79. Positive Energy

No matter what’s going on in your life, one thing is for sure, you need to surround yourself with good energy.  This means good times, good TV programs, good food, a good job, good everything, including people.

I had a friend that I spent some time with who I quickly discovered to be such a drain on my energy, I just couldn’t continue the friendship.  After I found myself comforting her when she had a very public meltdown over the news of my diagnosis, I knew there was only so much I could handle at that time.  While I understood that the news was upsetting, and glad she cared enough to be upset, I couldn’t help but feel like only a few days after receiving an ALS diagnosis, maybe she should have been the one consoling me.  After several other incidents, a year or so later, I called it quits.  I don’t think she ever understood, but I couldn’t be drug down by anymore negativity.

Some people go as far as not even reading news articles related to their illness.  They don’t participate in support groups, whether they are in person or online.  They feel drug down by all the negative discussion, acceptance, and expectation to continue to follow a pattern of decline in their health.  I have to say that I agree.  It can be hard to stay positive when chatting with people who have totally accepted their doctors dismal predictions for their future health.  I participate in online support groups, but don’t spend a lot of time on them.  I offer my support and opinions, but don’t often stick around for the whining.  I know we all have our down days, and I do my share of whining, but I do what I can to keep my battery fully charged!

I try to keep the positive energy going by watching what I put out into the world.  I am trying to be more careful about how I say things.  For instance, I am trying to remember that I was diagnosed with ALS, I am not taking ownership of it by saying I have it.  A little change, and you might think it makes no difference what words you use, but I believe it does.  It’s such a small thing, why not change it?  I also have revamped my Facebook newsfeed.  I have unfollowed anyone who continually posts negative news and comments.  I no longer follow everyone I am friends with who were diagnosed with ALS.  I don’t like all the negativity.  I feel much better these days, scrolling through my newsfeed.

I take a few minutes a day, when I first log onto my computer, and watch an uplifting video.  Right now I’m watching Wayne Dyer daily.  Do whatever you can, wherever you can to keep your positive vibrations going.  No matter how small, it all adds up.  I am right now sitting in an extremely  messy RV, because we have not yet put anything up from our drive to our destination.  But, I am trying to concentrate more on my beautiful view of the Gulf waters outside, than the mess surrounding me!  Every tiny focus towards the positive helps.  Try it, and see.

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77. The World Has Gone Mad!

“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here”.

One of my favorite quotes from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.   Sometimes it truly does seem that the world has gone mad!  People are behaving dreadfully.  People who ought to know better.  Tweeting things they shouldn’t be tweeting.  People are being fired right and left.  Global warming,  fake news, and news you wish were fake, shootings here and there and everywhere.  The list goes on and on.  The world seems to be in a bigly ( I know, but apparently that’s a word now ) amount of trouble.  Has the world gone mad,  or has it always been a bit mad?   After all, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was written in 1865.  The term, “mad as a hatter”, dates back to 1829.

I recently started listening to a podcast called, Lore.  I am hooked on it!  If you want to check it out,  you can find it on Spotify,  or iTunes.  There are also some episodes that were made into a show available on Amazon.  Many of the stories on Lore suggest that the world has always been a bit mad.  It seems that there are plenty of stories out there of mad,  crazy behavior from people dating as far back as you can go.  There have always been plenty of mass murderers.  Many,  many of them were women,  as it turns out.  While this isn’t exactly good news,  it does provide evidence that maybe things in this world really aren’t any worse than they have ever been.

I believe that the world you live in is the one you help create.  If you believe in the boogie man, and that he is out to get you, that’s probably what will happen.  Or at the very least, you will live your life always expecting something bad to happen at any time.  On the other hand, if you believe that people are mostly good, and there are always going to be a few bad eggs, then, that is what you will experience in your lifetime.  I believe the Universe / God is always looking out for me, and that is what I experience.  Example.  I recently started an Etsy store called,  Zuzues Petals.  I do this because I love doing it, not because I am making a lot of money off of it.  I listed a couple of old oyster tins I had come across.  I checked them out on eBay, and one seemed to be going for a decent amount of money.  So, I decided to list it on Facebook Marketplace, and Ebay as well.  Right away, I had an inquiry on Marketplace asking if I could come down on my price any.  I said no,  because it was quite rare, and selling for more on Ebay.  Then, I got to thinking, maybe I should have just taken a little less.  After all, I didn’t know if I would even sell it.  So, the next day, I contacted the person again, and offered to come down by $25.  The person said, that after I declined to change my price, they bought something else and didn’t have the money to spend right now, so they were no longer interested.  That was that, I thought.  But, later that night, I received an offer from someone on eBay, asking if I would more than I had listed it at, if they would buy it now?!  Of course I said yes, and by the next morning, I had a notice in my email that the payment had been made!  I had sold the tin for $100 more than I would have, had I sold it a day earlier.  The Universe / God was there, as usual, helping me out!

That help may not always seem so great.  It may not always seem to be in our favor.  However, no matter what the circumstances, I believe you are in the situation you are meant to be in at that moment.  You just have to trust that everything is going to work out.  You may not always understand it, but I don’t believe in coincidences.  Everything happens for a reason, good or bad.  Example.  I got married at an early age.  It didn’t seem that odd, to me, at the time, but looking back, eighteen years old is pretty young to get married.  You might think that a marriage at that age would have little chance of lasting.  Back in the day, a lot of people assumed that I must be expecting, as those were the days when people got married when they got pregnant.  Well, that wasn’t the case.  I am still married, 33 years later.  Twenty-one of those years have been living with ALS.  So, I’ve always thought that it was all part of the big picture, or the plan.  We found each other, and started our lives together a little earlier than most people would have, because the Universe / God knew that life would get tough for us soon, and we needed some extra years of normal life.

So , even when the world seems to have gone mad, don’t worry, everything is going to work out!

73. Walk Like An Egyptian

If you find yourself longing for the days when all you had to complain about was the weather, or how many cell phone sales calls you received that day, then you might find the need to make some drastic changes in your life to survive whatever it is that you are dealing with.  In your pursuit of health, wealth, happiness, contentment, or whatever it is you are seeking, life might just get tough.  If you have a serious illness, you may find yourself in situations in which you have little control.  Your whole life can feel like you have no control over what happens.  If someone else is caring for you, they might be awesome, but they aren’t you.  They could be an amazing cook, but you might find yourself longing for the days when you chose your own menu.  Eating whatever someone else thinks you want is not always appetizing.  Or, maybe you are in a situation where you can’t even eat at all!  I know many people who live with that as a part of their lives.  Eating is just an example, out of the millions of situations you may find yourself.  This is where living life like a Buddhist monk, or walking like an Egyptian (at least for entertainment purposes), might be helpful.

After all, you wouldn’t expect a Buddhist monk to get upset when things got tough, or didn’t go their way.  They always seem to be at peace, at least in the books I’ve read, and movies I’ve seen.  I think part of their trick in finding peace, is not to focus on the situations that make you feel out of control.  If all you can think about, and worry over is in relation to food, for example, then don’t think about it.  Yes, it is really just that simple, and that hard.  Because, for instance, what’s the first thing you think about when I say, don’t think about a zebra!?  Didn’t that make you think of a zebra?   So, not focusing on something you don’t like isn’t always easy, but if you want the happiness and peace that is possible, you have to find a way to do it.

I have ALS.  I don’t want to have it, I don’t like it, but I can’t seem to stop thinking about it.  Even if I am not directly thinking about it, I’m thinking of something I want to do, or need assistance to do, because I can’t do it on my own, because of this thing in my life called, ALS.  So, I’m constantly indirectly, or directly, thinking about it.  One thing I just did to help myself stop focusing on it, was to change my Facebook newsfeed.  Everyone complains about Facebook, and how much political commentary is on Facebook, and how many people are starting up arguments, and negative postings.  Well, Facebook is whatever you make it.  You have control over your newsfeed.  You can make it what you want it to be.  If all the people on your newsfeed are always arguing and posting political or general posts that you don’t approve of, then maybe you should unfriend those people, or unfollow them. You don’t have to read every post you see.  If you don’t agree, keep scrolling.  You don’t have to comment.  I made changes to my Facebook.  My newsfeed is a pleasant and uplifting space.  I no longer see constant posts of people, who make lots  of political posts, on either side of the aisle.  I also no longer see posts from people who  are suffering through their daily grind, living with ALS.  I  am sorry if they have had a bad day, but me reading about it is not helping them.  I can still go to their pages and check in on them whenever I want.  I have several family members and friends who’s posts I still see, but aside from that, I do not have to wade through the negativity.

We all need to feel like we have a voice and somewhere we can share with others, and Facebook is great for that.  But, you have to know when it is not helping you, and causing you to focus on things you would be happier not focusing on.  That goes both for Facebook and life in general.  Make whatever changes you need in your life to be happy.  If you think walking like an Egyptian might help, give it a try.  It couldn’t hurt, and at the very least,  it might make someone laugh or smile!  My News Years hope for you all is that may you acquire more control over your life, and that you will be able to focus more easily on what you want, and not what you have.

 

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!

 

46. Do Nothing

At some point you have probably said,  or thought,  that you wished you had a day to just sit and do nothing.  What you really mean,  is to be able to do whatever you want,  not actually nothing.  Doing nothing is a lot harder than you would think.  I do a lot of nothing.  ALS and nothing go hand in hand.

I am currently on vacation, traveling out West in our motor home. Riding in the motor home or a car for me, means a lot of sitting,  not moving at all, and basically doing nothing.  I can’t scroll through Facebook,  no eating or drinking.  No reading a book.  Nothing. Well, with a lot of planning and time spent to set things up, I could probably use my phone, or read, but it hasn’t happened yet. Things are especially arduous when riding in the motor home, because the driver and passenger seats are so far apart.  There is no way my husband can reach me to help with anything when he is driving. If hair blows into my face,  it stays there.  If I get thirsty, I have to wait until we stop. If a bug lands on me, it stays there until it decides to move. There also isn’t much talking going on. Between the noise of the road, my quiet voice and my husbands hearing loss, there’s no chance of a conversation. That being said, I generally do like our motor home. I have found that if I have some music (that I like)  to listen to, I can sit just doing nothing besides listening to the music, for hours on end. Music helps the hours spent doing nothing while my husband is driving, fly by.

I did a lot of nothing when I was young, walking through the woods and fields around my house. I could wander around for hours with my dog doing nothing.

Many people meditate to take a break and do nothing. My dog seems to be quite good at doing nothing. He’s happy to do very little too. It seems much easier for animals to do nothing than for people. I remember when I was a teenager, trying to lay out in the sun to get a tan. There wasn’t much chance of that happening. After about ten minutes, I had to get up and do something, I was bored.

Quieting your mind and doing nothing is good for you in many different ways. It helps your body and mind, as well as your soul. So, do what you can to practice doing nothing as often as you can. You don’t have to buy a motorhome and go on vacation, to do nothing, but I would definitely recommend it!

21. Unfollow, Unfriend

 

Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, etc.   The list goes on and on.  They can be oh so helpful, and a  real lifeline to someone with any serious illness, but they can just as easily drag you down. Especially in an election year. Your Facebook newsfeed can be worse than  any political debate or news program. Not just opinion, but down right mud slinging. 

Or,  like recently, when a tragedy occurs,  the news is everywhere you turn.  Speculation about the killer and his / her motivation to commit such a crime.  Arguments about why the person committing the crime was not stopped sooner.  Arguments and division over whatever laws were broken and how they should be changed or not changed.  And on,  and on until that’s all you hear and think about.  Empathy aside,  all that negativity isn’t good for anyone, let alone for someone who needs to focus on healing.  What you read and think about can have a huge impact on you physically.  Take a break from the news, at least the daily negative reports , and I promise the world will keep right on spinning without you there to hear about it.   However, you will feel much better not worrying about the latest political battle, or what country is bombing their neighbor.  I’m not suggesting you permanently stay oblivious, but just take a break.  Give it a try, take a few hours off,  or maybe even a day off from the news and social media.  Unfollow or maybe even unfriend those people or news outlets who constantly post negative information and see if it makes a difference for you. 

11. It’s The End Of The World As We Know It, And I Feel Fine 

A popular (well, popular back in the day) song by R.E.M., it describes how I feel when I watch or read the news. If I don’t let all that bad news stress me out, that is. Watch any news program, and after five or ten minutes you will start to believe that the world has gone to hell in a hand basket! Apparently bad news is more interesting than good news,at least that’s what we have been conditioned to believe. With the news reporting much, much more bad news than good, is it any wonder people struggle with depression and live in fear of the world around them? The evening news reports on as many bad things as they can squeeze into their allotted amount of time, adds in a weather report, and sports , and throws in just one good story before the news ends. Which never really happens, does it? The news ending, I mean. I remember , back in the old days, if you wanted to catch up on the news you read the daily newspaper or watched the news at noon,5:00, or 11:00. Only.  Now, we have access to bad news 24 hours a day. And, thanks to technology and social media, we are bombarded with negative news.

I am convinced that there aren’t any more bad things happening in the world than there always have been. We just hear about them more than ever before. I also believe that the good things that happen far outweigh the bad. We just don’t hear about them nearly enough. Take a minute or two each day to look through Facebook or Instagram, or whatever site you like, and look at all the good things happening ( good things only) in the lives of your family and friends. Think about the good things in your life, and the good will begin to outweigh the bad.  Then, even when the news is filled with stories that are bleek and depressing, you will know that those are not the only stories to be told, and you’ feel fine.