Monday, May 31, 2010

On vacation

I am on vacation this week.
No work, errands, bills, or things to do.
I am stepping out of my routine.
It’s time for my husband and me to unwind.
Have some fun.
See new things.
But diabetes doesn’t go on vacation.
And so taking care of it doesn’t either.
I still prick, monitor, bolus, and check.
Change my pump every three days.
Check my sugars.
Choose foods wisely.
Taking care of my diabetes is a part of who I am.
It keeps me alive.
And I love life.
See you next week!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Every rose has its thorn...

The media and internet are buzzing with excitement over Bret Michaels' win last night on Celebrity Apprentice. Michaels, lead singer of the rock band Poison, won $390,000 total for his charity, the American Diabetes Association. Michaels has been a Type 1 diabetic for over 40 years, and his daughter was actually diagnosed with the disease as well – while he was taping the show.

I'm very happy for Michaels. He's demonstrated time and again that he is a creative, level-headed, likeable, hard-working rock star – competitive and yet a team player. He is easy to like, relatable to me at least, and I also appreciate the money and awareness he’s raised for diabetes.

So why the thorn?

Michaels suffered from a brain hemorrhage just nine days after undergoing an emergency appendectomy while he was at home in Arizona before the show's finale. He was in a semi-coma and was given a 50-50 chance of survival. Only 20% of people who suffer from a brain hemorrhage actually survive. He says that he survived because he went to the hospital the minute he felt something had gone wrong - which he describes as an explosion in his head. He is still recovering from the trauma, undergoing physical therapy twice a day, and still has pain in his neck and is having trouble walking.

Doctors have told him to take it easy. Even Donald Trump told him to take it easy, that he had been working too hard. Health comes first.

And yet, Michaels is still working hard. He appeared on the live finale last night, on Oprah last Thursday, and I saw him on the Today Show this morning where Meredith Vieira actually asked him why he is working so hard, preparing to go on tour this summer, while he is still recovering from a very serious ailment. The media seems rightfully concerned about Brett's well-being.

Brett’s response: I’m very driven.

My take on it: He doesn’t want his health to hold him back from pursuing his dreams. He’s been in consultation with doctors the entire time, and so we know that he’s very aware and conscious of taking care of his health. He's chosen to push despite some of the advice given to him. He is on a total high right now. He just won Donald Trump’s reality show. The world has his attention. He has raised a lot of money for diabetes. He survived a brain hemorrhage. He doesn’t want to rest and take it easy. He wants to live life to the fullest as best he can.

I can relate to that, and if I could, I would do the same. We never really know when our time is up, and he's seizing the day.

I'm not saying that I would ignore health though. Carpe diem (seize the day in Latin) doesn't mean that you just dismiss what's best for your body. The diabetes – and its related complications, both physical and emotional – has always been about balance. And in this case, it's the balance between pushing forward mentally while your body is telling you to rest.

This balance is a difficult one to find. Diabetes has been a thorn in my side at times. Sometimes I wonder if I should keep pushing or if I should rest. I have sometimes questioned if I can do certain things. But many times, diabetes has driven me to achieve more, do better, and prove that I can do it. It’s driven me to follow my passions and dreams and live every day to the fullest. The thorn has taught me to appreciate all of the wonderful things in my life, and I want to feel alive. You can only do that by living.

Bret Michaels has inspired and concerned me at the same time. He pushes himself against all odds all while he really still needs to be at home recuperating. He has reminded me that I can too, defy the odds, and achieve my goals - while being mindful of my diabetes. The thorn is there, and we can either let it hold us back - or we can use it, nurture it, take care of it, and allow it to push us toward living our lives to the fullest.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Dream big: A cure for diabetes

Diabetes Blog Week ended yesterday, Sunday, May 16th, with the topic: Dream a little dream – life after a cure. I have decided to write on this topic for today’s Monday post instead of yesterday.

I rarely think about life without diabetes – only when others mention it. I have gotten so accustomed to living with it, and I accepted that I have diabetes a long time ago. I’ve had the disease since I was 3 years old, and so it’s hard for me to imagine living without it. I’ve already gone through my rebellious phase which as a diabetic means eating candy and junk food, not checking sugars, and trying to be like everyone else. But even in those days, I didn’t dream of a cure.

Now we’re being asked to dream BIG.

My dreams started meagerly, more questioning than actual dreaming. First thing that comes to mind: Okay, so yeah, I wouldn’t be wearing a pump. But wouldn’t I still have to check my sugars even if there was a cure? Does it just go away? Just like that? Would all of those complications that I worry about just vanish and disappear into thin air? What about all of the lab tests? Wouldn’t they (the doctors) want to see if it’s really working?

I received my JDRF chapter newsletter over the weekend, and as I read, I began to warm myself up to the idea that a cure is possible. Yes, I know that the JDRF has been talking about this for a long time. But in order to dream big, you really do need to think that the dream is possible, right? So I allowed myself to think of a cure as possible. Articles spoke about research for an artificial pancreas and regeneration, and the best medical minds of the world have gathered for a global pharmaceutical conference to find a pill cure.

So I pondered again: What would life without diabetes mean? And my dream widened. I would be able to do more physically: Exercise when I want and how much I want without the fear of lows and highs. I could go into a pool or the ocean and not have to worry about my pump sitting in a bag unattended, or how much time I’ve spent without it attached. I could eat almost whatever I want to eat whenever I want to eat it (I do still have celiac). Hey, perhaps some of the complications I’ve developed would reverse and my body would heal? I would be able to wear clothing and not see a bulging pump underneath my shirt. I wouldn’t have to prick my fingers or change my pump every three days. I wouldn’t feel guilty anymore for not using a CGM (I find the needle way too big and so I just don’t use it). I wouldn’t have to excuse myself and check my sugars when others are socializing.

I would feel free.

And that’s when reality hit again: Diabetes can feel so limiting sometimes. And you know what? I don’t want to face those limiting feelings daily. And so I don’t dream of a cure. I have simply accepted that this is my life.

And then it hit me: Do these limiting feelings pervade other areas of my life as well? They probably do. Dreaming the cure dream is a diabetic lesson in dreaming big; it’s about letting go of limiting beliefs in our diabetic lives. If we dream big, truly allowing ourselves to envision ourselves living the lives we want to live, then we can live big too.

Perhaps dreaming big, letting go of those limiting feelings, is actually the necessary step to living freely – with or without diabetes. Because when you dream big, you follow your heart, and nothing can be more liberating than that!

Friday, May 14, 2010

My top five reasons why I love exercise and you should too

Dear Conscious Diabetic readers,

I have joined fellow d-bloggers and am participating in Diabetes Blog Week. I will be posting new topics every day this week on living with diabetes. Click here to read my Conscious Diabetic Monday post entitled: Diabetes and loving kindness practice.

Have a great day,

Diabetes Blog Week topic #5 is exercise: Love it or hate it?

A wise person told me a few years ago that the only way to get diabetes under control – the only way to really make a difference and achieve healthy blood sugars and A1Cs – is to exercise consistently five days a week.

I was always an exerciser as a kid – riding my bicycle for hours, going for walks, roller skating, and playing tennis mainly - but I was kind of on-again, off-again about the whole thing. Then as an adult, the off-again phases became more frequent until I received that priceless piece of advice. And I decided to commit to consistent exercise.

I have listed for you my top five reasons why I have learned to love exercising five days a week, and have stayed committed to it for at least three years now, and why I think that everyone should get up off the couch and start loving exercise too!

5. Attention all Type 1, Type 2, pre-diabetics, and non-diabetics, exercise helps control blood sugars and can prevent diabetes altogether in some cases! Studies conducted at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that “Physical activity 30 minutes a day on most days – or certainly five days a week – is a good place to start because that tends to maintain the blood sugar in a more normal range….And losing a few pounds, with proper eating and physical activity, can reduce chances of getting diabetes.”

Overall health improves as well through consistent exercise. I personally reversed some kidney problems I had developed when I was younger once I began exercising regularly and getting my blood sugars under control. I have also been taken off two medications, my cholesterol is superb, and I simply feel healthier, lighter, and more energetic.

Of course, this is mixed in with a healthy lifestyle as well: eating the right kinds of foods, sleeping properly, drinking lots of water, not smoking or drinking excessive alcohol, taking insulin and checking blood sugars, making my well-being a priority, and so on. Exercise is part of the overall health package.

4. Exercise is a great way to release stress, blow off steam, sweat it off, and burn off anger and frustration. Kick-boxing, martial arts, yoga, running, walking...all of the above and more…are great ways to let go of whatever is holding you back!

3. I’ve learned more about who I am. As you release the things that hold you back, you make room for who you really are to enter into your life.

I love yoga, walking, and aerobics that mixes in toning exercises. I love a good Jillian Michaels DVD because she pushes me to realize my potential, and I also love taking a nice walk outside and smelling the roses, being meditative, while also moving. Yoga is my all-time favorite exercise because of its mind-body-spirit approach – looking at the body as a whole.

I’ve come to learn that who I am as an exerciser reflects who I am in other parts of my life as well: Ambitious and driven while also staying attuned to mind-body-spirit.

2. You look better on the outside when you take care of what’s going on inside. I look better: Skin, eyes, hair, muscles, and all. I fit in my clothes, and they’re even loose at the moment! What a great feeling it is to walk into a store, pick out a pair of jeans or slacks off the rack, and fit in them! And look good!

1. I am happy, balanced, more confident, and at peace more oftentimes than not. We all deserve goodness in our lives, and you start to receive that goodness when you take care of what’s within you. Happiness comes from loving yourself, and what better way to do that than through exercise.

So, let’s get moving!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

To carb or not to carb?

Dear Conscious Diabetic readers,

I have joined fellow d-bloggers and am participating in Diabetes Blog Week. I will be posting new topics every day this week on living with diabetes. Click here to read my Conscious Diabetic Monday post entitled: Diabetes and loving kindness practice.

Have a great day,

Diabetes Blog Week continues and Karen of Bitter-sweet has asked us to answer the question: To carb or not to carb? What side of the fence do you fall in?

Let’s just get this out of the way: I carb.

I’ve spent quite a bit of time on this blog, thinking it through, writing several versions, and not really knowing how to approach this topic. In my original entry to you, I actually started dissecting the different kinds of carbohydrates – complex and simple, and talking about the Glycemic Index. But you can just click on the links to learn more about that.

Then I realized the reasons why this blog was so difficult for me to write: I didn’t want to give a nutrition lesson. And although I’m not a nutritionist or a diabetes educator, I feel very self-assured in my reasons for eating carbs at every meal. These reasons are based on practice, education, and the experience of living with this disease for over 35 years.

And I know that others do not necessarily feel the same way.

I’ve often felt like a pain in the neck when I insist upon healthy carbs at dinner time or a catered event or when invited to someone else’s home. Then add to that, I also have Celiac, an allergy to wheat, rye, and barley. I don’t want to be a pain for others, but I need to think of me and my health first. And balanced blood sugars matter to me. They are a part of the equation. And that means eating balanced meals.

So why not just eat a healthy plate of grilled chicken and veggies? Why must I insist upon adding a sweet potato or buckwheat to such a meal? I have found that diabetes is a practice in trial and error – testing how different foods release into the bloodstream and react within your body. And for me, a mix of vegetables, fruits, protein, healthy fats - and carbohydrates - are a must-have at each of my meals. I stay steady and balanced when I do that.

So yes, I carb. Because that’s what works for me.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

My dream team: Our biggest supporters

Dear Conscious Diabetic readers,

I have joined fellow d-bloggers and am participating in Diabetes Blog Week. I will be posting new topics every day this week on living with diabetes. Click here to read my Conscious Diabetic Monday post entitled: Diabetes and loving kindness practice.

Have a great day,

For today’s Diabetes Blog Week entry, we have been asked to write about our biggest d-supporter – whether a spouse, family member, friend, or doctor. As Karen from Bitter-Sweet so eloquently phrases: “Sure, our diabetes care is ultimately up to us and us alone. But it’s important to have someone around to encourage you, cheer you, and even help you when you need it. Today it’s time to gush and brag about your biggest supporter.” So here we go!

I am blessed to have it all….

Wonderful parents who have raised me to take care of myself and took care of me as I learned more about how to live with diabetes independently. My mom created yummy sugar-free treats before companies began making them, and my dad took me to get my first glucometer. They walked all over Madrid with me to find a Tab back in the 80s before Diet Coke. They had the wisdom to send me to diabetes camp where I learned to inject insulin for the first time on my own. And they also knew that I would be just fine and encouraged me to travel the globe by myself, live solo in NYC, Morocco, and Israel, and follow my dreams.

An amazing husband who accepts and loves me as I am – pump, tubing, glucometer, test strips, doctors appointments, dietary needs, lows, highs, and all. He is always here for me when I need him, and when I don’t know that I need him. He’s patient when I go low and when I may not be the kindest person to be around. He knows the right thing to say to keep me on track and knows when to allow me to cheat.

My older brother was there for me during some of my worst times and gave me tons of emotional support. He’s always been flexible when I need to go and grab a bite to eat or stop to check my sugars. And he takes interest in learning about the disease, my diet, and how I take care of myself. My mom tells me that he wanted to be a doctor when I was first diagnosed at age 3.

Friends. I think of one friend in particular when writing this entry. She was around during the days when I wasn’t sure if I’d ever fall in love or be able to have children. And she listened. And she cared. And she encouraged me. And she provided me with words that let me know that I wasn’t alone, that I am normal, and that there are plenty of ways to make your dreams come true.

I have a great doctor. We call him Dr. W on this blog. He’s approachable and has really improved my diabetic care. I’ve reached a 6.5 A1C under his care. I’ve cured myself of any remnants of kidney disease and been taken off of two medications that I just didn’t need. He thought to test me for Celiac and now I know to eat a gluten-free diet. He has taught me to be flexible about carbohydrate counting – thinking about the food and how it reacts in my body rather than being pedantic about counting numbers.

I am truly grateful for all of the support I’ve received over the years for living a truly fulfilling life and thriving with diabetes. This entry’s for you. Thank you.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Making the low go...

Dear Conscious Diabetic readers,

I have joined fellow d-bloggers and am participating in Diabetes Blog Week. I will be posting new topics every day this week on living with diabetes. Click here to read my Conscious Diabetic Monday post entitled: Diabetes and loving kindness practice.

Have a great day,

I woke up to the clanking sound of metal hitting a glass as I slowly opened my eyes. My mom was hunched over my bed holding a glass of orange juice, and she was yelling to my father to bring more sugar. She bent down to give me more to drink. She forced the glass to my mouth, but only a few drips made it to my throat. The rest – all over my face. My skin felt sticky, and I was in pain and feeling a bit nauseous. I’d had enough already.

And then I noticed that puddles of orange juice had dried on my face and on the bed. I realized in that moment that my parents had been at this for a while. My mom and dad had brought me back to life, and I was 12 years old.

We have been asked to write about our favorite low sugar treats for today’s Diabetes Blog Week entry.

I used to think of lows as fun since I would be able to eat all sorts of foods that I normally wasn’t allowed to eat as a diabetic. A chance to taste the forbidden! Cookies, cake, and pastries. Candies, chocolate, and sugary drinks. All of the stuff that everyone else was eating, but not me and my diabetes.

But the fun was a temporary fix. A badly treated low could turn into a roller coaster ride of lows and highs, never giving my body the opportunity to heal and feel right. Lows are meant to be treated, not accosted. For just as in life, every low must go up. And eating the right kinds of foods can bring the sugars back to a place of balance. Eating the forbidden fruit though can cause long-term anguish.

Somewhere in my mid-20s, I became a tad more enlightened, and I would eat dates, figs, and dried apricots during low sugar episodes. Or I would go for 4 oz of orange juice. The idea was to be somewhat healthy about the low, still eat something yummy, but not wreak havoc on my entire system.

Around five years ago, the same time that I went on the insulin pump, I met with a nutritionist who taught me the ideal way to treat a low, so that the lows go away, rather than transform into a painful and physically challenging roller coaster ride. She told me to chew on four glucose tablets, wait 15 minutes, and then check my sugar again. If it’s still low, eat 4 more tablets, and repeat. If the sugar is above 70, and if I’m not planning on eating a meal within the hour, then I was told to eat 12 grams of carbohydrates and 8 grams of protein. The idea: Just enough quick sugars to raise blood sugar levels quickly and then stabilize with a balanced meal.

Glucose tablets are not great tasting. They’re not fun or intriguing. I do have a favorite flavor though – tropical fruit from Stop and Shop – but it’s nothing to write home about. They are portable, don’t require refrigeration, and most importantly, it works.

I’m taking care of myself in a healthier way by seeking balance rather than the highs and lows. Balance. One of the lessons of diabetes.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Diabetes and loving kindness practice

Diabetes hands us an array of lessons on living our best lives. One of the most important is that of self-love.

I often bring up self-love in this blog because I truly believe that you need a lot of it to live a conscious, healthy life with diabetes – and actually with any other disease. Let’s face it. You need to care a lot about yourself to put in the effort and the work to get and keep blood sugars balanced and live the life you want to live. This is true for anything in life. And in the case of diabetes, I know from my experience that self-love practice is a complement to the rest of diabetic health management.

I first discovered where I fall on the self-love spectrum in my 20s, but the real change to true self-love began when I was working at a non-profit that developed websites, workshops, books, and other materials on finding peace within oneself. Their motto: “Peace begins within me”. I love their philosophy: Once you are at true peace with yourself, the circles of peace grow and spread creating a more peaceful and harmonious world.

I worked in the kids and youth department, and my job was to manage content for two websites, a few video games, books, and other activities mainly focused on building self-esteem in children. The non-profit itself also ran workshops and websites for adults. Potential adult workshop leaders would lead sessions for the staff to test which included meditation, alternative therapies, and guided imagery sessions. We would typically attend one or two of these test workshops a month.

When I began working at the non-profit, I was far from the type of person who would meditate. In the beginning, I often snickered thinking they were ridiculous. But then I began to see their value as I listened to the lessons they taught. Many of these workshops were planting seeds for my own transformation. And in terms of self-love, one in particular stood out for me - a group loving kindness practice.

We were divided into pairs and asked to face one another. My partner, a very close friend of mine, we’ll call her R, was asked to go first. She was told to repeat the workshop leader’s statements. We both looked at each other and rolled our eyes giggling in unison.

“May I be happy,” The workshop leader said.

R repeated, “May I be happy.”

And then the leader continued one by one stating, “May I be healthy. May I be safe from harm. May I be at peace. May I be free from suffering.” And R repeated each one thoughtfully.

“I love me,” the workshop leader stated, “Now hug yourself.”

R did just that. She hugged herself, smiled the biggest smile you can imagine, and sang, “I LOVE ME!”

My face froze as I stared into R’s eyes. Could I do that? Could I stand in front of a group of people and hug myself and sing “I LOVE ME!”

This is how I discovered where I fell – at that time – on the self-love spectrum. I felt my body become tense, and wasn’t sure that I could do what R had just done. I realized that I may not be at the 100% mark on the self-love spectrum.

It was my turn, and the workshop leader told me to state these wonderful wishes for people we know, people who have helped us, people we love. I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t get the chance to try it and proclaim self-love in public.

I repeated the workshop leader’s words: “May you be happy. May you be healthy. May you be safe from harm. May you be at peace. May you be free from suffering.”

R smiled. But I felt as though I was putting others before myself. As I left the workshop, I decided to make self-love a mission.

Loving kindness can also be practiced solo. I was reminded of this wonderful self-love building Buddhist meditation practice this weekend while reading "Love in Full Bloom" an article found in Yoga Journal’s April edition. Writer Frank Jude Boccio tells us that self-love comes from practicing “The Four Limitless Ones”: loving kindness, compassion, joy and equanimity.

Loving kindness and compassion can be combined into one practice, and it’s a good place to begin on the self-love journey. Boccio states, “when we practice [them], we start by cultivating a friendly, unconditional regard for ourselves, before attempting to cultivate the same for others.”

Begin by reflecting on your own goodness, a time when you did something good for someone else that was kind, generous, caring, or loving. It can be as simple as opening the door for someone, letting a car go ahead of you at an intersection, smiling at someone on the street, or saying thank you. In addition to Boccio’s suggestions, I also suggest that people with diabetes – or with any other disease – take the time to be grateful for your body, mind, and spirit. Be grateful for your breath, your beating heart, your sense of touch, sight, smell, hearing, and taste, your creativity and intellect, and anything else that arises – where you are grateful for you and who you are.

Then, you can continue with the loving kindness practice much as we did at that workshop that day. Begin by finding a quiet and comfortable place. Follow your breath. And then state: “May I be happy. May I be peaceful. May I be safe from harm. May I be free from suffering. May I be healthy. May I experience ease.” And feel free to add, “I love me.”

You will know where you fall on the self-love spectrum – and perhaps where you have work to do - if you feel any tension or unease with any of the statements. Once you are ready, begin to extend the same loving kindness to others in sequence: a person who has helped you, a person you love, family, friends, and then to people who are neutral to you – that you neither like or dislike – and then once you are ready, begin to extend the same to people you don’t like or who anger you, and then finally extend the same loving kindness to all humans and creatures around the world.

Through self-love, we live a better life. I know that I have come to a place on the spectrum where I feel blessed for the wonderful life I live, and I can proudly declare in public: I love me. Getting there, like managing diabetes, is a process filled with ups and downs. But it’s worth it.

Click here to read Yoga Journal’s “Love in Full Bloom”
Click here for Sharon Salzberg’s loving kindness audio meditation and transcript.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Diabetes and a good night’s rest: Another tool for living your dreams

I usually sleep 8 hours every night. I hit the pillow, and I’m out like a light. I wake up the next morning rejuvenated and ready to go. But not this past Saturday.

Lior and I had a whirlwind of a day on Saturday. We had a neighborhood yard sale in the morning outside in 90-degree heat, took much-needed naps in the afternoon, and then went out for dinner that evening. Indian food – yum!

My meal was definitely super-high in fat. And I knew I was risking high sugars when I placed my order. But I decided to go ahead and do it anyway. I did what I could to prepare my blood sugars for my unhealthy decision – dual wave bolus and all – but what I ordered was the complete antithesis of healthy and well-balanced.

I checked my sugar two hours after the meal to see how my body was responding to the food and dual wave. It was high – 230. I bolused to correct the high sugar – which means to inject insulin in pump talk – and I waited an hour to check my sugar again. It was still high – 220. I debated with myself for a minute. You have to be careful when bolusing insulin too many times. Sometimes it just takes the insulin a while to do its job and if you bolus too much, you can wind up with low sugar later. But I just knew to keep bolusing. I wouldn’t be going low this time. So I did.

We watched a movie – ironically enough Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs where characters overindulge in food – and I decided to go to sleep a few hours later, around 11:00 pm. I checked my sugars again before falling asleep. Still high, again in the 200s. I decided not to bolus. And over the next couple of hours, I lay in bed obsessing about who knows what, tossing and turning for two hours. I couldn’t sleep. I checked my sugar again at around 1:00 am – 213. No change, still high. I bolused again. Finally I was so exhausted that I fell asleep at 1:30, high sugars and all.

I woke up the next morning exhausted and in pain. I checked my sugar. It was still high – around 205. I bolused to correct the high sugar once again and started my day.

There is a link between high blood sugar and lack of sleep. Actually, some studies show that inadequate sleep can be a contributor to Type 2 diabetes. But was my lack of restful sleep due to the high sugars, unhealthy foods, or anxious thoughts? Could it have simply been the heat and mid-day nap? I didn’t exercise that day, could that be it?

Answer: All of the above. I think my Saturday night madness is an example of how truly connected our body-mind-spirit really are in living peaceful lives. Unhealthy eating, lack of exercise, high blood sugars, stress, and stepping out of my typical sleep routine. And in the end, it all showed up on my glucometer – loud and clear – 230, 220, 213, 205.

Okay, so that’s mind and body. But why did I bring up spirit?

Spiritually speaking, the time before we go to bed and when we first wake up is considered very sacred. Sleep is a time for us to rejuvenate and get the needed rest we need to take us into the next day. And it is also the time when we transition from the waking outer world to connect with our inner world. It’s a time when dreams happen, clueing us into what resonated with us during our day, and when we’re tuned in, our dreams may speak to us about our life’s passions or things that are holding us back. And for some, bedtime is a time for prayer, setting intentions for the next day. Some even believe that our soul goes up to heaven or to God during sleep to receive messages and rejuvenation that will set us on our spiritual paths.

In “A New Earth”, a book on living one’s purpose, Eckhart Tolle advises readers to meditate, scanning the body and paying attention to breath, before going to sleep and first thing when waking up in the morning. In “The Secret”, a corny but worthwhile read about the Law of Attraction, Rhonda Byrne suggests thinking positive thoughts before bedtime, placing an order with the Universe to deliver good things. And in “Have a Little Faith”, the Reb Albert Lewis tells author Mitch Albom that he thanks the Lord for returning his soul to him each morning when he wakes up.

Usually, I use sleep in this way. I pay special attention to thinking good thoughts/meditating/praying before I go to bed and when I wake up in the morning. And as I wrote in the beginning of this entry, I fall asleep in an instant and I wake up completely refreshed. I go downstairs to exercise. I eat a healthy breakfast and get ready for the day. And the results of these mind-body-spirit practices are evident in my life. I recently reached my dream of a 6.5 A1C and I’ve reached other dreams as well such as becoming a writer, falling in love, and owning a home.

I use sleep as another tool for living the life I want to live.

Sleep is an important part of taking care of ourselves. No question about it. And it is completely related to everything else we do during the day. And if you are attuned to mind-body-spirit practices, you can utilize sleep as well. Eat healthy, exercise, stay hydrated, reduce caffeine, and set your intentions for the life you want to live before you go to bed and when you wake up every morning – and watch how the world conspires to give you the life you want.