Most Popular Blog Journey into Your Unknown : Join My African Adventure
Published October 11, 2020
Since most of us are restricted to no travel, have memories of your past trips come to mind? For me, my October 2009 Kenya trip wants to be revisited. Gerrie Lane, CSJ accompanied my husband Craig and I on the excursion and gave us this remembrance candle. She died from cancer shortly thereafter. "Breathe, breathe, breathe," I tell myself as tears fall gently down my face. My own appendix cancer a year earlier brought my own mortality into clear sight. Along with it, my deep fears of living and dying surfaced. On a visceral level, I understood that life gave me no guarantees.
How does one plan when the future looks different and unfamiliar? You might be experiencing this with the COVID-19 implications. Or perhaps a cancer or other chronic health condition has already placed you in a position that makes it difficult for you to continue living in the same way. Although you may not like it, I am happy for you. For over 40 years I have been in recovery. Today I read the Days of Healing, Days of Joy entry that said: "Recovery ... Overcoming the Fear of Living." My heart calms because I know that I am not alone. Many of us not only fear living, we fear dying, we fear success, we fear failure, we fear others and ourselves. Those tears fall again as I release the pain of holding my grief inside.
Could this trip clear my mind and give my life new meaning? Would I witness nature working harmoniously together? Would these insights be applicable to our human world? Prior to the trip, I prepared for the external world I would encounter. Best of all my internal world was getting ready. Excitement, patience, uncertainty, and courage would accompany me as my desire to gain confidence in life became apparent. An underlying heart-felt question was, "how many moments could I be happy in and feel carefree?"
You are invited to journey with me as I highlight key aspects of this adventure. You will meet the Samburu and Maasai tribes as well as the local people. You will get up close and personal with the animal kingdom. Together may we re-discover what is most important to each of us. In this way when things go back to a so called normal after the pandemic, we can bring these uplifting changes with us. Here's your ticket so you can read all chronicles.
Smile BIG Practice I Smile Meditative Movement™
Published January 4, 2021
In the Magic of Thinking Big by Dr. David Schwartz, he encourages his readers to SMILE BIG. Smile until your teeth show. No half-hearted wimpy grin. Smiling is great medicine for any confidence deficiency. Have you ever thought of smiling as a confidence booster? He claims people don't believe smiling works because they haven't smiled when they feel fear. Try putting a foolish grin on your face and see if you can feel defeated. Here is what a real, genuine smile can do for you.
1) give you confidence
2) roll away worry
3) cure despondency
4) melt away the opposition of others
My daily morning spiritual practice includes a reading. Some of my favorite books are One Day at a Time in Al-anon and The Four Agreements. What I love is that the messages seem to give my heart and mind exactly what they need for that day. It has taken me awhile to accept this. Afterall, I use to think my job was to enlighten others about their character flaws. It feels so much better to know that I can change my perspective if I really want inner peace and happiness.
Hence the passage I recently read from Days of Healing, Days of Joy by Earnie Larsen & Carol Larsen Hegarty stated: "I permit myself to be as flawed as everyone else." Have you ever had that thought? There is a part of me that finds comfort in believing this. Joy even that I do not need to do or say everything perfectly. Another part of me contracts and I feel hopeless. With everyone making mistakes, how are we going to get this world right? Read entire article
Thanksgiving Family Tradition Could Become a Corporate Tradition
Published Nov 26, 2020
The music rings in my ears, as a ring passes through my fingers. The Swedish Ring Game, a Thanksgiving family tradition, is better than the apple and pecan pies for dessert. When I was a little girl, my Mother would tie the turkey's legs together with 3 inches of string to keep the stuffing inside. After dinner, more string was needed for the Ring Game. My Dad would slowly count the seated adult family members; then quickly add up all the energetic moving youngsters. Gauging the amount of string needed for thirty-five people was an art.
Then my Dad would take his smooth wedding band off his finger and place it on the string. As he tied a knot, squeals of joy and excitement filled the air as the children anticipated the ensuing fun. Chairs were rearranged to flank the sofa and create a circle. The middle of the circle was free from any furniture.
Whichever child got to Dad first was now waiting in the center of the circle. As the family members gathered and sat down, they grabbed a hold of the string and placed it between both hands. The child in the middle, the guesser, sat down as well and closed her eyes. Then the singing and the passing of the ring would begin. Read entire article...
Thoughts Scare Me, Not Halloween
Republished October 19, 2020
Halloween was one holiday I shunned as I was growing up. Trick or treating for candy was its only redemption. Because I found daily living scary enough, I did not enjoy seeing witches, skeletons, bats, dismemberment, zombies, blood and death. Hearing haunting noises exemplified the frightening, horrifying thoughts that were swirling in my head. Having my fears validated by the Halloween reminders accentuated my unease in life.
Today Halloween does not elicit these same responses. Although I still have disturbing thoughts, they no longer have the same power over me. Just last evening, I was having a quiet meal alone and thoughts continually bombarded me. It was as if I was helpless to defend myself. What kind of thoughts you may ask. Well, they ranged from you aren't capable of living a healthy life to life is too hard and it doesn't make sense anymore.
Running, swimming, and group activities such as pickle ball are great ways to stay active. However, for many people, and for many reasons, these activities are not always the best fit. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; regular physical activity is one of the most important things a person can do to stay healthy.
If you want to give Meditative Movements a try, not only does your physical body benefit, your mind and spirit do too. A 2017 University of Minnesota research study found Meditative Movements reduces anxiety, depression and fatigue while improving emotional and functional well-being. Here is what you can expect from this empowering new technique. It: Read entire article
I Breathe Meditative Movement™
Published September 3, 2020
Breath . . .our gift of life. If you have had the awesome opportunity to be a part of the birthing or dying process, you know that the breath brings the body to life and what finally leaves when death occurs. When I am reminded of these two miracles of life, I pause. Sometimes I am afraid because I cannot control how this works. Other times, I marvel at this gift and am okay with life's mystery.
George Floyd, a black man from my hometown, uttered the words, "I can't breathe" as a white police officer's knee was on his neck. As I write this, I pause again and take a breath. It is hard for me to comprehend. Conscious breathing is a way to keep me centered and in the moment. My heart wants to be open as my mind and body fight to understand many of the happenings in our world. Read entire article
Published July 06, 2020
Saladin Ambar, PhD, Associate Professor of Political Science at Rutgers University-New Brunswick was interviewed on the Circle of Care webinar, Understanding racial disparities in the Covid-19 pandemic. This webinar series was created by Amy Wright Glenn, founder of The Institute for the Study of Birth, Breath and Death. He stated that the true viral contagion confronting us is white supremacy, unfettered capitalism, and spiritual emptiness.
My expertise surrounds spiritual emptiness. What is it? Religions are the handed down traditions and establishments that profess a certain belief system and worship style. Spirituality is the cosmic intelligent energy that animates our body and mind so we can experience life. Read entire article
Is Your Energy Moving?
Published June 13, 2020
My heart goes out to all of us. We are in life together. If you feel helpless right now, what can you give to make heaven on earth? I am sharing Connie Hertz's M.O.V.E. philosophy to remind us to take responsibility for our life experience.
M-Move your physical body. O-Open to receive your lessons or messages. V-Verbalize what you are thinking and feeling with someone you trust. E-Expand yourself inter-personally and spiritually.
Our powerful minds can replay any past event as well as imagine our future. When your mind is chaotic and untrained, it causes unwarranted anxiety, harmful stress and depression. In this state of confusion, you are no longer in touch with the reality of the present moment.
Our bodies need to rest, play, and move. When we become imbalanced, it's easy to choose fast remedies for relief. Unfortunately, we can become trapped in unhealthy patterns like drinking excessively, overeating and smoking. This behavior causes us to feel lost and anxious.
This kind of prolonged stress leads to disease, contentious relationships and unhealthy habits. Life becomes a constant struggle, and everyone suffers. Most of all you! When this happens, the natural joys and enthusiasm in life are not part of your daily reality. You want to be happy, you are just not sure how to accomplish this. Read entire article
Grieving Your Grievances
Published April 21, 2020
Have you noticed your mind complaining more? Are there nagging, unsettling feelings that need your attention? Now could be an opportune time to grieve your grievances. Before the pandemic hit, I purchased a colorful mug contoured to resemble an owl's face with protruding ears. My heart sank the day I opened the cupboard to find a chipped ear.
Briefly, sadness and anger co-existed in my body. Growing up in a family of nine, my thoughts quickly searched for who was to blame. Now that I live only with my husband, the list of possible suspects is short. Focusing on the culprit derailed my ability to simply grieve my loss.
You may be experiencing significant losses right now. Your job, relationship changes, your inability to go wherever you want and your health. Often the most difficult losses are those in the mind like unmet dreams and expectations. For many, our natural ability to grieve needs to be relearned. Taking the time to experience grief probably isn't on your to-do list. Therefore I'm reminding you of the potential benefits: Read entire article
A New Year's SMILE Resolution!
Published February 11, 2020
How do you feel about a New Year's resolution that is easy and completely financially free that makes a huge difference to your mood, health and happiness? Ecstatic? Curious? Apprehensive?
First, a little background. When I went to a public event, I looked for an open chair amidst the already seated circle of eleven women. No one seemed to notice me. Feeling sheepish, I sat down, put my purse on the floor and turned my attention to the facilitator. This is kind of normal behavior in Minnesota. Yet when a woman with a baby sat down, everyone turned her attention to that child and smiled.
My first thought was, "What would our adult lives be like if we were greeted like that baby?"
Welcoming! The giver of the smile feels happy. They are acknowledging the other person. The receiver of the smile gets a sense of belonging and feels the good intentions. Smiles are freeing for both the giver and receiver.
Yes, smiling is simple. Yet I invite you to practice the I Smile Meditative Movement™ because it gives you an opportunity to pay closer attention to what a smile does for you and to you. You can mindfully explore this powerful movement that enhances your precious moments. Read entire article
Competitive Thinking When Exercising
Published January 21, 2020
According to Robert K. Cooper in his book, The Other 90%, we are to "abandon competitive thinking during exercise. Performance improves when you take pressure off of yourself." He states that even thinking competitive thoughts can interfere with best performance and increase the release of negative stress hormones. In studies on athletes, competitive words caused more than double the levels of stress hormones such as norepinephrine.
When I was running 26.2 mile marathons, I consciously examined how I was going to view my fellow runners. Were my thoughts going to be competitive? Was my success to be determined if I beat others? My decision was to view my fellow runners as helping me to achieve my goal which was to finish the race.
To live in harmony with life, you need to be aware of your mind, your body and your being. You are an amazing person who has unlimited potential. If you have tried to change a behavior unsuccessfully, I invite you to examine what lies behind your actions. When you do, you will become more confident and happier. You will no longer feel out of control. You will be free to exercise your personal power in healthier ways.
If you watch sports on television, you rely on the commentator's interpretation of the events. You listen and trust what is being said. Unfortunately, many of us are listening to our mind's commentary and believing it to be true. In fact, when we are unaware of our moment to moment thoughts, our past perceptions take over and distort our current reality. When this happens, our physical, mental, and emotional health becomes infected. We suffer unnecessarily. We are constricted and struggle painfully trying to reach our goals and our dreams. Read entire article
Channeling Your Addictive Energies: Enabling Possibilities
Published September 2, 2019 in The Phoenix Spirit
When we are immersed in recovery, our healing journey is a moment by moment experience. Over forty years ago, I was introduced to the Twelve Step program because I wanted my husband to quit drinking. It was evident his behavior was destructive. The Al-Anon program revealed that mine was crazy too. Unaware that my fears were at the heart of my co-dependent behaviors, I was sure that if he changed, I would be happy.
When I started recovery, I wanted simple things like having enough money to support me and our three children. Often on Friday nights my husband would stop at the bar and cash his paycheck. He would give the bartender a portion (so he could go back the next day and get it) and drink the rest. Sitting on the front stoop of our house feeling forlorn and beaten, I would hope that this night would be different. My prayers focused on him coming straight home from work. As I recall this memory, I feel compassion for all of us. That is not what I felt at the time. My actions were fueled by the hurt, fear, and self-pity that was stored in my mind and body. Read entire article on Phoenix Spirit website.
A Movement Prescription : Movement Medicine
Published August 29, 2019
Have you heard that some doctors are writing out exercise prescriptions? Instead of waiting for your doctor to give you one, here is a simple remedy to get you more active. Although I'm not a doctor, I have been successful helping individuals integrate movement into their daily lives.
First, I remind you that movement as medicine heals your mind, body and soul naturally. The side effects are feeling proud of yourself, having more energy, and increased confidence. When you take time to care for yourself, you are giving yourself the message that you are valuable.
Here's a simple treatment plan.
1. Start by knowing why you are doing this activity. Write ten times on a piece of paper. I choose to deliberately move during my day because I value my health and well-being. I can. This is an important step because most often our thoughts are the obstacle to our success. Feel free to modify so it reflects your why. Even if it feels silly, give it a try. Read entire article
Old or Rather Old-Thinking
"The freedom from self is made impossible by holding on to fears and secrets we've harbored all our lives, the way of strength, paradoxically, is in becoming vulnerable." Big Book Alcoholics Anonymous
Published June, 2019
As I was bike riding on the smooth path while enjoying the sweet summer breeze, I innocently whizzed by two men. Within seconds, I heard one of them say, "We must be old, a woman just passed us." My inward response started with surprise, moved to anger then giggles. I laughed aloud to myself and thought, perhaps old thinking is more appropriate.
When we have old thinking, life passes us by. We are no longer in the present moment where everything is fresh and new; we are entrenched in a past that no longer exists. This reminds me of the Zen Mind, Beginner Mind philosophy. "The mind of the beginner is empty, free of the habits of the expert, ready to accept, to doubt and open to all the possibilities."
If I had heard the men's comment thirty-five years ago, I would have been engrossed in a seething, hidden anger response and never gotten to the giggles. Inwardly, with pleasure, I would have bashed the men for their blunder. Then the Catholic guilt would admonish my anger and set me in a remorseful tailspin. Feeling helpless, I would walk down the well-worn road of pain and suffering. Read entire article
Anxiety: Most Common Mental Health Concern
Published April 30, 2019
We all experience anxiety sometime during our lives. Have you recently felt anxious? Was your anxiety a result of trying something new like meeting unfamiliar people, starting a new project, taking an important test or you had to speak in front of people? While anxiety sensations in the body may be uncomfortable, it is important to feel them and then let them go. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), when feelings of intense fear and distress become overwhelming and prevent you from doing everyday activities, an anxiety disorder may be the cause. They say, "Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health concern in the United States. An estimated 40 million adults in the U.S. (18%) have an anxiety disorder. Meanwhile, approximately 8% of children and teenagers experience an anxiety disorder. Most people develop symptoms before age 21."
The National Anxiety and Depression Awareness Week is May 12-18. It is designed to provide education and information about the disorder and to help reduce stigma. Anxiety disorders may be the result of genetics, environmental factors, brain chemistry or life events. The 2017 University of Minnesota research study found that my Meditative Movement™ technique reduces anxiety, depression and fatigue while improving emotional and functional well-being. I am sharing the I Release Anxiety Meditative Movement™ during the awareness week so you can give it a try. Read entire article
You Matter. You Matter. You Matter, Matter, Matter!
Published Jan 20, 2019
On December 13, 2018 many local area high school students attended the Future Makers Coalition Dream Summit. They received FAFSA and scholarship information, student resources, prizes, and inspiration to follow their dreams. The event was held at the Collaboratory which houses Southwest Florida Community Foundation's new regional offices and offers meeting, tenant, and social gathering places, special event venues, and shared working and collaboration spaces.
Bobby Petrocelli, the motivational speaker, told his powerful story. His main message was that "You Matter." There is no one exactly like you. And because you are here, you have a purpose that only you can fulfill. Like Bobby, I have found that when we do harm (to our self or others) it is because we feel inadequate and are hurting inside. Healing occurs when we acknowledge the pain and forgive.
When it was my turn to present, I shared the I Matter Meditative Movement™. Read entire article
Pedaling with Roosters
Published Nov 4, 2018
One thing I noticed during my recent Germany/Switzerland vacation was the number of bike riders. There are approximately 73 million bikes in Germany, which is almost one per person, while the U.S. has 66.5 million cyclists and bike riders.
German cyclists riding on the cobbled stoned streets would easily weave between walkers. Many of the paved roads have dedicated bike lanes making it easy and safe travel. Other road signs showed when riders needed to share the sidewalk with pedestrians.
When a rider whizzed by us, we noticed that they were usually using an e-bike. According to the Wall Street Journal, e-bikes lower the barrier to daily cycling and are great for work commuters. Most battery powered electric bikes are pedal assisted so they are still a good form of exercise. Read entire article
Being In the Flow Improves Mental Health Naturally : Exercise Your Body & Your Mind
The World Health Organization's definition of mental health is a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community. Wow!
Let's start with exploring a state of well-being. Life is continually changing. A state of well-being means you accept impermanence as you allow the life force to flow in and through your body and your mind. For this to happen, you need to:
1. Be present in your body. Moving your body is a great way to increase your awareness of your physical nature. I recommend finding a movement practice that fits your daily routine, physical ability and personal preferences. Mindful movements like Meditative Movements™, Tai Chi and Qigong may be a good fit and have been found to release anxiety and depression naturally. Exercise is a natural prescription for good mental health.
2. Be aware that thoughts come and go. When our subconscious thinking patterns are uncovered, we can exercise our personal power in a new way. We can detach from the negative habitual cycles and experience more freedom. As a result, difficult thoughts and emotions flow.
A to do task list clarifies all of the things you want to accomplish. A happy list states all the activities that will bring you joy. What would your day be like if your to do task list and your happy list existed together? If you think, I wouldn't get anything done, it is time to ask yourself why.
When I first started my business, on Monday I would enthusiastically write all of the things I thought I should accomplish for the week. As I became more aware of my daily frustrations, I realized the culprit was my to do should list. One day my anger mounted so high I looked at my list in disgust. Who wrote these down? I had a hard time admitting to myself that I did. My unreasonable, should list was robbing me of fun. So I decided to alter my to do task list and make it a happy list too. No more shoulding on myself. Read entire article...
Creating Order Out of Disorders
Published May 1, 2018
Mental illness feels like a two hundred pound weight securely fashioned around my neck forcing my eyes to stare blankly onto the hard earthen ground. The brilliant sun's rays shine brightly, yet my limited view sees only the looming shadows of my past. My future burrows further towards the cold madness as I succumb to the emotional pull of self-destruction. Ellie Peterson, Apr 15, 2016 Entry
May is Mental Health month and I have been reflecting on all of my pre-qualified disorders. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Major Depressive Disorder. Eating Disorder. Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders.
Is there a limit to the amount of disorders one person can have? I'm not complaining although if I live long enough a Complicating Complaining Disorder may be identified. I can see it now. Once diagnosed, the person would wear a bright red necklace. When the complaining thought arrived at the back of the neck, just prior to being spoken, the necklace would flash like an emergency vehicle strobe light and the siren would sound its menacing alarm. In addition, the complainer would receive an electronic shock to the tongue. If the jolt intensity did not deter the negative thinker from speaking the thought, than anyone in the vicinity could see the light, hear the amplified warnings, and get out of the way.
The Time magazine Mindful Revolution article provides insights into the importance of being mindful. Researchers have found that multitasking leads to lower overall productivity. Workers who constantly and rapidly switch between tasks have less ability to filter out irrelevant information and they simply make more mistakes.
Acting mindlessly, we treat ourselves and others more like human doers than human beings. Mindless interactions zap an individual's creativity, motivation, and focus which are required for healthy productive workplaces. Trust is easily lost. When we act mindlessly, we neglect to see possibilities, we avoid new ideas, and we aren't able to manage our own thoughts and emotions. Read entire article.
You Can Move Past Painful Moments
Published September, 2017
After finishing our evening meal at a restaurant in town, my husband and I were walking back to our car. Along the way I stopped and picked up a salon brochure. Going to catch up to my husband, two elderly gentlemen started talking to me. Because I sensed they had been drinking, I moved briskly to get to our car.
As I walked ahead of them, I overheard the two of them talking. "Well, what number would you give her?" My thoughts wheeled in stunned disbelief. Was this really happening? It brought me back to my high school days. At that time in my life, the only thing that really mattered was what young men thought about my body. Getting in the car I told my husband about their comments. He responded casually, "So what rating did you get?" Feeling alone and lost, I rode home in silence.
The next day while journaling, my heart opened. This form of free flow writing brought enlightening revelations onto the paper. Then I noticed my own angst. My thoughts went to how rude others could be and how I had to put up with individuals who judged my appearance. Surely they saw my own physical imperfections which caused me to feel out of control and insecure.
It seems easier to reprimand the men and go down the well worn path about how hurtful this can be and when will men stop treating women as objects. Instead of focusing on the men's behavior, I paid attention to how I was feeling. What was I thinking? A deep sorrow and sadness followed.
We learn from mistakes so we do um on purpose? Is this true for you? How do you view mistakes?
Logically I know that without mistakes, new ideas and innovations aren't possible. Mistakes invite us to move outside our comfort zone and enable us to grow personally and professionally. We get to try something new. If we didn't meet our objective, we can try again. Being philosophical about mistake making is one thing. Experiencing them is quite another.
My morning coffee ritual reminds me of my Italian vacation taken five years ago. Making Italian coffee is easy. I put water in the lower chamber of the pot. As it heats up, water magically pushes through the coffee grounds. Presto coffee!
On one particular morning, I told my husband I couldn't chat, I needed to get to the stove because the coffee makes a gurgling sound when it's ready and I was too far away to hear it. As I approached the stove, instead of the normal aroma of fresh brewed coffee, there was a pungent burnt odor.
How could this be? The answer was simple. I made a mistake. I forgot to add the water.
I felt embarrassed even though I was alone. What course of action did I take? Automatically, I grabbed the pot and burned my fingers. After retrieving a hot pad, I quickly emptied the grounds into the trash. This compounded my problem because the plastic garbage bag melted onto the pot's hot side.
My own "heated" frustration rose. Then I moved to fear. I became aware of my thoughts and heard my own self talk recriminations. "How could I be so stupid? As a mindfulness teacher, I obviously wasn't practicing what I preach. I'll never be able to make coffee again." I felt my confidence shatter.
Does your idea of family extend to the people you work with? The last episode of the Mary Tyler Moore show is a great example. Mary said that sometimes she thinks she gives too much importance to her job. That the people she works with are just the people she works with and not her family. Then she asked herself, what is a family? They are people who make you feel less alone, and really loved. She goes on to tell her co-workers that is what they have done for her. She thanks them for being her family.
Like Mary I have experienced loving work families. In each, I have learned valuable life lessons.
My first was at a grocery store. When I responded to the loudspeaker page "Ellie to the deli," customers smiled as I walked briskly through the store. Having worked at the St. Paul deli for ten years, I was on a first name basis with many of the regulars.
Many times Jayne, a daytime cook, had my favorite dishes cooling on the stove. Like a schoolchild greeted at home with milk and cookies, I felt her welcome me to my afternoon shifts. The food's warmth extended all the way to my heart.
Read entire article
Enough Hands: Simple Self-care Exercises For Busy Moms & Dads
Published January 26, 2017
Feeling agitated, angry, and frustrated are normal human emotions. Healthy individuals feel difficult emotions when they occur. Their body and mind awareness then enables them to consciously choose how to respond to life's events instead of reacting and most importantly overreacting.
Meet Judy, a young woman who derives her sense of self by being a super powered mom. As she frantically gets dinner ready, the green kitchen walls seem to close in on her. Katie is whining and pulling Cassandra's hair while the newborn infant cries and wants to be held. Looking at her own hands, she wonders how many she needs to properly take care of everyone else. Easy answer. More hands than she's got.
Because her husband arrives home late, they have started eating. As he brushes the smashed, errant cheerios off of his chair, Judy places a hot baked potato on his plate. He casually states, "No potato for me tonight." Her mind explodes. Her mouth follows. With no warning, she unleashes her pent up, charged frustrations. Yelling at him uncontrollably, her tears stain her worn out t-shirt.
What happened? Simply put Judy's inability to release her emotions as she experiences them is the cause of her outburst. When we are unaware of our feelings and thoughts, they actually get stored in our physical bodies. The energy then builds up to the point that it has to come out. Just like a tea kettle. When the pressure inside gets hot enough, the steamy air whistles indicating it's ready. Well, we can get too hot when anger, frustration, and disappointments are kept inside. Unfortunately we don't whistle. We blow up and hurt ourselves and the ones we love.
The solution. Judy needs to start taking care of her own needs. Understandably, it is difficult for a young mother of three to take time for herself on a regular basis. Yet it is crucial for Judy's health and her family's well-being.
Empowering You to Heal: Every day Practices for Brain, Body and Spirit
Published December 26, 2016
Trauma alters lives whether the cause is a catastrophic situation like a war, a natural disaster or overwhelming everyday occurrences like health problems and car accidents. The Research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has shown that one in five Americans was sexually molested as a child; one in four was beaten by a parent to the point of a mark being left on their body; and one in three couples engages in physical violence. A quarter of us grew up with alcoholic relatives and one out of eight witnessed their mother being beaten or hit.
My personal trauma manifested a divorced, co-dependent, depressed mother of three small children with a smoking addiction living in poverty. Because trauma is imprinted on the body, brain, and spirit, complete healing needs to encompass all of them. This is why I created the Meditative Movement technique.
1. Brain: The brain works to ensure our survival. With repressed trauma, it is on constant alert. Becoming aware of past thoughts and feelings as well as future fears starts the healing process. Our own energy becomes depleted when we try to deny and avoid our pasts. When I acknowledged my thoughts and felt my emotions, I began exercising my personal power. The book, You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay, gave me insights into the root cause of my distress. It revealed the impacts my own negative self-talk was having on my well-being. Affirmations are a positive way to rewire the brain.
Other Practices: Meditation, prayer, support groups like AA and Al-anon, talk therapy, writing/speaking affirmations, and journaling.
Yes I admit I am an adamant dark chocolate lover. My husband is a milk chocolaty one. That's why the Christmas limited edition of the Ghirardelli Peppermint Bark Collection is heaven sent. Luscious squares of peppermint in dark chocolate for me and an equal amount of milk chocolate for him. Each piece individually wrapped in its own special silvery smooth packaging. No mistake about what's inside. No need to hoard or overindulge to ensure I get my fair share. Is that because there are only the two of us, not like growing up with my eight other family members?
Everything about the experience is inviting. The shiny colorful bag is perfect. Feeling the slenderness of the individual bar in my hand, assures my mind of its sleekness. Combining the eagerness of youth with adult reverence, I unbind the paper. Freed from their temporary confines, the coca and mint impart their scent which swiftly wafts up to my awaiting nose.
In delightful anticipation, I close my eyes as the bar reaches my lips. Pure ecstasy! As the chocolate melts, my tongue searches for another morsel of joy. Taking one more bite, the pleasure lingers and then is gone. Do I dare have another?
Could this be a simple yes or no answer? Not for me. Instead of considering the number of calories or the need to eat them all before they expire, my judging mind diligently enlightens me.
3 Positive Ways to Release Presidential Election Stress
Published Aug, 2016
Is the Presidential Election giving you stress? If you answered yes, let's explore why and more importantly what you can do about it.
Stress is often categorized as positive and negative. Positive stress allows you to become a better version of yourself whereas negative stress removes or depletes your ability to effectively live your life.
Positive stress examples: You are excited about your upcoming vacation adventure yet planning it adds more tasks to your to-do list. You get promoted at work and your new responsibilities mean a change in your behavior and daily activities. Both desired situations may overwhelm and stress you out.
Negative stress happens when you discount your own self-care needs. If you become too busy to exercise or sleep properly, you will get into a negative cycle. When you try to control things that are not controllable (like the election), you will feel imbalanced.
How can the election be a positive stressor? First, you would need to see it as a personal growth opportunity. It can stretch you beyond your current belief limits. You can learn how to be happier in any situation. Here are 3 mindsets to consider.
3 Proven Ways to Enhance Your Mental Health: May Mental Health Month
Published May, 2016
Mental Health America offers ten proven tools for maintaining your mental health. Meditative Movements, a new exercise technique, incorporates three of them. Stay positive, get physically active and take care of your spirit. Healthy living means you are able to cope with everyday stressors and hassles with a calm confidence. By practicing this program, you can learn how to exercise your own personal power in a new way so you can be in control of your own health and well-being.
1. Stay positive by changing any unhealthy self-talk. My life started changing when I became aware of the impact that my thoughts were having on my current life situation. Over time, I came to understand that my repeated, destructive self-talk was causing an overall unhealthy state of being in me. Because I internally repeated, accepted, and identified with toxic thoughts like "I am useless, I am not good enough, and I am a failure", I was essentially destroying myself.
That is why each Meditative Movement uses a positive affirmation as a way to easily change any unhealthy self-talk. The affirmations begin with the word "I" so that you take ownership of the thoughts you think. Based on what you need for that day, a centering or energizing affirmation follows. As a twenty-three-year-old divorced mother of three small children, the "I Can Meditative Movement" helped me get through the day. It was a simple way for me to redirect my negative, harmful thinking.
Love is a word that is hard to define yet used in our everyday language. If we want to feel love from others, we need to be open to loving ourselves first. Here are some suggestions to making love more real in your everyday life.
Looking within. You are loved and your true self is wanting to be acknowledged. Meditation and Meditative Movements™ are fantastic ways to connect with your loving self.
Overlooking fear. To live with inner peace, you need to see past the fear to where the perfection in life exists. Focusing your attention on loving thoughts and feelings is the answer.
Valuing your voice. What you say internally to yourself and to others creates your reality. That is why the affirmations spoken during your workouts are best stated out loud.
Embracing your whole self. Acknowledging that you are more than your mind and body frees you to feel love totally in your being.
The Perfect Equation for a Life Lesson
Published March, 2016
When our garage roof needed repair my three children and I took on the task of reroofing it. Why you ask? You can bet so did my children. My response to my 15, 13 and 10-year-old kids was that their education costs took a big chunk of the budget. As a single parent, it was exciting to save money on something I thought we could do. How difficult could reroofing be? Lay one shingle down, then another.
As "Ellie-from-the-deli", making $10 an hour and teaching fourteen workout classes a week, I was doing all I could to meet our financial obligations. So I had my motivation. Reroofing the garage seemed like a simple enough task except for the fact that I was afraid of heights. No way would I have attempted my house roof because of the sharp incline plus I'd heard of people breaking body parts after falling.
This was the perfect equation for a life lesson: learn something new + overcome a fear = inner satisfaction.
The earliest written records of meditation, around 1500 BCE, come from the Hindu traditions. Today meditation is being practiced in our Western culture because of its physical, mental, emotional and spiritual benefits.
Mindfulness meditation is the practice of being in the present moment fully. The meditatorís mind expands in an openness to embrace each unfolding moment. As the meditator deepens their practice, they gain more wisdom, truth, compassion, and interconnection with all things. These insights guide the meditator in living their daily life in ease and love.
September is Recovery Month. Minnesota Recovery Connection (MRC) states, "Recovery is a life-long journey." Can you join MRC vision of a world where recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs is understood, promoted, embraced, and enjoyed and where all who seek it have access to the support, care, and resources they need to achieve long-term recovery?
Let's all say yes. Whatever role you are playing relative to the world of afflicted addiction: the addicted one, parent, sibling, co-worker, friend, child of the addict, you can bring healing to everyone impacted.
May you dedicate this month to expanding your awareness of recovery. Remember, healing starts with yourself. As you explore, ah, ha moments show up so be ready to take more responsibility for your own health and well-being. This healing requires education, practice and patience. As you grow, you can learn how to let go of blame, resentments, anger and fears which are the obstacles to your own happiness and wholeness.
Competitive golfers are encouraged to journal about their thoughts in the heat of the battle. The most common trap is negative self-talk. Sports psychologists say 'beating you up' is the job of mother nature and your opponent: your job is to be your own best friend, so you can stay positive and keep your best golf possible.
Can we agree sometimes it's hard to avoid beating ourselves up? We're all living in the same movie..it's easy for unpredictable plot twists to trigger the negative self-talk. That's why I'm so pleased to introduce you to my coach: Ellie Peterson.
Yes Minnesotans, it is snowing on May 1. Are you feeling sorry for yourself? Does that self-pity extend to the outdoor creatures and would you consider inviting a mouse into your home? Of course not. According to Deepak Chopra self-pity is the opposite of self-esteem. So why invite self-pity into your home (your being). Let's treat self-pity as we would the outdoor creatures and keep it out of our lives. During times like these I remind myself of the the Alcoholics Anonymous big book that promises:
We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which use to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.
So keep believing in yourself and your ability to take charge of your emotions.
How do we feel peaceful when horrific events like a local school shooting and the Boston marathon bombing occur? We all need to feel safe and confident amidst the stresses in our external world and believe that everything is well. Inner peace can be achieved by following these three simple daily practices.
First, you need to take time for yourself. It can be 5 minute intervals taken throughout your day or extended periods of time that you scheduled for yourself. Every Sunday you can take 3-5 minutes scheduling that week's Me time. Remember to view this time as an investment in your own well-being. Each evening before retiring for bed, ask yourself if you spent quality time just for you today. If the answer is no, take that time now. For me, the best time is right away in the morning. Because I want to give and be my best self for others, I need to be filled up to be impactful.
Second, be aware of what you are thinking and feeling. There are many ways to help you get in touch with your inner self. We respond all day to life's interactions; many times out of habit versus conscious thought about how we want to be. Therefore connecting with ourselves is the key. Meditation is a fantastic way to become more aware. Because it can be completed virtually anywhere, it appeals to busy individuals. Feeling more in tune with life is one of the results of practicing.
Third, you can affirm yourself as you move your body. When an event like this occurs, many people repeat the images and messages from the television and radio in their minds. Instead of feeding the pain, it is necessary to focus your attention on what is within your own control. The "I Am Safe" Meditative Movement and "I Forgive" Meditative Movements support and nurture your human needs, especially at these unsettling times. These simple movements bring your mind, body and being in alignment in the present moment and inner peace can be experienced.