This year has been life-changing for me. The events of this year will impact my life in a way unlike any other year in the past. As I reflect on the events of this year I am hopeful that next year will bring more peace, joy, and happiness. I learned a lot about myself and others this year. Some good things and some bad but all of the moments had value because of the lessons that I learned. I am going to reflect on 5 lessons that I learned this year that will better prepare me for 2018.
- Everyday armor is added to protect you from adversity. I understand that many of us have trials and tribulations just to make it through the day but we are strong for the struggles we have on a daily basis. Instead of viewing the struggles as a burden try to view them as pieces of armor added daily to help with the daily struggles of chronic illness. The more armor you have the less those struggles can affect you the next time they occur.
- Finding what works for you is all that matters. I spent a lot of my time in the past trying and reading about what works best for others but this past year I focused on what worked best for me. Whether it was a lifestyle, health or relationship choice I made a conscious decision to find out how each aspect of my life was affecting my well being and spent my time removing those toxic elements from my life. This has dramatically changed my mood and outlook on life. I am more positive and have a better understanding of what works best for me on a daily basis and I have seen the benefits in all aspects of my life.
- Living in the moment is where peace is found. Meditation teaches that living in the present is what provides the contentment and calm that most of us are looking for in our daily life. Chronic illness causes additional anxiety that may cause us not to be in the moment all the time. However, appreciating the moments when you are feeling better than the normal chronic illness baseline is so important to living a fulfilled life and why those fleeting moments should be cherished and not ignored.
- Listen to your body. I spent this year truly listening to my body. I loved my body on the good days and the bad. I did not dwell on the bad days as much as I use to instead I respected that my body was having a bad day and needed special attention. Just like any other relationship the one with your body is personal and you must listen and responded like you would to any other loving relationship in your life. You must give your body respect and be loving in order to receive the same from your body.
- Life is shorter than you think. I know we have heard this all our lives that life moves quickly and you must stop to smell the roses but I have a different theory. I think that if you are in the flow of your life and on the right path the smell of roses will be the fragrance of your life and would not require you to stop and smell them. I spent a lot of my life doing what I thought I was supposed to do versus what the universe was gently nudging me to do. This blog is something that is in the flow of my life and when I sit down to write it never feels like I need to appreciate it because I love it that why I do it. I found more things in my life that make me have the same joy I have from writing this blog.
So, as this year comes to an end I am hopeful that next year will bring new experiences and new lessons that will help me move forward in my life’s journey and I hope to share those experiences with you with the understanding that you are not alone in your struggles with chronic illness or just in life. Best wishes and Happy New Year! I will leave you with this quote “Tomorrow, is the first blank page of a 365-page book. Write a good one.” ― Brad Paisley
Quote from Goodreads
In my life, I have seen more setbacks than successes but within the setbacks, there is a bit room created for improvement. We have all struggled to find our way in this tough world but I think having a chronic illness at a young age gave me the grit I needed to push through. Failing happens, losing happens even if you think you did everything right you may still lose. This is the risk we take with any endeavor we embark on. However, in the defeat, the opportunity to learn from your mistakes can be found. I know it seems a bit cliche but some cliches are cliches because they are true. Over the last few months, I have found that in major defeat there is a ripple effect that occurs that can be felt throughout your entire personal ecosystem. I have felt the ripple and it was difficult and continues to be but I found a victory. This victory is clarity, not like an ah-ha moment but more like I am sure that this is where I need to be at this point in my life. This renewed sense of purpose has created a new path for me to follow going forward. I have always struggled with contentment which has not changed but what makes me content has and will forever be altered. I will take my victory in defeat and take this lesson to the next stage of my life with hopes that this lesson can help continue to guide me to greater peace and happiness. I will leave you with this quote “Pleasure is always derived from something outside you, whereas joy arises from within.” ― Eckhart Tolle
Quote from Goodreads
Every week I try a few new things so you do not have to. This week’s top five suggestions are from Gretchen Rubin and Elizabeth Craft’s Happier Podcast. They have a bunch of suggestions to try at home. I am going to give you the 5 that I tried this week.
- Make the Bed – This seems like it’s a little thing but every day it can add to the day’s accomplishments.
- One Sentence Journal – I have always wanted to have a journal and I have tried all types methods from a set time to 2 mins day but the one sentence journal was a success for me this week.
- Meditation – This has been something I have talked about in prior posts but I will continue to make this suggestion. Even if it’s 5 minutes a day, I always notice the difference in myself.
- Stretching – I struggle with this daily but I am trying to stretch at least a few times a week.
- Happiness Demerits and Gold Stars – I like this concept because listening to the Happier Podcast has made me think about what I do poorly or well when it comes to my own and the people around me when it comes to happiness.
Happiness is something that requires daily practice. I have tried a lot of different things and some things work and some things do not work for me. The success is from trying to be happier on a daily basis. If you continue to try new things to be happy those little things add up over time. I am no happiness expert when it comes to living with Charcot Marie Tooth, Scoliosis or Stenosis but I know that trying new habits and suggestions will have a positive effect on your daily mood. Let me know if you have tried or are planning to try any of Gretchen Rubin’s suggestions in the comments below.
Today, I am starting a new Oprah and Deepak 21 day meditation experience. It’s called Getting Unstuck: Creating a limitless life. I started meditating over a year ago as a way of dealing with the some of the symptoms of Charcot Marie Tooth Disease. I think it has helped me be less focused on the negative effects of CMT and bring more positivity into my life. In a few of my prior posts I mentioned a lot of lessons I have learned through meditation. I prefer guided meditation because it helps me think about areas of my life that I am not focused on. This allows me to expand my spirituality, mindfulness and focus on others areas of my life besides CMT. I think the 20 minutes a day that I truly focus of my meditation practice is time that I know will help me in my day and I have had multiple examples when my meditation in the morning has directly correlated with some of the issues that occur that day. This gives me a new perspective on the situation and it creates a different outcome which was more positive than the alternative. I am exciting to start the new 21 day meditation experience and I am hopeful for what I can learn about myself. I will leave you with this quote “In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.” – Deepak Chopra.
We all have bad days when you have a disease. On these days it has always been tough for me to stay positive. Today I noticed something different, I no longer felt upset about having a bad day.This was very surprising to me. I wondered, what was the difference in my life? I was grateful for the challenge I was having today. The power of gratitude created a shift from a negative state of mind to a positive one. Meditation teaches us to be mindful and grateful therefore, I have been working on both aspects which have helped me manage my negative feelings better than before. This was a major shift from what I normally thought about on those days. I slowed my pace down and started to accept that I am unable to change this feeling but I am at peace with the fact that this is my challenge for that day. I noticed that being grateful for the little things even on a bad day can change my perspective and change the amount of stress and anxiety I feel on those days. I no longer feel frustrated with myself and I am more focused on listening to my body and trying to nourish and nurture my body and soul to recover as quickly as possible. I am grateful for what is good even on a bad day. This makes all the difference not only for me but for the people in my life. I think that on bad days we impact the people around us as well. I think I am starting to understand the power of gratitude and appreciation for the people in my life and I think that energy has a healing and positive effect on me and the others around me. Today I am working on being more grateful for the challenge and appreciate the people in my life. I suggest you try this for yourself and you will see how quickly a bad day can become a good one. I will leave you with this quote “Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.”
― Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose
Fatigue has been something I had to struggle with as a person with CMT. I start a project with the best intentions but before your know it CMT sets in and I am sidelined for days if not weeks. I have had trouble with this. I have always had trouble completing tasks, keeping deadlines and even promises because I would get sick. I have been told that no matter what you do you will always have bad days because of your disease. I guess I am still hopeful that maybe I will figure out a pattern that works. However, I have not found one yet and I am not sure if I will. I think for me I felt if I gave in to fatigue that I would be seen as lazy. Although I usually figured out a way to complete my tasks, lately I have been so fatigued that has not been possible. I feel frustrated some days because there seems to be no relief in sight. I know that all people have struggles but this one is particularly debilitating because the people around us may not know or understand how tired we are. I feel that people do not know how much energy it takes for us to do what people do in a normal day. Some days just getting out of bed is difficult. In meditation, it is said that acceptance is one of most powerful tools we have in fighting our frustrations. So I am working on acceptance of the things I cannot change. I am not complaining about having CMT because I believe that all things happen for a reason and it is our goal to find the meaning in it all. So as of now, I am not focused not on the fatigue but more on the meaning of why I have CMT. I will leave you with this quote “You feel fine, and then, when your body can’t keep fighting, you don’t.” ― Nicholas Sparks, A Walk to Remember
I have trouble asking for help even for the smallest things. I feel that it is a sign of weakness or worse, a feeling of failure or defeat. I have always felt this way. I am a stubborn person so I would rather do it myself than admit defeat at the hands of a small grocery bag that I am unable to carry. I will fumble, struggle and almost tumble just to prove I could do it until the bag breaks because it took so long for me to carry it. I always had an uncomfortable feeling when I asked for help which eventually became an insecurity because I knew I was different. I hoped that if I did this small aspect of daily life it would make all the other things less noticeable but I was wrong because my body paid the price soon after for my bad decision. I would be in pain for days or even worse I would injure myself making me immobile for weeks or even months. All of this aftermath just because I could not admit that I need help. In my mind, I felt like I was doing the right thing but it was 100% the WRONG. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that you should not attempt to do things but if you attempt them and you feel like this is a stretch for you or there is a very good chance this might not be a good idea, your instincts may be telling you this may not be the right decision. You need to ask yourself “is it worth it? If the answer is no then the task being complete does not outweigh the risk. I think that sometimes because of my disease I take on more than I can handle on a day that I am feeling good and regret it the next day when I am feeling bad and cannot complete my task by the promised timeframe. I notice another thing as well, I want people to offer to help instead of me asking but if you wait for other people including family they may never ask. This may cause anger, frustration and resentment on your bad days but they don’t know when, how and in some cases why you need the help. I have learned that you may need to ask for help in certain times in areas that your disease limits you but you can help other people in areas as well. I think balance is the key to asking for help. You must give as much as you receive if you can of course. Also, remember, giving or being help could be a funny story, emotional support or even just a positive attitude because depending on your disease physical help may not be an option. I have found that if you help someone as much as you ask for help both people seem to be fine with it. Only when people feel that the situation is one sided that they feel like this a bad situation for them. So, help where, when and how you can in a way that you can do consistently because doing something once and never again will not help both people in the long run. I will leave you with this quote “When we feel weak, we drop our heads on the shoulders of others. Don’t get mad when someone does that. Be honored. For that person trusted you enough to, even if subtly, ask you for help.” by Lori Goodwin.
Being positive has always been a struggle for me. Naturally, I am a cynical and scarcastic person but this brews alot of unwanted stress, anger and resentment. So, when I meditate everyday, the mantras and centering thoughts provided by Deepak and Oprah all have a common theme of being mindful, positive and letting go of things that prevent you from being the best version of yourself. I have always understood the importance and the healing benefits but only recently have I tried to be more positive everyday. I noticed that on the days that I practiced this simple change my day seemed better and at the end of the day I felt happier. Meditation teaches acceptance is a vital part of happiness and your overall health. Once you accept something or someone as they truly are then and only then can the universe rebalance. I know it sounds crazy but in recent situations in my life I have tried this technique and the results have been very positive. This has allowed me to build my positivity silo higher than it has been before. This quote best summerizes the lack of value holding a grudge has in your life and your ability to be positive. “Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”― Gautama Buddha I will step down off my soapbox now but being truly positive is something that needs to be worked on daily. I have just noticed that I am reaping the rewards of what I am sewing when it comes to my relationships, friendships and even with my acquaintances. Being positive and letting go of any grudges, anger or resentment toward people, circumstances or otherwise is the best thing I have done for myself. I will leave you with this quote “Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain” -Joseph Campbell