Sunday, January 21, 2018

Divine Encounters


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Copyright (c) 2017 Renee Alter
It’s intriguing how seemingly random meetings
Can transform into divine encounters
When the result of setting an intention
Magnetically attracts people and announcers.

When I intended to improve my health
From a place of self-love vs. self-loathing,
New information appeared on the net and new people moved into town
To show me it was possible to balance what had been previously eroding.

I removed a little of this, added a little of that
And became aware I had been jumping to conclusions.
Learning curves are difficult for everyone--
I needed to let go of my self-imposed expectations and illusions.

The money comes, the money goes--it circulates like your blood.
I must have faith in its unlimited flow
As I acknowledge I have no memories of old paid off bills--
Only the amazing people I’ve gotten to know.

One day here, one day gone; seasons and years fly by, too.
Each morning when I put my feet on the floor;
Yesterday seems to fall into oblivion--it’s no more
Along with all the salty tears I left at the ocean shore.

Divine Encounters included sweet furry friends who chose me--
I hope I didn’t betray them when I had to leave them behind
And to this day, it seems the only tears I still cry
Are for the ones who silently and prematurely died.

Each day I am aware of Divine Encounters,
Surrounded by angels with and without wings.
I used to fear life more than I feared death
As I imagined heaven as eternal Spring.

I so look forward to each and every Divine Encounter--
The surprise of who I might meet and what they’d have to say,
Filling my memories with nourishing experiences
While I let the hurtful ones from the past fade away.

Copyright © 2018 Renee Alter

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Getting Older

Copyright (c) 2018 Renee Alter
GETTING OLDER


Getting older means I no longer worry
about flirting or being sexy.
I no longer bend like a pretzel trying to earn
love and acceptance.
I no longer care whether I find another
boyfriend or stay single.
I no longer worry whether I am being a
good enough parent or whether people like me or not.
On the other hand, getting older means
hoping my body parts stay strong and healthy enough.
while I hope my granddaughter will come visit me
when she’s old enough to travel on her own.
Hoping I am surrounded by people
I can call on should I get sick or need help.
Hoping people brag about my writing so I can sell more books
and have a little more income to pay my bills.
I’d also like to travel and see more of our beautiful planet.
Hoping the friends I’ve made are keepers.
Hoping time doesn’t race by too quickly so I have a chance
to smell all the roses that have been blooming in my life.
Hoping I stay nice and don’t get mean when
I am REALLY old because it seems the older you get
the more true to yourself you become.
What if I still harbor resentment that may
escape from my voice at random moments?
Getting older means I will outlive many of the people
I care about although I know we will always be spiritually connected.
When I feel them in my heart with love it is as though they are still here.
And after I die I want to be in others hearts so they will always
feel me there -- so I can live forever.

Copyright © August 2017 Renee Alter

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The After Holidays Blues

In a previous post about Adrenaline Rush Letdown, I mentioned one of the 'side effects' could be depression. It is not unusual for people to feel the After Holidays Blues from multiple adrenaline surges. Over the years, I've personally felt it time and time again.

Generally, so much energy went into preparing and traveling to see family along with conflicts with partners over which side of the family we'd go visit, followed by the sadness I felt when it was time to go home. Many times there was stress overload in dealing with relatives who couldn't put their differences and grudges aside to visit with family members who hadn't been together for extended periods of times.

There was the disappointment. Lots. One year I'd be in a relationship or marriage, the next year I wasn't or I was in the letdown of a breakup. If only I knew about all the unrealistic expectations I had back then which resulted in experiencing...

the grand After Holidays Blues.

Facebook & Social Media Envy: It is easy to browse through everyone's uplifting happy posts and forget that almost everyone has challenges that these posts don't show. Yes, some people write their raw wounds on their Facebook walls which can seem alarming. 

According to an article on afccounselors.com, "People’s basis for comparison is not based in reality because most families have issues and most people do not have the perfect Christmas that they would like to have or that they’d remember from their childhood."

Guilt: I often felt guilty that I didn't exactly want the particular gifts that were given to me. If I chose not to keep it, I felt guilty for passing it on. I felt guilty when I gave into a partner's need to take me to his family when I would have much rather go to mine and let him go to his because it was impossible to visit both families in the same year. I'm still waiting for the invention of real-life affordable Star Trek Transporters. We all live too far away from each other. I also often felt guilty for spending too much money or wondering if I should have let go of my reserve and buy more on credit even when I had no idea how I'd pay for it later... just like so many other people I knew did.

Exhaustion: It takes a LOT of work to celebrate a holiday. Some people thrive on it and just take a nap later. Some people don't recover for weeks or even months IF they do. (Like me.)

It took way too many years (I live 1,500 miles away from family in both directions), but I am now involved in multiple clubs and organizations and each has their own Holiday gathering. I think I broke the record this year on how many I attended and how much food I ate. And yes, I strayed from my healthy diet and gorged on treats which included chocolate.

It is what it is. It's a waste of precious time to look behind you and kick yourself for the sugar you ate or the money you spent or the conflicts you had to deal with or over analyzing how you could have done better.

There were way more events I could have attended (outdoors) but I decided not to go (it was cold out), browsing Facebook for all the photos and videos that were posted. I did go in previous years so this year I used my memories and pretended I went again.

In Toastmasters, the fellow who came up with Table Topics for our December 15 meeting asked the first person he called on if she would change Christmas and if so, how. She replied she'd do away with Christmas Day completely and celebrate Christmas every day of the year just like in the song, "Let it be Christmas Every Day." I agree. What about you?

What if we could avoid the After Holiday Blues by:

Being kind to people every day.
Being kind to yourself.
Giving presents to the people you love for no reason.
Giving presents to yourself.
Sending cards out more often.
You can even send a card to yourself.
Calling people you haven't talked to in a while.
Skipping the expensive light decorations and giving the money to charities.
Helping the elderly and disabled.
Feeding the hungry--both human and community cats.
Writing down everything you are grateful for.

And if you still feel SAD, between the Standard American Diet and Seasonal Affective Disorder, you are not alone. Many people are affected by lack of sunlight which lowers your Vitamin D levels.

Wishing everyone a productive new year filled with activities that fill you up with a sense of purpose, the kind where you know deep in your heart, your little acts of kindness have made a difference.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Joy in the Senses

One morning last month, I woke up feeling a bit blue. It sure would have been nice to know what I had been dreaming about to give me a clue. But then a thought popped into my head--to use my senses--see, smell, hear, taste, and touch. First I just lay there and visualized a number of things in each category. Then as I thought of more, I got the paper out to write them down.

What have I seen that brought me joy?

Rainbows. The day everything turns green in Spring. The sight of green rolling hills when I am driving. Adorable animals like kittens playing, monkeys frolicking, and squirrels jumping from one tree to the next. Beautiful dances. Photos and videos of my precious granddaughter and my friends' children. Great movies. Exquisite art. The joy on a person's face after I've published their first book. Seeing beautiful images emerge from photos I've taken.


What have I smelled that brought me joy?

Essential oils like Citrus Bliss. The air just after it has rained. Something yummy cooking. The scent of flowers and Rosemary bushes.

What have I heard that brought me joy?

The sound of children's laughter. The voice of my loved ones when they call. Meows from kittens.  Compliments on work I've done. Amazing music. Inspirational/motivational speeches.

What have I tasted that brought me joy?

Delicious food! Dark chocolate, ginger tea, honey, black-strap molasses and chopped pecans on top of Vanilla Bean Coconut Milk Ice Cream, Chocolate Chip Cookies. Anything with Sea Salt on it.

What have I touched that brought me joy?

A soft kitten or puppy. Soft blankets.

In addition to the 5 senses, I added another one:

What have I felt that brought me joy?

Warm showers. Satisfaction of accomplishing and completing sometimes challenging projects. Raising money for a local TNR Non-Profit from the Earrings I made. The sensation of being on a boat that is being rocked by the waves. Knowing I have the skills to efficiently complete tasks others can't do on their own. The completion of a writing project. The excitement when I get a newly published book in the mail. Reading someone else's amazing book. Receiving unexpected gifts. Knowing that my past experiences have given me the wisdom to help another up when they fall--that I can make a difference. Deep meaningful connections and conversations. The increase in confidence I've been acquiring. Pride for the amazing son I raised who is now an amazing father. Synchronicity. Gratitude.

It didn't take me very long to lift up my mood that morning. I then created the above official list to include in my first-aid kit in case I fall into a blue mood again, which happens every so often.

I highly recommend that you make a similar list for yourself. Hopefully, you will remember where you put it! I originally wrote out a list on the piece of paper I mentioned in the beginning of the post, but I couldn't find it to write this blog post so I had to recreate it. 🔃

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Holiday Stress

It's that special time of year when many celebrations are taking place internationally across many cultures. Here are some of them:
  • Saint Nicholas Day (Christian)
  • Fiesta of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Mexican)
  • St. Lucia Day (Swedish)
  • Hanukkah (Jewish)
  • Christmas Day (Christian)
  • Three Kings Day/Epiphany (Christian)
  • Kwanzaa (African American)
  • Omisoka (Japanese)
  • Yule (Pagan)
  • Saturnalia (Pagan)
It is also that time of year when many people are depressed and lonely. I used to be one of these people so I know. While all the happy celebrations were going on around me with family gatherings and parties, I withdrew. People could tell I was withdrawn so I wasn't invited to very many events. At least I didn't have the obligations of cooking for a family or hosting a gathering where I'd have to choose between acting happy or expressing how I was really feeling.

For those who have lost one or more loved ones, a pet, a job, suffering financial hardship or homelessness, a relationship breakup, it is indeed a time of loneliness. Their loved one(s) and/or their safety net is no longer there. I feel for all the loss from recent hurricane devastation as well as close friends who have lost a husband, a grandchild, a mother, a pet.

For some, it is obvious just by looking at them. You can see the emptiness in their eyes and in their physical demeanor even if they smile. For others, they've become really good actors--something they don't give themselves credit for.

One of many definitions of stress is a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.

The stress response can be felt whether you are experiencing excitement or its opposite.

Perhaps you are one of the people who feel you must perform your duties as a wife, mother, father, brother, sister, friend, or business owner even if it overrides your need to say no. You never do give yourself permission to say no or to ask for help so you burn yourself out.

Excitement can burn you out as well. Too much can strain your Adrenals and the result is Adrenal Fatigue which has numerous consequences.

In your efforts to prepare, decorate, cook, plan, and visit, sometimes partying until the wee hours of the morning, many are sleep deprived. The consequences of sleep deprivation are vast.

Add to the above all the sugar that you eat because somehow traditions of all kinds include a LOT of sugar! Sugar puts a strain on your immune system in addition to all of the above.

Memory doesn't work well when you are under stress which is why in an emergency you can't remember what to do. Some call this brain fog or a senior moment.

While you all are celebrating family and religious traditions, remember to smile at all the lonely people and offer them a gift of time and perhaps a long warm hug.


Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The Adrenaline Connection



Many years ago, while dealing with the aftermath of mono, systemic candida which I developed from numerous doses of antibiotics, and food sensitivities, my adrenals wouldn't function properly. But because they hadn't completely failed, there was nothing the endocrinologist I went to could do.

I remember the day I slammed on the brakes to avoid hitting a cyclist who dashed out in front of my car. I was at the stop light which had turned green, but the young cyclist hoped to make it across before I began to accelerate. The adrenaline rush that came on didn't stop like it was supposed to—I began to feel warm, then hot, then sweaty, then disoriented—a very strange sensation.

Fast forward to the last few years. I joined Toastmasters to develop self-confidence and speaking skills. Each time I went up there to speak, I had the adrenaline rushes. After a while, they stopped being so bad, but I experienced some strange after effects.

One time after I sat down, I felt fireworks of sharp stabbing pains all through my body. I took some slow deep breaths while I waited it out, telling myself I was OK. But in the back of my mind, I was very concerned. I didn’t collapse from a heart attack and the pains subsided. What on earth happened?

Another time after I sat down, I experienced an immediate lower back spasm. I wondered if all the back spasms I had experienced over my lifetime—and all the Fibromyalgia pain—was due to adrenaline issues—a symptom of a chaotic life where I was more often than not reacting to daily circumstances in fight or flight mode.

Then one day about a month ago, after a Toastmasters meeting, a career military man in my club sat down across from me while he waited for his wife who was mentoring a new member. I can't remember how the conversation began, but it led to the subject of adrenaline. He promptly told me about adrenaline rush letdown, a term I had never heard of before but common among those who serve in the military.

The symptoms I described to this man, which included the fireworks of sharp pains and the back spasms were only two common symptoms. There are others, like feelings of depression. The adrenaline junkies—skydivers, bungee jumpers, race car drivers, motorcycle riders, and more deal with them on a regular basis.

Fast forward again to the end of November when I finally had an appointment with Bri Linney, who practices BioEnergetic Nutrition. I’ve done lots of research, reading, and listening to health summits and brought in several pages of notes which included summaries of my current health challenges and my hypothesis about them. I even brought in all the supplements I am in possession of. She asked me how I think she could help me. I replied something of the line of hoping she can pinpoint what my body is asking for nutritionally.

This was definitely a visit I wish I recorded!!!!

You get a whole hour for your first visit. Bri provided a wealth of education on how my system operates in terms I could understand, including the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. She is skilled in knowing what the body wants just by touching it. I only remember three main points which are related to the adrenal issues.

1) Bri paused her exam as she touched my lower abdomen and asked apologetically if I had been sexually molested or assaulted. I am no longer reactive to the memories and answered yes. Afterall, other healers could pick up on this too when they touched my abdomen. She had explained to me different categories of health issues which included virus people. Most virus people have been sexually molested and or assaulted. The first occurrence was when I was 17. I came down with mono when I was 18 (or just before) and dealt with viral issues ever since—as well as repeated instances of sexual molestation and assault, which Bri also said is common. Another mystery solved. I was aware that most people who have Fibromyalgia were abused as children; I was not aware of this other connection. As I’ve done self-improvement on emotional trauma, my overall health has improved. This can explain why I haven’t been sick as much as I used to be even though the ‘energies’ are still lingering in my body.

2) After touching every organ and gland and parts of my brain, Bri explained to me that when you get a concussion, which I did when I was 21, your pituitary gland which seats at the center of the brain gets knocked around—and if I am repeating the facts accurately, the pituitary gland controls everything, including the hypothalamus. She concluded the reason for the chronic sore throats and difficulty swallowing is due to the right parathyroid and thyroid being inflamed which is all controlled by the hypothalamus. The adrenals are, too. This is another reason why I love energy medicine. This stuff doesn’t show up in blood tests.

3) I wanted to wean off Mirtazapine, the generic to Remeron. I’ve tried twice unsuccessfully and hoped she could assist me with it. Bri explained to me that it is helping the part of my brain that is not functioning like it should be and advised me to stay on it until I can get that part to improve.

I walked away with two homeopathic remedies for both hypothalamus and inflammation. I have complete faith in homeopathic remedies from years ago when I got one for my son who had severe cat allergies. Each day we visited my Mom who had a cat, his eyes would swell shut. When I discovered the BioAllers drops and gave it to him, it not only helped after the onset of a reaction but over time his immune system adjusted and he no longer had these reactions. I vaguely remember using another formula for an allergy I was dealing with as well.

Bri had also tested all the supplements I brought with me and determined how many of what I should take over the next month. I felt validated that I was on the right track—she suggested increasing the CBD Oil and Copaiba Oil, decreasing many of the other supplements, and increasing Vitamin C Complex (including putting it on topically with citrus oils). I return in one month.

Layer by layer, as years go by, I uncover additional mysteries to healing my miraculous human body. Our bodies truly are miraculous you know—born with innate intelligence—and the more you learn about it and the more you really get this, you increase your ability to recover from whatever you have been dealing with.

I acknowledge and appreciate everything my body does from digestion to excretion to circulation to moving. Have you tried this?

As for moving, even on a bad day, I do my series of exercises and marvel that I am still able to do them, focusing on each body part as they move through each exercise. Yes, there are parts that aren’t functioning efficiently, but have you tried focusing on all the parts that do?

To get an appointment with Bri Linney and learn more about what she does go to:

http://completechiro.org/holistic-healthcare.html

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Reminiscing & Gratitude

Wishing everyone a beautiful Thanksgiving!

This post is the final chapter of my first book and a good topic for a post today. It's Thanksgiving and I am reminiscing about how grateful I am that I learned how to view all experiences as tools for growth and as contrast. For instance, the water being shut off for repairs reminded me of all the times I didn't have running water and how grateful I am of having it now, even if it is shut off for what turned out to be only 30 minutes. I've come a long way since I wrote this book in 1996 besides being 21 years older. Just like the previous post on The Broken Branch, I choose to focus on all I am grateful for today, which includes all of my readers. At the time I wrote this book, I had just lost the place I called home, a marriage that didn't work, and employment. In this space I had to choose--to dwell in all that I had lost or in all the pleasant memories. It did indeed shift my vibration and life grew around me again... which would happen numerous more times between then and now. 

CHAPTER 15: GRATITUDE

I’ve been dwelling in thoughts of mourning too long, mourning for everything in my life that I have lost and never had.

Today, I asked Spirit, is there an opposite to mourning for what I’ve lost? There must be something else - this place hurts too much! There must be something different than gratitude! Being grateful for what I have is not touching me where I need to be touched!

“Yes,” the answer came. “Climb into the essence of your most wonderful memories.” Be grateful for the opportunity to have the experiences that now dwell in your memory.... but do not dwell on what is lost - climb into the joy of your most cherished memories.

So I began to collect my most treasured memories one by one and climb into them for a while. Within a few days, my spirits began to lift up from the depression I had been drowning in.

I collected memories of doing special things with my father. I felt special when we walked hand in hand along the seashore. I felt grown up when he took me to work with him during school vacations and taught me how to do some of the work he did. I felt the sense of adventure when he took me to the outdoor market in downtown Boston during the summer to buy fresh fruits and vegetables. He also took me to the auto show where I saw all kinds of creations other than the autos I’d seen on the streets. I felt a sense of awe when he took me for walks to see all the Christmas store displays. I felt exhilarated when he taught me to drive in his Volvo. There is no room for both feelings of rejection and the joy of these memories. So now I must choose, if even for today, to be in the joy of memories.

Gratitude implies being in the present. If there is one thing I can be grateful for right now are all the cherished memories I have collected from the past. I can mourn and cry for what I lost and never had, but maybe just for today, I can go back in time and feel what I felt then. After all, what else are memories for?

All my memories are weaved together as intricately as a spider’s web - connected to each other with every emotion I’ve ever felt. I was given free will to choose - which includes choosing what part of that web I spend my time in. I can choose to drown in sorrow or I can choose to immerse myself in joy.

Old habits are stubborn. It seems like most of us are naturals at drowning in muck - but you can’t be both places at the same time.....I can sift through the memories like I would sift through a pile of sand and find the treasures in all my past experiences. Or I can choose anger and tears by focusing on the part that hurts.

I can choose to be hurt and angry at every boy (including the ones that lived in grown men) that used me and hurt me - or swoon in the memories of each “fatal attraction.” I could mourn the loss of my dreams to be happily married, have a house and raise children - or be in the joy of how free I felt when I was on my own again.

I can mourn and cry for each love that I lost - or be in the bliss of every memory they gave me. I can imagine a new love and be in the bliss as if it already is. I can imagine someone climbing inside my soul, wrapping his arms around me, and feeling completely safe and secure in his embrace.

And Jesse. Do I dwell on the mess he constantly makes? Or do I bless the trail of his existence? Without him, there would be no mess. Do I dwell on the annoying noises he makes or the fact that he watches too much TV and listens to “awful” music? If I had to choose between having him in my life with the mess, the noises, the music and the TV, or his never having been here at all....I’d bless the mess. I’d bless the noise. This is who and what he is and I bless his existence in my life! Do I dwell on the fact that he’s a teenager and no longer wants to be home....or be happy I’ve done a good job raising a child who believes in himself enough to do this?

I immerse myself in college, homework, motherhood, reading, photography, music, research, writing, walking, healing, and memories. Do I stay sad and mourn all that I’ve lost and never had or do I climb inside the joy of the memories?

Today, I’ll immerse myself in memories, and be grateful for every single one.