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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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.

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

 

 

 

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!

 

56. Surviving

You know you are a survivor when it is the anniversary month of your diagnosis,  and you suddenly realize that you had forgotten all about it!  Happy Anniversary to me!  I was diagnosed with ALS 20 years ago this month.  I was supposed to have kicked the bucket, so to speak,  somewhere between twelve and fifteen years ago.  Needless to say,  doctors are not always right.  Don’t get me wrong,  I love my doctors (and I have several),  but they don’t know everything.  Just because you’re terminal doesn’t mean you can’t live a happy,  longer than expected life.

“At first I was afraid, I was petrified…”.  This snippet of the popular song by Gloria Gaynor must be read as if she was singing it to get the full effect.  A few days have made me think of this song,  the day I was diagnosed with ALS,  and the last inauguration day are two that come to mind.  That is one good thing about living with a serious illness, things that may have once seemed horrible or insurmountable, are no longer that big of a deal. Because, if you can live with/survive a serious illness, then you can easily live with/survive anything!  Not only will you survive, but you can be happy as well,  because being happy is a choice and has very little to do with what is going on around you.  You can’t know what you want,  until you know for sure what you don’t want.  Sure, you can think you don’t want to be ill,  but believe me,  once you are,  you really, really realize what you don’t and do want!  Not only in terms of what good health means,  but what is important in your life.  What you want to do for work.  Who you want to spend your time with,  etc… 

This blog post may be unusually short,  because this time I am keeping it short and sweet.  You can survive, whatever life throws at you,  and you can be happy doing it!  I am proof.  You’re welcome.

 

55. Never Give Up

Never,  never,  ever give up!  Never.  You never know what will happen.  The extraordinary happens everyday, everywhere.  When I was a kid,  we had a dog,  named Pup.  I was four years old and my family was moving from an older house that my dad had inherited,  to a new house that my dad and grandfather had built.  I don’t know the details,  but for whatever reason,  my parents gave our dog to some friends of my dad’s who lived in a nearby town. Now when I say nearby,  I don’t mean just down the road.  I mean,  several miles away.   For those of you who live near me,  we lived outside of Greensboro,  and the friends lived out past Memorial Park,  in New Castle.  I know that the friends just loved our dog,  and took very good care of him, even feeding him meals of steak instead of dog food.  Or,  at least that’s how the story goes.  I was after all only four years old,  so I don’t remember the particulars,  this is what I was told.  After some amount of time,  our dog ran away from his new home.  He was gone, I believe, for an entire year.  The new owners had searched for him,  but had finally given up.  Then,  one day,  Pup showed up at our new house!  It had taken him an entire year to find us,  but he did it!  I can’t imagine what he had been through in that year!  He certainly must have felt like he would never find us.  He must have thought about giving up (if dogs contemplate much). But, he never gave up, and he made it back to us!  Needless to say,  we kept him with us.  Maybe his new family found another dog.

There are plenty of stories about people who have defied the odds and miraculous things have happened to them,  when they so easily could have given up.  Author,  Bernie Siegel,  has written several books filled with stories of such miracles.  I read many of his books years ago,  soon after my diagnosis of ALS, and those stories kept me going.  They gave me the inspiration to keep going and not give up. They reminded me that miraculous things happen to everyday people,  all the time.  We just don’t hear about those stories on the nightly news.  Sure,  you might hear of one every once in a while.  They have to add in one positive story at the end of the news,  to balance out the twenty minutes of bad news stories.  But,  I know there are enough amazing stories out there to fill the nightly news each and every night!

Whatever it is you want to accomplish,  set your sights on the having of it,  and know that it will happen.  Once you’ve decided what you want,  go on with your life and just wait for it to show up in your life.  That’s not to say you shouldn’t work to try to make it happen,  but don’t stress and worry about it.  Just follow the path presented to you and it will all work out.  It may not happen on your time line.  Meaning,  it may take the Universe a bit longer to bring it to you than you would like,  but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen.  Never give up.  Never give up. And never, under any circumstances, face the facts. - Ruth Gordon

 

53. Focus

Focus.  It sounds easy enough,  right?  Just focus in a positive direction. Focus on what you want. It can be anything at all.  Health,  wealth,  a new job,  love,  etc…  Imagine,  if you will,  a wheel.  Now,  let me just say,  I didn’t come up with any of this.  I am just sharing what I have heard.  Imagine writing in the center of that wheel something that you want.  I don’t mean write down,  I want a million dollars.  Something that you want to improve upon.  I mean write what you really, really want.  If you are like me,  The Spice Girls song is now floating through your mind,

So, I’ll tell you what I want, what I really, really want
So tell me what you want, what you really, really want
I’ll tell you what I want, what I really, really want
So tell me what you want, what you really, really want
I wanna, (ha) I wanna, (ha) I wanna, (ha) I wanna, (ha)
I wanna really, really, really wanna zigazig ah.

Ok,  got it?  Example.  If you really,  really want to be very, very good at your job,  write this in the center of your wheel.  Then,  you will fill in the spokes of your wheel.  First,  find something that you already believe about what it is that you want.  That is the key.  You should definitely believe it.  So, you would not write,  If I am good at my job, I will get a promotion.  Because,  you most likely don’t believe you will get a promotion.  You might want one,  but you don’t believe you’ll get it.  Let’s say maybe you write,  that you enjoy getting better at something.  Or,  that you like learning more about your job.  Write this on the first spoke of your wheel.  The next spoke might be,  I like my job.  The third spoke,  maybe,  I know I will get better at my job in time (remember,  it should be something you believe).  The next spoke,  may be,  I’m looking forward to improving in my job.  The next spoke,  I’m excited about how improving in my job might lead to new and exciting things.  You go on and on until all the spokes of your wheel are filled with things that you believe about the thing that you want.  You may notice,  as you read through your list,  that you suddenly feel a lot better about the thing that you want so very much.  You may feel like it not so out of reach anymore.  You might notice that you feel better about what you want than you thought you did.

All of this will lead to you feeling good,  and when you feel good about what you want,  and are thinking positive thoughts about it,  instead of negative worrying type of thoughts,  then you will be more likely to end up getting what you want.  Feeling good is really what it is all about.  You can have everything you ever wanted,  but if you don’t feel good about life,  then all of that doesn’t matter.  You can have very little,  but if you feel good about your life,  then you don’t care about what you don’t have.

You can write your wheel down on a sheet of paper, or you can just do it in your head if you want to.  It may take some time.  It’s not a magic trick that works over night.  But,  it works over time.  So, whenever you start thinking those negative thoughts about what you want,  start your wheel, and start feeling better about the things you want!

50. Expect To Live

I remember when the neurologist told me that I had ALS and what it was, and what that meant.  He said there was no cure.  I asked how long I had left, he told me that the typical life expectancy was just 2-5 years.  I was in shock and didn’t know what to think, or do, or say.  I remember my first thought was, if I only had a few years left, I was not going to spend them working 40+ hours a week, I was going to spend my time with my kids and my husband, my family. After some time had passed, I remember being extremely angry that this was happening to me. I remember talking to God about how unfair it was to have two children and to be told that I would not be able to see them grow up. The more I talked and the more I thought about it, the angrier I got. Until I found myself telling God, NO! Not really no to God, but no to the doctors predictions about my life expectancy. I don’t mean a, no, I don’t want this to happen kind of no. I mean a, no, that you feel with every fiber of your being. I refused to leave my kids and miss out on everything! From that day on, without even realizing what a difference it would make in my life, I just expected to live! I didn’t think about the typical ALS progression. I spent any spare time reading stories about people who had defied the odds and survived serious, and even terminal, illnesses. I kept the positive attitude going as much as possible by finding other like-minded people who had ALS.  People who also believed that doctors are not always right. Just because they tell you that you have a limited amount of time left to live, doesn’t mean you have to follow their prediction. People not waiting on a cure,  but looking for their own cure.  Trying alternative treatments,  to help slow their progression and prolong their lives.  

Shifting from anticipating death,  to expecting to live,  was a life altering piece of the puzzle in surviving a terminal illness.  It was the most important piece and the first piece in a huge puzzle that I am still working on,  and will never finish.  But,  I feel like I am straying into another topic,  so back to expectations…

Expect to live.  It will be the best thing you ever do.  When you expect to die, you stop planning for the future.  You stop looking forward to things.  You stop living life, and you start just existing.  Existing is not living.  It is not enjoying.  Don’t wait until you feel better to have a fun and full life. Just like you can’t wait until you retire to have fun,  and enjoy life.  Don’t wait until you are healthy.  Live your life and have as much fun as possible.  I’m not saying it will be easy,  you can still have bad days,  and you may not even feel like getting out of bed,  you may not be able to get out of bed, but make the most of every day, every moment.   Fun for me is just leaving the house, and going anywhere,  even Wal-Mart.  Fun can be having my daughter come see me,  or a friend. Fun can be working on my blog.  Find your own definition of fun,  and start enjoying your life now.  Even if you aren’t healthy,  you can still be happy.

One of Dr Phil’s famous quotes comes to mind, “How’s that workin’ out for ya”? Well, going on twenty years later, I would have to say, pretty well!

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!

44. Find Your Happy Place

What thoughts make you happiest?  Which places make you happy?  Do you have a space you can go to that makes you happy?  Find your happy place.  I have a selection of happy memories I can go visit anytime I want to.  A memory of holding my toddler on my lap and rocking her to sleep.  Memories of walking through the field behind my house where I grew up.  I walked through the field and woods with my dog almost every day in the summertime when I was a kid.  When I want to visit a happy place in my mind,  I remember my grandparents house.  I can remember every detail,  from the smell of motor oil wafting through the air as I would turn the brass doorknob to enter the garage,  to the smell of Wrigley’s peppermint gum filling the buffet cabinet where my grandmother kept her purse.  I can remember entering my grandparents house and I can remember the details of every room of their home,  the color of every wall,  and floor,  the sounds of the birds outside that I heard every morning when I woke up,  and the smell of every room.  What are your happiest memories?

Do you have a space in your house that makes you happy?  My chaise lounge chair is where I spend most of my time,  so I have around me some of my favorite things.   From my chair I can see the Jesus statue (my daughter calls him my Hippy Jesus, because his fingers are raised,  she thinks it looks like he’s giving the peace sign), that sat on my grandparents fireplace mantel as long as I can remember.  The clock that my grandfather made,  sits in front of me.  A few of my father’s,  and great grandfather’s marbles decorate the edge of my fireplace mantel.   I can see my bird feeders from my seat,  and the many beautiful birds that visit everyday.  Especially in the summer time,  with my windows open,  I can sit and watch and listen to them,  and smell the fresh air, and feel the warm breeze flowing through my room.  It is easy to be happy in the moment.  You should carve out at least one little corner of your home that you can go to and feel a sense of comfort,  and joy.

How about a song you love?  Or,  maybe music from a particular band or person.  Music has the power to make you almost instantly happy,  or sad,  depending on what songs you listen to,  and what they mean to you.

Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. ~Berthold Auerbach

Everyone needs a happy place, or happy memory to think about when things aren’t going the way you would like them to.  A memory or place you can go that instantly brings you back into feeling happy,  or joyful.  To feeling good.  When you are having a bad day at work,  or whenever you are,  go somewhere private and think about your happiest memories.  They will make you forget about your problems for a few minutes,  and you will feel so much better.