Hope Wissel, Recovery

Peace Within

Hi blog followers….. I still haven’t figured out the road I want to take with my blog but this was on my heart today…,  Are you wondering “how can she did she get peace within”? LOL.  I have been wondering the same question.

I have 21 months clean today. I have a calmness I haven’t felt in a REALLY long time.  Is everything perfect in my life?  NOPE!  Honestly, what in life is perfect?  The difference has been my daily practice of the first three NA steps .Actually, I am grateful for a strong third step which says “We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him”.

On those moments I’m alone at home or driving in the car admiring the beauty of the sky, I think about how peaceful life has become.  I am grateful for my relapse. No, I am not grateful for the pain and heartache it caused. BUT it has helped me in so many ways to really appreciate the gift of life.  It has helped me to put my life with MS in perspective and not let it control me.

Over the last few weeks, I have been blessed with a clear head and vey little brain fog.  I have completed physical and occupational therapy – actually graduated out because I was doing so well. YEAH!!  Planning our vacation in April.  Clearing out the clutter so we can put the condo on the market by early summer.  Creating new angel designs.  Tracking my food even though the scale doesn’t seem to be moving much.  Sadly, I had to find a new sponsor which has its growing pains.  LOL. I am taking it one day at a time and enjoying whatever life brings.

Whether you are in recovery or not, here are some simple steps to help you find peace within…

Stop Thinking about Your Past. … 

I will admit for me this is a little easier than for most.  I don’t remember a lot of things –  thank you MS.  I have let go of the “woulda, coulda, shoulda” kind of thinking.  I have stopped beating myself up for the mistakes I made which I can’t change.  Yes, I have regrets.  Yes, I get sad about broken relationships. Yes, the pain and heartache I caused is in my thoughts.  The difference is, I don’t focus on them.  I have faith relationships will be healed.  Definitely not in my time but when God sees fit to make it happen (I will be ready).  I stop focusing on the past and am enjoying the moment of today.

Don’t Push Yourself Hard for Something. …

As not only a recovering addict BUT also a recovering workaholic, this can be tough.  MS has taught me many things – don’t push yourself too hard because you will crash and burn (okay, not literally).  Do I still have goals?  Yup.  The difference now is I am enjoying the journey and where it takes me.  See, God has a plan for my life (and yours) so why not just let it unfold.  This can be rough for a planner (an old grant writing habit).  You can still set goals but don’t push so hard you forget about….

Spend Quality Time with Loved Ones.

Loved ones can be family, friends or someone who are important in your life.  I am learning to enjoy the quiet times. Don’t get me wrong, I always enjoyed spending time with loved ones.  The difference is NOW I am in the moment focusing on them and our time together.  I no longer am thinking about the next thing I need to do.  I am grateful for time with hubby – looking forward to his retirement.  I am grateful for the days (not as many as I would like) I get to spend with momma.  I am grateful for the time spent with my fellow women in recovery.  Are there some I don’t get to spend quality time with?  YUP!  Do I mess them?  ABSOLUTELY!  Still I am at peace.  I can’t control others so fix, managing and controlling everything is a quality I have learned to let go of (there are still some days – LOL). I know in time, the day will come when I will get to spend quality time with ALL my loved ones.

Lastly, focus your attention on those things you can control. …

I have always been a peacekeeper, really “a people pleaser”.  I stuffed my feelings when they didn’t agree with what others thought or did.  I tried to fix, manage and control things.  It was how I hid my feelings as well as my addiction.  If I am focusing on others, I didn’t have to think about me. YIKES!  It used to scare the hell out of me.  I didn’t know who I was.  I didn’t like me.  NOW, I am grateful for being able to look inside and see me (most days).  Yes, there are still days I don’t ‘like myself.  There are days the number on the scale makes me crazy despite my best efforts.  The difference is now, I focus on the things I can control.  I watch what I eat  since eating healthier makes me feel better despite the scale.  I talk to others when those inner gremlins creep in instead of stuffing them behind a closed door.  I wake up asking for guidance and go to sleep being grateful for the day.

A long post but I know in my heart someone needed to hear it.  Have a blessed day!

 

Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday: Focus

Today I am thankful for having focus….

Life with MS can be difficult – not usually physically for me but mentally.  Focus is defined as “a center of activity, attraction“. On any given day brain fog makes focusing on anything next to impossible.

Since stopping my Co-paxone (the doctor said it wasn’t helping with the change in diagnosis), I find I am having more days where I can focus.  On those days Negative Nellie and Doubtful Debbie pay a visit and I don’t need to tell you what happens then.  A mini-pity party starts and NOTHING gets done.

Some days, I loose focus because I try to get too much done in one day.  Sometimes I just wake up in a fog.  I keep a list in my planner and am grateful I am able to tick off more things getting done.  I love seeing the pink highlighter line meaning I have completed a task.  Some days I squirrel.  Yup, I have a plan and then get side tracked by something else.  Now, it could be something which also needs to be done BUT instead of being grateful to get another task done,  I look at the fact I am behind schedule.  Tell me I am not alone, right?

I listened to a John Maxwell program where Les Brown talked about focusing on what we have and not what we don’t have.  When we do this, we will get more done.  WOW!  What a way to change perspective.  Instead of thinking about all of the things I don’t get done and how behind I am – cleaning, errands, making phone calls, creating new angels, shipping orders, following up with customers, etc. You get the picture right?

I need to STOP and think… I am blessed to have customers to call, people who want to place orders, the ability to create things and a space to do all of this in.  The truth is the more I focus on the negative, the worse things get.  So I have asked Negative Nellie and Doubtful Debbie to leave. I am ready to restart my day with a change in my focus.

I never lose sight of my overall goals but when I focus on what I don’t have versus what I do have, they seem unattainable.  Life may toss you a load of lemons but it is what you do with them that makes the difference.  Will you make lemonade and share with everyone or will you grumble about the fact that it takes too much time and energy to make the lemonade?

What are you focusing on this morning – what you have or what you don’t?  Change your focus and see what happens.

Have a blessed day!

 

Unclutter Your Life

What Matters Right Now?

For some reason this year, the holidays have me STUCK!  We have all been there from time to time, right?  I’m an emotional mess.  There is a multitude of reasons (or maybe excuses) I could give but the truth is I am stuck and struggling to reach goals – personally, professionally and financially.

Whether it’s a relationship problem,  a work challenge, a financial habit (good or bad) or a health dilemma……inevitably on the path to our goals, something gets in our way.  It is weird how this has hit me during the holidays.  As I reflect on the past year which was filled with LOTS of challenges and look forward to the new year, I am trying to put things in perspective.

I’m trying to get unstuck AGAIN!  Yup, unfortunately it happens more than once year for me and I’m sure for others too.  My focus gets pulled in a million directions.  My goals start to look unobtainable.  My emotions get jumbled and I am an emotional mess.  I often want to blame it on the MS but the truth is, I used to get like this BEFORE the diagnosis came along.  Time to take responsibility and face the fact I let everything and everyone influence me which causes me to lose my focus.  I play the comparison game despite my best efforts to squash those inner gremlins.  Comparison will not only steal your JOY but it will also have you wondering about “what really matters most?”.

I know, why am I rambling on about this, right?  The truth is there is ONE powerful question which always helps me.  When I find myself overwhelmed, distracted or bombarded with requests or life’s chaos, I stop and ask myself a simple question.  It usually helps me to regain my focus and use your time better:

What really matters right now?

It sounds so simple, right?  It is not as easy as it seems.  This simple, but perspective-shifting question can help you to get unstuck in the most common challenges of everyday life. There are times when the noise in my head is so great, even this one question is difficult to answer. During those times I stop and repeat the Serenity Prayer.   It has saved me more than once over the years when life became unglued.  It helps to focus my thoughts and THEN I can ask the question of “what really matters right now?”.  Staying focused in the present has actually been a blessing to me reaching my goals.

You may need to set a reminder on your phone – once an hour, twice a day or whatever works for you (or however often you need it).   Get into the habit of pausing and choosing what really matters right now. When you do, you’ll find your days more productive, your stress lowered and your time used well.  And in the end, you will find you have reached the goals you have set for yourself – short and long term.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Unclutter Your Life

Want to Reach Your Goal?

I know you are wondering WHY are we talking about reaching our goals when the year is almost over, right?  We set our New Year’s Resolutions and are closing in on the end of the year……….have you reached any of your goals or did you ditch them about three months into the year?  I actually do two sets of goals – yes, I am a glutton for punishment.  LOL.  The first ones are on New Years and they are usually more about me personally.  Then in June, I set my business goals because this is when the fiscal year for Thirty One starts.  It actually is a good time for me to reflect on my personal goals too and jumpstart them if it is needed – which it usually is.
Sometimes, reaching our goals isn’t just about knowing what steps to take. It is more about how we handle the discouragement, the fear and the stumbles on the way to our goal. I don’t know about you but when those bumps in the road come, I am usually ready to call it quits but there are times when I persevere.  What’s the difference in those times?  It is mostly about my willingness to face the obstacles and overcome them.  There must be something to it because research shows most successful people actually think differently on the path to success – and their mental toughness helps them to be resilient in the face of frustrations and obstacles.
Here are some ways to boost your chances of reaching your goals…

 

1. Know your “why” and be specific.

We talk about this ALL of the time.  The truth is purpose will fuel perseverance. When you have a strong “why” behind your goal;  you are more likely to stick with it when the going gets tough.  The more specific you are, the more obvious your action steps become. Vague goals will produce vague results.

2. Plan it on your calendar.

Have a realistic plan to achieve your goals.  Pull out your calendar.   Block time (whether 15 minutes for a small goal or a whole day for a big goal) to brainstorm how you will achieve the goal and plan your timeline.  You schedule medical appointments, maybe even gym time and other activities – why not schedule time to plan and implement the steps to reach your goal.  Identify potential obstacles and figure out a plan to help you avoid them.  Identify and put in place the things you will need to reach your goal.  Is it a healthier grocery shopping list? An automatic withdrawal from your paycheck so you can boost your savings by 25%? No matter what it is, plan for it so it will happen.

3. Clarify what needs to change AND be honest with yourself.

Do you know why most people fail to reach a goal?  They underestimate what it takes to reach it.  The bigger the goal, the bigger the commitment. “I want to work out three time a week” is a good start, but when? What will need to change to make time for this goal?  Most of all be honest with what has held you back from reaching this goal in the past.  Fill in the blank of this statement, “I hate to admit it, but ….”  Now, make a goal to address the BUT!   For example, instead of saying, “I’m going to lose weight,” the goal becomes, “I’m going to find healthy ways to cope with my stress/insecurity/anxiety other than eating.”

4. Make it fun.

Have you ever noticed when you have positive emotions, you feel better?  Research shows positive emotions have lots of health benefits. Positive emotion can help you set better goals, see more options to get to the goal and persevere in the face of adversity.  Why not ask a friend to join you, take a class or join a group focused on the goal, and brainstorm ideas for making it fun or creating a game out of it.  When you work together, you can encourage each other on those tough days.

5. Give yourself permission to be imperfect.

Okay, this is probably the hardest thing for me to do!  What about you?  Perfectionism is actually rooted in fear – fear we’re not good enough,  fear mistakes are the end of the world, and falling down means never getting back up.  Does this sound like you?  Buying into fear means you are less likely to ever get started.  Give yourself a break!  It is okay to make mistakes and stumble on the way to your goal.  Then when it happens, simply ask:  What is the lesson for me to learn? What will I do differently next time? Use your failures and mistakes as learning tools.

6. Pinpoint the milestones and how you’ll celebrate.

Anticipation is a happiness trigger. It produces positive emotion which keeps you moving forward. Rather than having just one big milestone – the finish line – create multiple milestones along your journey to the goal. Plan for them along the way.  Treat yourself when you hit one.  Most of all, be sure to share the milestones with people who will celebrate along with you.

7. Fear is inevitable, but it’s not a stop sign.

The biggest obstacle to creating meaningful goals and taking consistent steps forward is fear. Refuse to stop just because fear rears its ugly head. Instead, question your fear. Ask, “Well, what if that happens? What will I do then?” Push through your fear by being brave enough to face it, imagine it and make a plan to handle it.

Whether you are trying to finish off the year by reaching one of your New Year’s Resolutions or are already planning for the New Year, these steps will help you to reach your goal.  Share you goal with us, let us celebrate your milestones and encourage you when you hit the bump in the road.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

 

Unclutter Your Life

The Last 90 Days…

 

SURPRISE!!!  This is not about the actual past 90 days but about how I plan to do things differently in the next 90 days so I can end the year on a different note…

If you haven’t heard of Rachel Hollis yet, you must be living under a rock!  LOL!  I am reading her book “Girl Wash Your Face” again and loving it!  I was introduced (not personally) to this amazing women by my pink bubble sisters and I have to say, I wasn’t sure I could jump on the bandwagon…. WHY?

Damn MS has taken a lot of my processing abilities away along with my memory!
Occasionally, I get glimpses into the mind I once had, when things seem to be clicking again. These moments are reminders of a time (since passed) when my cognitive abilities got me  through grant writing, managing a non-profit, being a single mom and creating programs to help make a difference in the lives of others.  I was blessed to have those abilities and be able to share them with others.  Now, after years (yup memory loss has been going on for about 5 years) of battling with cognitive dysfunction (a fancy term for memory loss) because of Multiple Sclerosis, I have fewer moments when my brain feels like it’s clear and working like it did.  Of all of the symptoms I’ve experienced because of MS, the loss of memory is the the one which bothers me the most.

So what does all of this have to do with the last 90 days?  Instead of focusing on what should of, would of or could have happened, I’m taking baby steps into being the best me I can be right now!

I have told myself countless lies which I actually started to believe them about being less then and not deserving of good things.  WHY?  Because those nasty inner gremlins of my past addictive personality were raging their ugly head.  I couldn’t see the good happening around me because the trees of negativity were growing fast and furious.

Instead of beating myself up on the days I can’t get things done, I am embracing the things I can get done.  Some days, it is just getting up, taking a shower and plopping in the chair watching mindless TV.  Then there are days when I am awake at 4:30AM, ready to ride the stationary bike for a half hour before getting into my office to get to work.  Really, it does happen!

So, when the #last90day challenge was issued by my pink bubble sister, Hope Shortt, during a leadership call – I JUMPED in.  Not literally because I was filled with fear and doubt.  As others expressed their fears, I knew we could overcome them if we banded together – set goals and cast the vision out into the universe.

As you can tell, today is a good day!  The brain is running at full speed and I am rambling on about things which hopefully will help someone else.  I need to remember to not worry about tomorrow, and to stay in the moment.  I need to not kick myself with regrets for things not done yesterday, I need to stay in the moment.

My cognitive problems can either be my demise or I can consider them a blessing.  Honestly, there are days I beat myself up, apologize profusely and wallow on the pity pot because of my cognitive problems.  As I reflect on why I stopped working in a job I loved, the truth is the struggles were taking a toll on my health.  Could I admit it then, nope!  Who would have thought the memory problems I was having were related to the lesions on my brain?  Let alone end in a diagnosis of MS.

I am learning to embrace the  “fog” in my head when it happens.  Working my own business allows for those days.  I have moments when I’m not thinking clearly or logically (some would wonder if I ever did).  I do puzzles and games on those days to help stimulate my brain to think differently.  There are days when things flow smoothly – yup, it happens, but it’s unpredictable.

For the #last90days, I’m going to try each day to be a better version of ME.  I’m not going to get frustrated when getting interrupted means completely losing my thought process or what I’m doing. I will embrace my GPS even when I think I should know where I am going (yup, I forget directions).  I will stop thinking of the person who excelled at multitasking and embrace the person who sometimes can’t even have another sound in the background when trying to work or write.

Yup, I squirreled (maybe even a lot) but the whole idea is about making a change in the last 90 days of 2018!  Why is it so important?  Because when I set my goals at the start of 2019, I want to know I am already on my way to reaching them.  It is time to kick it up a notch to finish the year strong, meeting the goals I set in January 2018 so 2019 does not look like a repeat of 2018.

So, who wants to join me on the #last90days?  Don’t worry about the big goals, work on just these 5 things:

  1. Get up an hour earlier than you normally do and use this time for YOU!
  2. Workout at least 30 minutes
  3. Drink half your body weight in water
  4. Give up ONE food category you shouldn’t be eating
  5. Write down 10 things you are grateful for each day

When you do these things, you will be amazed at the difference in makes in your life.  Have faith and JUMP into this journey with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!