The year started rough for a lot of people. Many of us have been ill – colds, flu, secondary infections like pneumonia, bronchitis, strep – and the fatigue and pain that comes with Winter weather changes for those of us that have rheumatic autoimmune, and neurological diseases. Anyone with injuries like I have on top of that is really feeling it about now (SoCal is getting drowned at present with the second wave of storms). The barometer is not our friend some days. (We do need that rain and snow either way!)
There are a lot of financial strains as well, as we all watched our insurance premiums and medication costs take another heavy jump and with no relief in sight. I hear you. I feel you. It’s happening to me too. We are seeing deplorable events like the shooting in San Bernardino late last year (I live 6 miles from the incident and lost someone). Some of us have aging parents with health issues of concern, and that on top of taking care of our own health crises. Some days you just want to crawl back in bed and pull the covers over your head to create a cave to hide in.
That’s not happening. Acknowledge the feeling, know that it is validated, and then face forward. I am observing a lot of mental processes that should have been abandoned at the threshold of the new year and they are still being dragged around like a security blanket. It’s time to drop the focus on the negative aspects of life events, and realize that for every bad thing that happens there are 10 more great things waiting to be noticed. There are some mindsets that should be revamped.. because if you don’t, you will continue to be stuck in that mud. Do you think of your friendships as based on your illness (those of you in the Lupus community, for example)? I have to tell people all the time that I will not add them to my Facebook friend list just because we both have Lupus, or Fibromyalgia, or any of that. There has to be more to it. When I break that rule, I always end up regretting it, so I stopped. We are not connected by the pain and distress that we experience. We are connected by our willingness to fight and find solutions. We are connected by our desire to take back quality of life. Personally, I seek connections with people that also have an abiding love for natural health, the wilderness, and outdoor sports. This is most important to me at this time in my life because it is the very foundation of my campaign for awareness, and for advocacy for challenged individuals to adapt and keep on with the things they love in life. If you base a friendship on mutual suffering alone, of what do you think the relationship will consist? There has to be more. With nothing else to discuss, your conversation will always turn to the negatives – UNLESS you are partnered up with people that are also facing forward and staying in motion. Find those people. The ones that will encourage you to do more on the days when you want to crawl back under the covers and hide. The ones that will turn on a light and tell you that it’s time to get up and move. Of COURSE it’s uncomfortable. I never said it wouldn’t be.
Discomfort is a part of life. For someone with chronic illness, it’s an undeniable reality that is always right by your side. At some point you just have to accept that and embrace it, rather than constantly fighting against it and wearing yourself out. Figuring out how to adapt and manage these things is all that I do from the time I open my eyes in the morning, every day, every week, every year. My entire day is about making adjustments to accommodate changing needs. If I don’t do that, I slide backwards into the difficulty, the pain, the aggravation, and I start losing ground. It’s wasted energy to get mad about being ill. I am ill. It is what it is. Next issue? Seriously. Being angry about the hand that I have been dealt is not going to help me accomplish anything, and I have found that the only place that rage is helpful is when it is directed at getting past the problem. I talked about this in my last post of 2015 – your aim should be beyond the obstacle, not right at the face of it. Always reach farther. It’s the only way you are going to get past this.
Last year started pretty good and then went downhill, it seems. This year started rough, so maybe the rest will be decent. Keep that hopefulness in the forefront of your mind, and I guarantee that it will at least change your personal focus. Perspective is everything. Things might indeed be falling down around your ears but you can still maintain your center and not let it throw you into a panic. It works. (Those of us that embrace Asian philosophies understand it as “Zen”.)
I have seen some sentiments that I just want to throw out there for you to mull over. They are not the sort of mental rumination in which we should be engaging. I believe that many people think and say these things without considering the depth of their impact or even the real meaning of their words. The next time you read or hear it, or find yourself saying it, take a minute to reconsider. Don’t swallow the poison.
“I hate people.”
“I hate humanity.”
“People are horrible.”
“What is wrong with people?”
“Humans are disgusting.”
“People are a plague on the earth.”
Gee…. thanks? The last time I checked, I was a human and I am not a horrible, disgusting person. What are you, a pampered housecat? A dog? A wild animal out in a forest somewhere? An alien, perhaps? Are you a tree? Do you hate me? Do you hate yourself? If you do, it’s time to take some serious introspective breaks and figure out what is going on in your head. You will end up committing a slow suicide if that’s really what you think about yourself and everyone that you know. It’s no wonder I see so many people just not giving a damn about exercise and eating right. They hate themselves and they are swallowing both the proverbial and the literal poisons. Yep, I said it. You are poisoning yourself. I’d like to tell you to stop it but you have the free will to make choices of your own. This is why I have the blogs, the Facebook pages, and the YouTube videos set up for encouragement and health information as well as awareness. It’s there when you decide to stop being a self-destructive masochist.
Stop labeling every single person on the planet with the horrors committed by a few.
Think about how you are phrasing these things. It matters.
At the very least, learn to insert the word “some” into those sentences up there. I too am guilty of talking about the things that happen in life that I “hate”, and they do exist. Some days though, we have to check ourselves and find a better focal point. Get it out of your system if you have to rant and yell a bit, but then let that be the therapeutic purge and be done with it. Don’t camp out there and keep stoking the fire. When it’s a situation that you have to resolve (ergo you have to keep thinking about it), you can still keep moving forward rather than giving up and throwing a hissy fit in the middle of the wreckage for weeks and months.. even years on end. It’s no different for anyone on the planet. We all have to do it. Life contains portions of both hardships and summits for all of us.
I’m sure this chastisement won’t make me popular with everyone but I’m not here to be popular. I’m here to shine a light on a path that will save a few people from a wasted chance at life. I’m here to lead by example and show you what can actually work. I could sit back and write about it and do nothing. What would that accomplish? I put myself through a lot not just for my own goals but to provide a tangible example of what works. I would have no right to simply say this is the way if I weren’t walking it. Guess what? I am walking it. The fact that I am literally walking at all these days is proof of that.
I have watched friends commit slow suicides over the years. Excuse me if I don’t want to see it happen repeatedly. So I surround myself with others that are pulling in the same direction that I am, or at the very least that I believe sincerely want to and are willing to do the work to get there. When you find your niche, you figure out that there is a reciprocal exchange between the things that go on in your mind and the activities that you execute with your body. They have to be in a partnership – just like you have to be partnered with other people that have the same aims in their heart. Some days it’s about putting one foot in front of the other. That’s how I get up steep and difficult spots in a trail, by the way… I look down just ahead of my feet rather than up the hill. I keep my focus on the next couple of steps all the way up so that I don’t feel overwhelmed, and that is exactly the way that you should be making positive changes in your life in general. You know what the majority of things that you are doing wrong are and what you need to do in order to start making necessary changes. When you hit one that is perplexing… ask someone for help. I am always open for conversation about health issues. If I don’t have an answer, I’ll suggest a direction or bring in a friend that knows more about that specific area. That’s EXACTLY WHY WE NETWORK, my friends! There is always someone else that has been through it or is going through it, and has figured a few things out. You have to be willing to seek the answers and solutions. They’re not going to fall into your lap with those donut crumbs. Sorry, not sorry.
I love humanity. I love my friends. They are wonderful, beautiful, imaginative, powerful, amazing, and complex creatures with a lot to offer. Human beings are awe-inspiring and fantastic. Even those lost over the last couple of years left with me some cherished memories that I can call upon when I hit a rough patch. The confidence that a few have placed in me is heart-warming and precious. You won’t find that in those that are burying themselves in the mud, so remember this. Seek friendships with people that are headed in the direction that you wish to travel. Let go of the ones that are dragging you backwards. They may just realize they are alone and turn around once you do so.
Be an example of passion rather than poison. It’s better for you, better for them. Partner up with others that are passionate about the right things.