Mindful writing – sharing an article from Mindful magazine

I have a bad cold so today I’m changing things up a bit.  In lieu of Mindfulness Monday I’d like to share with you an article I read in Mindful magazine.  I found it very interesting and plan to put this practice to use.  So you may find me doing a lot more blog posts in the future, as I meditate while writing.

A Writing Practice For Those Who Like To Keep Doing by By  

I don’t want to copy the whole article here, it’s a short article, but it’s not proper to copy someone else’s work, so I’m going to give you the highlights. However, you really need to jump over and read the article to understand what this entails.  It’s fun!  go do it!

Shamash starts by saying: “I’m writing this article in a state of meditation. And there’s no editing required (for the first round, anyway). How am I accomplishing this? And how could you join in the fun?”

He gives us instructions on how to find out just how we can do it.  I’m listing just the highlight of each point, you will have to read the article to find out more.

  1.  Set a timer for 30 minutes.
  2. Keep your eyes closed. if you can touch type, if not, then write long hand with your eyes open 😉
  3. At the end of every sentence, stop for a full in-breath and out-breath.
  4. Begin with no clear aim.
  5. Try to find time to write regularly

He answers the question “What’s the point of journaling…..?”  Here are the benefits he says he enjoys as he writes:

 

  • “My body feels happy and relaxed.”
  • “My mind feels calm and peaceful.”
  • “I’ve gently entered into a meditative state without having to fully stop “doing stuff.””
  • “I’m doing something different, so it feels fun and exciting. And having fun is a really important value and experience for me.”

 

Go ahead, what are you waiting for, jump over to Mindful and find out more about mindful writing.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.

 

 

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Q3 – The Quotation Challenge

I don’t usually do challenges, mainly because I know so many amazing bloggers I can never decide who to pass the challenge on to, but when Kim, from I Tripped Over a Stone, nominated me, I thought, “Quotes?  Hey, that’s up my alley!”  So I couldn’t say no.  Kim is an amazing woman.  She’s witty, smart, busy, and just happens to have fibromyalgia.  She is full of knowledge that she readily shares on her blog and in a Facebook group she helps run.  Follow the link above and check out her incredible blog! Thank you Kim for selecting me to participate in this challenge.  So, today we’ll take a little break from Mindfulness Monday and do these quotes instead.

Here’s how this thing works:

1. Thank the person that nominated you.

2. Write one quote each day for three consecutive days (3 quotes total)

3. Explain why the quote is meaningful for you.

4. Nominate three bloggers each day to participate in the challenge

Kim changed the challenge up a bit and did all three of her quotes in one day, I think I’ll follow suit and do the same.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes.

I believe in you

“I believe in you.” ~Christeen Calloway (my mother)

This is my favorite quote of all time because everyone needs someone who believes in them, and I always knew my mother believed in me. I specifically remember her telling me this when I was in college.  I was struggling putting myself through school, working many part-time jobs and taking a full load of classes so I didn’t waste any tuition money.  (You had to take at least 9 (or was it 12?) credit hours a semester to get full time tuition.  Over that minimum requirement you could take more classes for the same price. So I normally took 15 – 18 credit hours per semester – that’s 5 – 6 classes.)  At one point I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to finish.  I was working so hard, and I had the grades to prove it, but I was getting worn down.  (at one point I had 5 part-time jobs)  My mother was always my champion.  I called her one day just to chat and mentioned how hard things were at that moment and how I just didn’t know if I could carry on with that pace.  I also mentioned how much I missed her banana pudding.  That afternoon when I got back to my dorm, my mother was there waiting on me, with a big bowl of banana pudding.  We had dinner together and talked and talked, like we often did.  She told me how much she believed in me.  She knew how hard I was working and she also knew I could handle it.  It was her belief in me that pushed me forward, and the next semester I was awarded a scholarship for outstanding academics and art.  I was also given a work study opportunity, so I didn’t have to have all those part-time jobs.  If it had not been for my mother’s belief in me, I don’t think I would have been able to follow through and graduate with honors.

Anne-Frank-Quotes-4

“No one has ever become poor by giving.” ~Anne Frank

I hear it all the time, “I can’t afford to give….”  This simply isn’t true.  “No one has ever become poor by giving.”  How very true.  We must remember that even the poorest of us can give without causing ourselves more hardship.  We can give of our time, there are so many lonely people in this world, all you’d need to do is spend a little time with someone who needs the company, this doesn’t even have to be in person, you can reach out to someone online, you may even make a new friend.  We can give a service, can you cook, sew, garden, babysit?….there are so many ways we can give simply by doing what we know, we don’t have to buy anything.  We can give a smile and a compliment, has there ever been a time when a stranger smiled at you and complimented you out of the blue?  How did it make you feel?  A kind word can mean the world to someone, you never know, they may be going through a really rough time and your kindness helps just a little.  Don’t believe that you can’t make a difference simply because you can’t give monetarily, there are many ways to give that don’t cost a penny.

mindfulness-sunset-palm-springs

“Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different; enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t).”  ~James Baraz

How could I list my favorite quotes without including my favorite quote on mindfulness?  This is one of the first quotes on mindfulness I read, and it spoke volumes to me.  It was hard to imagine facing every day without wishing it were different.  I admit I’m still not at that point, but I strive to be, and some days I succeed.  However, I still wish things were different when I’m having bad symptoms, but I try hard to be as okay with it as I can; and I take solace in knowing that the unpleasant will not always be with me.  I’m also learning how to enjoy the good times without trying to hold on too tightly.  Sometimes I’m better at that than others.  For example, my sister came for a visit this past week and I had so much fun I didn’t want that feeling to end.  One night I made a roast chicken and we made a wish with the wishbone.  My wish was that every day could be as good as that day.  umm, I think I was trying to hold on to that day a little, don’t you?  Luckily I wasn’t trying to hold on so tightly that it caused me pain when it was over.  I am so grateful we were able to have such a good visit, and I was mostly symptom free.  I must admit, I would have held on to those days if I could, but I’m grateful for today, even though I had a cluster headache earlier and I don’t feel like lifting my head now.  I’m still happy.  Hubby just came home, and it’s time to make brownies.  😉

 

If they would like to participate, I would love to read some quotes that inspire or excite or have meaning for:

Oh there are just so many in my blogging family that I’d love to see do this challenge, if you’d like to do it, please let me know in the comments so I won’t miss it!!

If you don’t want to do the challenge but have a quote that is meaningful to you, I’d love to hear it!!

I’m number 44!

award

I received a message from Feedbot, that they named Picnic with Ants one of the top 100 chronic illness blogs.

You can see all of the blogs and websites who are honored to be listed in the top 100 here. 

This is the introduction from Feedbot explaining their ranking criteria:

“Chronic Illness Blogs List

chronic illness is a human health condition or disease that is persistent or otherwise long-lasting in its effects or a disease that comes with time. The term chronicis often applied when the course of the disease lasts for more than three months.

These are the Best Chronic Illness blogs from thousands of top Chronic Illness blogs in our index using search and social metrics. Data will be refreshed once a week.

These blogs are ranked based on following criteria

  • Google reputation and Google search ranking
  • Influence and popularity on Facebook, twitter and other social media sites
  • Quality and consistency of posts.
  • Feedspot’s editorial team and expert review”

 

There are some great blogs listed, so be sure to check the 100 Best Chronic Illness Blogs according to Feedbot.

Panxiety

Today I’d like to introduce Lorraine of My Frilly Freudian Slip.  Lorraine is a good friend of mine and the author of beautiful poetry and prose.  You will find her writings at myfrillyfreudianslip.wordpress.com.

Lorraine is fighting Bipolar I and severe anxiety.  They can’t find medications that work for her.  Following you will read a first hand account of what it is like to live with “Panxiety”.

IMG_20160912_145828115 - Copy

photo by Lorraine of My Frilly Freudian Slip

“Pounding heart. Constricted throat. Knotted stomach. Dread washes over me. A panxiety attack.

Coming, unbidden, from some where inside my mind; spilling into my consciousness and flooding my body with anxiousness.

Breathe in through nose to count of ten, fill lungs, feel belly lift. Hold. Breath out slowly to ten.

Drift – visualize place of calm. Walking on beach, tide tickling toes. Finding beach treasures: sea glass, sand dollar. Smell sea tang. Feel breeze against skin.

But the panxiety is stronger – can’t focus; can’t concentrate. Pace. Half finished tasks lay scattered around the house – stopped in mid-flow. Forgotten. Pace.

Distract. Words on page, coloured pencil on paper. But, hands and mind shake.”

Daily, I deal with panxiety – a panicky anxiety attack – lasting minutes or hours. Sometimes the dread follows, flows all day. Few solutions to the foreboding; apprehension. Becomes so hard to concentrate that writing, my usual distraction from mental and physical pain, is almost impossible. I lose words; sentences fly off into the ether.

There are times I can force myself to lay still. To tell myself one of my “head stories.” Perhaps to drift off to sleep for awhile. This doesn’t mean I stay under long, nor that I wake calm. But when I can “nap,” my emotional and physical self gets a break from the relentless panxiety.

I have to confess turning to medication more than meditation when the attacks are furious and frequent. Always haunted by anxiety, these spells have increased in number and severity. Linked to a series of traumas, mental collapse and going untreated for several years afterwards.

I am on the bipolar 2 spectrum with chronic depression, rapid cycling, and bouts of hypo-mania manifesting in over indulgence and obsession. My bipolar isn’t responding well to medication; I am mostly teetering on the edge of instability, often falling all the way in.

Depression is my background music. Even when the volume is turned up, I can become agitated and anxious. As my depression can not be treated with anti-depressants (they don’t work), it is hard to level my mood. These swings are often accompanied by panxiety.

My anxiety has never been fully addressed. The medication I am given is not in a sufficient dose to stop the attack completely. And, I take nothing that addresses it on a daily, 24 hours basis. I seek to gain control of these attacks by other means than Ativan or Klonopin. However, often panxiety, like depression, wins. Doesn’t mean I stop fighting – I just have to do battle harder and stronger the next time.

Seeing a therapist has given me an outlet; a safe space to talk about how I feel. A person who helps me explore my mental health issues including honouring and acknowledging the traumas underlying the escalation in my panxiety attacks. Therapy can be the life-line that grounds me while I do battle. A reprieve to polish my armour.

Lorraine  myfrillyfreudianslip.wordpress.com

#HAWMC Day 15 – Favorite Health Advocate

Today is Day 15 of #HAWMC (WEGO’s Health Activist Writers Monthly Challenge).  The prompt today is:

Time to spread the love.
Shout out all your favorite Health Advocates!
Make sure to share a few sentences explaining just how grateful you are for them.

your-voice

image source click here

Listing all of my favorite Health Advocates would take up a book.  There is no way I can give a shout out to all of them in this tiny amount of space.  When I first read this prompt I thought it read that I was to give a shout out to my favorite health advocate, and I thought that was impossible, but I thought of a way to do it, kind of.  Listing all, really is impossible.  Please see my post from Friday, Friday Follow, for a list of many of my favorites; there are still more, but that will give you a good start.  Today I’ll just list a three blogs I’ve been following the longest that I feel are still doing an exceptional job.

Denise is an advocate for Meniere’s Disease, hearing loss and service dogs.  She tells her story with wit and flare in a weekly post on her blog Hearing Elmo.  There you will hear about her life with Meniere’s Disease, working and studying in academia, her family, life with a service dog, and her Faith. I’m proud to call her friend.

Madelyn writes at ADD…and so much more, as you can tell by the title she is an advocate for ADD…and so much more!  Madelyn’s blog is a place for her to “let you know about new ADD opportunities and to post all kinds of seemingly disconnected content.” This blog is intended to help: anyone with an Executive Functioning Disorder.  I don’t have ADD and I get so much from her blog.  She is an ADD coach, has won a number of awards, and I think she’s just the bomb.

Kara from Polishing Dookie does an exceptional job making people feel comfortable with her illnesses with a sense of humor and intelligence that keeps you reading.  Her tag line “Making the most of the sh*t I’ve got left” shows her sense of humor about her IBD (Irritable Bowel Disease).  Kara takes you on a ride that is her life, and you will be happy to join her.

If you’d like to read more posts from today please search for #HAWMC and check out WEGO’s Facebook page.  Don’t forget to Like Picnic With Ant’s Facebook Page too.  🙂

If you would like to share your story on Picnic with Ants, contact me through the contact form on my About Me – Contact Me Page.

#HAWMC Day 11 – Friday Follow!

Today is Day 11 of #HAWMC (WEGO’s Health Activist Writers Monthly Challenge).  The prompt today is:

Friday follow! Create a must follow list for your
community:
• Top 10 Tweeters
• Top 10 blogs
• Top 10 Facebook pages

follow-friday

image source click here

There are so many amazing people, it is hard for me to pick just a few to pass on to you, but I’ll give it a try.  If I don’t mention someone it doesn’t mean that I don’t think you are great!!  It just means I ran out of room.

Tweeters worth reading their tweets on Twitter.

  1. @HearingHealthM (Timely information and lively insights for everyone who cares about hearing loss)
  2. @HurtBlogger (#Rheum advocate, #ChronicLife Founder…great chronic illness advocate)
  3. @dizzysupport (a community to inform and support people who suffer from dizziness, imbalance, vertigo, & vestibular health problems…)
  4. @911well (Mindfulness Wellness – Start your day with something positive…)
  5. @HeadacheHeroine (Spoonie: All types of headaches, narcolepsy. food allergies, (oh my!)
  6. @myselfandhealth (REAL TALK about HAPPINESS & MENTAL HEALTH).
  7. @MySpinningHead (Meniere’s Sucks Raising awareness of Meniere’s Disease by ranting about how much it sucks)
  8. @MenieresTeam (Bringing hope, inspiration and information to Meniere’s patients.)
  9. @sharieberts(Hearing Health Advocate)
  10. @justagoodlife (Patient Empowerer +…)

Blogs I just can’t get enough of…

  1. Hearing Elmo (hearigelmo.com) “Living with Hearing Loss and Invisible Disability”
  2. ADD…and so much more. (addandsomuchmore.com) “You can’t let what you can’t do determmine what you CAN!”
  3. Bipolar Barbie-Q (bipolarbarbieq.wordpress.com) “I was just getting seasick from seeing too much”
  4. Polishing Dookie (polishingdookie.wordpress.com) “Making the best of the sh*t I’ve got.”
  5. Behind the White Coat (doctorly.wordpress.com/) “Beats a real human heart”
  6. The Manic Years (themanicyears.com) “The world through the eyes of a bipolar mind…”
  7. My Frilly Freudian Slip (myfrillyfreudianslip.wordpress.com) “CREATIVE : ) : BIPOLAR ESCAPADES : ][: “
  8. Life of MON (lifeofmon.wordpress.com) “I Life Hard”
  9. The Mesh Warrior (themeshwarrior.wordpress.com) “The pen is mightier than the scalpel”
  10. All Things Chronic (painkills2.wordpress.com)

Facebook Pages worth a Look and a Like

  1. Transform Your Chronic Life
  2. Chronic Illness Cat
  3. Mental Health and Invisible Illness Resources
  4. Patients Like Me
  5. VEDA Vestibular Disorders Association
  6. Meniere’s Resources
  7. Chronic Illness Bloggers
  8. Putting Our Heads Together
  9. Migraine and Chronic Pain Art
  10. Living with Invisible Illness

I hope you enjoy these links.  If you have a link you’d like to share please leave it in the comments.  I enjoy finding new sources of information.

If you’d like to read more posts from today please search for #HAWMC and check out WEGO’s Facebook page.  Don’t forget to Like Picnic With Ant’s Facebook Page too.  🙂

If you would like to share your story on Picnic with Ants, contact me through the contact form on my About Me – Contact Me Page.

#HAWMC Day 7 – Starting Advocacy

Today is Day 7 of #HAWMC (WEGO’s Health Activist Writers Monthly Challenge).  The prompt today is:

Was starting your advocacy journey a hard decision? Were you anxious and hesitant or were you excited and ready to share your story? Tell us how you chose to start advocating for your condition.

caring-hands

The start of my advocacy journey for Meniere’s Disease and other chronic illnesses is kind of a long story.  First I found out I am allergic to wheat and suspected to have celiac disease.  Here, let me ‘splain….I had been generally sick for a long time when I found out I’m allergic to wheat, so I stopped eating wheat.  I started to feel a whole lot better, but I was still getting sick sporadically, so I decided to stop eating gluten.  My doctor then suspected that I may have celiac disease.  I was given the blood test but tested negative, I was given it again and tested positive.  This provided no definitive results, so I would need a biopsy from my small intestines.  However, the only way for this test to work was for me to start eating gluten again for a month or two.  I asked what the treatment was if I was found to have celiac disease and it was a gluten free diet.  Well I was already eating that way, so I decided to just keep on a gluten free diet instead of having the test.  Maybe I’ll have it one day, but probably not.  The doctors are pretty sure I have it due to the last blood test, I don’t really care, I know I can’t eat gluten.

This was before there was a lot of knowledge about a gluten free life style and celiac disease, so I became an advocate.  I started a blog and worked hard to bring awareness.  I worked with local groups.  I was a taste tester for Whole Foods Gluten Free Bake House.  It was an exciting time for me, I felt like I was making a difference.  Then my Meniere’s Disease got so much worse.

When the Meniere’s Disease went bilateral, meaning I suddenly had it in both ears instead of one, I had to rethink my life.  (if you don’t know about Meniere’s Disease, and you’d like to, please see Meniere’s Disease-My Story at the top of the page.)  Once I saw my new doctor at Duke Medical Center I had renewed hope (more than I should have really).  I was going to focus on getting healthier.  I wanted to increase my exercise and start eating even healthier.  I decided to stop writing my gluten free blog and start a blog all about me getting as healthy as possible with Meniere’s Disease and (suspected) celiac disease.  This blog was called 365 Days to a Healthier Me.

I soon discovered I was not going to be able to focus as much on getting healthier as I was on simply getting through the day.  The vertigo was happening almost daily and I was losing my hearing rapidly.  I decided to start writing about my experiences with Meniere’s Disease (I stopped writing about a gluten free lifestyle by then) and this naturally morphed into advocacy.  I found others were out there who were struggling as I was and needed some support.  Soon I started talking about other illnesses I struggle with on a daily basis, such as chronic migraines and bipolar disorder.  I have found that people with chronic illnesses need a voice.   I hope I can add a little voice to a lot of other voices.

After the loss of my hearing and with continued struggles with vertigo I haven’t been able to advocate in person, but I continue to try to keep up the good fight via the internet.  Sometimes I’m not able to do as much as I’d like due to my illnesses, but I’ll keep trying.  That’s all we can do.  Keep trying.

If you’d like to read more posts from today please search for #HAWMC and check out WEGO’s Facebook page.  and don’t forget to check out Picnic With Ant’s Facebook Page too.  🙂

If you would like to share your story on Picnic with Ants, contact me through the contact form on my About Me – Contact Me Page.

*All images on this site and the creation of Wendy Holcombe unless otherwise noted.