Friday, April 26, 2013

Striving to Live in The Moment

It's been a marvelous week. Truly.

The weather here in the Pacific Northwest has been unbelievable, my daily meditation and yoga has afforded me new calmness and by being complaint with my meds I feel so good.

Part of my meditation is to focus on the present moment without assumptions, judgements, or comparision. This tactic has allowed me to take each day for what it is without feeling the urge to rush through it. I'm not abandoning today because I'm focusing on tomorrow. I've been living right here, in this very moment.

I'm realizing how much stress I place upon myself. Instead of taking on each task individually I'm executing a task but creating anxiety over the next. For example, while vaccuming I'm already mentally moving down the to-do list and creating (in my mind) anxiety about the list. Sort of like it's all gotta get done today. Truth is, more than half of my to-do list on any given day would not be earth-shattering if not completed. No one but me would know it didn't get done.

Just realizing all this is helpful, to me anyway. Mediation is forcing me to slow down, to examine closely what's worth stressing over. I have to say it makes each day a tad more manageable. I feel slightly less stressed.  I look forward to what each day holds instead of the self-inflicked to-do list.

I've been able to place the stress where it belongs and do things that are beneficial to me physically and mentally. Sure, the to-do list didn't get any shorter but I'm happier and feel more at peace. The laundry, dishes, and whatever else can wait, I've got a life to live.

Living with calmness instead of urgency, living in peace instead of turmoil, living right now instead of in the past or future. That's what I'm striving for within each moment.


Monday, April 22, 2013

Seeking Calmness While Overwhelmed

I've been juggling so many balls that I'm starting to lose track of how many I've got, in fact, as I look around some are lying on the ground while others are sky high, but no time to pick-up the grounded ones and catch the falling ones simultaneously.

I do this. It's my own fault. When I have periods of being sick and not physically being able to manage anything but my daily medical needs I then find myself over-committing when I'm well. This is neither good for me or those whom I'm making the commitment. I'm not able to do any one thing with 100% of my ability or energy.

When I look at giving things up I become even more overwhelmed and ticked at myself for placing myself in this position once again.

The activities that I participate in are things that I delight in, that bring me joy, that gives me an opportunity for personal growth, that for the most part have little to do with CF which gives me a sense of normalcy. I've gotten to know so many wonderful people that I would not have otherwise.

Missing meetings, forgetting to call someone, being late to appointments and not responding to emails is not okay with me. The reality is that something has to change. I owe it to those whom I'm making the commitment and to myself. They deserve 100% of me.

I've began to incorporate meditation into my daily morning routine. The idea of mindful mediation has always intrigued me. I started a few weeks ago with 5 minutes of mediation. To allow myself a calm collected beginning to my day. This week I've increased the meditation time to 10 minutes along with 10 minutes of Hatha yoga.

I do recognize that this just adds another "activity" to my already crazy-can't-fit-one-more-thing schedule. But this activity I believe to be essential, like breathing and food.

During the past few weeks of doing just 5 minutes I felt a sense of structure, core calmness, ability to face the days tasks, my sanity and a renewed confidence. I think adding another 5 minutes and the element of yoga will only emphasize the already established changes.

So, while I'm overwhelmed I'm learning to remain calm, to restructure, to quite my mind and the let world be for 10 mintues and to warm my body up during the yoga to conquer the day.



Tuesday, April 16, 2013

With a Heavy Heart

One of the hardest parts of being active in the CF community is losing a dear soul to this disease. While I might not have met these dear people in person I have prayed for them, I have cried for some, and I have laughed with many. Those whom I have had the pleasure of knowing face-to-face I have held their hands, wiped their tears, watched their eyes sparkle with every smile and delighted in their lives. With all of them I understand their suffering to the core. I get it.

This last year has been particularly hard. I have watched far too many gain their angel wings. It breaks my heart each and every time. It never gets easier. Ever. In fact, it gets harder. The older I get the more friends I lose.

My heart is heavy for them, for their families, and for the ones who love them to infinity and beyond. As I write this post another CF'er is preparing to say goodbye. To give final hugs, kisses and I love you's. They are understanding on a very real level what dying is. They are way too young for this experience. They still have so many dreams, goals, hopes and want-to-do's.

This life we're given is so temporary. The same God who gives us breath is the same God who takes it. I know God has a plan for every one of his creations whether we believe it or not. I believe God is good. Even amongst all this suffering God is good and just. I pray that those who have lost their battle in this life have gained a full understanding of God's grace. The God has shown them what their lives meant and how it glorified him.

I still grieve their loss. I still feel a heavy burden as a life ends.

I promise to keep fighting. To keep after a cure. Its all I can do. Until we meet again dear friends know you'll never be forgotten.


Saturday, April 13, 2013

What I Know About Mental Illness

In light of the horrific news about the death of a promenant religious leader's son, who suffered greatly with mental health issues I thought I would re-address this topic. It's one that I am passionate about, it's a topic that hits close to home and it's something that I endure daily. I'm deeply sadden by the harsh critics of this leader's family and son, particularly in such of when they grieving.

I think somewhere along the way many have most certainly lost our compassion. So many need to point fingers, find answers or be able to answer the why questions, even at the expense of others.

I haven't spent a lot of time researching the why or how of mental illnesses. It could from be the many chemicals that we consume or place on our bodies that are altering brain chemistry, it could be that its always been apart of human existence but now we just have more medical knowledge to diagnose, it could be all the technology, I just don't know.

Mental health issues still have such a stigma around them. Many still believe that it's something people "grow" out of it or can "shake" it off with time. This simply is not true. Millions of Americans suffer from various types of mental illness such as depression, PTSD, obsessive-compulsive disorder and the list goes on. These are real and can be life altering and life consuming.

What I want you to know is that all who suffer from a mental illness want desperately to be cured so much so that many see the idea or act of taking one's life reasonable. It stops the suffering. A suffering that is so difficult to articulate. Many who have a mental illness are on medications to help ease the affects but those medications come with some serious side affects. Its not a fix all.

Those who love and support folks with mental illness are our biggest cheerleaders. For me, my family and friends have been there for me never deserting me when things got rocky. It takes a lot of patience, grace and love on their part. Its difficult for them to watch us go thru such torment. Mental illness a lot of times causes us to be self-destructive, which is excrutiating to watch and gives them the feeling of helplessness.

It doesn't mean we are mean people or uncaring or selfish. It means we have an illness from which we suffer the side affects. It means it masks the person inside. The person we want to unzip and show.

It is no ones fault. It isn't something we just wake up and shake off. Its chronic. Its lifelong.

For me, my deep depression and PTSD is directly related to living with Cystic Fibrosis. The chronic illness affect has caused secondary issues. I work hard to control the depression and PTSD but there are times that its nearly impossible. It sneaks up on me. Sure, I have trigger points particularly with PTSD but the depression is always there. Like a water bottle strapped to a runners side. Nearly undetectable but there nonetheless. Its powerful. It influences most my decisions. It plays a role in all my relationships. It impacts how I look at itself, how I "see" depression and PTSD, which is very different than how those without it "see" it.

I do know I'm in the trenches just like millions of Americans and untold numbers around the world. We need compassion, grace, and love. We don't need to be told to "shake it off" or that we'll "grow out of it". It wasn't that long ago that I was in a very desperate place and wanted to end the suffering.

If you're suffering please know your not alone. It doesn't go away but it can and does get better.

Please be gentle with one another. Approach others with kindness.


Sunday, April 7, 2013

Golf and a Burger; The Perks of Sunshine

April showers bring May flowers?

I sure hope so. I'm sooo ready for a consistant string of sunshine. In my desperation I've already busted out the tank-tops, skirts and shorts even though I suffer from the variance in temperatures. Some days its perfect and some I'm sporting goose-bumps. I just want sunshine.

I always feel so much better during the late Spring and Summer months. The warmth is soothing to my achy joints, I love that we get to switch up our wardrobes from drabby to color and not feel like I'm blinding everyone with my colorful attire.

We've had a string of really nice days and we took full advantage by playing a round of golf and then grabbing a burger after a ride on the motorcycle.

I am neither good at golf nor really care to be good at golf. I just love that I get to be outdoors for 2 to 4 hours while getting some exercise walking the course. This is a game B and I can do together, we get to bathe in peace from the outside world, we can talk or we can walk side-by-side enjoying each others silence.

After golfing we hopped on this little beauty and took a ride.

We live near many wineries here in Oregon, so we drove out into the country to gander at the blooming landscape. While doing just that last summer we discovered this charming burger place. Folks come in their old antique cars and motorcycles to sit on the patio for some local beef burgers and their to-die-for milkshakes.

The blackberry shake was incredible! In fact the entire basket was mouth watering delicious. I can't wait for the next amazingly sunny Saturday so we can take another trip.

 This day left me tired, but it was the good kinda tired.


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