I am coming to you live and in-person today from bed…my sick bed. In fact, I’m actually wearing my robe today. The reason I’m coming to you this way is because I was discharged from the hospital yesterday. Yep, an unexpected trip to the hospital for a major asthma attack. It was one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever gone through in my life. The reason I wanted to share that with you today is not for sympathy, because I’m feeling a lot better. Rather, it’s because I wanted to encourage you, this week, in your two-minute practices and elsewhere, to start noticing; start paying attention.

One of the things that I learned from this hospitalization, as tragic as it was, is there were things I could have noticed that would have helped me prevent the exacerbation of my symptoms.

I don’t have a long history of really bad asthma, but for the last couple of months or so, I’ve actually been having more struggles with my breathing. It was harder to get breath in, recovery time had been a little slower after exertion, and I noticed these things but I didn’t do anything about them.

And then, this past Monday, I finally paid closer attention and I did do something about it. I asked my daughter to take me to get a breathing treatment, took some extra allergy medications, and it made a difference. The next day I was feeling much better (such a relief), but the following day, I failed to pay attention again. I wasn’t noticing, and I wasn’t taking action. I didn’t take those pills in a timely manner, and I didn’t take my treatments in a timely manner. Because. I. Wasn’t. Noticing. Lo and behold, I had the asthma attack of all asthma attacks and wound up in the hospital for two days.

What I realized is that the signals were there. I was not paying attention to them, because I wasn’t used to paying attention to them, which resulted in negative outcomes. This got me thinking. A lot of times unfortunate outcomes happen in our lives because we’re not paying attention–we’re not doing the things we can do consistently to help us be healthy and avoid exacerbation.

So, today I up went through my normal morning routine and suddenly noticed that I wasn’t feeling well. I was having a hard time catching my breath and realized, “Oh, you have new pills you’re supposed to be taking, you’re supposed to be taking more of the steroids that give you that beautiful, rosy flush. (LOL). And wait a minute, you missed your early morning treatment. No wonder you can’t breathe.”

So, as someone who is an improv comedian, an impromptu speaker, and an “off-the-cuff” radio and media interviewee, I find it hard to put myself on a schedule for anything. But I realized that you sometimes need the structure for the things that you must do, so you can focus on what matters most to you. “I need to take my meds right now to recover, so that I can focus on what matters most. First, living and second, taking care of the people, the passions, and the purposes that keep me grounded in life.

So, this week I want you to focus on what can you systematize to help you stay healthy, happy, and whole. Focus on what will help you notice and act on what will make a difference in your well-being now and over the long-haul. Notice. Then ACT.

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