Monday, November 22, 2010

Happy blog-iversary

I started blogging The Conscious Diabetic a little over a year ago on November 2, 2009. The experience of writing this blog has been incredibly rewarding and I am really excited to share about it with you.

Some bloggers share the amount of visits they’ve had on their blog-iversary (around 2,600), which has its importance. Why write if people aren’t reading? And I actually spent much of the first few months writing this blog very focused on that.

What I've found over the past year though is that I've gained much more than numbers of visitors. This blog has helped me live more consciously – as a diabetic and also as a human being living with diabetes. This has all happened because of you - the visitors. I've gotten to know and connect with many of you and deepened connections that already existed.

As a diabetic…

I went from a 6.8 A1C to a 6.4 over the past year, and I do believe that I have this blog in part to thank. Writing the blog has caused me to reflect on how I care for myself. I pay more attention to diabetic news, and I’m much more aware of what’s happening in the field. I also feel accountable – diabetically as well as consciously – to you. To be a positive voice on maximizing self-care.

I’ve also had the opportunity to meet other bloggers, read their posts, and learn from them – my fellow bloggers in the on-line diabetic community. Bloggers such as Amy T of DiabetesMine, Kelly Kunik from Diabetiliciousness, Scott Johnson of Scott’s Diabetes Journal, Karen of Bittersweet, and Keri Sparling of Sixuntilme have shared their experiences, many times with humor, as well as relevant information, including reviews on new products, that have helped me grow as a conscious diabetic.

I also raised money, for the first time in my life, for the American Diabetes Association Step-Out walkathon. I fundraise for a living, working for a non-profit, but it had never dawned on me before I started blogging to raise money for diabetes. When I received information on the walk, I felt inspired and compelled to advocate for people living with diabetes. Together, we raised $500 for a very good cause, and I’m incredibly proud. Thank you!

As a human being with diabetes…

I have taken accepting my diabetes to a new level. This blog has inspired me, and sometimes forced me, to look at myself and the life I’m living as a lesson, as a way to grow, as a way to be more conscious. So that I have something to write, talk, and share about with you. I’ve gone to meditation and yoga centers, read books and articles, tried acupuncture, journaled, and done all sorts of stuff on the quest to becoming more aware of who I am and accepting what life has to offer. Taking the cards we’ve been dealt – and thriving in it.

I have also met many new people, re-connected with people I haven’t spoken to in a while, and developed deeper connections with those already in my life through this blog. The topics have inspired conversations, e-mails, and comments. It's meant a lot to me, and I hope it continues.

I have you to thank for all of this. You keep me writing, and so you keep me growing. I would not be driven to accomplish all of these things, to try and learn new conscious-inspiring things, if it wasn’t for you, the readers.

Happy blog-iversary to us!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Tis the season to wear sweats, or not?

Halloween has ended; Thanksgiving’s on the way. The days are shorter, and the leaves are falling off trees. This is the time of year that I pull out my sweatpants and vegge out in front of the TV.

For the past month, my life has been about work, sleep, eating, and watching TV.

And I’ve felt that something is missing. I miss me.

The real me - the person who is active, goes out and about, meditates, gets creative, and loves to be around others and chat about anything under the sun. The summer “me” has gone into hibernation, and my bear-like self has been too busy eating potato chips on the couch to notice.

But I did notice last week. I noticed my lack of energy, lack of connection. The boredom.

So, I decided to try to re-connect with that old self of mine. Trying to see if I can figure out why I feel the need to take naps most of the day and drown myself in carbohydrates.

I meditated.

I listened to my whole body and also my heart. What I heard surprised me and also rang true. I heard that I’m suppressing the real me with all the sleep, TV, eating, etc.; I’m trying to fill a void rather than connecting with my authentic self.

That made and still makes complete sense.

The only way to change that is to turn off the TV. Be present. And when I go to reach for a snack, ask myself: What am I really hungry for?

I heard creativity. My authentic voice. Inspiration. I saw beautiful abstract art and myself on stage acting in a play. And I felt as though I had re-connected with myself even for an instant.

What I love about listening to my heart, our authentic selves, in meditation is that our true selves tell us exactly what we need to hear, within what we can manage and what serves us best. And that’s when I realized that I can get creative…wearing sweats or not. And that’s a beautiful thing this time of year when it’s cold outside!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Life is like a box of chocolates...

You never know what you’re gonna get.

I watched Forrest Gump last night for the first time in over ten years. That’s a movie worth re-watching.

For those of you who haven’t seen the movie or would like a re-cap, Forrest - played by Tom Hanks - is a man raised in Alabama during the 1950s and 60s and not the smartest lot on the tree. He falls in love with his childhood friend Jenny. When the movie starts, he is sitting on a park bench – holding a box of chocolates – and waiting for a bus. He tells the story of his life to the strangers sitting next to him intertwined with Jenny’s story.

And their fortunes were very different. Forrest received fame, notoriety, and fortune as a football star, a Vietnam vet who received a Medal of Honor, a world-class star ping pong player, a shrimping boat captain, and long-distance runner – and it all happened out of just plain old dumb luck. And in my opinion, Forrest’s fortune can also be attributed to his knack for going with the flow and following his heart.

Jenny, on the other hand, suffered abuse as a child, became a drug addict, couldn’t hold onto a steady relationship, and eventually dies at a young age. Was her fortune in life simply different than Forrest's?

The great moral of this story – which I think holds a lot of value for diabetics and non-diabetics – is that life can’t be planned. Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get. And, the best way to move forward is to follow your heart and accept what comes.

“I don't know if we each have a destiny,” Forrest ponders at the end of the movie, “or if we're all just floating around accidental-like on a breeze, but I, I think maybe it's both. Maybe both is happening at the same time.”

So many things in life come unexpectedly, things you didn’t plan for, things out of our control. And we really don't know what we’re gonna get.

We can plan and ponder every single little iota. And things may still go differently than expected. It's what you do when that happens that makes the difference.

I’m sure that most of us diabetics out there didn't expect or plan for our diagnosis. I’m sure we could all make a list a mile long of unexpected news in our life – whether with career, health, relationships, or home. People don’t plan for a tornado to hit their home. Or a deer to jump in front of their car. You never know when you are going to meet “the one” and fall madly in love. You also can’t plan for when a potential employer calls you up and offers you a job. I didn't plan to get Celiac or diabetes.

The question is: What do you do with that news once you get it or an event once it happens? How do you deal with it? Do you roll with the punches? Deal with the emotions? Resist? Accept?

This may sound strange, but I think we all have something to learn from Forrest Gump. I know I do. He took every moment for what it was. Accepted whatever came his way. Forrest followed his heart. He did what he thought was best for him and those he loved at each moment. He may not have been the smartest, but he sure knew how to live life.

Eating each piece of chocolate, one bite at a time.