Saturday, September 1, 2018

Late Bloomer

Copyright (c) 2018 Renee Alter

This is a photo of a tree in my neighborhood that was the last to come back to life this last Spring. I thought it was dead. What a surprise when it began to bloom as Summer arrived. This tree inspired me to contemplate on the subject of being a late bloomer... and not giving up on what appears to be dead... like my health and my spirit.

I was, indeed, a late bloomer. My mother reported that I never crawled on all fours... I just pulled myself along like a Comanche. All these years later, I decided to look up what this word meant.

A Comanche is a member of an American Indian people ranging from Wyoming and Nebraska south into New Mexico and northwestern Texas.

Mom loved Westerns and must have been thinking about how Indians dropped to the ground and quietly pulled themselves around on their bellies just before attacking their target, whether it was a human or an animal. Yes, this must be what she meant. I was also very quiet.

I was a late bloomer when it came to walking, too, finally finding my 'balance' at 15 months of age, although, I am still challenged with finding my balance. I'm sure the bifocals I used to wear and the medications I used to take affected my depth perception and balance as well. Finding a balance in life has always been challenging as well. In trying to prove my worthiness to others, I often pushed myself too hard, suffering the consequences later. Now I know I only need to prove worthiness to myself.

In life, I was a late bloomer in many more ways. While all the other girls were growing mounds on their chests, I didn't sprout any until much later. For a fearful, introverted, shy female, this didn't go well when I was 'assaulted' by the sneers and bullying of other students while in school. I didn't fit in anywhere (in school). I also continued to look like a middle schooler well on after I graduated high school. While my skin stayed young throughout my years, I can't say the same for my body. Autoimmune issues can do that to you.

In relationships, I was a late bloomer when relating to others. I was a good listener, felt compassion for others, but had no clue how to actually communicate. Instead, I withdrew into my own inner world, while my body turned against itself. As I read and studied more about human behavior and psychology over the last seven years, I began to understand both myself and others. I finally began to bloom.

All these years later, I realize I am a "normal" introvert with some extrovert tendencies. There is even a term for this: Ambivert. I spend most of my time in solitude, will not step foot into an event with a lot of people--preferring small groups, and after I am with a group of people, I need downtime to recover from the energy drain. Knowing there are many others who are similar makes a huge difference.

The term “ambivert” may be new to you, but it may also define and shed some light on your own personality traits. To simplify it, an ambivert is a person who has both introvert and extrovert qualities and may bounce between the two.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Wheels

I enjoyed some years of walking... how I reframed my recent "episode" (implying it is not permanent) of leg weakness/pain over several months that kept getting worse until I couldn't walk at all. This time, since I'd been through it all before (and already have my wheels), I didn't panic. 

Me--not panic? This is a new one for me. I finally digested that stressing out makes things worse. So does getting angry.

The weakness/numbness in my glutes, thighs, and legs moves around--to the right side--to the left side--back again. To the toes--but different ones each time. No matter how many pillows and pieces of foam I prop myself up on, I wake up with cramping hips and legs. 

In the past, I just got weak and numb all over from the waist down. I am currently on guard, wondering if this will happen again... so I am getting prepared. Better to be prepared than sorry. I arranged for someone who runs errands, and I will call and register for the HOP -- transportation to doctor/therapy appointments, especially ones that are out of town.

Since I know we are made up of energy, I watch where the 'energy' goes with some amusement (vs. fear). But not knowing when or how it will affect me, I decided it isn't safe to drive more than around my tiny town -- at least for now -- until I know what to expect. It would never happen suddenly... slowly over the course of say 5 minutes.

I had to begin asking for rides... something I had never been comfortable doing... if I was going to continue participating in club activities. Thank goodness I finally know people I can ask for help from! I can't drive further than my tiny town (no cruise control) as in addition to pain/weakness, I get cramps in my right leg while it is holding the position on the gas pedal. 

I pulled out my WHEELS which had been on standby in the storage closet off my back patio for who knows how many years -- since sometime in 2012 after I moved into this complex on the other side. 

While I went and sold my electric wheelchair (oops), I kept the walker. I had (falsely) assumed that if I needed an electric wheelchair again, I could get a new one because it had been more than 5 years since I had gotten the other one. Nope. Medicare changed rules. You can't get an electric wheelchair for outside... only if you need one in the house. Do I hide all my chairs on wheels and ask for one anyway? 

Also, I didn't have to pay a share of cost for the other one (which I got in California) and I'd have to pay here.  I would only be able to get the very expensive one that Medicare will pay for... billing me 20%. If I have to pay 20% of $5,000+, I'd rather invest $700 in a scooter of my choice. Unless I can manifest a donated one. :-) 

It is possible that going two years without chiropractic didn't help... at least I got to go for three years from 2012 - 2015. I'd only be able to return if I had an accident... which I did... when I fell back in February. But even then, he could only treat me for 'headache' due to the subluxated atlas.

I started with a new one who has different equipment, and I will hopefully get at least 12 visits before Medicare cuts me off. He alerted me to a fact I had discounted all these years. I hadn't paid any attention to the words PARS DEFECT clearly stated on the many MRI and x-ray reports I still keep in my files. He showed me L5 had broken away from its base (pars) which is why it slipped forward. (See arrow.)

When I was 21, I had ignored the word Spondylolisthesis that was typed on the accident report for insurance (at least I kept a copy) after I crashed into a parked car because I didn't know what it meant. I could have saved myself grief when the Physiatrist I went to in 1998 suspected I had MS. It was years before I went through old files and brought it to his attention.

Back to the walker. Here's a link to the one I have... 


I got it in California before I moved to Texas. In case you ever need one or know someone who does, I recommend this one. (I don't have a basket under it.) 

It held up in the extreme heat and cold conditions during the many years it was stored in the outside closet off my patio. Unlike the vinyl on my comfy office chair that is disintegrating, the only damage this walker has are multiple pinprick holes in the seat... reminders that I once had cats that enjoyed digging their little claws into it. 

Most walkers I've seen do not have wheels... and wheels are wonderful! They roll over everything (almost), even an occasional bug. (Yuch!) It is even wonderful when I need to transport things like groceries in and out of the car. 

I am enjoying this walker, especially since I found a large tray with high sides to lay on the seat. (Photo below.) 

I am enjoying the secure feeling of holding the handles. (Note: I am finding reasons to be positive.) I wheel it around the apartment and put whatever I need to transport from one room to another on this tray, including a cup of water and my cell phone. It saves me a lot of trips and actually helps me be better organized. 

I even pull the walker up to whatever chair I sit on as it holds my water, notebook, pen, snacks, paperwork that needs to get filed, stuff to throw in the trash, etc. Wish I thought of doing this in years past. 

I even have a Word Puzzle book on it for when I am using the toilet... hoping to distract myself from the sensation of pain when I sit on it. (Imagine the sensation of sitting on a bruised butt, hips, and backs of thighs, but it is neurological.) I tried a raised cushion, but it was just as bad. It was only meant to make it higher, not softer. I'm open to ideas...

My walker is great outdoors, especially when I need to sit down, although I can't walk very far. The seat is a bit hard, so I don't sit for long. I can also pull myself along while seated for short distances (like after I've visited my neighbor). This is actually good exercise for your legs, although steering it while seated doesn't work very well. 

Going backward is much easier to steer, but dangerous if you hit a crack in the pavement. (Yes, I've done this.)

Did I mention it only weighs 21 pounds, so I can get it in and out of my car? Yes, it folds. And yes, the little exercises I've been doing gave me some arm muscle strength, and I'm grateful that the frozen shoulder I had in my right shoulder cleared up a few years back. With the wider of the split seats in my Dodge down, it will fit into the back end of the hatchback. 

I am grateful for the dumpster on the opposite side I can drive right up to for throwing my trash into. (Drive-up dumpster. Not really. I'm just being funny.)

I can drive up to the mailbox at the post office to mail letters, etc., but still have to walk from my car to my mailbox... which is down by the office. 

But wait! This is a small apartment complex compared to the monster ones in larger cities, many of which I have lived. And my car is parked right outside my door. Isn't this a gorgeous Crate Myrtle?


I was worried the walker wouldn't fit into the trunk of my new friend's (Monica) car... or behind her seats. She just happens to have a model car with a truck that goes on forever! 

Monica joined my Toastmasters club in December... reluctantly accepted an officer role (like I had done)... and lives nearby. Yay! I had been driving my own car to Friday daytime meetings, and she drove me to additional training and meetings further away or at night. During long drives, we've gotten to know each other and have quite a bit in common... never a dull conversation or long stretches of awkward silence. 

Monica has a 9-year old daughter (Lili) who is an angel (like her mother). During the summer, she joined her mother (and sometimes her little brother, too) for Toastmasters meetings. She is very grown-up and has often filled simpler roles at meetings such as timing and being a Topics Master. She loves to get up in front of the group to speak. 

Monica used to work 60+ hours a week in hotel management, but when her health began to decline, she made changes. Now she does a variety of income-generating jobs which include house-cleaning, website design, and building a Young Living (Essential Oils) business. 

Lili helps her mother with house-cleaning to earn some money of her own, and I asked her (Lili) if she wanted to vacuum my apartment for $5. She is also learning how to play the guitar, so it was a joy for her to stay and show me what she has learned on guitar (I still have one). Then I uncovered the electronic keyboard where she stayed glued for another hour.

Anyway, on the way back from Toastmasters, we stopped at the HEB Superstore. The original plan was to drop me at the entrance, but it seemed everyone decided to go to the store at the same time we did. Even finding a parking space was challenging, and it wasn't even one of the larger stores. 

I used the walker to get to the entrance of the store (couldn't believe tiny Lili could lift it out of the trunk herself), switched over to a motor cart, and Lili pushed the walker through the store nearby. My heart was filled with joy having Lili and her Mom accompany me in the grocery store... something... believe it or not... had been absent way too many years of my life... having company while I had to shop.

When I first began going to Open Mics and other evening events for Writers and artists, I found out a young man by the name of Mikey lived two minutes from me. Mikey has never driven and has never owned a car. (Wouldn't that be nice?) He rarely lived in a place like my town where there is no public transportation (settled here when his parents moved here), but his parents moved North, and he will soon follow... back to a place that has public transportation. I learned that once you get a job with Walmart (Mikey works nights stocking), you can transfer to another one anywhere in the United States... which he plans to do.

Nicole (founder of the Writer's society) had been driving here to pick him up twice a month (20 minutes each way). I took over giving Mikey rides until about two weeks ago when I asked him to find us another ride. Since Nicole used to pick him up, she came and got the both of us. 

(Note: socializing with people who are generous about giving people rides is quite nice!)

Sadly, Nicole will be moving out-of-state soon... as soon as the house sells. Her husband's parents offered their family a paid for house to live in. Who wouldn't want that? I know... the grass is always greener. We are seeking someone to take over. Nicole works at Walmart, too, (how she and Mikey met) and may transfer to another store as well.

Wheels. I am on the fence as to whether to have aftermarket cruise control installed in my car. People tell me just trade the car in for one that has it. I don't get this mentality. Why would I trade a car in that I slaved for six years to make payments on, which I paid off two years ago, which only has 82,000 miles on it? And why would I want to trade a car in which is evidently high in demand according to the numerous postcards I get in the mail with "we want your car!" If it is that high in demand, I think I should keep it!

Three men I talked to about after-market cruise control (my dentist who works on his own vehicles which include multiple old stickshifts, my mechanic who owns his own shop and is also a volunteer firefighter who said he's known even factory installed ones to malfunction, my apt complex maintenance man who I found out is 70 years old who also rebuilds classic cars) don't like cruise control to begin with -- they don't trust it -- never mind install aftermarket. 

I did get a quote for $420 at the Dodge Dealership excluding taxes. And then there are Tesla's that drive themselves. I wouldn't even need a driver! Maybe they'll give me one... along with every other disabled person.

I mentioned the topic to Monica during one of our drives... and guess what... her husband had just installed cruise control on his truck. But he has a demanding job... and it isn't being a mechanic. He just maintains his own family cars. Finally, I know someone who has done this.

The other set of wheels is a salon chair.

Instead of using a wheelchair in the apartment, I have office chairs on wheels in each area/room. I got this salon chair for the kitchen. My kitchen is quite small, so this works easier than an office-type chair. It elevates higher than an ordinary chair (and has a padded seat). I wheel it to the refrigerator... wheel back to the counter... wheel to the stove, etc. Swivel this way and that. I open the cabinet door I need to be in front of (like the kitchen sink), and my knees fit nicely underneath -- except when I forget there is a pipe under there. Just the same, my butt and the back of my thighs still go numb after sitting on it for more than 5 minutes or so.  

This morning, I remembered that Dr. Bergman (chiropractor) had given me a sacral belt the last time I was out to Huntington Beach, California. I have it on now, and my right leg doesn't feel as weak. This strap is tight.. holding my pelvis/sacrum together, and Bergman had advised I not wear it more than a few weeks... just until I got to my hometown chiropractor and my L5-S1 stabilized. 

Stabilized? I never could understand how this would be possible. 

I see my new chiropractor tomorrow for the 2nd visit. I will get his opinion about the belt. Hoping for improvement but have finally learned "it is what it is" and catch myself making up stories based on thoughts I can't prove. i.e. I can't prove the condition will continue to get worse... and don't catastrophize like I used to do all the time.  

I'm done with past years of numerous procedures, injections, and pharmaceutical drugs to hopefully get relief. It was all very temporary, and in the long run, caused additional problems, never mind the miles I had to drive to get them and the endless waiting in waiting rooms. 

I already know surgery is not an option. I am continuously learning about alternative treatments for pain... and I hope to experience them... like float tanks (you float for an hour in a warm pool filled with Epsom Salt), PEMF Therapy (Pulsed Electromagnetic Frequency), and sound therapy.  

BTW, I learned in the Matter of Balance course I am repeating to put the letters ICE in front of your emergency contact name/number in your phone. I just wonder how they will get into my phone, because I have it password protected, but I was told they can. If they can, doesn't that mean a crook can, too?

I also learned to keep copies of your DNR, Power of Attorney, medication list, etc. on your refrigerator door. This is the first place emergency personnel will look when they enter your home. Note, I said copies. Keep the originals in a safe place like your safe. 

I even learned that a physical therapist is supposed to analyze you and fit you for the right walker and cane. Really? I don't have access to P.T. and said so. I went home, looked at my walker, saw that it could be lowered another notch, and lowered it. I am, after all, a short person and didn't realize I could lower it.

P.S. The image of L5-S1 Spondylolisthesis is one I got on the internet because I couldn't get a clear photo off my x-rays. It looks pretty close!

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Cell Awareness


While I laid in bed doing Word Puzzles, I began to have a conversation with myself about the pain in my body and all the emotions it stirred up. I got interesting responses. (Do you ever talk to yourself?)

Years ago when I was sick, I felt isolated and unwanted. There was no Facebook back then to get connected with the outside world. 

While having this conversation with myself, I realized I was empathizing with the virus itself. I DIDN'T WANT IT. A lot of my frustration was because of this. GO AWAY!

Upon further research, I learned that viruses and bacteria have energetic vibrations with emotions. 

Viruses have the energy of unworthiness. 

In my much younger years when I contracted the virus (Mono/Epstein Barr), I had low self-worth. I found it interesting that I made this connection.

I also recently began trying a new meditation which puts me right to sleep at night... most of the time.

I keep hearing/reading that we need to go inside our bodies and pay attention to all its signals. I already know I spend too much time in my mind. (Meanwhile, I am reading A New Earth). 

I 'climb' inside and visualize a Universe of cells floating in empty space, intelligently and intuitively knowing exactly what to do. It's pretty amazing to see billions of cells compared to a solid body and comprehend how amazing you are... regardless of chronic illness and/or pain.

I then pay attention to a pain spot (one of many techniques I learned) -- what color, shape, etc. is it? 

Before I can complete the process, a new pain in a different body part makes itself known. What began in the hip, is now in the foot, etc. 

Thus, I learned something new. Well, maybe not so new. I've read it and heard it said numerous times. Pain is energy and moves around. Pain is moving around in my body where before it seemed to be in one place.

This pain that is moving around in my body... this energy... what exactly is it? If I can manage to focus on it long enough... instead of falling into sleep... will I be able to see it?

It is still challenging for me to comprehend my body as ENERGY and empty space... but then I look out into the sky and photos/videos of stars, planets, Universes, black holes... we, too, are star stuff.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Word Puzzles & Viruses

Word Puzzles. I’ve been obsessed with doing them for weeks. Staring at words… searching for words… believing one or more would inspire me to uncover something I needed to know. I didn't have much focus or energy to do anything else. I felt drained, achy all over, and the pain of an erupting Herpes sore. It knocked my feet out from under me. As much as I had learned up to this point, I spiraled down into hopelessness and despair.

Yes, the virus found me as a host when I was about 21 years old. Then it partnered with me for life. This virus buries itself into your nerve endings and is extremely painful when it erupts. I can't even begin to imagine what Shingles is like when you get multiple sores. I got chicken pox when I was 16, but have no memory of pain. It, too, is in the Herpes/Epstein Barr family of viruses, so maybe that is when it all began. What I was about to learn, though, is that these (Herpes/Epstein Barr family of viruses) invades your entire neurological system, not just the site of the eruption. It is a neurotoxin.

I took the clipboard with word puzzles into bed to rest my weary, aching body. It was the weekend. Don't we always get sick on the weekends when the doctor's office is closed? Despite the foam and all my pillows, I couldn't get comfortable. I am still wishing for a sleeping situation when you are weightless.

While doing the puzzles, I asked and wrote down: “Why so sad?” "What are you ruminating about?" (Yes, your thoughts will have a direct effect on your moods. Did you know that when you ask your soul questions, you can get answers?)

Answers: "Memories of the past when I was sick, alone, and no one was there. But you’re not there anymore. This is rest time--another assignment comes soon."

Then I heard the thought, “Alone," and wrote this word down. Yes, I felt alone. But now I applied the CBT I had learned and asked myself if it was really TRUE.

Answer: "No. You have spiritual buddies. What happens when you feel alone?"

Me: "Withdraw inward. Discomfort. Unloved. Secluded. Abandoned. Unwanted."

Suddenly I realized HERPES has emotions, too! (Later in this post, I will reveal new information I learned about this.)

I asked, "What can I do to help the virus? I know you’re unwanted, but if you go to Creator, you will be wanted. It’s not that I don’t want you, I don’t want how you’re making me feel, and I don’t want the pain and exhaustion. (Trying to convince the virus to leave.) When loved ones die, I remember them in my heart--like Dad and Jon and other relatives/people I knew. I need to kill you to transmute you. You won’t be forgotten. You can go to virus heaven." (At that point I got up out of bed and felt hopeful.)

Unwanted. CBT Fact Check. I’m no longer alone. Matter of fact, I called the number I got about 2 years ago for a lady who would run errands for you. I needed more Epsom salt and more food but was too sick to go out. I made the call. It turned out to be Esmeralda--a woman I had seen many places around town, including here in my complex. All I had to do was text her what I needed. She got it all for me, and I didn’t have to pay until she delivered it--proof that I have what I need when I need it (most of the time--she doesn't do this on weekends). 

At this I was able to separate ME from the VIRUS--and feel a sense of relief. There had been something else I had read or had written that when I am feeling the blues, ask where else in the world is it blue? Then send Reiki to that situation, and I’ll feel better. 

Herpes knew it was not wanted but I was believing that it was ME that was not wanted. Can you wrap your head around this spiritual/energetic concept?

This time, however, I was a current patient of Bri Linney, a Holistic Practitioner. What I didn't know is that I could have emailed her about what was about to sprout, and she would have responded right away instructing me on how to 'defend' myself before it completely invaded my space. I was going to hold out until my appointment on Monday, which I did, but I know better for next time.

That Monday afternoon, instead of the usual dialog I'd get from a doctor along with prescription drugs, I got new answers. She said the pain I've been developing in my legs, glutes, and bottoms of my feet over the years, getting progressively worse, was because the virus (Herpes & Epstein Barr) had invaded the nerves in my spine. The good news is I had been worried about L5-S1 nerve compression which wasn't fixable. 

At first, I thought this new information about being caused by the viruses was not good, but Bri turned it around with a protocol to kick it out and encouraging words that it could be done. It turned out, I wasn't going to have to deal with this for the rest of my life, year after year, getting progressively worse. I hope!

I had begun reading the book HOW TO BE SICK by Toni Bernhard. Perfect timing. One must adopt an attitude of acceptance--otherwise, frustration and distress will increase your discomfort. Just like the weather, flares are unpredictable. And just like the weather, the worst of storms move on to make way for sunshine.

Then it was Wednesday, the 3rd day on the new protocol for a viral flare. I finally felt well enough to do some research, and on Thursday, I received an unexpected phone call from my previous Holistic Practitioner who provided me with additional information. No, spiritually, I was not alone.

The protocol: (Keep in mind I was muscle tested for each of these and my body determined how much I needed.)
  • doTERRA Copaiba (CBD Oil), Frankincense, Lavender, and Balance essential oils, plus xEOMega. (Bri is also a doTERRA Wellness Advocate and I already had these in my inventory.)
  • Energetix Core St. John's Wart, Viru-Chord, and Lymph-Tone (to move the virus out of the lymphatic system), 
  • Standard Process Lact-Enz, SP Fen-Cho, with the addition of SP Calcium Lactate and SP Immuplex supplements.
  • Apply the oils and anti-viral formulas to the bottoms of my feet (including Lavender), 
  • Soak with Epsom Salt to include these same ingredients without Lavender, 
The pain was finally beginning to decrease on the pain scale by Wednesday.

Research: I wondered if there was anything in Theta Healing by Vianna Stibal about Herpes. On page 243-244, I found "VIRUSES SHARE BELIEFS WITH THE HOST… viruses have the ability to tap into human group consciousness and are drawn to a particular person because they share the same programmes." (Wow!) 

"We attract diseases to us in the same way that we attract people to us--through parallel belief systems. Viruses are drawn to the negative attributes of a person." 

When Vianna had a patient who kept getting outbreaks, she was told by Creator to witness the feeling programme of ‘I am worthy of God’s love’ into the virus with the same feeling. (Mmmm… I got this virus back when I felt unworthy. Can I make it leave now?) 

"A virus is an alien invader in every cell. To guard ourselves from viruses, we change the beliefs that are drawing them to us and then mutate the virus with belief work at the same time. This changes the belief system of the virus so that it does not have to attack us to survive, thus transmuting it to a life form harmless to the host. Witness the virus changed to a form that is harmless." 

Page 245: "Herpes look like little robots when seen intuitively. A virus has a belief system of four levels, the same as humans. Ask the Creator of All That Is what feelings to instill so that it will change to a form harmless to the host."

In the meantime, I’d been reading the book, Captain of my Ship, Master of My Soul, an autobiography by F. Holmes Atwater. The author speaks about how Guidance (Creator) led him from one situation to the next in perfect synchronistic order. It certainly sounded like how my life has been playing out. I couldn’t remember where I got the book, but it had info about the Monroe Institute and Hemi-Sync. Maybe it was sent in a package I ordered years ago. I began digesting the material about remote viewing… and wondered if I could learn to SEE inside my own body. In Theta Healing, we can develop the skill to see inside another person's body.

As one thing always leads to another, during this time, Phaedra Antioco was doing more webinars on recovering from Chronic Pain… using the Digital Human Anatomy Atlas to show every detail of inside our bodies. I had no idea there was so much more than the general body parts I had learned about. With this software, she could unclick one layer after another so we could see how it all fit together. I am spellbound by the technology that exists that enables us to do this without dissecting a cadaver. She included exploring the emotional roots, trauma, frozen energy, etc.

As I mentioned earlier in this post, Ambika had called me that Thursday afternoon, and we got caught up. She, too, had been dealing with a viral flare-up but was excited about new information she came across by Anthony Williams, Medical Medium. She told me about his website and archived radio shows, recommending I listen to the one on Herpes. When I went to that website and clicked on the link to SoundCloud, the first one on the top was titled Epstein-Barr Virus-Revealed. This audio pulled all the things I had been learning together and provided new information I hadn't come across before. If you've dealt with chronic illness, especially undiagnosable ones that have been classified as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Fibromyalgia, I highly recommend you listen to it. Click on the link above.

I've finished the last of the word puzzle books I had... time to go get more... 

Great books to read when you're not feeling well:

NORMAL is just a setting on your dryer by Patsy Clairmont
HOW TO BE SICK by Toni Bernhard
How Can You Not Laugh at a Time Like This by Carla Ulbrich

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Thank You For Your Service

On Memorial Day (about two weeks ago), the media was flooded with posts that included, “Thank you for your service.” Many events took place to honor their service and remind us all of the sacrifices they made so the rest of us could be safe.

I’d like to also honor the service of every police officer, firefighter, volunteer police officer and firefighter, EMT, paramedic, doctor, nurse, and every other service-related position whether it be paid or volunteer. This includes the mail carrier, the UPS driver, and all those who handle your life situations and possessions with care.

What inspired this post? I watched Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey and learned about the fascinating world of atoms and molecules. I decided to adopt “thank you for your service” as a new mantra and thank EVERYTHING for its service. It helps me stay present and conscious in gratitude for each atom and molecule that exists and ‘chooses’ to share space with me.

Dr. Masaru Emoto proved that water molecules are affected by thoughts, sounds, and vibrations. Thus, for each type of food I eat, I thank the food for nourishing my body and filling my stomach. I also thank the farmers, the people who packaged it, and the truckers who transported it. In the process, I decided to be more present when I eat instead of distracting myself with digital and other things. I also decided to be more conscious about what I put in my body in general.

It would be so easy to let my mind wander while I take a shower, but in gratitude, I must continuously redirect my thoughts back to the water droplets along with the water heater that warms the water, the showerhead, the water filter inside of it, pipes, drains, shampoo, soap, towel, and more. There are still many people on the planet who do not have these luxuries, although I’ve seen videos where these people are still filled with gratitude for what they DO have.

I saw an experiment posted about putting two plants in a school. One group of students were to express love to their plant. The other group’s job was to say the mean things a bully would say. The plant that was appreciated thrived while the plant that was bullied didn’t. I can now look at the health of my plants to know how they feel about sharing space with me. I also remember what it was like to be bullied.

If I decide an item of clothing or other possession can go into a donation bag, I thank them for their service, too. I am fully aware of the cheap labor force that created these things so I pray that the lives of the men, women, and children will be otherwise fulfilling. I ask each item of clothing which one wants to be worn and have been amazed at the responses. Sometimes the choice doesn’t make sense, and I’ll find out when I get to my destination that there was a theme I was unaware of or the temperature of the room required the item that chose me.

I thank my car for keeping me safe. I thank all the people who were instrumental in the creation and delivery of my car and every part inside of it. I thank the engineers and labor workers who created and now maintain the roads I drive on.

As for the furniture and my apartment, there’s more service to thank.

At one time, the only coping mechanism that worked while it seemed every cell in my body was basking in the sensation of pain was to find body parts that didn’t hurt. Then after many years, when I adopted “thank you for your service,” I began thanking each body part for what it does. As I learned more about anatomy, cells, atoms, and molecules, I went further in telling each organ what a wonderful job it does in servicing my body.

Finally, the only way I deal with the loss of a beloved pet, friend, family member, or acquaintance, is to be thankful for the memories I now have because I knew them. They will live on in people’s memories, including mine, and if they became published authors, they will live on in their writing. A number of suicide incidents have been announced on the news. I didn’t know any of these people, but I did know a man who belonged to my writers' group. May he and all the others rest in peace. They, too, had a purpose even if they lost touch with it or had not discovered it yet.

By now, you may think my life is serene and filled with gratitude. For the most part, it is. I am still trying to master my reaction to when words I type out disappear. Somehow there’s a key or combination of keys that does this, and I haven’t figured out which one it is. My fingers move so quickly while I type, I haven’t been able to adopt mindfulness to this task. I must practice typing things up in something like a Google Doc which saves continuously, then copy it into emails and Facebook.

Here’s an interesting article on the benefits of mindfulness.

https://positivepsychologyprogram.com/benefits-of-mindfulness/

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Brain Fog

Memory? I don't know where it went. Perhaps a virus ate it a long time ago. Perhaps it fell in a vent.

It first disappeared when I was really young, and I couldn’t find my way home. After I drove by a number of times, I had to call my mother on the phone.

Years later it disappeared again when my doctors prescribed too many powerful meds. Instead of getting better, I had to make good friends with my bed.

A few times I’ve had amnesia and felt like I was hopelessly lost. Then I had to dig my way out of a metaphorical deep freeze and wait for my brain to defrost.

I learned many life lessons but soon forgot, so I’d have to learn them again. Many times I couldn’t remember places I’ve lived and certainly couldn’t remember when.

I recognize people I know, but can't remember from where. It's embarrassing when I pretend I do while I stare at the color of their hair.

I knew your name yesterday, but today I've forgotten. Fortunately, I didn't leave anything in the refrigerator to get rotten.

I file papers neatly into organized folders. But somehow the piece of paper I need must have been moved by an invisible soldier.

I wrote something down on a piece of paper so I won’t forget what it is. But the paper seems to have relocated itself, and I’m sure it knows it won’t be missed.

I've driven to that place at least six times so far, but still need my GPS to tell me where to turn. You’d think by now I would have figured it out, and to be frank, it has me concerned.

Once I was about to go somewhere but couldn’t remember where I put my keys. I finally gave up, unzipped my jacket, and found them hooked to the neck of my tee.

I can’t remember what I eat for meals, so I log what I eat in a book. Then when I get hungry, I can flip through the pages and look.

I just ate lunch an hour ago, but I forgot to write it down in my log. Now I can’t remember what I had, and my mind is lost in a fog.

I went to the store to purchase something, but now I can’t remember what. I looked around and went home again. It would have been easier to have it delivered by truck.

After 43 moves, I better stay put and never move again. That way my car can remember where home is, and I won’t have to make anymore new friends.

When I wake up in the morning, I can't remember the day before. It turned out I no longer need to worry when I go to bed at night because I can't even remember what I wore.

I have to read what I write many times--because by the time I get to the next paragraph, what I already wrote has slipped my mind.

I write articles and stories which I publish on my blog and in books, then promptly forget they exist. It’s nice to have books to read again, so my experiences don’t evaporate into mist.

Sometimes I wonder if what I wrote about really happened or whether they were just illusions. Thinking like this can surely stir up quite a bit of confusion.

I’ve saved thousands of digital files, but now I wonder why. Maybe I thought I would read them, I can’t remember I have them, and I can’t take any of it with me when I die.

I wonder if all my ideas come from a completely different part of my brain. Somehow they weave their way down to my fingers, without the need for me to retain.

Memory, oh memory, where art thou now? I even forget to breathe sometimes, and it's not because I don't know how.

I forget to breathe while I sleep and need a machine to jumpstart my lungs. I forget to breathe while I stand at the kitchen sink because my legs were stronger when I was young.

Of course, when you don’t get enough oxygen, brain cells will certainly die. I know I should meditate daily and deep breathing can make me feel high.

Exercise can do the same thing with your blood pumping swiftly through your veins. It really feels good when I remember to, and I simply must take control of the reins.

My internet just went out again, and I wonder if my brain disconnects the same way. I suppose it no longer matters because I can’t remember what I was going to say.

I'm surprised I made it here to be with you and even more surprised if I remember your name. It's not that I don't care about you, my memory is to blame.

There is some good news in all of this, sometimes a memory floats to the surface. But I have to catch it quickly before it loses its sense of purpose.

I’ll read this poem a hundred times, and each time it will be brand new. It will spark a smile and entertain me, and I hope it has entertained you.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

The Subject of Healing Trauma Continues/Synchronicity

I used to think that trauma just involved people (including me) emotionally and psychologically. I also used to think that “other” people didn’t suffer the consequences of trauma the way I had.

Yes, I’ve come a long way in processing traumatic experiences, but it seems like there is always more work to be done. (Life is a journey...) When I picked up Waking the Tiger, Healing Trauma by Peter Levine, I found this out. Apparently, trauma affects a lot more than I had conceived. According to Levine, EVERYONE is affected by trauma. Everyone? That is new news to me!

Thanks to people like Levine who love to do research and have an insatiable thirst for knowledge and answers, I’m sure it was no accident that I came across his book. It meant to me that I was being provided with another piece of my journey to healing. Indeed, I also have an insatiable thirst for knowledge and answers when it pertains to my health and the health of people I care about.

Levine studied what animals do when they are faced with a traumatic event—like being attacked by a predator. Many times, they FREEZE and PLAY DEAD. Here I had been harboring the false belief that freezing and pretending I was asleep, which had been my reaction to impending traumatic events, was not OK. I had no idea that it was a natural instinct.

But animals have the ability to ‘shake it off’ while us humans stay frozen, and what stays frozen is energy that gets trapped in our physical bodies. We tense, brace ourselves in fear, freeze, play dead, collapse in terror, but never discharge the pent-up energy our brains decided was necessary to escape those situations (and our attackers).

I will definitely pay closer attention to the animal kingdom now.

Levine wrote: “Healing trauma requires a direct experience of the living, feeling, knowing organism” and I like that he refers the healing process as, “a heroic journey that belongs to each of us.”

He concluded that “post-traumatic symptoms are, fundamentally, incomplete physiological responses suspended in fear.” “These symptoms will not go away until the responses are discharged and completed.”

“The traumatized veteran, the rape survivor, the abused child, the Impala, and the bird all have been confronted by overwhelming situations. If they are unable to orient and choose between fight or flight, they will freeze or collapse. Those who are able to discharge that energy will be restored. Rather than moving through the freezing response, as animals do routinely, humans often begin a downward spiral characterized by an increasingly debilitating constellation of symptoms.”

As for those symptoms, I don’t know about you, but I was prescribed a lot of medications. I am very grateful I’ve gotten off the last of them. They can be useful for buying time to help the traumatized individual stabilize, however, they suppress the body’s own balancing response to stress and interfere with healing. Of course, unless you have a qualified therapist who can help you with the process of releasing trauma, medications may be your only remedy.

When 1,000 men and women were studied, 40% had gone through a traumatic event in the three years prior. These traumas included being raped or physically assaulted, being in a serious car accident, getting a routine invasive medical procedure, witnessing someone else being killed or injured, or devastation by natural disasters. 

I’m not sure how this next statistic was achieved, but “somewhere between seventy-five and one hundred million Americans have experienced childhood sexual and physical abuse.”

What’s even more staggering is: “The conservative AMA (American Medical Association) estimates that over thirty percent of all married women, as well as thirty percent of pregnant women, have been beaten by their spouses.”

With a new blog post in mind with what I’d learned from this book, I stepped outside to survey the scene outside my apartment building. We are in the process of having the landscaping redone in front of our apartments. As I walked along to the buildings to the right that had already been completed, a resident stepped outside and began a conversation. At first, we were talking about the landscape. I can’t remember how the next part of the conversation began. Was it me that brought up pasture-raised eggs?

I was enthralled with her narration about her life growing up in Mississippi. They didn’t have electricity which meant no refrigerators, washing machines, or lighting. They raised their own animals which were periodically slaughtered for food to supplement what they grew in their garden. She described the process of coating the pork with a certain type of sugar and hanging it up to dry, which lasted all winter. They used lanterns for lighting. 

She said she was happy and that her parents were awesome. Then she married a man who beat her (with a little more detail than what I am writing here), and she had six children with him. This part didn't make sense to me because I thought if you had a good upbringing, you chose a good partner. Thus, I found myself losing the excuse that I chose 'bad' partners based on the way my father was.

I changed the subject to something more pleasant. I hope that was the right thing to do. Someday, I may find out more. I considered the conversation a moment of synchronicity. After all, it was related to the topic I intended to write about.

It’s nice to see that I am not alone in what I went through. I continue to read, become aware, and discover the messages my body communicates to me. Next, I want to write about hope.

No matter what we’ve been through, there are processes for discharging the frozen energy in our bodies. Levine wrote about Somatic Experiencing. Then there was a post I saw on Facebook by Lissa Rankin, MD about the inability to cure disease no matter how healthy your lifestyle is if you have unhealed trauma. 

I was ‘sensing’ that something was still missing even though I’ve been eating the right food and taking the right supplements, and like it happens more often than not these days, the info I need shows up in numerous places. 

Dr. Rankin wrote that trauma is anything that is perceived as a threat, overwhelms your coping capacity, produces a sense of powerlessness, produces a feeling of isolation and aloneness, or violates your expectations. “To permanently cure disease, you must do the deep inner work necessary to face, heal, and clear trauma.” “The great news is that trauma is curable!” http://lissarankin.com

When Joseph Fred Wright contacted me about assisting him with a new book, he sent me his previous book titled: Transcripts from the Psychic Hypnotist: The Other Side of Medicine along with his self-hypnosis CD Awaken Your Inner Healer. Synchronicity… how did this 79-year old man know I could use this information? Hypnosis is one of the successful means of helping people heal from trauma. The book he needed help with was on a completely different topic. 

Would you believe he found an article I had forgotten I had written about designing your own book covers and posted it on his Facebook page a month before he was referred to me by the founder of The Central Texas Writers Society I belong to? Synchronicity! I wanted to learn more about this author, so I browsed through his Facebook feed. I saw the article but didn't realize I was the author until after I opened it and read through the end. Memory is not my strong point.

Another moment of synchronicity occurred when I went to my Netflix list and chose Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey. In Cosmos, I am enthralled by the narration about matter… atoms and molecules… how much we have in common with nature and animals… the vastness of space… how most of everything is empty space... and everything is energy.

Plus… the numbers 1111 have been showing up… the mileage on my car when I looked down at it… the time on the clock in the car as I pulled in to my parking space 11:11. I opened a video posted on Facebook which had the date of June 11, 2011, at the beginning of it. One of the meanings I found for this related to your thoughts creating your own reality. Pay attention!

I wonder… is this related to the topic of trauma that is frozen in my physiology calling out to me asking for release? Is it related to all the information relating to healing trauma that has been showing up in numerous places? 

1111… pay attention! Believe me, I am!

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Self-Confidence

I can't exactly remember when I suddenly felt self-confident. It seemed like one day I woke up and I was. It has been a long journey in which I lost all sense of what little self-confidence I had to where I am now. Occasionally, I flounder but temporarily.

I'm certain Facebook (and recently Instagram) had something to do with it. I not only found Positive Psychology, I found lots of people who were practicing it as their professions. However, just like many other people, at first, I dealt with Facebook envy... until I came across articles on this very subject... and learned it is REAL. After seeing a feed of all the wonderful things happening in other people's lives,  people can get depressed. Here's a link with more about this topic:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/media-spotlight/201505/exploring-facebook-depression

Then I became one of the people who only posted the best that was going on in my life. Yes, there are many posts by people asking for prayers for a life crisis, giving me opportunities to send energetic prayers. There are also people using Facebook to vent and the cyberbullying that follows.

I also noticed that I had people envy. I'd see people dressed well and presenting themselves well, driving nice cars, assuming they had everything I always wanted and didn't or ever have. Again, over time, as I learned more about the people who were in the clubs I attended, I found out they had personal challenges, too. They had just learned to smile through it all.

I had lived way too many years isolated in a "box," after being rejected so many times for talking about my issues... without realizing I was talking to the wrong people. Then in July 2015, I found Toastmasters. Just about every speech I heard, especially ones given at contests, included a tragic (my viewpoint) story the person speaking had managed to transform. 

Yesterday, I went to the Toastmasters Division L contest. There were five amazing speeches, and we all wondered how on earth the judges would be able to select first, second, and third place winners. In my selective listening, my inner antenna picked up on what was said by officers and dignitaries in addition to speakers. Toastmasters had transformed their lives because it had given them opportunities to learn new skills... and help other people. 

At first, I was one of the people receiving the help. As I took advantage of training that was offered, and as time went on, I developed skills that could help other people, but not just any way. Help other people build self-confidence. Since it took me so darn long to get this myself, I have lots of patience and understanding for others who are still struggling with this. I now know it is possible for everybody, regardless of the roads they've had to travel. Without their stories, people wouldn't have any interest in listening.

With the help of Google, here are a few quotes I found:
“You have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” -- Louise L. Hay
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” -- Eleanor Roosevelt
“To establish true self-confidence, we must concentrate on our successes and forget about the failures and the negatives in our lives.” -- Denis Waitley

I also found an article on the 10 Things You Can Do to Boost Self-Confidence by Chris W. Dunn. https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/281874   He begins with the following quote and I included the first paragraph: 

“Low self-esteem is like driving through life with your handbrake on.” -- Maxwell Maltz

Nobody is born with limitless self-confidence. If someone seems to have incredible self-confidence, it’s because he or she has worked on building it for years. Self-confidence is something that you learn to build up because the challenging world of business, and life in general, can deflate it. -- Chris W. Dunn

Number 7 is the one that has influenced me the most. Help someone else. Helping someone else often enables us to forget about ourselves and to feel grateful for what we have. It also feels good when you are able to make a difference for someone else. Instead of focusing on your own weaknesses, volunteer to mentor, practically assist or teach another, and you'll see your self-confidence grow automatically in the process.

There have always been ways to volunteer in my community... at churches... the Mission... animal rescue... nursing homes... hospitals... but for me, I found my nitch in helping people who need a boost in self-confidence.

Smile, Volunteer, Be Grateful, Exercise, Empower Yourself With Knowledge.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Ingredients for Life

I don't know about you, but I don't like raw eggs. I don't like their texture or their taste. But once they are cooked, I love them! I can relate this to all the life experiences that 'tasted' nasty when they were 'raw' and didn't evolve until they were heated with the fire required to 'cook' them.

I don't like flour or baking powder or baking soda either. What do these have in common? They are ingredients to most delicious treats people bake. Mixed all together, they create something you eat, share, and even sell at fundraising events. 

Life includes ingredients, too... a mix of nasty tasting and sweet. All together, they create character, wisdom, confidence, and the ability to guide others. I didn't appreciate any of these single ingredients while I was going through them. I wonder how many people do.

Whatever my Creator was 'baking' in me had LOTS of ingredients. It would have been nice if I could have seen what Creator was baking from that perspective -- the bigger picture -- vs. my perspective, a bunch of ingredients in a large bowl being stirred together in chaos.

If only I had known all those years that I was being made into something grand that could be 'eaten' (my writing), shared (my writing), and sold at fundraising events (my books.) I was only conscious of the bitter ingredients. I had done this to the extent that I didn't even pay attention to the chocolate chips in the cookies... the experiences that were joyful. This is what I learned is one of the cognitive distortions called Discounting the Positive.

Occasionally, I have tasted a bitter chocolate chip cookie (perhaps unmixed baking powder), but not many. When it came to cookies, I threw the bitter one away and continued eating the tasty ones. I would eat an entire batch of home-baked cookies or an entire bag of pre-packaged ones -- in one day. There was NO discounting the positive -- I would just simply throw the bad ones away and forget about them. It would have been nice if I had been able to do this with life experiences. 

I didn't realize that there were toxic chemicals in many of the ingredients I was eating -- and the emotions I was holding onto -- that my body was reacting to. I just knew I didn't feel well, developed intense pain, and the fatigue was vicious.

Over the last five or so years, I've been working out the 'bitter' ingredients... isolating them so I know what they are... mixing them together into something that tastes good. 

In addition to my own personal experiences, I discovered there were (are) also the generational ones. Perhaps there is reincarnation (which I do believe in), but lately, I've been reading about memories (and emotions) that can be passed down through your DNA. One of the exercises we did in ThetaHealing was clearing these memories and replacing them with feelings like love, peace, trust, feeling safe, and acceptance.

EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) can also be used to process buried emotions which can manifest as health issues... both mental and physical. I recently listened to a tapping session with Nick Ortner and a woman who was traumatized when she was 5 years old by her father. She had been a mess ever since. In the session, they uncovered many layers that were involved in that trauma and she was so much happier after it was all brought to the surface and tapped out. I've saved this video on one of my Pinterest pages.

A whole lot happens in our imaginations... even our perception of past, present, and future. Life is an incredible journey... and some of us travel longer distances than others. In the meantime, Spring is a time for renewal. If nature can renew itself after a season of death, so can we.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Wallflower

Copyright (c) 2018 Renee Alter

The informal definition of wallflower is: a person who has no one to dance with or who feels shy, awkward, or excluded at a party. 

I was such a wallflower. I felt invisible so when I DID get some attention, I was blind that the attention I was getting was from predators... predators who could sense vulnerable wallflowers... not just once, but way too many times. 

I find it interesting that the solo flower that bloomed on my peace lily reminded me of those years. I wondered... did this solo flower bloom solo on purpose?

Is it lonely without other flowers or happy in the company of all the leaves? Can I put myself in the flower's place and admire its beauty and determination to bloom? Can I be content that I had the company of numerous grains of sand on the beach when no one else was there as well as numerous blades of grass?

My perspective of being a wallflower has since changed. I am now in awe of what breaks through rock and cement determined to grow... like this...


Copyright (c) 2017 Renee Alter

I, too, have broken through rock and cement due to my spirit's determination to not only live, but to thrive. My rocks and cement were in the forms of hopelessness and despair believing I was stuck in the situations I found myself in. Without mentors, I couldn't see past my personal stone wall and I  lacked the tools to know how to break through them.

Finally the day came, when the stone wall began to crumble. It was terrifying and I felt like the stone was crushing me. Even the inexpensive apartment I got in 2009 had grey painted cinderblock walls that felt like a tomb, which reflected the state of mind I was in. Yes, I was indeed hopeless. I felt abandoned by my family and hadn't met anyone I could bond with. I imploded into my own mind and didn't know how to get out.

A LOT has happened since then. These days, the Universe sends me people who are feeling stuck in their own rocks and cement so I can finally appreciate my experience of being there. I can encourage them in their own personal journeys and teach them the concepts I have learned about limited thinking and cognitive distortions. I can teach them about validating and releasing their emotions so they don't manifest as physical symptoms.

When they express how hopeless their life is, I can tell them there is ALWAYS hope.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Building a Bypass

Building the 190 bypass over Copperas Cove required a detailed plan and took years to implement. It was finally finished and I drive over it almost every Friday to and from Toastmasters meetings. One morning, I woke up thinking about life's bypasses.

When you're in a situation you want to change so you can move forward, it is useful to create a detailed bypass-type plan and take one small step every day with a complete vision of the road or building in mind. Of course, when the road you are on drops out from under you (like a health crisis) you'll need to make a new plan.

Perhaps had I been a lot more patient with planning, instead of up and moving to new places so many times, and believed there was a divine plan always unfolding, I wouldn't have fallen into so many "ruts."

When I think of my past, I realize the "plan" that had worked for me post-crisis was education. The more I learned about nutrition, exercise, psychology, and Law of Attraction, the better my health became. "Travelers" in the form of new people I began to meet personally and on the internet (mostly Facebook) led to having a team of "engineers" who helped me create a new plan and begin building my new bypass.

Building a bypass for my life took a long time--much longer than it took for the physical 190 bypass to be built. When I drive over it, the view is breath-taking. But it hadn't always been that way. For years, it was an unsightly mess--just like my life was. Somehow, it transformed into a path of beauty.

I believe the astral travel experience I had when my father died in which I "floated" over green rolling hills was the 190 bypass that would take me to Toastmasters, showing me there would be a positive change in my life. Just like the college classes I used to take because I always loved going to school, Toastmasters provides me with additional education while I overcome many of my fears. It is a bypass for my life providing me with the means, support, and role models that continue to inspire hope for the years to come.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Prayer Hearts


I finished reading the book God is a Verb by Rabbi David Cooper. I had read it many years ago but decided to pick it up again. When I got to the part about raising Holy Sparks, I was inspired to write positive outcomes on little hearts and put them in my prayer box instead of letting the world's problems rest heavy on my heart. (The hearts in the photo are blank to protect the privacy of the individuals I pray for.)

Here's a snippet from the website Holy Sparks in Kabbalah

"Every particle in our physical universe, every structure and every being is a shell that contains sparks of holiness. Our task, according to Luria, is to release each spark from the shell and raise it up, ultimately to return it to its original state. The way these sparks are raised is through acts of loving kindness, of being in harmony with the universe, and through higher awareness.

"The ramifications of this teaching are enormous. In each moment of existence we have the potential to raise holy sparks. If we are unaware of this ability and are spiritually asleep, then we do not accomplish much, for the medium through which sparks are raised is consciousness itself.

"Our opportunities to raise sparks are boundless. The choices we make for our activities, the interactions we have with our family, friends, neighbors, business associates, and even strangers, the way we spend our leisure time, the books we read, the television we watch, the way we relate to food, everything in daily life presents sparks locked in husks awaiting release."

This weekend many people are observing Good Friday, Passover, and Easter Sunday. Even if you are not, I invite you to either draw hearts or cut some up like I did. Each time you see sad or catastrophic news (or experience a situation which is), write the outcome you desire on a heart.  If many more people do this, too, perhaps we can raise the vibration of love on our planet.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Falling & Lessons Learned

Do you have a FEAR of Falling?
Do you stay home and avoid being active?
Learn what YOU can DO to MANAGE your fear.

This is the header of the flyer for "A Matter of Balance."

Last year, I participated in an 8-week course presented by the Area Agency on Aging. Since I have a history of falling quite a few times -- and I fear falling -- as one incident could jar my lower spine and put me back in a wheelchair even though I've never broken anything, I was happy when this course came to my town. Topics covered: understanding your fears, staying active through easy exercises, learning to communicate with your family and healthcare team, making safety improvements at your home, delaying complications, and changing "Fall-ty" habits.

It is designed to teach seniors (and other people) about managing fears and fall prevention. We watched videos about the real causes of aging, especially inactivity. Included in the course were proven exercises shown to improve balance which would lower the likelihood of falling as well as surveying the layout of your home for safety and making necessary changes. I had been afraid of getting older and more fragile, but this course gave me peace of mind. I've been doing all the recommended exercises and then some. I've also strived to be MINDFUL of everything I do vs. "accident prone."

In the meantime, I had been following Phaedra Antioco who facilitated a Docu-Series titled Pain Treatments That Work. She had been in a horrific car accident and learned how what she told herself affected her ability to recover. She decided to become an occupational therapist -- one who also digs for the emotional and mental roots that keep people in pain. She even got to test what she learned on herself when she fell on the stairs and broke her back -- again -- describing her initial reaction and how she corrected her mindset and recovered.

On Wednesday, February 7, I stood up from the office chair I sit on to get something and wasn't being MINDFUL when I sat back down again. The chair rolled to the left and I went down on my right hip, jarring my right elbow and tapping the back of my head on the chair I keep behind me with additional projects on it that I am working on.

When I fell this time, I was immediately AWARE of the thoughts racing through my mind -- of fear, anger, and self-criticism.

  • Fear: OMG! Now I've done it! I've broken my hip!!! Just like my older sister did!
  • Anger: My reaction to falling. I was really MAD!
  • Self-Criticism: How could I have been so careless? How could I have been so stupid? I KNOW BETTER. I just took that class!

Then I heard Phaedra's voice: DON'T GIVE YOUR BRAIN A REASON TO TRIGGER THE FEAR RESPONSE which will trigger a cascade of chemical reactions which will incite a lot more pain than the injury calls for. DON'T LET YOUR BRAIN DECIDE THE PAIN IS DANGEROUS.

Now it was time to test these concepts on myself.

First and foremost, I took control and told my mind to STOP. I got up and began going through each and every exercise movement I learned in Matter of Balance and my local exercise programs. Everything still worked! (See? You panicked about nothing! You made up stories that included cognitive distortions that weren't true before you collected the evidence as to whether it was true or not.) I applied some essential oils to the hot spots knowing they would penetrate immediately to begin the healing process.

However, a headache came on that I had to troubleshoot. I was so focused on my hip (yes I bruised it), I had to retrace how I tapped the back of my head on the chair behind me and the little electrical current I felt travel down the right side of my neck. Could that little inconsequential tap have knocked something out of alignment? Nahhhh, I thought.

The headache (I wasn't about to claim it) wouldn't let up and continued through the following week. It got so intense I couldn't do much of anything (except my exercises). I used my swaying muscle testing technique (forward for yes, backward for no) asking questions such as is it from food I ate? No. Am I fighting off a virus? No. Is it discontinuation syndrome from getting off Mirtazapine? No. Is it allergies? No. Too much time on the computer? Yes. But then I asked did I knock a vertebra out of alignment? Yes. Axis? No. Atlas? Yes.

I hadn't seen my chiropractor in a year and made an appointment. Indeed, I had knocked my Atlas out of alignment. After all, the head weighs about 10 pounds. I got an "adjustment" to put it back where it belongs. I asked why he didn't adjust anything else... I usually need multiple places adjusted. He replied that nothing else was out of alignment. Really?

All the exercises I had been doing toned the muscles along my spine to keep them from slipping out so easily? Yup.

I also asked about an exercise I could do for my neck. It was very similar to one I learned from Bob and Brad (famous physical therapists on the internet) but my chiro added a resistance band to it and showed me how to do it slow and intentional.

The following day I was headache free and even when it returns it is mild compared to what it had been before.

As for the chiropractic visit... he asked when I was there last. I answered, can't remember. Check your records. It was exactly one year to the day since my last visit. And so I wondered... is there a divine plan in all of this? Involving multiple individual events that work together for the good of the whole?

Things that make me go Mmmmmm..... after all, I just wrote another post about Synchronicity in Discovering Resilience so synchronicity is on my mind...