Tag: women

REACHING

REACHING

ANTON PAVLENKO LANDSCAPE OIL PAINTER

REACHING

When I bent down to pick up the pieces of my life,

I shoved my hands into the black soot of death and

reached through the bitter haze of unspent emotions,

to find fragments of me, inert, motionless and suffocating.

*

When I bent down to pick up the pieces of my mind,

I found a tiny girl child, wrapped like a mummy

in wordless memories weightier than her

tiny shoulders could carry. Though carry she did.

*

When I bent down to pick up the pieces of my soul,

I found an embryo who bargained with the devil,

who gave up choice in order to live, an uneven exchange

that lasted nearly a lifetime. She kept her promise.

*

When I bent down to pick up the pieces of my will,

I found a stomping mad two-year old who knew

her own mind, and suffered the consequences

for the knowledge. She stomped anyway when she could.

*

When I bent down to pick up the pieces of my heart,

I found an innocent, carefree child with

a passionate love for all things seen and,

a deep reverence for that is unseen.

*

When I bent down to pick up the pieces of my body,

I found a source of energy and flow

that I never knew existed, for it had been

traded at birth…or before.

*

When I bent down to pick up the pieces of my spirit,

I found light and power, guidance and vision,

angels and guides  a thread through my life

never to be broken.

*

When I bent down to pick up the pieces of my life,

I put down the yoke of fear, set aside the sorrow,

and abandoned the dark rivulets of despair.

I cancelled the bargain with the devil.

*

Now, I no longer bend down. I reach up instead.

Outstretched arms, fingers pointing toward the sky.

I stand anchored, connected, grounded in the earth,

heart wide open, assembled.

All the important pieces collected.

Getting to Know Our Body

Getting to Know Our Body

Holly Sierra
La Paloma – The Yogi Goddess Of Peace by Holly Sierra Click on image for more information.

I have learned so much from working with Crystal on the dietary dimension of my healing process. We have completed our work together for now. I will touch base with her in August, and of course before if needed. Here’s a few things I’ve learned:

1. Our dietary habits have an enormous impact on all areas of our lives, from energy level, mood, severity of the symptoms of PTSD, mental focus and clarity, weight control and overall sense of well-being and health.  Equally important is the health of our emotions and our spirit.

2. We can learn to live in a cooperative relationship with our body. When we learn what our body needs to function efficiently and happily, and cooperate with what we learn, we feel better. As we feel better, it becomes easier to recognize the ups and downs of our body, mind and spirit and figure out which is which; then we can learn what we need to do to auto-correct before things go too far in the wrong direction.

3. Most health and diet plans create an adversarial relationship with the body. Rather than getting to know our body and its unique needs and characteristics, we too often force an external plan upon it, one that may actually end up sabotaging the very thing we’re trying to achieve.

4. What’s healthy for me is not necessarily healthy for you. What works for you may not work for me. Health is in the details and one size does not fit all.

5. Physical health cannot be separated from emotional and spiritual health. They must all work together in unison. When they do not, one can sabotage the other.

A few examples:

I learned while working with Crystal that dairy and sugar in large quantities are detrimental to my health. Prior to beginning our work together I routinely had plain Greek Yogurt with fresh fruit for lunch thinking that this was a very “healthy” meal. For some people it may very well be. For me, it led to afternoon crashes, an inability to lose weight, and fogginess. Now I generally have either a large salad with chicken or chick peas or vegetable/beef soup. I’m satisfied. I no longer have the afternoon crash and all the symptoms I was experiencing that went along with too much dairy and sugar have dissipated. I do not feel in any way deprived, in fact, I feel more focused than ever and energized.

In the past I lived for my bowl of cereal and milk in the evening before bed. I always ate sugar-free cereal and skim milk. I was trying to lose weight and stay healthy. This, however, is not a good choice for my body. Now, I have either an apple and almond butter and maybe a square of dark chocolate or left over oatmeal with walnuts and almond milk (I know that’s weird but I like it!), or a handful of walnuts or almonds and a square of chocolate. Calorie content is probably about the same, but for me the new foods keep my sugar in check and I’ve lost 15 pounds. Again, I don’t feel deprived.

Getting to know ourselves is crucial in achieving wellness. This means getting to know our body, as well as understanding our emotions and habit of thought and uncovering and expanding a deep connection to our spiritual center.  This is a process that takes time and attention, but one well worth undertaking.

Where are you on your path toward healing and wholeness? What is helping you? What is tripping you up?

Dorothy Sander 2014 copyright

FINDING YOUR INNER GUIDE

 

Down the Rabbit Hole

Down the Rabbit Hole

Through-the-rabbit-holeLast week I fell down the rabbit hole. I’ve been working my out ever since. I wrote a blog post toward the end of the week and lost it! I don’t know about you, but sometimes my computer has a mind of its own and decides that what I’ve written doesn’t need to be read.

Crystal changed my supplements and I crashed hard. We’re still trying to figure it all out. I’m learning so much about the adrenal system and the ongoing effects of stress and trauma. The difficult thing is that we are treated differently depending on the type of treatment we seek or have available. It’s a source of great frustration for those of us who feel every ebb and flow that takes place in our bodies.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before but depression has been a constant in my life, and I’ve pretty  much been a guinea pig for the changing face of treatment. I will be forever grateful for antidepressants and for what they did for me thirty years ago, but there have been consequences. Every day the growing body of knowledge regarding the body/mind connection gives us better and better alternatives or additions to treatment.

One of the consequences of who I am, my life experiences, and less than ideal medical treatment has been adrenal fatigue/adrenal burnout, a term that I throw around like it’s the answer without really having a firm grasp on the complexities of the adrenal system. It just makes some kind of sense to me, and one of these days I’ll get Crystal to explain it all here.

After caring for my mother, and getting through my husband’s heart attack and two hospitalizations, my kids’ high school graduations and college enrollment, 9/11, and my own stress induced health issues, I discovered “compassion fatigue”. It fit like a glove, and I began to take action to reduce the stress in my life. But, despite my efforts, it was the beginning of the collapse of my adrenal system and I was unaware of how exactly to give it the support it needed. Time went by and as did a level of stress, until the accident put me on my butt again.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that when we come to midlife from a stressful first fifty years, getting things right takes more effort and focus than I know I recognized.  And, we may never be able to recover the adrenal functioning we have lost, or the quality of life we had hoped for. That’s not to say that there isn’t hope, because I will always believe we can learn to do the best with the hand we’ve been dealt.

Crystal cut back on a supplement that contained thyroid support and I went into a deep depression. The one place I fight with every thing I have to avoid. It’s just too incredibly painful. The PTSD returned as well. However, in the process, I did learn how intricately connected our emotions are to our bodies and its proper functioning. I can’t help but ask, “Has my depression always been tied to my thyroid health?” Of course, I’ve had my thyroid tested regularly throughout my life because I’ve always struggled with my weight, and that’s one of the first places doctors go when you say “weight gain”.  A problem was never detected,  but there are so many variables that can be overlooked in a blood test.

She upped the thyroid support and I feel better but not as good as I did before. I’m trying not to feel discouraged. All I want is to be able to take the trip to see my boys in Missouri we tried to take a few weeks ago. That requires getting the PTSD under control, so I can manage the four days on the road without medication.

How has stress affected your life, and what do you do to counteract it?

Dorothy 2014

Please download a complimentary copy of my book Finding Hope. Today only!

Holistic Detoxification Process w/ Crystal Honeycutt

Holistic Detoxification Process w/ Crystal Honeycutt

Last week I asked Crystal if she would be willing to write a few words about the detox and wellness program I’m following from her viewpoint as an expert. She went above and beyond and created this great video. I know you’ll enjoy it! If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in a comment and one of us will try to answer them.

 

Day #1 – I’m a Coward

Day #2 – The Morning after the Night Before

Day #3 – There are No Words

Day #4 – Coming Full Circle

Day #5 & #6 – Hyped Up and Nowhere to Go

Day #7 – The Body, Mind, Spirit Connection

Day #8 & #9 – A Word About Trauma

Day #10 – Food for Fun

We All Need Support

 

We All Need Support

We All Need Support

Anna Ravera WATERCOLOR
Anna Ravera WATERCOLOR

It took far longer than I would like it to have taken, for me to understand what real “support” looks like. I’m a rebellious sort, by  nature or nurture it’s hard to say, and I have never liked people telling me what to do, think, or say. It’s one of the primary reasons I did not pursue ordination after I graduated from seminary.  I couldn’t buy into any one denomination so completely that I felt I could follow their rules and dictates, nor did I want someone telling me how, when and where  to live out my faith. (I was ever so idealistic and naive!)

Instead of living under the umbrella of organized religion, I chose as soon as possible to become self-employed.  Sometimes I envied people who could cozy up to a group, business or organization and make it their life. It provided structure, guidance, answers to questions that required no thought, or questioning, or finding one’s way through the dark. Going it alone can mean little if any support, unless you make a conscious effort to seek it. As an introvert, I did not and I rarely had time.

Years ago I believed that a “supportive friend” was one with whom I could commiserate; someone who would rally behind me in my anger and frustrations with life. Of course, I would return the favor. I remember the exact day I decided I was done with that kind of support.

In my late twenties, I was working for a small non-profit organization, drowning in politics and drama. Caught in the middle of the fray, I was fired. Understandably stunned, upset and angry,  I went home and started calling whoever I thought would understand and see things my way.

After several days on the phone with various friends and co-workers, I came to the conclusion I was not getting what I wanted. In fact,  it was making matters worse. Some of the people I was “sharing” with weren’t even really on my side.  In fact, I was drowning in pity, judgement and platitudes, and feeling more and more inadequate and flawed by the minute.  In that moment, I decided I would never again share my problems with anyone, especially in that way.  I was on to something, but it took me many more years to take the step I really needed to take.

I went on to use a different flawed approach, going it alone. Except for my husband, I shared my personal life with no one, unless I was paying for the privilege. That didn’t stop me from listening, supporting and empathizing with the few  friends that I did have over the years.  By the time I reached fifty, I was crumbling fast. I was burned out. I was carrying a weight so heavy I was practically crawling on my knees.

It wasn’t until the accident, that I finally stumbled upon the real solution. I was no longer on my hands and knees, I was flat-out, face first in the mud. I couldn’t breathe or move, let alone think or feel my way out of the place I was in. Every ounce of security I had once felt, and I admit it was not a ton, had evaporated through my fingers. I could trust no one and nothing, most especially  myself.

Immediately after the accident my focus was on my hand. Several times a week my husband drove me to rehab, as I could not drive, and there I received loving care and emotional support from Jane, the physical therapist who worked with me. As look back on it, she did as much for my emotional state as she did my hand; helped me find the courage to keep going and to believe in a positive outcome.

It took two years for my hand to heal enough that I no longer was constantly reminded of the injury by my difficulties with typing, removing jar or gripping the steering wheel of the car.  The stiffness and pain was also within an acceptable range. Now, I’ve gotten used to the scars and the way my pinky turns under. I didn’t know that I had yet to face the bigger challenge of PTSD.

Unable to think clearly, leave the house, drive a car, or return to my writing with any sense of purpose or direction, I began to consider seeking help. For what, I really didn’t know.  What I knew was that I was terrified to go to sleep at night; that I could not “feel” my feelings; that I was not “in” my body; that I had panic attacks regularly and often over little things. During the day I was riveted to my chair in the living room by fear and immobility. At night, I managed to get myself to sleep by listening to ebooks by such life savers as Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Byron Katie, Brene Brown and so many others. That was my first step in find support and comfort.

As I look back on it now, getting back on my feet has been a step by step process that absolutely required the support of friends and professionals, but friends and professionals who “got me”, who did not offer me platitudes,  pity,  judgment,  opinions, or unasked for advice. What I needed, and what I’ve come to believe everyone needs, is understanding, compassion, wisdom and a willingness to believe in us, when we no longer believe in ourselves. We need people in our lives who reflect back to us our truest self, with love.

What I have also come to accept about myself is that I need support from people who can go deep; who can speak to me in the symbolic language of soul and spirit where I live. Traditional therapy, while I have spent more hours and days engaged in such over my lifetime, has never been particularly helpful, or healing. When I turned to Crystal for help, I turned in the right direction. I’ve learned so incredibly much from working with her and it was possible because she has always seen me as a whole person, body, mind and spirit. She addresses all of my needs while challenging me to step up to the plate.

My dear, wonderful friend Jill also has the capacity to listen to my heart, to challenge my mind and to encourage me to grow and stretch into the center of me. She reflects back to me my real self.  These two people, their advice, guidance and counsel provided the foundation for my growing understanding of support.  It doesn’t take a dozen friends, it just takes one or two of the right ones and then choosing bit by bit to make oneself vulnerable and open to their love and care.

When you are looking support, look for someone who listens carefully to what you are saying, who can empathize with you and validate your experiences, all the while maintaining enough distance and perspective to offer insight and perspective when asked.  Sounds easy and sensible, but hard to find, even in therapists and especially in healthcare professionals.  Above all else, TRUST OUR INTUITION.

Often the hardest part about getting back on our feet is taking the first step when we’d rather curl up in a ball and die, to muster up the courage and strength to risk again and again until a support system is established. Not to risk is to stay broken, to continue to hurt, to give up and give in to despair and defeat. The only way out is through, and no one else can do it for us.

Dorothy Sander 2014 copyright

 

Day #1 – I’m a Coward

Day #2 – The Morning after the Night Before

Day #3 – There are No Words

Day #4 – Coming Full Circle

Day #5 & #6 – Hyped Up and Nowhere to Go

Day #7 – The Body, Mind, Spirit Connection

Day #8 & #9 – A Word About Trauma

Day #10 – Food for Fun

We All Need Support

Holistic Detoxification Process

 

 

Food for Fun – Day #10

Food for Fun – Day #10

Durham BullsToday I woke up more clear-headed than I have in centuries! The ebb and flow of anxiety and depression has become less severe. I feel fatigued at times if I try to do too much, or don’t keep my food intake up. While all is not perfect, I am feeling better and better each day. In fact, I felt so much better last night I had an overwhelming desire to go to Tutti Fruiti’s for a big cup of frozen yogurt to celebrate! How else does one celebrate….anything!

Food as a form of celebration, fun, reward, and relaxation is deeply ingrained in my body, mind and spirit. My husband and I always plan where we will eat whenever we do anything for enjoyment. It’s part of the outing.

He loves to cook and loves to eat and his favorite pastime is planning our meals, in or out. Whether it’s a picnic on a trip or going out to a nice restaurant, it’s a central focus. Fortunately, we eat fairly well most of the time and our finances have never allowed us to indulge in dining out on a regular basis, but a change in perspective will have to be made for me to hold fast to this new lifestyle.

Finding ways to enjoy time together, without food as a significant part of the experience, will be a challenge. Every year we go to opening night at the Durham Bull’s. It’s coming up in a couple of weeks, and while the game and ambiance is always enjoyable, ballpark food is part of the fun. It’s something we only do once or twice a year. Much of it I could do with out, and usually do, but there are a few items….well, I’m just going to miss. I do not want to slip into deprivation mode on such occasions, especially if my husband chooses to indulge.

Scott has been cooking up a storm for me and helping in every way he can. Still, I know he is struggling with deprivation. He wants to support me, but he wants his pasta! I keep telling him to cook and eat what he wants, and I will take care of me, but I think he’s trying to eat healthier, and for the moment is sticking with it .  It’s made cooking more challenging for him,  allowing for fewer opportunities for creative expression.

These are all things to sort out and it will take time to do so.  Change is never easy. Even if it’s entirely worth it!

Day #1 – I’m a Coward

Day #2 – The Morning after the Night Before

Day #3 – There are No Words

Day #4 – Coming Full Circle

Day #5 & #6 – Hyped Up and Nowhere to Go

Day #7 – The Body, Mind, Spirit Connection

Day #8 & #9 – A Word About Trauma

Day #10 – Food for Fun

We All Need Support

Holistic Detoxification Process

Along the Path of Healing