Accepting That You Are Not Alone

Accepting that you are not alone is a difficult and yet immensely rewarding accomplishment during difficult times.  Making decisions and dealing with suffering leave many feeling lost and alone and in need of comfort and support.

This weekend in our community was Relay For Life, a time for coming together after months of fundraising to support the American Cancer Society with research, education, advocacy and service.  Team members take turns walking the track  (the concept behind the word Relay) so that someone is always on the track.  A great deal of symbolism is involved in the planning based on what cancer does to its victims.  It is 24 hours of people walking to demonstrate that cancer never sleeps so neither do the walkers.  Survivors and patients and their caregivers are honored and those who have died are remembered.  It is an uplifting, emotional time for participants probably mostly due to the electricity of the participants so dedicated to the elimination of cancer.

The theme of the morning sunrise service, ‘you are not alone’ initiated more faithful thinking on my part. The youth minister spoke of the presence of God with us at all times.  The songs and poems were of His nearness,  reminding us of the gift of life.

‘Remember when you heard the words and your mind went blank you were in another world’

‘Remember in your darkest hours when all that surrounds you is pain and sorrow’

These words written by an unknown cancer survivor  speak of unlimited situations that humans encounter.  They speak of those times when every thought is of the affects the situation causes personally.  They speak of those times that fear controls the thoughts.  The faithful eventually on their own time, regain what they have known, that God is with them.

Last night as I meditated, I expanded on not being alone.  Within me is my higher self, holy spirit; I am not alone.  Surrounding, opening me to the energies of the universe, healing and loving are my guardian angels; I am not alone.  Around me are my family members waiting for cues as to how they can help and support me,  but I have to open up and share my thoughts, concerns and needs so that, I am not alone, as well as accept they have their fears, too.  The same goes for my friends and neighbors; I am only alone, if I choose to be by suffering in silence.  As I was told yesterday, ‘You call me with anything you need, and if you don’t need anything, call me to come have a cup of tea and a chat.’ I am not alone.

Fear is what can keep us deaf to God, His angels, our higher self and intuition, and separate us from our friends, neighbors and community.  Fear keeps us alone.  Aloneness is only the physical situation if you allow it to be.  Open yourself to accept that you are not alone.  Open your heart and let the light in.  Sit physically alone in the quiet and listen and feel the presence around you that is love.  It is there always; let it in. You are not alone.

yurloved

 

Take the Easy Route

How many times a day do you think you make a choice?  Depending on your outlook you may think it is a lot, or none at all, being assured that others make the decisions for you.  We all make choices from an extra  10 minutes of sleep, to grabbing an umbrella, or washing the coffee cup.  The thing is when we think we are taking a short cut, or taking the easy way we often are creating a more time consuming or difficult situation later in the day or somewhere down the road of life.  Not washing your utensils and placing them in the sink throughout the day saved seconds that created a bigger mess at the end of the day.  But washing the cup when finished seems at the time to be wasted time.  Grabbing the umbrella might be something you “don’t have time for” and yet makes life easier when the downpour the weather prediction called for barrels down on  you.

Why does the easier ways seem more difficult at the time we make the choice?   Perhaps we see the future as having no limits on our time.  We won’t be rushed, or pressured in any way. Perhaps there is a rainbow at the end of our thoughts that isn’t there at the time. Perhaps we are just too involved in the moment and not at all thinking of our future.

Most of us have experiences in which we afterwards think to ourselves, “I wish I had done it differently.”  Hopefully they are small situations, but sometimes the consequences take years to develop.

For me it has been nutrition.  I am not overly educated nor ignorant, knowing enough to live a healthy lifestyle, but I didn’t.  I had some interesting stories I told myself as well.  One of the greatest limiting beliefs was that if all this food being offered and advertised was so unhealthy, “they” wouldn’t be allowed to advertise it as they do.  There has been another story in my mind concerning deserving a treat.  How different things would be if that story told me I deserved optimum health.

So now after all the years of assuming that it is ok to be acidic, to drink, eat sugar, not exercise regularly BECAUSE I am really not sick, I am now diseased. My body as  a petri  dish tells the  story.  And simply put, all disease grows in an acid environment.

I take this very seriously now.  I am not looking for sympathy but for others to see that eating processed food daily, sugar daily, ignoring vegetables or only eating the ones high in sugar (yes vegetables have sugar!), and convincing themselves that it is OK because they feel fine, is not taking the easy route.  It is being short sighted because decisions made today can have effects in the future.  Caring for yourself is so much easier than caring for a diseased, injured or weak body later, when you are tired and run down or the “cure” wears your body down to nothing.

Some things that are the easy route to a happy healthy life:

Drink water to keep  hydrated.  Other things like juice, soda, and alcohol  should be limited. Think of them as an occasional treat.

Brush and floss your teeth.  It is not time consuming!

God didn’t invent bras.  Use bras in public and let the girls hang free in private, allowing the lymph system  to do its job.

Move Frequently! Don’t sit for too long for the same reason.

Pack a lunch you make yourself that doesn’t come prewrapped. Think fresh.  No, it doesn’t take forever! Avoid fast food.

Get a water bottle that isn’t plastic or aluminum and take fresh water with you everywhere.

Laugh!

Limit sugar anything to a couple times a week.

Listen to music.

Be mindful, meditate or pray.  Get out of ego state whenever possible.

Be around people you love and who love you.  There is nothing more important. Hug!

Be grateful for everything and feel that gratitude .

Smile! Smile!  Smile!

Sending you blessings for health and happiness!

 

 

 

 

 

 

If We were Having Dessert, Now is the Time We Would Have it

I do not remember thinking meals in our house were anything spectacular during childhood.  We ate chicken a lot, always vegetables and usually a salad.  Weekends were pot roast and vegetables and very occasionally a steak.  Mother was good at casseroles as well.  Dessert was rare.  After all, on shopping day a pack of Oreos or Lorna Doones and some vanilla ice cream were purchased to last the week,  for the whole  family. If there happened to be company of any kind, my father would amuse himself and announce, “If we were having dessert, now is the time we would have it!” The grin on his face and the twinkle in his eye is probably why I remember this so fondly.

So when did sugar become a food group for me? Those healthy meals of childhood are the ones I appreciate now, but somewhere in the middle of living, I realized I had missed out on pastas, breads and desserts and gifted myself with their consumption.

For the two weeks before my cancer diagnosis, I was on a sugar binge, running an errand daily to the pharmacy for a candy bar.   (The fact that the entire length of the check out counter in a pharmacy is all candy and gum could be another blog, don’t you think?) I thought I was controlling it by not bringing bags of candy into the house and limiting it to one a day.  But now I look back on the early days at home when candy was at Easter, Halloween and Christmas, and a pack of cookies and a half gallon of ice cream was sufficient for the family for a week.   Sugar was not a food group back then.

A dear friend mentioned last night that his mother always said. “Everything in moderation.”  I remember that saying,  too bad it disappeared.  Breakfast anymore can be an entire meal of dessert with sugary cereals, and French toast, or pancakes that are more extravagant than coveted strawberry shortcake during the first week of June in my youth.

I blame advertising, knowing as I am doing it that it isn’t fair, but someone needs to be responsible.  Maybe the food shows are responsible.  It couldn’t be me!  How am I supposed to make good choices with a Dunkin donuts on the corner, two ice cream stands in a mile spread and a supermarket with everything I see on the television?  “Everything in moderation”.

I am thinking that pertains to amounts as well. When was the last time I asked for a small of anything? Whether it is an ice cream cone, or a salad, it doesn’t have to be HUGE.  Sugars and worse yet in my book, artificial sweeteners are in everything.

It has finally sunk in so you get to hear the wisdom that eluded me for so long.  Not caring for yourself by indulging in unhealthy over advertised food is harmful.  It weakens the immune system and leads to other diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes as well as in my case,  cancer.  Even scarier is that this overload on children will take its toll much sooner.  Deep down do parents believe as I did,  that they were in some way deprived of the treats they saw others eating and think they are gifting their children??

Observing those around me as I now refrain, I have things I want to share.  Food should not be your choice of self love.  Enjoy life and eat for nourishment.   Drink water!  IF you must have a soda when away from home, order a small and a water as well.  Drink water until your thirst is quenched, then sip soda and water throughout the meal.  Eat salads at home and get your taste buds accustomed to enjoying the taste of the vegetables. You can use dressing but use a little.  Train yourself to enjoy the FOOD, not the high salt, high sugar dressing.  AND don’t use low calorie so you can use more!  Eat real – in moderation.  Then when you are out, you can order a salad and only use a small portion of the dressing that you told them to put on the side.  A glass of wine while dining out is 5 oz. , it can be the same at home.  Here is a tip I just learned.  Wine glasses in restaurant have a way of measuring either in the position of the lettering or with an engraved dot or square to guide bartenders.  You can do it at home. Measure 5 oz. and pour into your favorite glass.  Mark a dot on the outside of the glass.  You won’t have to measure again and you are controlling your sugar intake!

Time to get back to the olde days of not having so much sugar around. Time to spend less time in fast food and when you need to, choose wisely.  Time to shop real and not packaged.  Time to skip sugared breakfast, lunch and dinner and instead think in the words of my dad, ” IF we were having dessert, now is the time we would have it.”

 

Divergence in Blogging

A cancer experience has taken hold of consciousness for a bit and so I am going to roll with it and stay in the moment with my thoughts.  I do believe that this is not so much a divergence from previous topics, but a different route to the care and loving of the children in our lives.

Honestly, I have known how to care for myself nutritionally for a long time. The biggest lie I told myself over and over was that if it was so very important, then we wouldn’t be bombarded everywhere with the opposite of what is necessary for a healthy life.  It appears to me that every food item advertised promotes a nutritional aspect so that we do not notice that which is harmful.  Remember the old saying to describe how delicious something was, “Put it on a flip flop and the flip flop would taste delicious.”  Advertise a nutritional benefit and it will cover up all the harmful ingredients underneath.  I know I knew the advertising is a cover up, and yet I kept telling myself they couldn’t do it if it wasn’t true. Truth in advertising, right?  So often what is said isn’t as important as what isn’t said.

Cooking and food has its own channels on TV.  Some encourage over eating, abundant amounts of sugar, and high calorie food with customers who explain the goodness by admitting they eat there 3-4 times a week, indirectly telling viewers that day after day of high calorie foods is fine.   I remember a show a few years back with a family that used healthy ingredients, emphasized plant based food, and taking off unnecessary weight.  I wonder where that show went?

I can no longer believe that anyone has my best interest at heart more than me.  Neither should you, but like me you have to come to that conclusion on your own.  We believe in democracy and a government that looks out for our well being, when in truth, capitalism is what runs our country, and what makes money is promoted.  That is not a criticism but a reality that lead me to realize that I have to think for myself and consider the source. Does what they are advertising even sound feasible or am I  buying  (and eating) a crazy bill of goods? “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”  (Not mine, but a good one!)

American pride has made some feel superior and superiority in my experience leads to downfall.  Now that I am in my situation information I read about others countries comes back to me.  I wish I had read it completely, and processed it fully.  Other countries have outlawed fluoride in water, toothpaste and anything else that goes in the mouth. GMOs have been banished as well. So  what are they doing with those products?  My guess is exporting them to the US where they are all legal.  No proof, just a guess. Our country did that with medicines we didn’t want  for years and may still be doing it , sending things to what we called 3rd world countries.  Are we now the 3rd world country?

I will wind my way back around to the children we love, because this discussion has to get there and quickly.  The ones I love are not choosing to  eat green or plant based of any color, have sugar every day in some manner, drink too little  water, and  would choose a prepackaged food over real if given that opportunity.  Acidic choices  create a growing field for disease.  Yes, I will get to that topic soon.

In   addition, I am right now typing on my wireless laptop, which is in my lap, (even though a lap stand is right upstairs). It is able to communicate with the internet, situated in the next room, or the printer upstairs, and that is  such an incredible convenience, but is it good for me?  I rarely carry my cell phone on my person as do others, but it is in a pocket, my purse or a table near me, most of the time. It too is giving off EMF energy all the time. Another topic for another time, but food for thought.

While considering  my inspiration for the next blog, I will walk every day, get out in the sunshine for a while every day, breathe in fresh air, and while doing so, will ask myself if the choices I made today are for my highest good. Staying open to all possibilities and questioning old belief patterns, allows our own higher self to give us the answers.

 

 

Model What You Want Them To Be

Today I am borrowing from a much wiser and well known writer to help convey an important parenting concept.  If like me, you grew up hearing “Do as I say not as I do,”  and tried that as a way of parenting, you probably have already discovered that it doesn’t work.  Integrity is a much better basket to put your eggs in.  Kids today see through anything less.  Being the role model you want for them, empowers you as well.

Dr. Wayne Dyer

dyer-header-photo-3

Wayne’s Weekly Wisdom “If you model self-pride and self-worth for your children, they will in turn leave the nest with an absence of stress and turmoil for all concerned.”

I have the following saved on my desktop because it profoundly demonstrates the importance of our awareness of our own behavior.  I notice too much explosive behavior, loss of control, and spewed anger that is justified with ridiculous excuses that make perfect sense to the person explaining them.   Is society becoming numb to inexcusable behavior? Parents and other relatives of children are their role models and need to be cognizant of their actions at all times.

This was Wayne’s last Facebook post.

I was preparing to speak at an I Can Do It conference and I decided to bring an orange on stage with me as a prop for my lecture. I opened a conversation with a bright young fellow of about twelve who was sitting in the front row.

“If I were to squeeze this orange as hard as I could, what would come out?” I asked him.

He looked at me like I was a little crazy and said, “Juice, of course.”

“Do you think apple juice could come out of it?”

“No!” he laughed.

“What about grapefruit juice?”

“No!”

“What would come out of it?”

“Orange juice, of course.”

“Why? Why when you squeeze an orange does orange juice come out?”

He may have been getting a little exasperated with me at this point.

“Well, it’s an orange and that’s what’s inside.”

I nodded.

“Let’s assume that this orange isn’t an orange, but it’s you. And someone squeezes you, puts pressure on you, says something you don’t like, offends you. And out of you comes anger, hatred, bitterness, fear. Why? The answer, as our young friend has told us, is because that’s what’s inside.”

It’s one of the great lessons of life. What comes out when life squeezes you? When someone hurts or offends you? If anger, pain and fear come out of you, it’s because that’s what’s inside. It doesn’t matter who does the squeezingyour mother, your brother, your children, your boss, the government. If someone says something about you that you don’t like, what comes out of you is what’s inside. And what’s inside is up to you, it’s your choice.

When someone puts the pressure on you and out of you comes anything other than love, it’s because that’s what you’ve allowed to be inside. Once you take away all those negative things you don’t want in your life and replace them with love, you’ll find yourself living a highly functioning life.

Thanks, my young friend, and here’s an orange for you!

I was impressed with Wayne’s understanding and explanation that negativity within is a choice.    Choose peace, calm, patience  and love and you and everyone around you benefits.

 

 

 

Kids Can Follow the Mindful Path to Peace and Joy

Can your kids be quiet and be IN quiet without getting antsy?  One kid very dear to my heart has a hard time in the car with nothing to do.  “I’m bored!  There is nothing to do!” is a constant complaint.  My response, “We are doing something, we are having a conversation,” for some reason has no impact on the perceived dilemma.   If this sounds familiar, I wrote about this several months ago, in “Too Much Boredom”.  In the blog, I wrote, “Time not doing is time for being, but it has to be taught, even if it was a skill with which we were born. Bored children need to learn to treasure down time to charge that personal energy, strength and connection to the source of light within and overcome doubts and fears. Constantly active kids need quiet time as well, because all children need the connection with self and God to reduce ego and build their loving self, becoming compassionate caring people with a sense of oneness with others. It is a package deal as they best learn from modeling you.”

Mindfulness was mentioned in the article and deserves much more consideration.mindfulness5  It not only has to be taught it has to be practiced.  Its value is addressed by Jon Kabut- Zinn.

“It’s about living your life as if it really mattered, moment by moment by moment by moment.”

“Of course my life matters”, you might say, but how often do you actually think about it?  Do you value the moments in your life or allow them to slide by without any focus? mindfulness7It is easy to lose connection with the moments when you are checking off the many items on each daily to- do list.  That is why it is important to stop, breathe deeply and bring yourself back to the moment from time to time.

Mindfulness practice is valuable in controlling thoughts.  And of course, to teach your children, you need to do it yourself as well.  This is one of those things that you might not do for yourself but will do for your children and gain personal growth, peace and empowerment in the process.

“The purpose of teaching mindfulness to our children is to give them skills to develop their awareness of their inner and outer experiences, to recognize their thoughts as “just thoughts,” to understand how emotions manifest in their bodies, to recognize when their attention has wandered, and to provide tools for impulse control. mindfulness6 It is not a panacea, and it will not completely get rid of what is, frankly, normal kid behavior, like tantrums and loudness and whining and exuberance and arguing…” wrote Sarah Rudell Beach in  “8 Ways to Teach Mindfulness to Kids”

Mindfulness gives all of us including our children, power.  Controlling thoughts by releasing thoughts, keeping thoughts positive, focusing on what needs to be done, and regulating emotions is powerful and can begin to be learned at an early age.  Mindfulness helps with impulse control and assists children in refraining from speaking and acting out uncontrollably, something some adults could use as well.

mindfulness4

I will write on this again, but don’t wait, check out these links for yourself!

http://thehawnfoundation.org/mindup/

http://greatergood.berkeley.edu

http://www.childmind.org/en/posts/articles/2012-4-9-power-of-mindfulness

 

 

 

Following the Adolescent Mind

Earlier this week I blogged “What were you THINKING!?!”, concerning adult reaction when older children make poor decisions.   A news report concerning adolescents taking selfies on active railroad tracks, encouraged me to continue on this topic.  In the last year over 500 deaths on railroad tracks have been reported.  One of the issues is the adolescent attraction to thrills.  Of course, it was mentioned the influence of music videos and movies.  But we must also look at the physiological development of children and adolescents.

Neuroeducation.com states that by adolescence the brain is full size but is making many organizational changes:

“At this point in development the brain has to decide what’s needed, what’s not, and how to become the most efficient. In order to do this the adolescent brain has to undergo synaptic pruning, in which useful neural connections are kept and less useful connections wither away. One important area of reorganization is in the prefrontal cortex that handles abstract cognitive abilities as well as impulse control.”

Research has shown that the brains of children mainly focus on visual processing and slowly begin to develop in planning and impulse control, a process which isn’t complete until adult maturity.  The adults who are involved with children and teens must keep in mind that the brain function does not keep up with the physical growth on the outside.  To know what is going on in that brain, parents and other loving adults must become very good listeners.  Stephen Covey, in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, wrote, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the  intent to reply.”  An adolescent’s adults must listen to them with intent to understand, and often to ‘read between the lines’  throughout the conversation to ascertain what they really want  to be known.   Often you need to restate what you heard for clarification as what you hear is not always what they are trying to say.    They do not want to know what you think, they want you to know what they think.  When you stop listening, they stop speaking, when they stop speaking, there is no communication.   listening to hear

Observation of  adolescents shows they are a whirlwind of brain activity in short spaces of time.  They can be a wealth of knowledge one moment, have the enthusiasm of a  puppy, interest in topics far beyond their years, or want to spend the day watching cartoons.  It is normal!  Expect them to behave like children, be grateful when they act maturely showing signs of brain growth, prepare them as best you can for the decisions that they may have to make when you aren’t around, and love them no matter what.   listening with intent

C. Beth Hoffman M.Ed, author of My Loving Self and Me

What Were You THINKING!?!

Making wise choices comes about from experiences and practice as well as maturation.  In any situation, children see what they are focusing on.  It is only with growth and lessons learned that they begin to realize that there are consequences to every action.  They are usually as surprised as anyone else when things don’t go the way they pictured them in their head.  Being allowed to make their own decisions in a risk free situations encourages them to expand on the possibilities.  My granddaughter has said more than once, “I didn’t see that one coming.”  In reality, adults don’t either sometimes.  Not doing it again in that exact way is a learned lesson.

Actions, whether judged to be good or bad are best handled with a true, calm, question about the process of their thinking.  What were the steps?  Did you think that it might not go as planned?  Was there a risk and was the outcome worth it?  Discussion with children builds their self esteem and courage, reducing stress with decision making.

Teach Kids How,  a website for parents,  lists activities for teaching children early about making choices.  It must be a continuous process for them to become confident.

 

But  too often, a child’s mistakes have an impact on the parent.  Their behavior or choice may be an embarrassment.  It may cause more effort or work when their plate was already full.  They look at the child incredulously and ask in a questioning voice, “What were you THINKING!?!” Although it may sound like a question it really isn’t.  The parent probably is not in the mood to hear the answer.  The question is really a statement that says to the child, “You were not thinking at all.”  It is not a question but a condemnation of self.  mental abuseMany parents heard something similar when they were growing up.  “Are you crazy??” or “What are you? Stupid?” come to mind.  Past generations were not immune to this kind of questioning.  Many were raised this way as well and only through self reflection as parents will they realize it did not have a positive impact on them, either.  Children develop a fear of making decisions when their choices are wrong.  It becomes easier to say, “I don’t know.”

Karen Stephens contributing writer to childhoodexchange.com in her article, ‘Parents Are Powerful role Models for Children“, says “Being a positive role model requires fore-thought and self control. Today we talk a lot about disciplining our children. We parents need to put an equal emphasis on disciplining ourselves.”

Parenting must come from the heart to raise children who are confident, caring and loving.  Teach them to love themselves by loving, respecting and caring for yourself.  “Do as I say, not as I do.” was resented by every child who ever heard it.  It won’t work on your child either.  Don’t raise your children as you were raised without forethought as to how it affected you.  Keep the best learning experiences and discover new ways to interact with your child where you  were not positively affected by the lesson.  Structure and discipline can always come from love.

 

Too Much Boredom!

images0KX8SJKZ

What parent likes to heart those infamous words, “I am bored!” None that I know of as it usually is the precursor to whining and complaining and a need to be entertained. Boredom comes with the belief that children always need to be doing something. Sayings like “An idle mind is the devil’s playground”, has lead us as a society to be doers. Yet, we are human beings, not human doings. And with the advancements in technology, we can be incredibly idle while doing something!

Teaching children to be at peace, and quiet their mind is a valuable tool. I wish my influence on my daughter and grandchildren had understood this when they were infants. I would give them time alone. Let them watch and interact with the mobile, play with their toes, find their fingers, make sounds and wonder where it came from, and laugh without interference. Quieting the mind is a skill most adults need to learn as well. There are so many sleep disorders, addictions and other problems caused by an inability to shut off the mind. We torture ourselves with our constant thoughts! Predicting the future, dwelling on the past, judging, criticizing, anticipating, all keep the mind active.

Kids are rarely born this way, we train them to be like us! They are asked, “Why aren’t you doing something? Find something to do!” I remember 40 years ago putting the container of legos in front of my stepson while he watched TV, thinking at least he would be using the creative side of his brain while he “wasted” time. Perhaps that is why those in their 20s and 30s are much better multi-taskers. However, that also leaves their brains even more active all the time.

Has the ability to “be” been lost? “The term meditation refers to a broad variety of practices that includes techniques designed to promote relaxation, build internal energy or life force (qi, ki, prana, etc.) and develop compassion,[3] love, patience, generosity and forgiveness.” Time not doing is time for being, but it has to be taught, even if it was a skill with which we were born. Bored children need to learn to treasure down time to charge that personal energy, strength and connection to the source of light within and overcome doubts and fears. Constantly active kids need quiet time as well, because all children need the connection with self and God to reduce ego and build their loving self, becoming compassionate caring people with a sense of oneness with others. It is a package deal as they best learn from modeling you.  Meditation, or mindfulness doesn’t need to be done in a yoga pose. Sitting quietly   imagesNQ20XDWCFor families that have quiet reading time, guided meditation can easily be a next step. While teaching them to breathe deeply and focus, you are quieting your mind as well. “Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.” –Thich Nhat Hanh

featured-thumb-curriculum-trainingMindfulness or self reflection is being taught in schools  now to help children lose the control their busy emotions have over them. With the help of Mindful Schools  in a San Fransisco school , a documentary was created called Room to Breathe. As the instructor begins, she tells a child, that she can’t expect to be entertained her whole life. Isn’t that what boredom is, the absence of entertainment? She also within the first few minutes, talked to them about finding their happiness through mindfulness. Is a lack of happiness part of boredom as well? Whether the term used is meditation, self reflection or mindfulness, children and the adults in their lives can benefit from the quiet mind that breeds happiness, contentment, compassion and love.