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Sunday, March 28, 2010

regression before

I found a blog I never posted. I think I wrote it on March 14:

I'm back at square one. The joyous part of that is I finally got to use my icyhot stripes to see what I think of them-- they stink, literally. Mentally, I'm back to where I was a few weeks ago-- okay, so say something I've eaten in the past is causing my body pain. I'm not eating it anymore so shouldn't my pain level be going down each day instead of increasing? Umph.

I found yeast free, gluten free, wheat free bread at Kroger. It's hard. I also found Tufutti non-dairy sour cream. We'll see how that goes.

Soon, I will be in bed. My heating pad can't reach the end where I lay. Sad. I think I'll put new heating squares on before I get in the bed. I took an ibuprofen earlier today; it did nothing. It reminded me of why I don't bother to take pain meds many times when I'm hurting.

A new comer to the fibromyalgia group said she can't tie her tennis shoes. In pain though I am, I am truly blessed.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


I am grateful for Floridia's facebook comment of the day. It was like she was reading my mind or eavesdropping on me and Cindi.

I am grateful for spending Friday night with mom, one of her friends, and that friend's friends, including someone I used to work with.

I am thankful for the yeast free, gluten free pizza crust I found. I am thankful for Whole Foods.

I am thankful for honest communication. I am thankful for internal strength.

I am thankful that I made it to the fibromyalgia support group today.

I am thankful that Yo said yes. I am thankful for books. I am thankful for libraries.

I am thankful that some of the art on the walls of the theater are stylistically similar to my own work.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


I'm thankful that FUUN posts their sermons online.
I'm thankful that the Understanding Poverty workshop was so interesting. I'm thankful that I got to see people I like and adore, as well as acquaintances that are pleasant to see, at the training. I'm thankful that the training has brought forth interesting conversation. I'm thankful for sitting by friendly people at the training.
I'm thankful that Mandy's words ring true, even though they aren't likely to change the situation. It's nice to have a theory from which to work.
I'm thankful for Audrey's rubs. They make me like a happy cat.
I'm thankful that my blood sugar keeps going too low. It's annoying and dangerous but if it keeps going, perhaps I can take less medicine.
I'm thankful for plugging back in to the Spiritual.
I'm thankful for my mom taking me to work sometime.
I'm thankful for the activists in the world fighting to help someone get their rights (recognized).
I'm thankful that the courts ruled for Constance.
I'm thankful that more people can have medical coverage, that less people will stay at home deathly ill to avoid a bill.

freakin' blood sugar!

Errgggg! I've eaten a bowl of popcorn and a plum apple in the hour since getting home so I can go the gym. I just checked my blood sugar: 123. Errgggg! I'll complain here because I do not know a diabetic alive that will understand my need to complain about eating and not having my blood sugar go up high enough. I've eaten at least 4 carbs. There's no reason to not have the 140 I prefer before performing cardiovascular exercise. The 123 isn't a good representation of my blood sugar because you're supposed to check 2 hours after you eat to determine your blood sugar, not 15 minutes after food enters your mouth. 123 in 2 hours might be 100. I really can't exercise on that. Anyhow, I just finished a diabetic bar. Now I'm often to the gym with best hopes.


Vote on my poll- Sat activity

Last week, my nephew's 12 year old cousin died. His family was in a head on collision with someone else. His pregnant mom was driving; his younger brother was in the back seat. Everyone lived but him.

If I was the mom in the situation, I would struggle to maintain my sanity after that incident. If I did, my other son would be the reason why. He needs his mom no matter what.

My heart goes out to that family, including my nephew. The funeral, I think, is sometime on Saturday.

My other option for Saturday, my plan until his death happened, is to attend the women's fibromyalgia support group.I've only been once and that was a month ago. There was one meeting since I first attended, but I had to work. I already know that I have to work when they meet next, meaning it'll be a month from now when I can go back if I miss this week.

I'm not sure which I should attend. Relationships and supporting others is important and I don't want to neglect it, but forming a support group for me is important to me. I've never met this kid that died and his mom and I see each other every few years. But my nephew is a huge piece of my heart.What's your vote? Where should I be Saturday at 11am?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Thursday, I accidentally fell asleep after work, before yoga. Since then, I've felt pretty much like a human in terms of energy. I blocked off today as a day to sleep for 12 hours as I have that tired the last few weeks. Now that the opportunity was there, I didn't really need it. Granted, saying that did not prevent me from sleeping 10 hours from last night to morning nor did it prevent me from taking a 90 minute nap during the day. But I don't feel drugged or like I'm barely moving. Now, at 9pm, I'm getting sleepy but it's 9pm. I'm used to that.

Acupuncture seemed to make my wrist feel better. The tendinitis isn't completely gone but it's so much better than it was. I'm glad something good came out of that experience.

I invited my mom and sister to watch For the Bible Tells Me So; my sister said she'll look for it.

Pain has been okay. My back has been hurting today but I think that's been encouraged by me doing my hair. My stylist told me she doesn't do hers because it makes her back hurt.

I went to a wedding yesterday; an employee's son. It was nice. It made me think I want to get married someday. It's very big to agree to be with someone for the rest of your life, to spend that time trying to build something together. I think there's less stress in a relationship and perhaps more happiness to live separately but I admire the challenge of throwing it all in and striving for happiness in the midst of that.

Yesterday, I was invited to be at three events at once: that wedding, my aunt's birthday gathering, and Treace's birthday gathering. I'm thankful to have had so many people want me around.

Friday, March 19, 2010


I am grateful for my sisters at the Stone, those that pretty much know my special diet and made arrangements for me to have a large selection of choices tonight.

I am grateful for Cindi treating me so well.

I am grateful that I found suitable pizza mix at Wild Oats and was able to buy yummy, appropriate pancake and waffle mix.

I am grateful for the existence of The Bible Tells me So so that people can see. I am grateful for finally seeing that movie myself. I am thankful for all of the affirming pastors and family members out there.

I'm thankful that some people read this blog. It's touching to me for you to do that. I'm thankful for you.

* * *

Today, I nearly threw in the towel and reintroduced nightshade plants into my diet. This weekend would have been the week if not for my acupuncture set back. I think I'm still having residual effects from that. My pelvis has been demanding quite a bit of attention these last two days (no to you pervs that are reading). I'm going another week of trying to hold to this diet and giving my body a little more time to recover from that trauma, then next week I'll reintroduce my first food group. I'm having a hard time remembering why each group will be tested one by one instead of me continuously adding in new food groups on top of other things that were already added and seemed to be okay.

My brain fog has been noticeable quite a bit lately. I went grocery shopping last Sunday and at each store they had to call out to me to tell me to get my bags. Oops. I've had a hard time forming sentences to tell people what I'm thinking lately. I've been forgetting words, not just thoughts. It's embarrassing. I can get away with a little before it's noticeable and concernable but there's only so much I can shrug off before others see something's up or decide that I'm really not that smart after all (which is an okay belief but not because of brain fog).

Just as I thought I had gotten to a point of acceptance and tolerance with this diet, cravings start kicking up again. I've also realized that I don't have much real food on hand and that's perhaps why I haven't eaten much in terms of dinner this week. I should read cookbooks like Cindi and Client to find meals that I can eat but don't think of on my own. I am thankful to be surrounded by intelligent women :D.

Oh. And someone should guard me when I go to Whole Foods. $100.46 on 3 bags of groceries today. The positive of the experience is I bought 2 bacons, 2 pizza crusts, 2 waffle mixes, etc so I can stay out of there for a while. If I go to a store, I'm likely to buy something. If the things in that store cost more, I'm likely to spend more. Being at Whole Foods less = good. It's also good to be in there and have options of what I can eat. I love food. Viva la comida. Yum, yum. Good night, ya'll.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

utilizing the 90 min sleep cycle

Today, I accidentally fell asleep after work. That 60-90 minutes of rest seems like some of the best sleep I've gotten in a while, not because I haven't slept well but because I wake up exhausted (which probably means I don't sleep well). Last night, I went to bed at 8:15 in part because I've been really tired for weeks and deeply want time to just sleep and party because I needed to be at work AT 8am today. (It almost worked. I still slept until 6:50am but I got to work at 8:05. Traffic.)Right now, I feel almost human. I've budgeted my check from last week and also the one for next week since I was at it. I did a load of laundry. In the midst of typing this, I'll probably eat some food and clean up a bit. I hate being so tired. It's no good for my social life, I'll tell you that. I really, really, really want to be in bed by 10:30pm. I feel like having a regular schedule might help with this fatigue business or at least I think going to bed really late adds to my sleepiness. Umm. I can't think of anything interesting to say today. Mostly, I feel temporarily awake and realize I never talk about fatigue in this thing. Fatigue was my original enemy and it still abuses me; more energy is what I was really hoping I'd get from acupuncture. Oh, with that, I probably won't try it again while I'm doing the food experiment. It hurt a lot and caused increased pain levels in the days following it. I don't need that confoundment. Energy is so short lived in me when I get it; I better get up and do something productive while I can. Good night.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

acupuncture #1

Today, I tried acupuncture thanks to the nifty groupon coupon that came to my inbox a few weeks ago. IT SUCKED! I went in feeling pretty good and hopeful to stop the torture of tendinitis. I left limping. I screamed when I got in my car. Apparently, my back didn't want anything (i.e., the seat) to touch it. It sporadically felt like needles were sticking me in various location; I was amazed by how much effort it took to hit the brakes. Sensibility would tell me to never try acupuncture again. Something else, a deeper reason?, says go back. The practitioner told me up front that she recommends weekly sessions the first 3-4 weeks and then a tapering. $60 a pop, I can't afford that! There's a place around the block from my job that has pay what you can acupuncture that I think I'll try. Maybe. I hurt really bad right now. I can stop eating those foods and feel 80% better. Will acupuncture increase my energy, something that still lags? The practitioner looked at my "really pale" tongue and said I have energy issues (I could have told her that!) and that herbs could really help me but she can't recommend mixing anything with my current med list. I wonder how else my non-fibro medical issues effected today's session. She didn't try to sell me another session when I left today, as she had the two people that left(happy) when I was siting in the waiting room. I *do* wonder what that means.

Currently: I'm eating soy ice cream, licking my wounds, and thinking about bed.

Gratitude: I'm thankful for my privilege that allowed me to spend $35 to try something new (acupuncture). I'm thankful for the Meristem book club (I returned last night). I'm thankful for Cindi's consideration. I'm thankful for having Beth to look to for advice, wisdom, and life's stories. I'm thankful for my dad that likes to have long phone conversations with me. I'm thankful for my sister Shundra who lets me know when she finds new, good food.

on the up side

on the up side

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at least this time I KNOW that the pain will end

at least this time I KNOW that the pain will end

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pill count

pill count
Sunday, March 14, 2010

I'm still at 16 pills per day: 11 in the morning, 3 in the evening, and 2 at bedtime. In July '09, it was 12 in the morning, 3 in the evening, and 1 at night. I've removed some pills from that routine but added others, leaving me at still a really high daily pill count. I stopped taking aspirin, moved Caltrate to bedtime, and switched to the neuva ring instead of a pill so that's minus 3 for the morning. What's been added? Perhaps more KA? (2 in am and evening but if I was already taking 2 in the evening I was probably taking 2 in the am), another Prilosec? Really, I don't know. Darn. I thought I was making progress but no, it's still 16 apparently. What shall I eliminate?

- Maybe I can get down to 1 prilosec per day instead of 2. I guess I'll have to look at a listing of what often causes GERD and compare it to the mental list of what I can currently eat. Maybe one less pill will be a "side-effect" of my fibro diet.
-I want to get rid of a blood pressure pill. I'm probably too young to be taking one per day. I know I'm too old for two. This was something I targeted in July with little, if any, progress. My bottom number was 64. That seems low like progress like maybe I'm moving in the right direction with that goal. Maybe. We'll see.


lessons learned

lessons learned
Sunday, March 14, 2010

Friday night, I failed. I had to work a 12 hour shift that included company provided dinner. I anticipated pizza being the main offering so I took an alternate option but did I eat it? No. I ate the pizza and 2 donuts :} The pizza was cut in squares so I probably ate the equivalent of a slice and a half; not much in the larger scope of things but I've been using a heating pad on my back all weekend. Last night was such a familiar feeling that I don't miss. Falling asleep, I noticed the pain in my toes, my back, my knees, my wrists.... Weather could be contributing to this unfavorable change but the proximity to one night of naught eating stands out in my mind and should shield me from blindly giving in at a future date. I think the return of the pain came Thursday. I remember thinking, “Umm. This is the second time I've had an adverse effect after eating soy ice cream. Could there be a link?” I've also had soy ice cream without a bad day two. shrug. Pondering it this time, however, did clearly illustrate to me that soy ice cream is a sugar based food and should not be so freely consumed by me. Thankfully, I bought 3 pints this week at Schnucks 'cause I was trying to get a gas discount, so I don't have to behave myself until I've consumed all three. My original pint was bought when I was going mad and the soy cream was my-- reward? Salvation? The thing that I needed to keep me sane and focused at that point. I don't feel bad for that choice. I've become quite comfortable with this diet and find that comfort to be dangerous. I find myself thinking, “I've done so well for so long. Surely I can have this one serving of ____ without too many consequences.” Ya'll, I ate an entire chocolate bunny that way. :( I'm eating a pile of breakfast meats purchased at Whole Foods during this writing; I'm tired of my limited breakfast choices. Really, I would be not whiny about breakfast right now if I still had pancake/waffle mix. Maybe I'll go to Whole Foods today to replenish my stock. Yum, yum. In the midst of food frustration, Whole Foods gives me hope. My sister has switched to goat milk butter. I think I'll do that too. Grits taste amazingly better with butter.

Tuesday, I have my first acupuncture appointment. I'm hopeful. I think it'll cleanse me of the madness caused either by the changing weather or my weakness and bad food choices. Also, I have tendonitis that makes me scream in pain a few times a day. I'm hoping a few needle sticks can take care of that.

Tomorrow, I step up my game. I haven't removed caffeine from my diet, despite the recommendation, because I saw a difference in my ability to wake up in the morning but not my overall energy level when I removed it before. Yesterday, it occurred to me that the effects of removing caffeine may have been masked by another agent (sugar?) continuing to pull down my energy. I stayed caffeine free for about 3 or 4 weeks, the minimum amount of time that it would take for it to leave my system and the change to begin to appear. I didn't know it took so long for substances to leave your body when I embarked on that experiment. I'll try again. Thank God for decaf coffee. At least I can have that illusion (but I'll keep thinking paint thinner. Eww.) I've also come to realize that this restricted diet must last for a year if I want to experience the maximum results. I can quit any day now and say “Something from those groups of food increases my pain” but I can't tell you what. To introduce each item or item pairing, eat that food for 2-3 weeks and then allow 2-3 weeks for it to get out of my system before I introduce another item/item pair will take a really long time. I'm looking at close to 2 months for each category. It's probably a good thing that I didn't think this through before bravely setting out on the course. I wonder if Jesus or God ever had that thought about the crucifixion. I can see Jesus saying, “Well, dad, I know that I agreed to go and die for all those people but now I'm having second thoughts.” Lent- a time for us to focus a little more on connecting to God. Understanding facilitates connection. Recently, I dreamed that knowledge (research and information) help me feel connected to God. That dream is half true. I seek information for faith. Head knowledge does nothing for my heart. I need something more. I admittedly find an excellent example of more from two Unitarian Universalists I know, Cindi B and Cynthia S. My latest belief-o-net test matched me 100% as UU. Liberal/Progressive Christian was maybe 5 down the list. Neo-paganism, Reformed Judaism, and Liberal Quakers all beat out what I call my faith. There is a reformed synagogue in town that I want to visit; their rabbi is an amazing preacher. I've never gone because I found my Friday night Bible fellowship group around the same time I was trying to schedule a time to visit the Jews. That would be an excellent way to get to understand Jesus, being among his people. Christians are more like a reflection of his faith. Judaism was His faith.

One thing I find interesting about this experience is my remarkably high compliance rate. I do not think of myself as one that has a great deal of control over her eating habits. I think that two weeks is the longest that I've been on a weight-loss focused diet and most of those attempts lasted less than one week. Perhaps that is why I am generally disinterested in weight-loss focused diets and strive instead for a program I feel I can maintain for life. Short-term “demands” don't work well for me but my health is important to me. Making lifestyle changes that benefit my health is so much more appealing than making changes in hopes of losing weight. I guess that's one reason I can stick to this for the most part. It's to improve my health and frankly I view it as my life or some food. I don't know that I can make it being in constant pain. I don't know that I can withstand 3 weeks of pain levels reaching 9s and 10s every day like some people with fibromyalgia do. I don't know that I'm strong enough to have this disease. If God really knows what She's doing and truly doesn't give us more than we can bear, I guess I can. I eat a lot of fruit now. I rarely ate fruit before. I still only have vegetables occasionally, probably because I have no other options, but my current eating is much healthier than before. Maybe pain of 8s, 9s, 10s, with frequent 6s and 7s is what I needed to stop abusing my body through food. I love cheese, biscuits, and ice cream. I do not view eating them as abuse but perhaps it was. I am surprised by how much weight I haven't lost with my current eating plan. The first 2 weeks, the scale stayed the same. Last Friday, it finally looked like I dropped 4lbs. I'm skeptical to believe that though. I have to see that number, or less, repeatedly. It makes sense though. No white flour, no while pasta, potatoes, cookies (I love!), donuts (mostly), or cake; I should be dropping a lb a week.

Did I ever tell you what fmwellness thinks about my triggers? It thinks I do better when I work 7.5 hrs or less-- maybe. Perhaps I can test that at some point. It also noted that I do better when driving is somewhat stressful as opposed to only mildly or not at all stressful. That's a joke! But correlations are just that-- correlation does not prove causation. Go research geeks!

Well, this has been an especially long blog entry so I'll end my thoughts with this paragraph. I would like to blog at least twice a week-- I'll remember more and probably not write as much in one sitting-- but I'm thankful that I'm at least able to do this. Thank you for joining me in my experiment to wholeness.

repost: progress?

Sunday, March 07, 2010

I've gone round and round the mountain of sanity, faith, and hope on this fibromyalgia diet. About every 3 days, I want to throw in the tile. Thursday, for the first time, I thought, “maybe this is working”. I noticed that my pain level was remarkably low; Friday followed the same pattern, which holds. Pain-- tight spots-- appear in the early morning and later in the evening, things like tight shoulders or ankles. But I'm not having bad or constant pain. I've been marking 1s and 2s every day on the fmwellness survey. Sadly, my fatigue hasn't gotten any better and I find myself missing back when.... I went to a workshop on creative leadership on Thursday and found myself slightly envious of the presenter's energy. He would sporadically jump at various times; I'm scared of the price I'd pay for jumping throughout the day.

Whole Foods is like a God-send in my mind right now. I was having one of my break downs when I entered there last? week. Granted, that might change as my checking account balance grows lean, but it was absolutely there when I needed something to help me keep going. Right now, the hope of “it working” is helping me hold on. “Ice cream; I want ice cream-- but ice cream in exchange for pain? Nah.” At Whole Foods, I found acceptable fish sticks, bacon, soy (ice) cream. A few days later, I discovered new to me fruit at the Schnucks out near the fibro support group. I made a fruit salad with it and have been munching on that all week.

The support group- the first try was alright. Everyone else was white and all but one had children, grown or young. It's a bit of a faith-based group, which wasn't advertised on their website. I'm glad it wasn't. I would not have shown up to see how it went if it's headline was “Christian moms seek to help other Christian moms with chronic pain”. I'm the red-headed stepchild, at best, in Christianity. More accurately, I'm the red-headed lesbian that no one really talks about. *sigh * The group's founder said some things about her relationship with God that make me more comfortable approaching her with where my relationship is. It hasn't been without struggle; I can't say there's no trust lost. But I don't know the group members' flavor of Christianity. Are they all fundamentalist? Are there some progressives there too? Will they “love me” but disapprove of “my lifestyle” and how okay with that am I? It's sad to be understood in one way that has become integral to who one is, but alienated on account of another integral aspect. I was ashamed when I realized and am ashamed to admit that I could have began testing the waters on that at the first meeting but I didn't. There's some fellowship time after the official meeting. We were looking at magazines and talking about some things we've read about fibromyalgia, plus a little bit of small talk. Twice, I referred to Cindi as “my friend” instead of my girlfriend. Maybe it's because it was at the end of the meeting and by then a larger piece of me wanted them to accept me? Would I have acknowledged her for who she is to me had the opportunity come up earlier during that day? Maybe it's because I really did want to watch them for a session to see who they are in general and not focus on their stance on one cluster of issues. Maybe it's because I don't think that Cindi and I are going to be girlfriends past this year so fighting society to acknowledge her seems less important than it once did. But if it's not her, it could be someone else. And when talking sexual orientation and human rights, I'm still the one being debated at the end of the conversation regardless of my relationship status. Whatever the reason I worded things as I did, a decision was made and now I'll have to face that dragon again when I see them at the end of the month. The decision will always have to be made until I finally choose truth, and then I'll have to choose truth time and time again. I meant to go to the Nashville fibro support group this morning but I plum forgot. I woke up at 10:20am and realized the group met at 11am right about 11am. I would have been a hour late by the time I found them so I have to mark that off as maybe next time. I am hoping for more diversity and a greater level of comfort with that group. But maybe not. Comfort is up to me in the end and I'm not sure that a situation itself can give me that confidence.

Anyhow, I am ending my weekend of visiting Cindi now; it's time for bed. Tomorrow morning, I'll wake up and get on I-40 once again. Blessed be.

Monday, March 15, 2010

another transfer: oops i did it again

oops i did it again
Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I screwed up again. Being aspartame free before doing the full fibromyalgia diet has helped me accidentally consume things that are aspartame free but not free of other forbidden things. Tonight, I had a Coke. It's aspartame free but has fructose corn syurp; oops. That's my admission.

Gratitude: I'm thankful that my mom cares so much. I'm thankful for my sister Beth. I'm thankful that the fibro support group is coming up. I'm thankful that I have the flexibility to work a half day when I don't feel well. I'm thankful for the 14ish clients that are still there striving to stay clean and sober.

even migraines make pizza seem good

even migraines make pizza seem good
Monday, February 22, 2010

Conversation with self on the way to Target after work:

“ I want a slice of pizza, any pizza will do.”

do dah, do do do dah

“BREAD. I WANT BREAD. Maybe I can go to Whole Foods tomorrow and get some of that gluten-free bread Beth posted about. I hope that bread is yeast free. I'll see if she replied to my facebook comment when I get home.”




“You will not quit this diet after 5 days. You will not.”

* * *

I really want some pizza ya'll. On top of that, I have a migraine so I'm nauseous. The migraine greeted me early this morning. Getting ready for my doctor's appointment, I noticed I had a headache. I took a sinus pill and a Tylenol 500 not being sure the cause of the headache. 8:10am, purse on my shoulder, umbrella in my hand, all ready to leave-- I ran to the bathroom and regurgitated the water and juice consumed earlier that morning. I managed to cook oats and eggs before my appointment but felt too nauseous to eat at the time. I wisely decided to put them on hold and see how I felt after the doctor. I basically pass my apartment on my way to work from his office, so I figured I could spare the extra few minutes passing through would cost. I went to the doctor and let him make a mold of my feet. Yea! Special, custom-made foot insoles are on their way back to me. The process was like having a paper machete of one's foot made. Then I came back and ate my eggs before leaving for work. I wavered between whether or not I should go to work this morning and the yes finally won with the stipulation that I could stop at Walgreens on the way to buy some cooling stripes to put on my forehead. All day, people asked if I had a huge band aid on my forehead; no.

Day 6, I don't feel better. I'm closer to feeling like crap but thankfully not due to the fibromyalgia as far as I'm aware. Today I decided that I probably shouldn't be eating tuna because it is made with vegetable broth which is made with things like tomatoes that I can't have.

Life in the larger scheme of things: I finally took a step to find out how much mail order meds will cost with my new insurance provider. I entered my meds in an online form and have to wait for someone to get back to me. Their system is so odd to me; the previous company had a flat rate: $10 for generics, $20 or $70 for name-brand. Made sense to me.

My pharmacist told me to drink lots of fluid, avoid eye stimulation, and get some rest to get rid of this non-relenting migraine so I guess I'll get on with all of that. Ciao.

day 5

day 5

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fibromyalgia diet, day 2

fibromyalgia diet, day 2

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fibromyalgia diet

fibromyalgia diet

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the transfer begins

I recently started being a regular blogging as I embarked on an eating adventure with the onset of Lent. I blogged at but have decided that it's missing some features I'd like to have in my blog. Let's see how this site measures up. It seems to be what people are using these days so why not me too? Below is the first blog that really marked my recent series, well really, it's more like a movie ad before your movie starts playing.

think positive, feel better?
Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I've been searching for a more noticeably spiritual connection to my Lent activities this year. Here's one discovered today on care2.

Positivity Quest Week 5: Intentional Gratitude
posted by Wendy Strgar Feb 14, 2010 5:04 pm
filed under: Health & Wellness, General Health, Guidance, Healthy Mind, Inspiration, Love & Relationships, Peace
Positivity Quest Week 5: Intentional Gratitude

“To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven.” Johannes A. Gaertner

Another way to practice mindfulness is through intentional gratitude. In the same way that paying mindful attention expands our perceptions and broadens our minds, the work of noticing and recording moments of deep gratitude broadens and expands our hearts. By naming the gifts of our lives, we encourage our awareness of goodness to spread out and occupy a greater part of who we are. Through expanding our capacity for gratitude, we make more room for whatever else we choose to focus on. Expanding awareness prepares you for greater potential.

I am finally feeling ready for the next big step in my positivity quest, the gratitude diary. It feels like a big leap from the wrist band method which I have been practicing since day 8. This new step takes the big leap from watching for negative remarks to generating and recording a world of recognized gifts. I have been noticing the gifts more and more as I have loosened the stranglehold of my negative thinking, but committing myself to daily records of the goodness that makes up my life will have dramatic results I think.

A study from the UC Davis psychology labs, researchers are engaged in a long term project to lift gratitude from the forgotten factor to one of the foundations of positivity research and its consequences on health and well being. Religious practices and eastern philosophies have long embraced gratitude as an essential aspect of love and goodness. It has also been associated with well being, health and life integrity. The long term research looks at methods to cultivate gratitude in daily life and assess its effects on well being and also to reliably measure individual differences in individual experience of gratefulness.

As expected, keeping gratitude journals were associated with better health and greater optimism. Also people who recorded their gratitude made more progress towards reaching their goals. This might be because, people who expanded their minds with recording their grateful moments were more alert, enthusiastic and attentive. Practicing gratitude raises your energy level on all levels. We will keep looking at the benefits as the experiment goes….

So I bought this little, purse size journal the other day, thinking I was ready to make this next leap, but until today, just kind of looked at it, turned it over in my hands, but couldn’t quite get it open. Somehow, it felt intimidating to commit myself to focusing on the grateful moments. But then, one brief conversation made me realize I was ready. It was at my office, where we all teach each other what it means to work in a love business. “Are you ready to raise your vibration? Because its all just about where you are vibrating.” That was the second entry, after the one about my 13 year old son who told me on the way to school while trying to get me to listen to his rap music, “you know mom, the positivity quest is all about having an open mind.”

The question remains: “Do you fill up your gratitude diary, or does it fill you up?”
Wendy Strgar is a loveologist who writes and lectures on Making Love Sustainable, a green philosophy of relationships which teaches the importance of valuing the renewable resources of love and family. Wendy helps couples tackle the questions and concerns of intimacy and relationships, providing honest answers and innovative advice. Wendy lives in Eugene, Oregon with her husband, a psychiatrist, and their four children ages 11-20.