"Straw, Straw, Straw, Hay, Straw"

This post is also available on my blog at  thelifewelllived.net

How is it recitation of the same things over and over again can help drill a concept into our head and yet over time make us completely immune to its benefit?  In my case, I was thinking of the “left, left, left, right, left” I used for a couple of years when running and my legs started getting tired.  It worked for years… right up until last week.  Suddenly it still felt like running in quicksand with my right leg just refusing to run correctly.  Then late at night I found myself dragging  a bit as I took my dogs for their walks.

As I was walking the dogs, I was thinking about a conversation earlier in the day with a friend who was having trouble sleeping.  I said I never had that problem anymore.  I explained how I used to be able just count down from 100 with each breath and I never made it to 50 until I got very frustrated one night.  It was the third time counting down from 100 that I decided to try counting down by 2.5.  The simple fractions have been all I’ve needed for the past 5 years.

It was the same concept changed ever so slightly to give the mind slightly more distraction allowing the old habits to rule.  This prompted my memory of posting about “left, left, left right left” awhile back and having a former message board member tell me the story of how civil war soldier didn’t know their left from their right so they held straw in one hand and hay in the other saying “Straw, Straw, Straw, Hay, Straw.”  So, I started this subtle switch and it has worked except both legs are just inconsistent, perhaps from wearing the brace on my leg calf for too long but probably from my MS.  So as I go for my lunch run this past week and some of my night walks, sometimes it’s “Straw, Straw, Straw, Hay. Straw” followed by “Hay, Hay, Hay, Straw, Hay.”  Something about focusing on one side makes me put my foot down differently, harder.  It makes me more evenly balanced.  As I read more and more about how exercise can help delay the progression of my MS, I become more determined to use all tricks I can think of to avoid losing more ground. http://multiple-sclerosis-research.blogspot.com/2013/11/exercise-is-good.html

Still, I wonder why does small change allow the mind to reuse simple tricks, to give power back to our minds to control muscles, breathing and sleep?


Halloween gave us the chance to celebrate the pumpkins which grew in the rose garden by our front door.  Last year my son, took seeds from his pumpkin and tossed them in the garden.  Twice this summer, we cut down what we thought was a weed growing in the roses, but we could not dig it out.  It was too much amongst the thorns.  When we realized it was pumpkin, we let it grow, and it produced all but one of the pumpkins in the picture.  Telling some of the trick-or-treaters and their parents all of the pumpkins grew within 15 feet of our porch was awesome.  Thinking all of this grew despite our efforts to kill the plant twice is fun.