Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Secret of Life, Life is Good

"The secret of life, a growing number of researchers are telling us, isn't in the symbols of success, but in participation in experiences that stir you. That's where you have the best chance to increase your happiness."
~ Joe Robinson from his book, Don't Miss Your Life: Find More Joy & Fulfillment Now

Right on, Joe! I've managed to learn that much from life and that is precisely what is the guiding force behind this 1 year journey I have undertaken. To find what stirs me, jump in and see where it leads.

"Our culture is inundated with negative messages. It's fun to celebrate what's right with the world rather than what's wrong with it. More than that, it's healthy and it's really powerful."
~ Bert Jacobs, Co-owner with brother John Jacobs and Chief Executive Optimist of Life is good

I'm a huge fan of the Life is good casual clothing line. I'm also a fan of Bert & John for coming up with an idea so simple and so profound that it moves people with a positive force when they see it or wear it.

In 1994, after 5 years struggling to make a go of their fledgling self-designed t-shirt business and sleeping in their van, they were on the brink of throwing in the towel once and for all.

They would try one last time. With enough funds to print only 48 t-shirts, the brothers took a gamble with a new design: a simple smiling face with the words, "Life is good".

They took their new design to a street fair in Cambridge, Mass. where they sold out in 45 min.

Bert & John Jacobs' message struck a chord with people of all ages. That the simple things in life are what make life good and it's all around us.

Today they run a $100 million company available globally. They also have a charitable organization called Life is good Kids Foundation and hold Life is good Festivals annually.

Once the Jacobs brothers followed what was in their hearts, their true path became illuminated. 

Laughter Yoga 30 min.
Meditation 20 min.
No more antibiotic

Monday, March 21, 2011

Chicken Soup Movies

When you're sick with the flu and you ache all over, there's nothing better than snuggling up in bed, watching a warm and fuzzy movie that feels like chicken soup for your whole self.

They are those movies that you can watch over and over just because they make you feel so content and safe. You know where the story will take you. You know the ending will be happy, but you always watch with anticipation as if it were the first time and revel in the satisfaction that the story's outcome will inevitably bring.

Fortunately for me, while I convalesced, one of those movies has been airing on Starz every few hours for the last 2 days. I watched "About a Boy" starring Hugh Grant 3 times in the past 2 days and loved every minute. It's a funny, engaging and thoughtful little movie about relationships. Sure I've seen the movie many times before, but while I watched Hugh find his soul, my own found comfort and for awhile I forgot about my aching body.

The story begins with Hugh's character, Will, enlightening us through narrative as we observe his daily routine, that a man CAN be an island and that's just the way he likes his life to be. He has successfully disconnected himself from any deep or meaningful relationship. Living as an island he never has to deal with any complications or painful growth transitions. His relationships are superficial and quickly disposed of before they can become too intimate.

That is, until the boy, Marcus, played by Nicholas Hoult, forces his way into Will's life. Marcus has a loving old soul and is struggling with his own isolation as the odd ball kid at school with a mother slightly unhinged. Both characters are islands whether they want to be or not.

Initially the pair use each other to fulfill their own individual needs. Will pretends to have a son to pick-up women and Marcus to avoid going home to his mother's chronic depression.

Eventually both learn that though relationships can sometimes be complicated and painful, they bring more joy and fulfillment.

In the end, Will still stands by his belief that a man can be an island, but he adds that we are a group of tiny islands which underneath are all connected.

About a Boy movie trailer

It also helps when the movie has the perfect soundtrack to accompany the emotions the story wishes to convey about its characters and invoke in the audience. The film, "About a Boy", is masterfully balanced with music throughout by, Badly Drawn Boy.

I adore the theme song for the film which is heard instrumentally during the film, then finally the full vocal version at the end.This is the music video, "Something to Talk About",  with some clips from the movie.

Something to Talk About by Badly Drawn Boy

Laughter Yoga 30 min. 
Meditation 20 min.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Allergies Blossom into Flu

What seemed to be a brutal induction to spring has officially shown its true self to be the dreaded flu.

I managed to get Samantha to the airport for her flight back to school early this morning. Arriving back home I made myself some chamomile tea with honey to try and soothe my now inflamed throat and chest. My body would begin to ache as the day progressed. Once the coughing began, I reached for the Extra Strength Mucinex D and Halls Couch Drops. A severe headache would soon join the party.

I haven't done anything else all day, so this entry is a short one. Though I laid around watching t.v., I mustered the energy to do my laughter yoga and meditation. My voice was quite hoarse after all the laughing even though my session was much more subdued than usual. It did make me feel better mentally. The meditation helped a lot with the headache.

Laughter Yoga 30 min.
Meditation 20 min.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Kayaking to Help Save Our Lakes

My Daughter, Samantha, kayaking Lake Travis in Austin, TX.

Last Christmas I met some new neighbors. A lovely 50 something married couple whose names I've forgotten. We were introduced at the McBride's annual neighborhood Christmas party. The couple told me that they are avid kayakers. I was intrigued because it was something I hadn't tried even though I've always been a water baby and have at least attempted most water sports. They invited me to come try it out for free and do some volunteer environment clean-up at the same time. They explained that the group that rents kayaks at area lakes meets once a month at a lake and collects trash from the lake while paddling around in a kayak. Only half the time is spent collecting trash. The other half is for having fun. All volunteers have a free rental. I wondered about getting in and out of the craft with my balance issues. They said that they are equipped to handle people with disabilities. "Awesome," I said. "How do I sign-up?"

The neighbors suggested I wait until warmer weather, then simply go to the website and the information will be there. So, that is just what I did today. I called the telephone number on the website and spoke with one of the organizers. A really nice guy name, Mike Swope. Mike told me the next kayak clean-up will be at White Rock Lake in Dallas on Sat., April 9 at 9:00 a.m. They will clean for 1 hour, then play for another hour. They supply everything. All I have to do is email them in advance that I am coming and they'll have a kayak with all the equipment ready for me. I'll receive a short 411 on how to kayak and then off I go.

I'm so excited! This will give me the opportunity to try a new experience, make some new friends AND do something good for the environment.

They also have regular excursions in various lakes around Dallas-Fort Worth and they give lessons for folks who really want to get into kayaking and go on more advanced adventures.

Click here to link to the website for more information:   KAYAK POWER

I also spent some time on the back patio getting some vitamin D while reading my Experience Life magazine. The best magazine by far on healthy living. If you're a member of Lifetime Fitness as I am, the magazine is mailed to you for free. Otherwise it is available on some news stands like Barnes & Noble. 

Spending time basking in the warm sun
called for a special cooling snack
so I made a  yummy
papaya, pineapple, banana and coconut milk smoothie. 

Update on Allergies: 

Miserable. Benadryl was a mistake.
Tired & sleepy all day and sinuses burned
from being too dry. Thirsty all day.

Laughter Yoga 30 min.
Meditation 20 min.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Laughter Yoga & Meditation Reduced Allergy Attack

I never even saw the truck, but evidently I was hit by one head-on while I was sleeping, because when I woke-up this morning my whole face ached. Allergies are far worse today. I'm still taking Airborne and Zicam and they greatly reduce the symptoms for a few hours. Eventually, all the symptoms return. By 9:30 p.m. I was ready to surrender and take Benadryl. Before I would do that, I still needed to do laughter yoga and meditate. I had put it off all day hoping the sinus pressure would go away. It was actually getting worse so I decided to do my exercises, then I would take the antihistamine.

During the laughter yoga exercises I felt no pain. This is pretty remarkable not only because of the sinus headache, but I also had a raging sore throat all day.

Meditation proved to be extremely beneficial too. A couple of the breathing meditations I do are known to be very good for sinus problems, so I spent longer on those than usual. When I was done, my sinuses had cleared, my throat wasn't sore and my eyes were no longer watery. The head pain was minimal.

An hour and a half has passed since I laughed and meditated. Sinuses are mostly clear and pain in my throat and head are still at a minimum. I don't need Benadryl at this time, but I plan to take a dose before bed.

There have been many clinical studies on the physiological and psychological effects of laughter. Dr. Lee Burk of Loma Linda University in particular has conducted numerous experiments with amazing outcomes.

This is an excellent video produced by The Discovery Channel about Laughter Yoga with an appearance by Dr. Lee Burk discussing the benefits of laughter.

Laughter Yoga 30 min.
Meditation 30 min.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Zapped by Those Pesty Pollen Invaders

Airborne & Zicam

Knocked down a peg by allergies today. Actually kicked in last night after sneezing a lot during the afternoon. Sore throat, runny, stuffy nose. I immediately took Airborne and Zicam. They are terrific. Both are loaded with antioxidants and minerals to fight off colds and germs. Even though mine is due to pollen allergy, the boost of infection fighting vitamins and minerals provides my immune system with the support it needs to fight those invaders off. At least that's how I see it, because as long as I take those supplements as soon as the first symptoms appear, I always improve immediately. It lessons the severity of the symptoms and the duration of the attack.

I woke up with a very sore throat this morning and took the Airborne and Zicam again. Felt  fine the rest of the day except for a slight burn in my throat. No anti-histamines were taken.

None of this would be of importance except for the fact that whenever I have allergies it affects my MS.

The energy and enthusiasm that I've been experiencing the last few days was definitely reduced. However, not severely. I just didn't have that dance in my step (figuratively). My legs felt heavier than they had been feeling for the last 2 days and would begin to ache a little after standing or walking for a short time. Also, my hands experienced some numbness. Although the terrible tightness due to spasticity in my calves and hamstrings that had been gone since Tuesday did not return, so that's good.

I had been feeling so fabulous since Tuesday night that it was discouraging to lose some of the headway that had been made. Since the vitamins are keeping the allergy symptoms down to a minimum, I expect to be much improved by tomorrow.

Once the allergy symptoms are gone, will my legs feel wonderful again? If not, then maybe the improvement wasn't the resveratrol, krill oil or the antibiotic as I am still taking those and will continue. Maybe it was the AMWand. We'll soon find out.

Laughter Yoga 30 min.
Meditation 20 min.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Is it the Wand, Resveratrol, Krill Oil or Nitrofur?

I am so excited! My legs are feeling so much better than usual ever since being wanded last night. I mean it's incredible! The spasticity is minimal and my legs feel so much lighter than usual. I could tell as soon as I got out of bed and it has lasted all day. Walking is easier and a lot more comfortable. 

The wand was not the only new product introduced to my body yesterday. I took my first dose of 300 mg. of Resveratrol and 300 mg. of Krill Oil, just a few hours before going to the AMWand presentation. In addition I had begun a 7 day round of 100 mg. of the antibiotic, Nitrofur Mono, the night before for a bladder infection. I have continued to take 2 doses of all 3 today, but no wand.

Resveratrol Plus and MegaRed Krill Oil 300 mg. ea.
I suspect it is the Resveratrol that has had such an incredible effect on my nerves and muscles since it is known to increase strength and endurance. 

However, this transformation came about right after I had my body scanned with 2 wands. Is it a coincidence and possibly 1 of the other supplements or antibiotic happened to kick-in right at the same time as the wanding and that's what is making my legs feel the best they've felt in years? I'm still skeptical of the wand, but I need to know for sure, so I've asked Donna to wand me again and she agreed. I may be out $348.00 afterall.

Although my legs felt fantastic all day, no tightness in the calves or hamstrings at all, they became heavy after dinner. I drank 1 glass of white wine with my dinner and I believe that was the cause. I've noticed before that my legs sometimes seem to get heavier than normal after drinking wine. 

Whichever source is responsible for my legs feeling so relaxed and light, I don't care as long as it keeps working. It just felt so wonderful today to not have painful Frankenstein legs.  

Still cruising through each day on a laughter high. 

Laughter Yoga 30 min.
Meditation 20 min.