“Family” Reunions

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During the summer months some families celebrate reunions. In today’s society the definition of family seems to include an extended vocabulary.  The definition may include the traditional – mom, day and the kids.  Or the blended family may be more current with a step mother, step brothers and sisters.  Possibly, a set of two mothers who are raising an adopted, foreign-born child, is the most descriptive of family.  Or even the more extended definition should include the “family” we belong to in our public life – school and work.

If we look at the extended definition, then consider the recent college and high school graduates who are entering into our ever-expanding public life.  These new “entrants” will soon be looking at their 10th, 20th and 50th class reunions.  In most situations, high school and college are the institutions where we form our public family.

We have all experienced the situation when we receive notification that it’s time for our high school or college reunion.  Sometimes we are excited, sometimes scared, sometimes we dread even the thought of reliving our challenging school days.  Whatever our situation, we usually relive our experience through memories which may or may not be accurate.  We seem to convince ourselves that history is a certain way simply by talking to ourselves – we decide it is and so it is.

Whether it’s our public or private family,  we all have memories of our interactions and experiences.  However, they may not be accurate.  The best way to put a true spin on our memories is to attend the reunion and spend time with other family members who helped formed those memories.

So, if you are invited to a reunion this summer – go.  You may be pleasantly surprised.

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Summer Time

20170528_130156.jpg” Summer time and the livin’ is easy…the frogs are jumpin’ and the cotton is high.” Well, as we all know, the lyrics from this song in “Porgy and Bess” is introducing the audience to not only a new way of life but a change in the seasons. The axis has turned and we are in the throws of summer time.

It’s time to consider that during this time of year, we are all prone to the health issues that come with this season – sun burns, dehydration, insect bites and stings, falls, sprains, broken bones, traffic accidents, boating mishaps and camping casualties.  People are just more active when the weather is warmer – it’s a fact of life, at least in this area.  Not only that but we tend to “let our guard down” when we are enjoying ourselves.  Which means that we are less vigilant with our safety issues and health maintenance rules.  We drink more alcohol and less water.  We eat more carbohydrates and less protein.  We get less refreshed sleep and stay up later watching more sports activities.  We move around more and aggravate our muscles more than we are used to.  Let’s face it, there are a lot more “week-end warrior” out there on the playing field in the summer time.

So, let’s all be more vigilant.  Make that extra effort to drink more water.  Before deciding to be part of that week-end football or soccer game, you may want to spend some time in the gym and tone-up a few “under-used” muscles, first.  When taking that beautiful boat out into the pristine lake, stop and think – did I pack the sunscreen, insect repellent,  life vests and extra batteries?  Your friends will ask you to go hiking and you will say, “Sure, and I’ll wear my good hiking boots and bring a current map of the trails – don’t want to get lost.”

It’s really very simple – be prepared and stay aware!  Have a great summer.

 

Recovery

2518 South 12th St - Springfield, IL

Whenever we are not at our best we need to recover.  Sometimes it’s because we are ill or we have been a little sad or we have been physically injured.  This process can be from a perceived or actual problem.  It is a time of replenishment and redemption and rescue.  Our body and our mind need to quiet – to be still.

This is a difficult process in our society, especially today.  Our society is geared toward achieving, doing, producing and showing results in our endeavors.  That normally means that we are in motion.  We are using our energy to make things happen – make events occur.  We are in a whirlwind of activity which tends to be in constant motion.

Stepping back from the “tornado of turmoil” can take courage.  We can be addicted to the action and activity just as we can be addicted to any other adrenalin producing activity – it changes the chemistry in our brain.  However, it is necessary to take the backward step if we are to be calm and quiet.  Our mental, and ultimately physical health, demands that we make attempts to quiet the noise of our lives.  Remember that you can take the step because – you are recovering.

Recovery

2518 South 12th St - Springfield, ILWhenever we are not at our best we need to recover.  Sometimes it’s because we are ill or we have been a little sad or we have were physically injured. This process can be from a perceived or actual problem.  It is a time of replenishment and redemption and rescue.  Our body and our mind need to quiet – to be still.

This is a difficult process in our society, especially today.  Our society is geared toward achieving, doing, producing and showing results in our endeavors.  That normally means that we are in motion, we are using our energy to make something happen.  If we are not constantly showing others that we are being a productive member of society then we may become less productive – possibly invisible in society.

However, recovery demands that we relax, we stop, we slowly breath – we heal.  This, of course, produces mental anxiety.  We are surrounded by bodies that are in constant motion and every fiber in our body is telling us to do just the opposite.  Even if we do isolate ourselves from this fray of perpetually moving objects, our inclination is to quickly jump back into the whirlwind of motion.  Again, our internal mental voice tells us – wait you’re not ready, producing more anxiety.

Obviously,  the recovery process contains it’s own brand of stress.  The key is to not “bow” to this idea and elevate this idea to “distress.”  So, if you are in need of some form of recovery – take the time to do just that, recover.  Resist the urge to jump back into the whirlwind too soon and understand that stress will always be part of the process – but you can handle it because you are recovering.

Invisible Disabilities

An unseen physical or mental impairment that limits a major life activity is a general definition of invisible disabilities.  We often see a person using the blue and white disability placard in a public parking area and we question the use.  The person appears to be able to walk and move without using major appliances such as a wheelchair or crutches.  How can the person be “disabled?”  We automatically make a judgment based on what we assume is that person’s situation.

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If the person has both legs and both arms, they should be able to walk around and function perfectly fine for themselves.  There should be no need for any additional consideration or help.  They should not be entitled to any special assistance…  Again, we make an assumption based on what we know not on what the reality may be for the other person.  We place our own reality on the other person.  All of us are guilty of doing this at one time or another in our lives – even the most compassionate of us.

I’m talking about the disabilities that we can’t physically see.  The medical and psychological issues that limit or impair the  ability to easily function as the majority of healthy individuals.  This area opens up into a valley of unseen vistas: low vision, respiratory, cardiac, muscular, auditory, sensatory senses of the body that limit the persons ability to ambulate easily through the normal activities of life.  Maybe it’s the person who parks in the disabled parking space who is undergoing chemotherapy treatments and just has enough energy that particular day to drive themselves to the local store and pick up their medication from the pharmacy.  Possibly it’s the daughter who has just been released from the hospital after a kidney transplant and she struggles through her first trip to the grocery store to restock her kitchen cabinets.  Or it could be a husband who has just been admitted to a hospice program for his terminal disease and he wants to make his last trip to the hardware store to buy some tools for that “one last repair job at the house.”  Yet it may be the wife who is the repeated victim of intimate partner violence and suffers chronic, debilitating back injury from her abusive husband.

Who are we to judge the use the “disabled” parking space?

Civility

Civility is described as: a polite act or expression (Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary and Thesaurus).  In today’s society this idea seems to have taken on a character of it’s own.  Wouldn’t it be nice if courtesy and civility were interchangeable.  It could be our calling card.  We could be kind to people that we meet and be sociable at the same time.  Each person who met us would believe that we valued their opinion and truly wanted to spend time with them.

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When we sit down with a person to have a face-to-face conversation, we could look them in the eye, respond both verbally and physically to their comments, wait until they are done talking, respond appropriately to their statements and engage them in a meaningful conversation.  As a very famous person once said – “You can’t underestimate the power of primal needs.”  Everyone is hungry and wants to be valued, listened to, and understood.  If a person repeatedly gets ignored or beaten down when they nicely state their cause, they will become louder and louder in their delivery method.  This behavior quickly becomes erratic.

People become overwhelmed with emotion and their perspective fades into a cloud of grey annoying chatter.  This verbosity mixes with other babble from other ignored, emotional mortals geared toward hubris and the air is filled with opinions, ideas,  feelings, judgments, conclusions and estimations that stray far afield from truth.

So, let’s all take it down a few notches.  Maybe you didn’t like the past but ponder a minute on what you would like the future to look like.  Maybe the purpose of your next conversation is to determine what the other person really believes instead of trying to win the conversation or convert the listener or belittle them in public.  Albert Einstein may have posed this thought: “I think that the most important question facing humanity is, Is the universe a friendly place?” You decide.

April Reflections

New Year resolutions may be testing our limits right about this time of year.  Sure we started out with the best intentions.  Energy levels high, resolve resolute, motivation staunch and we’re positive that this year all of our stated goals will be reached.   So, a few months has tested our intentions.

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Nature seems to have kept its’ promise – flowers are blooming, the grass is growing, weeds are popping out in the most unwanted places, birds and bees are busy with the reproduction of their species so are we, us humans, keeping to our task and fulfilling our resolutions?

Are we hitting those resolutions hard like we said that we would?  Are we spending more quality time with our family? Are we shedding those unwanted pounds?  Are we better at balancing our financial affairs? Are we making sure that our daily outlook is more positive?  We probably can answer “yes” and “no.”  Humans often forget about the emotional factor – the part that makes us human.  Of course, we have the best intentions when making a promise to ourselves to make our lives better.  No one intentionally wants to have a horrible life or a life filled with failure or sadness.  However,  sometimes that little entity of “emotion” seems to always enter the picture.  Some days we are tired, or sad, or confused, or too busy, or over-whelmed, or irritated or just too lazy to “stick to the path.”

That is when our resolve is most important.  Give yourself a present as we approach this last week of April, look at your new year’s resolutions and reeve up your resolve…

 

Easter Sunrise

An awakening of the day – a slight chill lingers from the evening veil. This is my favorite part of the day.  Easter heralds an awakening of spring and the morning of that day is the cumulative invitation to all the earth to being anew.

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We use symbols to represent this invitation – new born chicks, cute little bunnies, soft baskets filled with sweets, colorful Sunday costumes and varieties of attractive flowers. These hallmarks represent an “open arms” attitude to the day.  We view these icons and feel peaceful, hopeful and grateful.

As you experience the joyful attitude in your heart make it a full day!

Fact or Opinion

Ripples of information float through health and medicine today like waves in a still pond.  Each brings with it a new bit of news heralding some discovery which will give us a longer life or a brighter future.

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The key for a health-conscious consumer is to decided what is fact and what is opinion.  According to the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary and Thesaurus – fact: is the quality of being actual; something that exists.  That is very different from – an opinion which is defined as: a belief stronger than impression and less stronger than positive knowledge.

As you can see, both are related to knowledge.  However, opinion takes a free range and adds the very human concept into the mix.  Of course, we all want to believe that what  we read is the gospel, especially if it comes from someone who has an academic degree behind or beside their name.  However, it may be of value to investigate a little further and actually decide if the information makes sense to you.  I would suggest that you be critical in your reading.

That is not to say that you approach everything from a negative point of view.  Instead, read with a “critical eye.”  Check out the background of the author.  Look at the other topics that the author writes about.  Be a good read. Decide for yourself weather the idea is a real fact or just an opinion.  We need to teach our children to be both healthy in their bodies and their minds.  Make no mistake our children are watching what we put into our bodies and our minds!