Saturday, January 7, 2017

Lessons From A Squirrel

The window of my office overlooks the creek. It is winter and everything is dead, brown, and the tree branches are bare. There is very little activity except for a few birds, stray cats, and SQUIRRELS.

I looked up out my window and witnessed a solo fearless squirrel. Not just any squirrel. This one stands out from all the others and I've watched his amazing feats! I will call 'him' Sam, although Sam might be a female. Because the trees are bare, I have a free and clear view of Sam's activities.

Sam runs up the side of a tree (the one in front of my window) and across the branches to the very end and jumps onto a branch of the neighboring tree. He continues running across this branch and down the trunk of this second tree, beginning again at the next tree over. I watch with utter amazement. This squirrel KNOWS exactly what he/she is doing! I have witnessed Sam's acrobatics on a number of occasions.

A 'normal' squirrel sets out to forage acorns with a purpose. He/she locates acorns in a variety of places and I have seen them dig holes in the ground to bury them. They carefully find the right spots to dig these holes, place one in (only one), and then carefully pats the dirt over it with its tiny hands. I have often wondered HOW they remember WHERE they bury each and every one! I have trouble remembering where I put things...

Sam is not concerned at all with finding acorns. Sam just wants to challenge his/her squirrel abilities by jumping from one tree to the next! 

Every so often, I come across an article about what animals can teach us. I decided to ponder what the appearance of this squirrel in front of my window was here to teach me!

  • Don't be ordinary. Do something different. Like Sam!
  • Take risks. Feel the fear and do it anyway (whatever 'it' is.) Yes, the branch might break (yes, accidents happen). Keep going and don't worry about these 'what ifs'. Live as though there is nothing to be afraid of. I know Sam is not worrying about the next Thunderstorm that will most certainly come. He is enjoying today. Although, Sam may have a diligent emergency preparedness plan set up that I don't know anything about.
  • Stay present in the moment. As I stated above, Sam reminds me to enjoy each moment with all its surprises and gifts. I am absolutely SURE he is not thinking about yesterday or the future.
  • Be curious. How far can Sam run out onto the branch without it breaking? How far can I grow with my writing? (and Toastmasters?)
  • Be playful. Take PLAY breaks. Not just any type of break. PLAY breaks! Sam is doing this activity just to do it--no other reason. There have been many days when I lost track of time while immersed in computer-related activities. Suddenly it is time to get ready for bed and I'd forgotten to... or didn't have time to... you get the idea. I'm sure this happens to you all the time, too.
  • Stay fit. You never know when you'll need a boost of strength to handle something unpredictable. I wonder if Sam is just practicing for fun or for strength and endurance. Sam is encouraging me to take more frequent exercise breaks, even if it is a few minutes of stair-stepping on a nearby stool. After all, I have read short bursts of sprinting are even more beneficial than extended cardio.
  • Be persistent. Keep trying and practicing until you get it.
HAPPY NEW YEAR! May you all be blessed with awareness of the little things in life that matter. As the professor who shows his class the mason jar with golf balls in it, make sure you take care of your golf balls. The rest is pebbles, sand, and beer!

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Time for Change

The change of seasons brought with it a flare up of bursitis, tendonitis, and the rest of the pains that fall under the general category of Fibromyalgia. At first, I felt myself backsliding into past mental patterns of wo-is-me. Part of this pattern is worrying about how I will fare as time goes on and I need more care. I wasn’t due for my six-month checkup with my primary doctor until November 29. 

I worried I wouldn’t be able to last that long as pain began to creep up. I prepared a written report for my doctor which included what I found in my research related to adrenaline and lactic acid buildup in muscles. (More to follow).

Somewhere during wo-is-me, I must have set the right intention (a new skill I’ve been learning) and I set it for “it is TIME to figure out once and for all, what my body needs to heal”.

What if instead of trying to numb the pain, I could spend more time with my body and less time inside my mind? Where would I even begin? 
  • More time with my body means less time on the computer. 
  • More time with my body means taking hot baths to heat up my muscles before I stretch them. 
  • More time with my body means taking the time to prepare nutritious delicious meals. 
  • More time with my body means drinking more water. 
  • More time with my body means listening to the many meditations I’ve accumulated and retraining my mind to overcome pain.

Yes, I set an intention and when you do that, everything you need begins to show up, which is what just happened to me.

1.  I had subscribed to a newsletter that was promoting Dr. Mark Wiley’s book Arthritis Reversed. The book was being offered for just the cost of shipping along with a bunch of other CD’s and newsletters, including a meditation CD “Relax Away Your Pain”. The book arrived just in time and I read it from cover to cover. I sure wished I had come across it years earlier. I am intrigued that as a result of my intention to spend more time with my body, I received instructions to meditate, move slowly with exercise such as Tai Chi, and take Chinese Medicine. Did I mention I resigned from two volunteer jobs I was doing? Too much time on the computer was back firing big time. Yes, there are many things I wish I came across years earlier. No time for regrets. Start NOW. One of many things Dr. Wiley recommends, is acupuncture, Chinese Medicine, and meditation. Most of the bits and pieces I’ve been trying to put together are simply said in this book. This book is one of my new bibles.

Some but not all of what this book covers:

  •  the mind-body connection to pain, 
  • ·key lifestyle changes,
  • explains why drugs and cortisone injections are toxic to the system (p.21),
  • the psychological effects of chronic pain
  • The 10 biggest arthritis mistakes people make
  • How long-term stress affects your body (which validates what I just learned in the first article)
  • Natural Solutions Your Doctor doesn’t know
  • Natural Supplements (yay—I’m already taking the recommended Chinese Herbal Teas & what Ambika just brought me)
  • Topical creams, gels, and oils for relief (yay—I am using many of them & have added doTerra to the mix—can’t wait to get some Deep Blue!)
  • Exercises (I must take the time to do the suggested ones in addition to going to Curves)
  • Resolving Negative Thoughts & Emotions (I’ve been doing Theta Healing belief work)
  • Goal-setting and more!
The magic articles—

2. I found it on Facebook. Dr. Michael Platt: "The pain of fibromyalgia is caused by a buildup of lactic acid from constant muscle tension. Again, this can be caused by anger from certain interpersonal relationships or from the release of excess adrenaline. Contributing to the buildup is the tension of the muscles compressing small veins—venules—which carry lactic acid out of muscles. At the same time, muscle tension similarly compresses lymphatic vessels that also function to remove lactic acid from muscles. This creates a situation where the lactic acid is continuously building up, but is not able to be drained. …. To lower adrenaline levels, we must first understand why the body overproduces this hormone. Up until a certain time in history, the body only produced excess adrenaline in times of danger. It allowed people to either face the danger or run away from it—the fight-or-flight response. Such a physical response lasted only a few minutes, and as soon as the danger passed, the adrenaline level returned to normal. Today, however, there are people who release adrenaline all day and night without being in danger.”

To read the rest of the article, go to

Nice! A simple explanation for the all-over muscle pain I’ve had most of my life. So how do I fix it? I sent the entire article to Ambika ( to get her feedback. She responded by sending me multiple assessment forms to fill out.

Ambika Longnecker, PhD, is an amazing alternative health practitioner I met in Austin—when I decided to get an eye reading. With the eyes the window of the soul, she mapped out all the issues in my body. Amazing! But that’s not the end. Once she knew what my issues were, she offered multiple modalities to choose from to pursue healing. I was introduced to Theta Healing and Tibetan Pulsation. I love that she does everything I wanted to experience in pursuit of better health—many of which I had in the past which showed the kinds of results that were useful for me.

I’ve been doing a lot of work for Ambika and we have been trading services. It’s been exciting to know I have skills she needs (publishing, website creation, and Facebook pages) and she has the healing education I want to learn about. Best of all, I learn as I put the content together for her books.

Kristin Planiz had me fill out assessment forms, too, prior to deciding which mix of Chinese Medicinal Herbs she was going to give me. I’d been drinking the tea for several months, calmly aware that even though I don’t feel any obvious changes, re-growing healthy body parts takes time. Since I was already seeing Kristin for Chinese Medicinal Teas, I suggested Kristin and Ambika meet. I wanted them both on my healthcare team.

While I was reading Dr. Wiley’s book, Ambika called me to say she made an appointment with Kristin and she was coming to Lampasas. She hoped to come visit me as well.

Ambika came to Lampasas last Thursday. She did an eye reading on Kristin and Kristin did acupuncture on Ambika. While she was there, Ambika learned of the Chinese Herbs Kristin was mixing for me and why, so Ambika could add her nutritionals (for me) without overstepping Kristin’s.

Then Ambika came to my place with the bag of nutritionals she wanted me to take. I live less than .5 miles from Kristin’s office. She also recommended I have a Theta Healing session once a month. When I questioned the cost, her response was, “I have a lot of work I need you to do and I need you to be healthy!”

Ambika, using applied kinesiology, also muscle tested me on things I was already taking and eating. I didn’t pass on the frozen cherries I’ve been using in my smoothies, the Alive 55+ Multivitamin for Women, and the Eziekiel Food for Life Sprouted Grain Bread. Bummer. It’s time to try eliminating Gluten and Grains. This is what Ambika brought me:

  • PURE L-Glutamine powder to put in my water (to hopefully neutralize the lactic acid in my muscles)
  • TerrainMax Kidney Terrain Liquid Multivitamin, Mineral, & Cofactor Dietary Supplement
  • TerrainMax Liver Terrain Liquid Multivitamin, Mineral, & Cofactor Dietary Supplement (taking a lot of medications for over 12 years for pain & metabolic side effects left its mark on my liver and kidneys)
  • Organa Minerals  (I already had some but wasn’t taking nearly enough)
  • Super Oxicell (KR-23) Glutathione & SOD Cream by Apex Energetics (An amazing mix of awesome ingredients to rub into my pulse points and other places I hurt)
  • Slippery Elm (to sooth acid reflux and dry mouth/throat
  • A sheet of simple energy medicine exercises to do every day to get my Chi flowing

3.  Jonathan Bender’s The Joint Pain Relief CodesYes!!!! Out of 
this entire e-book, the part that jumps out at me is the connection between tight hamstrings and the IT band which connect to the knees and describes the pain I have on the outside of each knee. I can tell the exercises I’ve been doing at Curves are pulling on my knees and now I know why. I have been missing out on a crucial step. I plan to ask my health professionals how to properly do what Jonathan is suggesting (without buying the expensive gadget he is promoting in his book).

Code= IT + Stretch + Internal/external hip/thigh + glut + hamstring + quad + core

“This code is very simple to work, if you're suffering with knee pain simply follow the code in the order you see it. First, making sure the IT bands are released. Then you should warm up with a walk or movement for 5 minutes. Next you want to start with internal and external strengthening of the hips and thighs. After that start igniting those gluts, which is the largest muscle in the body. Next you want to make sure the hamstring is nice and stretched and then muscle engages. Then you want to engage the quad and the core. There are several variations of muscle engaging movements so you can choose which movement works for you and more importantly, doesn't cause you any pain. As you can see in the diagram above. The IT band along with the hamstring both interact directly with the knee and therefore can't afford to be over tightened and must remain loose. This also provides a view of the quad muscle positioned above the knee which has to be very strong in order to keep stress off the knee.”

I definitely want to find an exercise therapist to show me how to do this. Since childhood, my hamstrings have been tight and I used to think my knees were going bad until I learned about the IT Band. Now I am learning they both connect to the knees.

4. Dr. Cully, my chiropractor, had to be on hold for several months while I finished off my car payments. I found out just how much it was helping during the months I had to miss getting my adjustments. I finally started back the beginning of this month, and felt awesome after my treatment.

5.  Kristin had partnered with Theresa Linder (both doTerra Wellness Advocates) to provide educational classes almost every week on a variety of uses of these amazing oils. This last week, we learned about Aroma Touch using eight oils that are lightly massaged along your spine, soles of your feet, and your hands. I was intrigued by the similarities to Reiki I was familiar with. Kristin is so impressed with Aroma Touch, she is adding this service to her practice.

I ordered a book with all the details in it and can’t wait to experience one next week with Kristin. The goal is to know others you can trade this amazing therapy with. Theresa is a wonderful teacher and I never tire of hearing the stories she interweaves in the classes she teaches. Just so you know, I’ve been going to the classes for months, hoping that if I hear the information enough times, I will finally assimilate it all. I am now ready to become a Wellness Advocate myself.

All these modalities require me to retrain my natural tendencies to be a workaholic—even if work is just reading emails, checking posts on Facebook, and doing research when I am not trying to study and learn new things. All the topics I covered in this post have interlaced beautifully vs. conflict with each other or cause confusion.

I just celebrated my 61st birthday Saturday. Ambika is 72 and is still going strong. She is a wonderful role model for me to aspire to. Plus, after 6 years of juggling a grueling tight budget to handle car payments, I just made the last one. Now to create a new routine to include what Dr. Wiley says is essential to good health.

Thursday, October 13, 2016


"Courage is a muscle that can be flexed and developed over time. Every successful person had to overcome their critical voice over little things before they moved onto bigger and bigger things. Building this muscle starts with having the courage to address your critical voice, on anything big or little. Listen to what it has to say, and then overcome it!" (The Tapping Solution.)

Indeed, I've gained a lot more courage in the last year than I had in years past. As I learn new skills and further my education, the value I feel in what I can contribute to society seems to outweigh the uselessness I used to feel because my body hurt too much to do anything. 

I envision a time in my future where I manage and pay other people to do the tasks I want to see accomplished while I focus on taking care of my body. 

There's a bridge I have to cross and I don't know how this will happen. But I KNOW there IS a bridge and where there's a bridge, there must be a way!

Where I fluctuate the most is with Fibromyalgia/Systemic Tendonitis. No one seems to know what causes it and the drugs being prescribed to manage it have nasty side effects. (I used to take them.)

My father said he had 'Rheumatism'.

When I lived in Bakersfield, California (12 years ago) I had a Pain Management doctor who wouldn't prescribe drugs. He prescribed a TENS unit and Liderderm patches. Medicare paid for these patches--30 in a box--almost $400 a box. Then about two years ago, they notified me they could only be prescribed for shingles, not for back pain. 

While many life saving drugs are skyrocketing in price, yesterday I heard good news. I told someone that I used Salonpas patches on my arm and shoulder for pain and she proceeded to tell me Salonpas has Liderderm patches--over the counter--$10 a box.

For real? She gave me one of the patches in the package and I took it home to compare it to the few I still have left. Prescription--5% Liderderm. Salonpas 4%. Nice! 

Back to courage. I am 'courageously' stepping forward in life without all the pharmaceutical drugs I used to take to cope with the condition. All I have to do is STOP, REST, and MEDITATE--and in meditation, have conversations with my body--which I often resist. Easier to recommend it to others than it is to practice it.

The Universe has provided me with the means to get Chinese Medinal Tea, weekly classes about Essential Oils, & Theta Healing and although the relief isn't instant, I know my body needs time to regenerate. 

The tea is supposed to be helping with pain, but it isn't. However, the formula also balances hormones which I know I need as well.

I purchased an Ultrasonic diffuser from Amazon to diffuse my new doTerra oils with and I love it! (Especially after I cook a huge piece of Wild Caught Salmon and the apartment reeks of fish.)

It also takes a lot of courage to continue exercising through the discomfort. I trudge on.

The key to my 'survival' is to keep reminding myself and redirecting my thoughts to TODAY vs. allow them to run amuck with the fears of what the future will be like with this condition. After all, in all the years I've been dealing with it, it hasn't gotten any worse. 

The same old pain in the same old places fluctuates between achy and OUCH! At least I haven't gotten 'sick'.

If Elon Musk can put rockets on Mars, and there are cures for Cancer that don't include chemo & radiation, and I saw a video of an artificial disk being implanted between two vertebrae similar to how they put in artifical hips, shoulders, & knees, which don't include screws in your fragile vertibrae, I have faith that relief from FMS, etc. is just around the corner as well!

One of my current thought patterns is... if today was my last day on Earth (and I'm going to Mars vs. dying although I'm not afraid of dying)... will what I'm doing matter? 

One by one, I am leaving behind what my intuition says won't. Are you?

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Adventures in Food Prep

Every so often, I actually feel motivated to prepare interesting, tasty, foods. During the last few weeks, I've been in this mood. The rest of the time, I just want to grab something quick to eat. If I don't write down the tasty things I created while 'in the mood', I soon forget what they were--and end up starting from scratch figuring out what to eat all over again. Also, standing in one place is hard for me so anything that requires extra standing doesn't usually get prepared.

Keep in mind, I generally eat solo so all the recipes here are for single servings. I avoid dairy products, wheat, pasta, white rice, white potatoes, and red meat (except on rare occasions.) Also, I realized I wasn't eating enough calories or protein so I began tracking what I eat, how many calories / grams of protein I was consuming, and figuring out how to incorporate more calories into my day. By lowering the dose of Mirtazapine (see previous post), increasing my calorie intake, and exercising a little more, I dropped the 4 of the 10 pounds I wanted to lose! Yay! (The Chinese Medicinal Tea which balances hormones may be helping, too.)


  1. WearEver small frying pan (I have a large one, too, which rarely gets used.)
  2. Small pot for boiling water & making a small batch of soup.
  3. Large pot (for boiling eggs.) 
  4. Hamilton Beach Bullet (blender)
  5. Aroma Digital Rice Cooker (the white rice setting is perfect for Quick Cook Quinoa.) 
  6. Black & Decker Food Chopper 
  7. Black & Decker Toaster Oven. (My large oven is never turned on & I only use the microwave to heat leftovers if I don't want to eat it straight out of refrigerator.)
  8. Disposable paper bowls, plates, and plastic cups because I don't like to stand and wash dishes.

Protein: Quinoa, Almond Butter, Eggs, canned Wild Caught Salmon, Herring, Hormell Natural Choice Sliced Turkey, Vega Protein & Greens-Vanilla (20 g protein per serving), Harmony House dehydrated black beans and lentils, Canned black beans, Black-Eyed Peas (frozen), Amy's Lentil Soup, Italian White Kidney Beans (Cannelloni), Raw Nuts & seeds (Almond slivers, Cashews, Walnuts, Sunflower Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, & other fresh nuts--I make my own trail mix or eat separately), Hemp Hearts, Chia Seeds. Path of Life Frozen Garbanzo & Lentils.

Grains & non grains: Food for Life Ezekiel Sprouted Grain bread (4 g protein per slice--keep in freezer), Quick Cook Oatmeal, Quick Cook Quinoa (which is really a seed--12 g protein), Almond Flour, fully cooked Brown Rice, Gluten Free Cheerios.

Dairy/Non-Dairy: Grass Fed Butter, Pacific Hemp Milk (Vanilla or Chocolate), Organic Cheese sticks.

Veggies: Canned peas, carrots, & spinach, head of cabbage & carrots or bag of premade cole slaw, small cucumbers (the ones you can eat like a piece of fruit), grape tomatoes, mushrooms, Harmony House dehydrated Veg. Soup, HHd Spinach, HHd Sweet Potato, Dehydrated onion. Sometimes I buy pre-cut / washed sweet potato & squash (Walmart) -- I  buy HHd food on Amazon.

Fruits: Dried figs, raisins, Fuji apples, Kiwi, apple sauce, frozen Tart Cherries, Frozen Strawberries, Avocado (Wholly Guacamole individual packets--Avocado is really a fruit!). Since fruit is generally high in sugar, I only eat small amounts & generally avoid the ones that spoil quickly.

Salad dressing: Make your own--1 part each of Balsamic Vinegar, Apple Cider Vinegar, and Avocado oil flavored with honey to taste.

Condiments/Add-ins: the above salad dressing, Olive oil (for cooking), French's Brown Spicy Mustard, Organic Mayo with Olive Oil, Claussen pickles (my favorite), black olives, Sea Weed (HEB), HEB Basil Pesto, Crystallized Ginger, Honey, Molasses, unsweetened Cocoa powder, Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute, Dark Chocolate chips.

Beverages: Chinese herbal tea* (medicinal) plain or with a spoon of honey, Apple Cider Vinegar with honey & hot water (for cold, allergies, or sore throat), water with minerals by Organa, Primal Force Super Greens in water (however, I like it better in apple sauce or added to smoothies), 1 tsp cocoa powder with 2 tsp molasses in hot water & just enough milk to cool it for drinking. Bottled water always in the car.

Supplements/Extra Nutrition: Vega Protein & Greens-Vanilla ($24.95 Walmart), Organa minerals ($19.99 including shpg at, Primal Force Super Greens ($34.95 auto ship), Alive 55+ for Women (Walmart), Generic Magnesium 250 mg twice a day, Standard Process Manganese (from chiropractor), B12 (dissolve under tongue), Caltrate with 600 D3--Chewable (when I don't drink enough milk), Epsom Salt (mix equal parts salt & water in a spray bottle to rub into muscles--Epsom Salt is actually Magnesium!)

ADVANCED PREP: (This is mainly the only foods I prep. Everything else doesn't require it.)
  1. For 1 serving, hydrate 1/4 cup of Harmony House dehydrated veggies in the refrigerator until you're ready for it. (You'll make an omelet with it later.)
  2. For 1 serving, hydrate 1/4 cup of HHd Sweet Potato (eat instead of pudding for a snack).
  3. Cook 1 cup of Quinoa in the rice cooker using the measuring cup that came with it. Store in a container in the refrigerator.
  4. Cole slaw: Cut the cabbage & carrots into small chunks to chop up with the food chopper. This will take up multiple containers but cabbage lasts in the refrigerator for a long time (weeks) and doesn't even turn brown! Or you can cheat and buy cole slaw precut / washed in a bag.
  5. Boil 4-6 eggs.

Breakfasts: (after drinking 8 oz of water with a small cap of Organa minerals) If you are not dairy intolerant like I am, you can incorporate yogurt into these meals.
  1. 1/4 c. uncooked quick oats, 1 tbsp each of Chia seeds & Hemp Hearts, a hand full of raisins. Add boiling water and wait 2 minutes. Add milk. With the rest of the hot water, make your tea.*
  2. 1/2 c. precooked Quinoa (you've made a bunch of it in the Rice Cooker), add a rounded tablespoon of sunflower seeds, a hand full of raisins, and milk. Prepare tea.*
  3. 1 slice Ezekiel toast with almond butter or 2 slices with butter, plus tea.*
Meals on the run:
  1. Walnuts, cashews, 2 figs, and a container of cheerios
  2. Piece of bread with cut up apple and a cheese stick.
  3. Other on the run grabs: Snap peas.
  4. If you are drinking Chinese Medicinal Tea like I do, be sure to take some with you!
Snacks or mini meals (when you are craving for something sweet):
  1. 1 slice Ezekiel bread toasted, almond butter, 9 dark chocolate chips laid out evenly, plus tea.* (The chips will begin to melt on the warm toast.)
  2. Midnight snack when I wake up in the middle of the night and can't go back to sleep because I'm too hungry: a bowl of Cheerios with sunflower seeds & milk. 
  3. Quinoa, walnuts, & choc chips with milk
Lunches/Dinners (Interchangeable): I usually have super greens in apple sauce with my mid-day meal or mix the greens into a protein smoothie. The following can be used for either lunch or dinner.
  1. An omelet style egg laid out on a piece of Ezekiel bread after you've spread basil pesto on it, 1 little cucumber and/or grape tomatoes.
  2. Crack an egg into the container of hydrated HH veggies you previously prepared, mix thoroughly, and cook in the pan, stirring it up as it solidifies. 
  3. Boiled egg, cucumber, tomato, Ezekiel toast.
  4. Cole slaw (chopped up cabbage) with cashews & salad dressing. In another bowl mix Italian white kidney beans with mustard & olives. Still hungry? Add a piece of Ezekiel bread!
  5. 2 slices of Ezekiel toast with a Wholly Guacamole packet (covers both pieces) plus cherry tomatoes and/or a cucumber.
  6. A slice of Ezekiel with 2-3 slices Hormell turkey over a spread of basil pesto or mayo (on the bread) plus cherry tomatoes or a cucumber.
  7. Herring, Ezekiel bread spread with basil pesto, cole slaw.
  8. Splurge: get a to-go plate from a Chinese buffet. I usually load it up with shrimp, salmon, and maybe beef with mushrooms (one of the rare times I eat red meat). Split it up into 3 meals, and add other ingredients you have in stock. 
  9. Canned peas, olives, grape tomato, slivered almonds, a tbsp hemp hearts, salad dressing.
  10. Pre-cooked brown rice with canned black beans. Add salad dressing or mustard for flavor or a can of Amy's soup.
  11. Eat Wild Caught Salmon right out of the can and have a little cucumber, tomato, or cole slaw with it.
  12. Make soup! Mix into water HHd anything. Add leftover Salmon. Flavor with TJ's 21 Seasoning Salute.
  13. Splurge: Taco Bell Vegetarian Cantina Bowl--no sour cream.
  14. Ready-to-eat: Path of Life Frozen Garbanzo & Lentils. Thaw a serving out and mix with cooked Quinoa.
After a Workout:
  1. 1 cup frozen tart cherries pureed in the Bullet. Add water to 10-12 oz. mark. Turn on for about a minute. Add one serving of Vanilla Vega Protein. Yummy! Add'l ingredients: Greens Powder & slivered almonds.
  2. 1 cup of chocolate milk with one serving of protein in a shaker container.
This concludes the summary of my current nutrition plan. I hope it is helpful to those of you who live alone and are challenged with trying to figure out what to eat especially when you are in the midst of a pain flare-up and brain fog. If you have any questions about my meal plan, be sure to ask!

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Confidence, Low Self-Worth, and DISC

My thoughts this week have been centered on the feeling of self-confidence vs. its opposite, backsliding into my childhood memories when I felt bad about not being good enough for anything, not even for love. I’ve made great strides in maturity, yet this subject is sometimes still a challenge for me. Perhaps some or many of you can relate.

About two weeks ago, someone in one of several organizations I volunteer for called me to reprimanded me about something I wrote in a report. He said, "I told you.... " and he went on and on until his phone decided to run out of battery juice. I was triggered.

When you have developed a pattern of:
  1. All or Nothing Thinking
  2. Overgeneralization
  3. Mental Filter
  4. Discounting the Positives
  5. Jumping to Conclusions
  6. Magnification or Minimization
  7. Emotional Reasoning
  8. Should Statements
  9. Labeling
  10. Personalization and Blame
…you make everything you’ve done wrong, instead of the one tiny detail.

You can find the 10 Forms of Twisted Thinking here:

Then yesterday, after I realized I sent an email that maybe I shouldn’t have sent (wish you can unsend these), I heard and felt like I was being reprimanded all over again—only this time I did it to myself. I even began to cross-examine myself, wondering if I had crossed the line I was asked not to cross. I felt like a scared little child fearful of being caught stealing the candy.

I began to PMS—have a Post-Menopausal Mood Swing. 

I used EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique aka Tapping) to process the onslaught of negativity. It really helped, I calmed down, and I started to write this blog post to sort through my thoughts.

I've been a rather colorful balloon which can pop at the prick of a pin. Balloons are pretty and when filled with helium, they will float away up into the atmosphere. I could let emotional surges float away like a balloon, but why must I be a balloon at all? I would rather be a strong rubber ball so I can bounce out of the way when a verbal assault comes on and bounce back into my strong confident self. I can be a ball that cannot be popped with a pin. Can't I?

First, I had to practice AWARENESS and understand what was happening.

I asked myself, “What kinds of situations were the pins that were popping my balloon?" I wrote them down.
  1. I allowed another person to affect my self-confidence when they reprimanded me. (See DISC below.)
  2. I volunteer to do more than what I really want to do and haven’t made time for writing and music which leads to resentment. (I still need to learn how to say no.)
  3. I still feel challenged and overwhelmed during flare-ups of Fibromyalgia pain. (At least now I know about Twisted Thinking.)
How do I react to this mood swing? I conclude I am all wrong, no one appreciates me, and I'm unlovable.

Is it the truth? Absolutely NOT! I used to think it was but now I know better.

What does my body do when it is stuck with a pin (words that hurt)? It tenses up, implodes, and complains of pain as well as fatigue.

Suddenly, I had a flashback of myself as a child swinging on a swing—back and forth—higher and higher—and when I went too high, the swing began to become unstable and would jump dangerously crazy. It was pretty scary! I would have to stop moving and allow the swing to slow down so I could come to a stop and get off.

Time to slow down and digest what just happened. Time to come to a stop and write.

Also, about a year ago, I participated in a workshop on DISC. We took a survey and were divided up into four groups depending on our ‘dominant’ personality. I knew many of the people who were in this workshop and had ‘issues’ with several of them. They all ended up in the same group – D. I was the only one in my group – S. Very interesting!

Is it a never-ending cycle or is there a point when I can learn to swing on a swing without going too high and going into sudden wobblyness?

Next, I started writing down all the situations I’ve experienced lately when I felt good about my accomplishments:
  1. Practiced positive thinking / gratitude and was suddenly moved into a newly remodeled apartment and abundance showed up in unexpected ways. I am learning to see the bills as just numbers on paper. After all, I keep reading that money isn’t even real.
  2. Completed a course and received a certificate—a course I was only able to take because I had a skill I could barter—a skill I taught myself how to do.
  3. Received 2 certificate of achievements in Toastmasters.
  4. Met a new person and knew all the right things to say (felt wise and intelligent).
  5. Completed several large projects—publishing new books and created new websites.
  6. Submitted articles / press releases to the local newspaper and they were all published.
  7. After months of wracking my brains to figure out something new—it suddenly clicked!
Mmmmm. This list is a LOT longer than the first list.

And how very interesting! The 2014-2015-2016 September posts are all related to the same thing! 

Life Cycle?

September 2014: “Contrast, Triggers, and Law of Allowing,” which you can read HERE.

September 2015: “Uncovering Cognitive Distortions” (you can read it HERE.)

September 2016: This one.

If you have a trusted partner, best friend, counselor, or psychologist you can process these situations with, it is certainly nice, but I’ve had to learn to do this for myself.

To continue, once a perfectionist, always a perfectionist? If you’re a perfectionist and someone tells you they don’t like something you did or said when you put a LOT of effort in getting the details correct, how do you react? How do you feel? What kind of thoughts go through your head?

What if this someone else is a D person who is dominant, direct, controlling, and bossy? I’ve known many! Thank goodness I found out about DISC.

What is DISC? I Googled it.

“DISC is a behavior assessment tool based on the DISC theory of psychologist William Moulton Marston, which centers on four different behavioral traits, which today are called: dominance, influence, support, and caution.”

It just so happened that the new issue of Toastmasters Magazine came in the mail and I had opened it to read… and there before me was an article on DISC to remind me of what I was dealing with. In the magazine, the article suggests DISC can be helpful for both professional and personal communication, with a link to take the survey. Unlike the survey I did in the workshop last year, the online survey gave me a 22-page result.

D—Dominance: Direct, Impatient, Forceful

I—Influence: Animated, Spontaneous, Warm, Short Attention Span

S—Steadiness: Patient, Tolerant, Service Oriented

C—Conscientious: Orderly, Meticulous, Time Conscious

According to these reports, I am a High S who "likes others to be relaxed, agreeable, and cooperative, and to show appreciation."

This is definitely me!

I easily become upset when confronted with anyone who is the opposite, especially a D. I’m the one who wants everyone to get along. I’ve always been this way and I’ve always had a rough time growing up both at home and in school whenever there was conflict around me. I’m sure I was also empathetic, but I was definitely an S.

I always thought I was different and didn’t fit in anywhere. I am NOT different, I’m an S. It sure would have been nice if we had been taught DISC back in grade school! I can just see it now—instead of scholastic testing, DISC testing. Split the children up into four corners and teach them about the different personalities and how to get along.

Please feel free to write your comments below. Have you taken the DISC survey? What did you learn about yourself?

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Navigating the Universe of my Body

Indeed, just like planets and stars make up a universe of galaxies, I’ve learned the human body is an amazing universe as well—more like a collection of universes. After all, everything is energy! Even emotions! (Energy in Motion.) When energy is dense, objects appear solid. I thought rocks were solid inanimate objects, but they are energy beings, too! Same with our bodies. I even wrote a little imaginary tale about this in my eBook, The Adventures of Gnat.

Since this blog, in addition to being a letter for friends, family, and readers is also an online journal, I am writing about what's new with my explorations of the human body. In a previous post, I wrote about my obsessions. This one is on health.

1) I read Vianna Stibel's book titled: Theta Healing and in June participated in the Basic Theta Healing class from a certified Theta Instructor. Vianna had discovered that regardless of what your doctor or metaphysical healer does for you, if there are any subconscious beliefs blocking or resisting the healing, a healing session won't be successful. There are numerous ‘digging’ exercises to work through to identify negative core beliefs. I am amazed how just becoming AWARE of what they are can begin a shift in consciousness. Vianna has listed in her books just about every belief to mankind that exists and it is nice to know we are all really more connected that we think. The next step is to begin clearing these negative beliefs and replacing them with positive ones which are done by receiving ‘downloads’ of the positive beliefs and feelings that you don’t already have. You cannot experience love, for instance, if you don’t know what it FEELS like. You can say affirmations all day every day like “I am loved, I feel loved, I have abundance, I can speak my truth, I deserve to exist, I am supported by God,” but if you don’t know what these FEEL like, it won’t happen. I don’t think it was coincidence that after I received these ‘downloads,’ I began to receive abundance in unexpected ways and new situations began to show up in my life to support these new downloaded beliefs.

2) I am now reading the sequel titled: Advanced Theta Healing. There is a lot more information about the belief work as well as information about the seven planes of existence. I often read multiple books at one time, so I am also reading Teal Scott’s (her married name at the time it was published): The Sculptor in the Sky. Words I read tend to flow through me and I’m sure I’ll have to read these books multiple times before I can assimilate the information. In May, I read I AM: A Journey to Enlightenment by Stephen Shaw which I will definitely read multiple times!

3) At an introduction to Tibetan Pulsation taught by the same instructor, I learned how the organs of our bodies resonate to sound—and there is a complex process of combining ‘trigger’ words to specific sounds for each organ. In addition to the complexity of this modality, just like in astrology, there are certain times of the year when specific organs are ‘activated’ so it is suggested you work on the sounds/trigger words for the organ of ‘resonance’ at those specific times. I am amazed at how many different ways a person can pursue healing!

4) At the end of May, I had a ‘check-up’ with my doctor and the usual blood tests. My Triglycerides were still too high. I showed my doctor that a side effect of Mirtazapine—of which I was taking 45 mg. of—was elevated Triglycerides so I wanted to wean off of the drug. I gradually decreased the dose over the month and by the end of June was completely off of it… probably a bit too quickly for this type of drug. I didn’t fare too well. The high dose of 45 mg. kept nerve and muscle pain at bay so for the entire month of July I dealt with a severe headache (felt like the top of my head would explode—and that my brain was swollen), a stomach ache, and some nausea in addition to muscular skeletal contractions. If that wasn’t bad enough, I couldn’t focus and had symptoms of major ADD and ADHD. My Theta Healer person suggested I get back on this medication even though she doesn’t usually recommend pharmaceutical drugs. There must be something about the month of July—when growing spurts have been occuring.

5) That same week, I went to the local Acupuncturist/Chinese Medicine lady hoping she would have a different solution. I filled out about 15 pages of intake forms. During the one-hour consultation with her, I was absolutely amazed when she presented me with a single sheet of paper and explained how all my symptoms indicated an imbalance of Yin and Yang—quite simply, my Yin was diminished and my Yang was too over-powering—and something about my body having too much heat and many of my symptoms are its way of trying to cool down. And even though she didn’t support the use of pharmaceutical drugs, she also suggested I get back on Mirtazapine. I returned to the doctor and got 15 mg. to start back up on. Better to start at the lowest dose and work your way up. With just 15 mg. the headache, stomachache, nausea, ADD, & ADHD disappeared by the following morning so I never increased the dose. However, I still had the muscular skeletal stuff to deal with. I really like waking up at first light vs. before needing to sleep until 10 when I was taking 45 mg.

6) Magic Potion Chinese Tea: I didn’t feel any different after the first batch of ‘tea’ I received so the formula was changed. Wow! An hour after the first dose, I felt pleasantly numb (absence of pain.) As long as I kept drinking the stuff all day long, I was able to plug along at all the tasks I wanted to do. I’m sure it helped that I was drinking more fluids in general. I returned in a week for another week’s supply and reported the results. She said, “Chinese Medicine ROCKS!” Last week’s potion didn’t seem as strong and I hope the next batch is! I laugh at the thought that while some people are getting ‘high’ on ‘weed’, I am getting ‘high’ on ‘tea.’ I sincerely hope the FDA doesn’t decide to eliminate Chinese Medicine!

7) Hormones? I read about the consequences of having too much Estrogen and not enough Progesterone—or an imbalance of hormones in general. I suspected I was dealing with post hysterectomy/oophorectomy hormone imbalances so I asked my Chinese Medicine lady if any of the herbs that were in the tea were for balancing hormones. She replied, “All of them!”

8) Both the owner of Curves and my Chinese Medicine lady are advocates for doTerra essential oils. I went to several two-hour ‘classes’ on everything these oils can do. Someday I will spring for more of the oils and especially, the diffuser! I have some of the basics—Lavender, Wild Orange, Lemon, Peppermint, as well as OnGuard (which took care of a gum infection when I rinsed with it) and my all-time favorite: Motivate! All kinds of Mood formulas were passed around for us to sniff. When I sniffed Motivate, I was in heaven! Let’s all get high on oil! (Side-note: just like in politics, there is an ongoing debate between doTerra people and Young Living people. Either way, there seems to be an epidemic of essential oils. I hope the supply can keep up with demand!)

9) My poor sore feet. I've had feet challenges for as long as I can remember. They pronate in and pull on my knees. There are very few shoes my feet want to wear. I've spent mucho bucks on all kinds of insoles in addition to comfort shoes. And then... I found Massaging Gel Insoles by AirFeet!!! They are not what you can get over the counter (this year, anyway) and are about $45, but I was desperate. They are everything they were promised to be. My one pair easily goes in and out of whichever shoes I want to wear that day. They don’t get stinky, either. I bought mine directly from AirFeet but you can see the description on Amazon HERE.

10) I can't forget my awesome orthopedic gel cushion which keeps my butt and the back of my thighs from getting numb and tingly so I can enjoy sitting longer. I take it with me to practically everywhere! You can see the product description on Amazon HERE.

11) Making friends with my intuition: in Theta Healing, you use muscle testing to check for which beliefs are lingering in your subconscious. There are several ways to muscle test, but I decided to try the one when you stand and allow your body to fall forward or backwards depending on if the answer is yes or no. (Not all the way forward or back—you catch yourself before you’ve gone too far.) I have been challenged with decision making and don’t really have another person to bounce things off of so when I began to get definite yes and no’s for just about everything from what to wear to what to eat to where to go (or not), I discovered I get answers—from my own body! It became a fun game and I even use this method to avoid foods I shouldn’t eat. I am more likely to put aside something that isn’t healthy for me when my body muscle tests NO to it. I may have lost my mind, but each time I hold something or look at something and ask yes or no, I fall forward or backwards. I feel like I have an invisible best friend now!

12) Psychological: Toastmasters continues to provide a nurturing growing experience for me as I pursue the education it offers in leadership and communication. Other ingredients it adds to my life are: inclusion, acceptance, encouragement, feeling valued, being told my smile is genuine and contagious, as well as team-building and relationship skills. I am getting used to continuous spurts of growth as well as learning curves so they aren’t as stressful as they started out to be. Because two of the other organizations I volunteer as Executive Secretary don’t have any structure in place, I have been doing almost everything myself—making sure everything that needs to be done gets done. When I first began doing the same thing in my Toastmasters group, (out of habit), our President invited me to a private ‘meeting.’ I was getting used to ‘Evaluations’ where you are told both your strengths and what you can approve on so I didn’t worry too much. What an amazing, intuitive lady! As she learned more about my background, she informed me that in Toastmasters, I could TRUST the others to pull their own weight. I could relax and stay in my own lane without worrying about anything not getting done. I could even trust I wouldn’t be ABANDONED! How did she know I had past abandonment issues? Plus, she advised me to make sure I take care of my ‘baby’ which is my passion for writing.

I hope you got something out of this article in the way of some alternative ways to pursue your own health and well-being... a journey well worth taking. Do you have a question you'd like to ask me? Or a comment you would like to make? Post a comment if the comment box is there or click on 'comments' to type one in! Thanks! 

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Dreaming of Bugs?

I did. Tiny black ladybug type bugs. In the dream I was combing my hair and when I got to the nape of my neck, a lot of hair was falling out and tiny black bugs were in it, so tiny in fact, I couldn't tell they were bugs. They were just tiny black spots. I got out a magnifying glass and saw they looked like tiny ladybugs. Brought them to ???? and then woke up.

Well, I wasn't happy with just letting this go. I Googled to see if there was a bug like this that actually existed. YES! Possibly a carpet beetle. (Better than the possibility of bed bugs!) 

"Once inside (your house), they feed on hair..."

Then I Googled what it means when you dream of bugs in your hair. What a surprise!

"What's 'bugging' you? Dreaming of bugs and insects suggest that you are worried about something. They are symbolic of your anxieties or fears. Also consider the popular phrase 'bitten by the bug' to imply your strong emotional ties or obsession with some activity, interest, or hobby. The various bugs or insects in your dream help clue you in as to what you may be concerning you."

This is so right on target with what is happening in my life! Then I saw this:

"To dream that there are endless amount of bugs coming out of your hair suggests that something is weighing on your mind that you are confused about. Perhaps you are making a big deal out of minor matter. Alternatively, the dream refers to concerns over your public image."

Yes, indeed, again. I am so glad I decided to use my friend Google to figure things out! Isn't it amazing how that happens? Isn't technology (sometimes) absolutely wonderful?

So, what HAS been going on which has me anxious? Taking on much more than what I realistically have time to handle without sacrificing many really important things in my life... like creative writing... emailing family (or talking to them on the phone)... and posting on my blog... and reading to expand my knowledge... and keeping up with the amazing Facebook friends I have (both people I know and ones I've never personally met.)

In conflict, I've been "bitten by the bug" of creative explosion as I succeed in doing tasks I've never done before... like create a new website (for another organization) with WIX and learn how to use WEEBLY to update the Killeen Toastmaster website.

Now for the recap:

First, it was with the Chamber of Commerce where I began to volunteer back in 2012. After about a year, I took on doing Press Releases and Event Listings. It took me MONTHS to organize all the news outlets I was to report to. Many had changed or no longer existed. In my OBSESSION to have all the details correct, I eventually came up with a revised list of email contacts and a notebook binder to organize it all into. I have to be organized. What I don't have is a great memory. I had lots of TIME back then. As a newcomer to Texas and Lampasas, it was the perfect way for me to come out of isolation and gradually re-acclimate to the world of people. I learned everything about this tiny town I live in and fell in love with it after five years of NOT wanting to stay here and return to California. I even get to participate in ribbon cuttings, quarterly Chamber luncheons, and events such as the Annual Wine Tour.

But what happens when you start THREE new volunteer assignments in addition to the older one? THREE that have a LOT of complex tasks to keep track of, especially when you are OBSESSED with getting all the details right in a timely manner? Yes, THREE. What on earth did I DO?

Before I summarize them for you, I'll have you know that as a result of getting involved with them all, I've met the most incredible inspiring role-models I could ever imagine--role-models I can learn from and actually succeed in growing into. Did you know, life can begin at age 55?

You can also go back and read my post titled: Creating A Meaningful Life After Disability.

1. Killeen Toastmasters: I made the jump to become their VP of Public Relations on July 1 of this year after being in the club a full year--the PERFECT job in which I'd get all the training I'd need to progress as a writer and everything else I am striving to achieve. Not to mention, continuously expanding my identity and maturity as a person. Note, you don't get paid here, you pay semi-annual dues to participate... more than worth it for all the college level education you have access to... if you want it... which I do. I am in LOVE with photo-journalism. In my new role (with the Nikon I recently received as a gift from a retired career Navy photo journalist) I get to take photos at meetings, taught myself how to make slide-show videos with Windows Movie Maker, and send Press Releases to the Killeen Daily Herald.

2. Executive Secretary to our County Political Party. First, I want to state I am INDEPENDENT. But in Primaries, you can only declare and vote Democrat or Republican. I began to get an education on Government and Politics, much of which I object to. I would like to be part of re-creating it all into a new system that works better than the system that is in place... if this is at all possible. Next thing I knew, I was volunteering to do the minutes... and going to trainings... and working at the Polls... and becoming a Deputy so I could register people to vote... and... and... and... inherited a large list of people... people who are diverse in personality and temperament (some quite hot-tempered)... very different than the harmony and inspiration I find in Toastmasters. The only part of all of it that I get paid for is Poll work. That new website I succeeded in creating on WIX was for my County Political group. After working at the Polls for the March Primary, I retired from Poll work. I can't handle sitting or standing that many hours. Meanwhile, I began a revolution to get twice as many Poll workers who would only have to work seven hour shifts instead of a 14-hour day. Most of the people who work the Polls are retired, disabled, and/or over 65 and can't handle the stress of this 14-hour day.

3. Prior to the County group, I was only looking for a club to belong to and began with the Women's group that organizes fund-raising events for candidates. Next thing I knew, I was volunteering to do the minutes... because no one else was available to... and... facilitating meetings... and making sure events went smoothly... and discovering I could organize people in addition to tasks. However, I don't like the heat of Texas summers and many events occur on the hottest days, including the Annual Labor Day Picnic.

And since I became secretary for both the Women's group and the County, which were completely separate before, I combined them. God help my successor! The Women's group is considered a PAC--Political Action Committee--with a special set of rules about how funds are handled.

My nephew recently told me I wasn't just any secretary, I was an EXECUTIVE secretary. Thus, I've been promoted.

So here I am, with four organizations I am passionate about and I am trying to figure out how best to manage my time. I could randomly jump from task to task as floating thoughts pop into my head or I could create weekly blocks of time to work on each of the four groups in addition to mandatory self-care and chores... which I've been lax about. Maybe a combination of both. What I don't have time to complete in the designated block, I would continue on the next one. At least I've been keeping up with exercising (yellow.) I posted on Facebook that I need a volunteer to do my chores so I could have more time to make a difference in the world through these organizations... and more.

We have feral cats in my apartment complex. I'd like to organize a TNR program here (Trap, Neuter, Release.) Hopefully I (or someone else) can accomplish this before the cat population gets much larger.

I am indeed OBSESSED with finding ways to simplify complex tasks so I can create more TIME in my life.

I used to do this all the time back in the days when I was one girl office manager for various organizations (one at a time). I'd start a new job in which I had to work 50 hours a week plus to get it all done without getting paid overtime just because I was OBSESSED with completing all the work. There was also the additional time involved in getting through the learning curves. After about two years, I'd get bored and would seek a new challenge in a new job, usually with increased pay.

After a while, I'd get it down to 30 hours a week and deprive myself of the additional 10 hours a week of pay because the jobs would be paid by the hour. I would be OBSESSED with completely updating/revising/modifying (same thing) new responsibilities even though logically, I knew many tasks can never actually be finished.

Can you relate? I know many of you do...

Then I burned out when I was 38 years old and suffered the consequences of my OBSESSIONS in the way of all over body pain that was unbearable... which resulted in permanent disability and 11 prescription medications.

(Go to the ABOUT page on this website for the summary.)

I am still an office manager... of my own life at home. In my OBSESSION I desire a magic wand to become instantly organized... and to instantly have all my chores done, including food prep, dish washing, grocery shopping, laundry, and cleaning. I also desire my own staff to complete the many tasks I want to accomplish. I'd either have to be financially abundant enough to pay this staff or have people like myself, willing to volunteer their time.

Thus, I deal with internal conflict and really need to work on allowing myself the slack of not getting everything done. After all, I really do plan to live at least another 30 years.

On Facebook, one of my favorites, Frankie Perez's MindGym, reminded me of WHAT MATTERS MOST:

"With the many demands on our time and energy, it is easy to lose sight of the things that most matter to us. A common trait of happy people is that they are living a values-centered life, meaning that they remain mindful and conscious that their actions are congruent with the people and things that matter most to them and that give them a deep sense of connection and satisfaction. Your values (such as, family, love, spirituality, happiness, freedom, etc.) ought to be the "why" behind the majority of your actions."

All the tasks involve computer work and I lose track of time which is really really bad for my physical challenges. Yet, I remain OBSESSED. At home, I can go into my THERAPY ROOM, invert, stretch, and use a Miracle Ball to work out the tension that builds in my muscles. 

I purchased an electronic timer so I could set it for 10 minutes at a time when I am on the computerand BREATHE. But am I using it right now? I forgot to... I've been at this post for the last hour...

Indeed, I'm sitting here first thing upon awakening OBSESSED with writing this post... with my toothbrush still lingering in my mouth. Funny how a little dream can inspire an entire story...

Now that it is written, I will go finish up what I started... which was brushing my teeth... and post this on the blog after breakfast...