Stay Positive

"In the midst of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer." - Alert Camus

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Eternal Spring








Step by step
a new-born lamb
eternal spring 


Zen Master Soen Nakagawa

1955




In his "Preface" to Endless Vow: The Zen Path of Soen Nakagawa (presented with an Introduction by Eido Tai Shimano, Shambhala 1996) Kazuaki Tanahashi writes: "Zen Master Soen Nakagawa was a key figure in the transmission of Zen Buddhism from Japan to the Western world. As abbot of the historic Ryutaku Monastery, he trained monks and lay practitioners. Among them were Robert Aitken and Philip Kapleau, who later became two of the first Westerners to teach Zen in the United States . . . Soen Nakagawa was also an extraordinary poet. In Japan his haiku are renowned, even though no substantial collection of his work has been made available to the general public."




Attitude Adjustments Needed


If you don't like something change it; if you can't change it, change the way you think about it.

 - Mary Engelbreit



Action Creates Abundance


"Think like a man of action, and act like a man of thought."
- Henri Bergson

Meaning:
Think and analyze quickly and thoroughly, but don't act impulsively. Come up with a plan quickly, but take your time putting it into action.



“To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly.”
- Henri Bergson (French Philosopher, 1927 Nobel Prize in Literature, 1859-1941)

Life does not proceed by the association and addition of elements, but by dissociation and division.”
- Henri Bergson


“Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”


“Thinking is easy, acting is difficult, and to put one's thoughts into action is the most difficult thing in the world.”
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe  (German Playwright, Poet, Novelist and Dramatist. 1749-1832)


“We do not have to visit a madhouse to find disordered minds; our planet is the mental institution of the universe.”  ~Goethe

“Only by joy and sorrow does a person know anything about themselves and their destiny. They learn what to do and what to avoid.”
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“Behavior is a mirror in which every one displays his own image”
-  Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


“Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.”
- Plato

Filosofizing Frank

http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Frank_Sinatra



The Way You Wear Your Hat (1997)

The Way You Wear Your Hat : Frank Sinatra and the Lost Art of Livin' (1997) by Bill Zehme
  • I'm supposed to have a Ph.D. on the subject of women. But the truth is I've flunked more often than not. I'm very fond of women; I admire them. But, like all men, I don't understand them.
  • For years I've nursed a secret desire to spend the Fourth of July in a double hammock with a swingin' redheaded broad ... but I could never find me a double hammock.
  • Fear is the enemy of logic.
  • The big lesson in life, baby, is never be scared of anyone or anything.
  • [On religion] I'm for anything that gets you through the night, be it prayer, benzedrine or a bottle of Jack Daniel's.


Filosofizing Frank

http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Frank_Sinatra



The Way You Wear Your Hat (1997)

The Way You Wear Your Hat : Frank Sinatra and the Lost Art of Livin' (1997) by Bill Zehme
  • I'm supposed to have a Ph.D. on the subject of women. But the truth is I've flunked more often than not. I'm very fond of women; I admire them. But, like all men, I don't understand them.
  • For years I've nursed a secret desire to spend the Fourth of July in a double hammock with a swingin' redheaded broad ... but I could never find me a double hammock.
  • Fear is the enemy of logic.
  • The big lesson in life, baby, is never be scared of anyone or anything.
  • [On religion] I'm for anything that gets you through the night, be it prayer, benzedrine or a bottle of Jack Daniel's.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Diagnosis: Now What?

If you are a motivated person, multiple sclerosis is just another thing you must deal with to accomplish the things you want to do.  Just like taxes are one of the costs of doing business, you do your best to minimize its consequences but you cannot overwhelm the taxman.  Multiple sclerosis is a fact of your life and you need to deal with it while not constantly wrestling with its well known affects on your energy levels, balance, bladder and so on.

Attitude management has become my most powerful weapon for dealing with the many losses incurred by developing a chronic, progressive disease with no effective treatment.  The ideas of Albert Ellis for managing your thinking using rational emotive therapy to overcome problems like depression and hopelessness.  Jon Kabat-Zinn contributed several really helpful books about using mindful meditation to escape the chronic pain trap.  In my case using the Serenity Prayer for mantra meditation helped drive home the idea of accepting what we cannot change, working on the things we can change.  It is a poets way of picking your fights.  Pick fights big enough to be meaningful but small enough winnable.  Baby steps.

My diagnosis of m.s. took 25 years  to be established as the cause of many niggling problems.  This time lapse to explanation for multiple symptoms was common prior to the introduction of MRI and if you had other medical problems m.s. is not the first thing a doctor thinks to investigate.

My response to the affects of m.s. prior to a diagnosis was early on was to think it was lack of motivation, depression or lack of character.  Turning to the Self-Help Industry for ways to overcome my deficiencies took up hours of reading magical formulas promising to change the lay-about into a dynamic captain o9f industry.  It only makes you feel worse when you read that some people have raised themselves  from abject failure to a fortune in sales.

After you spend years cursing your lack of ambition and material success some doctor finally realizes you are dealing with a cluster of symptoms that have a name.  Meantime you have experience things like optic neuritis with no explanation.  Most people living with M.S. have experienced many, many frustrations before they get a diagnosis.

Once diagnosed you have a moment of revelation - finally, an explanation for all your negative attributes that seemed to be laziness and a lack of clearly written SMART Goals according to the self-help books.  Now you realize you are not just a slob and momentarily you feel a kind of perverse joy.  Ultimately, the second shoe drops: you have a chronic progressive disease with no cure and no effective treatment.  You are told there is no known cause other than maybe its an environmental disease caused by toxins breathed for instance, or it is genetic caused by having a mother from Scotland or maybe you have a leaky gut.  Try not to worry about the cause, leave it to the scientists you are told.  Who can stop asking themselves for an explanation and reeling backwards in your life history for clues.

When you get over the elation and deflation from your diagnosis you begin a long search for ways to live with the disease.  You need to find a way to make a living because most of us are robbed of our profession in our most productive years.  Stressful employment can be a killer to people with m.s. and everything is stressful.  How do you deal with this situation.  Adaptability is something that has made the human race so biologically successful.  In what ways can you adapt and thrive?


Living one day at a time is a good starting point for dealing with uncertain health and an unknown future:

" Just for today I will be agreeable, will look as well as I can, dress becomingly, talk low, act courteously, criticize no one, not find faults with anything, and not try to improve or regulate anybody but myself."~anon.


This recipe for routine functioning one day at a time comes from the '12 Step' approach to addictions.  Alcoholics have a chronic progressive disease that needs to be accepted and dealt with by abstaining from alcohol.  It sound sounds simple: to quit, quit.  Anyone who has struggled with this physical and psychological addiction can write a book about the difficulties entailed in changing your lifestyle from drinker to totally abstaining.




Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Walking is man's best medicine. - Hippocrates


Toronto doctor's 'magic pill' goes viral - Toronto - CBC News:
CBC News
Posted: Jan 11, 2012

An illustrated video with a simple message about health has received more than a million hits on YouTube, much to the delight of the Toronto doctor who created it.
"My bankability with teenagers has increased significantly," Dr. Mike Evans told CBC News on Wednesday.

Evans is a doctor at St. Michael's Hospital and professor at the University of Toronto. People all over the world are linking to his month-old video from Facebook and Twitter.

Evans says his message — to complete a half-hour of exercise every day — is like a magic pill to cure aches and pains.

"I've got a pill that's going to help with your arthritis, help with your depression, help with your anxiety, help with your obesity, help prevent cancer," he said.

The video cites studies from the world, including research that shows even overweight people have fewer health problems when active.