Thursday, January 12, 2012

31 Days to Better Health - Day 12

Happy Thursday everyone!  I hope everything is going well for you.  My week is still stressful but continuing to improve so I am not complaining.  I haven’t been able to do my morning reading or practice meditation the way that I would like, but in the overall scheme of life that isn’t much to complain about now is it? 

My Wednesday was spent again at Hopkins, but I am sure you figured that out from some of my comments in the last post.  I am trying to remind myself that this situation is temporary but even I need a little cheering up periodically. Thankfully I have figured out how to do that myself through reflection.   I find it very helpful to remind myself of everything that is going well.  Like I said some days are easier than others but at least I know all that is happening will pass and that makes it much easier to handle.

Enough about me, let’s get back to the topic of the month, improving our health one day at a time.  Here is the recap of what we have accomplished so far to remind us all of how far we have come during the first 11 days of January:

Day 1 – Defined Success and What is/was Holding Us Back

Day 2 – Determined our Purpose and Looked at Passion

Day 3 – Listed Our Goals for January

Day 4 – Listed the Things We Have Needed to Work on for a While

Day 5 – Looked at Optimism vs. Pessimism and Fear vs. Intuition

Day 6 – Practiced Conscious Eating

Day 7 – Hara Hachi Bu

Day 8 – Taking the Stress Out of Meal Time

Day 9 – Acknowledgments

Day 10 – No Excuses, Do it Anyway

Day 11 – Is it True?

Yesterday we talked about “Is it True” which is one of my favorite exercises.  I got so much out of that one the first time I started asking myself that question.  If you get half as much out of it as I did then I know there will be some huge break throughs for people.  I was very surprised by how many “stories” I used to tell myself in the past.  If you had any revelations when you did this exercise I would love for you to share them either by commenting or by email.

Have You Really Connected With Someone Today?:

Many of us go through our days on autopilot. We routinely cross items off our to-do list but we don’t take the time to talk with and connect to other people. Sure we talk to them but we don’t really listen and connect. Does that sound like something that happens in your life?

I have a good friend who apparently loves to hear the sound of her own voice. You know that the entire time you are talking she is formulating her response, not intently listening to you and is waiting for you to stop talking so that she can tell you what she thinks.  I recognize this behavior because I used to do the same thing.  However in the last few years I have consciously slowed down focused on what people were saying to me and it has resulted in big changes in my life.  I feel like I know my friends and family much more deeply than I have in the past.

There are probably some of you who are reading this saying “That sounds great but how do I do it?”   I understand because this would have been my reaction not that long ago.  I can tell you what I do, and the same things should work for you.

When you are having a conversation with someone don’t try to multitask just listen to what the other person is saying.  If you find yourself formulating your response stop and refocus on the other person.  Listen carefully and try to feel the emotion behind their words. This will be difficult at first but it will get much easier over time.  Look at the other person when they are talking and focus on their face, I like to look people in the eye but not everyone is comfortable with that so the forehead or chin will work fine too.  Does the person you are speaking with need comforting? Do they simply want to tell their story?  Is there anything that you can do for them?  These things will come up for you naturally as you listen, just go with what feels right.

This won’t work for you all the time.  There will be times when you are distracted and you can’t focus on the other person. Distraction still happens for me too and when it does I apologize and say that my mind wandered and ask the other person to repeat themselves.  Anytime this has happened to me the other person has understood, probably because the same thing happens for them.  We live in such a fast-paced world it is very easy to get distracted.

Why should we do this, what is the benefit?  Everyone needs to feel heard.  When people are telling you their story they are trying to reach out and connect. However if we are too busy to hear them we miss an opportunity to connect to someone else.  Humans need relationships, we are social creatures.  What connects us is a need to feel like we are part of a larger group.  No one wants to be alone or feel like an outsider. By really listening to another person you enhance your circle of friends and open yourself up to additional experiences. 

Did you know that people with more social connections live longer, happier and healthier lives?  Crazy right?  If having more friends, connecting to more people means you will live longer than sign me up! What the heck do we have to lose by trying?

Today’s exercises are:

1.       Choose at least one conversation today and be 100% present.  Listen carefully to what the other person is trying to tell you.  Be there completely there when you are listening to the other person talk.  Try to put yourself in their situation and be there like you would want someone to be for you.

2.       Wait until the person has finished talking before you respond. Do NOT interrupt unless something is on fire. Interrupting is a sign that you aren’t not listening.

3.       Ask yourself how was this conversation different from the ones that you usually have with this person?

a.       Did you feel more connected?

b.      Maybe they shared more with you because they knew you were listening.

c.       Do you feel closer to this person or do you like them more?

d.      Did this conversation strengthen your relationship?

Progress on my goals:

1.       Newsletters – No progress on this goal on Wednesday because of my unexpected time at Hopkins.  Life seems to be getting in the way of progress.  *ugh*

2.       Body Bugg – Ten days in a row wearing my bugg and going strong. I think this has become a habit again.  ;-)  It will be nice to get home so that I can get back to exercising and give the bugg something to measure.

3.       Date with Dan – We will be getting back to this very soon once the crisis is over. For now we are spending lots of time together I just wouldn’t call it a date.

4.        Measuring calorie dense food – Given where I was on Wednesday this didn’t actually come into play. However I now have some trail mix with me to make certain that I have access to nuts and seeds throughout the day.

5.       Working on my business – I put two hours in to listening to webinars yesterday for ideas.  I did the same thing on Tuesday but wasn’t sure that it counted. However I think it does so I included it here.

How are you doing making progress on your goals?  I hope you are doing better than I am.  I have decided that I am going to work on the newsletters today in spite of where I am.  That goal has been languishing and I will devote some time to it today.


I asked you to continue to write daily acknowledgements so that you develop the habit. In order to remind you to write your acknowledgements I am going to share a few of mine each day for the remainder of the month.   On a “normal” day I write acknowledgements soon after the activity, before they fall out of my head. But I wasn’t focused on that yesterday so my list is much shorter than usual.

·         Even though I was out of the house all day again I did manage to eat a healthy diet.  I had another veggie sub, fresh fruit, nuts and seeds, roasted seaweed, dried fruit and a salad.  Not bad considering my options.  It felt good to be happy with my decisions.

·         Without any intentional exercise I managed to get over 15,000 steps today and that is pretty remarkable I think.  Not too shabby considering that I have the read the average American does less than 6,000 steps per day. Do you know how many you do?  “The experts” say we should all be covering at least 10,000 steps per day to maintain good health.

·         It was another late night for me but I took time to enjoy the fur children and give them some much needed attention before bed.  I know some people think they are “just cats” but Dan and I both adore the fur children and consider them family members. It is important to us that they are taken care of physically and emotionally.  It was nice to spend a little quality time with my little ones before going to sleep.

·         Once the fur children were taken care of I had a little me time. I had a nice soak in a hot bath while enjoying a mug of hot green and white tea with grapefruit and cinnamon.  It is interesting how something so simple can make such a big difference in how I feel. I am glad that I took time to pamper me today.

·         I made time today to listen to two webinars.  I am listening to a lot of these lately to get a feel for how other people conduct them, how much content they share in a hour, what software they use, that sort of thing.  It was good to spend a little time on the business today.  I needed to get back to that.

·         I made a little time to meditation in the hospital today. Dan was taken for an MRI so I had the room to myself and used that time to clear my mind and focus on my breathing and do a body scan.  If anyone looked in I am sure they were confused by me in the Lotus position in a chair. Good thing I don’t care much what others think huh?  ;-)  It felt good to take a little time to do something for myself.

Did you write your acknowledgements today?  I hope so!  Please take the time to appreciate the good things that you do every day.  Even with all the chaos that is swirling for me now I find that taking a few minutes to write my acknowledgements helps me to reevaluate my day.

Random Observations:

The entire week has been rather surreal for me.  I am used to thinking about cancer but this week has been different since it was an entirely new issue. It is a bit odd how I can handle cancer so much more easily but I suppose that is because I have had many years to research, accept and make peace with cancer.

I have tried to remind myself than none us are given more than we can handle although that doesn’t work for me 100% of the time. I have had a minor pity party for myself saying that it is someone else’s turn to deal with “this shit”. However I also know that everything will be fine and we get through this like we have gotten through everything else in life, one step at a time.  Feeling sorry for myself never made anything any better. I bet the same is true for you.

One of the benefits of this situation is now I have an entirely new health topic to come up to speed on. The universe must be thinking that I need to broaden my understanding of health beyond cancer.  However, the universe could have picked a more subtle way to get that idea across.  ;-)  I am up for the challenge and I will dig into this like I do everything else.  If there is one thing you probably have figured out about me by now that is that I am tenacious.  My husband’s little brother (a former marine) always says if I was man I would definitely have made a great marine. He swears I am more gung ho than a lot of marines he knew. I can’t say I know exactly what he means, but I think it is compliment.  I hope it gives you a little more insight into how I operate.

The biggest thing that I have learned about myself over the last 7 or so years is that I am much stronger than I ever realized.  Situations that would have knocked me to my knees years ago and now little more than a bump in the road which is still amazing to me.  I have no idea how any of this happened.  I wish I could explain how it occurred so that you could call on those “super powers” if you needed them. I think it comes down to staying calm, doing your research and committing to doing whatever is necessary. 

It is difficult for me when I came to grips with the idea that all of us are going to die, it is only a matter of when and how. When I was young death was not something that I ever thought about. Why would you contemplate death when everyone you know is doing well, and those who get sick bounce back quickly? We all feel immortal when we are young, at least I did.  However once I was in my thirties friends started to die.  I still remember one horrible year when 3 of my friend died of cancer. The youngest one was 38 and the oldest was 51.  I suppose this is why I was so determined to do whatever we could to fight back.  One thing I know for sure is that if you want radical changes in your health you have to be willing to make radical changes in your lifestyle.  If you make small changes you will get small results.  As I wrote the other day, none of us escape the laws of cause and effect.


It was just another day at the hospital.   It was odd to me how quickly I feel back in to being comfortable in this environment. I have been a bad girl and don’t stop at security to check in.  Apparently I have that “I am supposed to be here” attitude since no one stops me.  I remember years ago when Dan used to show up at the hospital in the evening to drag me out of work.  He also never stopped at security to check in and frequently they would say “good evening Doctor” when he walked by. I think it was all in the attitude and the business suit.  However I am not really sure why I am getting away with it in jeans and a sweater. Whatever works right?

We had hoped that Dan would be discharged late Wednesday, as this was a possibility, but it didn’t happen. The doctors are not quite finished with him yet.  Each time one of the doctors comes into to check on him we are hearing the same thing, everything is progressing perfectly you will be out of here soon.   Okay, so when is soon exactly?  As much as we like everyone at Hopkins we are ready to make a break for it.  ;-)

Overall the day was uneventful, just more poking, prodding and testing.  Same stuff different day. For anyone who has been in a hospital you know the drill.  We will both be happy to return to normal life. Dan is threatening to make a break for it, but I know he is kidding about that. He would never leave AMA (against medical advice).  At least he has his sense of humor intact.

Happy thoughts:

Even though I m spending my days at Hopkins there is still much to be grateful for in life. Here are my happy thoughts today:  

·         Life is slowly returning to normal.  I am looking forward to having Dan home so that he can finally get some rest.  I am sure he is tired from not getting much rest over the last few days.

·         The rain we had all day on Wednesday has moved through and it is sunny and we are expecting temperatures in the upper 50s or low 60s today. Sweet!  Now we just need Dan to get released so that we can enjoy the weather together.

·         I was very happy to have gotten a spot in the Weinberg garage yesterday.  Leaving the hospital after 10pm it was comforting knowing that I was in the underground garage.

·         I had another nice conversation with the hospital dietitian. He printed out a few articles for me on nut consumption which I found quite interesting. I picked up a few tid bits of information that I will share with you soon (once Jan is over).

·         I appreciate everyone’s concern for Dan, thank you for your well wishes here and by email. Dan didn’t want me to mention anything about this but I had to say something to explain why I wasn’t getting things done and you weren’t seeing my meals. Sorry for not giving you more information but I need to respect Dan’s wishes on this one.  If/when he changes his mind I will let you know what happened.  I can tell you that it is not related to cancer and all the clinicians here are on board with our diet which still shocks me.  I am starting to believe that there is real change happening in allopathic medicine.  Love that!

·         It is also nice that we have added 14 new followers in 12 days.  I wasn’t certain how people would react to my more “holistic” approach to better health.  However I am very happy to see that it is being well received.  If you have any questions or topics that you would like me to address please let me know.

Signing Out:

*Whew*  What a week this has been! When Monday started I didn’t anticipate anything that has happened this week.  I suppose this is a good reminder that life is a series of events both planned and unplanned.  Dealing with the planned things is easy. However the unexpected events tend to cause more upheaval.  I believe that taking up meditation has been the biggest reason that I have been able to go with the flow this week.  If you have a particularly stressful life I would highly recommend meditation. It was tough for me to do at first but it did get much easier by the end of the first week.  Right now I can’t imagine dealing with all of this without the calming influence of meditation in my life.  I hope everything is going well in your life. 

Do you have any fun plans for the weekend?  After my week I can’t wait for the weekend.  We both need some fun as well as some peace and quiet.  There is an interesting artist playing at Blues Alley in DC Thursday and Friday night this week. He is a saxophone player and combines jazz with Indian music. Doesn’t that sound interesting?  If it were for the hospital trip we would be there.  Now I may have to buy his new album just to check it out.  I love jazz and I love Indian music so I think I will enjoy it.

Talk with you again soon.  I have no idea how my day will be tomorrow but I plan to get started on the next post as soon as I have this one up. Hopefully that means I won’t miss a day.  *fingers crossed*  Enjoy your evening.  J

In case anyone needs a giggle I wanted to recycle the picture of this crazy car I saw this past year in Frederick.  Wouldn't you love to know who drives this?  I can't look at this without smiling. Someone has a great sense of  humor.

1 comment:

  1. I can't believe that you have pushed to get your posts up with everything going on and I have been "too tired" to get with the program. I wanted to take part of your 31 days but as soon as jan 2nd did work and life and I used that an excuse. I just wasn't focusing on the right thing. Thank you for being a constant inspiration! I will try to catch up on all of your great posts. We are successfully on day 12 of our January vegan challenge and my work-friend is doing well transitioning over to vegan as well.

    I was able to skim some of your 31 Days posts and read about gathering your healthy recipes. Great idea for us trying to figure out what to eat lately so I spent an hour printing and gathering my latest faves (some from you :) ) Because of that-next week will be an easier menu planning challenge.

    Sending healing thoughts towards you and Dan and hope things get closer to normal soon!


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