Choices, Consequences, and Gratitude

My day started off with a cough. A whole bunch of them, really. At 5am I woke up suddenly to find my chest constricted, and went into a fit of coughing that was severe enough to make me rush to the bathroom, worried I might throw up. I know that sounds awful but it happens sometimes. I went back to bed and tried to go back to sleep, but no luck. An hour of intermittent coughing fits later, my chest and head were aching so badly that I knew I’d never get back to sleep, so I got up, dressed, and went upstairs to do my nebulizers (I put liquid medication into a  little handheld unit that attaches to an air compressor – when turned on, it turns the liquid into vapor which I then inhale), which I knew would help calm the coughing somewhat.

And of course, as I walked up the stairs, I realized that I had forgotten the nebulizers the night before.

I almost laughed out loud. Here I was, feeling pretty damn awful, and starting to get pissed off. I was grumbling to myself, thinking, “why am I coughing like this, I’ve been fine the past week, this is stupid, I want to go back to bed, but instead I have to get up and deal with my effing lungs!”. And then I realized that the reason I was feeling so crappy was because I’d forgotten to do my meds the night before.

Direct consequences. I didn’t do part of my routine the day before, and it clearly and directly altered the course of the next day for me. I shouldn’t be surprised. And once I had realized it, I wasn’t. In fact, as I said, I almost laughed out loud. Realizing the connection between my actions and their corresponding reactions seems to help me put them into perspective.

I made a choice, sitting there after finishing my meds. I made a choice to pay more attention today about the connection between my actions and their consequences. And right then, I chose to sit still, give my mind and body a chance to rest (all that coughing is exhausting, and so is the pain it causes) and recover. After about half an hour I was able to fall asleep in the chair, and didn’t wake up till an hour later at 9am. I got up and joined my uncle at the table to work on the NY Times crossword puzzle. And I realized in a few minutes that my headache was gone, my chest felt light and open, the need to cough was calmed, and I felt rested and ready for the day.

I was amazed. I don’t think I’ve ever gone from feeling as bad as I did at 6am to as good as I did at 9am without some sort of drug involved (ok, well technically drugs were involved, but they were legitimately prescribed by my doctor and taken as directed).

It was just another clear reminder to me that even small choices I make during my day can really change my experience.

As I’m writing this, I realize that I don’t have a clear idea about what I want to tell you. The only thing I knew when I started is that I wanted to tell you the story about my morning, because it so clearly illustrated the connection between my actions and the way I feel, physically and mentally.

I think the reason I wanted to make that point was because I know that when I make intentional choices to act in a way that promotes my wellness, I feel…..well….better. Although I started this blog the 1st of June, I left the hospital on the 26th of May, and spent the last week working on my wellness in order to prepare for this quest I am on. Telling you all about it in my blog, to be honest, was an afterthought. So I’ve spent a week making new and radical changes in my behavior that have led me to feel much healthier. I couldn’t have imagined how much difference a week could make. I can’t wait to find out what will happen with my whole being after just a month of living with optimal wellness as my primary goal.

I’m pretty tired right now. My eyelids feel heavy and I feel as if I could close them, lean back in my chair, and drift off right here. And yet my day isn’t over. I have to make the choice tonight to finish my routine before bed. And not because I know that if I don’t there will be consequences. No, I am going to do the things I have set for myself because I know that if I do them, and continue to do them, I will continue to create for myself a new way of being.

This path, this journey, this quest….It is already changing who I am, and so far, the changes are exciting. Tonight I am filled with gratitude for my family because they are making this possible. I am grateful for my friends because they are supporting me in this pursuit of new wellness, and have stuck by me even though I have often not deserved it. I am grateful to myself for making a sincere effort to improve my wellness. And finally, I’m grateful to you, because in reading this blog you become my companion in my quest, and I value your company.

Thank you all, and goodnight.

-Nathan

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2 responses to “Choices, Consequences, and Gratitude

  1. You’re gonna be writing a lot, you should check this out. http://www.ommwriter.com/

  2. Being able to learn from one’s experiences and then APPLY those what we learn to make the next day better is a big challenge and opportunity. You are clearly learning and creating new patterns of living. This inspires me. Thank you.

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