Live each day

Fear drains us. It takes away our ability to think straight and we struggle in the depths. I have always loved the quote “we have nothing to fear but fear itself.” That is so true. There are times when being afraid is logical….when in danger it is appropriate. The fear that tears us apart is the fear of things we don’t know. Many people are afraid to go to the doctor because something may be found wrong. Illogical. It is crossing bridges before we get to them.

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I have done this kind of nonsense most of my life. I can picture all the horrible scenarios and play them out in my mind. Then nothing happens and all that time was wasted in worry and fear.

Somehow we need to lean to live each day as it comes. Not an easy task but one worth pursuing. The day we are in is the only one we have. Savor every moment. I have a friend who has been living with a disease that should have killed her years ago. He life is a struggle. Each day a challenge. Yet she lives each day to its very limit and doesn’t think about dying tomorrow. This is surely how to live!

Go out…share your fears with someone

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This is a lesson I have learned well in my life. There are many times that I have sat and struggled with anxiety and fear. Even though the last thing I want to do is go out I force myself to get dressed and find someone to talk to. Just getting it out in the open helps me to put things into perspective. For me, fears shared and divided in half.

Testing and worry

I hate medical tests! I don’t care if they are simple or not. The thing is they are finding out if there is something wrong with you. Apprehension is the name of the game. There is also the thing that the medical community can be so slow on reporting the results. You sweat and worry only to find out there was nothing. I may do this worse than others since I am a nurse. However, testing is done and I will more on from there. These were routine and I can check it off my list.

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Medicine is certainly not set up to help anxiety. Some tests require extensive time for results and that can’t be helped but for others there must be a better way. It is hard to watch someone who had tests for recurrent cancer have to wait a week to find out the results. The people doing most things like MRI’s and CT’s have instant results. The delay is getting it read by a physician and reporting the results to the ordering physician and then to the patient. Surely we can find a way to streamline this process.

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Maybe they will report the results in my autopsy.

 

 

 

 

My daughter goes to a clinic that does Mammograms, Bone Density Studies, X-rays, etc all in the clinic. You have those done and then see the physician who ordered them right after. What a great system. We need more of this! I think I will move to where she is!

 

Demolish the wall

Sometimes we build walls around ourselves to stay safe. We wall out anything that hurts us…whether physical or mental. An extreme example of how the walls work is the patient written about called Sybil. Dividing yourself into separate people puts up walls between the root person to help her. Another example is Howard Hughes who physically walled himself in.

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Our various forms of mental illness can be walls. Ways that we have adjusted to the world in order to survive. The illnesses seem negative but at some time they may have been essential. (this may not include some types of illness)

The walls are hard to pull down. They are worse than masks. Masks seem more temporary but the walls have been built with bricks and mortar. Our anxiety can cause us to retreat from the world. We only seem safe if we stay under the covers on our beds.

When we are suffering it is very difficult to pull down the walls and move out of our comfort zone. When I am anxious I don’t want to go anywhere or do anything. I curl into a fetal position mentally and physically. I have erected a wall around myself.

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I have been working on the things that help me to remove the wall one stone, one piece of mortar, at a time. Meditation, remembering to breathe, focusing my mind, distraction are all things that help. With persistence these tools help me to keep the wall from growing and even begin to keep sections down. Progress is happening which gives me impetus to keep on keeping on.

Don’t give up. That wall can be knocked down a little at a time. Just keep on!

Don’t fear

It is a funny thing about love. We really can’t experience the fullness of it unless we are open to it. Being open, however, puts us at risk of being hurt. That is the trade off.

vulnerableSometimes we choose to love someone and are hurt by that person. It happens to everyone. Sitting back in fear gets us nowhere. I know people who have spent their lives alone because they couldn’t accept the uncertainty. Love is rarely certain.

We take a risk when we choose to love. I have taken that risk more that once and been hurt. I also took that risk 56 years ago when I married my husband. That risk paid off. Not all of them do.

For me, a life without love is a barren life. Yes, I have been hurt by relationships. Sometimes even those we think of as friends can hurt us terribly. It takes time to know a person well and the person we see at the beginning may be wearing a mask. We may not find out until later what is underneath.

I know someone who was married for years only to discover the person she loved was a criminal. We can be fooled.

Is it worth it? Yes, yes and yes! If the love is lost we will experience pain. We learn from the pain and become someone who has more depth. If it lasts it brings joy.

Don’t stay away from love out of fear. It is one of the most fruitful things in life. You can’t afford to not live fully!

Find Lucy

After the serious dry spell that we had now we have had rain every day. It doesn’t rain long but enough to help. I hope that it reached the farmers soon enough.

Today I had a call from one of my daughters telling me that my daughter in Texas has lost one of her dogs. She rescued two dachshunds a while back. Both had obviously been badly treated and were afraid of almost everyone. She and her family have been working hard to restore their trust and put their fears to rest. One of them would probably be considered to suffer from PTSD. The dog is on multiple meds for anxiety and panic attacks. While I was there visiting she eventually let me touch her but is still terrified of most things. Apparently last night little Lucy got out somehow. She is so fast. I’m not sure how it happened but my daughter is devastated.

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Lucy will not come to anyone if called. She is chipped and has a collar with her name and address but I don’t know if anyone will be able to catch her. Poor thing she is now lost and away from any kindness she has ever been shown. They also live near what is called “green belt” an untouched area designated to allow water retention and wildlife. I know they are worried that if she is there it will be difficult to find her.

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This makes me so sad. I would be lost if I couldn’t find either of my dogs and Lucy is at risk in so many ways. Dogs become part of our families and touch our hearts in so many ways. Lucy found a safe place and I hope she is found and returned there.

Bravery and fear go together

 

Bravery comes from the things we fear. We are only brave when we face something that we fear. Being able to step forward into a situation that worries us means that we can put the fear aside. We learn how to do this from the struggles we have had in the past. Each thing that has gone wrong in our lives has been a learning experience. We moved past those experiences and survived.

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Nobody wants to go through difficulties in life but they do help us to grow. The growth gives us the coping skills to manage the next problem that confronts us.  We not only learn how to manage but it helps us to understand others who are going through the same things. We have more compassion.

Think about the things that have troubled you in life and how you got through them. They have made you stronger and more compassionate. Don’t dwell on them as negative things but appreciate them for the things you have learned.

Religious Literacy

Religious illiteracy is a luxury (we) they can no longer afford. Barbara Brown Taylor in “Holy Envy.”

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I am loving the book “Holy Envy” which is Taylor’s  reflections on teaching a course in World Religions. This really jumped out at me. In today’s world we cannot be ignorant of the tenets of other faiths. No matter what our job other’s beliefs will touch us in some way.

Years ago, when I worked in the hospital, we had to be aware of the needs of the Gullah people who live off the coast of Georgia and South Carolina on small islands. Much of their culture has now been lost due to encroachment on their islands but they had ideas that impacted their healing. Blue is a very auspicious color for them and selecting a blue hospital room, when possible, could enhance their recovery.

The world has grown so small that we can’t afford to discard other beliefs just because we don’t agree with them. At some time we will be interacting with those of another faith and would do well to understand backgrounds and customs.

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Placing other faith’s tenets beside our own can expand our understanding of our own…..that is if we are not afraid of really exploring with an open mind. Being fearful or unwilling to step outside of our comfort zone exposes how little we have tested and explored our own faith.

Don’t be afraid to talk with others openly about their beliefs and be willing to accept where they are.

So Long Mom

Years ago I had recordings by Tom Lehrer. His satiric songs always struck a chord with me. Some of them are funny but some so prophetic they are scary. The words are from the past but the idea remains. (I’m sorry to say) They would not be politically correct today but unfortunately possible. It is a reminder to us to learn to live in a world without hatred.

 

 

Teach that everyone makes mistakes

It is obvious that we learn more from the mistakes that we make than from the things we do right. It is important that we teach this truth to children. We spend a lot of time lauding success but little time talking about failure in a positive way. When children learn that only being correct on test or questions answered then they become fearful of making mistakes. They become less willing to answer or try something out.

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I know it sounds crazy to reward failure and that is not really what is happening. We need to take time to discuss mistakes and errors and ask what has been learned. Someone who is more into education than me needs to come up with a curriculum that allows time to discuss “boo boo’s,” understand what they taught and maybe find amusement in them (when appropriate). This time should include the mistakes made by the teachers as examples of how everyone is included. They could discuss what might have been a better path for next time.

Maybe this way we won’t stifle creativity. Most inventions came after many failures.