Breathe…and Share

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You will notice that I’ve added a new category: “Shared Posts”. There are a lot of wise people out there, who have some really great blogs along the lines of “Balance the Circle…” and I’ve decided that I should share them with my own readers and do my part to promote their efforts. “Balance the Circle…” will still have original posts, but to not share would be just self-centered, which in turn, is completely counter-intuitive to the whole concept of this blog and the way of life so many of us pursue.

This week I would like to share the blog with the goal of promoting “science-based practices for a meaningful life…” “Bay Art“. Now, while this is a blog that is attached to a business, there are such wonderful posts and articles about learning how to meditate, breathe and calm the turmoil in your life. I will not be making a habit of promoting any business, but because I enjoyed the non-promotional posts that I found I will, this one time, make an exception!

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Glass Half Full?

I’m really tired of moving.

I mean, where’s the “glass half full” part of life when you have a combined 120 years worth of stuff to deal with?

Well, the moving part itself isn’t so horrible as a general rule…except when it comes to packing that 120 years of stuff and considering that as a broken-jointed, ruptured disk, cartilage-less knee’d, 60 year old, old fossil I had to climb up and down steep stairs twenty times each day for six days, carrying boxes that weighed 30-40 pounds, on average. Of course, my disabled husband helped, as well as my two youngest sons and youngest daughter, all of whom work nights, who spent two days (when they should have been sleeping) doing the really heavy lifting and carrying.

Either way you look at it, though, by the seventh day I was completely worn down to the bone, physically. But, man, oh man! I’m so happy to finally be able to give up living in a second floor apartment and going into a single story house!

I think the worst part of moving this time is the unpacking. Who would have thought that finding places to put your stuff in a larger house would be more difficult than when going from a larger home into a smaller one?

Which is to say…I’m really tired of moving.

It’s easy enough to get discouraged when you’re exhausted. You want to simply kick your feet off…er, up…and put a cold cloth on your head, lay down in a cool, quiet dungeon somewhere, step off the world for a week or so and ignore that there’s anything you have to do. But you can’t, because some things just have to be done whether you’re tired or not.

Like unearthing your kitchen boxes that wound up in the bathroom, or your bathroom tissue that somehow, at the most inopportune time, wound up in the shed. Almost makes you want to break down into tears.

Really.

But even with all the aggravation, frustration and physical discomfort one suffers during a move, you want the experience to leave you with the positive feeling. This is a new beginning after all and how often does someone advancing in years find themselves in the possession of such a treasure?

So, I see my life as half over but the other half is ahead of me. Therefore, still, is the glass half full.

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www.richardcrossenphotography.co.uk/

Life and Health Can Be Easy Like Sunday Mornin’!

Many thanks to Richard Crossen, Pembrokeshire, West Wales, UK…photographer extraordinaire, for his kind permission to use his photos on this site. To see his wonderful collection of nature photographs, you can visit his gallery or his blog site

I’m a ‘glass half full’ kind of person. I rarely worry about what I don’t have because I’m too busy being thankful for the things I do have. Well, except when my gas tank has only one gallon in it the day before payday.  If I had to define my thoughts on the subject, I’d say my outlook on life is “…easy like Sunday mornin’ ” (that’s a song from the ’60s for those who wouldn’t remember that era!).

A lot of times, when some great, blue funk or another tries to overtake me, my Granny comes to mind. I remember her always trying to teach us that God takes care of His own, regardless of how hard we try to screw things up. She was good at backing up her beliefs with scripture, like “…behold the fowl of the air” or “…consider the lilies of the field” as a way of showing the difference between what we need and what we want.  Yes, I learned from an early age to see the best in every situation and to find the most positive things inside of the worst possible scenarios.

This is what true balance is all about. It’s taking life as it comes and striving to make each moment count for something positive. You know the old saying, “When life hands you lemons, learn to make lemonade!”

It’s easy enough to fool yourself into feeling miserable simply by wallowing in misery, but by the same token it’s equally simple to fool yourself into being content, regardless of how your life has transitioned. Finding something good either in a situation, about a situation or what good thing can eventually happen because of a situation is the key to distracting you from whatever hardship you might be facing.

Your health is as much emotionally as physically based. You must learn to  b r e a t h e  when you feel stress creeping up on you. Find something relaxing to do whether it’s meditating, reading a good book, writing a letter to someone you love…or even just stopping your day and thinking deep thoughts!

Biofeedback, which became a ‘craze’ back in the ’60s, has been used to teach people to regulate their body rhythm and has proven that they can learn to control many “automatic” physiological functions, including slowing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure and respiration (then again, so does yoga!). Considering that even these three functions alone can cause health problems, being able to control them can help you to avoid stress related health conditions.

There are also simpler routes to controlling the “mind over matter” part of your health. You can schedule an at-home regime of relaxation, including meditation, aromatherapy and exercise using techniques designed to produce and release natural endorphins, an opium-like hormone.

Also, if you don’t already belong to one, a lot of spas and health clubs offer incentives for new members and specials for current ones, that may include anything from deep tissue massage to yoga classes or whirlpool spas to herbal wraps. These great benefits  can come by means of contests, filling out surveys, trial memberships or redeemable coupons.

Coupons for such things can be found in the newspaper or even online. The internet is a wonderful resource for finding the best deals in your area. You may even find purchasing clubs, such as Good Deals 24/7or Groupon that can help you save money on anything you need for health and beauty aids or even travel deals for a relaxing vacation.

Don’t wait until stress overtakes your life and creates illness and dis-ease (as in ‘un-easy health’) in your body. Even if life can be difficult it needn’t be hard to adapt to or accommodate its uncertainties. Learn to roll along this bumpy road with grace and acceptance. After a bit of practice, it almost becomes easy. Easy like Sunday morning.

Invisible Illnesses…Who Will See?

Invisible Illness 1: Fibromyalgia

When she was in her 30’s it was laziness. When she entered her 40’s she was told she was suffering from “depression”, with a bit of bi-polar thrown in, because she was going through a mid-life crisis. In her mid-fifties it was “hypochondria” and now, in her sixties, it’s a combination of “brain fart” and “old age complaints”. No one ever believed that she didn’t want to sit around all day, that she really did hurt all over, all the time…real, bone deep pain. As time wore on, no one was really interested anymore anyway, because she was “just getting up in years” and the best they had to offer her was “why don’t you just put your feet up and take a nap?”

Some illnesses and diseases are nearly impossible to recognize

Research into conditions that used to be considered merely female trouble, mental dysfunction and dis-ease amongst the elderly have unearthed a great deal of knowledge about the why’s and the wherefore’s  of them. But for all the medical discoveries that have occurred even in the past half century, there are still questions about some “enemies” of human physiology that remain unanswered.

“Invisisible illnesses” fall into this category  because, though they are physiologically real,  their symptoms are not immediately discernable.

Fibromyalgia is one of them.

The simplest definition of fibromyalgia (FM) is that it is a common, chronic, generalized pain syndrome of unknow cause. Pain, tenderness at particular points of the body, fatigue, uneven sleep or disturbance of the sleep cycle, inability to concentrate and even chest pains are common symptoms of fibromyalgia. And although there is no evidence to suggest that having fibromyalgia will definitely result in psychiatric problems, a good estimate of those with the illness suffering from depression and/or anxiety runs around 35%, more or less. These symptoms are sometimes so severe as to be disabling.

Why can’t anyone else see the signs?

Along with symptoms which are impossible to measure, comes cessation of physical activity, withdrawing from social functions and even deep emotional distress when those closest to them cannot understand what is wrong.

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There is an intense feeling of victimization and loss of control when a fibromyalgia patient comes to only expect what, to them, is ineffective treatment. They know first hand that their condition may be misdiagnosed many times before the condition is properly identified. Even then treatment cannot be directed to the root, as there are no absolute answers as to its origin. And so, one possible solution after another is attempted. In the meantime, everyday tasks take longer to accomplish and quality of life lessens more and more.

DON’T GIVE UP!

Studies show that, just as for arthritis, gentle exercise can help with pain management. Yoga, stretching, swimming…all have been shown to help with the discomfiture of fibromyalgia. Meditation and relaxation techniques, a sort of biorythmia practice, can also help to understand your pain threshold.

Studying your dietary habits will also help. Learn about what’s in the stuff that you put into your body, as some foods contain substances that may exacerbate your condition. Simply by following a more natural diet, though, has been known to help regulate your body’s chemical balance.

Pain is an indicator that something is wrong in your body and it is important to seek medical advice when you become aware that it’s become chronic. Because there are so many illnesses and diseases which share symptoms, testing for all the “usual suspects” will help to narrow down the illness with which you are suffering.

Educate yourself about your health. Seek medical advice if you think you may be suffering from fibromyalgia. Talk to a doctor about your concerns and don’t be afraid to go to your physician for testing.

Invisible Ilnesses can only be seen if you open your eyes and look.

Adapted from “Invisible Illnesses…Who Will See?” by PL Kirkby

Information is not advice!! If you suffer any of the symptoms mentioned above, don’t self-diagnose and always, ALWAYS, talk to a doctor before self medicating.