Tag Archives: Gratitude

Share your World: Week 3

21 Jan 16
Megan
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Today I’m seeing my doctor to follow up on the side effects and blood test results. I’m feeling very frustrated with myself lately. Thanks to the side effects I’ve been struggling to do any work, even writing these Share Your World posts is taking me many times longer than normal.

Share Your World: Week 3

What is your favorite piece of art? (it doesn’t have to be famous)

I don’t really have an answer for this one as I tend to favour art work that has special meaning to me or that evoke emotion in me and there are several that fit that category. Looking around our house at the moment there are two that stand out to me…

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The first professional photo of me and E. This photo was taken almost 10 years ago. Every time I look at it, it makes me smile and feel good inside.

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This painting was a birthday present to me and E on our 30th birthday last year. It was painted by one of our friends and I love how simple it is. It hangs in our toilet and adds a point of interest to an otherwise boring room.

What made you smile today?

Watching the cats chase each other around the house. Cats can be very entertaining and also great therapy. When I’m feeling my worse and spend my time curled on the couch I love having them come and curl up with me.

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Which place do you recommend as a Must-See? Please state which country, state or providence.

Dangar Island, NSW, Australia.

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My Aunty lives on this wonderful island in the middle of the Hawkesbury River. It’s home to a few hundred locals while others have holiday homes on the island. Apart from the communal vehicles for maintenance and emergency services there are no cars on the island and you can only access it by ferry.

I love how peaceful it is on the island and the fact that there is such a communal feel.

Complete this sentence: When I was younger I used to….

hide in cupboards with my sister.

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Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I was grateful for the opportunity to float in the ocean and spend time with family and friends. I’m hoping to make more beach trips this summer, especially given the fact that I’m meant to be doing more water based exercises at the moment.

I’m also grateful for having rediscovered my meditation mantra from last year, it’s been very helpful to me while I’m dealing with the extra symptoms and side effects.

May I/you be peaceful and true

May I/you have an open heart and open mind

May I/you be free from all suffering

This week I’m looking forward to getting some answers from my GP and taking the time to focus on recovering from the last weekend.


Share your World: Week 2

13 Jan 16
Megan
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Balance… My word for 2016… is difficult to achieve. I’ve got many ideas for posts but, in an attempt to maintain my balance, you’ll find for the next few weeks at least you will only be getting 2 posts a week from me… My No Buy Challenge update and this, my Share Your World post (although I will probably add a bit of commentary to each like this).

Although I have been keeping it in mind each day I still managed to do too much last week and crashing again on the weekend.

This week I’ve begun trialling yet another drug (Cymbalta this time) to see if it helps me with pain and fatigue. Thankfully my doctor recognises that I’m sensitive to drugs so we’re starting at a very low 10 mg a day.

Share Your World: Week 2

Do you believe in extraterrestrials or life on other planets? 

I don’t believe in extraterrestrials in the sense of the aliens you see in many movies but I do believe that the chances of life (in some form) on another planet are quite high. Given how large the universe is I don’t see how this can be the only planet on which life has grown.

How many places have you lived? You can share the number of physical residences and/or the number of cities.

I’ve only ever lived in South Australia, but given that my parent’s divorced when I was young and we moved around a bit I’d say I’ve lived in at least 8 different residences (this doesn’t count any housesitting that we’ve done.

If you given $22 million tax free dollars (any currency), what is the first thing you would do?

The first thing I would do is pay off the rest of our mortgage and any other debts we may have. After that I’d look at how to invest the remaining money so that it could provide us with an adequate annual income and we can make our own choices about where and how we live, work and play.

The Never List: What are things you’ve never done? Or things you know you never will do?

I have never been sky diving, bungee jumping or probably any other extreme activity you can think of.

I will never stop striving towards a simple, sustainable and meaningful life in which I can make a difference and help others.

I have never

I will never give up on my dreams. Chronic illness may have taken away a lot of my options but I will always find a way around it.

 

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I’m grateful for the understanding and support of my husband when I was unable to do everything I wanted because of my health and for the opportunity to discuss options and trial new medications with one of the leading pelvic pain specialists in town.

In the next week I’m looking forward to continuing my daily meditation practice (something I’ve taken up in the new year).

Share your world: Week 1 2016

07 Jan 16
Megan
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Last year was not a successful year for me in terms of blogging. Not only did I not post much but the posts I was getting up weren’t that popular. So this year I’ve decided to get back to the sort of posting I was originally doing. Instead of just posting about things related to living a simple, sustainable and meaningful life with or without chronic illness I’m going to do a wide variety of posts that allow you to get a better insight into my life. I’ll talk about my work and social commitments, the ups and downs and the everyday. I’ll also participate in several challenges throughout the year. Right now that means participating in the 20 Week No Buy Challenge with Rach (this is week 6 now) and I’m going to participate in Cee’s Share Your World Challenge, a weekly posting challenge with the following format:

Each week Cee will ask you:

  • To answer three random questions each week.
  • Respond to a fourth item (I will randomly chose from this list)
    • Making a List out of a topic
    • Completing the sentence I start
    • Answering a Would you Rather question
  • Bonus Question is always the same  “What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?”  Because we all need to be reminded that there are many things in our lives to be grateful about.  

So here we go…

Share Your World – Week 1

As a child, who was your favorite relative?

This is a hard one for me to answer, growing up in a very large extended family with divorced parents (My parents each had multiple – 5 and 6 respectively – siblings and many of them had children which meant many cousins for me as well). I think in answering this question I’m going to have to expand it to “who were your favourite relatives?” as two stand out to me at the moment as being top of my list (the rest of you are still important parts of my lives and I love you lots but as a child these two seemed to be the most important in my life).

My mum

Yes, this may seem cliche but my mum has always been one of the most important people in my life and the one I knew would always be around to comfort me when I needed it.

She was the one that was there reading us bedtime stories, taking us on day-trip adventures where we’d hop on public transport and just travel for the day (this might mean the bus and a train trip or bus and tram).

She’s still the one I go to when I need advice. I can talk to her about anything.

My Aunty Rachel

Rachel is the youngest of my aunties. She’s only 9 years older than me and because of that I think I always felt she was more like one of us (my cousins and I) than one of the ‘older’ generation.

Growing up, she would have all of the cousins around to her place (when she had her own place with her boyfriend) and we’d share a meal or go to the beach. She was always participating in interesting activities like belly dancing and yoga and she always loved writing (she has her own blog now if you want to check it out).

I vividly remember when she moved away from Adelaide. I don’t remember how old I was but maybe early teens. We went with gran and some of the extended family to see her off at the bus station and I remember feeling like I was loosing someone very close to me. I’d say I was devastated, I couldn’t stop crying even after we’d said goodbye. I’m sure it was at least a good 10-15 minutes after she left that I finally managed to stop crying.

If you could be a tree or plant, what would you be?

I think I’d be like the weeping mulberry in our back yard.

Our weeping mulberry

In previous years it’s provided a place for birds to nest, it provides delicious fruit for both us and the birds, and provides shelter from the sun. In a sense it’s a nourisher and protector.

Delicious mulberries off our tree.

Delicious mulberries off our tree.

What would be your preference, awake before dawn or awake before noon?

I’ve grown up as a morning person so my preference would be awake before dawn. However, since being ill I no longer have the energy to be able to do that. My normal waking time is sometime between 8 and 9 am. Some days I may wake up earlier but if I get up earlier I would probably only make it until lunch time before needing to return to bed for the rest of the day.

Would you like to sleep in a human size nest in a tree or be snuggled in a burrowed spot underground?

For sleeping I’d prefer to be snuggled in a burrowed spot underground. It would be like a nice big hug, warm in winter and cool in summer insulated from the weather outside. During the day though, I’d love a human size nest to sit in and watch the world go by!

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

In the last week I’ve finally come out of my most recent major crash to a point where I can actually focus on work again. It’s been over a month since I last felt like I was actually being productive and useful when I attempted any work.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to spend time with my husband while he had leave over the Christmas/New Year break and for the support of those around me who act as mentors for me while I move forward on this quest of self employment and an overall simple, sustainable and meaningful life.

In the next week, I’m most looking forward to my appointment with my Pelvic Pain Specialist on Monday. It’s been 6 months since I’ve seen someone from their clinic and this time I get to see the main specialist there. I’m hoping to be able to get a bit more guidance on how to manage my symptoms given that all the medications recommended to me either don’t work or the one that did work for pain relief (it was amazing! Made me feel like I was floating on clouds. The only day in almost 3 years that I had almost 0 pain) set my asthma off.

I’m also hoping for clarification of what she thinks is the cause of the pain. Although I have been officially diagnosed with Pelvic Congestion Syndrome after a laparoscopy in 2013/14 (can’t remember exactly when) the other people I’ve seen at this clinic have suggested that it may still also be partly Adenomyosis or Endometriosis even though nothing was seen during the laparoscopy except varicose veins everywhere.

Balance #OneWord2016

04 Jan 16
Megan
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Last year I chose one word to guide me through the year… Enough.

I’ve recently found out from The Bloggess that there is a #oneword2016 Challenge and seeing I was already planning to choose a single word, I’ve decided to participate. The one word you choose is meant to be something that will help you focus on your main goal for the year.

Enough did that for me last year. There were many times when I felt I needed to do more or buy more items. Most of these times I remembered my word and felt better about only doing what I could or reducing the items I had rather than adding to them.

This year, I want to keep up the focus on the benefits I’ve received from Enough but focus more strongly on being able to increase (or at least better BALANCE) my activities.

I’m going to continue focusing on moving towards a simple, sustainable and meaningful life with a strong focus on finding ways to BALANCE my needs and wants. I’ll continue to try and single-task, try to get a good BALANCE of health, work, and social activities, and relaxation into my day/week.

If you haven’t worked it out yet, my word for 2016 is BALANCE.

I haven’t planned out the whole year but I have a lot that I want/need to achieve in the next 6 months so I’m focusing on that and trying to break it down into monthly and weekly activities…

In the next 6 months I need to:

  • Complete my current consulting jobs for different local Council’s here in SA:
    • Biodiversity Trails – due end of January
    • Environment Action Plan 2016-2019 – due April/May
  • Complete my Certificate IV in Training and Assessment – due by end of May
  • Publish Foggy Frog and the Pain Gang Picture Book – we’re so close but it seems to take so long to get it all together!

On top of these tasks, I have several appointments as part of the ongoing management of my health and I want to have regular time with family and friends and build up my casual work a bit as well.

As you can see, there’s a lot going on so it’s going to be an effort to find ways to balance everything and continue to pace.

Tomorrow, I’ll give you an update on how I’ve been going with the No Buy Challenge the last few weeks. Let’s just say now that I’ve realised there were a few things that should have been on the exceptions list that I forgot, so I’ll be updating that tomorrow.

Do you have one word that’s going to guide you through 2016?

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

24 Dec 15
Megan
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It’s Christmas Eve and celebrations have begun for our family.

During this time of celebration and busyness, don’t forget to look after yourself. I know that, for our family at least, it is definitely a very busy few days and so over the last few years I’ve had to learn a few ways to manage this.

Don’t forget to pace yourself. For me, this means no more than one or two social events each day (if 2, then one has to be a very low energy event) but even this is much more than I normally do so I’ve decided that I’m going to take a break from here until the new year.

2015 in review

Over the last year I haven’t done as much posting as I have in previous years, it has been the year of Enough. This has meant focusing on getting life more balanced and accepting what I have and what I can do, not what I don’t have and can’t do.

The top 3 most popular posts this year have been:

Two of these were written in previous years but are still quite popular today.

During the last year I have begun working again (even if only a small amount each week) and it’s been nice to be bringing in some income of my own. I’ve also been working with my husband and close friends to get the Foggy Frog picture book finalised (we should be ready to publish early in the new year).

I haven’t yet taken the time to sit down and reflect properly on everything that has been achieved this year or what I’m hoping to achieve in the new year and that is another reason why I’m planning to take the next week off. When I get back I will hopefully be able to outline better what it is I’m hoping to achieve in the next 12 months.

In regards to our 20 week no buy challenge, I don’t believe I’ll have any troubles with temptation as I’ll be focusing on my health and socialising for the next week or so but I’ll report on weeks 4 and 5 in the new year.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

I hope you all manage to find at least something small to be grateful for and to bring joy to you holidays.

Week 1 No Buy Review… Hot and Foggy

08 Dec 15
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It’s been a week since Rach and I started our 20 Week no buy challenge and I may have already gone against my lists….

Let’s have a quick overview of the last week.

The weather here has been very hot and variable. Because of these weather changes my health has also been all over the place with the brain fog, fatigue and pain all higher than my normal levels. I’ve also been feeling mentally vulnerable at the moment due to a whole range of things happening around us so I’ve been very emotional.

That doesn’t mean I haven’t had some good times over the last week. On Friday night our local Council hosted one of their Moonlight Markets in the local park. My husband and I went along. We had dinner together and I bought a pair of earrings…

Now I’m still tossing up whether these earrings will be for me or a gift for someone else, but I feel that I’ve broken one of my ‘will not buy’ items…

They came packed nicely (see below) so at the moment they’re sitting under our christmas tree. They’ll either be a present for someone else or I’ll open them for christmas.

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There were several times when, thanks to my emotional vulnerability, I was tempted to buy junk food or have lunch out by myself during the week but I didn’t!

Most of the week was spent resting, although I did manage a bit of work and also had a few appointments and social activities.

On the weekend (when the weather was at it’s worst) my husband and I went to the local shops to buy a lego set that we’d been looking at for a while that was cheaper than we’d seen it before. While in the shops we found the last book in the Obernewtyn series, a series that I have been reading for many years. Because I already owned all the other books we bought this one as well and I’ve spent a lot of time since then reading (started the series from the beginning again because it’s been 4 years since the last book came out).

Other than those two purchases (the book and the earrings) I believe I’ve stuck to my guidelines pretty well…

  • We went and watched a friend playing ice hockey on Sunday morning. A nice way to spend such a hot morning!
  • We had takeaway for dinner last night after a workshop I was running. This fits with my guidelines as it was a shared meal with my husband.
  • We’ve done grocery shopping and purchased fresh local cherries, apricots and handpicked beans.
  • I’ve purchased a set of stainless steel straws that I’ve been looking at for a long time. I often need to use straws but feel guilty about the waste they cause. Having a stainless steel straw in my bag at all times will mean I can say no to the plastic ones.
My zero waste eating out kit that lives in my handbag consists of a spoon, chopsticks, straw and napkin.

My zero waste eating out kit that lives in my handbag consists of a spoon, chopsticks, straw and napkin.

So there have been both positives and negatives this week. Let’s see how I fair in the next few weeks leading up to Christmas!

Check out how Rach did in the first week in her post here.

Have you been joining us on this challenge? If so, how have you been going?

A-Z Guide to a simple, sustainable, meaningful life

01 Dec 15
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Thank you for joining us on this journey towards more simple, sustainable and meaningful lives.

This guide has been written from the point of view of someone living with chronic illness but the topics and concepts discussed are relevant to everyone and anyone.

For more information on each point of the A-Z Guide, please click on the links below.

A-Z Guide

is for Acceptance

is for Budget

is for Community

is for Delegate

is for Enough

is for Faith

G is for Give

is for Health

is for Inspire

is for Joy

is for Know

is for Learn

is for Mindful

is for Needs

is for Outdoors

is for Pace

Q is for Quality

is for Reflection

is for Space

is for Transform

U is for Unplug

is for Values

is for Wonder

is for eXperiment

is for Yes

is for Zero

Have you taken steps towards a simple, sustainable and meaningful life?

Z is for Zero

30 Nov 15
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Join me on a journey towards a simple, sustainable and meaningful life. Throughout November we have been exploring each category of the A-Z guide to a simple, sustainable and meaningful life. Thank you for joining us on this journey towards more simple, sustainable and meaningful lives. Over the last month we’ve talked about a lot that we need to continue to work on over time if we’re to succeed. Today we finish up by looking at Z… Zero.

This guide has been written from the point of view of someone living with chronic illness but the topics and concepts discussed are relevant to everyone and anyone.

Z is for Zero

A simple life is one in which we’re aiming for ZERO (or as close to zero as we can get).

We’re aiming for zero stress, disappointment and waste (time, money, things).

If we’re realistic we know that this isn’t doable but it’s good to set our goals high. Each and everything we’ve talked about over the last month are small steps towards achieving this goal.

My ZERO includes reducing the negative impact I have on both those around me and the environment. That’s because this fits with my values, it may not fit with yours.

My ZERO means trying to live by Bea’s 5 R’s – Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot.

My ZERO also means learning to compromise. My husband’s values may not be exactly the same as mine. At times I compromise on waste coming into our home to meet his values as well.

My ZERO means spending as much time as possible with my family and friends, helping others as much as I can through my work and what I do in my spare time, and spending time by myself to focus on healing my body.

My ZERO is a life in which I feel needed, loved, supported and cared for.

What is your ZERO?

Y is for Yes

29 Nov 15
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Join me on a journey towards a simple, sustainable and meaningful life. Throughout November we will be exploring each category of the A-Z guide to a simple, sustainable and meaningful life. Today we’re looking at Y… Yes.

This guide has been written from the point of view of someone living with chronic illness but the topics and concepts discussed are relevant to everyone and anyone.

Y is for Yes

Say YES!

To looking after yourself.

Photo (c) E. S. January, 2014

Photo (c) E. S. January, 2014

To living by your values.

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To being the best YOU you can be!

Over the last few months I’ve made an effort to say YES to opportunities that have come my way. I’m being careful to try and keep pacing while I do this and I’m also giving myself permission to say YES to my health by saying NO to others when I need to.

By saying YES over the last few years I’ve taken up some exciting opportunities, including:

  • Creating the Foggy Frog and the Pain Gang picture book
  • Developing a 3-year Environmental Management Plan which will guide community sustainable actions within one of the Local Councils I work with
  • Developing educational biodiversity trails for local schools in another Local Council
  • Joining the executive committee for the South Australian Chapter of the Australian Association for Environmental Education through which I’m helping with organising and running a national conference later next year.

Without saying YES, I wouldn’t be doing any of these things but to be able to do them I also need to say YES to the following:

  • Pacing myself and resting every day
  • Eating as healthy as possible
  • Listening to my body

What do you say YES to?

Don’t forget that the Ultimate Spoonie Giveaway is now open. Sign up here for your opportunity to win! This giveaway has ended.

 

X is for eXperiment

27 Nov 15
Megan
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Join me on a journey towards a simple, sustainable and meaningful life. Throughout November we will be exploring each category of the A-Z guide to a simple, sustainable and meaningful life. Today we’re looking at X… eXperiment.

This guide has been written from the point of view of someone living with chronic illness but the topics and concepts discussed are relevant to everyone and anyone.

X is for eXperiment

One non-formal way of learning is to experiment. Experimentation is essential for those of us living with chronic illnesses. For many of us there are no known cures (or even causes) for what we are dealing with. That means we need to constantly experiment with treatment options until we find ones that work for us.

Throughout my journey with chronic illness I’ve experimented with various drugs (antidepressants, lyrica, sleeping tablets, other pain relief). I’ve experimented with natural alternatives like the TENS machine, accupuncture, yoga, massage, meditation and visiting a naturopath.

I’m constantly experimenting with different routines, sustainable lifestyle options (like cloth toilet paper and napkins), and new healthy recipes.

homemade cloth toilet paper

homemade cloth toilet paper

Finding what brings you joy and wonder, and what you’re good at is only possible by experimenting with different ideas.

What experimenting do you do in your life?