Mindfulness Journal

journal

I thought I’d share with you new tool I’ve been using.

I recently read an article over on Buddhaimonia about keeping a mindfulness journal.

He talks a lot about keeping a journal and how to maximize your journal as a mindfulness tool.

There was one suggestion that he made that I thought would help me to not only recognize when I’m being mindful, but also help me to actually be more mindful.

My mindfulness journal includes – 3 Mindful Things Each Day.  Each day I try to write down 3 times during the day that I noticed I was being mindful.  This hasn’t just made me note times I’ve been mindful, but it encourages me to be more mindful.  I’ll be doing something and think, “whoa, take your time and really notice what you are doing, you can note this in your journal later.”  It brings to the surface that I need to be more mindful.  It also helps when I feel I haven’t been very mindful when I can think back over my day and realize, wow, I have been mindful today.   I can increase the number of mindful things journal about if I want, but I’m trying to always note at least 3.

I’ll give you a quick example of one.  I was sitting in the car waiting for Stuart to come out of the store and I started to reach for my phone to keep me company, instead I thought; “this is a great mindful opportunity”.  So I started to really notice all the things around me.  I felt the breeze has it caressed my skin.  I saw it was slightly blowing a sign in the window and making it wave a little, I noticed the reflections in the glass and how the colors change in the reflection from what they look in real life.  I noticed a little bug crawling across the windshield, and watched him on his journey.  I felt the suns warmth, and closed my eyes to really feel the atmosphere around me.  I took note of how my body felt pressed against the seat….   I tried hard not to think about what we would be doing next, I wanted to just be there in that moment as it was.

You can see what I mean, I tried my best to be right there in that moment, instead of distracting myself with my phone.  Because I’m writing these moments down, it makes me remember to do such things more often.  Hopefully, being mindful will become more second nature.

I’ve kept a gratitude journal for a long time.  I write down 3 things I’m grateful for each day.  this is a practice I suggest everyone take the time to do.  It really helps us put in perspective that we have something to be grateful for every day, even on days we don’t feel like it.  (some days when I’m having a really hard day I will realize how grateful I am for running water, having food every day, having a safe place to live….  We can always find things to be grateful for, we just need to remember it.

Do you keep a journal?  Is it specific like mine, or do you wir

 

 

Thanksgiving often forgets those without……

THANKFULI love the sentiment behind Thanksgiving.  Take the time to be thankful for what you have.

Then I look around.  Is that really what I see?  There is so much talk of spending time with family and friends and eating and …and…and  Well what is a person to do who has no one, or who has very little?  I have very strained family relations.  I am never invited to any family function.  This can be very hard.  Some years it hurts more than others.  This year I became very melancholy about family, I’m sure it is because I have been so sick and the steroids have been turning up my emotions a bit, but seeing all the stress on how we should be with family and how things “should be” started to make me feel even sadder about it all.  (Don’t worry, all is good with me.)  If that could happen to me imagine what it could do to someone who is really depressed?  Someone who has no one?

I remember those times.  I have spent Thanksgiving and Christmas, alone.  On occasion I was invited to friend’s for dinner, sometimes they were fun, other times they were miserable.  If you reach out to someone and invite them over for a holiday meal, please try to include them in your festivities, not just feed them.  I have never been more miserable than when I went to a holiday meal and felt I was a charity case.  Sitting in a corner alone watching people have fun is worse than sitting alone by yourself knowing people somewhere out there are having fun.   I’m not saying, don’t reach out and invite someone over….please do!  But include them in your festivities.  Do not have family gift exchange in front of someone who is alone for the holidays.  Do not do your yearly family traditional …. whatever….and not include this person.  Do something that includes this person.  Make them feel welcome and special.  Make them feel you are Thankful they are there.  If you have a special family tradition that you cannot include this person in, then invite them to come later, or have the tradition after they leave, or find a way to somehow include them.  Some people may not have a hard time with this kind of thing, but I did. It was torture to see a happy family doing things that a family does knowing my family didn’t want me with them.  That is not to say I was not grateful to everyone who had me over for a holiday meal, I was.  I have been to some homes where I didn’t want to leave I felt so welcome and included.  (little hint, if you have someone over….get them involved.  Treat them the same as you would anyone else.  I loved it when I was put to work, or was told to help with the kids, was taken aside by grandma and told story after story….when I was treated like family, that was the best.)

It’s also that time of year when I see so much food everywhere!  I hear people talking of family and friends and togetherness and FOOD!

I’m amazed at how much food is wasted in this country, yet so many people go hungry.  There is no reason for anyone in this country to go to bed hungry.  There are so many things wrong with this I just don’t know where I would begin to talk about it here.  Not today.

Today I want to just say, when you are planning your Thanksgiving meal, think about the people who don’t have one.  When you go to the grocery store and you see that box that at the entrance where you can donate to the local food bank, please put something in there.  People are using the food bank more and more these days.  The place to go when you are in dire need is overwhelmed with people in need.  Every time you go to the store, please put something in that box.  If you can donate to the food bank, even better, then they can buy fresh food to give out.  This is very important, even when the needy are getting something to eat it is often so far below nutritional standards they are so malnourished they are getting sick and often still starving.  Most of the hungry are children and elderly.  1 in 5 people in the United States are hungry.   When you are wearing your elastic pants this Thanksgiving so you can eat too much, remember there are people who don’t have enough….some who don’t have any.   Remember, they won’t have enough the next day either, so continue to give. Project Sunlight is a great place to get ideas on more ways you can help.  At Feeding America you can find more about hunger in America and you can find your local food bank and see what they are doing in your area.

Remember, after Thanksgiving people will still need food.  We often give more to make sure people have this wonderful meal on this day, but then they go hungry again a few days later.  This year won’t you say thank you for your bounty by sharing a little throughout the year.
no one poor

Now…for a few things I’m very thankful for this year….

  • I cannot say how thankful I am for my husband, without whom I do not know how I would manage to navigate this world.
  • After 15 months without a job, my husband found work.  Not just a job, but one he enjoys!
  • this moment is good.  (it has been quite a ride of ups and downs this past month, the past 2 days have been better…one moment at a time…accept and make the most of it.)
  • I had nearly 5 months of feeling so much better than I thought was possible.
  • for learning more and more about living more mindful
  • for learning to be less judgmental of myself and others.
  • for having a roof over my head, heat when it is cold, food when I am hungry, water when I am thirsty…
  • for feeling safe.
  • for having at least one friend I say anything to and know it will be OK.
  • for a very special email I received the other night that helped more than the sender could ever possibly know.
  • for learning how to forgive, and knowing that forgetting isn’t as easy.
  • for remembering again and again….I can do this….one moment at a time.

There is so much more I can’t even think right now….actually…I can’t really think right now.  Unfortunately, I’m getting a bad headache…ah the joys of weather change.

A time to think of my…Gratitudes.

 

gratitude quote

There are days when you have a hard time.  Days when you can’t think of anything but what is going wrong.  It’s on those days that I find it most important to step back and look around me at the things I’m grateful for.

Today is a day I want to really look around and pay attention to what is in front of me, I know I have so much to be grateful for!

  • I’m grateful I woke up today.   What?  You think I’m joking?  I thought I’d start at the beginning of my day, and I thought what is the first think I’m grateful for today?  I’m grateful I’m here.  I’m grateful that I’m alive.  I’m grateful I can breathe.  Oh there is a good one!  Last night I had a very difficult time breathing, I coughed and coughed, and had a hard time taking a deep breath.  I had used my inhaler and it didn’t seem to do anything.  I did a nebulizer treatment, and I could breathe better, but of course I had the shakes for a long time afterward (I really hate that thing, a necessary evil).  Then I started coughing again, and well, it was a not so great breathing night.  Just one of those nights for me.  I did sleep without much coughing, so that is great!  We’re working on getting the chronic bronchitis under control, but haven’t gotten there yet.  I’m not complaining.  Last night was a rougher night than usual, the weather changed….rainy, damp…that makes it worse.  Again, not complaining, just stating the facts.  I accept it as it is, and I am fine with it.  I will be going to a new pulmonologist soon and we will work at getting this more under control.  I am very grateful that I can breathe better today.
  • I’m grateful my husband can walk our new dog every morning, and she is so good about it!  When we first talked about getting another dog Stuart said he didn’t want to have to walk it.  Then we met Kiki, and knew she was the right dog.  I was having hip problems, but thought it was going to be over very soon.  The doctors thought it was just a little inflammation, I was scheduled to get a hip injection and they thought that would be the end of it.  So when we decided to start fostering Kiki, I had planned to be the major caregiver.  Little did we know I would fall the night after my injection causing me to have a herniated disc in my back, and now a month later, I’m still not walking Kiki.  I’m still not walking much at all.  However, Kiki is the best dog about taking walks.  If you are in a hurry, she will go very fast.  She isn’t the kind of dog who will just go out and sniff and sniff just for the sake of it.  If you go out and walk out to the tree and then walk back toward the house, she will go.  No problem.  Often, in the mornings she will run Stuart outside, go real fast, and run back in and go back to bed!  She says….”Bye Dad!  I’m ready to go back to sleep!”  He has even said that he likes taking her for walks!  I’m a little envious.  I’m very grateful they have bonded and the walking issue, never became an issue!
  • I’m very grateful my doctor thinks my herniated disc will heal with just a little physical therapy.  Yep, right now I’m bored out of my mind.  I’m so tired of not being able to do anything. I can’t walk far without pain, I keep waking up because of pain, I can’t sit long without pain, well it just hurts.  I’m so relieved that the spine specialist thinks that I will heal with very conservative treatment!  Yay!!   I’ll happy dance when I can!!
  • I’m grateful I didn’t gain weight while taking steroids.  Oh boy, oh boy can we get happy about this one?!  The steroids made me go out of my mind, I was climbing the walls and wanted to destroy people, but I didn’t gain weight!  I didn’t weigh myself for the past month, it was too hard to try to step on the scales, I finally weighed this past week.  I lost 4 pounds!   For inquiring minds….that is a total of 44 pounds lost so far!! 
  • I’m grateful I understand I can’t trust my emotions right now because of the steroids.  I was actually very proud of myself for my self control and for understanding that it was the steroids that were making me feel so horrible.  They are still nagging at me a bit, I have one more dose, but you know it will take a little while before they are out of my system….so I can’t trust my emotions.  That is a good thing to keep in mind.  It is very difficult for someone who is bipolar to feel this way.  I am always very on top of my emotions, very in tuned to how I’m feeling.  I have to be.  If I start noticing that my feelings are our of sync with how they should be, I need to talk to my doctor.  By this I mean, I need to watch out if  react to something in an inappropriate way.  For instance, the other day, I said to Stuart, “Why don’t you use your damn common sense once in a while?!?”  in reaction to him just asking me a simple question.  This was VERY inappropiate!  I do not talk to him that way, and I couldn’t calm down.  I was sitting there suddenly saying….”I don’t act like this any more!  I don’t feel like this anymore!”   I took some deep breaths, centered myself, and calmed down.  Apologized over and over to my dear husband and explained I couldn’t help it and it would probably happen again.  I was full of anger I couldn’t control and he was probably going to get the brunt of it.  He was a dear sweet love and hugged me and understood.  Yes, he did get it a couple of other times, nothing like that time, and we dealt with it very well because we talked about it and how the medication was affecting me.  I’m so grateful I have a husband that communicates with me and understands about uncontrollable emotions due to steroids.
  • I’m grateful for a small place to live.  I’m grateful for a place to live that is safe.  I’m grateful for a place to live that is peaceful.  I’m grateful for our place.  I have been a little ungrateful for out little place lately, and just now I realized just how very grateful I am for this place.  I really do love this little place in many ways.  I love that it is small.  I am very grateful I do not have to climb stairs right now.  I couldn’t.  It is so much easier for me to get around this little place.  I have been feeling a bit claustrophobic in here lately, and way too isolated.  I know it’s because I just can’t do anything.  My mind wants to do something and my body says NO.  (yeah I’m working on that)  I’m very grateful that of all the places we looked at to rent we found this peaceful little place.  It is quiet here, (yes that is so important to a deaf person…haha).  There is little traffic on the street.  There are more people out walking their dogs in my neighborhood than there their are cars that pass by!  I just think that is so cool!  Yes, as I write this little piece I’m much more grateful about the place I live.
  • I’m grateful Kiki loves her new toy so much!  Yes it is the little things that bring joy into our lives!  Kiki loves her little toy so much!  She has forsaken all of her other toys for the one she picked out at the pet store.  It is a little beaver…I think.  It has a recycled bottle inside so it crunches, and it has a squeaky toy in the tail.  She loves this thing so much!   She carries it around, and gets so excited.  She will chase it, she will play hide and seek with it, she will run and get it and bring it to you just to show it to you…..”Look!  LOOK!  SEE! my toy!!!!”   She takes it to bed with her.  She doesn’t play with it in bed, no she just has to have it with her.   If I’m in a different room she will go check on me then she will go and get her toy and bring it to the door and show it to me….like she is showing the toy where I am??  Then she will leave.   She has so much fun with her toy, and it brings me much joy playing with her with it, and just watching her with this toy!  I will never get tired of watching her play!
  • I’m grateful my husband took me out yesterday for a short trip to the mall and I found a bra that fit – First Try On!!!  don’t really need to follow up on that one….but I will!  I must say, this is the very first time this has happened, and it is amazing to me.  After losing so much weight I went in and completely guessed my size!  I was not up to trying on a lot, this bra was on mega sale and I thought, OK, I’ll try it.  I had on an old bra that was too small, so I adjusted the size from it….and Wow!  I’m still amazed that it fit, and it just looks and feels so great.  No gaps, no pinching, no pulling…..I’m a happy woman!  It was also on such a mega sale I won’t feel bad if  when I lose more weight and soon need a different size!  One thing that is a little different about me losing weight….I have bigger boobs.  I’ve always liked my breast.  I have felt they were just the right size, not too big, not too small…just right.  When I gain weight, they have always stayed pretty much the same.  They didn’t get really big with me.  (a lot of women gain a lot there, I didn’t.)  Yes I’m silly, but just thinking about it, if things keep going as they are I’m going to be a bit bigger.  Right now I’m a cup size bigger than I normally am at this band size.  Stuart likes it.  hahaha  However, I can’t imagine him not liking anything about my body….he is a bit biased.   and I’m very grateful for that!
  • oh there is so much to be grateful for!!   I’m feeling so much better than I was when I started this post!  I’m grateful I have so much to be grateful for...here’s a few more….
  • I’m grateful I got to tell my sister how I was feeling about some things.  It doesn’t matter if things don’t change,  I’m just so grateful that we talked and I know she knows some things now that were stuck in my head and I needed to let it out.  It’s hard to put some things in the past if you don’t know if other people have put it there, or heck, if they even know about it.  Yeah, try to wrap your head around that one.  I just feel better about things.  I’m grateful for that.
  • I’m grateful that I’m emotional.  (no one needs to understand that one.  It just really used to bother me, now, I’m glad.  I like having deep feelings.  It may hurt a lot sometimes, but it is also pretty darn great other times.  Being “emotional” is not a bad thing.)
  • I’m grateful I found this meditation on forgiveness….I needed it…. Forgiveness Meditation    (this is just a written page, not a link to a guided meditation, read if you want.  I liked it a lot.)
  • I’m grateful I have some friends I can reach out to, even if I don’t have any I can see in person.
  • I’m grateful I have clean water.  (I really don’t like the water from our tap here, we have started using bottled water, and I’m so grateful for it.  It really makes me think a lot about people who can’t get clean water at all.  I’m so very grateful that not only do I have running water in my home, but I am able to get wonderfully clean water whenever I want it.
  • I’m grateful I have access to fresh food.  Something else I have thought about a lot lately.  I have talked a lot about the change in my diet, how I’ve lost so much weight and how much healthier I am because of my new eating habits.  I haven’t mentioned some of the other things I’ve noticed that I can only attribute to my diet change.  My hair is thicker.  My fingernails smoother and less brittle.  My skin is clearer.  I can tell you I haven’t changed my hair products, nor have I done anything different to my nails, so I can only attribute those changes to my diet.  I did change my facial wash, but I will admit I don’t use it every day.  I am a self proclaimed foodie.  I love good food.  I love fresh food.  I’m grateful that even though we have had very lean times over the past couple of years, we have always managed to eat as fresh as possible.  We have cut corners every where we could so we could spend a little more on our groceries.   We do still spend wisely in the grocery store, but let’s face it, fresh fruits, veggies, and high quality meats are expensive.   For some people it is a matter of choice, but sometimes it is a matter of not being able to afford food…period.  Can you imagine if you simply could not afford to buy groceries at all?   There are so many people who go to bed hungry every night.  So many people who are malnourished.     My gratefulness about food is huge.  I’m so grateful that I now have the knowledge to be able to nourish my body in a healthy way, and am able to provide it with all the food that it needs.
  • I’m grateful I have this blog to write about things….and I’m very grateful that there are some people out there that read it.   Yep….this is what I needed today.

 

I really do appreciate life so much!

I love my life!

Do I have challenging days?  Yes!

Will I feel bad on days again?  Yes!

Do I accept my life the way it is?  Yes!

Do I wish it were different?  Sometimes….I’m working on a NO for that answer, but I think “Sometimes”  is pretty good.   I still love my life, just as it is, even if nothing changes, even if it gets worse, I still love my life!!

That’s pretty important I think.  I love my life, all the good parts, all the bad parts, all the fun parts, all the hard parts….I love my life!

 

GRATITUDES – 2

photo to share 2This week is not a full as last week, but I still have many GRATITUDES.

After weeks of waking up every night a 4am with a very severe pain in my head and neck last night I slept with a soft cervical collar on, it helped.  I still woke up in pain, but I got a lot more sleep, and when I woke up the pain was much less severe.  However, I did snore all night, and the collar does take some getting use to.  But I am so VERY GRATEFUL for a soft cervical collar, and more sleep!

Me with cervical collar

Me with cervical collar

I’m grateful that I was able to make it out to TWO appointments this week two days in a row!  First to the Pain Clinic and next to the Neuro-Opthomologist.  That is a big accomplishment.  I didn’t really think about it, I just knew I had to do it, but Stuart pointed out how proud he was of me.  I don’t think of it as being proud of me, I get upset when I can’t do it, but I need to realize, this is wonderful!  When we started to leave for the neuro-opthomologist appointment I felt like I was starting to have vertigo, but I couldn’t cancel this appointment, it took me over 3 months to get in to see this doctor!  I was scared, but I took some medication, turned the air conditioner on me full blast, and made a go for it.  It was a grueling day, filled with hours of tests.  I’m grateful that everything turned out fine.  No problems with my eyesight, except that I need new glasses!  

I’m grateful that the bunnies have grown up enough to leave the nest.  We are officially empty nesters!  Stuart was a little sad.  The first night he was very worried, he kept saying, “I hope they are alright.”  Such a sweet foster bunny dad.

bunny

I’m grateful for my friends.  I’ve lost many along the way over the past few years, things happen, life moves on.  The friends who are still active in my life are the kind you have for a life time.  My new friends are so precious, I hope you know how much you mean to me.  My dear friends, I am so very grateful for each and every one of you.

I’m grateful for books.  For the library, for my Kindle, for any way that I can get free books that I actually want to read!  Recently I’ve been reading a lot more about my gut issues.  I’m grateful that I think I found a book that is going to help me with my restrictive diet dealing with my fructose malabsorption.  I’m reading about ways to handle chronic pain using Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, I think this could also help me during a vertigo attack.  I already use some of these techniques, and it does help quite a bit.  I’m reading a lot about Buddhism, all about the different types and how they are different from one another.  I’m reading about minimalism, trying to reduce things in my life.  I’m reading about art and photography.  I’m reading a mystery, some science fiction…..  I read to relax, and I read to learn.   I just love to read.

I’m grateful for this silly goat someone shared with me today that made me laugh and laugh….Stuart laughed at me blabbing with this goat.  Blab, Blabb, Blablbelble….   I think he really laughed because I couldn’t hear myself and I was just going on and on blable, bable….hahaha

Derpy Goat

So my friends these are some of the things I’m grateful for this week.

Share with me, what are some of the things you are grateful for????

Thank you for the nomination!! Updated

First let me say, I’ve started 2 posts and haven’t finished one…I also have some big news from today, that will just have to wait because I want to share something with you.

I don’t know who sent my name in, but I am so humbled, and excited that I have been nominated for a Health Activist Award sponsored by Wego Health.   To see the awards available, to nominate someone, or just find out more, please go to:  http://info.wegohealth.com/awards-2011/.  If you would like to be on the jury and help pick the winners go here: http://info.wegohealth.com/awards-jury/  Winners will be announced January 12th.

I was nominated or TMI Award (Too Much Information) Award – This Health Activist always goes there – no matter how personal or embarassing the story.

I was sent an email telling about my nomination, with a copy of what the nomination said, but it did not include who did the nominating.

I want to sincerely thank you from the bottom of my heart.

If I win our not, this nomination touched me so very deeply.

(BTW, to be shameless here, you can also vote to nominate me – or anyone you want – at http://info.wegohealth.com/awards-2011/)

I would love to win, but just being nominated  *getting chocked up here*  well, for someone who always lays it out there, no matter what, it’s hard for me to put into words just how much this effected me.

I just adore you, my dear, sweet readers.   You have supported me and have become so very close to me, I am proud to call you friend.

I thought some of you might like to read the nomination that was sent in.  (as you all know I’m pretty open and blunt…and so is this nomination….so beware if you are a new reader.)

Reason: I am nominating Wendy for this award because she shares every detail of her life no matter what it is. Currently she is going through recovery from surgery and described how her husband had to take care of her while using her bed pan-and as she is on her period! She also discussed how the hospital workers insist on giving you a PG test even if you have not been physically able to do the very thing that would make you pregnant. She made me laugh when she said her husband commented the silliness of this PG test prior to her surgery by saying “Well, if you are giving birth to the messiah we want to make sure we don’t cause him to have birth defects.” How many of us with chronic illness have been through that but never shared it. She did honestly and with humor. As seen in the comment section of her blog, people are moved by how in each blog she writes she is always herself and unguarded. Through her expression of how rough things can be, others can read her entries on depression or bipolar where she lays it out as it is. There is no film of protection on her writing. Wendy certainly deserves the TMI award. 🙂