Sunday, August 28, 2005

Change is inevitable!

I’d been without internet access for what seemed like forever but in real terms it was just over a week but in a land so clearly dominated by mr lupus that week felt like a life time and its amazing how isolated and out of touch you feel without internet access. What did we do before it was invented? I don’t know about you but I can’t remember that far.

I know that there are still people who have not yet welcomed this change in the way we communicate and access information but even though they may not personally have embraced it, the profound affect and change in their lives is clearly visible. I must admit I am still amazed that there are people out there without email. So what is it about this change thing that seems to affect us whether we want it to or not? Why is it that some of us really embrace change while the rest of us wait for it to be enforced?

Change is, according to the dictionary, “a transformation or transition from one state, condition, or phase to another” it is a natural order of things and we have all experienced it didn’t we first start out as babies; grow to toddlers, teenagers and eventually adults? We’ve survived the process, we can testify to that and many of us also have the battle scars to prove it so why not embrace the inevitable?

I realize I fall into the group of people that although I know change is coming or indeed that it is here, I bury my head and pretend and create an alternative reality and it has nothing to do with the hours of watching brain numbing TV. In fact I would like to report that I am working on my addiction, we are down to a maximum of two episodes of Diagnosis Murder per day instead of the previous five episodes. I only have to look at the situation for the last few months (this change probably started further back than that but the manifestation I could not ignore began on 19th May) the almost daily presence of mr lupus has enforced a change I was neither prepared for nor willing to accept. I didn’t understand it and was unwilling to acknowledge that it meant real changes in my life.

Don’t get me wrong I make all the right noises, I know the right things to say, but my internal refusal to let go of the familiar means that although change is happening, I choose to fight it. Well I’m a fighter and isn’t that what fighters do? Wrong! Have you read the Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield? It talks about states of being and the energy associated with them and suggests that you don’t fight like with like. If someone is the aggressor by also being the aggressor you don’t actually defuse the situation. In order to ‘win’ you need to choose other tactics. My trying to fight mr lupus head on is not the answer and it’s certainly not working effectively. The past 15 weeks are clear evidence of that.

So what have I learnt? Change is inevitable and a natural part of the process of life and unless you really can stop or reverse it, you really need to learn how to live with it and make it work for you. Change is not always a bad thing, I have learnt so much about people and about myself in the last 15 weeks and whilst the appearance of mr lupus may have changed my life in ways that I am unhappy about in order to really move forward I need to acknowledge it and embrace it because even with the elimination of mr lupus from my life my life will never be the same again...

Thought for the day
Remember change is an important part of your life. Are you embracing it?
He who rejects change is the architect of decay. The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery. ~Harold Wilson

Friday, August 26, 2005

And today's leading role is....!!

I can now officially report that the mind really does play a key role in your health and well being. But how can I make such a bold statement, with such certainty and authority? Well, I feel eminently qualified, due to my recent experience, and I would like to share it with you. So please come and join me on my personal journey.

It was that time of the month again (no not that time of the month) It was Chemo time. Whilst I appreciate and give thanks for each and every moment (well most of the time) this really is a time that I find particularly difficult to recategorise (is there such a word or am I just making it up) I hate it. I hate the feeling as the liquid flows through my veins, I hate the nausea, I hate post chemo infection and I hate the not knowing how and when it is going to affect me and my day.

And on this particular day it seemed as though my mind was particularly fixated on all the things I hated. When my eyes opened and greeted the day, I felt anxious and heavy and the mere thought of needles, the increased chemo dosage and a day of hanging around the hospital did not inspire or fill me with any kind of enthusiasm and it really was only the fact that my friend was picking me up to go to the hospital that I actually got out of bed.

I arrived at the hospital in style, I usually either drive myself or take a stroll alone, but today I was chauffeur driven and had company but I still couldn’t find a space in my mind to relax. Even chatting (my favourite pastime after TV and Diagnosis Murder) to the medical team didn’t lift my spirits. It was then that it happened. No not an epiphany, or a startling revelation, just my mind controlling my body. The nurse set about her task to fit the drip thing (I can’t remember its name), she tried it once, twice, three times, four times but no joy and you can imagine what this did for my anxiety. I ended up in the garden in a flood of tears, I called a friend to pray with me and my friend returned from parking the car just in time to give me a hug (Hugs are really a powerful healing weapon make sure you get yours daily).

Two more attempts and three nurses later it was in…. I won’t share the rest of the details with you, but I will share my thoughts on the whole experience.

It felt as though my mind had sabotaged the day. My mind for some reason was closed to the whole idea (well I guess it makes sense who like needles being poked into their skin) and as a result my body responded in the way it did. How many other things has my mind been closed to before? And what can I do about it? The answer to both questions is I don’t really know but I do know that my mind needs pampering and nurturing, it needs to feel valued and supported and I have to find a way to make that happen. Here are some of the ways I’ve going to give a try why not join me?

1. Long soak in a bath of sweet smelling bubbles (daily)
2. Visualization of myself well
3. Write a daily gratitude journal
4. Buy myself flowers or little gifts
5. Laugh a lot and often
6. Spend time with friends
7. Give thanks for my blessings
8. Get at least one hug a day

Thought for the day

The mind is a powerful tool to waste, look after yours and it will serve you well.

Monday, August 15, 2005

It's all about perspective!

It’s all about perspective or so I’ve heard myself say so many times before, and now is my chance to prove it.

I am on the threshold of a week filled with chemotherapy and all of the dread, anxiety and mr lupus antics that go with it. I already know what lies in store, the sickness, aches, pains, tiredness, lethargy, lack of motivation etc. after all I have been down this road a couple of times before, but is that experience reliable enough to base the out come of my week? Just because I have had similar experiences in the past, does that mean that this experience will be exactly the same?

The truth is I don’t know, it could be, but as there are different factors involved, it is also entirely possible that it could be completely different. This got me thinking (it really doesn’t take much for me to do that these days) about the times in our lives (I know I am not alone on this one) that we have let our past experiences dictate our present and our future. This is in itself an interesting approach as there appears to be no real evidence that we actually learn from our history or past experiences (we only have to look at war to see that point in action) instead I think our lessons come from the present. Think about it many of us can’t remember with true clarity what happened yesterday (we only relate our interpretation of it) which makes it a bit daft to allow ourselves to be governed by something we can’t even remember clearly.

We learn today about what happens today and then by putting those lessons learnt into our toolkit for life, we can take them with us as we move forward. Well that’s the theory anyway, what we actually do is continue to look backwards in our attempts to move forward. (It really is surprising that we move anywhere at all)

So back to the week ahead. What would happen if I changed the emphasis of the week and in turn my focus, would I laugh more, feel less discomfort? Well I’m going to find out because instead of lying around as a sick person this week I’m going to redefine it as a five day pamper me session. I’ve got friends lined up to provide food, nourishment and entertainment and I’m going to press the pause button on thinking too deeply about my situation and mr lupus and enjoy the week as much as I can. Why shouldn’t days lying around on the settee watching TV be pure indulgence? Why shouldn’t I get something positive out of this whole experience?

Thought for the day
Learn your lessons daily; don’t wait until tomorrow your interpretation of events will not be the same as the real thing. And pamper, pamper, pamper you are worth it.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Now that's strange!

Today was a good day, the sun was shining, mr lupus was quiet and my world was looking much brighter.

My barometer for measuring this was something that I had previously taken for granted. Until recently, well today actually, I had lost my appetite for shopping. I know that is hard to believe as shopping has always been the mainstay of a woman’s life (well at least a large percentage of the women I know). We shop when we’re happy; we shop when we’re sad; in fact anytime is shopping time if we have the chance but mr lupus had taken all of that away (or maybe it as that I had let him). I no longer had the desire, motivation or inclination to drag myself from shop to shop but something happened today. I don’t know if it was the sunshine, the fact that I felt free from mr lupus or the new belief system I am working with, but something definitely happened.

Whatever it was prompted me to take a shopping trip for the first time in a very long time, not really the die hard shop till you drop kind of shopping but shopping none the less (we have to be thankful for small mercies) I guess it was more a form of exercise and a welcomed diversion from having my pre chemo blood test. (I don’t understand why they still have to pierce my skin to take blood)

I enthusiastically walked around the shops and rummaged through the end of sale racks, I even bought some sandals, a bargain at £5/$7.50, I know that summer is almost over but I felt exhilarated just by the purchase.

Then something strange happened to me and for once it did not require me to seek any form of medical attention. Maybe it wasn’t quite that strange after all I did have a hectic day but today for the very first time I was unable to stay awake to watch Diagnosis Murder. Can you believe it? There I was lying on the settee poised with two hours of my addictive substance lying before me and what do I do? I fall asleep not just nod off I actually sleep missing out huge chunks of the programme which I could probably have pieced together as I am such an expert viewer but I didn’t want to so I simply went back to sleep.

So does this mean that I am cured? Have I finally broken the back of my addiction? Has Diagnosis Murder been relegated to the dark recesses of my mind? Well I have chemo next week so only time will tell.

But what did I learn from today?
I think the lesson was about the importance of perspective. Lying on the settee only presents me with one view of my world, a world where mr lupus is in control and holds all of the cards. He says jump and I say how high. He dictates my comings and my goings, how I feel about myself and the world around me. But when I get up I see my world a little differently, I feel a little more powerful and I smile just a little bit more, so maybe that’s the answer I just need to get up more often and add another dimension to my world daily.

Thought for the day
Don’t take the challenges that life throws at you lying down. Sometimes just by standing up you can make a difference.

Friday, August 12, 2005

I've made a discovery!

Eureka I’ve found it!
And what kind of friend would I be if I didn’t share it with you. I’ve made an amazing discovery; I’ve discovered something more powerful than my immune system which is good because as mine currently stands it’s not doing me a lot of good. But that’s not the only good news; I think that my discovery will probably work for you as well; in fact I know it will.

So what have I discovered? Have I found a way to banish mr lupus for good? have I found a cure for the common cold? No nothing so scientific, but definitely something more powerful and I don’t know why doctors haven’t discovered this. In fact they should be writing prescriptions for it.

So what is it and why am I playing it so close to my chest. I guess I’m just excited and that is an emotion that I haven’t experienced for a very long time.

Last week I felt that the world was a horrible place, (which actually isn’t wrong because it really is) mr lupus was giving me grief and I found it difficult to extricate myself from the comfort of my settee and the company of the ‘Hallmark’ channel. In fact the whole value of life and my life in particular was in question, but this week I have read a book, gone for walks and had lunch out with friends. Has anything changed since last week? Not really, the world is still a horrible place and mr lupus is still up to his old antics but something changed in me…

I’m not sure what happened or when it happened but….

I did begin to see things a little differently. I began to believe that there was more to my life than simply lying around on the settee, that I was more than the object of mr lupus’ desire and that nothing was going to change nor was the television going to turn itself off. It was down to me I had to do something.

I even found myself asking the question “if this was going to be my last day on this mortal coil would I want to spend it lying on the settee watching ‘Diagnosis Murder’ (DM) (the memory of my friends funeral is still with me and my addiction to DM is still going strong) the answer was a resounding NO although it did take an episode and a half to get me to turn off the television (this is still a work in progress) and do something completely different.

That is when I made my discovery.

That is when I realized that what I believe has a more powerful affect on the way I feel (or at the very least how I deal with my feelings) and that this belief is more potent than anything prednisolone, chemo or the attacks from mr lupus can throw at me.

So what our belief system, where is it located and more importantly how do we tap into it?
Our Belief System is the inner force that governs the way we live our lives. And what makes them all the more powerful is that we have been shaping them since early childhood. And what’s more it works both for us and against us. Henry Ford once said "Whether you believe you can or believe you can't, you're probably right"

Here is a story to illustrate that point a man cleaning a walk-in-fridge, closed the door behind him, and couldn't get out again. He couldn't open the door from the inside. Next morning when somebody found him,
- - - - - - he was dead - frozen dead!
What is the point of this story? The point is, the fridge was not switched on, it was still cold, but not freezing and it had enough oxygen for him to have survived.


His belief system killed him. He believed he would freeze to death and so he did.
His belief system proved him RIGHT. The mind is unable to tell the difference between something real (a fact), and something unreal, (imagined)

How many beliefs have you got that are working against you? For me my belief has been that mr lupus is holding all the winning cards and as a result of that belief my actions – lying on the settee and watching lots of brain numbing TV – support that belief.

So how do we tap into it?
Handled effectively, beliefs can be the most powerful tool for creating a powerful life. Recognising, knowing and believing that we can change or create our own belief system is the step to a new life and a new way of being. We can simply chuck out beliefs which are stopping us and replace them with beliefs which support us. That’s what I’m doing write now so I invite you to join me.
Easier said than done, is that what you believe? Well now would be a good time to change that, don’t you think? Try this.

Write down the beliefs that are limiting you right now

Change those beliefs to ones that will help to move you forward.

Visualize yourself operating from your new belief system; experience it
through all of your senses. What does it taste, feel, smell, sound and look

Write a list of 10 affirmations to support your new belief system and put
them in places where you will be reminded of them on a daily basis.

Thought for the day

Changing your belief system is a work in progress but you owe it to yourself to keep going after all if you really believe it then you can achieve it.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

One sure thing!

The one sure thing in life is you are going to die. No don’t switch off I’m not off on one of those morbid, suicidal trips, being unduly influenced by mr lupus, I’m off to a funeral of an old (well not so old really she was only 42) school friend today and it got me thinking about life and death. In western culture we try to avoid the subject of death for as long as possible and only really deal with it when it is knocking on our doors or the door of someone close to us.

What is it about death that scares us seeing as we cannot avoid it? That’s probably a long story for another place and another time.

In some cultures they actually celebrate at funerals, they celebrate the life of the person passing but so many of us simply mourn the passing. Today when I go to my friends funeral there will be two dates prominently display the date she was born and the date she died and they will be divided by a simple – (dash) the emphasis will be on the dates but the real significance will lie in the space in between as this will be the some total of her life.

How are you living your dash?

I came across a poem by Linda Ellis called 'The Dash' sent to me as an email some time ago, that sums this up and I just wanted to share it with you.

Thought for the day
Enjoy the life you have and celebrate the people in it….who knows where you or they are in their dash

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

It's my party!

Hello I’m back and it seems like such a long while since we chatted, but not to worry I’m here now.

So what is it that has kept me so busy and away from my keyboard, well I have to come clean and be perfectly honest with you, I’ve been partying 24 hours a day almost seven days a week since we last spoke and I’m exhausted.

But as I reflect on all of the partying I’ve been doing something about it doesn’t quite feel right, aren’t parties supposed to be about food, good company, drink and celebration?

That’s what I thought!

So how is it that I found myself the guest of honour at a party with a distinct lack of any of the above? And if that wasn’t bad enough it was me who chose the date, organized the bash and arranged the furniture (well on reflection I think mr lupus had something to do with it). Yes you’ve guessed it I’ve been having a pity party and even though the guest list was empty mr lupus still managed to show up.

How did I end up in the middle of this lifeless party season with neither joy nor excitement for company? I don’t know, it just seemed to creep up on me and before I knew it that was how I spent my days. And the terrible thing about pity parties is that they are events you rarely invite anyone to, they leave you drained, exhausted and feeling low and vulnerable.

Each day was very much a reflection of the previous one, empty and lacking in promise and there seemed to be no way out from under it all. Just plenty of TV, lots of lying around and a whole heap of thinking. The trouble with thinking from this place is that your head is full of non productive thoughts that only serve to keep you where you are and due to your lack of meaningful interaction with other people it would be so easy for you to stay stuck in this fruitless party season unless you make a different choice….

And that’s what I did

No amount of analyzing and justifying was ever going to make a difference, change the mood or switch the television off (I think I arrived at this point after having had the television switched on for around 84 hours non stop, well something just had to give). It was all down to me and it required me to take action.

I learnt something really important the day I decided that I need to make a different choice. I learnt that life really is made up of the small things and that’s where I had to start. I set myself small goals and celebrated the success of each one. It wasn’t about society’s or anyone else’s standards, it was about what worked for me and taking it one step at a time.

So one step at the time is all I can do today and everyday. Some days are going to be good days and some are not going to be as good but that’s okay I just need to keep moving after all I am on the road to wellness!

Thought for the day

Eat the elephant one bite at a time