Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, Emotional Health, living with chronic illness, overcoming adversity

Enjoy Your Own Company

We’re social creatures. We spend most of our days interacting with people in our family, our work situations, and our civic/social arenas. We’re connected by phone and email so we’re never out of reach from anyone. What has become a social world, interacting as part of our human process, has become a noisy world. We’re trying to find more and more ways of being together and sometimes I wonder if it’s because we’re afraid of being alone.

I do make a distinction between alone and lonely. Being alone is a choice we make to cut off from others for some quiet time. Lonely is a social deprivation that for many can lead to many physical, emotional, and spiritual problems. When we’re alone we give ourselves the opportunity to hear our thoughts without interruption. It gives us time to think about what we really want and need so we can set our priorities.

The other aspect of being alone is when we do things singularly. How many times have you decided not to go to the movie, the theater, a party, or a host of other social outlets because there was no one to accompany you? Going alone means enjoying your own company. It allows you to say to yourself, “I’m enough”, in order to achieve that you have to enjoy your own company. You need to make peace with you in all its glory.

Be your own date! When you connect to enjoying your own company you can delve into interests that are uniquely yours, avoiding a go with the flow mentality. You can express yourself through speech, dress, or even affiliations.

Enjoying your own company is about giving the world the you it deserves. It’s allowing your voice to shine through adding to the symphony we all life. We need your voice, your beliefs, and your presence. We need you to share what you know, what you need to learn, and what you can teach. On the flip side, you need to feel confident in who you’ve become. You need to “accentuate the positive”. The world is hoping and expecting you to show up in all your glory.

Facing the diagnosis of a chronic or life-threatening illness?  Don’t do it alone?  Visit http://www.survivingstrong.com

Learn how to Enjoy your own company through art.  Visit http://www.timetolivecreatively.com

Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, Empowerment, Life Motivation, living with chronic illness, Living with Illness, overcoming adversity

What Star Trek and the Wild Wild West Have in Common

“Space…The final frontier”, those immortal words at the start of each episode of Star Trek. The show had some very progressive themes given the decade it was aired. Looking back and reflecting one of the most memorable episodes, aside from the Tribbles, was “The Empath”. Perhaps that episode sticks with me given the profession I chose, but it truly set the stage for many conversations in years to come.

Star Trek was set in the future, but what about the past? When we (in the United States) landed on the shores of America, there was plenty of land to explore. The frontiersman would go west exploring and hoping to create a life with plenty of opportunity. Like space, those traveling west didn’t believe in boundaries. The only thing in the foreground of the experience was possibility.

Most of us don’t know our own frontiers. We fall into lives of routine and safety. It isn’t until we’re faced with a challenge like the diagnosis of a chronic or life-threatening illness that we look to see what’s beyond our self-imposed boundaries. I think about the group of women with breast cancer or breast cancer survivors who climb mountains, awaiting the magic of reaching the summit. I’m not suggesting that you climb a mountain, but what frontiers have you yet to explore?

Perhaps there’s something you’d like to study that requires you go back to school, a new frontier. What if you feel like you have a book within you but you haven’t put the first word down on paper, a new frontier. The amazing thing about our frontiers is that they are infinite.

I worked in Buffalo, NY for six months and was amazed at how many of the folks I encountered were born and raised in Buffalo. I was having a conversation with a woman who had returned from visiting her oldest son who was stationed in Clarksville, Tennessee. She shared that she had another son, a high school senior, and she made him a deal regarding college. She told him he could apply to any college he wanted but it couldn’t be in Buffalo (there are plenty of colleges in Buffalo). Her reasoning was that she wanted her son to know that there was a world out there beyond Buffalo’s city limits. If after school he wanted to return to Buffalo to work and raise a family that was fine. She was determined to push his boundaries and invoke the frontier mentality!

Facing adversity, such as the diagnosis of an illness, shouldn’t just be about survival. It should be about body, mind, and spirit expansion. It’s the opportunity to live on the edge (not between life and death, although for some that might be the case) literally and figuratively. Our only boundaries are the ones we set usually out of fear (read the post “Fear In All Its Glory”). Don’t let fear get in the way of what’s possible! Explore your frontiers!

Diagnosed with a chronic or life-threatening illness?  Looking for education, support, and inspiration?  Visit http://www.survivingstrong.com

Interested in how Art aids in physical, emotional, and spiritual healing?  Visit http://www.timetolivecreatively.com

Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, living with chronic illness, overcoming adversity, Spirituality and Health

Do You Shy Away From the Hard Questions?

When we’re facing a chronic or life-threatening illness there are lots of questions. We want to know how, why, and what’s next. We ask about treatment options, prognosis, side effects from medications, and possibly alternative therapies. The questions we ask are very concrete. These questions address what we think are the tangible aspects of disease and healing.

I’ve been pondering these “tangible” questions and I’m starting to think they are the easy questions. Why you may ask. Well, the truth is they are the predictable questions. They are the questions that everyone asks and is expected to ask. We’ve been conditioned as patients to ask these predictable questions. There not bad questions, actually they are crucial questions; but once they are answered what questions are left to ask.

The truth is, “The quality of the answers is dependent on the quality of the questions.” So what are those questions? They are the soul driven questions. They are the questions that ask what are you going to do with this journey? Are you ready, willing, and able to go on this spiritually driven healing pilgrimage? We could go so far as to ask, “What’s the meaning of life?” (Without the cliché aspect).

If you read my recent post at www.timetolivecreatively.com, you’ll explore the idea of releasing your phenomenal nature, and that’s a big question. This type of question gets us to begin explore the depths of our past and present experiences. It drives us to focus on potential, a forward thinking catalyst. It’s that forward thinking catalyst that can lead to hope, or encourage the development of our faith.

We can debate forever the “why me” or “why not me” continuum. However, that can slide you into a life of an infinite loop, and that’s exhausting. The “why” question, in most cases, can never be answered definitively. On the other hand, the questions that focus on our internal connection to possibility can allow us to develop those quality questions with the knowing we’ll be ready with those quality answers.

For more information on health and healing from chronic and life-threatening illness go to, http://www.survivingstrong.com