Friday, May 26, 2006

Simply Take Care of You

I get a newsletter "Simple Living" that is sooooo cool...below is an article from the latest issue.......just had to share......there is so much truth in it.....

Tomorrow I celebrate two years in remission from Lupus...two yrs of having my life back... Lupus took a lot away from me.....but it also gave me a gave me a perspective on life i wish i could bottle and gift to people. For a long time I've been searching for the right words to express what Lupus taught me. Some of the words for which I've been searching are in the article below, "Life is not a race. It’s an experience. It’s a miracle." Just as the lady who wrote the article below says....we all need to exhale and slow down at least 10%. Don't wait till an illness comes along and forces you to slow down......the anxiety in modern life is not's something we do to ourselves by the choices we make.

Consider this. For a time I ran a pulmonary patient education program at the hospital. Every morning the computer system would generate a list for me of folks who were admitted the previous day. Not long after I began receiving the admissions list I noticed something. Most days most of the admissions were due to health problems that were preventable!

In wellness coaching with folks (especially folks coping with chronic illnesses) I always tell them two things:
1. Don't let western medicine tell you wellness is not an option. There was a time when my life consisted of either being at work or being in bed resting so I could go to work. That was my life. Most days were, quite frankly, miserable. My docs referred to me as "unfortunate" and "steroid dependent". I am neither of those things today. You don't have to be a statistic either.
2. Take responsibility for your health ...."Change the things in your life you can change".

I can guarantee you this if you don't get serious about your wellness (and specifically about your nutrition) you will at some time be forced to get serious about your illness. Cos that is what you will be: ill.

All good things take effort. If you are serious about wellness you will change the things in your life you can change to positively affect your wellness. Nope, it's not easy to change your habits. It's not easy to change your diet. It's not easy to incorporate exercise into your daily routine. All good things take effort and discipline. And yes you need to spend some money on supplements. Even physicians are realizing the need for supplementation. There has even been an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) regarding the need for supplementation. I will say this; taking care of yourself does reduce the anxiety in your life. When you are truly taking care of yourself; you make better choices and your priorities change. Where are your priorities? It's so easy to be sucked up into the whirlwind of busy-ness....but what is really important. You are.

If you want to talk about what you can change in your life to enhance your wellness email me to set up a free 30 minute coaching session via telephone.

Someone helped me and I want to help you.

Wishing you Wellness and Joy!
Pam Murphy,B.S.,RRT
314-397-0686 CST

PS: ohhhhh and guess what I decided to do to celebrate my two yr remission anniversary tomorrow......I thought and thought about it. I wanted to do something special. Finally it came to me.... as you probably know I live on a lake....I'm going to take a pitcher of iced tea, my camera, a good book and a loaf of bread and go sit in my favorite parkbench on the boardwalk by the lake and feed the ducks and enjoy my book. That is special cos when my Lupus was active I couldn't be in the sun. It is priceless to me to have the freedom to sit in the sun. That's what wellness means to me......freedom.

I hope you enjoy the article below from the Simple Living newsletter...........

She Did It!
Eat, Pray, Love

I love seeking out people who live life on their own terms, and Elizabeth Gilbert just might take the cake. She shares her amazing journey in her book, Eat, Pray, Love. What a story! What a life!

Elizabeth’s story begins on her bathroom floor where, for the 47th consecutive night, she sobbed so hard “that a great lake of tears and snot was spreading before me on the bathroom tiles, a veritable Lake Inferior (if you will) of all my shame and fear and confusion and grief.” Elizabeth was heading for a divorce, and, ultimately, to a deeply personal journey to recapture her soul.
After reading Elizabeth’s book and engaging in a long, wonderful conversation with her, I now understand her raw emotions during that difficult time in her life.

I also understand how much influence society has on us to behave in certain ways, and how easy it is to fall prey to these forces. I know how meaningless life can seem when you live without reflection and don’t take time to know yourself deeply. And I understand just how gut wrenching it is to untangle yourself from all of these expectations when you finally take the time to know yourself.

This is exactly what happened to Elizabeth.

Her Story Is Everybody’s Story

In some ways, Elizabeth’s story is yours, mine, and everybody’s. She had done what many of us do—she started out following her heart and soul, but then began paying more attention to society and the media. I did the same thing years ago, and it wasn’t until I discovered simplicity that I was able to find my way back. So, I can definitely relate.

For Elizabeth, it was simply expected that in her late 20s, she would get married and live the traditional American dream—so she did. It’s hard to march to a different tune when societal messages are so strong and coming at you from all directions. That was just one of the reasons her marriage came to an end.

She explains, “My marriage had many reasons for ending, but what was so suffocating to me was the relentless accumulation and acquisition that seemed to come inevitably with American marriage.

“There is sort of an autopilot response—you get married and you have very little and then you start to accumulate automatically. Mortgages, cars, furniture, appliances, and designer hammers. There was really nothing we didn’t have and so I found it very suffocating and very shocking that we were making money but not having any. The only commodity we didn’t have and couldn’t buy was time and space. We had gotten sucked into that whole cycle of acquisition, work, and stress.”

Before marriage, Elizabeth had been a traveler. She used to work as a waitress and bartender for six months at a time, living a “very small life” while saving money. Once she saved enough money, she would travel around the world for another six months, then repeat the process over again.

After marriage, she ultimately worked her way into a better paying position in magazine publishing, but she didn’t feel much satisfaction.
She says, “There I was, 30 years old, making a lot of money and I didn’t have a dime or a free week to do anything like what I used to do at 23. I was appalled and deeply offended by that. I remember thinking, ‘Wait a minute, what’s happening? Why are we working so hard? For what?’”

Yearning for a Bigger, Smaller Life

Elizabeth began her incredible journey after her divorce. Having gone through a tough, depressing time, she knew she needed to rejuvenate her soul.
At that point a published author, she was able to convince her book publisher to let her use her author’s advance to fund a 12-month soul searching trip—four months in Italy immersing herself in pleasure, four months in India at an ashram praying and meditating, and four months in Bali learning love, balance, and harmony.

Elizabeth left America mired in self-hatred and taking antidepressants to get through the day. But she came back a year later with true love for herself and no need for medication. She also returned with a deep, heartfelt devotion to simplicity. I applaud Elizabeth for the intensely hard work she did to clear out her emotional demons.

On the last leg of her journey in Bali, Elizabeth met her partner, a Brazilian named Felipe. They live now in a small rental house in Elizabeth’s hometown of Philadelphia.
“I don’t own a house now, purposely,” she says. “I’m a renter, and I’m really happy with that. It’s a sense of freedom. I know it flies in the face of convention because we’ve really wrapped into our lives the idea that security equals home ownership. I think for a lot of people, home ownership does equal security. If you have a family and you’re attached to a certain place and have deep roots, I think that can be a very nice way to live. But it’s not me. As I’ve gone around the country, I’ve found that there are a lot of people who have all of those things, but have the same questions I did—they are not sure they want all of this.

“Security to me is freedom. The most light my life can be is the most secure I feel.”
Elizabeth also makes it a habit to practice the same kind of simplicity she did while traveling. She knows that it is her salvation and her ticket to the life that she loves. “I live by the same rule that I have for my backpack, which is if anything new comes in, you have to get rid of something of equal weight. That’s how I keep my life very simple.

“I don’t live a Spartan life—it’s a really sweet little house. It has just what we need. We have a bed, a couch, and a nice rug. There’s a lot of pretty artwork on the walls, but not a lot of clutter elsewhere. It’s also very easy to leave. If we want to go to another country, we just lock up the door and go. It affords us enormous liberty. We have a small house and a big world. It’s exactly what I was longing for in the last days of my marriage—I longed for a bigger, smaller life.”

Elizabeth acknowledges that it’s an effort to live the way she does now. “It means constantly pushing against the full frontal assault of what the entire American culture is based on, which is this massive consumer economy and all the advertising dollars that are put behind that,” she explains.
“I think what happens in people’s lives is that they go on autopilot. It’s not just about the stuff we’re told to buy, but there’s also a very powerful, not even very hidden agenda about the person you need to be and what you need to have accomplished and acquired by each age. For instance, I did a book reading in Texas and a girl in the audience raised her hand and said ‘There’s something wrong with me that I’m 24 and not married yet.’

“To not buy into these types of ideas means constant vigilance. The constant vigilance is weighing what they are selling against what you really want. Do you really want this season’s perfect raincoat in three colors?

“I have to say that when I tell people what I’m doing with my life, they seem to want it. So I think there’s a real yearning for bigger, smaller lives.”

Life-Saving Lessons in India

Elizabeth had been meditating and following a spiritual path before she left on her year-long journey, but gained light years of insight when she spent four months living in an ashram in India, meditating silently for hours and hours every day.

She says, “I had some very transcendent experiences there that anyone would have if they sat down for four months and went deep inside. But the most lasting things were all of those hours I spent by myself in silence and the new contract that I drew up with myself. The contract is of nonviolence toward me. It’s not easy. As everybody who has sat in meditation knows, all of those hours come to self-hatred pretty quickly because you see the workings of your mind, and it is so disappointing. You see all of your memories and all of your failures, and all of your disappointments. You see all of your grievances, grudges, and petty desires. It’s a pretty ugly scene.

“But when I stayed with meditation, the most important piece for me was not those couple of seconds of divine transcendence that I felt. It was the months of work that made me break down and get to this deeper part of my heart that was finally able to say ‘I will not harm you. I’m here to look after you and I love you, and I will treat you with compassion and respect.’ That is what I took home from India. That’s the most important thing from my journey—my holy grail that I won’t let me hurt me.

“From that place of nonviolence toward myself, it’s a lot easier to be compassionate toward everybody else. The hardest person to forgive and embrace is yourself, because you know what a jerk you are! It’s easier to forgive other people because you don’t see their horrors the way you see your own when you are in silence for four months.”

Living an Artist’s Life

Elizabeth adores her simple life because it enables her to live more of an artist’s life.
She and Felipe never go out to dinner because they enjoy cooking so much. Their only argument is in the kitchen, over who gets to cook. They have one inexpensive car, a Toyota, and love staying home and walking in the woods. It’s the perfect environment for her regular meditation.
“Meditation is still a big part of my life,” she says, “but I don’t try to live like I’m in an Indian ashram. I’ve freed myself from the tyranny of discipline of hard-core expectations. There’s such heavy expectations on Americans…how rigidly that perfection, accomplishment, competition, and achievement is demanded of us. It’s endless. Everyone seems to be stuck in its jaws.
Along with these types of unrealistic expectations, Elizabeth is also concerned about the huge amount of stress most Americans endure. “There’s an enormous amount of stress that people are asked to consider normal—it’s really an intense culture. Before I left, when I was living in New York City, I couldn’t really see it. But now, living with a South American, he’s always asking, ‘what’s with these people?’

“It’s funny that whenever I’m in New York City now, I can see it as the pulsing center of world stress. I’m sure it leaks through every strata of society wherever people are trying to be successful. Felipe was watching the hectic pace the other day and said you can see it in their faces when they’re walking. In the suburbs, you see it in their driving patterns.
“He said, ‘I just can’t help believing that if everyone made an agreement to bring the frenetic level down 10 percent, it wouldn’t change productivity...if everyone could just exhale and slow down by 10 percent. How much of that anxiety is really necessary?’”

Do You Have to Add Anxiety to the Shopping List?

“That’s a question I ask myself when I’m getting sucked in—when I’m in a rush and I feel my chest grip,” Elizabeth explains. “How much of this stress and adrenalin is necessary? Is there a way to bring it down a little? Do you have to add anxiety to the shopping list? Will it get the shopping done any faster? Do you really need to be buying what you’re buying?
“I think this is more what I noticed people in other countries don’t do. But granted, it would be difficult to find a culture more different from the U.S. than Bali. It’s something they understand as a culture, very deeply, that life is simply not a race. It’s an experience. It’s a miracle. It’s a tradition. It’s a lot of things, but it’s not a race or a competition.

“When I see people walking down the streets of cities listening to their iPods, with everyone rushing, trying to beat the next light, I see this human animal that’s turned into an adrenalin-pumping machine. Of course everybody is stressed and medicated—you need to be to come down from that.

“Instead of people unthreading their lives to figure out why they are so unhappy, exhausted, depleted, they go out and get a prescription. I’m not at all against antidepressants because I think they are miraculous drugs. But our brain chemistry is very influenced by our external and internal environment.

“I like the idea of people increasingly trying to create safe, clean, healthy environments for themselves. That’s harder than taking a pill. It means doing a lot of work. I did a lot of work on myself. It was a huge renovation project, but it’s possible.”

Stillness Is a Necessity

So how can you follow in Elizabeth’s amazing path? It’s all about finding space in your life for what’s important.
She says, “I ask people to see if they can carve out of the grid of their lives a small space of stillness. Whether that’s a physical space like a room, or a temporal space like 20 minutes, allow yourself the necessity (in America we call it luxury, but it’s really a necessity) to ask yourself in as much quietness as you can find, what you really want.

“It’s hard to find the answer when you’re being bombarded with images telling you what you should want. Then slowly, piece by piece, see if you can permit yourself to build, as closely as possible, what you want.”

Elizabeth sums up her year, “I got what I was looking for on my journey. It was to find a way to take total custodial responsibility for my own life.
“I feel free.”
You can read about Elizabeth and her work by visiting her Web site,

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