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 preditors... preditors 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...

Sunday, March 18, 2018

The Synchronicity of Discovering Resilience

Synchronicity! I love when I feel prompted to learn about something, the answers show up from multiple resources within a short amount of time. And I wonder if the recent series of events had anything to do with my recent experience of needing to go down to the police station to report someone (which took tremendous courage on my part as well as a flare of PTSD).

Because I had participated in a Women's Self-Defense program (rape prevention) in 2013 and had met and conversed with our female police chief, I finally learned what actions I needed to take should another incident occur. This time, I took action.

Within a short amount of time, a fellow tenant who is about 70 years old and is in my exercise program told me about his participation in the Citizen's Police Academy. I had seen posts about it on Facebook. He had also participated in the Active Shooter program and recommended I go to one. He said the information was valuable because it can happen anywhere. While I haven't seen when it will be offered again, I became interested in brushing up on the skills I learned in 2013.

If something more intense had unfolded with this individual, would I have remembered how to protect myself? Just when I was feeling 'safe' someone I never suspected turned out to be dangerous. A short time after I filed my complaint, he was arrested for assault with bodily injury of a family member... and it wasn't me... but could have been.

In the meantime, I received an email from Critical Bench (which I subscribe to) about Mike Gillette's self-defense program. I was curious after reading the description on this website in addition to being intrigued at the timing of receiving it and purchased the program with the promotion price. You can check it out here: Real Life Self Defense. The videos provide me with just what I wanted to know.

Also, in the meantime, I grew curious about the word resilience again. Talking to someone who is involved in Citizen's police raised questions about what makes firefighters and police officers resilient. (along with military personnel)

I last wrote a post about resilience in 2015. You can read it here. The Many Faces of Resilience When I first learned about Resilience, I was fascinated... because I realized I didn't have it. Each time something "traumatic" happened to me, I adopted the belief that I was powerless to do anything to protect myself.

I Googled "what makes firefighters and police officers resilient" and found two articles of interest. The first is Resilience among first responders

In this article, three elements were studied: Sense of Community, Collective Efficacy, and Self-efficacy.

"The results of this study outline the need of interventions aimed at the promotion of resilience factors rather than the treatment of negative health symptoms."

Mmmm. Negative health symptoms had been an issue most of my life. I must read more. I also had to look up the meaning of efficacy... "the ability to produce a desired or intended result"

"Stamm introduced the concept of Compassion satisfaction, defined as the benefits that individuals derive from working with traumatized or suffering persons. These benefits include positive feelings about helping others, finding meaning in one's effort and challenges, fulfilling one's potential, contributing to the work setting and even to the greater good of society, and the overall pleasure derived from being able to do one's work well." 

This includes all the ingredients I have developed over the last 4 years, explaining why my overall health has improved.

"Efficacy beliefs pertain to the individual beliefs in one's own capability to exercise some measure of control over in one's own functioning and environmental events." 

Yes, validating what I noted above from self-defense information.

"The results of this paper evidence the protective role of self-efficacy, collective efficacy and sense of community in emergency rescue work." "We discovered that efficacy beliefs and sense of community have an influence on work related health outcomes, especially compassion satisfaction."

Mmmm. Good information! It helped me to understand what was missing in my inability to develop resilience in my earlier years.

The second article I found is Five Ways to Promote Officer Resilience

Dr. Jarrod Sadulski, a 20-year law enforcement veteran and criminal justice professor at American Military University (AMU) wondered what I wondered:

“I’ve seen police suicides. I’ve seen stress ruin marriages and ruin officers’ lives,” he said. Still, there are many who manage to avoid such tragic outcomes, Sadulski noted. “I’ve also seen officers who are highly effective at managing stress and I’ve always wondered what the difference was.” He noted five factors.

1. Peer support through communication – Peer support allows officers to actively process their stress by talking to others who have had similar experiences.

(In another blog post I wrote about having a support structure in schools for students to get group support as well as continuous education. What we learn as children can make a huge difference.)

2. Experience – “I thought experience would be a stressor, but all participants mentioned that it actually helped build resilience,” said Sadulski. “It helped them put traumatic experiences in perspective.” Over time, experienced officers learn to develop conditioned responses to stress and are even able to view emergency calls as routine in nature. 

(Group exercises in school settings could provide a similar experience. I lived a very sheltered childhood which resulted in anxiety and powerlessness in many situations.)

3. Family Support – “Officers who are able to communicate with their spouses regarding what occurs out in the field reduces the long-term impact of stress,” said Sadulski. 

(Yes, family support makes a huge difference in growing up but unfortunately, it isn't available to many of today's families, especially when single parents or otherwise are too stressed and overwhelmed with their own lives to be a support to their children.)

4. Life and identity outside of policing – Maintaining a holistic identity separate from the badge allows officers to unwind when they’re not on the job. 

(While I worked with others for most of my adult life, I often felt left out and withdrawn, unable to relate or develop bonds with co-workers. This one shows me had I acquired "tribes" outside of my job I would have felt better about myself. Introverts will often have this issue. Moving around as much as I did meant leaving behind the few tribes I bonded with. For me, I also had to develop an identity separate from the pain and health challenges I dealt with. I had to figure out who I was outside of all that and stay in one place long enough to become comfortable with the many people I've met within the clubs I've joined.)

5. Police Training – “Stress management training should be established through the police academy and it should be a part of annual block training that is required for offices to maintain their certifications,” said Sadulski. 

(I've also written about getting stress management training while in school and I've seen the videos of teaching meditation to children who are in mainstream classes as well as the children who are sent to detention to teach them coping skills. Learning stress management skills much earlier in my life could have prevented my health from declining as quickly as it did.)

As for simulation training to prepare officers for traumatic incidents, I am watching simulation training on Mike Gillette's videos.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Death by Medicine

On March 5, I watched the documentary titled Death by Medicine. I am in shock and very grateful that I am as well as I am. I really wish I knew back then what I know now, that I could go back in time, and redo that part of my life drug-free. Yes, I had tried... Chinese Medicine and some other alternative solutions... but when I collapsed in 1998, I went to a Physiatrist (Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation) and trusted his protocol. Afterall, he set me up on permanent disability.

I can't believe I was so dumb to be a guinea pig to so many drugs (and vaccines)! I also can't believe I went to doctors who prescribed them! But I was in pain and it was all I knew. At least now I can understand what was going on with doctors and prescriptions after watching the film.

To sum up, students in medical school are taught by pharmaceutical companies which drugs to prescribe for which symptoms vs. finding the root causes. We trust our doctors to know what they are doing, but it is a guessing game when it comes to most drugs--which makes us guinea pigs. Many of the drugs were pushed through the FDA even though there was proven dangers to using them. Yikes! The sales reps and students acted (and still do) on blind trust. We don't have a healthcare system, we have a sick-care system--one that has an interest in making as much money as it can.

A lot of the drugs discussed in the film are ones I had been prescribed and took for many years. Ouch! I will just review in brief (I have a lot more detail in my memoir, Love, Life, & God: Getting Past the Pain.)

As a child, I was given Belladonna for intestinal cramps... but no one knew back then that I was allergic to milk. I have no memories of the cramps or whether the drug helped to relieve them. The doctor said it was nerves, and I could have also been reacting to the tension in the household.

When I was a teen, I was prescribed Darvon and Demerol for menstrual cramps which made me hallucinate in school. My head detached from my shoulders and I floated a foot above the stairs. The doctor then prescribed a combination of Motrin and Dexedrine. It turned out that I had polycystic ovarian disease. When I was 19, I was put on synthetic birth control pills.

When I was 18, I was given Elavil for depression. It's a good thing I didn't take it for long. I quit because it made me drowsy during the day even though I took it at bedtime and I had to go to work. I also had developed sore throats (later diagnosed as Mono) and I'm sure I had been given too many doses of antibiotics. I am grateful I didn't have the types of side effects discussed in the film.

When I was 21, I dozed at the wheel and opened my eyes just in time to see the car I was about to crash into. I began to take Valium for muscles spasms. They had a rebound effect in which every time I stopped taking them, the spasms returned.

The real problems began in 1998 which I mentioned in the first paragraph. I'm surprised I still have a brain, although I probably lost a good number of brain cells. By July 2010, I was prescribed 11 medications which I took every day.

Proton Pump Inhibitors

I had eroded my esophagus by swallowing three 200mg tablets of Motrin every 4 hours every day and the solution was antacids and PPI's. Every time I stopped taking them, the acid would come up and burn. Within the last few years, I began eating crystalized ginger which stopped the acid reflux. I also learned it is caused by not enough acid and enzymes in your stomach to digest protein. For more information on the dangers of taking these go to The Dangers of Proton Pump Inhibitors

Muscle Relaxers

Valium, Soma, then Flexeril, No wonder the muscle relaxers didn't help. They can trigger the very muscle spasms you are trying to alleviate. (Dr. John Bergman) Better are Somatic exercises to help your brain remember how to release spasms.

Opioids

I am so grateful I got off of them before the recent crisis hit and people are suddenly unable to get them after being dependent on them for YEARS. The Opioids started off with Vicodin, then a Fentanyl patch which I had an immediate reaction to. Then it was Norco. Vicodin and Norco are hydrocodone combined with acetaminophen but in different doses. Now they say acetaminophen can damage your liver. After someone suggested I Google Opioid induced hyperaglasia... which I did... I knew it was time to stop taking them.

Antipsychotics

Once again, it's a miracle I still have a brain. There was the cocktail of antidepressants and antiseizure drugs even though I wasn't having seizures. These included Ativan (the nightmare drug in the film), Klonopin, and Neurontin which was later changed to the generic Gabapentin. At some point, I was switched to Lyrica and gained 30 pounds in 2 months so I quit taking it, left to deal with a bloated body.

After being on each of the anti-depressants for 2-3 years, warnings would reach my doctor so he would switch me to a new one--in this order Serzone, Seroquel, Effexor 2x day following by extended release, and Cymbalta. Cymbalta was the last one I was on when I stopped taking everything cold turkey in 2010. When I crawled (literally) back to the doctor several months later, she began to prescribe new ones--Celexa followed by Cymbalta at which point I not only felt suicidal, but I disconnected and disassociated. I could no longer relate to any of the photos of my family members. I am very grateful I didn't end up in a psych ward like the ones in the film as they would have most likely pumped me up with additional ones.

I wouldn't try any more antidepressants for another year after exhausting my efforts to try the nutritional approach. (I didn't have enough information at the time.) When I did accept another one, my doctor prescribed Paxil which made me feel sick, and finally Remeron (Mirtazapine). Are you seeing the pattern of how it is a guessing game as to which drug will actually help? Anyway, at 1/2 the lowest dose, after a week, I began to notice the sun and the clouds again along with the sound of birds--things I had been unable to notice the previous year. However, the dose was continuously increased until I reached max.

Last July, I wanted to begin weaning off Mirtazapine (the last of all the drugs) after realizing grains (whole grains, too) were contributing to pain and inflammation. Besides, I really didn't like feeling drugged 20 minutes after swallowing a pill. I slowly reduced the dose to 7.5 mg and then began skipping 1 day, 2 days, and when I got to 3, the headaches, itching, and ADD-like symptoms would begin. See further down for "Bri Linney."

The Cocktail for Metabolic Syndrome

Among the many side effects of all the medications I was taking were high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and frozen shoulder. I was prescribed drugs for all of these, including the Metformin mentioned in the film. I don't recall Statin drugs being discussed in the film, but there is a lot on the internet about these. For the frozen shoulder, I was prescribed corticosteroids for 7 days which didn't do anything to alleviate it. Again, just a guessing game on the part of the doctor. (It was eventually sound therapy that did.)

Hormones

Premarin is discussed in the film. I took this for YEARS as well! Now they say bioidentical hormones are much safer.

Osteoporosis Medicines


First, it was Boniva, then it was changed to Fosamax. After taking these for years, I began to learn they keep old bone cells from dying (the natural cycle is old cells dying and new cells birthing) which makes your bones MORE brittle vs. stronger. Several dentists told me about it affecting their patients' jaws and women were fracturing their thighs.

I really do cringe at how much I put my body through!

I recently came across a Facebook page called Cymbalta Hurts Worse and found out how dangerous it is to get off this drug once you start along with information about half-life and what happens when you skip even one day. All the symptoms I dealt with for about 2 years after I quit taking them are noted on this site.

This inspired me to check on the half-life of Mirtazapine and found it to be much better than Cymbalta--it was OK to skip the days I was skipping. At the end of November, I began going to Bri Linney of Complete Chiropractic and Wellness Center with the hope she'd be able to help me get off this drug. She had started me on homeopathy for my hypothalamus followed by one for lymph drainage. I took the last Mirtazapine on February 23. Yay!!!

When you are prescribed an antidepressant, they don't tell you what will happen when you try to stop taking them. Once you start, you must take them for life. This is true for quite a few prescription drugs. Doctors are not informed.

I hope if you haven't already, seek other means of finding the cause of your symptoms. Serotonin is produced in your gut and there are other ways of treating the root causes of your symptoms. I've also been following posts by Amen Clinics and Brain MD, learning about the brain--and watched The Broken Brain.

I don't trust ANY drugs now--not even over the counter ones, nor do I trust what is in Vaccines. Take care of your health where it begins... with nutrition, exercise, the right amount of sleep, stress management, meaningful connections with others, and a sense of purpose. I'm sure if your life depends on it, there is a drug that can save you--side effects and all. And I suppose I'd still want anesthesia if I need surgery. (Have had it a few times.) As for tense muscles, headaches, allergies, anxiety, or an arthritis flare, I've got my doTERRA essential oils.

I can be sad that I lost so many years while "doped up" and sedated on prescription meds. In addition to being a "victim" to childhood experiences which led to all the adult ones I dealt with, I was a "victim" of the allopathic medicine and pharmaceutical industry. However, it's what I do now that matters. I became my own psychologist and wellness advocate and strive to inspire in others the possibility of natural solutions to all the types of issues I used to have, with a few lingering although milder.

Watch the film: Death by Medicine

Then tell me what you think!

Sunday, March 4, 2018

When Everything Turns Green

Copyright (c) 2018 Renee Alter

On March 1, everything began to turn GREEN. Overnight! The birds began celebrating with song and gathering nest material even though Spring doesn't officially arrive until March 20. I just hope this doesn't mean Summer will kick in early, too!

According to the 2018 Groundhog prediction:

"Bad news for warm-weather fans: beloved groundhog Punxsutawney Phil has seen his shadow, therefore predicting that winter will stick around for another six weeks in 2018." (Click on the underlined words to read more.)

The trees are bursting with new buds that will sprout into leaves. A squirrel in the tree outside my window was entertaining me with its acrobatic feats while feasting on these buds. (BTW, this is the same tree that has the broken branch I wrote about in a previous post.) 

Here's a photo of a large bush further down in the creek bed that is blooming WHITE.

Copyright (c) 2018 Renee Alter
Which do I believe? The Groundhog prediction or what is blooming in my backyard?

I always marvel at how Earth knows when it is time to reawaken after a long winter of hibernation... just like bears do... and sometimes just like we do. 

If you have SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) you may have been hibernating all winter. Lack of sunshine means low Vitamin D which can lead to depression and people who are depressed tend to sleep a lot more than a person who isn't. I hibernate just because I don't like it when it is cold... and everything looks so dull. I've also hibernated during extended times of illness, depression, and fibromyalgia flares. 

In years past, I didn't realize it wasn't forever and often felt hopeless about never feeling better. With the help of untwisting twisted thinking (cognitive distortions), I realized my "conclusions" were false and with the "Law of Attraction" kept bringing more illness and pain vs. solutions. Then all kinds of solutions presented themselves in all kinds of surprising ways.

The downside of living in Central Texas is that it rarely snows. Now, I don't REALLY miss the snow... the shoveling... the effort it took to de-ice and clean off my car before I could go anywhere (like work or driving my son to school)... the danger of falling while on foot and skidding into things when driving... or someone else skidding into me... but I do have some pleasant memories of building snow forts in our driveway. My brother even built a huge snow dragon one year.

All winter (and I live right by a creek) everything looks so incredibly DULL. Everything looks very DEAD. The only nature I was interested in looking at was community cats, deer, and squirrels, that often provided a boost to all the dullness. I wonder if they even notice how dull it gets. (I have photos on my Renee's Photography Facebook page.)

Then you wake up one morning and it had all sprung to life GREEN. Hill Country becomes a place you can't get enough of. Soon all the wildflowers will be blooming everywhere and tourists will fill the area so they can take pictures of their loved ones in fields of these wild-flowers.

Here's the link to Texas Highways Wildflower Drives: Texas Highways

As for the broken branch, it will soon be covered over with leaves but a plastic bag that blew in the air got caught at the end of a branch and will linger. I wonder if I can find a really long pole to remove it with. Plastic is an entirely different matter and I cringe at how much I am still contributing to the landfills while some of it is ending up in the creek... in the lakes, rivers, and oceans... on the side of the roads... in the parks... and in the trees.

On the plus side, I want to give a shout out to a new Toastmaster member, Michelle Pace, who started her own business called The Green Plant, a residential and commercial composting service in Harker Heights. Hopefully, the concept will catch on and she'll be able to expand into more cities and rural communities. You can find her on Facebook at: The Green Plant

Sunday, February 25, 2018

What I'd Tell My Younger Self

When you wait long enough for harsh situations and circumstances to work themselves out, you may just find some extraordinary gifts in them.

From 2011-2012, I endured a very difficult year. It wasn't my first, but memorable. I had stopped taking 11 prescription drugs cold-turkey, endured withdrawal, had about a three-month adrenaline high, and then "crashed." The hardest part was still to come after I crawled back to my doctor to tell her what I had done. As a result of taking another anti-depressant drug, I became suicidal and refused to try anything else for another year.

It was during this time, that my sister Amie enrolled in the Quantum Success Coaching Academy and needed someone to practice homework assignments on. I was a perfect client. If I had been doing as well as I am doing now, she would have had to find another person to practice on.

What amazes me is the timing of it all. If I hadn't fallen into the abyss the year she decided to enroll as a Life Coach, I would have missed out on one of my greatest gifts of all time--her friendship. Plus, it turned out the method used in Life Coaching was superior to talk therapy at a psychologist's office, which I wasn't getting anyway. It's probably why she enrolled. While you are getting your education, you get access to coaching for yourself.

Amie and I weren't close as sisters. I was living my life while she was living hers. Both of us were experiencing all kinds of challenges in health and relationships but because we weren't close, we didn't know what was happening to the other or how much we had in common.

I thought Amie's life was quite perfect and that my blond-haired blue-eyed beautiful sibling had it all. Yes, I was jealous, especially when guys I was interested in or were already dating preferred blonds.

Before internet and email, I wrote letters to Mom. If Amie had read them, I wasn't aware, and I can't remember when I started to send emails to all my siblings. I wonder how much she knew about what was going on in my crazy chaotic life.

Since Amie didn't tell anyone what was going on in her life, I didn't have a clue. She wouldn't even tell anyone she had been in a car accident until after she had recovered--which she later told me was because she had seen how other family members had reacted negatively to my "complaining."

In toxic family relationships, other members say things to each other about you without your knowledge. But, I was the one who told (wrote) everybody everything, which is how I had so much material for my books. I even wrote a short book titled: "Miracles Between the Challenges" after making a list of all the miracles I experienced while dealing with those challenges.

Perhaps under different circumstances, Amie and I would have still had an opportunity to get closer. All I know is the divine timing of her enrolling and the two years I dealt with a compromised psychological state more severe than any other time in my life--and finding my best friend. Perhaps we each had to travel separate roads in order to meet where we did in 2011.

What would I tell my younger self? When you look back in time to the way things were and realize how far you've come, you'll be able to see the gifts in your life experiences as well as evidence that you were divinely guided and protected.

I feel truly transformed--the person I used to be seems like a stranger...

Sunday, February 18, 2018

What Could Have Made A Difference

I was one of many disadvantaged children, although not as disadvantaged as some. My father didn't have one of the better-paying jobs and we didn't have medical insurance. At least we always had a decent house to live in. My father had mental health issues, didn't earn much, and my mom stayed home to take care of us more so when my brother was born with a neural tube defect -- most likely due to poor nutrition while pregnant and insufficient folic acid.

Home life (and school) was all I knew with the exception of an occasional visit to the zoo or to visit cousins. I learned fear at an early age, was bullied in school, didn't have friends, didn't learn what was inappropriate behavior, nor did I know my rights as a living human being. What we all had to the advantage was genetic intelligence. But what good was being intelligent if you thought you were worthless and ugly? And who decides what is right for every person and every family?

What I believe would have made a difference in the early years:


Grade School

  • Introduce meditation. Make meditation the first thing you did in homeroom.
  • Screening for eyesight and hearing, then free glasses and hearing aids.
  • Screening for food allergies and sensitivities. (I had a lot of unidentified ones.)
  • Mental health screening tests vs. state proficiency tests.
  • Diffuse essential oils and introduce what they are and how to use them (to reduce stress, improve study abilities and energy, reduce air-borne pathogens, and improve mood).
  • Early education about healthy families with open sharing and discussion. (Not every child has access to a church or other religious programs which help with this and even if they do, usually it is bible study related vs. group support.) 
  • Communication classes to include how to express feelings with "I" statements.
  • Bully awareness, what makes them behave the way they do, and how to stand up to them.
  • Introduce compassion and encourage students to have empathy for the loners. (Hopefully, there would be a lot less bullying.)
  • Free instruments and art supplies for children in need.
  • Introduction to nutrition, a community garden, and if appropriate, a community farm.
  • Stop the use of tablets and cell phones in the classroom which affect student attention spans and the development of their young brains.
  • Group projects to promote teamwork vs. homework.*

Middle School

  • Ongoing "support groups" after mental health screening determines a need.
  • Additional classes in communication.
  • Healthy dating (not just sex education) and include education about sexual predators. Hopefully, if this educational path is followed as outlined, there wouldn't be any. Troubled humans who need money to survive will do horrific things to earn it. Hopefully, mental health screenings in grade school would have identified children at risk.
  • The importance of friendship and trust.
  • Nutrition--how to read labels. Community garden and nutrition projects. 
  • PE to include Tai Chi, Chi Gong, and self-defense.
  • Continue diffusing essential oils.
  • Limited use of electronics.
  • Hidden cameras and open reporting (w/video proof) of bullying and who starts the fights. Too many of the wrong kids get into trouble after being pushed into striking first and too many bullying incidents go unreported because those who are bullied are too afraid to say anything.
  • Introduction to various career options.
  • Bring back home economics, make home ec classes co-ed, and include growing your own food--community garden.
  • Model the Kealing Magnet School in Austin's educational program.
  • Group projects to promote teamwork vs. homework.*

High School

  • Continue classes in communication and relationships to inlude the difference between infatuation and love as well as how to resolve conflicts in healthy ways.
  • Mental health, depression, and positive psychology. (Support groups for those who need them.)
  • Nutrition--natural ways to improve health and immunity as well as care if we get sick. Stress sugar and the Standard American Diet causes Diabesity, Depression, and many other health issues. Community garden.
  • Sociology; more about bullying. Bullies exist in the workplace, too, as well as inappropriate sexual harassment. Teach strategies for self-protection.
  • Introduce community service projects. (Habit for Humanity vs. Shop, sewing for people in nursing homes, food prep for the homeless, etc.)
  • Bring in all types of speakers to represent all types of jobs (or show films about them). Include the police and fire department who can educate students on crime, human trafficking, and scams.
  • Continue Tai Chi, Chi Gong, and self-defense classes.
  • Increase the number of certification programs in the high schools so college is not a necessity to get a good paying job.
  • Finance: teach students the cost of credit as well as the stress of debt, balancing a checkbook, saving for a rainy day, and how to find a good quality used cars (and later home).
  • Basic auto mechanics for everyone.
  • Toastmasters programs (Gavel Clubs) to foster leadership, confidence, and speaking skills.
  • Group projects to promote teamwork vs. homework.*
* When I went to the University of Phoenix, it was the first type of education I did well in with the exception of the Business Major in High School. As a group, we each had skills the others didn't and by working as a team, we each contributed our strengths to the good of the whole. We all did well and felt good about the educational process. Most corporations require the ability to work in teams. The downside is UOP promised when we graduated, we'd get a promotion and a raise to cover the debt we incurred. This turned out not to be true and most of us fell for it, with student loan debt more than we could handle.

With many more children introduced to these programs at an early age, I believe we'd have a greater percentage of healthy functional adults who are less likely to succumb to addictions--and are empowered to influence our world for the better.


Post High School

  • Promote more low-cost or free community colleges for the first two years of post-high-school education. 
  • Provide ongoing job and college search services at the high school students graduate from.
  • Promote students who have graduated opportunities to teach and mentor the younger ones.
  • Require marriage license programs before you can get one which includes classes so you know what you're getting into with topics that include finance, parenting, communication, and conflict resolution (vs. arguments, fighting, abuse). 
  • Take out "to death do you part" of marriage contracts. A spouse should know its ok to leave under certain circumstances and have a place they can afford to go if they don't have friends or family to live with. 
  • Stress levels increase due to income limitations (inability to find a job or something that pays more than minimum wage), unplanned pregnancies, as well as dysfunctional relationships and marriages.
  • Build a LOT more affordable housing (based on income). The waiting list of existing housing is quite long.