Meaningful Monday: Pema Chödrön

 

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photo by Lorraine

Wendy is too busy with all the wonderous changes in her life to present her usual Mindfulness Monday post at the moment. So, I am stepping in with a guest post for her.

I have always found great wisdom, humour and compassion in the words of  Pema Chödrön. She is member of/teacher at a Shambhala Buddist community – Gampo Abbey – in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia which gives her words a special resonance with me. My paternal roots, and extended chunks of my adult life were spent in the Maritimes. No better spot for meditation, retreat, and restoration. I just returned from the South Shore of Nova Scotia. My first visit “home” in 7 years; a truly transformative experience.

So in honour of Wendy and Nova Scotia, I present Meaningful Monday as a guest host for Wendy’s wonderful Mindfulness Mondays. All quotes are from Pema Chödrön.

 

“When there’s a big disappointment, we don’t know if that’s the end of the story. It may be just the beginning of a great adventure.”

“Each moment is an opportunity to make a fresh start.”

“Every situation is a passing memory.”

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.

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“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.

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“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!!

Mindfulness Monday – Beauty

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“In every bend of time

there is some surprise,

joy and beauty.

Mindfulness is the

light to discover it.”

~ Amit Ray

 

“Beauty surrounds us.”

~ Rumi

 

“Because of your smile,

you make life more beautiful.”

~ Thich Nhat Hanh

 

“Everything has beauty,

but not everyone sees it.”

~ Confucius

 

* As I was walking into the doctor’s office, I saw this flower; it was all alone in the middle of a parking lot, sharing it’s beauty.  I had to share it with you.

photo by Wendy Holcombe.  Please do not use without permission.

Mindfulness Monday – Byron Katie

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“It’s not your job

to like me –

It’s mine.”

~ Byron Katie

 

“It’s not the problem

that causes

our suffering;

it’s our thinking

about the problem.”

~ Byron Katie

 

“The world is what

you believe it to be,

and it changes as you change.”

~ Byron Katie

 

“When you discover that all

happiness is inside you,

the wanting

and needing

are over.”

~ Byron Katie

 

 

 

 

* image by W. Holcombe, all rights reserved.  Please do not use without permission.

Do you feel inspired?

inspire

We all see them, the chronically ill who are living amazing lives, even doing things above and beyond what most “normals” do.  They don’t let their illnesses stop them.  They thrive despite their illness.  These people are supposed to be an inspiration.  We are to be amazed and we’re supposed to look at them and realize, “Hey, if they can do it so can I.”  (does that really work?)

There always seems to be a celebrity who has the same disease you do.  As a spokesperson for our illness they are supposed to be an inspiration, after all, if they can do it, why can’t I?

Do they really inspire you?  Does it give you hope?  Or does it make you feel inadequate?  Does it make you feel bad because you haven’t been able to do what “normals” would define as remarkable things in spite of our illness.

For me, it’s often the later.  I feel inadequate because I simply cannot do the things I used to, let alone do extraordinary things that I’ve never even thought of doing.

It concerns me that people will compare me to those “inspiring” people and think that I’m exaggerating the severity of my symptoms.  I’ve had well-intentioned friends and family members send me articles about someone who has Meniere’s Disease and how they are are either living amazing lives despite Meniere’s, or they were “cured”.  This happened a lot when Dana White (president of the United Fighting Championship), underwent a treatment for his Meniere’s and it was a “miracle cure”.  What they don’t realize is that there is more than one cause of Meniere’s, so his treatment may do nothing for me; he has Meniere’s in one ear, I have it in both.  They also seem to ignore the fact that he had to go to Germany to have this procedure done….ummm, who’s going to pay for this?  Not my insurance that’s for sure.  and just how safe is it?  After they send these messages, I wonder, do they think I’m not doing everything I can?

When we hear that someone is an inspiration, it is supposed to be a positive thing, but inspiration can be negative.  You can inspire people to do bad things.  Look at Charles Manson or Adolf Hitler, for example, they inspired people to do all kinds of horrible things.  They were very inspirational, just not like we have been conditioned to think of the word.

The people who inspire me to try harder, to live more fully, to embrace life, and simply care more are the amazing people I meet who have chronic illnesses and can still love their life, with all it’s limitations.  I’m amazed by the people who undergo many painful medical procedures and still greet each day with love.  I’m positively inspired by those who are able to push through and do the everyday things, even when life is just so hard. The people who show compassion and support to others despite the fact that they get so little themselves, these are some of the people who inspire me to be the best me I can.

I’m not saying that famous people can’t be a positive inspiration, I’m simply saying that is not always the case.  When I see a list of famous people who suffer from vertigo, it doesn’t inspire me to do anything.  I feel compassion for them, and I often wonder exactly how much they battle with their illness behind the scenes.  What are we not seeing?  The phrase, “but you don’t look sick”, sure hits home when we see someone like the beautiful Selena Gomez, who has Lupus.

Then I hear things like, “Nicolas Cage suffers from vertigo all the time”.  Ummm, really?  All-the-time?  I could believe he has disequilibrium all the time, but full blown vertigo, no way.  I simply do not believe it.  If he has vertigo all the time and can function as well as he does, that would be a miracle.  I can believe that he may have recurring vertigo, but not constantly.  I’m pretty sure I’d kill myself if I had full blown vertigo all the time.

 

Who inspires you to be the best you can be?

Do you get positively inspired by famous people who have your illness?

Does it make you feel inadequate when you hear that someone who has the same illness that you have has done something like run marathons, or started a successful business, or has won the “Golden Buzzer” award on America’s Got Talent, like Mandy Harvey did, who is deaf?

Am I the only one who is rarely “inspired” by these stories?

 

*image is a screen shot from Dictionary.com

 

Mindfulness Monday – Resolutions

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“I will breathe.
I think of solutions.
I will not let my worry control me.
I will not let my stress level breatk me.
I will simply breathe and it will
be okay because I don’t quit.”

~ Shayne McClendon

 

 

“Just slow down
Slow down your speech
Slow down your breathing.
Slow down your walking.
Slow down your eating.
And let that slower, steadier
pace perfume your mind.
Just slow down…”

~ Doko

 

*image by W. Holcombe, please do not copy without permission.  all rights reserved.

Mindfulness Monday – Joy

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“Learning to live in the present moment
is part of the path of joy.”

~ Sarah Ben Breathnach

 

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile,
but sometimes you smile can be
the source of your joy.”

~ Thich Nhat Hahn

 

“Ultimately our greatest joy
is when we seek to do good for
others.”

~ Desmond Tutu

 

 

*photo of pumpkin blossom taken by W. Holcombe.  all rights reserved

Mindfulness Monday – Pema Chödrön

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“Rather than letting our negativity get the better of us,
we could acknowledge that right now we feel like a piece of shit
and not be squeamish about taking a good look.”

― Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times

 

“Only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible in us be found.”

― Pema Chödrön

Gratitudes 3 – A Pretty Darn Good Week!

by w. holcombe
by w. holcombe

Things haven’t been perfect this week.  I did have a night filled with cluster headaches.  But I got through it, and since then I’ve been feeling, well, pretty darn good.  Until I got this little virus, but I already wrote about that, and I’m grateful that it will run it’s course and I’ll be done with it!  Plus I’m very Grateful that it really hasn’t been that bad, a couple of icky days, but that’s about it.

I am so very GRATEFUL that I found something that is helping me with my tummy issues!  I found a book that addresses the food issues that I have, but I plan to write a whole post about this, it’s so exciting! And I think it could help others with dietary issues.

I am GRATEFUL:

  • that I have a new psychiatrist!  She is so professional.  I’ve only seen her once, but she took a very detailed patient history, discussed all my medications in detail, discussed my concerns, and our future plans.  I was very impressed.  After the last fiasco with my previous doctor, it is such a relief to find a doctor who is not only professional but enjoys her job.
  • that I have been on more regular sleep schedule.  This is something I haven’t had for a very long time.
  • I am waking up with more energy.  Of course, this is probably because I am on a more regular sleep schedule, but it sure is nice.
  • I’ve been able to go down stairs every day this week. Most people probably don’t know just how disabled I have been, but tackling the stairs have been a huge task for a long time.  Most weeks I’ve been lucky if I’ve made it downstairs one or two days.  So making it down stairs every day for a week, that is a great accomplishment!
  • I have gotten out of the house many times this week!  Not only have I made it downstairs every day, but many days I’ve gone out.  I went to the grocery store….a HUGE accomplishment!  I went for a ride with the top off of the car!  I went to the Thrift store and got a new pair of pants.  I went and looked at glasses.  (I have an eye doctor’s appointment tomorrow, and will need new glasses.)  I even went out to eat, this is hard because of all the noise.  I’m also proud I went out to eat and stayed true to my diet, I didn’t eat anything that would make my tummy unhappy.
  • yoga pose 1yoga pose 2I exercised a little this week….a very, very little…but I did something!  Not only did I do a lot more in general, and you can call that a lot more exercise…I know my body is!  I did a few yoga poses almost every morning.  Just a few.  I’m trying to learn to balance more with my eyes instead of relying on my ears so much.  So I’m doing some of the standing yoga poses while focusing on a focal point.  Maybe it will help.   By going out an doing more I’m also working on increasing my stamina.
  • I didn’t let a virus ruin my week.  I was having a really great week, then I caught a virus and suddenly I felt crappy.  I thought, am I going to start feeling really bad again?  Then I caught myself….Stop thinking like that.  I can’t predict the future.  And what has been happening has been great, but it doesn’t mean it will continue.  I  will live in this moment.  and I’ll enjoy it.  If it’s a bad moment, I know it’s a moment.  It’s my moment.  And it’s OK.  (A note to Laurie at HibernationNow….Yes, I did over do it…You were right!  so I’m very tired today…but it was worth it, yesterday I had a a very fun day!)
  • I realized that even having a virus I still don’t feel as bad as I have felt.  No I don’t want to live in the past, but it was a bit of an eye opener when I realized I was lying here sick and I didn’t feel as bad as I have for a lot of the time this past year….heck the past couple of years.
  • My head hasn’t hurt much at all!  As I mentioned above, I had a night of cluster headaches, but since then….my head has been so good to me.  There’s a couple of reasons I think this may be, but I’m just grateful that it has happened!  I’m sure I’ll have headaches in the future, but to have the relief I feel now….so GRATEFUL.
  • I made my lunch today all by myself.  I cut up my own chicken today, and warmed up my own lunch.  Because of my balance issues and sudden vertigo I haven’t trusted myself to use a knife in a long time, at least without supervision.  Today I made my lunch with Stuart upstairs.
  • To hear my husband say, “It’s so nice to be able to do things with you.”   Remembering to be in this moment…..

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????