Safety

A robbery happened in your neighborhood. The next week two more burglaries were committed. Police are much more visible when you leave your driveway but instead of feeler safer, your gut clenches because you know it’s a sign that something is not right. The robber strikes at night when people are sleeping, you lock your doors, double check the windows, but sleep is difficult when every creak in the dark sends you into vigilant alertness. You leave for work but still feel anxious, what if the person is watching everyone’s habits and strikes during the day. What if he enters during the day and waits hiding in your house for you to get home. It’s hard to concentrate at work and you make little mistakes, your co-workers look at you with judgement, or at least that’s what you think because you are critically judging yourself. More robberies occur, the house next to you is struck, and you just can’t relax. You have a doctor’s appointment and you’ve gained weight, your heart rate is higher than normal, your blood pressure is elevated and you complain about stomach problems and constipation. You share that you’ve been having work and home stress, the doctor asks more questions and wonders if you need an anti-depressant.

The next day you hear on the news the robber has been caught red-handed. He’s in jail and will go to prison. There is no longer a daily presence of police on your block. Things appear more normal. You still feel that anxious “high” and it’s hard to sleep, but you do manage to get a few hours of rest. Your stomach feels more settled for morning breakfast. You leave for work and the intrusive thoughts about someone hiding in your house do not even enter your consciousness. You feel bad for those who have been robbed and hope they get their possessions back. You follow the story in the media and are animated when talking about the news with co-workers. You don’t realize it but you’re not making those little mistakes at work now, you’re on top of your game. A while later, you visit your doctor and your blood pressure and heart rate are back to normal, you’re sleeping well again and the bowel and stomach problems have disappeared. There is no mention of anti-depressants.

That’s a story of how emotional stress affects your well-being. If you feel safe, everything just works better, flows better, feels better. But what if that negative emotional energy became trapped in your body and created an ongoing sense of unsafeness, stealing your peace of mind and affecting your overall health. Most people keep pushing through and functioning as best they can but they know something isn’t right. They aren’t at the top of their game and they may even be on medications to deal with the symptoms from the trapped stories of old stressors.

But there are ways to capture that internal negative energy thief and put him away for good. There are methods that can allow you to see the memory of an old event and not feel the unsafe emotional charge anymore. Tapping or EFT (emotional freedom technique) is one I teach clients and the Emotion Code is another. I use both for myself as well. Each of these can easily be googled, so I won’t go into details about what they are, but thousands of people are experiencing relief from post-traumatic stressors.

The last Thursday in August I will be offering a group Emotion Code session, clearing the negative emotional charges that happen around life changes … injuries, graduations, moves, death of loved ones or beloved pets, changes of employment, divorce, marriage, relationship breakups, financial losses. I invite you to join me. The cost is $10 … so often we spend our money of something that gives us a temporary boost – a $10 movie, fast food, star bucks … how about making that small investment into a permanent boost and have some of that negative emotional stress removed? Easy online sign-up. Information is HERE. You don’t even have to be brave to listen in, “wall flowers” are welcome and benefit too, all you need to do is decide you want to feel more safety in your life and then sign up for the August session.

Expecting Stress

Chronic Pain

Trigmeninal Neuralgia

Triggered by Dental Appointments

Scheduled Today

Prepare

Relax in the Hot Tub, Use the Relaxing Essential Oils*, Make Sure There is No Time Rush

Breathe

Share My Concerns Politely With the Staff

Pain, Needle, Numb, Loudly Drilling, Pressure, Gripping the Armrest, Done

Home

Crawl in Bed to Nap off the Numbness

Pain, Pain, Pain

Use the Pain Relief Essential Oils**, Take a Motrin, Tap on the Acupressure Points

Slow Relief

Take Zeolite AV to detox from the side-effects of removal of a mercury amalgam

Out of Bed, Reconnect with Nature, Walk, Get the Dog Out, Pet the Horses

———-

I expected today to be a stressful day but I didn’t set myself up to be stressed out. I set the day up to be successful. I have the self-awareness to know how my body reacts and I have tools to use to handle stress before the event and afterwards. I respected my limits and I took care of myself.  No shame, no guilt. I have befriended myself and that’s what friends do for a friend, they help them get through a tough time. I was expecting stress and it has passed.

*The relaxing essential oil blend I make includes Frankincense, Lavender, and Vetiver

**The pain relieving essential oil blend I make includes Juniper Berry, Black Pepper, and Copaiba

Finding My Voice

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I’m a quiet, highly sensitive and introverted person. I watch people and I can’t help but analyze situations. I want the world to be a better place and I hold deep convictions. Most of the time, I keep things to myself. But lately I’ve been meditating on the idiom ‘silence is complacency.’

Martin Luther King Jr. says, “We will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” “The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.”

I have decided to be silent no more and the biggest reach I can make is on social media. So I have been expressing myself on Facebook. It’s interesting how powerful the voice of social media can be and how threatened others are with opinions other than their own. Finding my voice has had a cost … I have been personally bullied and professionally threatened. A friend told me it just isn’t worth it and my husband asked why I was doing this since it won’t change anyone’s mind. I answered, “I’m not out to change the minds of others but to express my own.”

But speaking out has a price … at least for my highly sensitive nature. After some particularly brutal comments a few days back, I started to feel panic. My stress response was triggered. At first it was an out-of-body type of feeling, then I felt nauseous (like my stomach dropped out). I went to walk around and could barely stand, I was actually weak in my knees and felt faint. It was hard to breathe and my entire body tightened up. I hate this twisted off-balanced feeling. I began to feel self-doubt and and self-blame “why did I stick my neck out” and “why bother sharing my beliefs, this isn’t worth it.” I wanted to crawl into a hole. But then another feeling kicked in … ANGER.

And after anger, came action. I knew all my systems were from sympathetic vagus nerve activation and so I began to practice everything I teach to calm the vagus nerve. I focused on diaphragmatic breathing and I started tapping (emotional freedom technique). I changed my self-talk saying inwardly “I have the right to my opinion,” “I have the right to share my view with others,” “I believe I can help others with my perspective,” “I believe something good can eventually come out of speaking up.”

Expressing an opinion different than mine is one thing but to attack is another. There were some people, who I didn’t even know, that were aggressive on my personal Facebook page and I blocked them. I chose to set that boundary. Then I journaled privately about what was happening and how I felt about feeling threatened. I applied some calming essential oils and then I prayed for everyone.

I wish I could say that I felt normal afterwards but it wasn’t quite that easy. I have had sleepless nights, I’m struggling with wanting to isolate, I have lost work time because it’s hard to focus, I feel a flare of the old chronic pain symptoms and my immune system is struggling to fight off old sinus problems.

I took time off work to simply recover and to decompress with quiet play … I read, watched movies, and walked out in nature. I’m practicing forgiveness instead of blame, and I’m mindful that I just experienced a personal reminder of how deeply and profoundly stress impacts our human person. Will I stop speaking out? Is the cost too large? All I have to do is re-read Martin Luther King Jr.s quotes and recall that Edmund Burke said “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men (and women) to do nothing” and I have my answer.

Mind Fullness

It’s weird, the word mindfulness. Mindfulness is a relaxation practice of focus but it’s opposite is multitasking and juggling several different thoughts at a time. In other words, the opposite of mindfulness and mind fullness.

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I felt that mind fullness this morning. Planning out the day, thinking about the chores to do, the appointments to keep, all while walking and praying with my husband and our dogs. Where was my attention? Everywhere, interiorly, buzzing away a million miles an hour. My chest felt tight, my vision narrowed, my shoulders tense. Then I noticed and took a breath.

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Slowly everything came back into focus. I noticed the sunlight streaming through the trees, the beauty of purple flowers this time of year, the green leaves and grass barely one month out of winter snow.

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Then I lost it. The racetrack in my mind sped up again. But I noticed and I relaxed the muscles in my neck, jaw, and head and noticed how good that opening expanded feeling felt.

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And I again noticed the little things. The interplay of the sun and shadows on the flowers and on the barn.

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I still have a long ways to go and the path ahead of me isn’t always clear but my body now feels better focusing on the here and now and not like I’m trying to catch up with myself, breathlessly feeling one step behind.

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We’ve heard we are a human “being” vs. a human “doing” and I think that is the difference between mindfulness and mind fullness. Mindfulness is being in the present moment. Mind fullness is the mental chatter of what we should be doing. I’m a planner and it’s hard to stay in the moment but if I really listen to my body, it prefers mindfulness. And practicing mindfulness, I do seem to still get done what needs to be completed, along with a lot more happiness too. Slowly but surely I’ll conquer mind fullness; I don’t mind getting older but I mind getting older and living with the regrets of missing out of the simple pleasures in life!

 

The Holiday Battle

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I have a seasonal holiday battle. It seems like it comes up every year to rob the magic of Christmas. It’s the battle of busy-ness.

Buy gifts, find the addresses for Christmas cards, get stamps, oh no the first holiday party is here – wrap the gifts – bake – what will I wear – clean – decorate … and on and on it goes. Repeating each week of December.

Usually checking tasks off my to-do list gives me satisfaction. But now it feels like I’m on a conveyor belt that’s going too fast. It feels like something’s wrong.

Why am I simply experiencing the rush and not resting in the moment?

Why not take a breath and allow a brief flow of thankfulness to surface?

On Sunday I decorated the yard and barns and today I notice some Christmas lights are not lighting up – a feeling of overwhelm and frustration arise. I stop, breath and notice. Then I turn my attention to all the lights that are sparkling bright – thank you for your brilliance I whisper.

I feel better, my muscles relax a bit. I take another breath. Somehow something changes and I decide to remove the wayward strand of lights without ado. Everything will be fine. Actually, everything is great. In this moment I’m one step a head of the holiday battle.

Visualization

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If I ask you to think of a dog, do you imagine a type or breed or a beloved favorite pet?  Can you see a dog in your mind’s eye?  If so, that is what visualization is!  Do we really have a “mind’s eye” somewhere in our brain?

I’ve read about the pineal gland in the head, I believe it’s often referred to as the “third eye.” And there may be something to that. The pineal gland is located in the center of the brain and like other glands, it produces hormones. One of it’s interesting functions is that associated with light and dark and the release of melatonin. The pineal gland has some type of rod and cone-like structures that play a sensory role.

What areas of the brain are activated when we think of a dog or pizza or an orange? Research suggests it’s actually some of the same neural pathways that our eyes use. For real perception and for imagination, some of the same cognitive control processes are used.  I think this is why the use of visualization of performance has been used as a sports enhancer for decades.

There’s some more clues to be found about visualization if we piece together some bits in the relationship of the pineal gland and depression. Just think of depression … put yourself into the shoes of someone who is depressed … they feel dull, their thinking is fuzzy.  There’s something about the function of melatonin (released from the pineal gland) and depression. The research shows that psychoactive drugs (antidepressants) and light therapy all affect the pineal gland and mental health.  Now think of the opposite of what depression is … vibrant thinking, active imagination, planning for the future.

Back to visualization:

  • it’s a mental picture that activates brain structures similar to if we were looking at an object
  • unlike dreaming, hypnosis or hallucinations, the mental pictures of visualization occur while we are awake and are under our control (we remain aware of the reality of the here and now and can move in and out of this inner vision to our outer sensations with ease)
  • sports athletes use visualization to imagine and improve their performance
  • therapists use visualization for stress management, pain relief and relaxation exercises (imagine your toes in the sand of a warm beach … )
  • we all have the ability to visualize an image in our head to a greater or lessor degree, whether it’s a phone number or the face of a loved one

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You can learn to tune into the mental pictures of visualization. It can be similar to the focus of a camera lens.  The 2 pictures taken above were of the same object yet because of the focus they look totally different. In the top picture, the camera focused on the emerging leaves on the slender branch of a wild rose, but a split second later the camera focus lost the fine branch (although you can barely make it out if you look) and instead, the focus went to the leaves on the ground.

Visualization can be like that, it’s there for you but it takes the right focus in your mind to notice it.  It’s worth pursuing the ability to visualize; one day you may enjoy vivid reminiscing, visiting an imaginary beach for stress management, or even enhancing your golf swing by mental practice!

I find visualization easy, it’s natural, but what about you? It’s not easy for everyone, how easy is it for you?

Is Venus a Diversion?

March 22, 2015

The moon and Venus Sunday night.

Is Venus a diversion?

What is a diversion?

A diversion is something that allows you to temporarily escape your connection with reality.  You disconnect from the here and now via video, internet, alcohol, drugs, food or ________________ (insert your favorite diversion here). We engage in diversions because, in some way, they help relieve stress.

The opposite side of the stress relief coin from diversion is recreation. Recreation is the opposite because, instead of disconnecting from the present moment, you totally immerse yourself into being present in the moment via hobbies, exercise, sports or ___________________ (insert your favorite recreation here).

When I looked up at the sky Sunday night I was in awe, the stars dotted the sky, the crescent moon was glowing and Venus was brightly shining. I had to capture the moment with a picture to savor the scene. I was totally present and felt thankful.  Do you know how to tell if the moon is increasing or decreasing? Just put a line on the points and if the line forms a “b” then the moon is being born (increasing), if the line forms a “d” then the moon is dying (decreasing).

And that’s the different between diversions and recreation. Both relieve stress in the moment but you often feel guilt or shame or like you wasted your time after engaging in diversions. But the afterglow of recreation is generally satisfaction, gratitude and a desire to share.

So, was Venus a diversion? No, it was actually exactly the opposite!