Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays’ take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘mental influence

Sadness

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sadness

Words on Images

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Today I’m

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Today I’m not preparing to evacuate a hurricane zone. In the middle of the country, the biggest threat from hurricanes on the east coast is that they might temporarily stall the usual flow of high or low pressure weather systems that move across our region.

Today I’m purposefully ignoring anything that democrats or republicans want to tell me about how awful and scary the “other” party candidates are. Just not gonna allow them to sully an otherwise promising possibility for goodness and prosperity to spring forth from even horrifically dire situations.

Today I’m remembering how it felt to be chronically depressed and appreciating the grace that allowed me to discover I had power over my thoughts and my body chemistry to navigate my way to better health. Eat well, exercise often, focus thoughts and actions in the direction of optimal health. Repeat.

Today I’m revisiting my realization that I am the only one who sees things exactly the way I do while standing in my shoes, and the view from every other vantage point is not necessarily wrong. Many could even be the exact opposite. Whether you need to turn left or right to pull into our driveway depends completely on whether you are approaching from the north or the south.

Today I’m going to laugh at something, because the universe is filled with comical possibilities. Even our horses have demonstrated the art of prankish shenanigans. It’s all in the timing, and they obviously have a sense of it.

Today I’m publishing this post, because you might stop by to read it and I want there to be something for you that wasn’t here yesterday at this time. A morsel of *this* John W. Hays’ take on things and experiences that I captured in the moment. A glimpse of the ongoing drama from my world that I hope dances around being relative to something for you every now and again.

Today I’m sending you peace and love from beautiful Wintervale Ranch in Beldenville, WI, USA.

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Yes, Shingles

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For all the personal detail I freely display in my posts on a regular basis, I found myself holding back recently from blathering on about the daily progress of my shingles outbreak. I think part of it was a hope of saving you from frequently repeated lamentations over the pain and suffering I was enduring, but another part of it was my plan to give this affliction as little attention as possible. My intent was to get over this quickly and with a minimum of symptoms.

It all started on the Monday after I had trimmed dead wood from our apple tree and a nearby maple tree, using a pruning saw on an extended pole. It seemed entirely logical that I would feel sore muscles in the area of my torso after the workout I had done the day before. Upon a feeling of even more stiffness the next day, I became more assured my discomfort was a function of delayed onset muscle soreness from the weekend’s exercise.

By Wednesday I was growing normalized to the soreness and stopped thinking about it. After my shower in the evening, I noticed a red spot on my abdomen, but it didn’t mean much to me at the time. However, it seemed odd when the redness was still there the next morning. Without previously having had the slightest inkling that I might be getting sick, when I saw the spot still present in the morning, I reacted by lifting my arm and turning in the mirror.

How did I suddenly know?

DSCN4519eThere were enough splotches in a line around to my back that I instantly thought, “Shingles.” When I got to work I did a little research and checked in with my clinic back in Wisconsin. They directed me to immediately visit an urgent care site near my workplace. The doctor there did little more than listen to my description and look at my torso before confirming my self-diagnosis.

She prescribed an anti-viral to be taken 3-times a day for a week, to minimize and hopefully shorten the duration of my symptoms. She asked what I knew about shingles and began to describe the varying levels of hell that can occur.

I interrupted her to say that I did read that some people may not have severe symptoms. When she nodded in acknowledgement, I proclaimed that I would be one of those people, so she didn’t need to bother describing the worst it could get.

For the most part, I would say I achieved my goal of not having the rash erupt in multiple waves of increasing severity. It got worse for about 3 days and then began to slowly recede. There is still some residual visual evidence left, but my skin is mostly healed. The deep (what felt like muscle) pain was a chronic annoyance for about 2-and-a-half weeks, but seems to be fading now.

I’m so close to being done with it that I want to claim victory. There is just one small problem. Even though I succeeded in willing myself to the easy end of the shingles spectrum, it appears that I am getting a good dose of a common complication: post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN).

The most common complication of shingles is a condition called post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN). People with PHN have severe pain in the areas where they had the shingles rash, even after the rash clears up.

The pain from PHN may be severe and debilitating, but it usually resolves in a few weeks or months in most patients. Some people can have pain from PHN for many years.             ——–cdc.gov/shingles/about/complications

I wouldn’t exactly call what I am feeling as pain. It is more a hyper-sensitivity. At times, it feels like a sunburn on my skin. Other times it feels “crawly” like having a fever. I get frequent shivers, and the act of shivering is uncomfortable. I want to avoid it, but I can’t.

So it’s that kind of pain. Not so much a “hurt,” as a very uncomfortable nuisance.

Yes, that’s my version of shingles.

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Good Thing

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Activity in our kitchen is back to normal, now that Cyndie is home. When I walked in the door from a day at work yesterday, my nose was greeted by a simmering ham roast in the slow cooker, two side dishes baking in the oven, and a fresh loaf of home-baked cranberry/orange/walnut bread and  plum crumble dessert cooling on the counter.

George was coming over for dinner. I went to start a fire in the fireplace, but noticed we needed to bring in more firewood. That meant I would need to shovel a path to the firewood rack on the deck.

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The food Cyndie prepared was fit for serving a royal feast. To heck with counting sugar grams or total calories. I ate it all, and then some.

We enjoyed dessert in front of the fire, where we lingered long while pondering the fragility of mental health in a wandering trail of tales, eventually feeling as if we had gone full-circle and discovered connections in otherwise seemingly dissimilar situations.

There is always hope possible in times that seem hopeless. If it is not easily available for the grasping, it can be cultivated, when the essential willingness is on hand.

It remains to be seen whether the hopes and remote support seeds we planted will produce desired results in the long run. In the mean time, the fine food and fellowship we shared and enjoyed was a heck of a good thing for the three of us.

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Written by johnwhays

February 5, 2016 at 7:00 am

Get Up

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You get up and face another day. It looks just like most other days. To some, it may be a day of dramatic significance, but for the rest of the world, it is normal to the point of being unremarkable. It hardly matters that it is the 15th day of January today.

DSCN4332eHow did we get here, to the middle of the first month of 2016 already?

I deal with the date a lot at work. Often, it is days far into the future that I am committing to as goals. As a result, I find myself growing numb about what the actual day’s date really is.

If you had long ago set today’s date as important and pondered over it at length throughout the ensuing time, achieving this day would understandably hold particular worth.

I don’t know how to pull that off for every single day.

When I was home all day, every day, managing all the ranch chores, I tended to lose track of what day it was. Now that I am in the completely different situation of driving to work to spend the days dealing with future dates on the calendar, I find it funny that I still lose track of what day it is.

Throughout my life, I’ve not been very good about waking up everyday with a feeling of awe over the gift of the day. Maybe that leads to my tendency to feel shock over the times that I do pay attention to the date. I don’t know.

Lately, I have been enjoying periods of intense pleasure over an immediate moment. The color of the sky, just after sunset. The look in someone’s eye. The sigh of our resting dog.

It doesn’t matter what day it is, when a fleeting moment catches your attention and feeds your soul.

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Written by johnwhays

January 15, 2016 at 7:00 am

Not Static

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Nothing is as static as my mind tends to imagine it to be. The constant changes and endless activity I have witnessed on our property in the past 3 years are convincing me that my general impression of the world has been a gross oversimplification of reality.

I think I’ve already written about my amazement over how relatively fluid the “solid ground” actually is. I know that farmers who need to pick rocks out of their tilled fields year after year are well aware of this ‘fluidity.’

DSCN4325eYesterday, a day that was about as plain as an uneventful winter day can be, I was trudging up one of my shortcut paths through the trees between our barn and the house when I suddenly became aware of all the debris collecting on the snow covering the ground.

It is a blaring announcement about how much activity is actually occurring in the seemingly static days that have followed last week’s snow storm. I’m guessing that squirrels are responsible for much of the shrapnel that has fallen from the trees, but I expect there are plenty of other less visible actors in the constant change taking place.

I need only look to the manure pile to witness evidence of the microscopic players at work in a feat of perpetual transition. Even though growing things all appear to be in a winter state of dead or dormant, the manure pile continues to cook at 140° F. There is an amazing amount of activity going on in the center of that pile.

I used to think there were two states of a mouse trap: tripped, or not. Now I know there is a third one. It is called, gone. I have lost too many mouse traps to count. Before we went out of town last Thursday, I added new peanut butter bait to the two traps in the garage. It had been too many days in a row without any evidence of activity, and I knew better. The mice had definitely lost interest in the traps.

The tally upon our return was, one trap with a mouse in it, and one trap gone. I don’t know if a mouse got caught in the trap and something else hauled it off somewhere, or the trap snapped on a mouse that could still run away, dragging the trap with it.

My response to all this is that I am not going to devise any single solution to situations that arise. I will endeavor to change the way I deal with things just as often as the challenges morph in new and different ways.

It’s not any spectacular new innovation. I’d say it’s pretty much how things have been throughout time. I’m just coming to a realization that I can choose to frame my perspective differently.

You could say I am planning to observe and respond to situations with more fluidity.

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Written by johnwhays

January 4, 2016 at 7:00 am

‘Tis Season

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‘Tis the Christmas season for sure, as we’ve reached the final week before December 25th. If you sense anything about me, it might include a perception that I am a bit mall averse. I do not like going to shopping malls. I avoid them on weekends whenever possible, and I especially seek to stay clear during the holiday season.

Nonetheless, I try to stay flexible enough to go with the flow when events lead me to places I might not choose on my own. So it was, that I found myself yesterday, facing the double whammy of going to the Southdale Shopping Center on the Saturday before Christmas.

ForceAwakensNo, make that a triple whammy. I was also going to a movie theater there to attend a showing of the latest mega-event movie, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, on its opening weekend.

I figured it was a recipe for every possible challenge related to having too many people in one place at the same time.

On top of preparing to face this adventure, my mind was also occupied with peripheral planning to deal with our animal care and a goal to also attend, on the same day, a holiday party in the evening, some 50-minutes away in a different direction.

We had a fabulous day. I credit Cyndie’s precious ability to send love to all around, and especially to those afar. We also did some intense planning which involved arriving to the movie theater early. It all played out flawlessly.

I was surprised to find that it wasn’t as crowded as I imagined it would be. We were second in line at the theater door, and when the doors finally opened, we discovered that being early enough to line up hadn’t been necessary.

Despite my ability to imagine the plan for our day being ripe for one hassle after another, it turned out to be nothing but peace, love, joy, excitement, and a fair amount of extra highway miles.

My movie review: classic Star Wars, doing justice to the genre and paying nice homage to the original.

It was sweet to see our kids and Cyndie’s family. Thirteen of us showed up for the flick. From there, we raced home to give Delilah some much wanted attention, feed and clean up after the horses, grab a quick bite for dinner, and then headed out into the darkness to find a holiday party at a home we’ve not visited before.

I negotiated one obstacle in a shortcut I had chosen, and we arrived in good time for a sweet visit to a BIG holiday party in a beautiful home in the country.

The day turned out just the way you would imagine it, if you were to choose to expect the best possible outcomes.

It serves as inspiration for me, to see if I can’t improve on the tenor of my visualizations going forward.

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Written by johnwhays

December 20, 2015 at 11:25 am