by Tom Oates Jr. reprinted from The CFIDS Chronicle, Summer 1995
THINGS TO DO EVERYDAY
1| Keeping A Journal
I kept a daily journal of what I did and how I felt physically, emotionally and
mentally. I recorded my dreams consistently and reviewed them every few months
to look for recurring themes, ideas, advice. A journal also helped identify what
I had done earlier that caused a relapse. It was always a delayed reaction for
me: I would feel better, go out and do something that I thought would help build
my strength, and end up deep in the pillow for days after, wondering what
happened. The journal sped up the learning curve and helped me to identify
2| Categorize Everything In Your Life As Either Stressful
I categorized everything as either a stressor or a helper. I eliminated all
toxins from my diet: tobacco, alcohol, caffeine, etc. I also found that it took
all of my energy to digest a steak, so I dropped red meat. Dairy products seemed
to bring me down so I eliminated them. However, pasta seemed to help, as did
fresh juices. Even the air I breathed had to be free of dust and pollen.
3| Eliminate All Negativity
I eliminated all negativity. This one is tricky. By now you probably realize
that your energy is the most precious commodity on Earth. Don't allow it to be
drained by negative influences. I try not to engage negative people, places,
attitudes, ideas or anything fear-based. I eliminated all mass media; it's all
the same information. If something is negative (or only trying to sell you soap
and cars), it will absolutely not help you to heal your life. I can't emphasize
enough how important this is. I spent enough time out of the popular culture
that I began to develop an internal dialogue that kept me on my healing path.
4| Read Uplifting Enlightening And Educational Books
I read uplifting books about mind-body health, listened to inspiring tapes and
used a dream book that helped me decipher my dreams. The point is to focus on
inspirational, positive and hopeful ideas.
5| Surrender To The Moment Through Joyful Creative
When I had 15 minutes of feeling good, I used it to pursue something that I
wanted to do, something that seemed to energize me without stressing or taxing
my body. At first, I simply walked around the back yard taking photographs of
the light on the trees and clouds. Then I began drawing and painting from these
images. Then I was able to take one class at the local art college. Then two
6| Engage In Non-Aerobic Stretching Meditation Exercise
I exercised in a non-aerobic way that put me in touch with my body and made me
concentrate. I learned a meditation exercise called Tai Kuk, a combination of
Tai Chi and Yoga, and went to class when my energy level allowed.
7| Spend Time In Silence And Quiet
I spent time in silence and contemplation. I learned to be alone in silence for
long periods of time. I was in a chronic state of ill health for a reason. It
was my job to figure out what questions to ask.
8| Ask The Right Questions
I learned to ask the right questions. I spent two years asking self-pitying
questions that wasted my energy such as: Why me? What can I take to get well?
Will I ever be "normal" again? Finally, I began to ask health-inducing questions
like: What are my talents? What do I enjoy doing the most? When these questions
were answered, I began to ask: How can I develop my talents? How can I use the
energy I have in a constructive and joyful way? After I had these answers, I
pursued them the best that I could. It's the "do what you love and the health
will follow" approach.
9| Suspend All Judgement Of Self And Others
I tried not to judge anything. Because I had been judged and incorrectly labeled
by those who didn't understand this illness, I realized that you never know what
people have been through.
10| Forgive Everybody Everything
I learned that you must forgive all, especially yourself. The Earth does not
judge us as we tear it up, so don't judge yourself for being ill.
Love all, especially yourself
12| Be Patient And Have Faith
Have patience and faith that you will eventually heal.