OPTIMISM IS GOING AFTER MOBY DICK IN A ROWBOAT AND
TAKING TARTAR SAUCE
Curious to the Max blog has been the place where I’ve shared more of my personal journey. CATNIPblog has largely been dedicated to information Peggy & I have accumulated on emotional & physical health and happiness. (wealth we leave to those who have experienced it!)
Today, I clicked on the blog of a new subscriber, Savannah’s One Mountain at a Time . What she shared about her journey with Lupus resonated:
“Though mine is said by my doctor to not be life threatening, my immune system is prone to attacking my healthy joint tissues systemically . . . pain comes whenever it feels like it. Flares come and go, as do my exhausted days. Describing the pain is difficult but when a flare happens or I’m in pain, it feels like bruises anywhere inside my body, and someone is either jabbing needles in them or pressing them for long periods of time. . . . I take medications and go for jogs. I live a normal, active life despite pain.”
Like Savannah my diagnosis is not life threatening, only life altering. Unlike Savannah, who was diagnosed at 23, I was blessed in my first forty plus years with relatively good health. In 1995 that changed for me with the diagnosis of fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue. I admit it’s been a struggle trying to ignore, over-ride or giving in to the daily fatigue, pain and various other “irritants”. The older I get the harder it’s been. The best I can describe is feeling like a sandy beach being worn away by unrelenting waves and occasional pounding storms.
In public I look fine and only those who intimately know me would know if I were feeling exhausted, in pain or depressed. When I’m feeling particularly bad no one knows as I shelter in place – stay home and lick my wounds. Any contact, even a phone call, can feel overwhelming.
CATNIPblog has been my in-home companion: A way to connect to the world and my incredibly understanding friends while expending minimal energy; posts that remind me to eat better, be grateful, and most of all Peggy and her delightful drawings that make me smile.
Savannah’s faith, above all, is what seems to sustain her. Me too. Even on my worst days my question is never “Why me?”. I ask God for guidance, the wisdom to understand that guidance and the where-with-all to carry it out . . . one day at a time . . . sometimes one hour at a time.
Personally and professionally I learned early on that each of us, in ways large and small, carry physical or emotional pain. Each of us searches, longs for answers, respite and meaning. Savannah has found meaning at an early stage in her life. I salute her.
Pour for Poverty: Savannah makes bags filled with sustainable essentials that she feels serve a beneficial purpose for people living in poverty filled with clothing, food, and hygiene products, written letters, prayers, bible verses and love. She distributes to the poor throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex and occasionally other cities when traveling.
(Abdu’l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 16, The Baha’i World Faith)
“In the 1970s, a professor of psychology named James W. Pennebaker began experimenting with the effects that talking, confessing and self-understanding had on human well-being. Nearly 30 years later, he and his collaborator, Joshua M. Smyth, a professor of behavioral health and medicine, produced a body of research that found the emotionally connective and relieving effects of expressive writing to promote self-understanding, ease emotional pain and aid in physical healing.[viii] Since their book, Opening Up by Writing It Down, was published in 1997, their findings have been corroborated by other scientists’ independent studies around the world.”
The 2016 edition of their book explains that expressive writing:
“When expressing themselves in writing, people often report that they feel safe. They are actually creating an artifact—one that symbolizes some of their thoughts and feelings but is not them. With that safety, people often find they can put things down on the page that are often hard to speak about, and explore the deeper truths that we all carry with us.”
“The writing itself is a “made thing”—something with weight and substance. Therefore, it has a place in the world and you become identified with that creative construction. For many people, this gives them a way to bootstrap out of negativity and to start to identify themselves in a powerful and positive way.”
You know how to make changes because your brain has continually accommodated, integrated and assimilated changes your entire life, whether you meant to or not.
When we experience something especially significant or meaningful, our brains store the memory for easy access. The research was originally based on Post Traumatic Stress where people have flashbacks and vividly recall the sights, sounds, smells, feelings and thoughts they had during an actual traumatic event.
Our brains are wired to make strong, retrievable memories when strong emotion is involved. Fortunately, you can use this ability to go back in time and access again the thoughts, feelings and information you experienced when things went well.
Your brain can’t tell the difference between the actual event and the re-imagined event, thoughts and feelings. When you assess those thoughts and feelings and imagine them in a new situation the brain stores that as a memory as if it happened, creating resources, stored in your brain, to make a change or accomplish something new.
Here’s an easy jump-start for you to regain or access the positive thoughts & feelings you already have stored in your brain to achieve something that you perhaps have avoided or don’t know how to accomplish.
Quickly fill out this form to help you find the resources you already have.
The change or achievement I want to accomplish is _______________________________________________________
The resources or abilities I need are ______________________________________
Think about a past time(s) when you had those resources or abilities (here’s some prompts)
Taken a risk
Made a new friend
Started a new job or class
Made a good decision
Organized your thoughts, your room, your files, your day
Done something you were a bit afraid or reluctant to do
Made others laugh/taken things “lightly”
Passed a test (physical/emotional/intellectual)
Started and finished a project
Asked for and gotten help
Been motivated to do something hard
Motivated someone else
Based on my memory of past times the resources or abilities I already posses are___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
1. Using your mind’s eye remember the time you used a resource as vividly and specifically as you can. How did you look : What were you wearing? Where were you? standing? sitting?
2. Now, take that image/sense of yourself and apply it to yourself in the present. See or sense yourself with those qualities moving ahead with the change/accomplishment you chose.
3. If (or when) you get stuck it’s not an issue. Simply recruit your memory of the qualities/abilities/resources you’ve used in past experiences again and re-apply them to your current circumstance.
Switch, How to change Things When Change is Hard, Chip Heath and Dan Heath
Frogs Into Princes, Richard Bandler
Dear Human-beings and other creatures,
Peggy & judy are undoubtedly trying to appease me (since they didn’t name this blog FREDDIE or EVEN dedicate it to me) by giving me guest posting privileges and as such I’ve been granted the dubious task of introducing Meowie and her body-double.
Meowie gets around (not in a salacious sense). She’s allowed to travel. However, in an effort to thwart the cataparazzi she often sends a body-double out in public.
Body Double Meowy: She’s had plastic surgery to enhance her looks. Judy Clemmer, sewing-surgeon-to-the-stars gave her a nose job and coiffed her coat to make her look fluffy. I suspect Judy C. used both Rogaine and hair extensions.
Body Double Meowy
Freddie Parker Westerfield, SE, SC
Senior Editor and Special Contributor