Category Archives: gratitude

Feeling Funky, Feeling Fine

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Hello
everyone!

Friday is supposed to be the fun free for all day, and yet today I’m finding it challenging to maintain that state of mind. The good news is, I just realized that if I am to walk my own talk, I have to accept that fact. More than just accept it; but honor, it respect it and stop trying to fight it.
The harder I push back against feelings, the harder they resist. For many years after I got sober I was “The Eternal Optimist”, always looking on the bright side. The recovery community is big on Gratitude, and for good reason. What some people tend to overlook, or forget, or fail to recognize at all is that one can angsty, fed up, tired, disenchanted, crabby and all sort of other “bad moody things’ and still be Grateful.
I know I’ve written on this topic in other posts, but is an issue that continues to cause problems for individuals, families, and entire cultures. The myopic and undiscerning frame of reference that fails to take into account the wonderful capacity we humans have for complex thought and emotion. When you think about it, it’s pretty cool really, to take a moment and explore all the thoughts, feelings and moods we experience throughout one day. We are constantly evolving, even day by day, hour by hour. This is one reason I like to keep a journal, to observe the cycles of mood and process of thought that weave a pattern in and out through my day, my week, my years…
But as much as I find it fascinating, puzzling, frustrating and beautiful many people are not so comfortable with complexity. Our culture tells us to be even keel, reliable and cooperative. Those of us who dare to express our swings of mood, our frustrations our extreme joy are often labeled as eccentric at best, bi-polar at worst. I’m not denying or discounting that for some people there are symptoms and thought processes that can be disturbing, disabling and even life threatening; but let’s look at how many people (especially women) are on some sort of anti-depressant or mood-stabilizer. The very phrase “mood stabilizer” makes me chuckle if only a bit ironically. Are we only supposed to have one or two moods at best? Why is it not ok to feel sad, angry or depressed? Face it there are plenty of reasons to feel that way, just as there are reasons to feel grateful, content or joyous. How can we truly experience one emotion without having experienced a full range of emotions?
I encourage anyone reading this to take some time at the end of the day to reflect on the thoughts,feelings,moods and physical energy levels you have experienced in just one day. Are there any that are uncomfortable for you? Are there any that you may have struggled to repress? I’d love to hear your feedback about this and I think it’s a topic that can generate endless discussion.
Have a fabulous weekend and enjoy the wonder and beauty of the medley of moods you are capable of experiencing!
Peace,
Jenny
© 2011 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard

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Guest Blogger Eva Day!!!!!!!

 Hello Everyone,
I hope you enjoy this beautifully written and very moving post by Eva Day, Wise Woman Extrodinaire!!!!

Kicking Up The Dust.
Dear Jenny and  female friends.
Jenny is in a phase just now of giving extra focus to political issues in the world around her and the effects of the decisions and oblivion of the “big players” on the lives of ordinary folk and women in the every day world.  I see the care and the commitment in that, from Jenny, and recognise of course that the personal is political and the political is personal…..   we are all part of the world being shaped every day
When I first came across Jenny’s blog and a place for “women with a past”,” the concept resonated with me immediately.  I imagined wearing my past with pride, like a cloak, perhaps a battered, frayed or somewhat stained one, but well woven and sturdy and richly coloured……   a cloak that trails out behind me, sweeping the dust of the ground as I walk forward, into the future and  – the wisdom of a more mature woman.  Hah!!  But, yes, I do feel after much journeying I know a little, just a little about life, even when paradoxically, it becomes ever more mysterious and perplexing.  And  yes, let’s have confidence that we will walk forward boldly into some way of living and being which is forged from wisdom – as well as the good humour and the grace to realise we will also occasionally stumble into wisdom and foolishness too, or be met by it!
Women with a past certainly will stir up an amount of dust as they walk – they do not tread lightly or quietly ,as our foremothers were too often exorted or trained to do, though they may well know how to do so when the circumstances require.  Warrior women can move through the darkness or through difficult terrain with stealth if instinct guides them…. But can also walk like queens, proud and certain when they have heart for their journey.  And the dust?  Well amongst those foremothers told to tread modestly, there have always been those who could not and would not, and they are companions to me.  The dust feels like a pleasing image to me, as what better reminds us of the truth that from the earth we come and to the earth our bodies will return, in one form or another..   ashes to ashes, dust to dust – I can’t think of a patriarchal reference that is more female in its symbolism.  Perhaps a little of the dust we raise on our journeys will settle  on the cloaks of other travellers along the way, will blow gently into towns and villages we pass through, will be the form and substance from which daughters, and sons, too, make solid forms: our homes, our pots, our messes, our works of art, the shapes of our lives.   We have touched others, and been touched by them, some of our substance and essence is expressed in their lives of others, just as their lives nourish – or deplete – ours.
When I sense my own past, tune into it with the feeling and instinctive nature, rather than remember specific events and incidents or analyse from a rational sequential viewpoint – then I am in the land of myth and metaphor.  I remember in my bones, and in soul mood… there were hopes and impulses and sudden passionate drives and urges.  There was an absolute will to live, to thrive, to explore, to taste life and to break the rules.  Sometimes because the rules forbade me to do something that called to me more powerful than any social constraints, and sometimes just because the rules needed breaking. Often I was a damned perverse – girl, young woman, slightly older woman who “ought to know better.”  And I think I still am all those things and more………   I have been a daughter  – of two mothers, in my life – and like many reading this am a mother, too.  Like all of us, my past is personal. The particular place I was born, the events that unfolded beyond that, what was done to me and what I did – to life, to myself and others.  Active, passive, many different rhythms.  Never passive for long though, in the rhythm of the passing seasons and years… .. often difficult, hopefully also tender and kind enough to have made somebody’s day gentler and more whole from time to time, creative in a playful spirit, destructive at times when wounded, cornered, angry….   Though destruction, too, can be a death and a rebirth, a space for a renewal or new directions. 
Footprints.  That’s another picture that comes to my mind’s eye.  My footprints, your footprints, and those of the women who walked before us and will come after…  And yes, again, I mention sons too, still believing in a world where boys too, as well as girls,  can be allowed to truly respect their mothers and grandmothers and learn from them – and teach them to.  (If I were a grandma, I’d be quite willing to learn to suck eggs!)  Footprints, also seem somehow a particularly masculine image in our culture.  We tread in the footprints of strong, bold males, in stories and films, don’t we?  I would like to feel that our footprints can be trusted  …..  
From one perspective, you may think that I’ve told you really – nothing – about my own challenges and triumphs – the details – as a woman with a past.  In another sense, I hope you feel I have.  And that you might be like another beautiful piece of fabric or wonderful embroidery on my patchwork cloak….. and I on yours.
Good travelling to all, and my wishes to you for good health, good living and good humour. xx eva
(article for International Women’s Day is my latest post.)

Image courtesy of
popularchildrenstories.com
© 2011 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard


>Eeeeee OOOhhhhh Teeeeeee

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This title violates all the blogging rules of making your tile “searchable” and “drawing in the readers interest”, unless of course you have experience with treatment and you know that it means…END OF TREATMENT!
Can you tell I’m just a little bit happy?
I was thinking back to when I first started out on this long bumpy fog covered road, with only bits and pieces of a road map, like something a pirate would bury, hiding its elusive treasure.  I found support systems online, The Hep C Nomads, Hepatitis Advocacy, The Liver Foundation, Facebook groups and more. I read posts from people who were where I am now, finally, blessedly at the end of the road and slowly coming out of the fog. I felt happy for them, and proud for them that they had made it through 48 weeks of basically being a stranger in your own body. But I found it nearly impossible to picture myself at that point, emerging from the place I was in, a place that felt out of time, out of sync with the rest of the world; a strange kind of limbo where nothing feels real. I could not see the end from “in there”
I read the words of encouragement from others who had made it through to the other side and even though it seemed so far away I was glad for the voices from the other side, the hope and strength they offered. I will always be grateful for everyone who has been with me on this journey. People in other countries who I have never met in “real life” who have given so much of themselves when they were so sick it was hard to even sit at the computer long enough to post. This is an amazing community and I intend to stick around to give back what I’ve been given, not out of obligation but of gratitude and great respect for everyone who travels this journey together holding hands through the fog.
I think I’m going to go shed a few tears now 🙂
Thank You all so much, words cannot describe what your support has meant to me.
Peace and Love to you all!
Jenny

© 2010 Jennifer Hazard


>My walk to the store as a metaphor

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Wind chill minus 9, snow piled 3 to 4 feet high in some areas and I’m out of food and cigarettes. This means a walk to the store is inevitable. Here in the final weeks of treatment and have so little left to give, physically. I become exhausted and achy after the most routine activity, doing dishes, cleaning up around the house, taking the dog out. Needless to say I’m not thrilled about the thought of this walk. I postpone for an hour then realize the sun is heading west. It will only be colder after dark, and the patches of ice will be undetectable. So I “buck up”, eat some Cheerios with ensure and bundle up warmly. My son and his dog accompany my as we set out on our arctic journey. The dog, Mitzy, is half husky and tolerates the cold, my little dog; a Shih-tsu/terrier mix stays home. When I first step out into the frigid air my muscles tighten, I brace myself. A block from the house, I’m short of breath and want to sit down. Since I know that’s not an option, I take a deep belly breath and pace my steps. My muscles start to relax. I can feel my blood flowing I start to adjust to the cold (as much as anyone can at that temperature). The corner store is only 4 blocks away but on some treatment days it feels like miles. By the time we’re halfway there I’ve got a decent pace going, my son and I are talking and laughing, Mitzy is happily trotting along picking up scents to see who’s been around.
I hang in there quite well and although the sun is sailing toward the horizon it is bright and feels warming. The corner store is a fairly typical urban corner store. Narrow aisles are lined with cluttered shelves containing products arranged in no particular order. If you can find it, you can fulfill most of your basic needs whatever they may be. Along with milk, bread and basic family needs like diaper, toilet paper, 7 day candles and mouse traps you can find herbal “all night long” potion, rolling papers, whatever clever novelty gift is being used to make crack pipes and pretty much any kind of liquor you can imagine. It’s always an adventure in cultural irony.
By the time we get home I’m tired, but it’s a good tired. The kind of tired you feel when you’ve accomplished something, not the kind of tired you feel when you’ve been lying around the house with no motivation or interest. I know that kind of tired all too well lately. I realize I enjoy the other kind of tired. I appreciate it.
I know a four block round trip walk isn’t exactly Olympian, hell I used to walk miles a day no matter what the weather; but everything is relative. Today overcoming my resistance “bucking up”, doing what I had to do and enjoying it felt like a Gold Medal achievement.

© 2010 Jennifer Hazard


>New Year, No Pressure

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 Happy New Year!!

I’ve been “writing” my New Years blogs in my mind (yeah that’s how I roll) all week. This time of year I like to take stock of the past year, do a little self inventory as they say in recovery, and then think about what I’d like to see happen in the upcoming year. You might notice I don’t use words like, “goals”, “life plan” or “resolutions”. I never really learned about the concept of “goals” until later in life and for some reason (unfamiliarity? Corporate overuse?) the word still makes me bristle a bit.
In keeping with the recurring theme of irony that is my life, it was about the time that I began to internalize the concept and actually create some goals that life yanked the tablecloth out from under my neatly arranged plans like a second rate magician trying unsuccessfully to pull the tablecloth from under the china. My finely laid table was a shambles of chipped china, scattered silver and spilled glasses. Like most survivors I know how to pick up the pieces that are still useful, repair what I can and discard the rest.
Resetting my table is pretty much the forte, and maybe that’s why I have always avoided planning ahead. I’m certain that there are many people out there who will insist that recurring chaos is the result of poor planning rather than an excuse for it and they are probably right, and yet so am I.  If I’ve learned one thing in this life it is that seemingly paradoxical truths can exist and be valid at the same time. On a good day life is a theater of the absurd in my eyes, on a bad day well; let’s just say I lose my sense of humor at times.
As far as resolutions or goals, I’m functioning on a pretty primal level right now. Goal 1) Eat more than once a day. Goal 2) Get out of bed every day. Yeah, ambition is not high on the list right now. On the other hand I have accomplished several things I probably would not have if I’d been working full time. I have two regular blogs that I do a fair job of keeping up with. I have been designing my own website which is actually finally presentable (see link at bottom of page). I’ve done a lot of crafting and artwork I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve gotten to know many people online in various communities who share many of the same interests and concerns that I am passionate about. And I’ve spent a lot of quality time with my family both human and four legged.
The Big question mark hovers over the statement “after treatment…” It’s difficult to even visualize that place, the place that exists beyond treatment like some kind of magical isle that disappears into the mist. As synchronicity would have it I recently stumbled across a post by one of my fellow Hep C bloggers that pretty well sums up the mists that obfuscate the future and allow us to cherish each day as it is. I hope you will enjoy reading it as much as I did http://ianquill.blogspot.com/



© 2010 Jennifer Hazard



My Website-
www.nanakoosasplace.com  www.whitewaveconsulting.org  
check “em out, I’d love some feedback.


Thank You and have a blessed and healthy 2011!!!

>Thanksgiving and all that

>Hello everyone,
I hope you all had a pleasant holiday however you choose to acknowledge it. As always my kids and I did ours on Wednesday then they go to their Dad’s on Thursday. We had a nice meal and I was having a “good” day in terms of energy level. My son prepared nearly the entire meal and my daughter did all the cleanup. I started to protest but it occurred to me that for all the bitching I do about lack of support for people on treatment I should just relax and be THANKFUL that they did all the work. One family tradition we have is that as we sit down to eat everyone lists things for which they are thankful, and I was truly thankful for my family. They don’t always get it when I’m exhausted or sick, but how could they really? they are 17 and 19 as I recall at that age one’s capacity for empathy is still developing. In fact I believe that although the seeds are planted in early life, empathy is a trait which develops over an entire lifetime-hopefully.
Today was not such a good day, I felt terrible all day, neck ache, headache, nausea and just generally feeling out of it. It seems to go that way, a good day or two followed by feeling like crap. I’m in my 9th month of treatment now and starting to feel very toxic, and really have had just about enough. But two months to go and it will be over; then begins the 6 month trial period to see if I attain SVR. I honestly try not to have too many expectations one way of another. We hear a lot of people talk about the power of positive thought in the healing process and although I do firmly believe this myself I find it difficult to apply specifically to healing my Hep C. I feel that, for me, it’s probably more productive and healing to maintain positive perspective in general and that will extend to my physical well being. I tend to get a bit obsessive and if I were to spend hours sitting around focusing on my liver, I think it would do more harm than good. But that’s just me, and my way of doing things. Other than coping with side effects and participating in education, support and advocacy (mostly online) I try not to think about it too much. I don’t countdown the weeks until EOT I couldn’t even guess how many shots I’ve done (although I could figure it out if I wanted to) and even following my lab results I only pay attention to what is absolutely necessary.
This process of managing side effects is enough of a task all by itself, as far as the rest, what will be will be. Because this is such a difficult process and for me the sides have been pretty bad, I appreciate having a day to remind us to focus on things for which we are Grateful, it’s good practice for every day!
© 2010 Jennifer Hazard


Gratitude-the Original Thanksgiving Message.

Nanakooa’s Healing Place In the midst of the trends of family pressure, the expectation of the “perfect meal” and media invasion (Black Friday Sales) let’s remember the origin of this day, Gratitude for a bountiful harvest and for generous help of others; without these we cannot survive.

I am fortunate to be surrounded by people who embrace the concept of Thanksgiving as a day of Gratitude. I have seen and heard many expressions of Thankfulness and Appreciation, mostly for the non-material gifts in life. Of course having such wonderful people in my life this doesn’t happen by accident or pure luck. I’ve been thinking and writing about personal choice lately after realizing that, as a learned response to being victimized, I had accepted a sense of powerlessness. I believed I was at the mercy of my environment and other people who would choose to manipulate that environment. Life was something that happened to me and it was my job (I thought) to just buck up and make the best of things. Naturally this world view does little to inspire gratitude or hope and it tends to attract people and situations that do not serve our best interests. I remember being surrounded by people who could only focus on the negative aspects of Holidays; having to be with family they don’t get along with, pressuring themselves to have the “perfect” meal and getting up at 3 am the next day to be pushed and shoved around by rabid shoppers vying for 10 dollar microwaves. These individuals, whether they had been victimized in the traditional sense of not, obviously were operating with the same blueprint I was. They allowed themselves to be controlled by whatever expectations family or society or the media had dealt them, and they tried to make the best of it. Making the best of something that is not authentically your desire is hard work, it’s exhausting and in the end we are usually dissatisfied with the results in on way or another. Unfortunately many people never consider that they have options, that they have the power of choice.
Eventually we realize that if we make choices that are aligned with our values and desires the world won’t fall apart, that everyone we love will not abandon us (although some may be pissed off!) nor will any other of the fears that keep us from being true to ourselves will manifest. Once we reach this point we are able to create Holiday traditions that express the best intentions of celebration.
I frequently make gratitude lists, it’s something I learned I AODA treatment and it has become an important element in my road to recovery. It helps me to maintain perspective and it helps me to know myself, what makes me grow and what brings me happiness. By clarifying all these elements I find it easier to make goals, to set intentions to plan and work for toward creating the kind of lifestyle that suits my individual needs and desires. I hope that at least this one day of thanks can help others do the same.

One last side note, we often see this holiday as the beginning of the White mans genocide of the Native Americans. While I have both native and puritan ancestry, I believe that at this point there was harmony between the two cultures. Each lived simply from the earth and respected the gifts the earth gave in return. It wasn’t until investors, profit seekers and big business discovered the settlers could be manipulated and used to serve their own greed did things start to go bad. It is the same greed and profiteering that ruins so many peoples 4 day weekends with the repeated messages about Black Friday. Sure consumers are getting some “good deals” comparatively speaking, but the wealthy are sitting back, enjoying whatever it is they enjoy on their day off and raking in huge profits. I prefer not to give them the satisfaction, because that’s my choice.
Have a Blessed and Grateful day,
Peace,
Jenny

 © 2010 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard