Tag Archives: Life

Celebrating the little things

Diabetes challenges us in varying ways. In how we deal with such challenges we differ.

Although celebrating the little victories helps many, doing so is not universally beneficial.

I have tried celebrating my little victories, and have had mixed results. As a result, I motivate myself in other ways.

Do what works for you
Respect what works for others

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What is this blog?

This blog centers on an individuals life.

It is an artists’ gallery, with a multitude of paintings adorning
its walls. In interpreting them you are active.

This individual is wandering in a forest, between two extremes. In this we are united.

With words the artist makes strokes upon the canvass:
a creature of his creativity is created.

Throughout his wanderings, experiences are had – in infinite variety.

What results is placed upon the wall for all to see.
Come in and observe them!

In trying to re-present this variety he repeatedly falls short. Words fail to support him.

“What will they think?” the artist wonders.
In interpretation they are free.

Outline: What will be my message?

The following is a rough outline of the message I intend to send. It is only a starting point. My message is apt to change. Some of this will be discarded. Other parts will be explicated.

My message has congealed. My message is congealing.

Gritty realism and hope. Positives and negatives. Individuality and community. Freedom and fate. Ignore none of these.

Acknowledge the shit life happens to throw at you; however, do not let it weigh you down.

Aim for self-development, aim for growth. Connect goals with this ideal.

The connection between diabetes and life as a whole. What does diabetes have to teach us about life?

Mindfulness, diabetes, and life. Mindfulness of ones BG patterns, the impact of various foods and activities = essential part of diabetes management. Emphasize its value in life as a whole.

Focus on focus. Emphasize it.

Acknowledge limitations. Focus on freedom.

Acknowledge X, focus on Y.

Focus on the power we already posses. Focusing just on empowerment = one sided.

Focus on what you can control. Avoid focusing on things that depend on other factors.

Focus on behavior.

Focus on habits.

Focus on perspective.

Obsessing over circumstance is not the most beneficial option.

Above all else, make it about eudaimonia.

Sometimes diabetes is TOO easy

Stasis is the antithesis of life. Like a river in springtime, life flows constantly.

This philosophy – this process metaphysics – has been my personal philosophy for the past 5 years. It’s a worldview that I was first exposed to through two great traditions of the East: Taoism and Buddhism.  Although I’m neither a Taoist nor a Buddhist, they’ve certainly influenced my own philosophy.

Initially, this change-centric conception of the world merely intrigued me. The novelty of it seduced me. In time, I began to reflect  upon my life and knowledge of history. I discovered that, in the main, change is the law of life – both of people and of nations.

Life is the Great Teacher. Over the past 5 years, I’ve learned countless lessons. My awareness has expanded. The implications of change is now clearer to me.

What was once a philosophy learned mostly from books ( such as the Tao Te Ching) has become deeply personal. Life is the ground out of which our philosophies grow and receive their nourishment.

My recent experiences with type 1 diabetes has nourished my understanding.

What I have come to the realization of can be sumarized thusly: With new circumstances come new challenges.

Let me show you what I mean.

Back in December – prior to starting this diabetes blog – I was burnt out. On a brisk December night – in the first week of the month – I experienced a stubborn high. Everything I did was for naught.

I drank water like a fish. I did a correction with a syringe. I did everything that I’ve been taught to do over at the Joslin Center. My actions helped, but only a little. My blood glucose levels remained above 350 for 12 hours.

Did I mention that I was panicked?

This event made me realize that I was experiencing diabetes burnout, and I realized that I’d have to climb out of the deep, dark hole that I’d stumbled into. I procrastinated.

Just to be clear, at this point I did desire to liberate myself from my situation. The psychological barriers to me doing so were still too high. It would take another unpleasant event to spur me into taking serious action to rectify my situation.

It took another stubborn high to motivate me to take decisive action. I knew that I had to rise above the frustration and fear that I was experiencing. I coped with it (mainly) through writing. This d-blog played an essential part in that process of recovery.

Back then, managing my type 1 diabetes adequately was too difficult. Therein lied my problem. It’s the reverse today. Now that managing diabetes is no longer a psychological burden, T1D has become too easy to manage.

The ease with which I’m managing my diabetes isn’t bad, per se. The problem lies in how it impacts my attitude and actions.

There’s a very real possibility that, given my psychological makeup, I’ll become lax, and allow unskillful diabetes to creep back in.

I have reached the publishing deadline that I have set for myself. This post will come to an abrupt con…….

Purpose of Life – Søren Kierkegaard quote

What I really lack is to be clear in my mind what I am to do, not what I am to know, except in so far as a certain knowledge must precede every action. The thing is to understand myself… the thing is to find a truth which is true for me, to find the idea for which I can live and die. … I certainly do not deny that I still recognize an imperative of knowledge and that through it one can work upon men, but it must be taken up into my life, and that is what I now recognize as the most important thing.

– Soren Kierkegaard, Danish theologian, Christian Existentialist

Not all things are created equal

Got meters?
Got meters?

A month ago I was testing 2-3 time a day. On most days, my numbers remained above 200 all day, and I’d often see at least 1 number over 300. Numbers in the 400s – which had formerly been rare – happened almost every week.

Fast forward to this month. I’ve been testing 6-10 times a day. On most days, my numbers remain above 200 for most of the days, but I’m starting to see due some decent numbers. Numbers in the 400s – which been all too common a month ago – are now non-existent. Improvements have been made.

Being a pessimist, I’m adept at seeing the negative aspects of any situation. In my present situation, I could easily choose to focus on the fact that my blood sugars still remain, on average, higher than what I’d like to see.

Although I could choose to see my present situation through tinted glasses, I have decided not to. To interpret my situation in a negative manner would do me no good.

It’s essential that I keep things in perspective. Although my blood glucose readings are important, they’re not what’s most important to me. Of far greater significance to me is  the fact that I’m testing my blood sugar frequently.

My current blood glucose readings are irrelevant to me, so long as I’m in the habit of frequently testing my blood sugar. Although, by itself, it won’t have a major impact on the extent to which I have my diabetes under control, it will form a firm foundation for me as I continue to recover from diabetes burnout.

Discernment is essential.

Thou shalt pace thyself

As I continue reestablishing skillful diabetes management habits, I need to pace myself.

I’d experienced diabetes burnout from September until the middle of December, during which I formed numerous unskillful habits. For instance, I was only testing twice a day, I didn’t change my pump site as often as I should, etc. Given the plethora of bad habits I had formed, I’m basically starting from square one.

Given the magnitude of the task at hand, it’s essential that I focus on one or two habits at a time; otherwise, I risk overwhelming myself. I risk burning myself out all over again.

Although the road to adequate diabetes management is long, I’m certain that, so long as I pace myself, I’ll reach my destination.

The wisdom of properly pacing oneself extends to other areas of life as well. I’m currently trying to pace myself in these other areas as well. This blog is one example of where I can implement it.

Therefore, I’m going to lower my posting frequency. For the rest of January I plan on posting twice a week – on Monday and on either Thursday or Friday.

A very windy (winding) road indeed – Why you shouldn’t write titles when low

“A 2007 study by Richard Wiseman from the University of Bristol involving 3,000 people showed that 88% of those who set New Year resolutions fail…” – Wikipedia

Happy New Years Eve!

When I woke up this morning, I had no clue what I was going to write. Looking for inspiration, I took to the internets and searched “new years resolutions” on the Google. (Excuse my excessive use of Bushisms)

The first website I clicked on was Wikipedia (an awkward place to try to find inspiration), and I found the quote that’s at the beginning of this post. This quote served as the first impetus for this post.

Originally, I planned on titling this “will you be among the 12%?” and I was going to touch upon some of the reasons we fail to achieve our goals, and explore some ways in which we might prevent that from happening. (very original)

Now, back to the google search I mentioned earlier.

With a vague idea of what I wanted to write about, I searched “goal setting” in order to find more inspiration. I found what I was looking for…

image

After reading “Why goal setting doesn’t work” by Ray Williams on Psychology Today, I began to question my assumptions about why we fail to fullfill our goals.

My topic had changed, and I began critically analyzing some of my assumptions.

While I was in the middle of writing on my new topic for today, a phrase came to mind: “moving beyond New Years resolutions”. I liked this phrase, so I decided to change my topic once again. (gotta love ADHD)

The intro to this post ends here. 

Like most of my other intro’s on this blog, I began by choosing something random to write about – whatever comes to mind – and proceeded to write about it.

At this point, I could potentially proceed a number of way. I could:

  • turn this into a discussion on decision making in general
  • preach the importance of sticking to one plan of action
  • rant about my inability to stay focused today
  • be a-you-know-what and abruptly end theirs post here
  • etc.

Instead, I’ve decided to try to return to what I originally wanted to do with this post, and, somehow, tie it in with the topic of New Years resolutions.

My attitude is this: if you make it to where you had resolved to go in the beginning, then all of the diversions you take on your life’s path don’t really matter.

When we get blown off course, it’s okay. The real problem is when we decide to not try to get back on course.

Perhaps the reason why only 12% of people succeed at accomplishing their New Years resolution is because 88% of us tend to give up after being blown off course…

This post didn’t proceed as I had originally expected. I still, however, accomplished some of what I set out to do. In addition, I:

  • admitted to not always finding it easy to write, despite my talent;
  • offer a glimpse into my approach to writing these posts;
  • express some ideas that can be used for future posts.
  • didn’t let my ADHD not get in the way of my goals.

Giving an old tradition a new spin

The following post isn’t meant to be coherent. Rather, it’s meant to: A.) give a vague representation of how I see the present moment; B.) offer a unique perspective on how to come up with a New Years resolution; and, C.) practice appropriating common metaphors from elsewhere and use them to make a different point.

The present moment is a field, and we are the farmers. The seeds we plant now, the care with which we cultivate the field, and other factors – including one’s that we don’t control – will determine what our field will look like at harvest time. Regardless of what happens, this remains certain: harvest time will come.

How we act in the present matters.

We are continuously sowing seeds – whether we realize it or not. The care we take now will determine our yield at harvest.

Unfortunately, many of us are incompetent farmers. We go about accomplishing the task at hand mindlessly. We act unskillfully.

Our thoughts, our words, and our deeds are seeds. Some of the seeds are big, while others are small. Some fall on fertile ground, while others do not. Like seeds, each thought, word, or deed will either take root or die at some point in the future.

To survive and thrive with diabetes – both type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes – takes mindfulness. We must act as the guardian’s of our thought’s, word’s, and deeds. We must strive to make sure that they are conducive to our own well being as well as the well being of others.

As we formulate our New Years resolution, let’s us take a long, hard look at ourselves.

Here are some of the questions we can ask ourselves: What type of seeds have we sowed? Have they been beneficial, or are they doing us harm? What type of seeds are we sowing now? Have we sowed similar seeds in the past? If so, what was their fruit like? Was it bitter or sweet?

Start by looking at your thought’s. Observe the way that you habitually interpret your life, and ask yourself the questions mentioned above..

Take a break if you feel the need…

Proceed by observing the type of words you tend to use. How do they impact others? Do they help other people who’re struggling with diabetes (or any other problems)? Could you be doing more to support them?

Take a break if you feel the need…

Lastly, observe your deeds. Ask yourself the aforementioned questions.

Here’s one last piece of food for thought:

A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at. – Bruce Lee

As free as a bird

untitled Since posting “Holiday Confession Time” yesterday, I’ve felt liberated. The ghosts of my past no long hold sway over me. A weight has been lifted from my chest. I’m as free as a bird.

Lately, my past has been haunting me. I’ve been keenly aware that the years of terrible control could only have done harm to my body. Looking at how I inadequately I had dealt with my type 1 diabetes evoked fear in me. Thoughts of all the horrific tales of diabetes complications began creeping into my mind.

The fear that my past evoked in me was acting as a smokescreen. My fearful view of the past was something I had to move beyond. It wasn’t doing me any good.

I need to clarify something. I’m not saying that fear is bad per se, and needs to be suppressed. What I am saying is that there comes a point when fear becomes detrimental to our own good, and it’s at this point that we should find a way around it. The question then becomes how to find such a way around it.

Writing provided me with a way to begin to do just that.

Having aired my dirty diabetes laundry in my previous blog post, I’m now in a position where I can look at my past from a higher perspective.

My thoughts are now free to move in more fruitful directions. The past has been transformed from an object of fear into a resource for the future.

I’ve only taken the first step. A long road remains up ahead. This journey will continue – this journey shall never end.

This is Life – A Reflection on a High Blood Sugar

Question markYesterday I was 324. I know what you are probably thinking: “So? What’s the point?” Please, read on… fight the urge to give up, and the point will be clear to us eventually.

As you read the proceeding words, keep this in mind: I mention something that’s seemingly so insignificant for a reason. A very good reason…

Here’s a hint: it is here. That hint isn’t helpful, I know. It is too ambiguous. Ambiguity leaves us feeling… uncomfortable, and we often have the urge to flee. For those who say no to this urge, however, there may be a reward.

Back to my number… that mere number… that not-so-uncommon-especially-as-of-late blood glucose reading.

Numbers in the 300s have become a common occurrence. This number in the 300s, however, was unique…. the singularity of this particular number is something that language fails to adequately grasp.

Words often fail us, and that which we’ve been struggling to express is left unsaid.

When I experience blood sugars like this I typically, out of habit, correct it.  If other people are around and they do anything annoying I’ll express my displeasure through my not-so-subtle tone of voice. Anyway… That’s beside the point.

Now, if you’ve managed to read your way through these meandering words you deserve a cookie for your patience. Patience is often a virtue. If you have given up, I’m sending you a sugar free cookie because sugar free food sucks and you’re a big meanie. :p

Back to our main point… whatever that may be.

Something stood out about this number in the 300s… this number in the 300s was different from the countless other similar one’s. This difference was there, but wasn’t fully present to me at first. All I could see were broad outlines.

By now, if you’re not exasperated and/or trying to figure out why I keep blathering on about a stupid number, you might be wonder “what made this number different?” The answer is: absolutely nothing made this number different. Yet, there was a difference.

Welcome to the land of apparently trite distinctions.

The difference was this: this number, although ordinary, had an extra-ordinary impact on me.  I experienced it as something inspiring, and not as something merely mundane.

Now “back” to a main point: the Main Point is a lie. There are many points, but no Point. The point’s are what you appropriate from my blog postYou are free.

This blog post is life.

Life is strange. As our life takes its twists and turns, we are faced with many unexpected occurrences. There are moments of bewildernment, moments of exuberance,  moments of inspiration, moments of dullness, etc. There are seemingly infinite possibilities.

What you choose to focus on, and how you choose to approach events both give your life a certain tinge and help influence the lessons we gain therefrom.

In life, what might be mundane for one person might me a source of great inspiration for another. Who are we do say for sure what is ordinary and what is extraordinary?

In our lives, the opinions of other people often act to circumscribe our interpretation of events – often times without us even noticing. In fact, the previous 3 paragraph (perhaps more), did just that.

Perhaps, in the end, that which was hidden from you in the very beginning will be unveiled.

The Law of Life

imageChange is the only constant. – Heraclitus 

Today is winter solstice. As autumn flows into winter, so does each moment flow into the next. Nothing remains the same. Change is the law of life.

Life is a flux. This is both a blessing and a curse… as are most things.

For those of us who have struggled in the past, or who are struggling now, change is a blessing. We are not enslaved to the past, or bound to the present. We are constantly marching on towards the future.

For those of us who’re thriving in the present and are unwilling to accept that things will change, this is a curse. However, for those with open minds and receptive hearts, it’s a cause for overflowing joy. The joys of the present moment fill their hearts.

One of the greatest fallacies we can make is to mistake the present for the future. Where we are now isn’t where we’ll be tomorrow.

All of these realizations have grown in me over the years. Every event in my life… every person… every book… every interest – all things I’ve encountered have left their mark.

I have changed; I am changing; I will continue to change.

My life has been a crash course in philosophy.

Since March of 1993: I have been near death, and I have been full of life; I have been frail, and I have been strong; I have been fit, and I have been out of shape; I have had beta cells, and I have lacked beta cells. The only constancy has been change.

I have come to accept uncertainty. I have come to accept the fate of all things. I am no longer afraid. In these realizations, there’s freedom… In them, there’s peace.

I am free: the present doesn’t bind me. The past’s influence isn’t set in stone – I am free.

As all things must come to an end eventually, this is where I’ll end this post.