Time flies when you’re having fun! I must be having a lot of fun, because time sure has flown by this year. I can’t believe we’re almost into July already!
As one month has run into another, I’ve let half the year get away without participating in the link-up at A Chronic Voice, hosted by the lovely Sheryl. This link-up is, in her words, “a monthly get together for anyone with chronic illnesses. An opportunity to share, to listen, and to learn from one another.”
This is a great opportunity to meet other chronic illness bloggers. I hope you’ll consider joining us. I know it’s late for this month (sorry, you guys know I’m the ultimate procrastinator), but Sheryl hosts it each month. Every month she gives us five prompts and asks that we use at least three of them.
The prompts for this month are:
Many of us see repetition as boring, and it certainly can be, but I see it as a tool. It’s a tool that’s been helping me immensely over this last month or so. As I talked about in Just Do One Thing, making progress on big projects sometimes requires choosing just one thing to work on and repeating that process until the project is done.
That repetition has served me well over this last month; I’ve been breaking my days down into lots of little “one things.” As I’m working on a couple of different continuing education classes, getting my office into shape, and trying to keep up with the housework, this keeps the big picture of everything I need to do from becoming overwhelming.
With fibromyalgia, fatigue and pain are constant companions, so being able to look at everything I have to do in the context of a bunch of small things instead of a few huge ones makes all the difference. I just stay focused on whichever ‘one thing’ I’m working on at the time. Once I’m done with that one, I repeat the process with the next item. By the end of the day, I’ve completed most of my to-do list without even realizing it.
The motivation for all my ‘projects’ lately is the desire to get back to my coaching ‘roots’ but I’m wondering if I’m too old to start a new chapter. Of course, as long as we’re on this earth, it’s never too late and we’re never too old. Grandma Moses, an American folk artist, didn’t even start painting until she was 78. Her paintings became so popular that she gained international fame, and she exhibited her work until she was in her 90s.
Of course, I know all that in my head, but getting it into my heart is a little harder.
Turning over a new leaf (or in my case, digging up old roots and replanting them) can be scary, especially when we live with a chronic illness that comes with excruciating pain and severely limits our energy. All of those little ‘what if’s’ start to pop into our head and try to sabotage us.
One of the most important (and freeing) things we can learn is that, as Jon Kabat-Zinn says, we don’t have to take our thoughts personally. Knowing this helps us prevent untrue or unhelpful thoughts from turning into beliefs without being tested first. We learn to test each thought and realize we don’t have to believe everything they tell us.
Imagine if the bumblebee believed what we know to be true about it: that with its large body and small wings, there’s no way it should be able to fly. Rather than being the prolific pollinator it is, it could be doomed to living its life crawling around on the ground.
Getting out of our own way is the best thing we can do sometimes. When we stop allowing our negative thoughts, doubts about ourselves or the limiting factors we live with to color how we think and feel, we may find a whole new path laid out before us.
Our chronic illnesses may limit us in some respects, and they definitely inform our choices and actions, but they don’t have to keep us from living a full and purposeful life. While our lives may not look the same as what we pictured, they may have opened up new doors of opportunity we didn’t expect.
Let’s walk through those doors and see what else life has in store!
Many thanks to Sheryl for hosting this link-up. I hope some of you will join us next month. Even if you don’t join in, please pop by her blog and say hi.
Did any of these prompts strike a chord with you? Please share!