Angry

I had my annual checkup today and go to a set of holistic doctors. I was seen by a new nurse practitioner. I came prepared for the visit. A three year graph printout from my Fitbit scale showing my weight changes with menopause, my low basal body temperature readings for the past month, a list of my menopause symptoms rated with a severity scale, and a panel listing of blood tests (hormone, cortisol, and physiological) recommended by Dr. Anna Cabeca for women with menopause symptoms. I also brought a bottle of the hormone balance calcium d-glucarate, natural progesterone cream with DHEA and a brochure on Julva (the vaginal cream that is working wonders and healing that area whereas two years of using the $337 a tube Estrace cream did nothing).

I also was excited to share that I was being proactive and to talk about what I was learning in Dr. Anna’s menopause program. But the NP had her own agenda and that was to check off the questions on her computer, renew my blood pressure prescriptions, delete the Estrace script, and schedule the annual blood work and mammogram.

She briefly looked over the papers I brought for her and my chart (10 seconds tops), gave them back (they were for YOU and my record), and said hormone testing wasn’t indicated and that some people in menopause have symptoms and others don’t. WTF?! Boy was I angry. She did everything by the book but she didn’t “care” about her patient. That’s what I expect from a traditional medical practice but not a holistic one. I bet she won’t last long there. Plus I notice she couldn’t turn her head … she was literally stiff necked.

What is wrong with women taking women’s issues more seriously? Blood pressure pills only address the symptoms, whereas estrogen imbalances affect nitric oxide which affects the relaxation of the blood vessels which affects blood pressure. What do you mean hormone testing is not indicated? It is if you want to get to the root of the various problems I’m having.

I went home angry. I don’t like feeling angry. First I reached out to my social network in the Magic Menopause course group and vented – within a short time several other women shared their similar stories with doctors visits. Second, I heated up my amethyst infrared healing massage table and put on an anger releasing meditation from Louise Hay.

The meditation had me think of five people I was angry with and bring them forward. The five people that came to my mind were: 1. a prominent woman in my upbringing, 2. a rock like structure representing those I’d loved and lost, 3. me as a little girl, 4. a general representation of men who have hurt me, and 5. authority figures who have let me down (like that NP today). I like visualizations, they are extremely easy for me, and work well for giving me wisdom from my subconscious.

We were guided to feel the anger in our body. I felt it in my stomach, in a clenched jaw, in holding my breath, and in general tightness here and there.

The next part of the visualization was to confront each “person” and really let them have the brunt of my anger. That just seemed weird, I can see things from their perspective too and I know that they didn’t intend to make me angry.

When I looked at the prominent woman in my upbringing, underlying the anger was a sense of failure and the inability to do anything right because it wasn’t “perfect.” She had high standards because she had her own fear of being judged inadequate by others.

When I looked at the rock structure and thought of those I’d lost (who had died), under my anger at the loss was my fear of being unable to survive without them. I have survived and sure didn’t feel right to vent on them for dying and leaving me.

When I looked into the eyes of myself as a little child, I felt compassion and forgiveness for my own past faults. I couldn’t unleash a torrent of anger at that little girl. I just wanted reached out and took her in my arms and hugged her close.

When I looked at the men who have broken up with me, I was angry at their rejection, but it opened up the opportunity to have my relationship with my husband. It felt weird yelling at them now even though they left scars, those scars have healed made me stronger, so I can now thank them for moving on.

When I looked at in the face of the authority figures who have let me down, I felt anger but I also felt sorry for them. They will never be remembered as good authority figures unless they change their game. Like the nurse practitioner, they will get a stiff neck and have their own problems for lacking patience, empathy and compassion. Those things show up eventually in problems during aging.

The next part of the meditation we were supposed to vaporize these old images, turn them to ashes. That didn’t feel right to me either. They weren’t toxic poisonous images and instead I decided I’d transform each image and heal it with a shield of love flowing from above, over, and around. Instead of a pile of ashes, I had glowing people similar to beautiful flowers.

Then I napped and woke up ready to take on the remainder of the day. The anger is gone, my body feels relaxed and I can breathe deeply. I don’t think I’d recommend the anger releasing guided visualization to my clients but I made it work for me. I’d love to hear what helps you when your anger is triggered!

Menopause

bird s eye view photography of road in the middle of desert

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50’s.

Change of life.

Old injuries making themselves known again.

Pain, Dryness, Weight Gain, Hot Flashes, Sleep Troubles, Moodiness …

Menopause.

I’m worried. The aches are a literal pain, the dryness is bad (eyes, skin, hair, and down there) but the worst is the weight gain. I don’t like being the weight I’m at but it seems all but impossible to get the scale to budge. I tried running for awhile but that aggravated an old broken ankle and it began to swell, so I put jogging on hold yet again and went back to walking. I’ve counted calories and did Atkins, both worked but were not sustainable and then stopped working.

Horseback riding is good exercise. I should be fine and my horse should be fine … I have a well fitting saddle, I’m not going very fast, not riding too long, and I’m working on staying very centered. I know the 20% rule of thumb … weight of the clothed rider + weight of the saddle on a sound fit horse with good confirmation should be 20% or less of the horse’s weight. My horse is around 1100 pounds so that means the total weight should be about 220# or less.

I may be cutting it close and I don’t want to cut it close. I want to feel flexible and fit and thin again. I want to ride like the wind. I don’t want gimmicks or short-term successes. I want to live and age gracefully into menopause. Estrogen is linked to blood pressure and to weight and to hot flashes and dryness and everything else. Isn’t there a natural doctor out there to help us women?

I found one! Dr. Anna Cabeca is an holistic OB/GYN who has stepped into this needed area and is helping women through menopause. She has products like Julva for vaginal dryness and urinary incontinence (absolutely amazing) and she has an online program to support women in understanding hormones and getting their bodies back into balance. I’m trying the program and the first thing I learned is that health is found in having an alkaline urine pH … we test this using Dr. Cabeca’s test strips. And in 1 week of getting alkaline I have lost an inch in waist and hip measurements and I feel less pain and inflammation in my body. The next step is getting into ketosis (fat burning mode) while maintaining alkalinity and this means more veggies and fats and lean proteins.

This is all new to me, so I’ll share my journey through this blog and let you know what else I learn. But Dr. Anna seems like the answer to an unspoken prayer and I finally feel I have some control over my aging body and a clearer path to navigating this process of life.

Do you have any products or tips or programs or doctors that have helped you through menopause? If so, please share!

Happiness

light road landscape nature

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Walking.

With devoted husband and beloved dogs.

Morning sunshine streaming through the trees.

Fog, quiet, peace.

Praying.

Filled with profound gratitude for this moment.

Happiness.

It only lasts a moment and then thoughts for the day come in. Sweep the house. What groceries do I need to pick up today. Who is on the therapy schedule. Should I commit to this online program that interests me.

Crap. Why am I in my mind when a beautiful moment surrounds me. I consciously let those thoughts go and reflect on what I feel, what I smell, what I see, how I feel in this moment.

My mind tries to wander again but I catch it and bring attention back to this moment. And then I begin to feel anxious. Well that’s weird. I recognize the start of the fight-flight stress response and it’s totally inappropriate to this situation.

Something else is going on, oh yes, something else … I’ve reached the limit of my ability to take in goodness and happiness. And as soon as that comes into awareness, it’s like breaking a glass ceiling and I can take in more and feel more.

I’ve just uncovered a limiting belief … also known by many names: false belief, subconscious programming, psychological construct, core belief, cross purpose, trauma programming, repeating patterns from past experiences, etc. What belief? That I’m not worthy to experience happiness over a certain fixed amount. It’s like something deep inside me feels I don’t deserve unlimited happiness and sabotages even the simple joys of being present to the sun shining through the trees.

Limiting beliefs obstruct happiness in many ways. Some people have a limiting belief that a relationship is dangerous and thus every time they get close to someone, they end up doing something that causes the relationship to end. Or maybe their parents made a certain amount of money and they subconsciously don’t want to outshine them and take jobs that pay less  than they could earn. The motives are hidden deep inside us and it takes a lot of awareness to discover these false constructs.

Guess what? Everyone has one or more limiting beliefs impacting their life and some of those subconscious messages are more damaging to happiness than others! Looking at yourself and your behaviors objectively, without judgement helps to bring limiting beliefs into awareness and this is the first step in stopping their sabotage. After the awareness, what did I do next? Energy psychology is one of the best tools in dealing with these pervasive little buggers. I tapped (AKA emotional freedom technique) and I had an emotion code session done to figure out the root cause of my happiness limit and I prayed.

Have you noticed any patterns in your life that are not allowing you to feel the fullness of happiness? What area of life? Finances? Work? Education? Relationships? Feeling good enough? Being worthy?

There are plenty of articles written about limiting beliefs, research some of those. Be kind to yourself. And if you want extra help to open up to happiness, consider investing in a wellness stress management session and you won’t have to go it alone.

Take Up Your Cross

What does Jesus mean when He tells us to take up our cross? I’ve been contemplating  that for a while.

As a catholic, I have the gift of the rosary to pray and meditate through the life of Jesus. The Joyful mysteries on the youth of Jesus, the Luminous mysteries on His public life, the Sorrowful mysteries on his being betrayed and then crucified, and then the Glorious mysteries of Jesus resurrection and sending the Holy Spirit.

I think we get a clue of what the “cross” isn’t when meditating on the youth of Jesus … there was the poverty and hardship of His birth away from the comforts of home or even adequate shelter but that wasn’t the cross. There was the flight into Egypt and living in a strange land as a refugee but that wasn’t the cross. There was the presentation in the temple to Simeon and the prophesy of the sorrows to come but that wasn’t the cross. There was the time Jesus stayed back in the temple and Mary and Joseph searched frantically for Him, but that wasn’t the cross.

The cross came after being betrayed by a friend and then God (Jesus) was judged by man (Pilate). The man at first aligned with God but then Pilate caved to threats of social unrest (the crowd was about to riot) and political correctness (you are no friend of Caesar if you let this man go).

So when we are told to take up our cross, I believe it is mostly about carrying the burden of the injustices the world sends us. To know, that as long as there is sin and temptations from the demons, and as long as people, even people we know and love, fall into sin and temptation, that we will unfairly be given a cross to carry. Any time we are betrayed by a friend or by a family member, the weight of the cross looms heavy.

I don’t think the cross is a bad job or being poor (people are happy and make a life in all types of situations) or having a tree fall on your house … those are all stressors to deal with for sure, but they aren’t the “cross.”

The cross comes from being unfairly accused, from being betrayed by others, and from someone in power caving into mob violence or political correctness vs. sticking up for what is really right. The cross is being persecuted from a lie or from an injustice when you are innocent and having nothing you can do about it but suffer the consequences. Wow. How unfair!

What did Jesus do in that unfairness? He forgave. That is so amazing. His life was being taken away and He said “Father, forgive them, they do not know what they are doing.” And when Jesus tells us to take up our cross, I think He knows there will be injustice done to us and I think He knows we may be impotent to do anything about it, except for the fact that forgiveness is not impotence, it is power.

Is there someone you can forgive today? Someone who doesn’t deserve it? Someone you can pray for? Who knows, the power of God may just come into this world more and people may have the strength to say no to sin, and then there will be less injustice and more happiness for all. Ask God to come into your heart and help you forgive others and that cross may just seem a bit lighter.

This seemed like a good quote to end this blog: “This is an easy monkish practice for anyone to adopt, and I highly recommend it. At the end of the day, take an inventory of all the people who have angered you, and forgive them. Say it out loud. Then you can go to bed.”  FR. AUGUSTINE WETTA, OSB excerpt from ‘Humility Rules’

Time Off

When you live on a farm it’s hard to get time off. But we managed. September 15th is the opening of small game and my husband enjoys hunting. I enjoy taking photos and sitting in the cabin binge reading novels. We left Sunday morning, drove up north 3 hours and then came home Monday afternoon. Yeah, I know, it’s not a long get-a-way. But it was time off and quality time.

The dogs traveled well and hey, since I no longer have allergies to dogs thanks to essential oils (lemon, lavender, peppermint doTerra Seasonal Blend capsule), I traveled well too. lol.

Now I’m home recovering from the time off. Funny how that works, it’s almost like a jet lag type of feeling, even though it was a very short vacation and I chilled out reading most of that time. Maybe it’s the long ride; it is tiring sitting in a truck for hours (and to think in 6th grade I wanted to be a trucker but hey, that was in the 70’s when trucker songs and movies were popular).

Hubby enjoyed the time off and is already making plans from the next short get-a-way. I need a little bit more ‘time on’ before I can think about that. There’s nothing like getting settled back into the regular routine. Ah yes, wading through those 200 emails (mostly junk) and jumping in with three therapy appointments today and a visit to my parents.

I think I’m ready for bed now and it’s only 8:30pm. Yes, good night friends! I’ll catch ya next week.

Did you know?

There’s two things I enjoy everyday … coffee and flavored sparkling water. Both are calorie free and water based. Because of blood pressure issues, I even switched to a low caffeine blend of coffee.

As most of you know, I’ve been working on switching out products monthly and slowly eliminating toxins from my life. That’s the easiest way to detox, by preventing toxins from coming in.

I don’t use plug in air fresheners, I use therapeutic grade essential oils and diffusers. I stopped using plastic water bottles and use a Norwex filter with my well water (that has been tested). I get bodywork regularly and have gotten off pain medications.

But a couple of things totally escaped me. Did you know coffee was a heavily sprayed crop? I had no idea I was supposed to be buying organic coffee. I made that switch a few months ago.

And did you know that cans of sparkling water (and pop) are aluminum lined with BPA plastic? And that lining may protect you from aluminum leaching but it causes your blood pressure to spike? And BPA is also an endocrine disruptor, mimicking estrogen.

Yikes.

The last prescription medication I’m taking (and trying to get off of) is blood pressure medication. I seriously had no idea of the connection between cans and blood pressure until last week. And I’m already struggling with estrogen issues and menopause symptoms.

I was pretty much addicted to Lacroix. I stopped drinking all soda due to the artificial sweeteners of the diet type and the high sugar content of regular pop. Lacroix helped me make that switch since I craved a fizzy taste in my mouth.

When you learn new information, you can ignore it, go on as before, throw a tantrum (I wanted to), try and change the world of can liners, or simply switch out to a different safer product. I’m back to drinking out of glass bottles, no more cans for me. My new drink is Perrier water, low calorie light beer, and different flavors of organic Kombucha … all in glass bottles.

The coffee was an easier switch. Although I wish Starbucks had more organic choices. But I can’t tell you how frustrated I was when I learned about BPA in cans. Living a toxic free life isn’t exactly easy with so many bad choices so readily available. But thankfully, more and more research and information is available. And perhaps healthy buying choices will encourage companies to invest in healthy products and there will be real change.

To deal with the damages caused by estrogen disruption, I started on a supplement called Calcium D-Glucarate. This supplement is supposed to help the body detox from xenoestrogens like BPA. I’m curious if it will help with the hot flashes, I have a lot of years of exposure to canned drinks and products to detox from.

Do you have a favorite product that you gave up to live a healthier life? What did you switch out to?

Stress Management for Women

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Learning how to read my body and being proactive against the damages of stress has added tremendous value to my life. I can set authentic boundaries without guilt and dump being pulled into other peoples dramas. I can help my mom and dad as they are aging and not get resentful of the time it takes. I can better feel God’s love for me too.

It’s amazing what stress can rob from women. Last Thursday I hosted a bi-monthly stress management group for women focused on the topic of Change.

We started out sharing what types of changes we were facing … for some it was relationships, for others it was moving and job changes, health also came up with pain and weight issues, and there were the changes that were difficult to prepare for … death of pets and loved ones, injury, and a cancer diagnosis.

The next part of the group was a brief story on the human body’s reaction to stress and the need to use body strategies for stress management first to reactivate clear thinking.

Body strategies we practiced were breathing like a Navy Seal (balancing the Vagus Nerve), tapping certain acupuncture points (research shows this decreases the stress hormone called cortisol), and using a Brain Gym exercise called “putting on your thinking cap.”

Next we completed a guided imagery on a current change to clarify where we want to be, where we are and what obstacles lie between. The imagery included opening a gift (from the wisdom of your own subconscious mind) that would help you navigate the waters of change.

And finally we used the Emotion Code to clear out trapped emotions which were making the journey to change more difficult than it needed to be. Some themes that came up to be cleared were over an unknown outcome, fear of a lack of resources, not getting support from others with the change, past failure in changes, questioning of being able to adjust to the change, worry about failing in the current change, worry about the extra time change is taking, not noticing a difference with the effort being put in to change, being overwhelmed when change is happening too fast, feeling safe and comfortable in what is known vs. what is unknown with the change, dealing with loss of what is left behind with the change, and not having control to choose the change.

This was a rich topic and I hope you can join me in the next group call for stress management for women in October focusing on maintaining health through the winter and boosting the immune system. I can already see giving out a few essential oil recipes (diffuser blend, natural hand sanitizer), practicing research based somatic stress management strategies, discussing the link between stress and immune health, and using the Emotion Code to release toxic immune stressing emotions.

If you have anything specific you’d like to see covered in October related to immune health, just comment below!