Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
For a Friend:
I wanted to take a moment and share this with you all. I had the extreme pleasure of rafting down the Grand Canyon for three weeks with this amazing woman and her guitar. She has an incredible story to tell. She had the unfortunate luck of developing a severe intestinal infection after taking a course of antibiotics for a simple urinary tract infection. She had to have multiple surgeries and most of her colon removed when it was all said and done. I think about her and my oath to "first do no harm," every time I prescribe antibiotics. But besides all that, she is a fabulous musician and writer who is trying to do what she loves in the world. I hope you take a moment to listen to her story and a song if nothing else. Remember her name because she is going to be famous someday! Check it out: http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/meganburtt
Other Important News:
Please take the time to read and sign this petition which would allow Licensed naturopathic physician to be primary care physicians in the Federal Healthcare Law. Hopefully we can get enough signatures to at least begin a conversation and increase federal recognition, thus increase access to insurance reimbursement...
Maybe it is the changing weather, the cool, short days turning minds inward and encouraging introspection. Maybe it is a theme I need to revisit for myself, but I wanted to talk a little about this topic. What does it mean?
“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way;
On purpose, in the present moment, and
nonjudgmentally.” – John Kabat-Zinn
John Kabat-Zinn is a well-known teacher of mindfulness meditation and the founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. Mindfulness means paying attention “on purpose,” consciously directing our awareness to our in-the-moment experiences. For example, eating; when we pay attention to our eating patterns, consciously aware of the process, we might notice the sensations and textures in our mouths. We might taste every minute flavor and chew more thoroughly, thereby enhancing digestion and absorption of nutrients. By slowing down our experience with food, we might appreciate more the act of eating. By this approach, we might observe the mind wandering, and purposefully bring it back to the task at hand.
Instead of this lovely picture, usually what happens is we are thinking about this or that, driving to work, watching television, talking with friends and family, or reading. So when it comes down to it, a very small part of our whole awareness is devoted to the act of eating. And, we may be only barely aware of the physical sensations, not to mention our associated thoughts and emotions. Becoming and remaining aware of our actions and thoughts in present time allows our consciousness to recognize and change patterns that may not be serving us well.
Are you a multi-tasker? I certainly am! Is it good for our health? Probably not... A study from Stanford University showed that those who multi-task have poorer attention and memory than those who complete one task at a time. Our brains were not meant to focus on many different things all at once. If we do this too often, we find that we become forgetful, confused, and mostly fatigued. While technology is great, use your email, cell phones, and T.V.s within reason and one at a time! You will be more successful in your task if you do.
What do you Want Your Life To Be Like?
What a big question! But, how can you get somewhere if you don't know where you are going? Bonnie Ware, hospice RN, recently wrote about lessions she learned from her dying patients. These following insights were taken from her website Inspiration and Chi.
1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.
It is very important to try and honor as many of your dreams as possible along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it might be too late. Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it.
2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.
By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.
We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.
It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip, but it all comes down to love and relationships in the end.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.
When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.
Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.
Dr. Angela Robens
Angela Robens ND, RN