Let me set the stage for two scenes.
Scene 1: The dinner table is laden with food. Mum's getting the roast out of the oven. She's yelling for someone to help. Dad has poured himself yet another whiskey. Sister is draped over the arm of the latest has-been and shouts at you to go help. You came alone and don't have anyone to entertain anyway. Brother laughs and tells a funny story about a childhood exploit involving you two and he was victor (of course). Funny to everyone except you, that is. Some dubious guest whose name you didn't quite catch is droning away about her job. Her bratty 6 year old is taking sly potshots at your ear with a sling toy. The decor is garish, the music is tinny, the wine cheap. You wish you could be anywhere but here. But would die of guilt for ditching the "family" on "(insert holiday here) Day"!
Scene 2: You wake up at 6am, as usual. Hmm..no newspaper, put the coffee machine on, put food in the dog bowl, switch on the TV for the news while you get ready to walk the dog. Realize it is "(insert holiday here) Day"! Oh no! Your mind immediately goes back to yester-years. Your unhappiness with the new boss, the crazy divorce, the friends who had to choose sides, the teenage kids who want, want, want from you and then disappear once they get 'it'. Few family and a dwindling set of boozy friends sending you pity invites. You decline with some feeble excuse. Your feelings are too raw to deal with probing questions. Now what? The holiday stretches ahead like an endless tunnel. Isn't everyone with family having a wonderful time like the ads on TV. You are a good person. You don't deserve this. Down the rabbit hole you go chasing one negative thought after another...
How to do Holidays like a Boss!!
Truly, once you decide to act rather than react to what life throws at you...the possibilities are endless.
Till the new year...be well!
This month I lost a third friend and mother of two young kids to breast cancer. This stat is too high for me. Know your risks for breast cancer.
Decisions about birth control, hormone replacement therapy and how often to have a mammogram are vital and must be made with your health care provider. If you are going to a health care provider that does not talk to you about prevention then it is time to consider changing your provider. Education is really important to help women and those who care, understand the questions they need to ask. While you can’t change some breast cancer risk factors – family history and aging, for example – the ones below you can control.
Diet: Saying "no thanks" to a tempting dessert could help reduce the risk of breast cancer by eating right. We do know that a lifetime exposure to estrogen is linked to breast cancer risk, and that fatty tissue produces estrogen. More the fat in a woman's body, more estrogen and higher insulin levels she is exposed to. Maintaining a healthy weight through proper diet and exercise may make all the difference.
Mammograms: Find out if you have dense breasts. This can make cancers harder to spot. You may need 3D mammography and other more sophisticated imaging technology.
HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy): Hormone therapy, whether for birth control, menopause or osteoporosis prevention, can also expose women to estrogen. Find out low dose birth control options and limit HRT use to no more than 5 years.
Some symptoms that should have you making a beeline to the doctor are:
Finding out that you are facing a possible breast cancer diagnosis or have breast cancer can make you feel overwhelmed, vulnerable, and alone. Suddenly having to learn about complex medical treatments and trying to choose the best one can also be stressful during this time. You can reach out to American Cancer Society's Reach To Recovery Program or trained volunteers for support. To get matched with a Reach To Recovery volunteer, call 1-800-227-2345.
Complementary and alternative therapies are used for preventing and treating disease. They have been used in other countries for centuries, but are not taught widely in medical schools in the United States. Complementary therapies may include exercise, prayer, nutrition, homeopathy, acupuncture, Qigong, massage, Reiki, and chiropractic care. Currently, prominent cancer treatment centers like Dana Farber, Brigham & Women's and Children's Hospital Boston are recognizing and offering Reiki and other integrative therapies alongside traditional medicine/therapy to maximize care and minimize/ease recovery time with no contraindications.
Reiki is a non-invasive therapy used for a variety of health purposes primarily for treating pain, stress, and fatigue; for speeding recovery from surgery or cancer therapy; for improving memory and feelings of well being and for end-of-life care.
Note most complementary therapies are not paid for by insurance. Some insurances will cover acupuncture and chiropractic services. Reimbursement by third-party insurance carriers varies by state. Though most complementary therapies are reasonably priced.
Reliable cancer information sites: www.cancer.org, www.cancer.gov, www.cdc.gov.
Trending complementary therapy books:
Knowledge is power. Forewarned is forearmed and so on. Know your risks for breast cancer. Let us not lose more friends, mothers, women.
I do not have to earn love.
This post is dedicated to the memory of Louise Hay.
For most people, cultivating a healthy relationship with one's own self is a lifelong process. It can be daunting to suddenly wake up to the fact that you are living someone else’s life and it has slowly extinguished your passion. No? Not you...think again. The family business, a loved one's passion, your parents' unfulfilled desires, choice of career for the money, first job after school set you on an defined but not chosen career path, etc.
Louise Hay was one lady who firmly believed that all illness and unhappiness is a result of not being true to ourselves. I am not advocating everyone give their jobs a heave-ho and jump both feet first into the unknown. But making a plan and taking small baby steps towards it will help. You most probably will ask the inevitable question...what is my calling, what am I destined to do. Just start small, don't worry too much about getting it right. Persist without exception. Soon the path will get clearer. What's more, you will learn more about who you really are in a way your loved ones will never be able to. Improve your own daily self love practice – and lavish a little extra affection on the one person you'll always have on your side: You.
Some of Louise Hay's revolutionary thoughts that have helped transform the lives of millions are:
I tip my hat for a woman who remains a leader extraordinaire, role model and visionary!
Our experience of life is what we believe within. It is an out-picturing of our internal unspoken thoughts/hang-ups reflected in the world around us. So for instance, if we are constantly being presented with friends who take advantage of us or significant others that let us down - it means, that is exactly what we are feeling towards ourselves, deep within. Many a time this feeling of unworthiness or not being good enough shows up unconsciously or subconsciously by way of making harmful choices, self-sabotage, codependency, avoiding or numbing painful feelings, procrastinating or striving for perfection, keeping busy, distracted or detaching from reality.
The first step on the path of self acceptance is increased awareness. Eckhart Tolle in his book "The Power of Now" calls the world within us the PRIMARY REALITY and the world outside of us the SECONDARY REALITY. What the world around us reflects back to us via friends, family, significant others, health issues, triggers is the PRIMARY REALITY:
We just observe not engage. Embrace the positive with the negative observations. We are worthy of any positives and the negatives are just that. They are not you. Feel loving compassion for our struggles, our flaws, our strengths, our successes and what we have not yet accomplished. This does not mean seeking praise from others or tooting our own horn. It is a deep knowing that being the authentic me is enough to be loved.
Compassion and kindness for ourselves in it's own time will translate to compassion, love, forgiveness, trust and respect for all whom we interact with in a kind of inter-conectedness. Instead of fear we will have faith that lest we make a mistake, we will learn from it and grow. In time, we will learn the simple law of projection. Simply by changing what we overtly express or secretly repress; we can change our experience of the external world. We are the co-creators of the life we truly desire to live.
Till the next post! Cheryl.
When we take the time to remind ourselves of who we are and what we have, we are more likely to have positive emotions and be content with what we have already. Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. This new way of looking at life has a ripple effect on how our bodies respond to stress and heal.
Gratitude like happiness has no destination. It is a way of living. It brings peace for today. We are learning to enjoy the journey as it unfolds.
Add the practice of gratitude to your daily morning ritual. Set a soothing daily alarm. Avoid your mail, email, TV news and other distractions including talking. In fact, sometimes I lie still just after awaking in the morning and find it the best time to do a quick gratitude check while everyone thinks I am still asleep. This not only sets the tone for my day; it helps me prepare for the events to come - in peace and positivity.
Gratitude is easy when the going is good, not so in tough times when you are tired or overwhelmed or sad over some loss. Only continuously looking at the obvious good in our lives each day however small makes it even possible to look at the failures as learning opportunities. the limitations as time to grow or learn patience/persistence, the challenges as what builds strength and character, your present as your will to live, your past as it is what brought you to this moment, your mistakes as opportunities to do things differently!
Know you are trying to make a difference in your life and those around you. Say thank you until you mean it. Say thank you for all your experiences good and bad. Send out that feeling to those you are grateful for and bring that feeling inward to honor yourself as well.
As gratitude makes you humble, you will feel more kindness and compassion for yourself and for others...which will be the topic for my next post.
This is my first blog post. Ever. I mulled over what to write for ages. Though contemplative by nature, I am never lacking for words or topics for conversation. But hmm...sermonizing on the world wide web was never on my to-do list. There are a plethora of blogs out there and little ole me had nothing much to add.
Then I started my healing journey. And boy what a journey it has been and I guess will continue to be as long as I look at it with wonder. I realize that there will never be a perfect time nor a perfect topic to begin with. The point is just to begin and say something. However unscripted and imperfect it might be and continue from there on. So here it is.
We begin with a deep breath :)
Remember it is just an unhappy moment or day or time. It is not a bad life. Start checking in with yourself just a few times a day to begin with. Are you holding your breath? Are holding any part of your body stiffly, are your shoulders hunched, is your neck or shoulder muscles aching from stress or face hurting from frowning too much? As you get mindful of your actions - a few times a day stretches into awareness EACH time you are exhibiting a physical response to whatever it is that is stressing you. Then in your mind's eye, go to that place in your mind that brings a smile to your face - that vacation you took, the beach, your favorite arm chair at Barnes & Nobles (do they still have those out?) and breathe out all the stress and pain from your body. Count on the in-breath 1..2..3..4 hold for 1..2..3..4..5..6..7 then breathe it all out 1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8..! Repeat 5 times. Feel the floor you are standing on or the seat you are sitting on. Feel your body soften into it. And your done. You can do this anywhere.
The science behind it with no jargon?
We still have our cave-men brain getting activated each time we feel some strong emotional response to a trigger. A trigger is an action or event or person that we do not like. Sometimes triggers are sub-conscious and we are not even aware that our body is responding. We respond to stress by getting ready to fight, flee, fawn or freeze. The hows and whys are really complicated. My take is - to be mindful of when it happens at scheduled times in the day initially; till it becomes a habit. It takes little more than 20 hrs of focused, deliberate practice ie. 45 mins a day or about a month to acquire a new skill according to author, Josh Kaufman. So have loving patience with yourself during this time. Don't try to figure things out, don' t try to get rid of the response, don't try to resolve the issue or deal with forgiving.
...Faith Hill & me.
The author is certified in Advanced Reiki Practice & Crystal Therapy from the renowned John Harvey Gray Center for Reiki Healing, NH. A series of life events made her realize that living mindfully is what brings her the happiness that was so elusive. She has found new purpose in reminding herself and others, each day, to enjoy the journey that is life in the PRESENT MOMENT. It ends far too soon. She grows daily spiritually as she expands her knowledge as an energy healer. She is gratified and humbled by the feedback she receives, the occasional healing miracles she witnesses and just watching her clients leave relaxed; often radiant with joy and new hope.
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