52. It’s All About The Journey

Life is all about the journey.  Every time.  In every situation.  Whatever you are doing, the path to get there is always more important than the getting there.  What happens on your way is always more fun than the destination.  Or,  at least it should be.

I love,  love, love Christmas!  It is by far my favorite holiday.  I start the gift buying, usually in the summer.  Just one gift here and there,  whenever I run across something someone would really like.  I start decorating early.  Soon after Halloween,  I get out a few Christmas decorations.  I totally skip Thanksgiving.  I mean,  we celebrate Thanksgiving,  but aside from a family dinner and putting up a fall wreath,  I move right onto Christmas.  I really enjoy anything and everything about Christmas.  The music,  the decorations,  shopping for gifts, baking special Christmas cookies,  etc..  I used to love going to church on Christmas Eve (it’s hard for me to go out in winter now), because I loved the Christmas hymns.  I mean, I loved the whole evening, getting to see friends,  and hearing the message of Christmas,  but I especially loved the music.  However, when it’s the middle of December, the closer Christmas actually gets,  the more I want to slow it down,  because I know it will all be over in one short day.   It’s the journey that I enjoy so much,  not Christmas Day.

When you watch a movie or a television program,  it’s the figuring out of the who-dun-it that you enjoy,  not the actual answer to the mystery.   When you go on vacation,  you should enjoy the entire trip,  not just the beach,  or the museum,  or the restaurant,  or the tour you took,  but the entire trip.

So,  if you’re not enjoying yourself yet,  you should probably start really soon.  You can’t wait until you retire to start enjoying life,  or wait until you get the job you want,  or the house you want.  If you are sick, you shouldn’t even wait until you are feeling better to enjoy your life.  Start right now.   Slow down, and notice life.  Pay attention.  It’s easy to get so caught up in the busyness that is your life that you forget to have any fun.   I must admit that I used to be like that.  Married, with two young children and working forty hours a week at a job with a round trip commute of 90 minutes every day,  I was always on the go, and never slowed down enough to even think about what I was doing,  let alone enjoy myself.  Well,  I’m sure that’s not totally true.  But, looking back, life was a bit of a labyrinth that I seemed to go through without a lot of thought or reflection.  Until ALS entered into my life, and brought it to a screeching halt.  At least at first.  A serious illness has a way of bringing life to a stopping point,  whether you are ready for it or not.  It somehow makes you stop and pay attention to everything a little,  or a lot,  more.  Actually any sort of tragedy,  not just an illness, has a way of making you stop whatever you are doing and pay attention to life.

So,  try not to wait for a tragedy or illness,  stop and pay attention to life before something forces you to.  When I was a kid,  I lived in a haunted house.  That’s not that big of a deal,  it just meant that my great-grandfather who used to live there,  still either lived there,  or visited often.  But,  what that led to was a lot of talk amongst my parents about things like,  did you see that light just go off when we drove into the driveway?  And,  conversations about odd things that happened.  I didn’t really understand any of it,  but I came up with my own theory that if I believed in ghosts,  one would not find the need to prove their existence by showing up in my room late one night.  So,  if I didn’t want to see a ghost,  all I had to do was believe in them.  I didn’t realize at the time,  that the older gentleman who I saw standing at the end of my bed all the time,  checking in on me,  could have been called a ghost,  but that’s another story.

Maybe a similar approach to health and avoiding tragedy would work.  Don’t wait for bad health or tragedy to strike,  don’t wait to be forced to slow down and take a break.  Enjoy today.  Stop and smell those roses!  Really, just enjoy the journey!  That is what it’s ALL about.  If you aren’t having a good time in your life,  you are doing it wrong.  No worries though!  Just change it up!  Change whatever you need to,  to enjoy yourself.  Start anytime.  If you make a change and that doesn’t work out for you,  try,  try again.

Slip slidin’ away,  slip slidin’ away

You know the nearer your destination 

The more you’re slip slidin’ away 

These lyrics from a song by Paul Simon remind me to enjoy the journey of life.  It’s easy to get caught up in your destination,  whatever that may be, health, or the perfect job,  or a certain amount of money,  whatever your goal.  It’s easy to let your quest take over.  Before you know it, it has become all about the destination and you have forgotten about the journey.  Life is all about the journey.  We have to remember that.  Don’t wait to live your life after you accomplish the goal.  Don’t wait to be happy after you get better.  Don’t let life slide away from you, enjoy every slippery minute!  

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51. Tell The Story Of What You Want, Not What You Have

When someone asks you how you are,  what do you say?  When someone asks how your day was,  what is your answer?  Do you immediately begin the story of what has gone  wrong in your life lately?  Or, tell the story of what body part is hurting the most that day?  Or, do you talk about the good things that have happened!?  Do you tell them about the exciting things you are doing in your life?  Tell the story of what is going good in your life,  not what is going wrong.  Tell the story of what you want,  which may not necessarily be what you have.   Besides,  most people who ask,  are just making conversation,  and they may not want to spend twenty minutes standing with their cart of groceries in the aisle at Wal-Mart, while you fill them in on every detail of your life,  just because they asked you a question.

You don’t have to lie,  or make up a story.  Just change the way you talk about your life.  The more you focus and talk about the good stuff,  the more the good stuff happens!  Ignore the bad stuff as much as possible.  If you are having a tough time with very little money, don’t talk about how you have more bills than money. Talk about how you are expecting to hit the lottery any day now!  Or,  maybe how you are planning on saving up some money to pay off those bills.  Talk about how you are doing fine,  you will have enough money for everything you need and want, even if it’s not actually true yet.  Think in terms of positive, not negative.  The Universe will eventually catch up with your positive thoughts and you will find your money problems disappearing.  Try it!  What could it hurt?  You might have heard about the actor Jim Carey,  and how he wrote himself a check in 1987, for ten million dollars.  He dated it for Thanksgiving of 1995.  He believed that he would somehow make that much money,  even though he was not a famous actor at that time.  He made a notation on the check that it was for acting services rendered.  He finally made that amount when he was cast in the movie Dumb and Dumber,  in 1994.

If you continue to talk about the horrible job you hate,  and think about it,  the Universe only hears what you don’t want.  When you talk, and think about your medical problems, daily, the Universe hears about how bad you feel.  I don’t really mean literally,  there are invisible ears everywhere listening to everyone.  But, what you think and talk about, you set into motion,  and those things are manifested into reality in your life.  So,  you should talk about what you want to feel like.  Not necessarily what you do feel like.  Talk about the job you want to have,  and what you want in your life.  Thoughts turn into things.  Although,  it’s easier said than done.  I get that. It takes practice.  It takes becoming aware of what thoughts are floating through your mind.

When you think about wanting more money,  are you thinking about how you don’t have enough money?  Or,  are you thinking about how good it will feel when you have the money?  What ever you are focusing on, is what you will end up with.  Pay attention to your thoughts.  Try to notice when you are thinking thoughts about what you don’t want in your life,  and quit!  Try to think in the positive (how you will feel when you have what it is you want), and not the negative (not what you don’t have).

Tell the story of what you want.  People may disagree,  but,  I believe in the theory that focusing and talking about what you don’t want,  is just the way to receive more of what you don’t want.  There has been a war on drugs for as long as I can remember.  It seems to me that the more we have talked about how horrible drugs are and how we need to somehow stop it,  the worse it gets.  First it was just a war on marijuana,  it seemed.  We had the whole, Just Say No, campaign.  Now we have an opioid epidemic.  And, mobile meth labs in Wal-Mart restrooms.  Certainly no one would say that things,  relating to the drug problem,  have gotten better.  They have quite obviously gotten much worse, if you can believe the news reports.  It seems that focusing on the problem with drugs has only led to more of a problem with drugs.  And,  as it turns out, marijuana may just do more good than harm.   It can be used to help people with pain and many health problems.  Who knew?  But, I digress.

Don’t follow the advice in the video above.  I love Heart,  but don’t tell it like it is!  Tell it like you want it to be!  Then expect those stories to become your reality.  Start out small.  If you run into me and ask me how I am doing,  you will probably hear, “okay“, or,  “fine“.  I can’t quite imagine,  “great”  yet,  but I’m getting there!  So, give positive thinking and talking a try.   Let your imagination go and watch what happens!

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!

 

34. You Are What You Think

 

 

You’ve heard the saying, “You are what you eat”.  Well, while too many jelly donuts may make your tummy resemble Santa’s, shaking like a bowl full of the stuff, besides watching what food you put in your mouth, you also need  to watch what thoughts you are putting into your mind.  Negative thoughts can affect your body in a negative way, just as much as the food you eat.  I believe this could explain why so many patients who receive a devastating terminal or serious health diagnosis seem to,  many times,  immediately get significantly worse.  Being told that you have cancer and need a horrible treatment,  or that you have a terminal disease,  and only have a few years left,  is a bit unsettling, to say the least.  When negative thoughts  fill our minds,  they can become all that we focus on.  If those negative thoughts are health related,  they can take over,  and become our main focus.  Add to that,  the stress and thought patterns necessary to get through everyday life filled with treatments, doctors, and worsening health,  and it’s a wonder anyone gets better at all.  I believe if doctors could change the way they present the news of an incurable or serious illness to their patients, the recovery and survival rates would skyrocket.  Just letting people know that besides medicine, there are other areas of their lives that can hold the answers to improvement in their health, even something as simple as the thoughts they think,  would make a huge difference in a person’s life.   In the placebo effect,  patients who think they are receiving medication get better when they only received a placebo and no medicine,  because they thought they would get better.  This proves the power that our thoughts hold.  

Author and queen of affirmations, Louise Hay,  said that disease can be reversed by changing your mental patterns.  By eliminating those negative thoughts that automatically play in your head over and over, and replacing them with positive affirmations, you can reverse the patterns that created the disease.  More and more books are being written with similar beliefs.  Philosopher and author, Wayne Dyer, said that when you change the way you look at things,  the things you look at change.  Or, if you change your thoughts, you change your life.  That is true for every aspect of your life,  not only your health.    

I believe that I live in a world filled with mostly good people who are helpful and kind,  with a few bad ones mixed in,  who I almost never run across.  That is exactly what I find to be true.  I run into kind,  helpful people where ever I go.  Does this happen because I believe it is so?

Maybe a little denial isn’t such a bad thing either.  I constantly read blog headlines and personal comments from ALS patients regarding their diagnosis as a death sentence.  While that may be the story they have heard from their doctor,  why let that be your only focus?   I believe if you live with the belief of no hope, and no cure, then that’s what you’ll get.  I truly believe that a big part of why I have survived way past the prognosis of  a 2-5 year life span,  was because I simply refused to believe that was going to happen to me.  Some might say I live in denial, because I believe that no illness is a death sentence, and no situation is hopeless!  As Dr. Phil would say, “How’s that workin’ out for ya?”  My answer is, “Great!” 

The Law of Attraction,  says that whatever you focus on is what you attract to your life.  When you constantly talk about your health problems,  you only attract continued health problems.  If you constantly talk,  or think, about how you have no money,  and how you hate that you have no money,  and you have too many bills,  etc..  You will continue to attract no money,  because that is all you are focused on.  And on, on it goes,  no matter what the topic.  So if you want more money,  or a job that you love,  try not to think about what you don’t have,  and think about what you do want.  Focus on how you would feel if you had lots of money,  or the job of your dreams,  or how you would feel if you could walk again,  or whatever it is that you desire.  Focus on the good stuff and ignore the unwanted bits of your life,  as much as safely possible.  Day dream about what you want to happen in your life,  and soon,  your life will catch up with your dreams.