up my parents.  At least another five minutes.  We had some light traffic, which slowed us up a bit. Luckily, I had planned on valet parking.  We made it into the venue, and to our seats as the head of the venue was on stage talking about up coming shows.  Then, no more than two or three minutes later, Mr. John Hiatt took the stage.  I don’t know how, but we made it!

Our calendar day, month, or lifetime, is just a dot in the grand scheme of eternity.  The majority of the people in this world believe that we all live many lifetimes.  While our bodies are temporary homes for the soul, our soul will have many different  lifetimes to live.  Which, is great news if you are having a particularly tough life!  To believe you will get another shot at a life where you can make other choices, or maybe be healthier.

Anyway, the point is, nothing lasts forever!  What goes up, must come down!  The stock market will go back up.  But, it will also go back down.  The USA will again have a President who does not call people names.  If you lose your job, you will eventually find a new one.  You will get over your break-up!

Things will work out, sometimes in spite of ourselves.  We get in our own way so much of the time.  I may have mentioned this before in a previous blog post, but there is a quote from the movie, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel which says,

Everything will be alright in the end.  If it’s not alright, it is not yet the end.

If you believe there is no end, then, even if things don’t work out in this lifetime, they really will, at some point.  If you believe things are always working out for you, believe it, or not, that will go a long way in making it really happen!

 

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66. Ignore Reality

Ignore reality.  Yes, you read that correctly.  If your reality, your present moment, isn’t something you want, stop thinking about it.  Stop trying to figure out how to fix it, stop analyzing it to death, and focus on how you want things to be.  Think about the reality you want.  Analyzing and thinking about what was is a good way to keep the past active in your present.  What is, does not have to be.  But,  it will as long as you keep thinking about it, or talking about it.

Getting over a split up, or divorce will never happen as long as you are still talking about all the things your ex did that caused you to split up.  Thinking and talking about things, whatever they are, to get through them can be good.  But, when you don’t move through them, and just get stuck in them, it is not so good.

Before reality was real, it was a thought.  Before it was real, it was talked about.  Then, over time, it became a thing.  It became real.  So, the way to create something is to first begin by thinking about it.  It then stands to reason, that the way to change something is not to think and talk about how it is, but how you want it to be.  The war on drugs will never be won, because it is focused on how things are, and not how we want them to be.  This war has gone on for as long as I can remember, and it is only getting worse.  You can’t focus on only the problem and expect a solution.  Think in terms of the positive, and not the negative. Have you seen the latest commercials against opioids?  A woman is thinking, or maybe she’s talking to herself,  about how when she gets hurt, her doctor will give her a prescription for opioids, and she will take them, she will take a whole bottle of them, and she will want more and she will go out and find more anywhere she can, then she will do anything to get more, she will lose her job, she will lose her family, the pills, and her addiction will ruin her life.  No thanks, she says / thinks, I would like a different prescription.  Geez!  Talk about dooming yourself!  She hasn’t even taken one pain pill,  and she confident her life is over!  Scared straight, I suppose is the goal of this advertisement?  How about thinking that you can follow your doctors prescribed treatment, and get better, and that millions of people take opioids as prescribed for long-term, or short-term pain, with no problems whatsoever.

That’s where we get stuck, focusing on our problems, or expecting a problem, where there is none.  No matter what the topic, when you focus and discuss to death the problem, you will never get to the solution.  You won’t get to the answer, or the cure, or the resolution.  You can’t get to a positive from the negative.

Ignore reality, even just a little bit, and see how it goes.  Yeah, you may be considered a Pollyanna, but there are much worse things to be other than an overly positive person!

 

65. Unplug, Wake Up

Unplug.  Put down your phone,  close your laptop,  turn off the TV.  Unplugging is especially hard for someone who relies on technology for everything.  I can’t write this blog post without technology.  There are many people I know who can’t even talk to anyone without the use of their computer.  It’s much harder these days to take a break from electronics and just do nothing.  It was so much easier when I was a kid,  and I would just go for a walk for hours at a time.  I was lucky enough to live out in the country,  where your nearest neighbor was at least a quarter-mile away.  I had never heard of meditation,  but,  especially in the summer time,  I probably did a form of it everyday.   My dog and I would go for a walk almost everyday.  We would walk all through the fields and through the woods,  for hours.  We would pick flowers (well, one of us would).  We would pick berries (yes,  both of us).   Nowadays,  even when I try to meditate,  I use a computer or an app on my phone, or computer, with a guided meditation.  It’s called, Headspace, and I’d really recommend it, if you need a little help in that area.  I often find myself thinking of more things,  when I try not to think.  Does that make any sense?

In a world where multi-tasking is viewed as a positive attribute, unplugging can provide a much-needed break.  I used to pride myself in my ability to do many things at once,  and it especially came in handy at work.  Now,  I realize that it’s not necessarily a great thing.  Multi-tasking causes stress and migraines,  and leads to over working. Slowing down your brain is a good thing.  It leads to calm and peace and quiet.

If you can unplug for even a short amount of time, you will feel like you are more awake!  The things you have no time to notice are suddenly there again.  The world will look a little brighter.  The air might smell a little crisper.  Just take a tiny break.  See if you notice a difference.

64. There Is Only Yes

There is only yes.  That is the way the world works.  It might have been nice if someone would have included this in my elementary school curriculum!  Why does no one  mention this?  Maybe that’s one of the long forgotten truths known to the people of biblical times.  I always thought that people of that time must have known things that we don’t know today.  You know, like the answer to how the pyramids were built.

Your life is made up of what you give your attention to.  All that you give your attention to,  both the things wanted and unwanted.  If you think about it, and put your focus on it, the Universe says yes, and you bring it into your reality.  Now, it is more complicated than that, but it is also just that simple.  It is not immediate,  for one thing.  Just because you think about cancer doesn’t mean you are getting cancer.  And, if you focus on getting the chair in front of you to move without picking it up and moving it, it really won’t move by itself!  Believe me, I’ve tried (you know because of the whole lack of muscles issue I have)!

The trouble begins when you decide what you don’t want, and don’t want it so much, that all you do is think about how much you do not want it, and put all of your attention on the thing that you really, really, really don’t want!  You may find yourself thinking about things that you don’t want, because, after all, you can’t know what you do want, until you know what you don’t want!  The Universe listens to you and sees what you are giving all your attention to, and it manifests in your life.  But, it is so very hard for us to not focus on the here and now, when it is so prevalent.  I do not want to be sick, but when I am feeling bad, and my illness seems to be in every aspect of my life, it is all I put my attention on.  It is hard to think about anything else.  If you have very little money, and all you want is more money… but all you can think about is how it is not fair that you work so hard, yet have little money… and you wish you had money… and you have never have had enough money…  and you have so many bills… and you need a new job, and if you could get a better job, maybe you could get more money, etc..  You are focusing on your lack of money.  You are focusing on what is.  You need to focus on what is, less of the time.  You can’t focus on what is in the present moment if you don’t want what is in that moment.  Does that make sense?  If you are able to put your attention on how great it will feel to have all the money you need, then your money will eventually come to you.  It doesn’t mean the money will magically fall from the sky (or maybe it will).   But, maybe you will suddenly come across a better paying job, and you will get hired.  Or maybe you will win the lottery.  You won’t know how the Universe will send money your way, but it will.  I know, it has happened to me.  I have literally had money appear out of blue.  Not just once, but several times, and all in different ways.  Now, if I could only get the good health to appear!  I know I’m on the right track, because I have survived for many years past what doctors told me was possible.

If this all sounds crazy to you, then don’t do it.  It’s that simple.  If your life is great, and you wouldn’t change a thing, then you must be doing something right.  But, if there are things you want to change, then focus on what you want to happen.  I believe life doesn’t have to be all struggle, and hard work to get what you want.  It can be as simple as focusing your attention on what you want to show up in your life.

63. Find Your Bliss

One thing a serious illness will do, is help you get your priorities straight.  The more serious the illness, the faster you figure out what you want to spend your time doing.  When I was diagnosed, I think it took me all of 10 minutes to decide I didn’t want to spend 40 hours a week working.  I turned in my two weeks notice almost immediately. That all changed though, after I had spent several weeks at home.  After working 40 hours a week, running errands, managing a household, taking care of two young children, etcetera, suddenly having an extra 47 ½ hours (work hours,  plus commute time) a week was a tough adjustment.  So, after realizing how much I enjoyed my work, when the opportunity to work 20 hours a week came along, I went back to my old job.  As my illness progressed, and things changed, so did my work schedule.  I was lucky enough to have a job where I could work part-time,  and fortunate to work for a company who eventually set me up to work from home.  That was back when working from home,  online,  was not such a common occurrence.  In the last few months of work, I worked as a consultant and just checked in weekly.  Finely leaving for the second time, five years later.

You will hopefully find yourself spending the minimal amount of time possible doing mundane everyday tasks. Maybe having a perfectly spotless house won’t seem so important anymore.  You might find yourself doing things you would probably never have done before.  You might just walk through the rain shower to get to your car at the back of the parking lot, instead of running through it.  You may discover that you enjoy the time to yourself as you mow the yard.  I found out that I really didn’t mind cleaning my house, but also didn’t want to spend all my time doing it.  Many people who are diagnosed with serious illness, especially one without an easy fix, start searching for alternative treatments,  which generally takes up a lot of time.

Find your bliss.  Do what makes you happy.  While we all have to the mundane everyday chores, don’t spend all your time on those tasks.  If you dread Monday’s because you don’t want to go to work, maybe you need a different job.  What’s that saying, “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life”?  It’s true.  Dragging yourself to a job you hate day after day can literally drag you down. That means more sick days, and the chance for serious illnesses to creep into your life.  I think that’s why it’s possible for the barista at your local coffeehouse to live such a happy and healthy life, while the president of the local bank is dragging themselves out of bed and into that coffeehouse for a jolt of caffeine just to make it into their job at the bank around the corner.  They may be making more money, but the high stress job is making them unhappy.

The moral of this story, is that you don’t have to wait for an illness to strike before you take stock of your life and how much you are enjoying yourself.  Don’t wait.  Do it now.  Make changes if you need to, before you have to.    Follow your bliss.  The rest will take care of itself.  Just be happy, that’s really the most important thing there is in life.

62. Keep A Song In Your Head

When the world around you is collapsing,  it’s good to have a song floating through your mind to get you through it.   Your own private playlist of tunes to see you through your day.   Music can have the power to turn around any mood you may find yourself in. When things aren’t going the way you would like, stop and think of whatever song you love at the moment, and I guarantee you will feel better!

When I was getting ready to go off to college, my mom asked me which I would rather have, a television or a stereo?  She would buy me one for my dorm room.  That was an easy decision.  Definitely a stereo.  While I could live without a TV, I didn’t want to live without constant access to music.

Mother Nature has her own music.  Just step outside and hear the wind rustle through the leaves on the trees, the birds chirping, the sounds of life.  It’s everywhere, when you slow down long enough to listen, you will hear it.

Music has power.  The power to change moods, to change minds, to change people, to bring people together, to heal, and so much more.  Keep a song in your heart and running through your mind and you will be a happy person.  Be one of those weird people who hum while they are walking down the aisles of their local Wal-Mart or grocery store,  while they are pumping gas into their car, sitting at a red light,  etc…  Those people are happy and they don’t care what you think.  They don’t care if you think they sound ridiculous because they are humming a song.  They aren’t worried about how long it’s taking that red light to turn green, or about the person who cut them off in traffic, or about the news on the television.   They are oblivious to the things that might normally upset them while their favorite song is floating through their mind.

Can you imagine what a huge difference it would make if everyone just kept a feel good tune in their heads?  It’s really hard to yell at someone when you are in the middle of your favorite song.  You wouldn’t care as much about anything else.  Have you ever been to a concert?  Do you remember thinking about the latest news, or anything else, other than the music while you were there?  No. That’s the power of music.

I’ve got a song and it must be sung

everyday’s a war, and it must be won

whenever I feel like I’m comin’ undone

the song in my head keeps me marching on

– Sarah Jarosz

 

 

 

61. Pay No Attention To The Stairs

 

Okay, I mean, the stares. If, like me, you happen to be in a wheelchair, you definitely want to pay attention to the stairs!  The summer between my junior and senior year of high school, my best friend, Cheryl, and I traveled through Europe with the United States Collegiate Wind Band.  I have no idea how I landed that gig, being one of only three students from Indiana who were chosen to go.  I played clarinet, and lets just say I was not shocked when, at try outs for chairs, I ended up in the last chair position.  I also didn’t care.  I was going to Europe!

When Cheryl and I returned home after that trip, I ended up making first chair in our high school band.  We had expanded our horizons, we had learned a lot,  and found a whole new sense of personal style.  Gone were the Oxford shirts, trying to fit in, and going along with the crowd.  We wanted to stand out and be different!  We were different.  If Boy George, and Madonna could have their own looks, and not follow the crowd, so could we! We wanted people to take notice of us. Being long time art students certainly influenced us also. And, little did I know, it prepared me for all the looks and stares I would get when living with ALS.

You would think some people were seeing a wheelchair for the first time.  Maybe it’s  because, at least for a long while, I didn’t look like I should be in one.  When your legs just quit working , you don’t necessarily look like you need a wheelchair.  When I broke my collarbone and had my arm in a sling, the looks turned to glances.  People probably thought I had been in a wreck, and the wheelchair made sense to them, so, no stares.  I even got comments like, “Hope you recover soon!”

Once I could no longer eat on my own, the strange looks certainly increased.  Let me tell you, having someone else feed you in a restaurant is like sending out an invitation requesting odd looks and stares.  I have really gotten good at totally ignoring everyone around me though,  so I barely notice it anymore.  Although one thing I’ve learned, is that most people who are doing the staring don’t like it when you stare back at them.  It’s for that reason that I find I really love staring back.  It totally freaks them out,  which makes me laugh,  which freaks them out even more,  it’s a vicious entertaining cycle.

Little kids stare a lot,  but kind of in a different way.  Their stares are out of interest, and not shock.   They sometimes wave, and I try to smile and say hi to them.  They are always fine, until their parents realize what’s going on, and pull them in a different direction,  thinking their child is being rude.  Or, the parent doesn’t care, but doesn’t want to deal with explaining anything, so they quickly walk away. 

My kids have also gotten good at ignoring the odd looks.  Whereas before, they would try to move me ( I forgot to mention that I can’t use the joystick on my chair to drive it) quickly through a crowd to avoid being noticed, they don’t really seem to care anymore.  As well as the guys they’ve chosen to be in their lives,  they always offer to help out whenever they’re around.

So, I guess the point of my story is, not to care about the inevitable looks and stares you will get if you are living with a serious illness.  Or, if you are living with something other than what people consider normal, which let’s face it, is a lot of us!    Just expect it and move on.  Don’t worry at all about hurting anyone’s feelings, if they are obviously not too worried about yours.  Try to have fun with the whole situation. because life is all about having as much fun as you possibly can, and just because you are dealing with stuff doesn’t mean you can’t have fun as you do it.

 

60. Trust In The Process Of Life

Life knows what it’s doing,  we just have to have trust in it.  That’s the tough part for us.  Animals seem to have it down,  but we humans like to be in charge at all times.  Trust is a hard thing for most of us.  Life runs pretty well all on its own,  we just need to give it the space to do its thing.

I am trying to do that today.  Today,  because today my mom went to the hospital, very sick.  The local hospital which I have very little trust in.  But, I have to remember that the Universe / God /The Great Spirit has her back.  All I need to do is ask for healing (more to make myself feel good than God needs reminding),  and trust that it will happen.  I believe all the prayers sent up into the Universe will work.  It doesn’t matter what we ask for,  or how we ask for it.  I don’t think you have to kneel, or follow any certain procedure.  Just the fact that people are thinking about someone can do so much for them.  Sending good and loving thoughts is all it takes to make a difference in any situation.

Trust.  Stop worrying and wondering what might be or might not be.  Those thoughts just drag us down and do no good,  they serve no purpose.  They only slow down the good stuff,  the progress that you want.  Everything will work out,  if we only trust.  We have to remember that our schedule is only our schedule,  not that of the Universe.  We can’t see the future (well, most of us),  so we often don’t know what might be the best for us.  Hold fast to your dreams and wishes.  Think of them with love and happiness.  They will come. Know it.  Trust it.

58. Live Satisfied

 

The reason you want every single thing that you want is because you think you will feel really good when you get there. But,  if you don’t feel really good on your way to there,  then you can’t get there.  You have to be satisfied with what is, while you’re reaching for more.     –  Abraham Hicks

Be satisfied with what you have,  and what you want will come to you much more easily.  Let the Universe do all the work.  You just decide what it is that you want,  and go about your business being happy and grateful for what you have, and the Universe will do the rest.  Sounds too easy,  doesn’t it?  Well,  it’s really not,  for some reason,  easy for us to do.  We worry about when what we want will come,  and why hasn’t it come yet.  What are we doing wrong?  What if it never happens?  We forget to be grateful for what we already have.  And on,  and on we go,  where it will stop,  nobody knows.  Then,  we don’t get what we want because of all the worrying and obstacles we’ve put in the way,  and we think to ourselves,  well,  I knew that would never happen!  And,  the Universe is probably thinking,  well I could’ve told you that a long time ago.  Well,  no,  probably not,  because the Universe / God/ Spirit / whatever name you prefer,  is rooting for us to succeed.

We get in our own way so much of the time.  We don’t even realize that we are doing it.  Our negative thoughts flow through our mind, and we often don’t even notice that they are there,  because we are so used to them being there.  Thoughts of things we don’t want in our lives show up in our minds constantly and that keeps them in our lives.  Thoughts become things,  but that is a whole other blog post!

Being satisfied with what you have is similar to saying be grateful for what you have.  You can want more, yet be satisfied with what you have right now.  Always looking forward to more,  and better things and better situations.  But,  satisfied with the things and situations you are experiencing now.

I am satisfied with my level of health right now (yes,  I really am).  I am grateful for the abilities I have and am working on being satisfied,  while looking forward to my health improving at some point.  But where I get hung up is in the constant thoughts of illness that flow through my mind.  There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about my health,  and how I feel bad,  or focus on something I can’t do.  Just like a Facebook news feed,  thoughts scroll through our minds.  That’s fine,  if that newsfeed is filled with satisfaction, and things that you want in your life.  But,  if not,  then you are focusing on the wrong things.   You can’t focus on what you don’t want and get something else.  If you tune your radio station to 92.3 FM,  you aren’t going to hear what’s playing on 94.7 FM.  It just is impossible.  But for some reason, we don’t think that’s the case in life.  We want something and then think about the opposite of what we want,  all the while not being satisfied with what we have, and wonder why things aren’t going our way!

Practice paying attention to the news feed scrolling through your head.  Practice gratitude and satisfaction in your life. Talk about,  and think about the things you do want,  instead of the things you don’t want,  and see what a difference it makes in your life.

I decided to switch things up a bit,  and put the video at the end of this post.  Enjoy!

 

57. Ordinary Days, Extraordinary Memories

We must learn to recognize the ordinary parts of life as the extraordinary moments that they are.   You know,  the 3:00 a.m. feedings,  the never-ending laundry and dishes,  the nights of no sleep, and on and on it goes.  It is all so ordinary,  and yes, it is also extraordinary.  It only,  unfortunately,  becomes extraordinary when it is no longer there.  When there is no longer a baby to feed at 3:00 a.m., or you can no longer physically do those dishes and laundry,  or the person we did the dishes with is no longer there.  That is when we realize how extraordinary those ordinary times truly were.

Those of us who are living with a serious illness,  may have a much more limited amount of time to enjoy the moments of our lives.  So it is more important to make everyday  moments treasured memories.  When you find you have a limited amount of time to squeeze in the vacations,  and celebrations,  then you must make special memories out of the ordinary days events.  A simple dinner with all of your kids all home at the same time becomes a part of your treasury of memories.  A concert you went to with a friend,  the hummingbird that hovered five inches from your face just looking at you one day, your cat lying on your lap, that movie you went to with your kids,  all go into your treasury of extraordinary memories.  What you learn from appreciating the ordinary,  is that it doesn’t take a special event to be a special day.  It’s nice to have a special event to look forward to,  especially if you are enjoying poor health (can you enjoy poor health??… another blog post).   But,  the everyday can be just as special.

Some of my favorite memories are of time spent with my grandparents,  and even the details of their homes.  I can close my eyes and see every detail of their houses,  from the front door doorknob to the bedrooms,  and everything in between.  Certainly,  in the time it took to memorize those details,  I didn’t realize that one day they would seem so treasured,  but they certainly are.  I didn’t realize at the time that I would one day enjoy the memory of a simple picnic enjoyed outdoors with my grandparents and family.  The flies swarming around my mamaw’s  deliciously cooked  food,  and fresh garden tomatoes that she and my papaw grew in their yearly garden.  For often it’s the everyday memories that are the most treasured. when the loved ones attached to them are no longer there to make new memories.

So,  what the point of this post is,  is to not wait for a special occasion to take the photos,  or really enjoy your day.  Enjoy the everyday.  Enjoy something as ordinary as even doing your dishes,  or just reading a book,  etc… Because one day you may long for those ordinary parts of life. The memory of doing dishes with my grandmother,  was such a boring,  everyday thing,  but now I often remember doing the dishes with her.  She washed,  I dried.  She chatted away about everyday things that made up her week.  Me, tugging at her shirt,  which constantly crept up her back and settled into her pants waistband.  It was a daily ritual whenever I visited.  Lunch, and dinner, the same thing,  over and over.  Just another day, the ordinary, now an extraordinary memory.