Meditation

I have been meditating for several weeks, about 15 minutes each morning.  I’ve been following the general recommendations – to sit, follow your breath, and when thoughts arise gently acknowledge them but return to focusing on the breath.  After a weekend of watching Kyle Cease videos I’ve changed how I’m doing this.

Kyle Cease is an amazing combination of stand up comedian meets Tony Robbins.  Transformation presented with humor.  He recommends sitting for much longer periods of time (like, 1-2 hours) and when your thoughts come up, they’re not something to be resisted. Resisting them is like telling yourself you’re doing something wrong, which is why people probably hate meditation.  Kyle says the first 10-15 minutes of meditation are going to be chaos – your brain spewing a bunch of thoughts and ideas, but that it will quiet down after that.  But most people only meditate for 10-15 minutes so they don’t get to that place.

Today I meditated for 30 minutes – just sitting quietly, accepting whatever came up.  If some thoughts came up I would follow them a bit, send them love, and then continue to see what comes up.  He was right – after about 20 minutes my mind quieted down.  I felt like I could have done another half hour.  Maybe an hour tomorrow.

A New Direction

I took a pretty long break from this blog, in part to determine what I really want to do with it. I’ve loved writing here and communicating with others on the health-seeking path, and it’s made me feel proud of certain things about myself – my love of science and data, my aptitudes for writing and problem-solving.  The only problem was that I wasn’t having a lot of success as a result of endless supplements, dietary changes, lab draws and analysis.  It was a lot of work and not much payoff.  I started this almost 6 years ago with some extra weight, high cholesterol, some depression and some fatigue.  I now have an autoimmune condition, high blood pressure, and I still have the high cholesterol and the extra weight.

I did have a health breakthrough this year, which resulted directly from the words of a dear commenter on this blog, Christe, who suggested I try Culturelle Probiotics to address histamine intolerance.  I tried it and after the first dose I could feel a difference in my mood.  To this day I take Culturelle (aka L. Rhamnosus GG) – twice a day is better than once a day – and as long as I do, my mood is pretty great.  Fatigue gone.  Depression gone.  For this I’ll always be grateful.

I never shared here what I did just prior to that breakthrough.  I wrote on a piece of paper, “I am committed to feeling amazing every day.” I put it on my wall at work, where I would see it whenever I looked away from my computer.  Less than a month later I started taking Culturelle and feeling amazing every day.  After decades of struggling with depression and agitation.

Coincidence?  I thought so at first, but I’ve since been drawn into YouTube videos (audios, actually) created by Esther hicks and Abraham on the topic of the Law of Attraction (LOA) – the universal law that says like attracts like: You attract what you focus upon.  With this blog I’ve spent a lot of time focused on disease.  And disease has persisted – even worsened – with this attention.  So I’m done with that.

(Here’s a pretty good intro to the Abraham-Hicks teachings.)

Instead I’m focusing on what I do want.  I want health, vitality, fun, adventure, freedom, love, community, purpose.  I want to help others find these things too.  I’ve been meditating – the easiest way to align with your “inner being”, according to Abraham-Hicks, and have started attracting into my life things I want.  I’ve stopped working so hard at everything (though I’m still spending too much time on my 2 jobs).  My inner-conversation is changing from one in which I’m someone that needs fixing to one in which I’m choosing what I want in life.

I’m asking myself questions I haven’t dared to explore in a long time:  What do I really want?  What do I really want to be experiencing?  Sure, we all want money, but if I had it what would I use it for?  What am I hoping to experience?  I’ve always prided myself on being a “realist” – as if being less cheerful and optimistic was somehow a badge of honor – a way to avoid disappointment or brace myself for a let-down.  I’m done with that too.  I now choose to care less about reality and more about possibility.

I’ve started exploring photography again – a former love before my spirit was crushed by criticism.  I’m stronger now.  I’ve stopped following health groups on Facebook and listening to health podcasts.  I’m focusing solely on what feels better….what feels better…what feels better.  When I forget I bring myself back as soon as I can.

I’ll probably continue to explore this new direction here on this blog.  I expect I’ll lose some followers and gain others.  That’s all ok.  Really, everything is ok.

Break

It’s time for me to take a break, to remove writing, thinking and researching from my list of things to do.  As much as I enjoy it I have to narrow the field of my responsibilities.  I’ll be back soon.

Failure Space

I’ve been in a failure-like space lately.  It’s been keeping me from writing.

Also the lack of purpose for this blog is keeping me from writing.

I am trying really hard lately to find ways to work from home.  I’ve realized my job is sucking the life out of me, and I desperately want to be self-employed.  For years I’ve been working full time and also managing a part-time consulting business.  Both have been very busy lately, in addition to moving and having a child I don’t have time for much else.  I’m busy from the minute I get up until the minute I go to bed.  I don’t watch TV.  I don’t spend much time on the web unless it’s learning something that will help me move on from my job.

The stress of all of it is having an impact on me.

I haven’t been eating well, my mood is meh (but still way better than it used to be).

I need to focus on my health again.

Current Status

This morning:

  • Blood sugar: 96 (still well managed)
  • Weight: 197.5 (up 10 pounds from my pre-move lowest)
  • Blood pressure: 137/89 (ok but not great, and on 2 medications to control it)
  • Pulse: 73
  • Lichen Sclerosus – apparently well controlled right now.  I can’t really tell.  I’ve become dependent on doctors’ opinions.
  • Rash – Had a rash in my armpit increasing in size and discomfort – apparently it was a fungal infection because it responded really well to over the counter medication.  Not quite gone but almost.
  • Mood – Good overall.  Anxiety and mood swings related to my move are abating.
  • Stress – Could be managed better.
  • Exercise – None, aside from being fairly active throughout the day for work.

I heard a cool podcast featuring Dan Millman a while back.  Dan is the author of several books I’ve found very inspiring, including Way of the Peaceful Warrior, which I read about 15 years ago.  In this podcast Dan talk about how small steps can add up to big changes over time.  No exercise program?  Start with 1 jumping jack a day.  Stick to it and increase over time.  I think he’s being funny, but I’m going to try it.  So for me: one yoga pose a day.

 

Dear Blog

I’d like to un-break-up.

Turns out denying my health conditions doesn’t actually make them go away.

Also turns out I suck at managing stress.  Going to work on that.

I’ve been questioning the mission of this blog.  It’s nice to have a reference for myself of what I’ve tried and when I tried it, but I’d like for there to be a bigger purpose that actually matters to someone other than me.  Right now there’s no structure to it, so it’s not exactly useful as a resource for others.  I feel like some of my journey would be worthwhile if it actually helped someone, so I’m taking steps to make it more useful.  I started by creating a list of the supplements and resources that have been helpful to me and my family – this can be found on the Favorite Things page.

I’m also going to figure out how to show a timeline of my journey so far, so it can be easier to find specific topics.  Not sure how to do that yet.

I changed the title back to the previous name.  Friends in Health didn’t feel right after I looked at it for a while.  Against the Grain isn’t quite right either, but it’s like wearing an old pair of Birkenstocks to a wedding.  Not appropriate, but comfortable.  I may re-think it again at some point.

So there may be some changes.  Hopefully good ones.

Breaking Away

I think I might be breaking away from my health-seeking adventures.

It occurred to me today that I might be increasing my state of disease by focusing on my state of disease.  After all, what we focus on grows.  I don’t know anymore if I’m actually interested in health or if this is all one giant elaborate way for me to avoid moving forward in other areas of my life.

  • If I’m sick I can’t leave my job.  Cuz health insurance.
  • If I’m sick I can identify as someone who heals.  An identity.
  • If I’m sick I can garner sympathy and attention.
  • If I’m sick I get to justify breaks from the hectic schedule of crap that I don’t enjoy.
  • If I’m sick I’m distracted from painful life events that I can’t control.
  • If I’m sick I get to feel proficient in healing
  • If I’m sick maybe I can help others get well and gain appreciation.
  • If I’m sick I can avoid intimacy.
  • If I’m sick I get to punish others by withholding myself.
  • If I’m sick I get to have a direction in life.
  • If I’m sick I have a meaningful hobby.
  • If I’m sick I get to make impressive graphs and do important research.
  • If I’m sick I get to pretend I’m a doctor.
  • If I’m sick I avoid the rejection of trying and failing.
  • If I’m sick I have an excuse for not taking risks.
  • If I’m sick I have an excuse for not doing the work to live my best life.
  • If I’m sick I avoid being in charge in my life.
  • If I’m sick I avoid the guilt of outgrowing people.
  • If I’m sick I avoid the guilt of putting myself first sometimes.

I’m just wondering if maybe it’s not serving me so well to identify myself as sick.  Collecting diagnoses, researching them and learning about treating myself.  I’m not healthier since I started this.  I’m a little wiser, and I’ve found a few really good tools, but I’m not significantly better off.  (Updated to add….actually my mood is significantly better than when I started.  I really shouldn’t discount the road I’ve traveled here. I’m just not sure it’s a road I want to continue traveling.)

I think I need to break from this blog for a little while, and see who I would be if I wasn’t this person that needs to be fixed.