Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Talking Myself Out of Suicide

Don't be alarmed... I am out of the woods. What I'd like to write about is the turning point when I stopped thinking about death as a way out of pain and despair.

For a brief recap, I've had suicidal urges twice. When I was 43, the pain in my body became so overwhelming, I could no longer work. I had no one who could take care of me, and I lost all hope. I was a single mom of a teenage boy. How would I support him? In addition to the usual amount of depression I endured, I decided I couldn't live with intense muscular-skeletal pain, and my son was independent and could survive without me.

I never got as far as figuring out how I would end my life. I just had a death wish. The new pain management doctor I found nipped this in the bud with a cocktail of medication. The trouble was, without a sense of purpose besides being a patient to my doctors, and without meaningful relationships which I lacked the skills to develop, I lost the will to live on this planet in a physical body. Medication could not provide those for me. They only sedated me, further separating me from the people I wanted to be in relationship with.

In 2011, the year after I stopped taking 11 medications cold turkey, I began to accept medication again. After swallowing the first Cymbalta tablet, I disassociated and became suicidal in addition to everything else. All I could think about was walking up to the road at night and getting hit by a truck. (I was able to walk at the time.) The only thing that stopped me was the possibility I might survive and be in worse pain than I already was.

With bouts of depression consuming huge chunks of my life with no access to adequate counseling or solutions along with relentless chronic pain, I began a personal quest for solutions of my own in 2013, once I became aware there was another way of BEing.

I could not forget how I felt during the three-month manic high I experienced in 2010, when I felt no pain, could walk, enjoyed going to social events, and saw a vision of the amazing life I could have... one that provided me with PURPOSE. I could not forget the spiritual voice that telepathically told me to use the talents I was blessed with, and I've been writing about what I discover ever since. I also could not forget the experience I had when I totaled my GMC Sonoma (more below).

That rare and only manic high I experienced included a huge vision that dissipated after a few months and hasn't returned. In my big dream mind, I was going to be a famous (well-known) author who traveled, got paid to speak, met other famous people like Louise Hay and Greg Braden, had the ability to donate to many different charity foundations, and was a catalyst for enriching the lives of many people. The vision also included meeting famous singers who wanted to sing the songs I wrote. I yearned to do much more in making a difference on the planet.

Stress, depression, pain, and fatigue put the breaks on. Losing my ability to walk again did, too. Lack of adequate transportation didn't help, so I became isolated. As time went by, I withdrew into myself and developed phobias of the outside world.

In the meantime, because I am a perfectionist and have unrealistic expectations, I've been hard on myself for being a 'slow learner.' I have at my fingertips a wealth of knowledge to absorb via the internet and all the books I read and have read... all of which I can do from the comfort of home. Perhaps there is an alternative vision I am to pursue. What will I do with all this knowledge besides blogging about it?

In 2014, I found the book, God Is A Verb: Kabbalah and the Practice of Mystical Judaism. What I still remember in this book is the part about our purpose: RAISE HOLY SPARKS... in any way we can. Even one person can do this. Even me. Even from bed. But how?

Meditation.

In 2015, I found Dr. David Burns' book, Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy which gave me an introduction to psychology with the ten cognitive distortions. I learned how to challenge my thoughts once I became aware of them and reframe, but it didn't help with pain, fatigue, and the limitations I was faced with. Maybe there would be something I could do that didn't require as much energy.

Meditation.

At some point I realized I had guardian angels who were keeping me alive... so I concluded I must have a purpose for being here. But what? Religion didn't give me reasons to be here... and most described heaven as the place I'd rather be. No amount of medication alleviated the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual pain I was suffering from. No amount of medication alleviated the isolation and loss of purpose when I spent most of my life in bed.

In 2018, I came across the book, How to Be Sick: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill and Their Caregivers. I found a new friend who was experiencing what I had been experiencing. She had learned Buddhist principles which helped her deal with her challenges. I learned more about acceptance and surrendering through...

Meditation.

(By the way, I resisted meditating in case you haven't figured that out yet. I only did relaxation exercises to fall asleep at night and fall back to sleep when I woke up in the middle of the night.)

When I found videos on YouTube by Abraham-Hicks, followed by reading two of their books, I came across this reason for being here:

"It is with clear and deliberate intent that you decide to project Consciousness into this time-space reality--and it is with great enthusiasm that you come forth into these bodies. You are filled with eager anticipation for a number of reasons: (including) You are a master creator, and you know it. You like the experience of creating. You know that this is an environment with a tremendous variety of interesting components. You enjoy the sensation of a fresh new desire. You know that is is through your interaction with contrast and variety that your own desires will be formulated."

I must admit, I do enjoy creating and how it feels when I manage to complete something. And every so often, I experience creative explosions. Words such as clear and deliberate intent; with great enthusiasm; eager anticipation; master creator; tremendous variety of interesting components; enjoying the sensation of a fresh new desire all resonated true for me. There was also the part that because of these reasons, if we commit suicide, we will just choose to come right back again. Sigh.

If I'm going to come right back again after I die, I might as well study, learn, and evolve as much as I possibly can, so when I DO come back, I don't have to start in the same place I am now, or worse, all over again from scratch. Even if reincarnation isn't real, I'm not going to take a chance.

Making this decision was followed by new books, new courses, more videos, meeting new people, and taking on new uplifting volunteer assignments I can do from home at my own pace... so I can continue to feel like I can make a difference in small ways between creating.

I completed the iRest Yoga Nidra program which includes...

Meditation.

It alerted me to the disconnect I still have between my body and my emotions. The task of differentiating the difference between feelings and emotions... and coming up with its opposite has me feeling like I am trying to learn physics. I wanted to reach beyond the examples listed in the workbook. I still don't get it. I sense this concept is a key to cut through the anxiety I experience... so I am determined to figure out what it is. But I couldn't figure out the difference between a feeling and an emotion, so I Googled it. I found:


So far, the explanation is just words. Between iRest and this article, I got that feelings are created by the senses; learned behaviors that are usually in hibernation until triggered by an external event. Emotions are physically measurable, physically-based reactions (like when my pulse starts racing, and I am so anxious I can't think straight). 

"An emotion is a physiological experience (or state of awareness) that gives you information about the world, and a feeling is your conscious awareness of the emotion itself."

"Many people are honestly unaware that they're having an emotion. For them, the emotion and the consciousness of it are not strongly connected, and they don't even realize that they're fearful, or angry, or depressed. Their emotional state has to become so persistent that it drags them into a severe mood, and then they can realize, 'Oh, I guess I've been really sad about...'"

I downloaded Your Emotional Vocabulary List from this site. You experience the emotion first, then determine what feelings are involved (naming), and act on the information the emotion provides. 

Intrigued? Read the rest of the article.

I suspect this is the missing link for me as I would just get overwhelmed with the emotion and haven't been able to 'name' the feelings involved in order to act on the information the emotion provides, never mind identify where in my body I feel it.

Like a treasure hunter, I 'felt' the anticipation of stumbling on a new clue to what to seek next. My goal is to name what comes up for the sake of information vs. shutting down (with overwhelm, illness, and adrenal fatigue). I've only listed the ones I identify on the list pertaining to Depression and Suicidal Urges: 

Soft Depression and Suicidal Urges: Apathetic; Depressed; Discouraged; Disinterested; Feeling Worthless; Helpless; Isolated; Purposeless; Withdrawn
Medium (or Mood-State) Depression and Suicidal Urges: Desolate; Empty; Hopeless; Miserable; Overwhelmed
Intense Suicidal Urges: Anguished; Bleak; Devastated; Suicidal

Noted at the end of this section: "If you can learn to catch your suicidal urges when they're in the soft state, you can often stop yourself from falling into the pit of anguish. In the territory of the suicidal urge, your capacity for emotional awareness and sensitivity can literally save your life!"

In the meantime, I've been reading, Lessons from the Light: What We Can Learn from the Near-Death Experience. I don't think I've had any NDEs as defined in books of when you remember leaving your body when you die and see what is going on from the ceiling... such as when a surgery goes wrong... or you've been a car accident... or suffer a fatal heart attack... followed by a decision you make to come back after you're told by a divine being it is not your time. I wondered if I could have been close to dying during one of many apnea episodes... or one of several surgeries I've had. 

While reading about NDEs, I thought about the trip to somewhere I went to when I totaled my GMC Sonoma in 2008. At the time of the accident, I was depressed as well as lethargic due to being over-medicated. There was the block of time that disappeared while I went from being in motion on the road to resting in the ravine. When the truck came to a full stop, everything in it came flying at me... and I was filled with a sense of awe, surprise, and joy. I felt like I had gone somewhere in another dimension... I felt like I was told everything would be OK. If I had a life review, I felt like I had seen an amazing future. The truck was totaled, but I didn't even get a scratch. Was this some type of NDE? If so, why can't I remember where I went? What I do know is I didn't lose consciousness... at least the physical kind. 

After writing this draft, I continued to read more of the book. Something told me I might find an explanation in one of the next chapters. There on page 229, I found what I needed to read:

"It is important to realize, however, that the healing balm of the Light is available not just to NDErs, of course, but to anyone who finds him or herself in a deep spiritual crisis or on the verge of suicide. In my years of researching NDEs, I have in fact heard from many persons who, though they clearly were not physically near death, nevertheless had a kind of NDE, which in its properties and effects was indistinguishable from those that are triggered by an actual condition in which one's life is at risk. Thus, the Light seems to come to those who need it, regardless of the individual's physical state."

Then this in a letter the author received... "My experience happened at a time in my life when I wanted to die."

Bingo. At the time of the accident, I did. But unlike the time before, this time something magical happened. I wish I knew where I went.

I believe I have learned enough with all my studying to keep myself out of getting suicide urges again in the future. In the meantime, what if my life purpose is merely to learn how to be HUMAN? 

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Haunted

About two weeks ago, I felt haunted... by the spirits, emotions, and voices of many children tugging on my invisible sleeves. The sensation began to overwhelm me. 

In the meantime, I continued to do the work of recovering from past trauma, wrote about the discovery of parts, and did an iRest Yoga Nidra program for two months. The meditations were different than other meditations I had done. 

Based on Buddhist principles, everything in life--both joy and sorrow--are impermanent. The goal is to refrain from getting attached to either one... and stop the cycle of making up stories about your experiences. In the practice, you identify feelings, emotions, beliefs, and images along with their opposite, somehow feel each one, then merge these opposites together while meditating. 

The spirits and voices of these children got louder. In a moment of exasperation, I asked them how many they were... and felt the answer of 9. OK. I asked how old they were... and felt the answer of 5. Five is a good age. I have a photo of myself when I was 5 on my bedside table. I asked if any of them had died... and felt the answer of 4. How sad.

Suddenly, I felt the urge to take down the box of little dolls and other doll-house size objects I had been saving for my grand-daughter... and for my inner child. I counted them out... and found I had exactly 9 of them! 

My intention was for each doll to represent one of the feelings (or emotions) I had suppressed, to allow them the freedom to express themselves... and to find a way to love and accept them. I could pretend I was in charge of a class of kindergarteners. 

 And yet... I even wondered if it was possible these 9 dolls simply wanted out of their box.


They are now sitting in a circle in a red plastic open-top container facing each other with a little cat in the middle.

It amazes me how much better I felt after I did this. With all my inner children out of their box, free to BE with both joy and sadness and a cat to play with, all is well. When something comes up from the deep abyss, I look and ask who is upset and what they need to feel better.

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 14, 2019

The Let-Down Effect and Expansion

Last week, I experienced another adrenaline rush followed by what I learned is called The Let-Down Effect. On my way home from an iRest Yoga Nidra meditation held in the building that was previously the fire station, I encountered a pole extending across the side-walk while I was riding my mobility scooter... didn't see it until it was in front of my face... barely stopped in time. Two days later, I decided to call the fire department to report the hazard as it had been their building. I was told the new owner would be contacted.

As soon as I hung up from this call, my heart began racing and fireworks of shooting spasm-like pain started in my lower back and shot all the way up to my neck. BREATHE. BREATHE. You know what this is now. It's adrenaline letdown. It will pass. BREATHE. At least this time, I didn't get the exhaustion followed by getting sick.

Once it subsided, I Googled "remedies for adrenaline letdown" and found this article. (Click on the link to read more.) The Let-down Effect.

"It's long been known that stress can lead to illness but only recently has evidence emerged that some people tend to get sick after a pressure-packed period has ended." "During acute stress, the body releases key hormones – including glucocorticoids (like cortisol), catecholamines (like norepinephrine) and adrenaline – to prepare itself to fight or flee from danger and to trigger the immune system to step up certain types of surveillance. In the process, "glucocorticoids can reactivate latent viral infections such as herpes simplex 1 [which causes cold sores] and Epstein-Barr virus [which can trigger fatigue, fever, sore throat and swollen glands], for which symptoms are only obvious after a few days,"...

The Let-Down Effect explains why I have gotten sick after stressful situations occur!

Since my last post about 'parts,' my quest brought more results to add to my collection.

I had Barbara Ann Brennan's two books: Hands of Light and Light Emerging on my bookshelf. They caught my attention when I was looking for the next thing to read while peddling on my recumbent bike (30 minutes at a time). For me, reading and digesting what I read can be miles apart, but even if I get just one thing out of it, that one thing is more than I had before. Thirty minutes of reading this material is all I can handle at one time. I finished Hands of Light and opened Light Emerging.

Meanwhile, I had purchased the book Transforming Anxiety: The HeartMath Solution for Overcoming Fear and Worry and Creating Serenity. HeartMath was one of many therapies suggested in the book The Body Keeps The Score, and I wanted to learn more about what this was. In addition to a book I read (reeeed) while cycling, I always keep a book to read by my bed. (The rest of the time, I read stuff on the internet.)

"HeartMath technology is an innovative approach to improving emotional wellbeing. Learn to change your heart rhythm pattern to create physiological coherence; a scientifically measurable state characterized by increased order and harmony in our mind, emotions, and body." You can read more on heartmath.com.

I'm still reading the book. So far, I've learned about something called 'overcare' (caring too much) which results in anxiety. There are exercises and meditations to do to become AWARE of thoughts, feelings, and the stories you tell yourself about your experiences. Trauma often affects heart rhythms, and HeartMath relates to becoming aware of your heart rhythm and 'regulating' it consciously through meditation. I must have over a dozen recorded meditations so far... and can't decide which one to listen to. Sigh...

Meanwhile, someone I knew from past involvement in a writer's group contacted me about iRest Yoga Nidra. He was doing a series of four classes in my town and thought I'd be interested. YES. Especially when I learned it was a method of trauma therapy. He also provided me with a link for a four-week clinical study on iRest Yoga Nidra. I applied and was accepted into a program for aging adults. I couldn't wait to find out how to alleviate my anxiety about getting older... getting older with chronic pain. There are four videos to watch, a study guide to download, and homework to do.

In iRest, one must identify feelings and emotions AND THEIR OPPOSITES. Decide on your heartfelt desire (????), set an intention (????), and find your inner resource (????). In meditation, you go back and forth between the feelings and emotions you came up with. The goal is to sense where in the body you feel them and cease reacting to any of them... to make it all neutral. Even be OK with PAIN. We get to choose two sets of opposites in each category.


Information overload... frustration... I must figure this all out... and my brain tells me, "I feel so stupid," because I can't make the connections I'm supposed to in all of this... then I remember that this is the point of the course... to learn HOW... and now I have a negative emotion I can use in this exercise. Feeling stupid.

I'm used to doing things like this in a group where I can hear what everyone else is doing and get ideas. I could take a break and MEDITATE... and listen to what comes up... but I'm too wired to do that... the whole point of meditation is to SLOW DOWN.

In addition to Jay Shetty (found him on Facebook), who used to be a Buddhist Monk, in this iRest program, I now meet Michael Sapiro, PsyD, who also used to be a Buddhist Monk. I remembered how years ago, after meeting a woman who was studying material (can't remember exactly what) with a group who met at an Eastern Medicine doctor's house.

Meanwhile, one of the pages or friends I have on Facebook posted something by Michael Cupo. Michael wrote It's Monday in Your Mind: You Are Not Your Thoughts. I read some of the pages from Look inside on Amazon and also explored his website. He was teaching the same concept.

And meanwhile, I came across posts from Byron Katie: A Mind At Home With Yourself. I read some Look inside pages from her book on Amazon and explored her website. She was teaching this concept, too.

In 2008, I totaled my GMC Sonoma. When the truck came to rest in the ravine, everything in it came flying at me. I feel like all this information is flying at me in the same way. But the message began to get clear. One must develop the ability to observe all they experience without reacting to any of it... no matter how good it is or horrible.

Can someone like me... who can be an emotional rollercoaster... from excitement to despair and back up again... learn how to do this? Do I want to? I was just getting the gist of raising my vibration by focusing on pleasure with all of my senses... and pushing out everything else. But according to all this other material, doing so causes RESISTANCE. And resistance contributes to anxiety. Even Teal Swan teaches this.

It feels like a vicious circle. I have anxiety just thinking about the process. All the feelings and emotions have minds of their own. There are DOZENS of them. Each lives in their own little compartment. They don't even know how to be friends. All I feel is the result of resisting them when more than one decides to surface and declare war on my field (my physical body)... which contributes to anxiety. But in order to conquer the anxiety, I must be able to identify and feel where in my body each of the feelings and emotions reside.

Which comes first? The chicken or the egg?

I'm waiting for all this information to CLICK. Assimilation. It did for all the teachers who are now teaching this stuff. I know because I read their bios. Each and every one of them started out with one situation or another that resulted in trauma, anxiety, and/or depression. They found a program that helped them and are now teaching. Some have expanded the program they found into one of their own.

Maybe it is like a murder mystery... and requires an investigation... after all... I did attempt to murder my other 'parts' (read the previous blog post) when I suppressed them.

I feel like I am being followed... by a stalker... by many stalkers... parts of myself I abandoned a long time ago. Maybe I feel threatened because I have been stalked by a human stalker in the past and my brain is mixing them up.

Maybe I resist studying... and if I change the task to doing an investigation, I will enjoy it more.

I want to feel safe inside my body. I don't remember when I decided I wasn't. I want the courage to face the other parts of me that threaten my peace of mind. Perhaps these other parts have the answers I seek... I'm sure they do... but there are so MANY other parts! And I haven't learned how to listen to only one at a time... yet...

I'm good at staying busy and distracting myself... and many others do the same. We are human BEings. But very few people want to just BE. Mmmmmm. Perhaps that bee that hovered around me (I wrote a post about it) had this message for me, too. BE.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Parts: Internal Family Systems

The journey of self-discovery continues after I read the book: The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D. This book was recommended to me by Frankie Perez of Frankie Perez's Mindgym after I commented on one of his Facebook posts regarding trauma recovery. Bessel includes information about many different therapies... including IFS... Internal Family Systems... the PARTS of us that as a whole makes us human.

As a seeker, I feel there is still much more to learn about myself and how my mind works. In understanding more about myself, I can understand more about other people, including family, which opens up my world as I realize their behaviors are/were never about me. As a seeker, intense curiosity rules. I am forever surprised at how much more there is to learn.

What if?

What if I have the potential to discover much more than what I already know? Can I stop comparing myself to others? If I could go back in time, would I have continued my formal education? Would getting a masters and doctorate degrees have made a difference? Would I still feel intimidated by people who have "Dr." in front of their name?

I often felt 'split' depending on who I was with and what was going on in my life. I've felt the bliss of being in love with either a person, a cat, an idea, a song, a book, a piece of art, and more. I've also felt the depth of despair and hopelessness... when I completely disassociated. Among other things, I've come to know I am an introvert with some extravert characteristics. I've come to know my 5-year-old still lives inside of me... both the happy girl and the frightened one.

When I read about humans being made up of PARTS, I sighed with relief. While I like the idea of being a mystery, I feel much more comfortable when I understand what is going on.

Yes, I know about arms, legs, eyes, ears, and all the internal organs as parts. I learned about the different parts of the brain. I fell in love with the term "Amygdala Hijack." The amygdala stores the emotions, and when you feel out of control, it is the amygdala that hijacks you, so you can't think clearly.

I've been learning about how various parts of the brain store different parts of memories. In the case of severe trauma, the reason we can't remember exactly what happened is the memory splits up into different parts of the brain. With the right types of therapies (vs. drugs), the fragmented parts become integrated, and a coherent story begins to form. Then with further steps, the brain can be trained that what happened took place in the past vs. memory hijacking you back into the past resulting in symptoms such as a racing heart, panic, anxiety, and more.

With each growing stage of my life: infant, toddler, grade-schooler, middle-schooler, teenager, high schooler, adult, and every role I've played, I often felt like I was different people. Hormones got their way with me as well as depressive episodes.

Parts? Yes, parts. "The mind is a mosaic. We all have parts." Now my intense curiosity leads me to investigate these parts and become familiar with them. "The mind is made up of relatively discrete subpersonalities, each with its own viewpoint and qualities." "Parts are not just feelings but distinct ways of being, with their own beliefs, agendas, and roles in the overall ecology of our lives." "Each split-off part holds different memories, beliefs, and physical sensations."

Parts include the manager, the firefighter, and the exiles.

Who is the manager? What characteristics does she have? The manager's job is to "prevent humiliation and abandonment and to keep her organized and safe." The manager part was (and still is) competent, held responsible positions, and produces quality work... all while doing an outstanding job at sending all the other parts into exile. The manager told me to grin and bear it because no one wanted to hear about my pain. If I did talk about it and felt the discomfort of the listener, there was embarrassment and shame as well as feeling invisible. The parts I sent into exile were, indeed, invisible... until an amygdala hijack brought them out from hiding.

But it wasn't just me. "It emerged that, as children, nearly all of them were supposed to be seen and not heard--safety meant keeping their needs under wraps."

Who are the exiles? "Exiles are the toxic waste dump of the system. Because they hold the memories, sensations, beliefs, and emotions associated with trauma, it is hazardous to release them." "When exiles overwhelm managers, they take us over--we are nothing but that rejected, weak, unloved, and abandoned child."

I love reading the description that shines a light on all of the unidentified suppressed confusion in my mind and emotions.

Are there any other exiles beside the happy child and the frightened one? How can I retrieve the happy child? Why did I exile her? How can I retrieve more happy memories and FEEL the happiness of those experiences? I'm sure in reality there were many happy moments, yet in one of many cognitive distortions, I discounted the positive and dwelled on the few negative experiences.

Why did I make that decision? Why does ONE demeaning statement take control of your entire life? Why does witnessing ONE act of violence do the same thing? Who is the critic I also sent into exile who is quick to judge both herself and others... and then get overwhelmed by guilt when she realizes she was thinking a critical thought?

Who is the firefighter? What does she do when a threat appears? How does she react? Is she really putting out the fire or building a tomb?

Who is my true Self: the Self that is confident, curious, and calm? The one writing this post? How do I make friends with the 5-year-old, the 9-year old, the 13-year-old, and the 17-year-old who demand attention when I want to read yet another book about recovering from past traumatic experiences that are programmed into my nervous system and feels like dead weight keeping me from going where I want to go?

Where, exactly, DO I want to go? Once I figure myself out, then what?

True Self knows the thrill of life is NOT always knowing where you are going... and take one day at a time. But... the 5, 9, 13, and 17-year-olds say...

WHAT ABOUT US?

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Miracles


This morning when I was introducing my family to someone new (via photos) and telling her about the miracles in my family, I realized I was being reminded of additional possible miracles for myself, too.

When my brother, Jon, was born, doctors didn't expect him to live. And if he did live, they said he'd be a vegetable. Contrary to what they recommended (put him in an institution), my parents took him home after 30 days in the hospital. The large spinal fluid-filled sac at the base of his skull was removed along with part of his brain. He was supposedly a vegetable and blind. My mother figured out it was reflexes he lacked so he couldn't blink. She taught him how to blink. To make a really long story short, he lived to be 49 years old. He could laugh, play, and love even though there wasn't much he could do physically.

When I miraculously was able to walk again after five years of having two numb, heavy legs, I never imagined the possibility of becoming wheelchair dependent again. In efforts to support my weight with canes and a walker after jarring my lower spine which affected my legs, my arms (more so the right) from shoulder to fingertips became compromised. On top of all that, I developed difficulty swallowing... even water... and lost eight pounds in two months. As petite as I am, fortunately, I had excess belly fat to lose. Malnutrition weakened me further.

After many months of doing my best to maintain my independence, I decided it was time to reapply for CAS (Community Attendant Services) through Medicaid. It took a few months for all the paperwork to get processed. Relieved to finally have someone coming over every morning for companionship and to help me with laundry, cleaning, dishes, food prep, and run errands for me, I found myself telling her the miracle story about my brother.

After telling her that story (I am a self-declared storyteller), I began to tell another one. When my son was four, I went to a single parent event. The next person in line was another single mom with a precious four-year-old daughter with blond hair and huge blue eyes. While waiting in line, I learned the girl had a rare condition, and her mom was trying to get her on an organ transplant list, hoping for the transplant before the young girl died. I remember believing that Chantel would live despite what her doctors were predicting. Then I lost touch with them. I had moved out of the apartment complex about a year after meeting them. Matter of fact, I had moved quite a few times, including to Texas and back to California. But this story is about them, not me, so I will continue with the story.

Thirteen years went by. One day, I went to visit my older sister's house. There was something very familiar with the eighteen-year-old blond-haired blue-eyed girl who was hanging out with my nephew in her adorable pajamas, but I couldn’t place her. Then I heard her name.

“Chantel? Is your Mom Cheryl?” The answer was yes.

Chantel had indeed grown to be a very positive bubbly happy beautiful young woman!

About two years later, Chantel announced to my sister that she was pregnant. Then she held up a marriage certificate to prove that they had eloped two months before. They had gotten married in secret after my nephew turned 18. I don’t remember why they felt they had to elope.

Chantel’s team of doctors was not happy about Chantel being pregnant. Medically they didn’t even know how it was possible after all the surgeries she had endured over the years. They strongly prodded her to terminate the pregnancy – yes her doctors – as a pregnancy would most likely kill her. Chantel said no. I could see in her eyes that she believed everything would be OK, and she was willing to risk her life to try and have the baby.

Chantel carried her baby to term and gave birth to a beautiful healthy baby girl, without any of the predicted complications in December of 2004. Everyone celebrated the miracle. Two years later, Chantel became pregnant again. Her doctors, just like before, were apprehensive that the pregnancy could kill her. Chantel refused to terminate the pregnancy, took really good care of herself, and in September 2007, gave birth to another healthy baby girl. Chantel and her daughters are healthy and happy.

After I told both these stories... stating doctors are not God, I felt as if the words were meant to be spoken to myself. I felt inspired by telling my own inspirational story. Just like my brother could laugh, play, and love... despite his disabilities, I can, too. Maybe my condition will improve. Maybe it won't.

I now have two beautiful, amazing young attendants who love what they are doing... helping people... the aged and disabled... and caring for them. I'm glad they have a cheery person to take care of. No matter how much my body aches and how limited it is, I can still smile, laugh, love, listen... and tell stories.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

New Release!!!


I am excited about my new book! The title is pretty much self-explanatory. Within a few days, the Look Inside feature will be activated on Amazon.

Book Description: Through many levels of spiritual and emotional growth, much time was spent in contemplation, reflection, observations, reflections, musings, and introspection of objects, wildlife, weather, pets, trees, flowers, clouds, and more. Words organized themselves into poetry and prose. Photography captured the moments.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Making Friends With The Storm

Image from Shutterstock

9 a.m. Lightning lit up the sky like fireworks. Thunder grumbled softly under its breath, gradually increasing in volume, ultimately to crack wide open at the top of its lungs, shattering the sound waves with its volume.

I put my hands over my ears and attempted to calm my racing heart.

Rain came, bashfully tiptoeing between the silence, gradually gaining the confidence to rain harder until at last, celebrating with a torrential downpour.

But… but... I planned an outing for this morning… at 10:30 a.m.!

Understanding the storm was beyond my control, (it is what it is), I managed to shift my perspective to appreciation. Storm, thank you for watering the earth and providing entertainment as you show off your potential with mastery. I shall sit here to observe every detail and appreciate your awesome wonder.

Could you please move on before my ride comes to pick me up?

I returned my focus to watching the grand show of lightning, rain, and now the wind which decided to join in and blow the rain sideward... from inside the safety of my apartment. I was grateful that I felt safe.

10:10 a.m. I am spellbound in a state of awe…
The storm responded to my appreciation and request, moving on to its next destination. The sky cleared, the rain stopped, and I am very aware weather has done this for me many times in the past… pausing, so I could get to and from my destination without getting wet.

Contemplating my increase in faith when it comes to weather, I began to wonder about my faith in healing the afflictions that had been storming in my body. What am I missing?

Perhaps I need to practice the level of appreciation for the storms in my body and observe them, too, with awe. Yes, I have been appreciating all the parts that still function, but I had not thought about appreciating the 'storms' -- places that don't feel good -- as well.

Storm, I’ve learned many lessons from people, experiences, nature, trees, cats, and squirrels… am I to learn lessons from you, too?

I observed all aspects of you without judgment, yet I judge what feels good or bad about my thoughts, my body’s afflictions, my emotions, my feelings, and what I am able to do or not do. Can I learn to just observe it all without judgment... just like I observed your beautiful storm?

Can I learn to let pain and discomfort be storms... and absence of pain and discomfort be sunshine… without judgment… and allow both to exist harmoniously… just like nature and weather?