1. Self Check In
One of the first mindfulness practices I engage in every day is asking myself “how am I feeling today?” This sort of self check-in has become a daily habit of mine and has really helped me identify in my first waking hours what are going to be my biggest symptomatic hurtles and challenges that day. Being able to identify these early in the morning has helped me plan my day ahead of time so that I prioritize the tasks and responsibilities I know I can accomplish and maybe reorganize other tasks for the future. As many of you know symptoms change moment to moment and I just find that a self check in habit has been a strategy that helps me identify the symptoms that are most bothersome so that I may implement strategies that help reduce their severity
2. Not Multitasking
The second mindfulness practice I engage in on a regular basis is not multitasking. I know this sounds really silly, and possibly overly simple, but there are so many sources of stimulation in our lives today that we often times find ourselves multitasking when we didn't intend to. The biggest problem I have with multitasking is it reduces my ability to be aware of what is going on in my body at all times. I also find that multitasking often increases my stress and anxiety so reducing instances where I am multitasking or trying to multi task has helped me remain self-aware and reduce moments of anxiety and stress.
3. Breathing Exercises
The third mindfulness practice, or practices, I engage in are breathing exercises. I have two go to exercises that I utilize to help center myself in moments of both physical and mental overwhelm. I’ve found both of these practices very centering. They help me relax which often reduces the intensity of symptoms I am facing in that moment.
1. The first is Single Nostril Breathing also known as Alternate Nostril Breathing. I find that this practice calms me quite quickly and that if I can take 30-60 seconds to do it, it just helps. You can read more about the practice here at MindBodyGreen and of course watch the video linked above where I explain the practice.
2. The second is simple went single nostril breathing is either too awkward for that moment in time or I really can’t use my hands for what ever reason. This is a inhale/exhale counting exercise where I inhale for a count of 4, hold my breath for a count of 5 and then exhale for a count of 7. You can choose whatever count pattern you find works for you. This breathing exercise has similar benefits to the first but doesn’t require the use of my hands or arms to do so. Take a look at the video for more instruction.
4. Closing my eyes
The fourth mindfulness practice I engaging on a regular basis is a pretty simple one. I close my eyes. Closing my eyes helps reduce external stimulation that my mind is managing in the background. This is a simple way for me to basically shut off one source of stimulation so that I may concentrate on what I need to in the moment. I especially find this practice helpful when I am struggling to talk and get my ideas out but also in moments of stress where I simply need to reduce external sources of simulation. It may sound a little weird but closing your eyes is one of the ways we as humans relax. I mean, you sleep with your eyes closed…right. So this practice simply helps me re-center myself when I don't necessarily want to engage in a longer breathing exercise or I'm trying to communicate with others and struggling for the words. It just helps me be overall more mindful of what is going on with me internally in any moment and helps me stay aware of my body and what its telling me.
The final mindfulness practice I engage and regularly is meditation and while many of the practices described above could be considered meditation I tend to also do a formal practice in addition to the strategies described above. Meditation can take on any form and I want to be really clear about that. For me meditation is about finding a comfortable position and helping me quite my “chattery” mind so that I may calm my body and as a result reduce the intensity of my symptoms. But meditation might mean taking a walk, listening to music, dancing, using a guided meditation app or "journalling" (sp?) among many other forms. Basically this practice, similar to my self check in practice, is about taking the time to check in with my body and focus on giving it time to relax and recenter.
So those are some of my mindfulness practices that help me manage the impact of my symptoms on my day to day life. If you have any others you find are your go to’s I’d love to hear about them. Thank you so much for reading.
Take care and remember its about the journey…
Incorporating practices of mindfulness into my life has been game changing. Such practices have helped me identify places in my life that added stress and anxiety--which are exhausting in and of themselves--allowing me to make changes that have improved my daily live. While I have multiple mindfulness practices that I have incorporated into my life since first starting this journey 6 years ago the main one I started with was asking myself "how am I feeling today" as soon as I woke up. This allowed me to assess what changes I needed to make to my day so that I got through it more smoothly. Sometimes this meant taking sick time. Sometimes this meant working from home. Other times it meant eating really bland--I mean PLAIN food with no flavor, or taking a medication to manage my symptoms or even carefully choosing the fabrics I was wearing to reduce the impact of allodynia.
This practice is probably my most simple and impactful one I've incorporated. Being aware of what your facing, although it can change over the course of the day, can help reduce the impact of symptoms on your life or simply reduce your stress so that you can get to a better place sooner--at least that is the hopeful goal.
Out of my journey with mindfulness I discovered how deeply stressful clutter and excess was in my life. While minimalism may not be for everyone I discovered that by implementing principles of minimalism, i.e. Having only what you need and loving and using what you have, that I was able to reduce the number of items I had to take care of. This reduced stress by decreasing the amount of time I spend caring for, organizing and managing all of my belongings. This was by no means easy and I began this journey by diving into my wardrobe. I felt that this was a good place to start because minimizing my wardrobe didn't effect any of my family members and allowed me to work out the kinks of my own preferences about minimalism.
After tackling my wardrobe and creating 2 curated capsules totaling about 65 items I went on to minimize other areas of my home, from the kitchen, to the bathroom, bedroom, living room...etc. While this took getting my family members on board to some extent, most of what I minimized were items we simply didn't use or want. This process really taught me how stressful I find clutter and how reducing our belongings is a great strategy that reduces the amount of time and energy it takes to keep a clutter free home.
I'll be honest though--there is still clutter--just less of it. :)
3. Implementing a Sleep Routine
You've probably heard of a sleep routine before. This has been immensely helpful and although I still have issues getting deeply restful and restorative sleep I have found that having a sleep routine increases my success rate in getting restorative sleep.
For my sleep routine this means no screens a half our before bed and preferably an hour if possible. Reading or meditating in the evening just before bed and taking supplements that support sleep--sometimes these are herbal like CBD or Chamomile tea, other times these are mineral like manganese.
4. Intuitive Eating
This is one of the more recent strategies I've added to my repertoire. If you're like me and one of the manifestations of your condition is IBS you may find it intuitive eating helpful. My understanding of intuitive eating is that it is about listening to your body, reducing shame surrounding eating certain foods and most importantly recognizing the signals our body uses to indicate it is in need of nourishment.
I have found that eating intuitively and listening to my body has reduced the severity of my IBS symptoms. While it has not eliminated it completely the number of days where I am severely impacted has been reduced. I've also discovered that I'm better able to identify whether I'm thirsty versus hungry and when I am satiated or not. I'm also beginning to find this practice beneficial for reducing the voice in my head that says "you should eat this not that". It is help me manage my shame and self-consciousness around food and its relation to body image and self-esteem. All in all this is a type of mindfulness practice and I am thankful for what it has taught me thus far.
I hope these strategies help you too, or at least give you more information as you find what works for you on your journey. As always thanks for reading, take care and remember...its about the journey...
1. Allodynia (Hyper sensitivity to touch)
One of the weirdest symptoms I’ve dealt with since I was diagnosed is called Allodynia. Its a sensitivity to touch but this isn’t your typical type of sensitivity. Imagine feeling like every piece of clothing you put on your body feels like scratchy wool no matter how buttery soft the material. That is what allodynia feels like. At least for me. It makes it hard to do anything because I literally am so distracted by the sensations all over my skin that all I want to do is…well…wear absolutely nothing. I know, super weird. But its an issue I’ve dealt with on and off since before my diagnoses. Post diagnosis I finally got a name for it. While I don’t deal with this symptom constantly…thank the universe…when it hits its quite frustrating.
2. Foggy vision
Is it foggy or is it me? I’m guessing that’s not a question most people ask themselves. But it's one I ask myself from time to time. Imagine you are looking through a weak fog or camp fire smoke and you get the experience of what this symptom is like. Now I feel incredibly blessed that each time this has happened it’s gone away. That is not the case for everyone. Some people start getting foggy (aka blurred) vision and their normal sight never comes back. For me this symptom comes on rapidly, lasts a few hours to a day and then subsides. I usually need good resting sleep to get it to go away and that is not always possible
Yes you read that right. One of the weirder symptoms I deal with is speech changes. For me this has manifested in certain words suddenly being spoken with a different accent. Not all of my speech, mind you, just a word here or there. I’ll be talking and all of a sudden I’ll say “about” with a more Canadian accent, or hello in a British one, the most amusing yet was when I said good morning to a friend of my with a clear southern US accent. We both looked at each other for a solid minute and were like “what just happened to your voice”. I’ll also have pitch breaks or slurred speech now and again. While most of the time this is funny it can be VERY ANNOYING!!!!
4. Crazy Hands—aka loss of fine motor control
Imagine you are typing on a computer and you suddenly lose all control of your fingers. You’re typing away and suddenly the words on the screen start looking a bit like this: I haev no cnrol fo my fingers rihgt nw. Some of the words are fine and you can generally tell what I was trying to write but the even the computer is like “What????”. It can’t figure out what I meant to write. Luckily when this happens I’ve gotten skilled at the talk to text feature and simply switch tactics and start dictating my emails and other work/life related communications. I often laugh quite hardily as sometimes as the creativity of auto correct. This feature has come up with some pretty unique translations of my gobbledygook. One of the funniest ones was when I attempted to write “grant opportunities” and it some how corrected to “great titties”. I still laugh about that one every time I have to write opportunities. At least this weird symptom has had the side effect of hilarity. hahahahaha
1. You’re not going to get better (necessarily)
I know it sucks. I wish I had some better news for you. But this is one of the lessons I wish I learned sooner rather than later. Getting diagnosed felt like a relief. Like I finally had validation that something was actually wrong and I wasn’t losing my mind. But along with that diagnosis came some hope that maybe I’d get better. Now I’m not against hope. I’m all for hope, but I also want to be realistic with the possibility of recovery. The truth is that the medical community, in my experience, knows so little about ME/CFS/Fibromyalgia that a “cure” is a long way off. What I wish I knew when I was first diagnosed was that the reality of this lack of knowledge we have surrounding these conditions creates inability to really cure the underlying causes of the condition. If we don’t understand the underlying causes then we are left only treating the symptoms. Which brings me to my next bit of wisdom
2. Treatments can make you worse…
Oh boy can they make you worse…so much worse. I’ve been through a myriad of different trials to treat symptoms. Some of which had the opposite of the desired effect. Whoopsie! We meant to help you sleep not cause insomnia. Whoopsie! we meant to reduce your migraines not cause them.
Thanks a bunch peeps…I really appreciate it!
I just lost another week or two of my life—like I hadn’t lost enough of already.
Finally I stopped trying most drugs because they just seemed to make everything worse. I wish I had known this sooner and been more cautious and inquisitive with my doctors. I really wish I had asked more questions and understood how bad these drugs could make me feel.
I will say that not all of the treatments I’ve tried had horrible consequences but many of them did and I simply wish I had known the likelihood that treatments could make me worse before I even tried them. Which brings me to my next point.
3. Become a self advocate
This part kind of sucked but if I’ve learned anything from being in and out of various medical systems, seeing a wide assortment of specialists and trying a myriad of treatments, some of which I shouldn’t have even tried, it’s that you have to self advocate. One of the best things I’ve ever done is brought a second person with me to important appointments. Not only is it a second set of eyes and ears but it’s someone who can provide support if you feel overwhelmed or forget the questions you wanted to ask. They can be the note takers and nudgers to remind you to ask the uncomfortable questions that seem to slip my mind as soon as I see the white coat. More importantly they can support you in your advocacy because they are someone who understands, is on your team and rooting for you. I can’t tell you how many times it’s been beneficial to have a second person with me at important appointments. They often get more information out of the doctors than I do alone. It’s almost like having a second person there who believes what is happening is really happening makes the doctor less like late to brush you off. Everybody slows down. Which is good because these conditions are complex and need more time to discuss. I wish I didn’t have to say or write that but that has been the case with my experience. On to the next…
4. Your dominant symptoms will change
This is a hard one. It's very difficult to navigate a chronic illness when it's constantly changing. But who doesn’t love an extra challenge. Am I Right? (HAHA) I’ve found that my symptoms are always changing. More importantly which ones are most prominent or dominant shift. This makes it really hard to manage and more importantly hard to treat because it's an ever moving target.
I wish I had known this going into it, and understood when I was diagnosed that my symptoms were going to constantly, and I mean constantly, change. No one day is ever be the same and a treatment or medical device I might need one day I won’t need the next. It's like an unpredictable target that disappears and reappears at random. Try getting a bullseye on that one. HA.
5. People will give you unsolicited advice
So this isn’t a new phenomenon people get this in all walks of life but my advice…
Haha…here I am giving you unsolicited advice on unsolicited haha. Well maybe because chose to read this it isn’t totally unsolicited…so here it goes
Everyone deals with unsolicited advice from time to time but the most annoying thing about having a diagnosis is when you share a diagnosis with people it seems to open up the room for conversation about what they think you should try or do to feel better. While this often comes from a place of kindness and caring it can be grueling to constantly have these conversations. So if you like giving advice stop, please, just stop, unless I bring up the topic myself. Thank you in advance.
Most of the time when people give me unsolicited advice I thank them say yes maybe I'll give that a try and then usually courteously somehow get out of the conversation by changing the subject or simply walking away. Walking away is usually a non-option if it's a family member, friend or you are in that awkward I’m cornered situation. (SOOOO AWKWARD).
Now not all advice is bad advice, unsolicited or not, but it can get grueling when it's a constant topic of conversation. I guess all I want people to know is that this is a journey and while I welcome most thoughts and conversations, please don’t perseverate on the topic. It already takes up enough of my time and energy and I’d rather not spend extra time dwelling on it if I don’t have to. Instead let's talk about ice cream, or the weather…anything other than the latest treatment or cure all.
Thanks...now on to the next lesson...
6. Get good at listening to your body.
This is honestly one of the hardest lessons that I had to learn. We live in such a go go go society that learning to listen to your body and what it's telling you is an incredibly difficult. I don't know about anyone else but I have been incredibly well-trained at ignoring what my body is telling me. It has taken time and constant awareness to make sure that I actually listen to what my body is telling me. This is had two major benefits. The first is that when I listen to my body I'm able to more accurately workaround or treat whatever symptom is more dominant at that moment in time. Being able to focus on reducing that particular symptoms impact on my life allows me to be more productive and happy in the long run. The second is that I'm much more able to predict and prevent certain symptoms because I know their major triggers, or at least a constellation of scenarios that seem to make certain symptoms worse. I'm not always successful and sometimes I have to accept that its just out of my control but by listening to my body I can sometimes reduce the severity of a flare.
7. Slow down!
We live in a fast paced world. I get it. It’s about how much you can get done in the shortest amount of time. But in my experience I pay a heavy price if I push myself. This goes hand in hand with the previous lesson. Learning to slow down has been a humbling process full of very active days followed by weeks of recovery. I’ve learned that if I just slow down in the first place I’m able to maintain a consistently higher level of activity. But there is a sweet spot and as soon as I pass that narrow place between just right and too much I pay for it. By listening to my body and treating feedback its giving me I have found more balance and stability.
This goes hand in hand with my next piece of advice
8. Learn to say no.
This one is really hard. Probably the hardest. I haven’t mastered it but learning to say now is vitally important to finding balance. What I have learned about saying no is that honing this skill has allowed me to say no to things that are less important so that I have energy and time for the things that are most important. I think that's a piece of advice and wisdom we could all use a little more often our lives. Well it is not easy practice makes you better at it. And I am still practicing.
So those of eight things I wanted to share and well I know there are probably many more I felt like this was a good start. As always thanks for reading, take care, and remember… it's about the journey…
I’m an imposter—at least I feel that way. I’m afraid. Afraid people will label me as a fraud and recent experiences have only reinforced this fear. But I can’t live in fear and I realize that fear is part of my problem because it creates the very feedback loop currently trapping me.
You see, my body is a mask and like wearing a mask, my body tells one story through its appearance when underneath, another, very different story is playing out. As a result I am constantly torn by the outer worlds feedback that I’m normal, while my inner world is crumbling, unable to cope with a myriad of symptoms that ravage my systems, invisible from the outside. And yet, again and again I’ve caved into the outer worlds story line, giving into the fear that if I stand by the truth I experience people will just call me a wolf in sheep skin. We call them like we see them here in America. What ever happened to “don’t judge a book by its cover.
But I’m done. I can’t pretend that I’m okay when I am not. Because pretending reinforces that I’m an imposter. But this is not a fake it till you make it scenario. I can’t fake the symptoms away. I may look fine but my reality is that
I haven’t digested food for weeks, resulting in malnourishment.
That I have a migraine piercing my brain like being stabbed with an ice pick on top the skull.
That I feel that prickling sensation, like when your foot falls asleep, all over my body for days.
That I spend nights staring at the ceiling hoping I’ll sleep but never do.
and so many more…
I’m an iceberg, you see one tenth of my reality. My pretty face, blond hair, blue eyes and trimmed physique. You do not see when I have to call family to pick me up. No, I don’t me give me a ride in a car, I mean literally carry my collapsed body. Or the days where the only seat I see is the toilet. Ain’t that a pretty picture.
I recently realized that if I go along with the outside worlds story I betray myself and I give permission to the world to disbelieve me. But my reckoning has come. I’ve felt the consequences of pretending “I’m okay”. I lose. So I’m going to tell my story because honestly I’ve already lost and what happens when you find yourself at the bottom. You realize the cavern you thought existed, the one you feared and actively worked to stay away from blinded you from the actual one in front of you. The one I’m at the bottom of right now.
So that’s it. I’m baring it all. Letting that facade crack so you might have a glimpse of my disability. I’m vulnerably speaking my truth and hoping that despite my pretty face you’ll have the courage to believe my words because I know that you too are more than what you appear to be.
My deepest sadness is knowing that despite some progress humans are innately fickle beings with a penchant for forgetfulness. As a result we condemn ourselves to repeat violent and destructive histories. If only we could see past the construction of “us” and “them”. Ultimately, our best armor against hate is to never forget the horror we are all capable of contributing to. It is up to us to pledge to remember the destructive nature of hate and anger and combat it with compassionate questioning that holds us accountable to our beliefs and the actions they lead to. If we question each other we can challenge one another to look deeply at our own beliefs and answer the “why” we believe what we do. In doing so we can question the very nature of what we believe divides us. Perhaps then we can begin to see the humanity in each of us and recognize our common experiences. We all suffer and know what it is like to suffer. Let that unite us in making the world a better place rather than water seeds of bitterness and blame.
These ideas are much easier to conceive then to live. It is uncomfortable for us, for me, to ask difficult questions and to do so with compassion. It is easier to hide or shy away from what makes us uncomfortable and conflict, I believe, makes most uncomfortable. But what if we didn’t see differing world views as conflict, what if we saw them as an opportunity to enlighten each other to another way of seeing the world. What if each of our viewpoints offered each other a piece of wisdom we wouldn’t learn any other way. Now this idealistic, I know, it takes all sides being open to a conversation and more importantly to admit that our viewpoint isn’t “whole” or “right” or “wrong” but simply what it is, a viewpoint. But perhaps with time if each of us can embody this approach and encourage others to do the same the world will be less full of conflict, hatred, violence, and perhaps war.
I believe these conversations can empower our capacity for human connection. And I believe our only hope for a better world is our human connection, because when we question each other compassionately we can connect with one another dismantling barriers of “us” and “them”, strengthening our capacity for empathy and altruism, and building a world where hatred, anger and blame hold less power. When we connect with one another what we perceive as divisions are dismantled through conversations that hold the capacity to unite us. But first we must all be brave and engage with the world from a place of compassion. We cannot ask the world to be kind, if we are not kind. We cannot ask the world to be peaceful if we are not peaceful. We must lead by example when we engage each other. Perhaps with just this simple idea we can begin to change the world.
...its about the journey...
We so rarely talk about our troubles. I takes a great deal of courage to be honest with ourselves and with others. Whatever holds us back from that honesty, be it fear, disbelief or stubbornness, ultimately doesn't serve us or those around us. This is quite possibly one of the hardest lessons I am learning. And I say "learning" because I still haven't quite got it and quite possibly never will.
Its been a while since I posted. Since April in fact. But that hasn't been because I haven't been writing. I've been writing quite a bit. I just haven't been sure I should share what I've been crafting. Because what I've been writing is possibly the most candid, honest and forthright essays I've ever penned. I've been writing about being chronically ill.
This past summer has been possibly the sickest I've been for the longest I can remember. Its been a test of both my resolve and my families and although we took some great vacations, experienced some neat places this summer was a test to our normal. It forced us to acknowledge I'm sick and I'm not going to get better and most importantly that if I don't change and those around me don't change I will likely only get sicker.
Living with a chronic illness is like riding a roller coaster. Each experience is unique, no one day is the same. Its full of unexpected and forces you to stay on your toes and get good at adapting or get sicker in the process. I wish I could say I have the answers but I don't. All I know is that I am trying to find balance...A life long pursuit...which is more important now than ever.
This summer I have begun to learn that I'm not alone. There are millions like me both visibly and invisibly ill trying to live and contribute as best they can. I guess I can only hope that by sharing my story and some of those candid essays I wrote this summer that I will help others.
Just as fall is a constant reminder of change I am reminded that I too can change, be brave and hopefully help the world in the process.
Remember life is about the journey
If you are chronically ill or struggling check out The Mighty its a great website with lots of stories of people struggling and succeeding while living with a wide variety of chronic illnesses.
The spring season always brings about a feeling of anticipation. Life beginning again after being dormant. For me spring is a season of re-birth. It naturally generates curiosity in my soul. I find myself thinking “what if” and “how about” as I make plans to finish projects, take trips and be more spontaneous. The doors to my imagination open and I am curious to try new foods and experience new places again. It’s a change from the comfort I sought in the winter months of familiar places and time spent with family and friends. It’s familiar this rhythm of hibernation and rebirth. For me it follows the seasons and I gladly anticipate the change as it reminds me to find balance between the comforts I seek in winter and curiosity to challenge my limits in the spring. It’s this ebb and flow of reflection and anticipation that continually challenges me to stay rooted but not be afraid to grow and change. If only we could all remember that gentle lesson year round. To stay rooted but not be afraid to grow. To see change as a rebirth, an opportunity to re-evaluate and enrich ourselves. Easier said than done, for sure, but perhaps that’s the purpose in springs reminder to remain curious and open to what is different and new.
Every time you do a good deed, you shine the light a little farther into the dark. And the thing is, when you’re gone that light is going to keep shining on, pushing the shadows back. ~Charles de Lint
It is hard to remember sometimes that even the smallest of actions matter. Recently in a conversation with my step daughter she wondered, in amazement, at the idea that you could pass a yawn around the world. Yawns are indeed contagious. A yawn can pass from family to friends and on to strangers, endlessly traveling forward in time, until the yawn that may have begun with you has returned again.
I like to think its the same with smiles and kinda actions. With embraces and greetings. When we fill our actions with love and our intentions with kindness we shine a little more light into the shadows of the world as Charles de Lint aptly phrased.
I keep this idea close to my heart remembering that the intentions I set for the present create lasting echoes into the future. They ripple forward with their essence influencing moments not yet passed. It is with this knowledge that I work hard to greet each day with optimism and a quite promise to myself to love without boundary, forgive with out a grudge and live with empathy and compassion. It is my hope that by setting these intentions everyday that I will make the world a better place. That like that yawn I will pass forward, through small actions, a compassion that will shine a light in the darkest corners.
Apathy is an insidious feature of human nature. It is dangerous because of its persuasiveness to forget our collective memory and forego the wisdom bestowed on humankind over time. As a result of apathy’s principle characteristics, of lack of feeling and connection, we are susceptible to committing evil through non-action. Apathy lines our lives with indifference and when we are indifferent we permit atrocities to ravage the world and our fellow human beings. When we are indifferent we allow the election of a leader who openly talks about banning people based on their faith. When we are indifferent we watch our neighbors be placed in internment camps without saying a word.
Some may say that it is not indifference but fear that leads to non-action. This is misleading. Fear, by its nature, causes our flight or fight instincts. Such instincts are the opposites of inaction. While flight might be seen as cowardice, and fighting seen as righteous, neither bare the characteristics of apathies indifference.
Indeed it is up to us to decide to let ourselves go numb with apathy or to embrace the lessons we have learned from history and understand that mankind is vacillating on the precipice of yet another moral disaster. This moral disaster is perceived in different ways and a result of different causes but it is clear that one aspect remains true no matter ones perception. It is our divisions, the lines we paint to determine ‘the us’ and ‘the them’ that have lead us to condemn others as if they were the devil himself.
It is not our role to condemn each other but to uplift one another, to find common ground and caring for the ‘me’ that lives in ‘you’ and the ‘you’ that lives in ‘me’. So many faiths uplift the principles of loving kindness, of accepting others though they may be different from ourselves. Whether Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, Sikh, Baha’i, Daoist, Buddhist, Confucian, Wiccan, Pagan, and so many more, there are teachings in all of our faiths that tell us to act with love.
The principles of love line the history of our faiths and our humanity. We are moved by acts of kindness and we are rewarded with happiness when we care for others or something other than ourselves. Scientifically speaking acts of kindness, compassion and empathy release feel good hormones. But beyond science there is a deep inert calling in all of us to empathize, to understand others as we understand ourselves. It is why when we see someone in pain we understand that pain as if it were our own. It is why when we see another cry we might be moved to cry ourselves. It is why when we have disagreements we become uncomfortable.
But when we forget these principles of love, and let hate or apathy seep into our being it is us who have invited evil into our own bodies. When we let apathy or hate lead our lives we forget principles of loving kindness. Without these principles, without our connection to others we tend to not care what happens. Without that caring we are destined to repeat history and perpetrate violence and injustice or remain quiet as violence and injustice are committed around us. There is nothing loving about violence or injustice. There is nothing virtuous or loving in remaining a silent witness to violence or injustice. Though we may not be able to prevent violence or injustice it is important to remember that we must never fail to protest it. For if we fail to protest and act with love then we have succumbed to the insidious nature of apathy and are doomed to be part of the evil we fear.
Hi, I'm Liz. I like to write about life and the wisdom I cull from it. I use words and images to inspire empathy and connection with each other and the world.