Sometimes We Need To Lose The Small Battles…

Serena Williams once said: “I’ve grown most not from victories, but setbacks. If winning is God’s reward, then losing is how He teaches us.” No matter what faith you follow (or any lack thereof), those words should make sense.

We don’t learn anything from winning. Look at any sport celebrity who has managed to win their way into being “undefeated”. They end up spending the majority of their days trying to find something to fill the void that the challenge has left behind. More often than not, and not in every case, this leads to scandal or criminal charges. I use this as an example because they are usually the most prominent, and the public are generally the most aware of them, but this can also apply to all of us.

But so long as a person is hungry and willing to work hard, setbacks and challenges can lend the spice to life that is required to keep on growing. These are the thoughts that have been floating through my head in recent months. How much farther do I need to push in order to win against an opponent who should have never BEEN an opponent in the first place? So, does this mean I’m destined to lose?

I believe that at some point, every person should evaluate what they are doing with their lives, what contributions they are making and what the end result for themselves and their families might be. Change is good. There’s nothing wrong with change; it shows us that progress is happening. And sometimes that change comes in ways we would have never expected. After all, all things happen for a reason…

I’m not used to losing. It’s not something I’ve had to deal with. Maybe it’s my hard-headed nature or my stubbornness, but my track record for winning against any challenge I’ve faced so far is pretty decent. I have lived into my 40’s despite being told in my youth that I wouldn’t live past my teens. I obtained a black belt in karate after being told that I couldn’t train in the martial arts due to my Diabetes and my health. I also pursued my chosen career and obtained promotion sooner than most of my colleagues based on my own sheer force of will. But I am tired…

When I say I’m tired, I don’t mean I need a better night’s rest or a nap and I’ll be good to go. I mean my soul is tired. I wake most days feeling as though the weight of the world is resting on my shoulders and with every step that I take in my current battle, two more take its place as the next step.

Sun Tzu wrote: “The supreme Art of War is subduing the enemy without ever fighting.” Maybe that’s what I need to do in this instance. Winning may mean no longer fighting. Perhaps I need to lose in order to win. And there’s no shame in that. Ultimately, other challenges and other opportunities in life await. And I simply wouldn’t be me if I didn’t continue on the journey. ☯

Advertisements

What’s Right…

The Buddhist system follows something called the Noble Eightfold Path. This includes Right View, Right Resolve, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration.

These things are important as they help a person find a balanced middle ground through the turmoil that is life. This becomes especially important to someone who seeks to cause harm to others.

First and foremost, Right View teaches us that actions have consequences, even after death. One needs to consider these consequences before committing oneself to action against another person.

Right Speech tells us that we should avoid lying or being intentionally dishonest. One would tend to think that this is pretty straight forward, but you’d be surprised how often we omit details or lie, despite the knowledge of what it could do to others.

Right Actions is the last one I’ll touch on in this post as it becomes important because what you do goes hand in hand with what you say and how you think.

As a people, humanity has grown to strive for personal gain, even at the cost of others. This is a false way to live and can cause damage to others. And that damage will have repercussions that can never be taken back. It’s important to treat others the way you want to be treated. This means being respectful at all times and accepting your fate instead of blaming it on others.

The Dharma Wheel

Those who know me personally know to what I am specifically talking about, but the jist of it is that what goes around, comes around. The damage you cause will eventually come back to bite you in an appendage and there may be no fighting your way out of it. So it becomes important to do things RIGHT.

And to those of you who may be suffering through a struggle of your own, perhaps brought on by the injustices caused by another, remember not to let the outcome alter who you are. The goodness that makes you who you are should not be corrupted by others. Keanu Reeves has been pretty popular these days, so I’ll close out with one of his quotes: “If you have been brutally broken, but still have the courage to be gentle to other living beings, then you’re a badass with the heart of an angel.”

The Nation’s Capital

I’m a little late on the ball with providing a post today. This is because I’ve been travelling across the country. Specifically, I travelled to the City of Ottawa.

For any of my friendly readers from abroad, Ottawa is Canada’s National Capital. The population sits at just over 1 million people and boasts a number of tourist attractions, as well as being all around beautiful.

At Regina Internal Airport, waiting to leave for Ottawa.

I’d like to say that this was a pleasure trip, but I came in order to deal with some work-related matters.

Riding the public bus to the downtown area in Ottawa.

In fact, with the exception of these few quick photos, I didn’t have time for much of anything. I arrived yesterday afternoon, spent the night and attended meetings all day today. At the conclusion of my meetings, I was ushered back to the airport where I started the trip back home.

The lovely Ottawa International Airport. It’s quite spacious!

I wish I would have had time to see a bit more while I was here, but what are you gonna do, right?

Hustling through Toronto Pearson Airport, looking for something to eat between flights.

As I write this, I’m waiting for the next leg of my flight to board. It’s been delayed by over an hour and I feel like I’ll never get home. At least not tonight. By the time I reach Regina, it will likely be past midnight and a new day will have begun.

Found a small deli that serves delicious Reuben sandwiches. Expensive, but good!

So there you have it, folks. It’s short and sweet and I’m aware that it doesn’t carry the usual content, but they can’t all be winners, right? Sometimes it’s worth it just to share in the journey. Hopefully after a day’s rest, I can get back on track tomorrow. ☯

Respect, It’s Not Just A Seven Letter Word…

Yesterday, I had an unfortunate discussion with a total stranger. What made it unfortunate is the fact that it started out as a simple comment on one of my posts and quickly escalated into a heated back and forth. Something that, given my beliefs, I do not enjoy. Although I can admit to my contribution to the situation, I feel that the words used on me fell within the realm of disrespectful, especially when one considers that I am a total stranger to this person.

I have only been blogging for seven months. In the grand scope of things, that is an extremely small window of time. But in that small window of time, I have published 137 posts (including this one). I post daily and I try to post information that is useful within the realm of Buddhism, Martial Arts and Diabetes.

I’ve made it clear that I am not a doctor. I am not a nutritionist nor am I a specialist (at least in anything other than the martial arts). What I am, however, is a philosopher, Buddhist, martial artist and an eternal student. I dedicate countless hours to reading and research, and use this time to contribute that same information to my posts. So the information that I provide is normally from peer reviewed sources (that I often link) and I often include my opinion because, well… it’s my blog! Although I have no piece of paper to the contrary on my wall, it does not make me uneducated (as I have studied in a number of fields and subjects), nor does it make me unable to discuss and share a wide variety of information.

From the very beginning, I have made it clear that I am always open for good discussion. I enjoy a good conversation and I enjoy sharing differing points of view even more. But we need to be cognizant of the fine line between difference of opinion and just flat out rudeness and disrespect. To have a person, who is not even a follower of my blog by the way, tell me that my posts “make no sense”, that I am “flat out wrong” and “uneducated”, that I am “incredibly ignorant” and should “really do your research” as well as “spreading misinformation encouraging people to contribute to their own poor health and to immoral practices”… Seriously, folks? Is this what we’ve become?

It breaks my heart because I pride myself on treating others with respect and it makes it all the harder when someone goes over the line like this. If I post something that differs from your opinion, please feel free to speak to me about it. but it can be done in a respectful manner. Maybe I’m being overly sensitive. After all, this is the first time I’ve had an encounter like this on my own blog.

I believe we are all entitled to our opinion. We are entitled to our chosen way of life. Why has it become necessary in today’s world to belittle and put down another person you don’t even know, simply because their views don’t match your own? Especially when it would be so easy to simply keep on scrolling rather than comment.

Negativity breeds negativity, dear readers. We only get out of this world the kind of energy we put into it. So if you are willing to spill negativity against another person, eventually that energy will come back on you. Be good to each other. Respect each other. Be open to others’ opinions without belittling BECAUSE of them. The only way the world can keep on turning is if we turn the crank together. ☯

Save It For A Rainy Day…

Sometimes it’s nice to just sit back and do something for yourself. Especially on days like today… This afternoon, we had heavy rains and thunder for the better part of two hours. In fact, there’s still a touch of raining falling as we speak!

One of the best things to do on such a rainy day is brew a nice hot cup of coffee or tea, and curl up somewhere comfortable with a good book. Reading for leisure is something I don’t get to do a great deal of, these days. Between work, exercise and dealing with the whirlwind that is my child, finding a quiet hour to myself has become almost impossible.

I usually always have a few books on the go. As much as I adore reading, I tend to get bored before I manage to complete one, so I leap frog from one book to another. At the moment, I’m reading Robert Jordan’s “The Path of Daggers”, which is Book 8 of a 14 book series called The Wheel of Time. This will be my third time reading through the series. It’s an amazing series, with a rich storyline and characters. I definitely recommend it, if you have several years to contribute to reading a series. I started reading it for the first time in the mid-90’s.

I’m also reading Sean Williams’ “Star Wars: Fatal Alliance”. For my fellow Star Wars fans, this is a novel of the Old Republic. It’s an interest read, although I’ll admit to having a difficult time getting through it.

It’s important to have a variety when reading, but the main focus of my attention right now is a book by Yamamoto Tsunetomo entitled “Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai”.

What makes this book so interesting is that it was written by an actual Buddhist monk. Well, to clarify… It was written by a scribe named Tashiro Tsuramoto in the early 1700’s, and contains the conversations between Tsuramoto and Tsunetomo.

It wouldn’t be published until quite some time later, but the book contains thoughts on the issues surrounding Japan after the battle of Seki Ga Hara, when Japan’s society began to change and the samurai faced difficulties maintaining a warrior class during an evolving period of peace.

Tsunetomo spent three decades as a samurai warrior. When his master died, he was forbidden from following his master into death by law of the current shogunate. Instead, he chose to renounce the world and become a monk.

It was during those years as a Buddhist monk that Tsunemoto shared the thoughts and sayings that Tsuramoto would scribe into the manuscript that would become Hagakure. It actually covers a number of subjects and makes for quite an interesting read.

I started writing this post almost two hours ago and it’s still pouring out there! I think it’s time to put this puppy to bed and get back to reading. So pick up a book and let that imagination run wild. As I like to say:When you aren’t exercising the body, you should be exercising the mind!

There’s Light At The End, Even When The Tunnel Is Dark…

A very wise (and fictional) person once said: “It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not a weakness; that is life.” I’ve always prided myself on being a good person; helping and protecting others and always trying to do the right thing.

In recent days, I’ve come to question what it takes to win a hopeless fight. True battles seem to linger on forever, and one can feel as though it will never end. Sometimes you can feel as though you’ve been fighting forever and you just don’t have any strength left…

I think it was Thomas Fuller who said: “It’s always darkest before the dawn.” This is quite accurate. No matter what obstacles you may be facing, it’s important to keep on fighting. Don’t let the battle force your eyes away from the finale. Keep going. You’ll be surprised how those who matter will surface to offer support right when it’s needed the most. ☯

What Makes You Stronger Can Also Hurt You…

One of the obvious treatments for Type 1 Diabetes is insulin therapy. For those who may not have read my previous posts, (I’m being silly, of course you have!) insulin is a hormone produced by the body’s beta cells in the pancreas. Type 1 Diabetes occurs when your body’s immune system attacks and destroys these beta cells, leading to the pancreas no longer producing insulin.

Dr. Frederick Banting blessed us all with the gift that is insulin in the Spring of 1921 with the help of his trusty lab assistant, Charles Best. And since then, insulin has remained the top dog in the proper treatment and control of insulin-dependant Diabetes.

Although there are several different brand names and sub-types, insulin can be described within five main categories:

Rapid-Acting: This insulin hits the system quickly and is usually taken in conjunction with a meal or to prevent spikes in blood sugar. That being said, I currently use a rapid-acting insulin (Humalog) in my insulin pump to control basal and bosul rates (Examples: Humalog and NovoLog);

Short-Acting: This insulin is similar to the rapid-acting, but it takes a little more time to kick in and peaks a little bit later. (Examples: Humilin R, Novolin R);

Intermediate-Acting: These insulins start kicking in within about an hour, but will provide basal coverage for about 12 hours in total. They are generally used for overall control, need to be taken twice a day and are used in conjunction with a rapid or short-acting insulin (Examples: Humilin N and Novolin N);

Long-Acting: This type of insulin is generally taken at bedtime and kicks in within an hour. The advantage is that it will last anywhere between 20 to 26 hours, with no peak. So it is normally used to maintain proper blood sugar levels throughout the day. This one would also need to be used in combination with a fast or short-acting insulin as it will not compensate for the carbs you take in at mealtimes (Examples: Lantus and Levemir);

Pre-mixed Insulin: This one is a bit of an issue. Each of these insulins are a combination of short and intermediate-acting insulins and can problematically take effect anywhere within 5 minutes to an hour. This is a significant problem since no two people are alike and no two insulin requirements are alike. This insulin is usually taken twice a day in conjunction with a meal (Examples: Humilin 70/30, Novolin 70/30, Humilin and Humalog 50/50).

There’s another type that is sometimes referred to as Ultra-Long Acting, but it’s basically the same thing as Long-Acting with a 36 hour window instead of 20 to 26 hours. As I look back on this list, I realize that at one point or another I have used every type of insulin on this list with the exception of Levemir and the pre-mixes. Crazy.

The American Diabetes Association webpage has a great article that explains all of these in greater detail: http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/medication/insulin/insulin-basics.html

Humalog is what I currently use in my pump. It’s used for its rapid-acting properties at mealtimes, and intermittent basal rate to maintain levels throughout the day.

Although life saving, insulin comes with a range of possible side effects. Much like any other medication, these side effects can range from mild to severe, depending on the person and the type of insulin therapy used.

Some of the most common side effects include, but are not limited to weight fluctuations, erratic blood sugar levels, skin issues from repeated injection sites, heart attack, stroke, eye and kidney complications and in some cases, anxiety or depression.

All of these symptoms can be discussed and dealt with through your family practitioner. The reality is that at the present time, there is no cure for Type-1 Diabetes (contrary to what many conspiracy theorists and naturopaths may believe).

Insulin is not a cure, but simply a treatment that allows those with Diabetes to extend their life expectancy and live full, active lives. As usual, my go-to is to suggest maintaining a healthy lifestyle with plenty of exercise and proper diet. Monitor your blood sugars regularly and keep fighting the good fight! ☯