Dee's Blog
Fri 05/16/2008
Confucius Says
Topic: Health Choices

"Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it." This is saddest when the person failing to see is looking inward, taking stock and feeling that there is nothing worth preserving.  Look deeply.  If what you see in yourself is not absolutely beautiful, ask someone you know what you are missing.

Soon you'll find yourself soaring--perhaps further than you've ever been in your life!

Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 12:01 AM CDT
Mon 10/15/2007
Nurturing the Structure
Topic: Health Choices

The trick is to nurture the structure.  Let it be your calming force. 

The vast majority of life, with healthy people, is devoted to establishing and maintaining structure.  This means healthy habits.  Things as basic as sleep, grooming, nutrition, exercise, and work.  All of it laced with fun and happiness, whenever possible. 

Kids, of course, would like to have all of life being fun and irresponsibility.  Forget the boring stuff!  So parents have to find ways of coaxing their offspring into experiencing delight and intrinsic rewards in the tasks that are required for structure.

Hopefully, as we mature, we learn to build fun into the habits of routine, wherever possible.  Watch a healthy bunch of senior citizens with health challenges and disabilities.  You'll find them doing just this.

I noticed that even in Africa, where things seem to be extremely routine and basic needs hard to come by, people are amazingly good at this.  Singing and dancing just permeate the culture, with such meaning!  All without instruments, most of the time. 

In the Western world, especially in the United States, we seem to require gadgets to save us from the "drudgery" of the structure.  I know:  I had to wash for a few months with a ringer washer in Africa, before my automatic arrived.  I thought it was just awful while any African would have considered that ringer a luxury!  Most of them never saw a rubboard, like the one my grandmother used when I was very small, leaning over her bathtub to do the laundry--and, in case, you haven't seen one lately, you'll find one in most garden-variety museums (go ask if you don't get the picture immediately). 

The second trick to finding fulfillment in life, beyond basic health, is not so much searching for ways to save our atrophied muscles or brains from further development.   It's in learning to sometimes create the chaos.

No, I'm not contradicting myself.  Think on these things.

Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 8:34 AM CDT
Sun 10/14/2007
Structure or Chaos
Topic: Health Choices

AS we examine our personal timelines, each of us will find times when we were healthier--physically, emotionally, spiritually, intellectually, and socially than at other times.  Hopefully, we are healthier today than ever before in our lives.  If so, chances are we've learned something about structure. 

"Old things are passed away.  Behold all things are become new."  Those words don't just apply to the once-and-for-all Christian conversion, taught by staunch evangelicals.  They are applicable every time we have a transformation in our lives, a transformation that allows for a major spiritual revelation to enter the realm of old, rigid realities that we may have held onto for years. 

Many of you grew up, as I did, in a family that thrived on chaos.  One thing I've noticed about such families (and other institutions) is that most seem to get more chaotic with each passing year. 

Eventually, those who have differentiation--you know, the ones that know how to be individuals who can stand on their own feet--are forced to pull away for self-preservation, moving into other circles, where there is a sense of peace.  Ideally, many peole have their needs for connection met in churches, professional organizations, by neighbors or civil groups. 

The opposite of chaos is structure.  Not necessarily rigidity, though many people confuse structure and rigidity.  Structure, laced with flexibility, allows for growth and development.  Structure allows us to have security and a degree of predictability so that real crises are more easily handled.   Structure provides us with a sense of self.  It gives direction, so that we do not have to stop and think about every move we make.

Chaos seems to be preferred by many people.  Since crises seem to be all that keeps them feeling alive!  It also keeps participants from having to make vital decisions that will produce long-term results.  After all, when you live in chronic crisis, there's no time to think beyond the next few hours.

Maybe that's why people who live in chronic chaos consider everything to be a crisis.  Yet the real crises are ignored or denied.  They thrive on adrenaline, in a state of hypervigilance so that anything less is considered boring. 

If a healthy person walks into such a situation and begins voicing observations or solutions that would easily calm the system down, hold the most chaotic accountable, and force people to look at the truth, the messenger's speaking BECOMES the crisis, a crisis that suddenly is at a higher decibal than usual!   In fact, that's exactly what happens in collusion.

The nursing profession cannot function well without structure.   Neither can you nor I, as individuals.  Structure is efficient.  Healthy, too.  Even when it seems to be so ordinary.

Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 12:01 AM CDT
Fri 10/12/2007
Topic: Health Choices

Learning to cope with new realities requires that we turn down the volume for some music in our heads, even as we increase volume on what we most want to hear. It also necessitates breaking old habits in how we think or spend time. It’s possible to fall into new sets of bad habits, as we attempt to cope with the trauma and stress of violence, abuse, and collusion, even as we are working to establish functional ones.

In January’s Good Housekeeping, Dr. Phil said that we really don’t break old habits. We just replace them.

When I was a kid, most New Year’s resolutions were centered on character issues. That was before the greatest mortal “sins” became boredom, and pain, and obesity--all to be avoided if we are to have this ideal world that we find so elusive. Amazing how priorities can change in one lifetime!

Seems the greatest resolution most want to tackle in western cultures today is the hard work of getting the scale to move in a southerly direction. While most of the world’s population--the ones who can’t afford a computer or even the electricity to run it--are struggling to get enough to keep the scale from going that way! In our narcissism, we complain about our boring diets, never stopping to think that we might be able to change the world if we poured half as much creative energy into reflecting on ways to solve the economic inequities and social injustices that cause starvation. Instead our efforts go into “disciplining“ ourselves to put up with a calorie-restricted, boring diet along with finding motivation to leave behind the remote control and forwarded e-mails so we can get out and discover some magical ways to burn calories in our leisure time. Fun ways, of course!

As you go about your routine this weekend, please take time to think about your own health priorities and the well-being of others not so fortunate. If being free from physical disease is the first thing that pops into your mind when you think of the word “health,” maybe you can explore ways to broaden the meaning and identify some healthy habits you’d like to establish, to replace some of the old ones that have you in a rut.

Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 12:01 AM CDT

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