Monday, January 24, 2011

The Only Time to be GRATEFUL is NOW

Salvador Dali's Last Painting:
Les Montres Molles, 1968

(One of my favorites)
The Melting Clock
But, I've always called it MELTING TIME

TIME does have a way of MELTING away rapidly without warning.

Just another Something I've Learned in the Past Eleven Days ~~~

I'd like to believe that I never cease to learn life's lessons.  However, as we scurry through our busy daily activities, we often miss some valuable knowledge.  This was so very true for me.  Knowing the importance of slowing down and taking time to "smell the roses", rarely translated into the actual act of successfully even finding the "roses" to smell.

Ah, the twisted irrational perception of TIME.  That which robs us of this one NOW present moment.

Daily responsibilities for years upon years had become such a routine.  With always something to do, commuting to the office, burying myself deep into the work I love, and attempting to squeeze in projects at home on weekends and evenings ~ where was I to discover TIME to enjoy the little joys of life?

Time ..........................
......... often represented by a clock

An interesting word .............................
(most words are interesting, if ya think about it)
... "the system of those sequential relations that any event has to any other, as past, present, or future; indefinite and continuous duration regarded as that in which events succeed one another."

Although this is only one small piece of the definition of TIME, it seems appropriate for this blog.

As a child, I remember waiting and waiting forever and ever, between birthdays and Christmases.  A year seemed like an eternity.  I can still hear Mom's words ringing in my ear:  "Time flies by so much faster as we get older."

Just Mom's wisdom, which I ignored as a child, but now understand completely.

Time is relative. 
Time is our individual personal perception.

Time, in reality, should not be judged by a clock (in my opinion, from what I've recently discovered).

However, we become so caught up in schedules, appointments and duties, that we allow that object with numbers from one to twelve, to dictate our lives.

To a certain degree, this type of TIME is a part of the reality.  But, I've learned that it's not necessary to become a prisoner to that TIME.

I truly thought I knew the value of TIME.  I sincerely believed I was living in each NOW present moment.  I'm convinced I have known the importance of this.  But, as we all do, I've allowed the busy-ness of life to interfere. 

The recent discovery of my new health problem has opened my eyes to my own mortality.  Even after having other awakening experiences in the past, my life continued, with the knowledge, but without applying what I've known.

Although not what I'd elect for my life right now, my recent health issue has provided me TIME -
TIME to relax
TIME to heal
TIME to observe
TIME to reflect
TIME to pray
TIME to meditate

TIME to open my eyes to the little joys that surround us daily.

A short walk around my backyard gives me so much pleasure now.

Taking the TIME to actually view a beautiful sunset, is so rewarding.  Sure, I notice sunsets, but have I really taken the TIME to look at them and actually see the beauty in them?  I thought I did, until today.

I believe the universe has given me a great gift, during this time of being forced to slow down to heal.  While, what initially seemed like, being "stuck" in a vacuum of boredom, I've suddenly become aware of this wonderful opportunity that I've been granted.

Instead of pondering the past
Instead of wondering what's yet to come
I'm utilizing this time to simply "be" in each "now" present moment; and to discover the little joys, which are so often overlooked.

Again, as always I'm counting my blessings.  The difference from before, is that now I'm really taking time to "smell those roses". 

I'm thoroughly GRATEFUL for this recent revelation, to discover these "little" things; which, in reality, are actually very "huge" things.

I'm very GRATEFUL for TIME - for each precious moment of TIME, and for realizing the best ways to use it.

In love and gratitude,

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

GRATITUDE is Everywhere - even Behind the Smokescreen

So much can be learned in our lives, if we only keep our eyes, ears and hearts open - - - - open up to the amazing world we live in - open up to the love of the wonderful people in this world.

Education and knowledge is acquired from many various sources, if we remain focused and in touch with the possibilites.

I've learned a lot in 63 years (geeez, hope so, huh).
One thing I've learned is to grasp all the facts, listen to all the sources ................

BUT ...............
make my own decisions.

No one else walks in my shoes, except me.

Others have good intentions, with a desire for us to be safe, maybe wanting us to make better choices than they have done.  However, the ultimate decision must come from within my heart and soul.
 Right or wrong - doesn't matter - it's my own personal choice, and is the one that is best for me at that moment.  If consequences arise from my actions, then I must accept that.  Often, the result can be powerful positivity.  (That's when I may pat myself on the back, and say 'good job', Ginny.)

We may give others advice, in hopes they will do what we are saying is best.  But, again, it's NOT up to us to influence others.  Okay, advice can be helpful at times, so share it from your heart with love.  Then take a step back to allow the other person space and the freedom necessary to determine what is best for them.

All that being said, I recently made a decision for myself, taking facts into consideration, as well as my own personal desire at the moment.

Over the years, others have attempted to influence me to change my thoughts and desires to theirs, and to do what they believe is best for me. 

However, it wasn't until the final choice became personally mine that it was right for me.

So, what am I trying to say? 
Here's my personal story ................

("My Personal" story, which means this is NOT a lecture or advice to you or to anyone.  It's simply MY story.  Regardless of what you do, I respect your choices, because they are YOURS, for YOU.  -  This is mine alone.) 

In the early 1960's, when I was 15 years old, I smoked my first cigarette.  I actually liked it!  Of course, it helped that, in those days, smoking was fashionable and something that all the "cool" people did.  Smoking was perceived as glamorous ..... 

Not only did doctors smoke right in their offices, along with their patients; but doctors actually encouraged smoking!
(Hard to believe, now, 50 years later; but it's true.)

Picture it - - after your medical exam, sitting in your doctor's office for consultation,

the doctor leaning over his desk, on which there was a big ashtray - (sorry gross, I know),
 to light your cigarette!


 Seriously, this is how it was.  I know, because I lived it!

 Not only was it socially accepted, it was also encouraged.  There were NO health warnings - nothing to educate us about any risks or consequences, as this was unknown then.

By the time the warnings surfaced, the nicotine addiction had taken a strong hold on my life. 

I didn't care.  I wasn't scared.  Nothing worried me.  Up until about a week ago, I was convinced that smoking would not harm me.  I had my Father's genetics.  He smoked for about 74 years, without any issues. 

Me, now at 63 years old, still had smooth skin with very few wrinkles - even after 48 years of smoking - even after excessive suntanning in my earlier years (from about 14 til my forties).  

I had been in  excellent health for most of my life.  The new problems that arrived with aging, didn't seem to have any relation to my smoking.

I smoked during both my pregnancies, and in the house and in the car, when my boys were babies, even while holding them and feeding them.  
Like this ................

(Now, this disgusts me, to think of how ignorant this was.) 

I'm ever so grateful that my irresponsible actions did not harm my children.  (It could have been disastrous.)
Both of my sons have been (and are) in good health.


I thoroughly enjoyed smoking, and was not going to consider quitting.  I had made the attempt a couple times before, but decided it was something I liked and would continue to do.

Sure, doctors would tell me that I 'should' quit smoking.  My dentist said the same.  Ex-smokers (often the worst) tried to tell me to quit.  People tried scare tactics, but nothing phased me.  I'm stubborn.  I refused to succomb to the desires others had for me!  It's MY life(Do you hear me?  MINE)

About 12 years ago, after many years of smoking two and a half packs a day, I finally made a decision to stop smoking in my house.  Then about a year later, I chose to not smoke in my car.  Both of these decisions helped me to decrease my nicotine intake a lot - - and my house and car smelled refreshing for a change.

Why should I stop?  I've cut back tremendously.  I have no issues with breathing.  No chest pains.  I do have my Father's excellent genes.  And, recently had a chest x-ray, which showed my lungs in great condition.  And, it was bad enough that the government was dictating where and when I could smoke.  (How dare they!)

Nope, NO, not me - I'm gonna smoke forever.  I'll never quit.

HA - Never say never ..........  HA - we just don't know for sure what is around that next corner.
Sometimes we are fortunate enough to discover that next challenge around the corner, to be allowed a second chance.  But, sometimes, we are not quite so lucky.  I am so very GRATEFUL for being given a glance around that corner - and this time, without my rose-colored glasses on.

Suddenly, being diagnosed with DVT, it became apparent to me ............ my life had changed significantly in an instant.

Blood clots?  Seriously?  How is this possible? 

It IS possible.  It IS serious.

No one knows for sure what the cause was for me.  But, the facts are that my left leg is filled with blood clots; and is swollen and in lots of pain. 

When I was younger, taking birth control pills for years, while also smoking, I remember hearing that this "could be" a risk.  I chose to ignore it.  I was in great physical health.  No need to worry.

Twelve years ago, after having a Hysterectomy, I was advised again of potential risks from smoking while taking Hormone Replacement Therapy.  I chose to ignore the warnings.  Couldn't affect me - I was in good health -  especially after having the surgery - I felt great!

I'm tough.
I'm stubborn.
Nothing can get me.

Yeah, well, it might be good to have a positive attitude, but I was masking knowledge with ignorance.

Something else I've learned during my 63 years on this earth - we cannot go back into the past and change what's already been done. 

It is what it is.

Today is the first day of the rest of my life.
This one NOW moment is the first moment of the rest of my life.
Today's choices will help me take care of any tomorrow's, which I'll be blessed to have.

One thing that is inescapeable is Death. 
But, I'm not ready to leave, yet.  I still have projects to complete.  I still have family to love and share life with. 

 I still have my goal - my passion - my purpose ....
to spread GRATITUDE and APPRECIATION, with LOVE, to as many people as possible.
Won't you please help join me,
by changing the world -
one THANK YOU at a time ♥

One week ago, after about 8 hours of the Urgent Care process, the doctor looked into my eyes and said "You really should quit smoking."  I had heard that often during the past 40-plus years.  I've been smoking for 48 years.  This was the very first time ever, that those words rang loud and clear into my head. 
Was is the doctor who said it?  (He did have beautiful eyes - :) 
Was it because of the long hours that day in the Urgent Care process? 
Was it the excrutiating pain in my leg? 

Who knows?  It doesn't matter why or what?  What does matter is that I made a choice at that moment to attempt to get healthier, to be given a chance to live and enjoy life as long as possible.

While it's very true that this may have absolutely nothing to do with smoking or not, it doesn't matter.  What matters is that I made a powerful decision - one which I'd never imagined ever making.  I may be consistent and stick with my plan; but, there's also a possibility I may not.  It could be easy to fall back into my old addictive pattern.  At this point, it doesn't matter.

I'm taking one moment at a time.

I have not quit smoking entirely; but, I have cut back significantly.  (But, I really do NOT need to justify this to anyone.  REMEMBER - this is MY life and MY choice.  Dang!  I am stubborn, aren't I?) 
For the past week, I've smoked only 3 to 4 cigarettes a day.  A week ago, my average was a half pack a day, which is 10 cigarettes -  (sometimes a little more).  To a non-smoker that may seem to be still too many.  

But, I'm NOT doing this to impress anyone else. 
I'm NOT doing this for any recognition. 
I'm NOT doing this to be judged in any way by anyone else.  I'm simply doing it, and doing it only for ME.

And, here's an added BONUS - something that never made a difference to me (and still doesn't really); but it's becoming an incentive right now.
The CO$TWhen I first began smoking, a pack of cigarettes was twenty-five cents.  Now, if purchased by the carton (of ten packs - or 200 cigs), the cost is approximately $6.50 - $7.00 per pack.  It's possible to pay up to $10 per pack, or even more.  An expen$ive addiction, to say the least.  
Here's a good picture for this comparison.

If anyone reading this is a smoker, please understand this is NOT an attempt to get the rest of the world to quit smoking.  (We already have way too many control freaks already doing this!) 

This is simply MY personal story, which I just wanted to share.  Although the subject matter includes issues and facts about smoking, I'd also like to emphasize that this is about allowing each other the freedom to be exactly who they are, and be accepted exactly for that, without judgement, and without controlling behavior over others.

AND ...... as always, my blog posts are always always always about GRATITUDE ♥

My heart is forever filled with GRATITUDE .....
..... for doing whatever I'm doing right now
..... for living in this one NOW present moment
..... for being alive right NOW
..... for allowing others the freedom to be who they are
..... for all that my life includes right NOW



Saturday, January 15, 2011

Painful Gratitude

Please understand that, in no way, is this being written to seek sympathy of any kind at all. 
(SYMPATHY can be found in the dictionary, between SELFISH and UNHEALTHY)

Pain - excrutiating pain - like a neverending severe Charley Horse, making it almost impossible to walk.  With this new persistent pain in my left leg, along with the arthritis in my right leg, walking (even with a cane) has been quite a challenge.

Swelling - to the point of feeling as though the insides of my leg would explode right through my skin.

Redness - on the lower portion of my left leg, between my knee and my ankle - hot to the touch - - so much so, that it felt as though a heater, set at a temperature of about 100 degrees, was buried under my skin.

(picture is not my leg, but a close example of what mine was like)

Fever - vacillating between 101.5 and slightly below normal temp, often feeling "infected".

Bruised, sore stomach, feeling like a pin cushion from the daily injections.

(again, picture is not me, but just an example - without the bruises)
(I do apologize for the graphics - not pleasant, I know;  sorry)

But, there is a reason for the description.

Sometimes people have NO warning - NO pain to signal the presence of a disease or condition that potentially could be life-threatening.  Instead, without medical attention, the condition becomes worse and their life is ended suddenly.

This is why I am so very very GRATEFUL for the PAIN I've been experiencing.  I won't lie; I'd prefer not to have pain.  However, without this chronic pain, there's a good chance I may not be here to be writing about this right now.

I was diagnosed with DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) - - - - more commonly known as blood clots. 

("B" below - that's me - obviously NOT normal)

My Ultrasound looked as though someone had taken a crayon and colored in almost the entire lower portion of my leg.  Mighty scary.

(Just a diagram below; NOT my Ultrasound)

To what does this all translate?

(of course)

Because of the pain, and because I listened to the pain, and because I heard about what the pain was warning me ................
and, with the help of several Doctors, Nurses, Urgent Care, the Ultrasound person at the Heart and Vascular Center, the Coumadin Clinic, and all those I've yet to see in future appointments (the Vascular Surgeon, for one) .................
Because of all of this ................

My heart is filled with GRATITUDE

Most of all .....

for the love,
healing energy,
and support
of my amazing wonderful family and friends.

You know who you are ♥
(and I do, too)
I love each of you with my heart and soul ♥