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!

Springtime

The vibrancy of springtime pulsates the earth.  Every living thing feels the urgency to respond.  Flowers, trees, grass, even weeds naturally respond to the beckoning call.  Likewise, mankind responds to the summons.

Our attitudes are lighter, our outlooks become happier, our thoughts seem to sway to ideas of fancy.  We, as humans, go through a physical change in that our body is awaken to the possibilities around us.  This awareness stimulates and increases our energy level and we begin to imagine our “perfect selves.”  When we imagine what we can be, it is only a short road to accomplishing that goal.

During springtime our bodies and minds “click” and the energy flow is complete.  So that the flow within each section interacts with the other and the “infinity” cycle is whole and complete.  If you have ever experienced a natural high after walking or running or completing a challenging exercise you have known this feeling.  It is as if your body is giving you a shot of adrenaline.  This is the vibrancy of springtime – earth and mankind pulse together.

So, if you have any project that has been weighing on your mind or idea that has rattled around in your brain, now may be the perfect time to put them into action.  Your body and mind are working together to propel you forward.  Take advantage of the natural forces and become a force of your own.   Remember, always obey the speeding laws…

Authors

Attending the authors showcase at a local library yesterday was an exciting event. Friends of the Library, writers groups, local arts councils, big box retails and over 70 local authors were all present to make the day a roaring success.  The project was partially funded by the Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts.  This means that “all hands were in” to sponsor this celebration of local acknowledgement of writing talent.

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This brings up the question. Does anyone read anymore?  Well, that question was quickly answered not only by the enthusiastic turnout of independent authors but the presence of internationally known author, Sylvia Day.  She flew in from England to attend the event.  She was warmly received by the general public and authors as well.   Her gracious attitude extended not only to greeting her fans at a book signing but offering “inside” information on her extremely successful career.

From her point of view, writers and authors are divided into two categories – plotters and prancers.  A plotter outlines the book in every aspect before the writing begins.  Each chapter is outlined with a storyboard approach.  The paragraphs are detailed and “bullet” statements are used to determine each step that each character will take in their development. A graph may be used to outline how each character interacts with the others.  This process is continued until the entire story is complete and the ending is known and written – on the storyboard.

The prancer writes in a totally different fashion.  This writer imagines ideas of the story and has vague images of how the plot will develop with only a simple knowledge of each character. As the “prancer” approaches the task of authoring a story, they let each character develop their own style.  The writer is simply seen as a “tool” that the characters use to tell their story.  It is as if the author is only needed to sit in the chair and move their fingers over the keyboard so that the characters can get their story put down on paper.

Life often reflects these writing styles.  Some people need to plot out their every move, must know every option, look at every pathway before making decisions in their life.  Others, simply wake up each day and have no idea what lies ahead of them – they just do what comes their way – what feels good.

I guess the key is to first decide which kind of “writer” you are in life and then design your life or just take life as it comes…

“Does It Fit”

I recently read an article about a women shopping in retail stores for clothes that fit.  This woman is a “real woman” who possesses all the curves and crevices that women possess.  I’m not talking about an overly large woman or an obese female just an average woman in today’s society.

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You guessed it.  Most of the retail stores possess a wide variety of the latest chic attire posed in the most alluring positions.  However, the majority of sizes range from “0” through “10.” These clothes are gorgeous and alluring – the jeans attractive, the blouses feminine and the dresses appealing to the feminine form.  The color for this spring seems to be coral and blue with a trim of black and white.  In the right combination, this presents a very crisp and clean combination.

The search for the “proper” fit lead this woman into sizes that rose above size 10.  This is where the shopping trip gets interesting.  Believe it or not, the average American woman – or any woman – wears a size larger than 10. Sorry, I digress for a moment.  Anyway, these “larger than life,” woman do buy clothes and they probably earn their own money with which they buy these clothes.  So, we have a dilemma – where do women find chic, professional clothes that fit well if they wear larger than a size “10?”

I suggest that “we” as a society are too focused on the size of the garment and may want to concentrate on the “fit.”  Do we feel good in the dress when we wear it?  Do we like the way it looks from the back when we look in the mirror?  Do the pants make us look fat?  Does the zipper bulge when we struggle to fasten the dress?  Do the buttons pop off of the waistband?

Next time you go shopping in a retail store, don’t look at the size marked on the tag hanging from the sleeve of the garment.  This will be a very great temptation for you.  It will go against every thing you have ever been taught since childhood.  You will be fighting every fiber in your body and brain to counteract years of social conditioning.  Possibly, you will even break out in a sweat.  Your hands may tremble and you may feel weak.  I say resist, resist, resist.  Simply pick the garment that “fits” you and the one that make you feel comfortable.  This is a challenge that you can handle and one that fits nicely into a very healthy life style – both physically and mentally.

 

 

Stress Response

Today’s environment is stressful.  The pace of life is fast, multiple options compete for our precious time, our attention span seems to be shortened as we age, and instant gratification is expected.  We are even told how to manage our sleep – dark, quiet room with no electronic distractions.

Often we feel as though someone has set us down in the middle of a raging tornado and said: “Now function at your peak, have a positive outlook and soothe your inner beast.” We are expected to not respond to the tornado but we must acknowledge its presence.  We must understand that the power of the whirlwind could easily destroy us but we pretend that the raging surge isn’t literally dancing at our doorstep.

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It’s understood that eventually we will be part of the tornado but somehow the destructive force of the beast won’t affect us – because everyone will eventually be part of the beast.  The stress of today’s society causes constant adrenaline releases.  This hormone surging through our body sets our internal rotations moving at warp speed.  Much like the driver of a car rotating the tires at a high speed without forward movement of the vehicle.  We are psyched-up with no where to go.

Every organ in our body responds as though we are cave men in the Neanderthal period of civilization trying to defend our cave from the attacking bear.  We must instantly kill the animal or turn and run or we will be killed, ourselves. Every tissue in our being, every organ in our body in geared toward our survival and we must answer that call.

However, there is no bear and we are no longer in our Neanderthal period of civilization.  So, we still have our survival response.  Thankfully, we can use that process.  We use it to motivate and move our body.  We develop a routine of regular exercise that is compatible with our life style.  We use our brain to compile information to regulate our waking and sleeping routines.  These routines monitor our bodily systems and provide us with appropriate feedback to the incoming stimulus of the outside world.

When we encounter the approaching tornado, and we will, the coping mechanisms that we employ will help us to survive when we are sucked into the whirling cycle – staying calm in a stressful world.