Would we read the instruction manual ?

 

There are many comedians throughout the world, that make a good living joking about human behaviour. No matter what language we speak or our cultural heritage,how we humans behave, can be down right funny.

Just like the old joke about men never asking for directions. They go miles out of their way rather than asking for help. Thank heavens there is gps these days. As long as they are willing to use it, that is,problem solved.

Equally as popular a subject ,would be building things without instructions. Oh there are instructions in the box,but clearly there is little to no reason to refer to them. I have read many instructions in my day, only to be scratching my head at the end of it, wondering if perhaps reading the Japanese version would somehow make more sense, even though I know absolutely no Japanese.

Men take most of the blame for this trait,when actually both genders do fall victim to not reading instructions more often than you would ever hear us admit to.

Back in the dark ages,before the invention of the internet there was such a thing as an encyclopedia. Revised each year, it was a group of hardcover books,that alphabetically listed key bits of information on a variety of subjects.Everything from geography to science, to little known facts, could be found within these pages. It had a little bit of knowledge about a lot of things .undoubtedly it was the point of reference for it’s time.

Modern times finds us scrolling through multiple websites on the computer to have our thirst for knowledge quenched. Even with the seemingly endless terabytes of information available on any subject imaginable. There is yet to be created, a human in depth owners manual. Each individual is it’s own unique model,so even if one was written, it could only at best, be generalities. We are all different,yet physically only 1 of 2 species male or female. That leaves billions of people muddling through life with no instruction book.

Imagine for a moment ,that such a book existed. There would be some people that might read it cover to cover.memorizing every chapter and verse. Could our brains even take it all in? The avid reader would plough through the pages in record time. I am just going to put it out there, that I believe,even with the best of intentions,the biggest majority of us would either read only the pertinent parts pertaining to a current situation or not even read it at all. In that case would it be because we are too busy enjoying life to stop and read it? Maybe it’s simply burying our head in the sand. Ignorance is bliss and all that. As for me I would read the book, take in what I could of it. Be somewhat overwhelmed by it. Then I would put the manual on the bookshelf where I know I could find it for future reference . It would likely sit there collecting dust. Until one rainy day by the fire, I would sit with my cup of tea,reading it again from the beginning. Spending time taking in the bits I had not absorbed the last time. There is one slight problem with this picture. I would read it, except for one small fact, no manual exists.if you came with an instruction manual would you read it or just hope for the best? Would you let other people read the book, or would you keep the contents secret. It’s all food for thought for today.

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Mental Health Day

With the help of social media,we can find out instantly what our friend has decided to wear or what’s cooking down the street for dinner, I might not need to know that,however it is there in my inbox,life as it happens.Does this mean we are connected more than ever with the world around us? Yes we might be connected electronically but as far as mentally,that could very well be something else entirely.

Today is Bell’s mental health day. What a fabulous gift to society, to open the dialogue about the state of our mental health. We all know someone or have first hand experience of calling in sick to work because we need a mental health day. The stresses of everyday life just get overwhelming. So we take time to decompress. Or we called in because we would rather be doing anything else on the planet than what we do to make a living.

With everyone talking or texting more than ever we talk about everything under the sun. At least you would think so. I would guess that one of the last things we would dream of talking about is mental health. Out of sight,out of mind. We think nothing of seeing a doctor about everything from ingrown nails to bad breath. We put the brakes on though when it is even suggested that we may not be coping. We focus on physical wellbeing and then often ignore mental wellbeing altogether. Is this because it is dangerously close to our own personal pilot lights I wonder?

The more mental health remains buried in the closet the more damage it is causing. Not just in this very moment but long term as well. Seeing a professional counsellor, psychologist or psychiatrist shouldn’t be taboo . It is just adding another healthcare professional to your wellness team. I say BRAVO for bringing them into your life.

No one seeks out help without first discovering there is a problem. If you have discovered that you need help, hats off to you for great detective work identifying that an issue exists.

Mental health is not just something to be left for the professionals alone. It takes everyone as the family of humanity to allow those dealing with issues of the mind to feel safe talking about it. By talking about it you just might discover that knowing what your friend is wearing isn’t nearly as important as knowing your friend feels accepted and can turn to you when the need arises.

Who has perfect health ?

Who has perfect health?

When we look at a toddler we see probably the most pristine picture of perfect health we are likely to find. They truly are a clean slate upon which they write their own story. 10 tiny fingers and toes, wriggling at will as they play.

As we explore the world as a child we often get into things that we have no idea will cause us problems. Emergency rooms worldwide, are full of youngsters with scrapes, or broken bones from just moving. We certainly haven’t learned at this point to sit still. We seem programmed to continually go, like the energizer bunny ,stopping only long enough to charge the battery and then go again.

As we age ,we might do the exact opposite and only sit. This too puts us back at the emergency room. This time with problems developed because we aren’t doing enough. The balance point between the two may be more along the lines of good but not perfect overall health.

How many times do we hear people say they can’t do something because they have a previously broken bone or ailment that won’t let them do what they are trying to do. Wether it’s from a sports injury, accident, or just moving incorrectly we all have health issues of some kind or another.

With surgery ,physiotherapy or something else entirely, we fight our way back to better health. I am going to suggest that most of us at that point, go back to life as we know it. We have survived the ordeal and are now back to life as we perceive it should be.

We go about our everyday lives ,not giving the injury another thought. Until the day comes that we suddenly can’t do something and wonder why that could possibly be. We get ourselves down to the Doctor’s office. When they refer back to the chart in front of them we are almost surprised to be reminded that the wrist injury is related to the car crash we had on vacation years ago, or some such thing.

We leave tell tale signs of our misadventures almost like a breadcrumb trail. We become the sum of our injuries. Our war wounds. So can we claim PERFECT HEALTH.

I was at my Doctor’s office recently, and I found myself thinking that, after all I have been through, do I even have the right to complain about any other ailments? If the latest affliction is not life threatening should I just be happy and learn to live with it? Knowing what I know now, am I as willing to accept the phrase that there is nothing we can do ,we don’t know what is causing the problems? If I had questioned that years ago would things have been the same for me or something entirely different. I shall never know.

We might all want perfect health ,but few people will have that for their entire lives. Going through school we always strive for the best grade. Sometimes we may miss A + by a percent or two. Sometimes it seems the best we can strive for is a strong B. With health, strive to be a high achiever but know your limitations. If you find yourself in the strong B category be proud of the work it took to achieve the B accept the outcome with grace and hold your head high. It may not be perfect health by definition but it feels pretty darn good none the less.

The greatest wealth is our health

We have probably all heard the phrase You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. What most of us fear loosing the most is our health. I question, if I lost my mind,would I know? I rather hope not. It would be far more frightening to have moments of being totally in control and know bit by bit my world was being robbed from me.

Watching someone tumble into the world of prescribed or illegal drug dependancy,along with endless doctor appointments is like watching an accident unfold in slow motion. You want to warn those you love,but you can only be a spectator.

That is the trouble,we can only be a spectator in everyone else’s life except our own. Sure we can have front row seats, to someone else’s life story. We may even be an advisor to one or two people along the way. We might get a guest starring role perhaps if we are blessed. At the end of the day the life for which we take the blame and credit in equal measure is our own.

When life goes according to plan we are pleased,more in control. Things are as they should be. What happens when it goes really sideways though. It is frightening to hear people give you news you are not mentally prepared to handle.

As you find influential medical professionals weighing in on your condition, you are riveted to their every word. You haven’t received their education,so they clearly know more than you do,right? When they say something you like,you want to believe them. If it is something you don’t like,you can almost hear your brain shutdown into self preservation mode.

Things that are genetic are your key ingredients that you begin your life with. Everything else is flavouring and decoration. When the genetic ingredients cause a predisposition to certain illnesses. It doesn”t make it any better to hear. It serves only to give you an explaination. It helps answer the all important question, I am this way because….

Genetic causes of bad health is only one component. What about environmental causes, or heaven forbid what if it is our own poor choices that have landed us at the mercy of the medical profession.

If given a choice we would all unanimously choose good health over illness, am I right? Why then do we as humans continue to knowingly make poor health choices and then want the medical community to put us back together.

I think the first time I was aware of that concept was when I as a young child would see people smoke. I fortunately have never been a smoker. I could not wrap my head around seeing people coughing and wheezing as they would take in their first nicotine enhanced breath. With the lungs fighting off the intruder they endured dizziness and nausea all in an attempt to say they smoked. Wether it was to lose weight or just look cool , the demon was invited in to take up residence. It is an individuals right to smoke, I get that, if it was so great though ,why do millions of people spend their lives trying to kick the habit.

I am proud of those that have fought and won the battle to quit smoking,alcohol,or drug addiction any personal demon in fact. As well as being proud of those that don’t give up on trying to give things up.

The war to get our health back is truly that, a war, complete with enemies and allies. If you can identify the enemy, and form strategic alliances with the good guys, you stand a chance of coming out the other side maybe a little bruised and shaken,but alive,victorious and ready to take on any other of life’s challenges.

A word of caution, when looking for signs of the enemy,one place people rarely look at,is at themselves. We may be hands down our own biggest enemy masquerading as the head cheerleader.

One thing though is certain, the price of ill health, emotionally, physically and yes even monetarily, is astronomical. Don’t give yourself that burden. Make as many positive lifestyle choices as you can. It’s your life to lose.

Mood Music

Music has the singular ability to bring us to tears,send shivers down our spine,or transfer us to another place and time entirely. Wether it’s listening to centuries old masters such as Mozart or Strauss. Led Zeppelin’s iconic Stairway To Heaven. classic Beatles,or more modern favourites like Taylor Swift and Adele. It is all a matter of personal preference.

When was the last time a song came on the radio or your MP3 that made you want to just move from your very inside out? For that instant, a phantom toe tap appears out of nowhere. Inexplicably taking control.

These same random arrangements of musical notes can remind us of our first love,a summer vacation or someone we have cherished and lost, Perhaps even all three. How can that be? One minute we are not thinking about anything in particular and then the next,all we can think about is our 15 year old selves at the school dance,being the best wallflower anyone has ever not seen.

Music written in the 1800 can be relevant to todays listener even though the composer knew nothing about computers,or such a thing as twitter and social media.

Growing up I was introduced to many styles of music. Classical,big band,musical theatre,classic rock and even songs of the Scottish highlands and marches of John Phillip Sousa were commonly played in our home.

You don’t have to love everything that is created musically, to understand how without effort,the right notes at the right time can make us one with the music. The effect is unlike anything I have ever known.

When I look at the musical score that would be the soundtrack of my life,for the most part, I cater my musical taste for the day ahead. If I want to be tranquil I might go with quiet reflective songs perhaps. If a gym adventure is in my future I might switch to something lively to get my body moving.

If you are sitting around listening to sad songs wondering why you are feeling down, may I suggest changing the song to something closer to the mood you want to be in. Give yourselves a few songs and you just might find yourself having the kind of day you wanted all along.

Ode to a solo bicycle ride

 

If they could see me now
Wheeling free
Feeling the cool breeze tingling my rosy cheeks

The strength of the human spirit realized.
I find myself back in another time
Another reality where
“No” reverberated at every turn,
Be happy being comfortable
It’s all you can hope for
Medicated numbness

Those crushing words
Trying to bury me alive.
Few dared to dream with me
But dream I would
For moments just like this

Whizzing along taking it all in
Sensory overload
Cars flying by
People sauntering with pets in tow
Nervous excitement

I have not settled for comfortable existence
I am fully alive
In this moment
Making memories
With every turn of the wheel

The cost of eating better

When I look at the current price of our fruit and vegetables,  I have an overwhelming urge to scream. You can literally buy enough pasta and garlic bread to feed an entire family for less than the cost of a small cauliflower. What has the world come to!

There are  hundreds of options filling the aisles of our local grocery shops to lure us into the culture of premade edibles. Take home, eat, and serve. If it came with a waiter and clean up staff , it would be a little slice of what many of us refer to as heaven.

A couple of years ago now , for health reasons,  I began reading the labels of the foods we were purchasing. What an education that was. I wish I was joking when I said the first time I did that,  it took over 90 minutes to do our basic weekly shopping. To this day I don’t know what a lot of the ingredients are , even after I have read them. Here I was obliviously indulging in all sorts of foods not even knowing what I was putting in my body.

Over the past 18 months, my body and I have gotten reaquainted. Do I still want some of the old comfort foods ? Heck yes, I am reading labels I haven’t become a superhero. Over the last few weeks I have adopted a more easily managaeable approach. IF IT HAS A LABEL THEN THAT IS A WARNING.

This brings me to the produce department. You don’t find warning labels on fruit and vegetables. The only thing you might get is a label saying organic. No further reading required. Fortunately I love almost all fruits and vegetables.

As I fill the basket with natures goodness, I find myself paying some hefty grocery bills. From time to time, I think to myself,should I cut back? It’s funny how we can justify the cost of a good cup of tea and a treat but question the cost of a kilo of delicious apples.

It comes to a matter of personal choice. I find myself somewhere firmly in the middle of the fast food epidemic, and consistently eating well. Each day I find myself nudging towards the good side with a little back stepping from time to time.

What keeps me focused most of all,is knowing what it felt like having fallen into the rabbit warren of ill health. How dangerous it is to spend time there.
I would imagine it would be similar to waiting for search and rescue at the top of a mountain in a snow storm. Not everyone has the training to rescue you.

When you have had someone that was willing to travel down the rabbit warren, rescue you, dust you off, then hand you back your life, You find yourself label free among the produce. I might not stock up on cauliflower but I will find lots of natures bounty to fill the grocery bags.