Fit to Write

The idea for this post came from this WordPress writing challenge: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/08/12/writing-challenge-health/

The fragile nature of health is something I have been aware of from a very early age. The first angle I will approach health from is the physical. I have a physical disability- Spina Bifida that has required me to have eight surgeries and scores of doctor visits and tests through the years. I have been fortunate, though, in that all of my surgeries took place before my fifteenth birthday. I still visit doctors regularly to try and stay as healthy as possible. Despite being required to deal with many physical and cognitive issues stemming from Spina Bifida, I have enjoyed a far greater quality of life than my doctors expected for me. This is in no small part due to all of my doctors, family, and friends, who help me keep a positive outlook and focus on what I can do instead of the negative.

As I alluded to just now, I pay attention to my emotional health as well. I am an introvert. Though I love people and spending time with family and friends, I require significant amounts of time alone. The activities I enjoy most are solitary in nature: reading, writing, listening to music. I have found that when I don’t have enough time by myself I more quickly become stressed. Taking a short walk around the neighborhood, and the aforementioned activities, are things that keep me content and happy.

 

The post in the link at the beginning talks about self-acceptanance and becoming my best. This is the final and toughest struggle for emotional health for me. But after a lot of struggle with my limitations, I can say that I have come to terms with all of that. My goal is to continue doing what I can to better myself and see what good things will happen.

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Bookworm

Tell us about the last book you read (Why did you choose it? Would you recommend it?). To go further, write a post based on its subject matter.

For this Daily Prompt idea I wanted to write about one of the last books I read, Why is the Human on Earth? by Mark Ballabon. A friend recently gifted this book to me after describing how much she has enjoyed it since she first read it several years ago. I am fortunate to have a copy, as I believe it is currently out of print. I love this book for many reasons. One reason is that to get the most out of it, you have to actively read it. In my opinion, the best way to read this book is very slowly- thinking about each contemplation after you finish it. Though, I confess, the temptation to hurry through it was great for me because I wanted to see where the author was going to go next.

The book is designed to appeal to different senses and creative preferences. Each chaper is called a contemplation. Each contemplation uses a combination of pictures, poetry, writing, and exercises to help the reader fully explore all the ideas offered by the author. As of this writing, the contemplation that resonates with me the most is the fourth. This contemplation is about contributing and adding to life, which is a very different message from what our culture tells us should be our focus. I have several friendships for which I am very thankful. These friends (and they know who they are as they read this) have given so much of their lives to me, and have made me a better person as a result.

This is one of the most inspiring books I have ever read, and I recommend it to anyone who regularly examines his/her life. I would love to hear the thoughts of anyone who has read it.

The poem connected to contemplation four:

The light softened

the talk eased

the pain of trying to be something else retreated

We sat and looked at each other- softly, kindly

through the yes of no difference

and a longing for peace of mind

One woman, one man

many worlds to discover

many thoughts to feel

many hurts and wonders

to understand

And suddenly

the stillness shone

a ruby light

upon a jewel of knowing

that we could heal each other’s worry

and preying pain

simply through the gift

we gave each other

of listening

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Charitable

You’ve inherited $5 million, with instructions that you must give it all away — but you can choose any organizations you like to be the beneficiaries. Where does the money go?

This was an easy Daily Prompt for me. There are several different causes that are important to me. One such cause is literacy. I have had a lifelong love of books and reading. It saddens me to read statistics on how many people cannot read. But the main cause that comes to mind is the Spina Bifida Association ( http://www.spinabifidaassociation.org.) I’m sure this is no surprise to a lot of you who know/have read about my physical disability. I want to be the best ambassador/spokesman I can be for Spina Bifida.

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Turn, Turn, Turn

For many of us, winter is blooming into spring, or fall hardening into winter. Which season do you most look forward to?

I can find things I like about every season. I am hot-natured, so the winter is a nice break from the warm weather we have for most of the year. Summer is good for the break from school. Spring is very pretty here as the Cherry Blossoms bloom. But my favorite season is definitely fall.

The excitement of a new school term. Football season beginning (in Europe and America). The air starting to turn cool after the long, hot summer. And all the trees changing colors. Especially the trees changing colors. What season do you most look forward to?

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The Social Networks

Do you feel like you “get” social media, or do you just use it because that’s where your friends and family are?

This is the question posed in the latest WordPress writing prompt blog. I have pages on most of the popular social networking sites: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn. I find that they are useful for sharing blog posts and sharing and keeping up with life events of family and friends. I would say that I “get” social media. I understand that it’s an easy way to share things online. But I prefer more traditional forms of communication.

I would much rather keep up with family and friends in person, by phone, or mail. Email is also something I enjoy using. But I don’t enjoy sharing the minutia of my daily life online. It seems that so many websites and companies are all too willing to take advantage of all this sharing at the expense of our privacy. If anyone who reads this wants to keep in touch by more traditional means, let me know and I’ll be happy to share my contact information. Also, if you’re not subscribed to my blog, I would love for you to do that 🙂

As somewhat private person (to people I don’t know), I can get overwhelmed from time to time with reading all the things my family and friends are sharing online. As long as I stay on these sites, it is useful for me to take occasional breaks from them. What about you? Are the social networks a useful tool for you?

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INFP

Do parties and crowds fill you with energy, or send you scurrying for peace and quiet?

This was the introductory question for the latest Daily Prompt from WordPress. I have benefited from these prompts, turning several of them into posts. This is another one that I enjoyed. The introspective side of me can’t keep from a little self-reflection from time to time.

My answer is a bit of a convoluted one. I have developed pretty good people skills, I think. But I also require lots of time for reflection. Activities that are enjoyed alone, such as reading, writing, and listening to music, are the things I enjoy most. In social situations, I can usually be found talking to one or two people in the corner of the room.

I found a website with a personality questionaire and filled it out today. I think the results are right on the mark for me. I would be interested  to hear if those who know me best agree. And I would also be interested to hear your results from the test.

Here is the page for the INFP personality. http://www.16personalities.com/infp-personality

And here is the page to take the quiz. http://www.16personalities.com/free-personality-test

 

 

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Third Person Perspective

This is a WordPress writing prompt idea. The challenge is to list at least six things that are unique, exciting, odd, etcetra. A few of these are things I’ve written or talked about on this blog. Feel free to ask or comment about anything that piques your interest, or you want to hear more about. I’ll probably add/take away from the list as I think of more interesting ideas. Here goes.

1) I am a published author.

2) I have Spina Bifida.

3) I am named after my father and grandfather.

4) A few of my closest friends have given me the nickname “Niles” because of my resemblance to David Hyde Pierce from “Fraser”.

5) Several of the students at the school where I work as a substitute call me Spiderman because of a resemblance to Tobey Maguire.

6) I am the only person in my immediate family who can grow a beard. My dad wore a mustache for a long time, though.

 

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Favorite Thing About Myself

By nature, I am quite critical of myself. I am aware of all of my faults before anyone else. I do not extend this criticism to others. I reserve it for myself. But there are a few things that I do well. I am blessed to be surrounded by family and friends who are extremely supportive. They agree with what follows.

One of my favorite things about myself is that I am a good listener. Since I was very young, my contemporaries have confided in me. Sometimes it’s because I let them know that I am willing to be a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen. But many times I think it was a matter of just being there when someone needed to talk through a situation. I don’t consider myself an especially wise person, so I hesitate to offer advice. In fact, I believe most of the time advice is not what is required. It is the simple act of quietly listening that is valuable at the right time. And I think something that goes hand in hand with being a good listener is the gift of perception. I can often sense what is behind or underneath the conversation, but is not actually voiced.

I think that I was a bit quieter when I was younger, which lends itself to being a good listener. As I have gotten older, I fear that I may be becoming more talkative. I don’t want to lose my ability to listen well, so this is something I am conscious of. I don’t want anything to cause people to feel like they can’t talk to me. I have always considered it an honor that people have shared things, big and small, with me. And I hope this continues.

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Peace

Why does the world have to move so quickly?

If only it would slow down;

And allow us more opportunity

To enjoy all that surrounds;

Just to be quiet and listen to nature;

And acquaint ourselves with its stature;

We might find peace;

And maybe some relief;

From this world that never seems to slow down

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-JD