Tag Archives: Health

In The Mood for Gratitude

In The Mood for Gratitude

I have a confession to make, you guys. I… man, this is hard. Okay. Here goes. I… am not a super hero. (Pause as you gasp.) I know, I know. It was a shock to me, too. But when I got struck down 4 1/2 years ago with a horrific case of neurological Lyme Disease, I really thought that due to my penchant for healthy living and discipline, I’d be bouncing back at such a rate as to alarm and awe my doctors. How did she do it, they’d say in amazement as I came bounding into my follow-up, bright orange sneakers making me look like Barry Allen (The Flash) as I zipped to and fro.

Sidebar: Where exactly is fro? And why do I want to go there?

Anyway, spoiler alert: that didn’t happen. I’ve done everything “right” and I’m still sick. (Insert chorus of knowing voices telling me that bad things happen to good people. Worst. Platitude. Ever.) Needless to say, there was a time when I was NOT, as the title of this piece states, in the mood for gratitude. I was angry. Bitter. Crying on my couch, too exhausted to make so much as a bowl of cereal, remembering my marathon days with a “why-God-why” tempered anger. You can picture it, can’t you? Yeah. T’wasn’t pretty. But I mention it because, hey, I’m human. It was part of my grieving process. And there are still days when I find myself feeling angry and resentful that this happened to me. But then I remember that I’m not a victim. I’m a warrior. And this shiz? Is getting turned around.

You see, I can either bemoan what I don’t have, or work with what I do. And to do that, I have to make an effort to become aware of what exactly I DO have to work with. That, my friends, means gratitude. And here’s how I do it.

I use The Five-Minute Journal. A genius invention. Genius, I say! Simply put, it asks me to write down three things I’m grateful for every morning, followed by three things that would make my day great. It rounds off by asking me to write down my intention for the day. Bing, bang, boom. Fill in the blank. Five minutes or less. (There’s also a reflective section you’re meant to fill in at night, but full disclosure, I often forget to do it. Eep!) I do this before breakfast every morning, and I’ve noticed a HUGE difference in my mental/emotional health. By taking the time to recognize what I’m grateful for and what I want to prioritize that day, it eliminates so much negative (and avoidable) stress. That’s the power of setting a daily intention. It gives you focus. A path. A place to direct the warrior spirit inside of you. I’ve NEVER been able to maintain a journaling practice– (so many New Year’s resolutions foiled!)– but this gives me the structure I need. And having a set time every day is essential. Can’t eat breakfast until I do the journal. And guys? I LOVE breakfast.

So why should we start our days with getting in the mood for gratitude? Simple. It quite literally affects your brain, which in turn, affects your entire body. People who practice gratitude have better energy, more determination, and have been shown to have less physical pains than people who don’t. (For a 30-year-old like me who has Lyme-induced rheumatoid arthritis, do you think this last one’s a factor? Um. YEAH.) Oh, and it also lowers anxiety and depression by helping you sleep better. Score!

For all the science– and a witty read– check out this great article: “The Grateful Brain.” Or, you know, take my word for it.

So what are you waiting for? Get in the mood for gratitude! And for all you winners who read to the end of this article? I am grateful for YOU. Welcome to the tribe, my friend!

Here’s to you,

The Foda

** Feeling inspired? You can find The Five-Minute Journal here.

Surrender is Freedom

Surrender is Freedom.

A month ago, surrender was a dirty word. Filthy. The kind that makes your mama wash your mouth out with soap. “Surrender?!” Month-old me would scoff, brows knit together in disgust. “I’m not a quitter,” I would have stipulated vehemently. “I will NEVER give up.” 

Because that’s what the word surrender meant to me. Quitting. Giving up. Letting this Lyme disease win, giving it free reign to decimate my body piece by piece like a blood-crazed Wampa snow beast.

And then I went to a weekend conference at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY, called “Living Well with Lyme Disease.” Believe you me, I was terrified. I had no idea how I’d make it through a whole weekend when I was too sick to leave my house most days. How would I survive? So I swallowed my pride, and climbed into the wheelchair I abhor, knowing it was the only way. So much happened that weekend, which is a whole other post in itself, but a huge take-away for me was how to heal my heart. How to put the pieces of my shattered identity back together, so that when my body does recover, I won’t still be broken; a wounded warrior.

I’ve tried for years to do all the tried and true methods: meditation, positive affirmations, etc. They never stuck. And I realized, it was because you can’t use just any positive affirmation. You have to find YOURS. And mine was not remotely what I’d thought it would be.

Surrender is Freedom.

WHAT??!! Are you crazy? Shouldn’t it be, like, I am loved, safe, and cherished,  or I am getting stronger every day, or something like that?

No. Surrender is Freedom.

<At this point, a stern Yoda puppet comes and raps me on the knuckles with his staff, muttering, “You must un-learn what you have learned….”>

And suddenly, surrender isn’t a dirty word. Because it doesn’t mean I’m going to roll over and let this disease take me down without a fight. It means I can see what actually belongs in my realm of things to work on, and what is just a waste of time and energy, because it will never, and can never be mine to control. It means I can stop berating myself for needing a wheelchair to get around, or judging myself when I can’t accomplish as much in a day as I’d like. It means I can be kind to myself.

Surrender is Freedom.

Now, you may read this phrase and viscerally reject it. You may, as I did, have the urge to spit on your screen, or yell all Luke Skywalker style: “That’s not true! That’s impossible!” But that may change. Because we all hold onto things that aren’t serving us anymore. Things that hurts us, that we’re scared to let go of, because we’d rather feel a familiar pain than the unknown. I don’t surrender my fight for health. But I do surrender what is no longer serving me, the thoughts that judge me harshly, the worry that keeps me from doing things, that paints my world in tones of fear, that crushes my spirit.

Surrender is Freedom.

And perhaps, there’s something you’d like to let go of, too. Go ahead. Throw it up. Let it go. I promise you. It feels freaking amazing. Just don’t let it hit you in the head on the way down.

<Whoosh!>

The Foda

Once Upon a Lyme: Animated Children’s Book

Hi, everyone!

I’m overwhelmed with how well my animated children’s book “Once Upon a Lyme” is doing! Today, a doctor in Virginia reached out to me and asked for a version of the video without the added author’s note feature I included in the original. I was more than happy to comply, and wanted to post the remastered version here. This is just the children’s book. Please feel free to share it with your schools, family, friends, school districts, and any other organization where children mingle and mix and play.

Cheers,

The Foda

Once Upon a Lyme: Animated Video

Howdy, folks!

It’s the beginning of May, which is Lyme Disease Awareness month. Last year I created and put out an educative children’s flipbook to help teach kids what to look for and how to stay safe while doing what kids are meant to do… play outside! This year, I took it a step further and created an animated video. Please share this with as many people as you can, and get the message out so hopefully the 300,000 new cases of Lyme reported annually in the U.S. will become far less! Knowledge is power!!!

 

 

Download a PDF of the book for free here.

Check out the links below for more information:

General Information can be found at the link below, including best safety practices, where ticks like to roam, how to remove a tick, protect your property, and even your pets.

www.StopTicks.org/prevention

Think you may have Lyme? This fabulous book by Lyme expert Dr. Richard Horowitz “Why Canʼt I Get Better?” provides all the information and scientific research youʼd ever need.

Get Dr. Horowitz’s book here.

For those already with dealing with Lyme, check out the positive and integrative website “Lyme Less, Live More,”designed to help you overcome chronic illness so you can, as the name suggests, Lyme less, live more!

I hope you enjoyed this video! Please don’t forget to share!

Cheers,

The Foda

“Upon the Eve”

Merry Christmas to everyone whose greatest wish is to find health in a box under your Christmas tree. This one’s for you!

 “Upon the Eve” 

Picture it

It’s Christmas day

Laughter spills into the air like milk you don’t want to wipe up

Pooling in your soul ‘til the barometer reads full up

Twinkle-dee and puddings plum in your eyes and in your tum

Garlands? Check. Presents? Duh.

That little bowl of green and red M&Ms winking at you from a-top the ivory Spode tablecloth

Silly cookie names that make your inner child giggle although you’d never admit it

Case and point: Australian nut balls

Hee hee

(No judging)

And yet tonight, upon the eve

Your thoughts may string together like christmas lights

Wondering: how will I make it through the day

On a day of holiday cheer

On a day I must appear

Happy

Normal

Healthy

Content

When the other 364 days of the year

I am

Not.

I wonder this on Christmas eve

Curled up in my plaid pajamas

Worry congeals my harried thoughts like day old macaroni and cheese

Making my blood hum an out-of-tune sonata

Then he enters

(No, not Santa)

Rubbing sleep from his eyes in squeegee motions

Come to bed, he says, his hair sticking up like the grass on my second grade classes’s chia pet

And just like that

I get it

The big slap in the face

It’s not about health or gifts or wreaths or pudding I can’t eat or chores I can’t do

It’s not about whether I’m tired or how hard it is to climb the stairs to my sister’s house

It’s about just one thing

The only thing, when all is said and done, that really matters at all

Love.

 

What Comes First: The Will or the Wait?

What Comes First: The Will or the Wait? 

 Today’s Words of Wisdom:

“We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.”

~Joseph Campbell

 The Foda’s Take: When you want something, you go get it. That’s what we’re taught. Tenacity, perseverance, and hard work can get you anything. Right? Not exactly. Sometimes, no matter how hard we pound at a closed door, it just won’t open. So we’re left with a choice. Either continue to set ourselves up for success so that when the door does finally open we’re ready to waltz on through…. or keeping pounding our head against the wall. As a stubborn person with a lot of will… I may have done my fair share of pounding, all Chewbacca-like on the malfunctioning Millenium Falcon. Which, as I say it out loud, sounds… well, illogical.

In my life, I can recall so many times when I didn’t get what I wanted, only to find out later that if I had, I would have never gotten something so much better. I just didn’t have to wait so long then to realize things had happened for a reason. Or perhaps what I wanted then just wasn’t as crucial to my happiness as getting my health and a normal life back.

Waiting is really hard. It requires faith, patience, and acceptance that what you want so dearly just isn’t going to happen when you want it to. Whether you believe in God, fate, or destiny, there comes a point when you either have to accept that you’re in for a long wait… or, of course, just keep banging your head against the wall.

Which, you know, is your prerogative. But it will hurt. And it’s not exaaaaactly productive.

So instead, I think it’s all about improving your current quality of life as best you can. For me, that included giving into the need for a wheelchair and swallowing my pride. For Mandalf, it was learning to ride a motorcycle. For Dobiwan, it’s yoga. And eventually, it becomes a question of what can I control right now… and what do I need to release the reigns on?

Nobody likes waiting rooms. They’re dull, have bad magazines, and often feel like a waste of time. But sometimes in life we just have to wait. It’s not fun, it may not even be fair… but in the end, I think the best we can hope for is that once the waiting is over, it will have all been worth it.

<Cue Jeopardy Theme song>

Do do do do, do do dooo…….

The Foda

Do or Do Not

“Do or Do Not”

Today’s Words of Wisdom:

“Try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try.”

~Yoda

 The Foda’s Take: You know, I never thought about it until now, but Yoda was a very black-and-white kind of Jedi. Well, besides the whole green exterior thing.

 Hey, everyone! So, last week I started up my little “Analysis Paralysis” experiment. You can read the post here, but basic recap: I think too much. And I decided to consciously try and put up a death-star quality deflector shield around my analytical command center. In other words, act first, think later. (Sidebar: I do not recommend this experiment for everyone. And yes, I do recognize the irony involved in making a conscious decision not to think so much, which is, in fact, thinking about not thinking… But starting somewhere, one must.)

Anywho, it was a particularly rough week symptoms-wise, so there wasn’t as much “doing” as I would have liked, but I forced myself to attempt things- like going for a walk when I felt like I might fall over- instead of over-analyzing the probabilities and potential risks for said action ad nauseum first. (I’m realizing how long it’s been since I used that phrase. Ad nauseum. Love it.) But I digress.

Due to my current sorry state, I don’t have much more to share, but I’m continuing the experiment. You see, I’ve narrowed my cyclical mental process proceeding the analysis paralysis phenomenon down to this big train wreck of analytics:

Scenario: The Foda wants to do something she may or may not be up for. Hence, the battle for the future begins.

Body: It’s sunny!!!! Let’s go for a walk.

Brain: <in husky, gangster voice> You’re writing checks your legs can’t cash.

Body: Shut up. Just try. Five minutes. Don’t tell me I can’t.

Brain: Oh, you can. You’ll just fall. INTO THE DARK SIDE. 

Body: That’s not true. That’s impossible!

Brain: Search your feelings, you know it to be true.

Body: Nooooooo!!!!!!!!!!

End scene.

I know. I KNOW. Pretty crazy, right? So I’ve decided to wipe out this daily deluge (sigh. love alliterations) and just shut my brain off. And you know what? It really helps! It keeps me from defeating myself before I’ve even begun. So I shall continue this journey, and hopefully have more to share in the future.

In other news, I’m thinking of adding in a new segment to this blog besides my passion for parodies, alliterations, and Star Wars banter. Namely, health. (I know. I don’t have it back. Yet. But that’s not for the lack of doing everything possible to cut out all inflammatory factors, chemicals, and no-good tom-foolery from my life.) So every now and again, I’m thinking of posting about GF, DF, SF meals, green/organic beauty, and little tips for living chemical-free, all things I’ve been passionately doing for years now. So today, I reach out to you, dear reader. What would you most like to hear about?

Greenly Yours,

The Foda