In order of relevance
A documentary flm is being made about myself and other long term survivors of ALS/MND. This is one of the most inspiring things to happen in years. Extremely informative and inspiring for anybody with ALS/MND.
Some Thoughts of My Own
I met a priest socially once and in conversation about the ills of the world he said, "The Lord said it came to pass - there was no mention about it being here to stay." We all laughed. But that saying has stayed with me.
How many times in one day do we reaffirm the permanence of our illnesses and misfortunes? I've never "owned" ALS/MND, instead when asked, I'll say I was "diagnosed with" ALS/MND or "a neurological disorder".
Whenever I used to panic or obsess about the illness, or started to doubt my resolve and ability to be well, I was simply reaffirming and nourishing the thing I feared most.
I am not advocating that we enter into a state of denial. After all, one can hardly deny that muscles are wasting but what is to stop us acknowledging that " The process that got me to here and now has already happened: this is a new day. My future has yet to arrive and all things are possible - even a cure"? Do you believe there will be a cure for ALS/MND? I do.
We are constantly presented with choices. You can be happy or sad - it's your choice. If I believed people or circumstance were able to dictate whether I would be happy or sad then I would have given in long before now.
When I wake each morning I decide...
This can be a good day or a bad day - my choice.
Another technique I use, if I fall into a mental black hole, is to assess the previous ten minutes of my life and resolve to do better in the next ten minutes. Almost everyone can handle life ten minutes at a time.
Assessing and correcting mood, attitude and outlook can fine-tune your mind and your approach to the whole day - and life in general. After two or three repetitions I can usually turn my day around, or at very least improve my mood. I even have a mental reset button (see below).
The cells in my body are inherently programmed to remain healthy; my immune system strives to keep me healthy, medical practitioners strive to keep me healthy, as do my wife, family and friends.
I would suggest that the person most responsible for my health and wellbeing is me and that I have a most powerful tool to fulfil that responsibility to myself. That tool is my mind and, given the circumstances, I would be a fool not to use it.see also Mental Attitude
IF IT IS TO BE
IT IS UP TO ME
There is a clear and comprehensive explanation of how our thinking directly effects our physiology at the cellular level in "The Biology of Belief" by Dr. Bruce H. Lipton, PhD. (book available online)
There are numerous references from respected medical journals to support the proposition that our minds, moods and environment directly effect our health.
Healing is not the same thing as curing.
Healing relates to the condition of your life as a whole, while curing concerns your physical condition.
Healing is always possible, no matter how bad your ailments may be.
However, you must initiate the healing process yourself.
Exceptional patients understand this.
They are willing to make difficult choices, try new things and be inspired.
We all have the ability to become exceptional; whether we use it or not is up to us.
Dr. Bernie Siegel
The longer we dwell on our misfortunes,
the greater is their power to harm us.
YOUR PERSONAL "RESET BUTTON"
When a computer becomes overloaded with information or there is a software conflict and it "freezes", the solution is often to simply restart the computer. On some machinery there is a "reset" button that does much the same.
Sometimes you cannot help but be stressed by problems such as illness, financial difficulties, pain or simply frustration at your temporary inability to resolve life's various problems. When it becomes too much to deal with, create a mental "reset button" for yourself. This may not make the problems go away immediately but it will allow you to return to an emotionally stable and positive base from which to view your life.
Rich or poor, sick or well, the best one can expect from life is to be fundamentally happy. I believe this is a matter of choice rather than circumstance. Rather than looking at what I cannot do I look at what I can do. I concentrate on what I have and not what I lack. By taking this approach to everything in life I can hit my mental Reset Button to become "fundamentally happy" again.
PALS have one of the most frustrating and potentially disempowering illnesses. There is no "off switch" to make it go away as yet but I would suggest that we can all create our own Reset Button that will restart us in a basically happy state of mind, regardless of discomfort, frustration and any other unpleasant side effects of ALS/MND.
On one level, being fundamentally happy is as good as it gets. Decisions made in this state of mind are likely to be clearer, more stable and certainly more coherent than those made whilst depressed, frustrated or just plain ill.
Being ill has nothing whatsoever with being happy. Many wealthy, successful and perfectly healthy people are unhappy.
Rather than, "I've had enough, I give in, I don't care", it's possible to take a broader view and think, "If everything starts from here and now, what would I change, how would I change myself and how will I deal with those things I cannot change at the moment?" then act on those conclusions.
If being happy is the best it gets then that is the perfect place from which to view your life and make the necessary changes and decisions. My mental Reset Button is immensely helpful and I have used it several times a day in difficult times. Could you use a reset button in your life? Try it and see.Steve Shackel
Remember that you can get healthier every day
The "Over Five" Club
There are hundreds of PALS that do more than continue to survive five years after diagnosis. In addition to defying the odds, many continue to live productive and fulfilling lives. Prof Stephen Hawking, although physically disabled by ALS/MND continues to change mankind's view and understanding of the entire universe!
Many others have found new strengths despite their illness. It should not be a foregone conclusion that life ends after a diagnosis of ALS/MND.
Lee Kramer is collecting the names and details of PALS that have lived with ALS/MND for more than five years. The ever growing list of long term "survivors" should be an inspiration for recently diagnosed PALS. If you wish to find out more or would like to join the Over Five Club
What is success?
To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people
And the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics
And endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty;
To find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by
A healthy child, a garden patch
Or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed
Easier because you have lived;
This is to have succeeded.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
A miracle is not the suspension of natural law,
but the operation of a higher law
Evy McDonald is a PALS who achieved complete remission from ALS/MND and now shares her experiences with medical practitioners, researchers and of course other PALS and their carers. Her story is extremely inspiring and informative. The ideas expressed may initially seem unconventional to some but, as they led to Evy's remission, are well worth considering. There is a great deal of research data to support her ideas. "Taking on Life" is the title of one of her tapes.To order Evy's audio cassettes may still be available from the Simple Living Network Click "Resource Catalogue" on the left side of the screen on the home page of either site. That will take you to a page with alphabetical listings of authors. Evy's is under M for McDonald. That will take you to Evy's audio tapes.
People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies;
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you;
Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating others could destroy overnight;
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten.
Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give your best anyway.
Most people have no idea
of the giant capacity we can command
when we focus all of our resources
on mastering a single area of our lives.
Follow your dream!
You have the ability to attain whatever you seek;
within you is every potential you can imagine.
Always aim higher than you believe you can reach.
So often, you'll discover that when your talents
are set free by your imagination, you can achieve any goal.
If people offer their help or wisdom
as you go through life, accept it gratefully.
You can learn much from those who have gone before you.
But never be afraid or hesitant to step off the accepted path
and head off in your own direction if your heart tells you
that it's the right way for you.
Always believe that you will ultimately succeed
at whatever you do, and never forget the value
of persistence, discipline, and determination.
You are meant to be whatever you dream of becoming.
DANCE LIKE NOBODY'S WATCHING
Jeff was the kind of guy you love to hate. He was always in a good mood and always had something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, "If I were any better, I would be twins!"
He was a unique manager because he had several waiters who had followed him around from restaurant to restaurant as he changed jobs. The reason the waiters followed Jeff was because of his attitude. He was a natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, Jeff was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.
One day I asked Jeff, "I don't get it! You can't be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?"
Jeff replied, "Each day I say to myself, Jeff, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood.' I choose to be in a good mood. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life."
"Yeah, but it's not that easy," I protested.
"Yes, it is," Jeff said. "Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people will affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It's your choice how you live life."
I often thought about Jeff when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it.
Several years later, I heard that he had been shot in a robbery. After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, he was released from the hospital with fragments of the bullets still in his body.
I saw him about six months after the accident and when I asked him how he was, he said, "If I were any better, I'd be twins. Wanna see my scars?"
I asked him what had gone through his mind as the robbery took place.
"As I lay on the floor, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live, or I could choose to die. I chose to live.
When I got to the emergency room and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses. I got really scared. In their eyes I read, "He's a dead man" so I knew I needed to take action."
"What did you do?" I asked.
"Well, there was a big, burly nurse shouting questions at me," said Jeff. "She asked if I was allergic to anything. "Yes,' I replied. Bullets!'
I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully.
Work like you don't need the money
Love like you've never been hurt
Dance like nobody's watching
Don't cry because it is over, smile because it happened.
LIFE IS LIKE MUSIC
Somewhere deep within you is a song
That plays softly
A song you can hear
Only if you're very quiet
And very still...
A song of life,
And dreams and wisdom...
A call to adventure
On a path that's uniquely yours.
Take time to listen
To the song of your soul
And see where it leads you.
Life is like music
Some high notes
Some low notes
But a wonderful song just the same.
What You Give Out Comes Back to You, Multiplied
A poor Scottish farmer named Fleming heard a cry for help coming from a nearby bog. He dropped his tools and ran to help.
Mired to his waist in black muck, a terrified boy was screaming and struggling to free himself. The farmer saved the lad from what could have been a slow and terrifying death.
The next day, a fancy carriage pulled up to the farmer's home. An elegantly dressed nobleman stepped out and introduced himself as the father of the boy the farmer had saved. "I want to repay you," said the nobleman. "You saved my son's life."
"No, I can't accept payment for what I did," the farmer replied, waving off the offer. At that moment, the farmer's own son came to the door of the family hovel.
"Is that your son?" the nobleman asked.
"Yes," the farmer replied proudly.
"I'll make you a deal. Let me give him a good education. If the lad is anything like his father, he'll grow to a man you can be proud of." And that he did.
The farmer's son graduated from St. Mary's Hospital Medical School in London, and went on to become known as Sir Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of Penicillin.
Years afterward, the nobleman's son was stricken with pneumonia. Penicillin saved his life. The name of the nobleman? Lord Randolph Churchill. His son was Sir Winston Churchill.What goes around comes around or what you give comes back, multiplied.
Nothing is as real as a dream.
The world can change around you, but your dream will not.
Responsibilities need not erase it.
Duties need not obscure it.
Because the dream is within you,
No one can take it away.
Rich or Poor?
One day a wealthy father took his son to the country to show him just how poor some people can be. They spent a day and a night on the farm of a very poor family. When they got back from their trip the father asked his son, "How was the trip?"
"Very good, Dad!" his son replied.
"And what did you learn?" the father asked.
The son answered, "I saw that we have one dog at home, and they have four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of the garden, they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lamps in the garden, they have the stars. Our patio reaches to the front yard, and they have a whole horizon."
When the little boy was finished, his father was speechless. His son added, "Thanks, Dad, for showing me how poor we are!"
Isn't it true that it all depends on the way you look at things? If you have love, friends, family, health, good humor and a positive attitude towards life ... you've got everything! You can't buy any of these things. You can have all the material possessions you can imagine - provisions for the future, etc. - but if you are poor of spirit, you have nothing!
Why Risk It?
To laugh is to risk appearing the fool. To reach for another is to risk involvement. To expose your ideas, your dreams, before a crowd is to risk losing them. To love is to risk not being loved in return. To live is to risk dying. To believe is to risk failure.But risks must be taken, because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing. People who risk nothing - do nothing, have nothing, love nothing, are nothing. They may avoid suffering and sorrow, but they cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love, and fully live. Chained by their attitudes they are slaves; they have forfeited their freedom.
Only a person that risks is free.
Prayer to The Virgin Mary
(never known to fail)
"O most beautiful flower of Mount Carmel's fruitful vine, splendour of Heaven, blessed Mother of the Son of God. Immaculate virgin assist me in my necessity. O Star of the sea, help me and show me here you are my mother. O Holy Mary Mother of God, queen of Heaven and Earth, I humbly beseech you from the bottom of my heart to secure me in my necessity. There are none that can withstand your power. O show me here you are my mother. O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee (3 times). Holy Mary I place this course in your hands (3 times). Thank you for your mercy towards me and mine. Amen".
This prayer should be said for 3 days. The request will be granted and the prayer must be published.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy.
Grant that I may not so much
Seek to be consoled, as to console
To be understood, as to understand
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned.
St Francis of Assisi
Look To This Day
Yesterday is already a dream
And tomorrow is only a vision
But today, well lived
Makes every yesterday
A dream of happiness
And every tomorrow
A vision of hope.
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