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January Grain

12/01/2015 09:16

How is 2015 turning out for you so far?  We are 12 days into the New Year so the year is young.  I would add a “thank goodness” in more ways than one to the former sentence.  To get very honest, I am in resistance mode big time so far yet like the waves that we watch from shore, the waves go out to sea & they return a little differently each time.  That is life too I suppose.  Things can look so similar or the same yet I don’t think that is true.  Each moment is a new moment with a life all its own I believe.  Sure, we can repeat behaviours or words over & over again but we still do not freeze time or stop some small change from happening over time.  We can either fight the waves or enjoy the ride.  Either way, it is a choice.  One is about living within the struggle & the other is about embracing life & making the best out of any given day. 

The work in progress so far that I am finding for 2015 is that I know that I need to learn ways to let some things go.  It is easy I find to let go of the urge to take down one calendar & put another one up & declare that the newest year will be the best one yet & make parallel resolutions.  Please don’t get me wrong; if this is is something that others do I say power to them.  It just does not fit for me.  I don’t buy into declaring that a year will be better than ever simply because I have changed the calendar.  I do believe that everything will improve on any given day of the year if my mindset is healthy.  I can do that on January 1st or I can do that on February 23rd or December 31st or any day in between.  This is great news because frankly if I was basing 2015 on the calendar year so far I would be writing the year off based on how it is going so far.  Every day there has been some form of poke or agitation &  type 1 has been having a meltdown.  Releasing or resisting the tendency to write the year off is a decision that I stand behind thankfully.  Last January I remember things did not start off smoothly either however I hung on to the belief that it was going to be one of the best years yet.  It was not & it was at the same time.  It was not good at all health wise from a physical perspective yet emotionally & spiritually it was a beautiful year in 2014.  I made many beautiful new friendships last year & I felt deeply grateful for long time friendships too.  I got to grow into myself more again last year & my level of comfort with being real carries with it a peace that I want for everyone.  The peace was there all along I realize yet for me it seems that I needed to go through & get to a place & time in my life where I could accept this gentle gift of chosen peace even within a messy, beautiful, chaotic life. 

For most of my life I have lived close enough to walk to a lake.  It has always been a comfort to stand at the shorelines & watch the waves roll in towards me like a majestic hug.  The water within the waves mixes together & each time the waves return, they are renewed.  It is soothing to watch & to listen to & it is mesmerizing.  It is calming & grounding & I kind of feel like I am part of the water contained within a wave in that I am just one part of our human family.  The neat thing though is that I feel neither small nor large within this wave of human family.  I just know that if I do my part without fighting what I at times may perceive to be undercurrents it will all make sense.  You know I love quotes.  There is one about drops in the ocean or a large body of water that reminds us that we each are like drops of water but that every drop matters & without each drop combined there would be no ocean.  The next time any of us are tempted to shrug our shoulders & say in one form or another that what we do or have done makes no difference, let’s all be reminded of the ocean.  What each of us do or do not do makes a difference.  What we send out into the world makes a difference.  In an instant gratification culture we may be standing too close to the masterpiece to be able to see the beauty yet it is big time there. 

Although I have not & will not set this formally as a New Year’s resolution, one constant message keeps coming at me in one form or another this year.  Perhaps this message has always been tapping me on the shoulder & yet lately I have finally opened up my eyes fully to see it.  The message telling me to fully discard comparison & get in front of it every chance I get or make.  Does comparison encourage less than or more than thinking?  We each answer that question for ourselves.  Does it create a bond or does it divide?  My steadfast belief is that comparison leads to division.  There is already way too much division in the world so why would we want more of that?  Please do not get me wrong as I am not talking about healthy competition.  I love to be challenged to be a better version of myself and frankly need to be taken to task if I am not doing or being my best self in one way or another.  And realistically if I were obviously going to enter into a competition with someone who regularly participates in marathons, I know what the chances are in the other person finishing the race with a better score than myself.  That is okay & understandable.  I know that I have not & do not train for running so I would not expect to win a race over someone who has & does train.  Humbly, one of my missions in life is to embrace each day in becoming a spiritual athlete.  In doing this I find that certain things during the day seem to flash like a neon sign.  The neon sign so far in 2015 that keeps flashing over & over again for me to see is “get in front of comparisons leading to divisions within our human family.” 

Health is an easy example of comparison leading to division or feelings of isolation.  The number of times during the last 7 years that I have had people say, “Oh you have type 1 diabetes…oh well, at least it is not cancer.” “What?” That is the word that  goes through my mind.  And it is a good job that there is not a bubble captain over my head because a number of responses would have exclamation marks behind them.  To put it politely though, the thing that I have found it that the people who do not tend to make callous comparison statements about health are people who have faced cancer themselves or have or have had someone profoundly close to them face cancer.  What I have found instead is people with the most incredibly compassionate hearts that go ahead & bless others even though they are going through a battle of hell.    About a month ago I had a person who does not know me very well at all say cavalierly that they heard that I have psoriasis.  Quickly they added, “oh well it could be worse; you could have either cancer or diabetes.”  Again, it is very good that a bubble captain of my thoughts did not appear above my head.  Suffice to say that I am going to choose to forgive this person in absentia for just not knowing any better because even when I questioned the thinking they did not see anything wrong with what they said.  I try to keep up on topics relating to many things including updates in the health areas that I have challenges within.  It is consistently surprising to me just how combative & divisive a number of articles are about things in the gluten free world.   I get it that it is challenging to give up certain foods & that it takes a great amount of effort especially when we go out into the world to try to eat while avoiding gluten or any other foods.   Things got combative once again  this morning when the author of yet another article began to say that people with food sensitivities or intolerances had it better or worse than people living with celiac disease.  Here we go again I thought to myself…comparison leading down the slippery slope to division.  We see the world as we are naturally although we can choose to try to understand someone else’s view or put ourselves in someone else’s shoes.  That is a choice.  Thank goodness for choices.  When it comes to giving anything up in life what I have found works for me is to replace one thing with another.  That is just what works for me.  I don’t like feeling like I am punishing myself for something that I did nothing to cause like type 1 diabetes, psoriasis and celiac disease.  Okay, so once I found out about each of these chronic diseases I realized that food would be a factor & some foods for example would be best either limited, consumed at certain times or replaced.  I am going to do everything in my power each day to feel as well as I possibly can.  Giving up wheat was not nearly as difficult as I thought it would be for example.  I have found some yummy recipes that replace previous ones.  Is it complicated?  Yes, it is.  Is it worth moaning & groaning over daily?  To me, I choose not to go down that road or participate in a pity party for one.  My mindset is to just get on with it then.  These are the cards I have been dealt health wise & I don’t have to love them but I do need to find a way every day to live the most meaningful, loving life that I can.  And it is up to me to be genuinely grateful every single day.  When blood sugars are high, then it is a bigger stretch to go to the place of gratitude.  I would not fool myself into telling myself on days like that that I am grateful for my health but I can always go down the path of being authentically grateful for my family, friends, a warm roof over my head, healthy foods to eat, gorgeous wooded areas to walk within, pathways of beauty leading to the Lake nearby, peaceful music & an endless list of other things.

We can look at a shoreline & see grains of sand or quick sand. That reminds me of life too.  The grains of sand put together form community & community can easily equal support & encouragement.  Quick sand on the other hand represents to me that sinking feeling of caving in.  I choose not to cave in on myself when I face days of struggle.  Instead I see myself as a grain of sand within chosen communities that I have found encouragement & love within.  I can reach out on difficult days like a grain of sand & gather together in beauty in strength or I can cave in on myself in feeling sorry for myself in isolation & succumb to the quick sand.  It is all a choice.  It is not easy either way however one way leads to community & the other to division. 

In the spirit of community, how about this coming week you & I make some time to literally list out the people & things that we are thankful for.  That is what I plan to write about next Monday.  Thinking about & writing down my list of gratitudes I know keeps me far away from the quicksand.  And that is what I want for you too…to join me in being part of the grains of gentle sand instead that build community.  Together we are strong.


Saundie  :)

May you always know that you matter...it takes every drop to make an ocean & it takes every single person's talents to have a world filled with beauty & meaning.  What you think & do matter.  And it is okay to reach out for help.  That is what we are meant to do...that is love.  Next Monday's writing is called, "A Way."