Category Archives: Self Advocate

You are the Hub of the Wheel

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hub of the wheel

Imagine yourself as the hub of this wheel that daily life revolves around, make the spokes of the wheel as connections to those you care for most. The wheel’s activities, its responsibilities surround you, spinning and spinning through each day, week, and year. You are central, the key to keeping it all balanced. Recognizing this, it’s important you care enough about yourself in order to preserve your mental, physical, and emotional health. And consider this… when you’re out of sorts, the wheel’s balance is too. If you haven’t taken the time to give yourself the nurturing you require, the wheel can lose balance and begin to wobble!

Some years ago while on vacation, I recognized my own wheel-wobble. I wondered why I couldn’t put more oomph into just having fun with my family. Doing my job, both jobs, 1) taking care of my family and 2) working a full-time job, took every ounce of energy I had. I had nothing left to give. Fun, what was that? Playing cards or a board game, going to the museums, taking walks, watching movies just didn’t seem as needed as keeping the house clean, doing the laundry, running the errands, getting my youngsters where they needed to go, you name it, I was doing it. The “work” side of the wheel was heavier than the fun side, and I was wobblin’ big time!

Who suffers when we don’t care for ourselves? Right us, and not just us, but everyone we come into contact with. We are home base for our family, the safety net everyone falls into. It’s important for us to be rested, happy, healthy and nurtured. Use the lists you created from the last blog, “Me Time,” to help you do this next exercise.

ACTIVITY: HUB OF THE WHEEL:

  1. Draw a circle or other shape in the center of a blank sheet of paper and write your name in the center.
  2. Choose another color to draw spokes outward. Label each spoke a responsibility or commitment you have to someone, i.e. husband, wife, significant other, children, pets, church, school committees, civic organizations, fun activities with friends, etc… Anyone or anything you have day-to-day or week to week contact with should be included. Whatever takes time in your life, write it in.
  3. Using another color, draw branches off of each spoke. These will represent duties and responsibilities you perform regularly for that individual, pet, or organization.
  4. Finally, choosing one last colored marker or pencil, encircle your responsibilities connect them one to the next, surrounding the spokes like a tire revolving and spinning on the hub.

Now take the time to look over your wheel and reflect. Who do you spend the most time with? Who or what is an energy drainer? Who or what do you wish you might spend more time with? What do you want to change? Use this visual tool to evaluate your life activities. Do it every week if necessary to get a visual for where your time goes. Turn the autopilot off and make the conscious decision to LOOK at what you do. We will use information from this exercise in later modules to help change your focus to areas you have passion for, or goals you wish to take steps toward.

JOURNAL ACTIVITY:

  1. Who or what do you spend the most time with?
  2. Who or what do you wish to spend more time with?
  3. What do you want to change?

Kudos for this activity:  A workshop participant emailed me several weeks after doing this particular exercise to tell me that he had taped the wheel to the refrigerator for the entire family to see. He wrote, “The kids were amazed at how much I do on a day-to-day basis, other than going to work. After studying my “wheel,” they decided to pitch in to help where they could. Thank you for bringing the awareness of how much I do not just to me, but to my family as well.”

Give it a try. Post your “Wheel” and see what reaction you get from family members, friends or colleagues. Next week: Realities of the Past.

 

Conscious Decision Making

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Life By Design nl

 

In February 2013, I had a lucid dream experience where I was consciously creating in the fabric of space and time. I was present before the canvas of matter creating images with thoughts and gestures. Since 2013, there have been many mornings when I’ve actually awakened with my arms and hands up in the air gesturing as if I am still creating from the “other” side of the fabric, spirit body on that side, physical body on this side. I know that with regular practice through meditation, lucid dreaming and conscious awareness, I can change day-to-day physical reality creating a more desirable, joy-filled life-path. As a mystic, I know that we are, we live, simultaneously as both source-self (spiritual being) and the physical manifested self, experiencing life. One might look at the physical self as an avatar of sorts, a vehicle that allows us to experience living out all sorts of adventures through a physical body! In short, we live between two worlds.

Naturally and unconsciously through choice, we have created daily experiences using thought and action. However, many of us are thinking, acting, and creating experiences running on “autopilot,” allowing life to occur, to just happen… and as a result, often left wondering why things aren’t quite the way we’d prefer. How do we create change?

The simple answer is to turn off the autopilot. To be mindful of thoughts and consequent actions. To take responsibility for, and examine the choices made… and then choose differently where possible. We can create a new reality, with conscious mindful thought, conscious mindful decisions, conscious mindful planning, and conscious mindful action.

Will daily life then be picture perfect? I can say from experience that it will not because some of the choices made up until now have resulted in the experiences each of us are currently living through. However, I can say it will be better and that circumstances can be changed. Life is better because you will have become fully engaged. Daily life events are no longer just happening to you because you will have become a conscious, mindful, active, participant in its creation.

How to start? Over the next couple of months, each week I will introduce a set of self-exploration exercises to assist in becoming mindful of current life situations, where your focus has been, where it’s at today, how to make time for self-nurturing, and how to manage time and plan mindfully. These simple no-nonsense self-discovery activities are meant to be used over and over as you cycle through decisions, discover new facets of self, choose goals and take steps toward change. These activities have been used in workshops for over twenty years, basic, tried and true.  They are focused, personal, and will nudge you toward self-nurturing, as well as personal and spiritual growth. Next week: Module One – “Primary Caretakers.”

Soul Family

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soul family

 

Where do you find your strength? What moves you forward, upward, onward, possibly inward despite what’s occurring on the day-to-day life path? Who or what inspires you?

At any point over the last several years. I might have given up, stopped working completely, crawled into a hole, thrown in the towel on every day life, surrendering to the debilitating physical illnesses that insidiously sideswiped me, throwing me off my comfortable life-path. I crashed, but didn’t burn. I refused to lay there and got right back on life’s roads… repeatedly. Wouldn’t have any of it. No. Wouldn’t given in, wouldn’t give up. But I wasn’t alone, my “soul family” walked beside me.

Reflecting on what occurred over the last several years, the people I came into contact with, those family and friends that continue to be present… all has been instrumental and necessary. Looking at it all from a different, big picture perspective has provided insight. The insights as a result of my experiences were waiting in the wings whispering for attention. Some so in my face and obvious, I missed them completely! Other lessons quietly moved me from one step to the next and the next and the next, where then… a destination magically appeared, perhaps not what I expected or what I might have chosen, but a destination nonetheless. Then. When I’d land, and think o.k. I’m all right for now, surprise! A vortex of chaotic activity appeared again swirling into yet another series of events.

I learned patience and true self-care. As a result of dietary and nutritional changes, my overall health improved. I learned how important it is to get the sleep my body requires (not what I thought I could get by on). Much of my life I’ve acted as if I were Wonder Woman, able to face and overcome any obstacle at any time, doing whatever it took. Now I understand this is an unreasonable demand on the mind, body and soul. Wonder Woman behavior can cause what I call “body crash” and “soul disconnect,” something I’ve experienced first hand and continue resolving today. I now realize and accept healthy limitation. Each day I am better and better in every way. Progress has been a little slower than I’d prefer, even so it has appeared and I’m a grateful.

Soul family members walked this path with me, sharing in the experiences… my adult children, siblings, friends, work colleagues doctors and other medical professionals, throughout the toughest times, they held me in positive thought and supported me with encouraging words and actions (for which I am ever grateful). We’ve talked and shared what it means to truly practice care for the mind, body, and soul. The health challenges I’ve faced have brought about large life change, change I know I would not otherwise have made. The challenges have been the impetus for action, new ways of doing, thinking, behaving, and believing… All of which unfolded working hand-in-hand with others. We all played a part in the unfolding of increased wellness… without them, without my soul family, I would not be where I am today.  You know who you are, Thank You!

 

 

 

 

I Am Not Broken

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Leah Pearlman Dharma Comics

Leah Pearlman
Dharma Comics

The betrayal began ever so slowly in 2008. At first I blamed the stress of crazy work hours and raising a family alone for being sick. Unable to eat without frequent trips to the bathroom (sorry, I know TMI), nausea, dizziness and weakness…  Feeling broken and betrayed by my body, I went on a quest to regain wellness. I dove into the land of doctors, tests, hospitals and specialists. One doctor told me I had IBS (nope), another said it was GERD (test said no), still another said it was my gall bladder. She sent me for a gall bladder scan, said it was malfunctioning and to go see the surgeon… have it taken out. Surgeon said no, just don’t eat fried foods. “You’re a healthy woman, just eat right and you’ll be fine.” Oh. Ok. I didn’t eat fried foods but I figured he’s the expert, maybe I just needed to eat even healthier than healthy.

I went in for food allergy testing at the suggestion of a friend, about 15 foods show up. I cut them from my menus, including gluten, soy and dairy. Already down 15 pounds, this new change in diet spurred another 15 pound weight-loss… I’m now down 30 pounds, feeling even weaker and more fatigued. My long-time doctor suggested I see a nutritionist. She’s very concerned and afraid for me and says so. I appear to be suffering from malnutrition. The nutritionist tells me that she believes I have adrenal fatigue in addition to the food allergies and a lowered immune system. I follow her menus, feel a little better, however I gain no weight. I know. What a problem right? But I’m in a size 2 now and that’s just too thin.

Mid-2015, I have no vacation or sick time left. My body has betrayed me big time. I am frustrated and embarrassed. Confidence has faded. My social life is non-existent. I’ve become a recluse. I’m afraid to eat but force 2000 calories of anything I can stomach down so I won’t lose any more weight. The doctors give me medications for nausea, medications for dizziness, medications for GERD (which I don’t have), medications for acid reducers (I don’t have acid reflux). I see a gastro dude, he does all the tests, they come back clear. No cancer, no celiac disease, no ulcers. He tells me to take the acid reducers. What? I don’t have indigestion. I don’t have acid reflux. I don’t take them. I will have none of it.

Caring for the family and holding onto my job were my driving forces throughout this challenging time. Despite how I felt physically, except for the very worst of days, I went in to the office. I found side streets through small neighborhoods that took me the 11 1/2 miles in every day rather than the main roads. If I felt sick, I could pull over and wouldn’t be in the midst of traffic. I kept plastic bags in the car and a change of clothes. I knew where all the bathrooms were on the way to work. I took naps at breaks and at lunchtime, drinking bone-broths and water, living on boiled chicken, potatoes and rice. I stopped socializing completely, sometimes hitting the pillows at 7:30 p.m. hoping I would get enough magical deep sleep and feel better the next day. I couldn’t trust that this body, this earthly vehicle would function from moment to moment. I became anxious and fearful.

Life had become nothing more than trying to make it from one moment to the next. Enough. I took my health into my own hands. July of this year, based on “gut” feeling (pun intended), I went to see the surgeon who did my emergency appendectomy 3 years ago. I explained what had been occurring and told her I thought it was my gall bladder. She listened, affirmed the symptoms as possible gall bladder disease and ordered another scan. She called and scheduled gall bladder surgery the next day. Yes. It was distended. After the surgery she said, “You should have had this out years ago, it was completely inflamed.” Who would have thought one little organ could wreck such havoc?

Surgery was August 12th. It’s October. I am a new woman. I had pumpkin pancakes and chicken-apple sausage for dinner last night. I am joy-filled. I am no longer sick after I eat. I’m regaining strength and have gained a pound or two. It’s been a long, long journey to wellness. It will take more time to feel 100%, especially with the anxiety and fear of illness that has become my life. I had an ah-ha moment the other day when I realized how cautious I’ve become about what goes into my mouth. Living with chronic illness had become a way of life, it was MY life. I will have to rebuild the trust that this body will do what it is supposed to do, to reprogram mind to know body is doing ok now.

During the years of illness, I lost contact with several friends because I couldn’t make it to their parties, celebrations, life-events. I was too sick. Still, there were those, both family and friends, who stood by me and supported me regardless of my condition, they showed up at the hospital, they took me to appointments, they did my grocery shopping and brought me food. They helped me clean house and let me sleep when I couldn’t keep going, sometimes entire weekends. In addition to family and friends, there were many women, earth angels, at the office who supported me throughout the years. I am deeply grateful for their prayers, support, encouragement and everlasting understanding while I walked this journey to a new state of wellness. You know who you are!

In addition to moving onto a path to wellness, the four-week recovery from surgery provided downtime to finish writing my book, “An Awakening – Life’s Journey is a Workshop for the Spirit: We are more than this.” I finished writing the book, had it edited, worked with a book cover artist, contacted an e-book formatting company, pulled the book together and released it on Amazon. It was literally effortless. Each step flowed from one to the next. This is when you know with conviction that you’re doing what you’re meant to do.

So what do you think? A happy ending wouldn’t you say? Each day I feel stronger and healthier, happier and more alive. I’m still a bit of a homebody, baby steps might be a good idea for now. I received the first royalty check today from Amazon. Wow. It can only get better. Many thanks, much love and deep bow to all who held me up through these last 7 years. I am forever grateful.

And so it is. And so it shall be.