Wednesday, July 22, 2020

New Release!


This is a story I began writing many years ago but had not decided what to do with it. I've written other short stories, but this one wanted to be its own book. I did update the ending to bring it up-to-date. It is about 4,300 words, 34 pages. Available as a paperback (because I wanted one for my bookshelf) and Kindle.

The dreams I recorded in a journal over the years included scenes about World War II, a library I'd never personally visited, a collapsing stairway, and a theme park.

Years later, I was able to see similarities between the dreams and interesting life encounters with the Rabbi I met, the psychic I met, and the interconnectedness of life experiences and people.

The final chapter is my fantasy of being healed by extraterrestrials with advanced technology.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

New Release!


New Release! I've updated the 2020 Edition to include current information about self-publishing your own book (CreateSpace doesn't exist anymore), reorganized content, updated the index and table of contents. I've also made it available for Kindle to use along with a blank journal. You can Look inside from a computer to get a preview. If you purchased an older version of this book and would like a current one, contact me. Some of the pages can be previewed with the Look inside feature from a computer.

Introduction

The purpose of this journal is to assist you with all aspects of your life, beginning with revisiting your childhood and reconnecting to the playful, adventurous part of yourself who dreamed big dreams and had an amazing imagination. I, as the author, encourage you to go on the journey. This isn’t about feeling bad about what happened if bad things did happen. This is about exploring what conclusions you made as a result of your life circumstances and learning to acknowledge, love, accept, forgive, and move the stagnant subconscious energies out of your mind and out of your body.

We all are traveling an amazing journey of self-discovery. There are always new life lessons to learn. Shifting your beliefs about all things earthly can transform your life. We become who we think we will become. We develop beliefs that do not serve us, our higher good, or the good of our planet.

There are many self-help books out there. I know. I’ve read a LOT of them. I even included some of the titles in this book. I wanted something simple with few words but big impact. I wanted a book that could be a companion guide for upcoming workshops when I succeed in putting them together.

For those who are thinking about writing a memoir, this book can help you organize your thoughts and provide a foundation for you to begin.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Bucket Theory

I grew up on the coast of Massachusetts, across the street from a small private beach. We could walk a short distance to get there. No public parking was available. It was PRIVATE. We collected seashells and pretty rocks, along with unintentional grains of sand. We walked along the edge of the ocean, feeling the sensation of waves washing in over our feet and washing out again.


I don't know about you, but I like to collect things. I also collected experiences, stress, worry, memories, toxins, sugar, viruses, and a host of other things that were detrimental to my health... filling up my bucket without the awareness that it could only hold so much before overflowing.

I think it was Bri of Complete Chiropractic and Wellness Center who first told me about the Bucket and explained how one additional grain-of-sand-sized thing can make it overflow, triggering a meltdown of PTSD, fatigue, pain, and illness. A grain of sand can include things like a thought, bad news, indigestion, an argument, an uncomfortable memory, insomnia, a flat tire, an invasion of ants, or a surprise bill.

I've been learning more about PTSD, an automatic reaction by our brilliantly designed bodies when gasoline is thrown on our internal fire. I purchased Anatomy 360 by Dr. Jamie Roebuck to increase my awareness of just how brilliant my body is. Wow. After looking at all the pictures, I am even more determined to spend time dwelling on all of that vs. what spins non-stop in my mind.

Two new docu-series/summits were released that I have been watching: Overcoming PTSD and Proven: Healing Breakthroughs Backed by Science. While these two are completely separate productions, both have the same basic information: understanding your body and how it reacts when your bucket overflows, along with proven methods of improving and hopefully, recovering.

In the realm of parts, mainstream medicine treats symptoms (with surgery and medications) vs. digging for root causes that include stress, trauma, and nutrition. I've known this for many years now. What I didn't realize is how the integration of 'systems' affects us. I didn't know that trauma (of any kind) resulted in chronic inflammation and auto-immune reactions. I didn't know that our unbelievably efficient immune system can't tell the difference between what type of stress the body is dealing with, it just declares war when it sees the bucket overflow.

Awareness is the key. Now that I am more aware, I can take proactive steps to bring the fires down to embers. For me, getting a handle on the original trauma(s) is the key. There are many modalities and therapies in the industry of trauma recovery out there that cost money. However, with COVID-19, in addition to the information about handling COVID itself, suddenly, there is a wealth of free information on trauma and what you can do about it. It's all about calming down the ANS -- the autonomic nervous system. The definition in Wikipedia is:

"The autonomic nervous system is a control system that acts largely unconsciously and regulates bodily functions, such as the heart rate, digestion, respiratory rate, pupillary response, urination, and sexual arousal. This system is the primary mechanism in control of the fight-or-flight response."

In case you are one of many panicking and going crazy with all the systems that were put into place around COVID, it is the fear and anxiety that drains your immune system and increases your chances of getting sick. If you have other unhealthy habits in addition to fear and anxiety, this is an opportunity to do what is in your control: learn how to treat your body like it is a garden. Put as much love into it as you do with your flowers and plants. Let some of the load out of your bucket.

My personal plan of action includes prioritizing mindfulness (being in the present moment), meditating, drinking adequate amounts of water, avoiding foods and the news I know overflow my bucket, use the collection of essential oils I have, activate my vagus nerve, practice Donna Eden's energy-meridian balancing routines (she even has one for calming anxiety--you can find some on YouTube), and grounding by placing my bare feet on the garden rocks out in front of my apartment.

Rocks. I just discovered I could get grounded by placing my feet on rocks while sitting in my wheelchair. I had been paranoid about being barefoot in the grass due to the high number of fire ants that share space here, so I didn't try it. But when the management company redid the landscape two years ago, they provided areas of river rocks out front. I got my dose this morning. It really worked. I felt the difference in my body... and imagined I was back on that beach again.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Jigsaw Puzzle Therapy

I've been working on improving brain function with jigsaw puzzles and have noticed a significant improvement in even the ability to read faster and comprehend more of what I read. Many articles on aging include the necessity of maintaining your cognitive function. I initially got started as a means to pass the time.

In https://classifieds.usatoday.com/uncategorized/the-surprising-benefits-of-puzzle-solving-for-adults/

"Solving puzzles helps reinforce existing connections between our brain cells. It also increases the generation of new relationships. This, in turn, improves mental speed and thought processes. Jigsaw puzzles are especially good for improving short-term memory. Our short-term memory helps us remember shapes and colors and visualize the bigger picture to figure out which pieces will fit together."

In addition to improved memory, benefits include better problem-solving skills, improved visual-spatial skills, improved mood, keeping your brain active to delay dementia and Alzheimer's, lower stress levels, increased attention to detail, and an increase in productivity.

I had been doing a lot of Word-Find puzzles and even wrote a previous blog post about it. Now I am on jigsaw marathon. Perhaps, I can call it jigsaw meditation. While working on them, I can zone out for hours at a time... which is not necessarily a good thing as I also disconnect from what my body is doing... like slouching. In addition to the few I already owned, I borrowed from the apartment complex community room and from the girl who comes during the week to assist me.

When I first open the box of a new jigsaw puzzle, I scan the pieces. Are they all the same? Are they thick or thin? Do they have drastically different shapes? I wonder whether I will be able to complete it or not. (Self-doubt.) Some have been relatively easy, but some have been especially difficult. The more difficult ones include 3D, watercolor paintings, and ones with mostly backgrounds of a similar color.

How can I compare this with life? When I enter a room full of people, I scan the room. Who is there? Who is not? Who are they sitting with? Who would I like to sit with? People. Relationships. When I first meet someone, I wonder if we will connect or if we will be drastically different. I wonder about their personalities, their life experiences, whether they are simple-minded or complex. How much personal information I can safely share with them. Sometimes, everyone in the room is the same nationality. Sometimes, there is a mix. Sometimes, one person of a different nationality is in a room full of people who are all the same. Since I would feel odd in that situation, I wonder if they do.

With 3D puzzles, depending on the time of day and the lighting, the colors and images keep changing. Inconsistency. I think of 3D as 3 dimensional. Our 3-dimensional world includes the senses: sight, smell, hearing, tasting, and touching. Yet there is also 4D and 5D that a person must develop the ability to understand in order to believe in those dimensions. In energy medicine, 4D and 5D are included in your overall assessment. Doing a 3D puzzle requires a newer level of patience on my part. Perhaps I am to develop a newer level of patience with people.

I wonder how many new brain synapses are forming as my eyes get accustomed to looking at something that continuously changes. I've noticed how the 3D puzzle stimulates parts of my brain that eventually figures out how the variations of the pieces fit together. I may have to take long breaks between pieces, but then I am enthralled when I return to "know" and remember where new pieces belong.

This is what happens in my life. Perhaps yours, too. The epiphany.

Just over a week ago, someone gifted me with a Thomas Kinkade puzzle... watercolor. I looked at this puzzle being 1,000 pieces of watercolor splotches and felt overwhelmed without even trying it. I am fully aware of how many times I have done this with life. I looked at the entire situation with anxiety vs. the mentality that one piece at a time is all I needed to tackle, and eventually, the project would get done, especially if all the pieces are there, or the situation would work out.

With many watercolor paintings, there are no definitive lines. Life has no definitive lines. The only thing certain is change. After already giving up on a previous watercolor puzzle, I accepted the gift from both the person and the Universe as an opportunity to expand the capacity of my brain. I must rely on fitting shapes together vs. colors. I must take a different approach to solving the problem. I have to take many breaks to give my brain a chance to catch up with the new synapses it is developing.

In my book, Appearances: A Journey of Self-Discovery, I wrote a chapter titled Jigsaw Puzzles.

"My life is a giant jigsaw puzzle, with God the only one who knows what the completed picture looks like. I receive more pieces with each experience. It may take hours, days, weeks, months, or years for me to figure out how they fit, but when I do figure out where the pieces go, and I step back to look at how it is coming together, I am always amazed. Piece by piece, I am formed by the many experiences I have. I wonder how old I will be before it will be finished, whether it's completion will happen as I make my transition to the spirit world, or whether I will have an opportunity to study and observe the completed puzzle when I get old and life slows down."

Well, I sure was surprised when the last piece found its spot. I can't believe my brain managed to process and complete what felt like a monumental task. There were times it seemed like my brain even knew where to find a piece from one of many trays I use to organize them after looking at an empty spot on the board. I decided this one is going up on my bedroom wall to remind me that in life...


...many times, we must rely on and trust our intuition (6th sense) vs. 3D senses. Everything always works out... even if it is very different than what you hope for. 

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Morphing

I’ve gone through so many metamorphoses I’ve lost count. With each ‘phase,’ I have lost interest in what I had previously been interested in and developed an entirely new set of interests. As you can see in this post, I am comparing my experience to insects.

Some insects shed their skin multiple times as they mature. I’m sure it must be a painful process. It was painful each time I had to shed mine. My skins included homes, most everything IN my homes, friends, and jobs; hobbies, what kinds of books I liked to read, and what kind of poetry and songs I have written; health challenges I developed and overcame; beliefs, emotions, and mental states; feeling social and outgoing and wanting to hibernate; foods I liked, no longer like, and now all the new foods I like.

https://www.colonialpest.com/how-insects-grow/

“When an insect is about to molt, it looks for a hidden place. Molting can take hours, during which the insect is not able to protect itself. The old skin splits open down the back. Then the insect works to pull every part of its body, including its antennae and legs, out of the old skin covering. It’s a difficult process and the insect isn’t always successful. Some die during molting.”

I have hidden, isolated, withdrawn, and have even disassociated during molts. The trouble is, I had no idea I was molting. No one taught me that humans molt, too. Each molt was extremely difficult, and I often wondered if I would survive them. I’ve even had a few close calls with death. There were times I felt like I walked completely out of who I was and became someone else.

Then there are butterflies and moths.


http://www.butterflyschool.org/new/meta.html

“Butterflies and moths go through a life cycle known as complete metamorphosis. The stages of their life cycle include egg, larva, pupa, and adult.”

Life cycles. Conception, fetus, birth, infant, toddler, preschool, middle school, high school, 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, and now 60’s.

I sincerely hope I don't have to molt again.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

On the Move: Autobiography of a Survivor

Wouldn't it be nice to have software that can analyze all your life experiences and provide a report of your soul lessons? And when you "graduate," you become one of many teachers you learned from? I really DO wish software like this exists, but to my knowledge, it doesn't. I am still figuring all that out for myself.

Introducing... my latest book: On the Move: Autobiography of a Survivor.



Book Description

I’m still here. I am a survivor. However, I didn’t realize it during years of experiencing one situation after another with adrenaline rushes that wreaked havoc on my health. Resilience wasn’t in my constitution or my vocabulary. I wandered through life searching relentlessly for meaning and love in all the wrong places through the distorted lens of my false beliefs and programming. While this book is filled with my stories from the past, for the most part, I choose to let them live in my books while I create new, improved stories for my life. Prepare for a wild ride through the roller-coaster of a lifetime.

Preface

I’m still here. I am a survivor. However, I didn’t realize it during years of experiencing one situation after another with adrenaline rushes that wreaked havoc on my health. Resilience wasn’t in my constitution or my vocabulary. I’ve endured and survived childhood abuse, trauma, chronic stress, depression, way too many dysfunctional relationships, date rape, abuse and rape from partners, abortion, walking away from all my possessions, being a single parent, abandonment, car accidents, chronic pain, Epstein-Barr viruses, chronic fatigue, adrenal fatigue, losing my job, getting on disability, becoming wheelchair dependent, shame, self-loathing, homelessness, un-friendly roommates, slumlords, prescription drug withdrawal, disassociation, and moving 43 times. If life is an education, I’ve obtained a whopper of one. I wandered through life searching relentlessly for meaning and love in all the wrong places through the distorted lens of my false beliefs and programming. I was also a scaredy-cat, so I often up and moved when a situation became uncomfortable.

Meanwhile, in between all the above chaos, life was good. I lived in some very nice places, had mostly great jobs, got to do some traveling, and met a lot of interesting people. At one point I realized I was getting help from the spiritual realm whenever things got too intense.

Just like a parent must allow their children to become independent, solve their own problems, and manage their own lives, it seemed my spiritual helpers were doing the same for me. They didn’t interfere unless they felt it was necessary… or I cried out for help. Perhaps had I had a different type of career (I think of journalism in third world countries and other dangerous places), all my experiences would have been part of the job.

Ultimately, I wanted to do more than just exist like I saw so many other people doing. I wrote poetry, songs, letters, journals, short stories, blog posts, and books. I also kept logs of every job I had, place I lived, man I ‘dated,’ car I owned, and educational course I took.

Meanwhile, I had majored in business in high school and acquired typing, bookkeeping, and secretarial skills. Thus, despite all the chaos, I could always find and keep a job. I was dependable and rarely stayed home when I didn’t feel well, or the stress of a living situation overwhelmed me. When I had to move to an area that had temp agencies, I would get temp assignments which inevitably became full-time, permanent positions. Even though I didn’t go on to college after high school, I often took a class at a local community college, eventually accumulating enough credits to transfer to University of Phoenix and obtained a bachelor’s degree. If a company I worked for offered continuing education, I took advantage of that, too.

While this book is filled with my stories from the past, for the most part, I choose to let them live in my books while I create new, improved stories for my life. I combined content from two books I previously self-published: Appearances: A Journey of Self-Discovery and Love, Life, & God: Getting Past the Pain. Appearances was written by topic vs. chronological order, but the content needed to be modified so it would be compatible with the content of the second book. Thus, I reorganized it all to fit in with a timeline based on the logs I kept.

Linda Roper, the narrator of these two books for Audible, had asked if I considered combining them into one, but at the time, I couldn’t figure out how. Then, when I began to think about getting coaching for speaking as an author, I felt compelled to condense these two books down into one, eliminating the fill-ins such as poetry, song lyrics, quotes, stories about cats, stories about chickens, stories about mice, and more. My goal is to use my stories in speaking but with the focus on the transformation that occurred that made me who I am today.

Chapters 1 through 18 are out of Appearances which I wrote in 1998. In 2013, someone asked me how I ended up in Texas. Since it was a lonnggg story, I sat down and wrote Love, Life, & God. Content from my third memoir titled, Living With Symptomatic Spondylolisthesis: A Personal Survival Guide (2019) is not included. The names of some of the people have been changed to protect their privacy.

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A note on the word meanwhile: I use this word quite often to alert the reader that an event had been taking place in the midst of other events going on in the chapters. This eliminated the challenge of writing events in chronological order by date… which was almost impossible in many circumstances.
____

 1The Beginning

Once upon a time, I was a tiny egg… fertilized by a sperm. I grew… miraculously… into a human being… entering this world on October 29, 1955, the second oldest of six children.

(and the book continues)

Monday, March 30, 2020

Howl's Moving Castle

I've been binge-watching Studio Ghibli movies... and watched Howl's Moving Castle with my attendant. When it was over, and I expressed my delight about it, she told me there was also a book. I ordered it off of Amazon and read it in three days. 

The movie is based on the book but the scenes are very different. However, the main things I got out of both were the same. There are elements of suspense and danger; good vs. evil; courage vs. fear. I began relating the scenes to aspects of my own life as well as what is going on in the world around us. 

Sofie is a young, beautiful girl who thinks she is ugly. Just like I was. The Witch of the Waste put a spell on her and turned her into an old woman. I have certainly felt like I've had that spell put on me, too. But unlike I was, she is resilient... and not afraid to face people who are mean-spirited or moody. She is courageous... and walked miles through rough terrain to reach her destination.

Howl is a wizard. Sofie went looking for him hoping he could break the spell the Witch of the Waste put on her. She arrived as an old woman, believing the only place she can go is to this castle. Inside, she finds it absolutely filthy, which reminded me of how dirty my son's room was as well as the homes some men (and some women) I have known were. She declared herself a cleaning lady and went to town cleaning and scrubbing every part of the castle... despite the resistance she received from its inhabitants. I thought about the neatnik I am, cleaning every inch of my living space.

Sophie easily stands up to Howl's cranky behavior, firmly reprimands him, she sees through his behavior, and chooses to see his kindness... the same kindness that allowed her and another apprentice to live in his castle. I had also chosen to look past the behavior of boys and men, choosing to see the good in them. But I didn't know how to be assertive like Sofie.

Despite his power and expertise, Howl must battle the evil the Witch of the Waste had done, putting spells on people that he couldn't figure out how to reverse. He is stuck emotionally as a teenager constantly concerned about his looks and impressing girls. In the book, he spends hours in the bathroom preparing for a date. If a girl he is pursuing rejects him, he comes back depressed and turns into slime which oozes all over the castle. I loved this visual. He had a reputation of kidnapping girls and eating their hearts... typical of most of the boys and men I was involved with who pursued me only until I fell in love with them. I felt like they had eaten my heart, too.

The castle itself is a grand invention that reminded me of some of the things my nephew invented. Maybe Howl had Aspergers, too. He even had similar meltdowns. There is a magic knob inside by the door... and depending on what setting it is put on, the door opens to completely different landscapes. I compared this to my own environment.

One of the knob settings of my life opens the door to the current pandemic. I peek out, become aware, get educated, practice recommended precautions, then close that door and turn the knob again. My front door looks out onto a parking lot and other apartment buildings. My back door looks out onto the creek, beautiful with trees, grass, blooming flowers, squirrels, birds, deer, and community cats. 

I already know the consequences of stress, worry, and anxiety. It is what it is. The only thing within my control is how I react to it. 

In the movie the enemy drops bombs, destroying communities just like COVID-19 is doing. And after much destruction, the people who remain pick up what is left and rebuild. Even my own great grandparents did this. I am alive today because people in that generation survived the holocaust... and the world wars. I have faith that no matter what happens, people will recover and rebuild.

Since I have experienced being fractured as a result of too much stress, I thought about COVID-19 being fractured as a result of the stress humans have caused to the planet. It's her only defense. 

What is within my control? Meditation and visualization. I began to visualize the virus as a stressed-out fractured entity defending itself against the onslaught of torturous activities such as fracturing, deforestation, and pollution. Now that she has succeeded in putting the brakes on that assault, I began to visualize loving this entity back into integration just like I learned therapists can do with people who suffer from trauma. I see in my mind's eye all its particles collecting in one place, being contained, and going into the center of the earth to be purified in molten lava. It is a visual I learned when I took ThetaHealing classes to release and purify our own toxic energy.

Sophie managed to walk through miles of rough terrain, even though she complained the entire way, to get to where she needed to go. With COVID, I see our emergency responders and healthcare workers courageously walking through the unexpected, the unplanned, and the unknown.

We can all be scaredy cats during the current dilemma or see it as a challenge for a wizard. In the story, Howl takes on an apprentice who spends days on end trying to figure out how to make a spell work. The wizards of the world are studying how the virus operates. They are wizards, even wizards in training, bravely experimenting with 'spells' to come up with a way to defeat it. We can choose to support their efforts with positive prayer, meditation, and visualization. But fear is known in every spiritual community to feed the evil energies. This is yet one more opportunity to shift fear into love to diminish its power. 

By the end of the book and movie, love, indeed, prevails. Spells are broken, and people's lives go back to normal. It is a message. We can do this, too.