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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Jenny from A-Z -- (26 Things You Did Not Know About Me)

I gotta admit sometimes I do LOVE memes. Yes, there are too many and you have to pick and choose. But then times come around like this where I get to answer the call of 2 Memes at once. Yesterday I was tagged for the A-Z Challenge (26 facts people don't know about you from A-Z) by Simon from The Secret of Life. About an hour later I was tagged by Liara Covert of Dream Builders for the "Reveal 7 Random Facts about Yourself Meme". Thank you Simon and Liara for the tags. Since I love word games so much I have decide to turn the alphabet one into a rhyming poem.... Liara I know you only asked for 7 -- but here are 26 random facts you probably did not know about me.....

A is for Adventure games which I thoroughly enjoy...

B is for Belmar, NJ where I met my favorite boy. ;-)

C is for Campbell, my maiden name -- yes, kid's were mean and called me "soup".

D is for the dares I completed (playing truth or dare) in NYC on my stoop.

E is for early -- which I always seem to be.

F is for freezing -- I need to wear layers (usually three).

G is for Gratitude, my favorite tool that helped me to heal.

H is for happy and hopeful, which is now how I usually feel.

I stands for Inventor -- I am so excited to be one!
I is also for Indian and Italian -- both of my favorite foods -- YUM!

J is for Jim Dale who narrates the Harry Potter audio books which I adore.

K is for kayaking -- something I want to do lots more.

L is for Leo the Lion -- which I characteristically am to a tee.

M is for meatballs -- my mom and I make the best with fresh herbs grown by me.

N is for Nintendo Wii which utterly transformed the video game.

O is for Oprah my hero -- I think you may have heard her name. ;-)

P is for psychology in which I have my college degree.

Q is for quickly, which is how I like to cross country ski.

R is for red my favorite color -- the hue of tomatoes and flowers that I grow.

S is for the slow loris, my favorite animal -- they are SO cool, cute AND move in slo-mo.



T is for trampoline -- we have an in-ground one on which we all love to play.

U is for unicorn -- my daughter's birthday wish is to ride one all day....



V is for the awesome vegetables this summer that I will grow and eat.

W is for woods where I love to go, relax, think and have a seat.

X is for XTC -- as a teen loved their song "Dear God".....

Y is for You Don't Know Jack -- I had to give this hilarious adult online game a nod!

Z is for Zoo Tycoon, a game I LOVE to play with my son --
even if he likes to let the lions out to chase people just for fun!

I had so much fun doing this (yeah, you can probably tell ;-)) and have to thank my children Alex and Christina for helping me come up with some of the words and facts about myself. They are such wonderful children and I am so proud to be their mommy!

I am going to tag 7 people as the Liara meme asked to do... and would like them to either choose one of the memes or, if you are so inclined -- to do them both or combine them like I did! Of course I understand how frequent meme requests can be -- so no hard feelings if you don't have the time... but I did find this project fun! The rules and tags are as follows:

For the "ABC Meme" that Simon tagged me for the rules are as follows:

The instructions say that each player starts with some random facts/habits about himself/herself. As you are tagged you need to post the rules and your responses on your own blog. At the end of your post, you need to choose some people to tag, list their names and, of course, leave them a comment, telling they have been tagged and they need to read your blog for more information. Please list 26 facts A-Z that people did not know about you.

For the "7 Random Facts Meme" I was tagged for by Liara the rules are simple -- list 7 random facts about yourself, link to the person that tagged you and tag 7 others.

Here are the tags:

Gil from Individual at Home

Greg Butler at Holistic Personal Development

Leena at Conceptis Addict

Neil Sattin from Getting to the Heart of Personal Development

Patricia Singleton at Spiritual Journey of a Lightworker

Peter of I Will Change Your Life

Todd at We the Change

Good luck guys -- I hope some of you can do this. I'd love comments on some of the random things you've learned about me.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

How to Stay in Love and Help it Grow

We all know it is pretty easy to fall in love. The rush of passion and connection you feel with the other person makes it impossible to stop yourself if you are truly falling. But after years of a relationship how do you keep that love alive and healthy? How can you nurture the relationship and let it heal, support and enliven you instead of letting the pressures of life stress out both people involved pushing you further apart? In July, Ray and I will celebrate 11 years of marriage and we knew each other for 2 years prior to our wedding. Our marriage is stronger now than ever and I would like to share ways in which we make sure we keep falling more in love.

MAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF

Find things you love to do and make the time to do them. I have 2 young children and I know finding time is not always the simplest thing to do. My kids are 8 and almost 5 now so it is definitely getting easier but for a while I had to be creative to find any time to do things just for "me". When Alex was born I was a new mom in every sense. I was very paranoid about leaving him with anyone else. Even so, I would take the time when he napped to take the baby monitor somewhere and read or do 10 minute Abs. or another quick workout. Whether it's a quick walk around the block while your significant other watches the kids, a lesson of some kind, reading, journaling or even cooking with the music blasting as you sing and dance along -- everyone needs alone time. Especially when you become a new mom/dad -- it is easy to lose yourself a bit in the responsibilities parenting requires. Being alone to reconnect with yourself is a must.

FIND THINGS YOU BOTH LOVE AND TAKE THE TIME TO DO THEM

In the dating process you must have come up with TONS of things you loved to do with the other person. Times and interests change. Make sure you have things that you can still do and know you will enjoy together. For Ray and I, it's playing games, listening to audio books, long walks, dancing and long talks. We hired a babysitter for "date night" once a week from when our son was 1 year old. It ensured we got out, reconnected and weren't just passing lists to each other as we ran into the other person sporadically during the crazy work week. No matter how nuts the week would seem, on "date night" all was well with the world and we allowed ourselves to fall even more in love and reconnect.

"Date night" does not have to be about going out and spending money on dinner. It is about the two of you reconnecting. We have had date nights where we brought sandwiches to the local park and had a picnic. We have had date nights where it was too cold and we locked ourselves in a room with music playing so we couldn't hear the madness of the kids with sitters. Wherever it is does not matter -- it is making that time to set aside and spend with each other that is important. If you have a baby and aren't comfortable leaving them yet -- agree that one night after bed you will meet in the living room for a "date" instead of ignoring each other and watching TV.

DON'T GO TO BED ANGRY

Try and talk out your differences calmly and in the moment. If you are really upset, take a "time out" and go for a walk or sit down and write. You can write or say in your head the reasons you are upset and examine them a bit. That way when you do talk about the reasons for your anger they are clear in your mind. Be sure to examine them and see if they really justify you being as upset as you are or if there are other things you are letting influence you and possibly exaggerate how you are feeling (a "bad" day perhaps?). Then write out a list of what you LOVE about your significant other. I know, "Yeah right -- when I'm mad there's no WAY I could do that". That is what I thought and I used to storm off to write about how angry I was. Yes, it let off some steam but it never helped the situation. Writing about the things you love about your partner and concentrating on all they DO for you and how good they make you feel alleviates some of the anger and will actually make you smile. When you approach a disagreement it is best to be in the moment. Speak clearly so there can be no misunderstandings and don't dredge out last year's fight. Look into each others eyes and let the person know you are upset but you want the conversation to end with some kind of agreement. It is okay sometimes to agree to disagree. You and your mate are not carbon copies of each other and how boring it would be if you were! Do not be afraid to say "I am sorry" or "I forgive you". These three word phrases will bring you closer than ever before!

REALIZE LIFE DOES NOT ALWAYS
GO AS PLANNED


There is a reason when you take the oath of marriage it is in sickness AND IN health, for richer OR poorer, etc. Life changes all the time and you and your partner have made a commitment to be there for each other. Let the hard times draw you closer instead of rip you apart. COMMUNICATE with each other. Share your fears, doubts and concerns with your mate. Be a best friend and treat them as you would treat any other best friend. For some reason a lot of people dump all their negative feelings on their significant other and treat them as they would never ever dream of treating a friend. This is not acceptable. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect. If someone is going through a particularly difficult time it is time to be nurturing and ask how you can help -- not insult them and make them feel worse. When I was ill there were times when I truly did not understand how Ray could stay with me because all I felt I was offering was sadness and pain. Ray would tell me that I was always beautiful to him and that it would be ok. He was right -- it is BETTER than okay and I am so grateful he knew that we could make it through anything.

There will times when you need to be stronger and there are times when you will need that extra consideration and kindness. No one wants to feel "stuck" or to doubt themselves or to be sick or depressed. The most important thing is to let your loved one know that you are there for them no matter what and to ask how and if you can help. Try looking at whatever situation and coming up with reasons WHY it happened and how you can both come out of the event stronger for it.

COMMUNICATE

I mentioned this above in "don't go to bed angry" and in "realize life is not always perfect" but it is important all the time. Ray and I have a little "check in" every month on the 26th. (Our anniversary is July 26). On that day we hold each other's hands, look into each others eyes and talk. How was the month? What was GREAT? What are we looking forward to? How ARE you? What do we need to change? What are our goals?

Everything moves so fast nowadays and it is easy to misunderstand the person if you are half-listening or are not clearly forming and articulating your thoughts. If you need something from the other person don't make them guess or figure it out -- explain it and make sure you are on the same page. If need be, write it down. It is a simple way to avoid disagreements later on.

HUGS AND KISSES AND "I LOVE YOU"

It seems so simple but again when life is moving fast it is easy to sometimes forget the little things that mean so much. As humans we crave touch. Touch can relieve stress and tell the other person you love them without saying it. Think about the last time you hugged a good friend you hadn't seen in a while and how good that felt. There should be moments like that with your partner all the time. Yep, my son gives out a huge "yuck" when Ray and I hug and heaven-forbid we "kiss on the lips". ;-) I don't get to see much of Ray now since he is working a lot of hours and that hug at the end of the day communicates 'Hi, I missed you, I STILL love you". A couple that gets out of the habit of hugs and touching can experience doubt in how the other person feels and it sometimes can make the next hug seem further out of reach. We all CRAVE touch from loved ones and if you are holding back because you think your partner might not want to be touched - don't. If you are really hesitant -- ask them for one -- I am sure they will open their arms wide.

Saying "I love you" is also important in good times and in bad. I tell my kids and Ray I love them every day and they say the same. We feel it when we say it and we mean it. It is three words but it helps to let the person know that you do care and you do feel love for them -- no matter what.

HONESTY IS ALWAYS THE BEST POLICY

This one seems like a given but I know it is one that a lot of couples struggle with. There are people I have come across that hide credit cards, friendships and even some that hide addictions from one another. There is NEVER a good reason to hide things from your loved one. Firstly, doesn't lying seem like an awful lot of effort? I don't know about you but I have a hard time just keeping the facts of everything that is really going on straight in my head sometimes. I cannot even imagine trying to hide something from Ray. I think it would eat me up and he would see right through even if I did -- but it is not in my nature to even try. Lies usually come out in the end and there are always repercussions. Lies distance you from the one you are supposed to be sharing your life with and add to stress. If you have been dishonest with a loved one, the best policy is to tell them as soon as you can and own up to it and take responsibility before it comes back to bite you. If you are on the receiving end and your partner comes to you to open up and tell you about a lie the best policy is to let them know how you feel (hurt, etc) but to commend them on their honesty. It might take you a while to forgive them but if you think about the alternative way you might have found out -- it will make the forgiving easier.

DO NOT INSULT AND BE SURE TO SHOW GRATITUDE

I mentioned a gratitude list for your loved one above and it is good not only to make one when you are upset but at any time. Be sure to tell your partner what you appreciate about them. Send out positive messages on how you feel about them. Use your words carefully and say "thank you" even it they did something you felt they SHOULD be doing. I don't know many people that LOVE taking out the garbage or some of the other household tasks but somehow these are not things that get recognized often. If someone doesn't do something you expected and wanted them to do -- talk to them kindly and request it instead of making an off-handed negative comment. These little things contribute to how someone perceives the relationship. Treat your significant other like your best friend -- they are after all, aren't they?

These are what I believe to be the top tips for staying in love. Ray and I have been through tough times and let it make us stronger through constant communication and through facing things as a team. We have nurtured interests we enjoy separately as well as things we love to do together. We love to hug and be affectionate and we are honest with each other. We work out our differences after contemplation and sometimes agree to disagree. We make sure to not only tell each other we love each other but to talk about future goals as well as lessons we have learned from the past. We do and say nice things to show our gratitude and respect for each other. I would like to hear some more ways that you have seen yourself or others stay in love for a long time. There is no better feeling in the world!


Monday, January 28, 2008

Pharmaceutical Companies Spend Double on Ads than they do on Research

I was not surprised when I read the latest study by Marc-André Gagnon and Joel Lexchin saying that Pharmaceutical Companies spent twice on advertising than they did on research last year but it nevertheless sickened me. Maybe it's too fresh in my mind, the way my doctors used to try and get me to "try this new drug" or "that new drug" for pain, sleep and depression (even though I was not depressed). Funnily enough they were usually the ones being advertised on TV at the same time (Oh those relaxing Lunesta commercials...). Maybe I am annoyed because I rarely decide to watch TV and now I cannot even relax for one show because of the non-stop drug ads. Perhaps I am upset because I thought that the point of a pharmaceutical company was to actually research cures for dis-ease instead of being greedy and trying to market medicines to people that don't even need them.

Whatever the reason(s) for my contempt the fact remains as Gagnon and Lexchin point out in their study that US Pharmaceutical companies last year spent $31.5 BILLION on research and development and (an under-estimated amount of) $57.7 BILLION on advertising. WHY? Because as I point out in my posts:


It has been a LONG time since people's health was the primary concern of the Big Pharmaceutical Companies. Greed and money making is now #1.

My question is why did it become allowed for pharmaceutical companies to advertise at all? Smoking cigarettes can help some people to relax but they banned those ads because of the negative health effects. Somehow it is okay to advertise a pill that can do just as much damage. Half the time the issue/problem at hand is mentioned for 1-2 seconds in the beginning of the commercial and the rest of the time is spent on how good this pill will make you feel and on the numerous side-effects (spoken in a quiet but happy voice). Another interesting point is that drug ads are illegal in every country except America and New Zealand as stated on Dr. Mercola's site.

Sorry, I am confused. I thought when you were ill or feeling badly you sought out a doctor and they would do tests, talk to you, analyze results and THEN recommend treatment which may or may not involve a prescription. I know times have changed but at what cost? Does it really benefit ANYONE to see these commercials? Are there people with illnesses at home waiting for the right drug ad to come on so they can call their doctor for a prescription? I think it is time people start to say they don't want to see these ads. I personally would rather the drug companies spend their money researching cancer and other illnesses and coming up with ways to treat those illnesses. I don't need to see an ad to know if I am sick and need treatment. Half of the medicines I was put on have now been recalled or are under serious scrutiny. Maybe if they had spent the time on researching long-term effects instead of launching their new ad campaigns there would be fewer drugs being recalled. My mom is ill with a cancer that has few treatment options and I would MUCH rather they spent the money on research for that. I don't want or need to sit through ANY more drugs commercials!

When I sought out a naturopath in my community he told me how medical practice had changed dramatically in the last 25 years. He recounted that he used to get monthly binders filled with the latest medical research. He said instead he now received binders filled with advertisements and incentives for prescribing the latest pharmaceuticals. He told me the binders had between 1%-5% of articles on research and 95%-99% incentives and advertisements -- he even got out a binder to prove his point. So not only are pharmaceutical companies actively advertising in the media but they are romancing doctors with promises and rewards.

The most important thing for you to do is to be aware of all treatment options for any illness. Be aware of natural ways to heal. Be conscious of your thoughts and what toll your emotional health is playing on your physical health. Get a doctor that knows of all treatment options. Visit sites like those of Dr. Mercola and Dr. Deepak Chopra. Get informed and take charge of your health and encourage those around you to do the same. If you need to find a holistic doctor in your area use this search. I am always available for more research possibilities and information. Obviously this is an area I am passionate about. I don't mean any disrespect to the people out there that are researching and developing pharmaceuticals with good intentions. There are of course good people working at pharmaceutical companies as well. But somehow priorities got skewed and greed won out and I am hoping that I see things shift back and will do whatever I can to make that happen.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Reading and a GREAT Recommendation -- Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Reading has always been a hobby of mine. My father taught me how to read when I was 2 years old and I have loved it ever since. 36 years later I cannot even begin to count the number of books I have read. If I had to estimate I would guess thousands. I have mentioned how WHAT I have been reading has changed dramatically since I began my healing process. I used to read hardboiled detective novels with tons of violence and then there were the headlines that always sucked me in on the internet or in newspapers. It is very important you are cognizant of WHAT you are reading and how it affects you. I touched on this in my post "Is the media you are surrounding yourself with hurting or helping you?" and I give some recommendations of GREAT positive blogs to read in my post "Excellence Award".

Since last January I have immersed myself in law of attraction and mind/body connection books. I also read tons of personal development, spiritual and health blogs and e-books. I have had "Eat, Pray, Love" recommended to me no less than 10 times. My stepmother (and wonderful artist) Darcy Lynn told me she loved it and thought it was the kind of book I would really enjoy. I STILL didn't listen. Then my mom got me a copy for Christmas and I said "OK -- I think I am meant to read this book".

"Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert has gotten a lot of press since Oprah really enjoyed it and had Elizabeth Gilbert on her show AND it was a #1 NY Times Bestseller. What IS all this hubbub about and is it worth it? Yes! "Eat, Pray, Love" won my heart on page 1 and was a book I was very sad to see end and have to put down. It is the true story of Liz's awakening to the fact she did not want to be married anymore or have children that ultimately led to her journey through Italy (eat), India (pray) and Indonesia (love). She spent 4 months in each place finding herself, exploring and learning.

Elizabeth Gilbert speaks to the reader as a friend and has you laughing and sharing her most intimate thoughts. She doesn't hold back at all and you experience her growth as you also laugh out loud with her self-deprecating and hilarious comments. Through her book I learned that I want to delve much more into meditation and BOY do I want more travel in my life. I will definitely be looking more into Elizabeth Gilbert's other books and be looking forward to her next autobiographical tale coming out in 2009.

Reading can be so therapeutic when you pick the right material to read. I still love fiction and know I will always read some of my favorite fictional authors as well as keep a look out for new ones. It is also feels amazing to educate myself and read books that I would have sworn I had no interest in ten years ago. Reading has helped so much in my life. When I was ill there were a lot of times that a good book was the only way to transport myself and not be solely concentrating on my pain. Janet Evanovich's 'Stephanie Plum" series made me laugh even in my worst pain. Most of the books I read while I was ill transported me but were dark and didn't really help to elevate my mood. Newspapers, headlines and books about my illnesses did not help me feel any better or to heal.

Reading or listening to audio books (how my husband and I went through the WHOLE Harry Potter series more times than I care to admit) are a great way to relax, unwind, learn and rejuvenate. Choose what you will read carefully because what you read will affect your mood. If you only read the news you are getting tons of negative messages a day and that can affect your health as well. I highly recommend "Eat Pray Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert and will be continuing to recommend inspiring books to read as I find them. If you have any you think I would enjoy and would like to see reviewed -- please tell me about them. Happy reading!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Thank you Edward Mills -- Vision Board Results

Thanks so much to Edward Mills at Evolving Times! Not only did you inspire me to actually MAKE a vision board but I am lucky enough to have won your contest as well! Please go check out the entries and results of Edward's Vision Board Invitational. There were truly amazing ones and they do make for good motivation and inspiration to do one of your own. I made mine with friends and my kids and had a great time doing it. Edward also includes lots of great posts telling you different ways to make a vision board. Thanks Edward, I really look forward to doing the Simpleology Courses and am very grateful for winning.

When the Student is Ready -- the Teacher Will Come

I have heard the above quote so many times in my life and at least ten times in the last week. Okay Universe -- I am listening and this is a WONDERFUL topic for me -- thank you! This quote is so true and I love reflecting back on how this was integral in my healing. It continues to be true and a part of my growth. As I learn more I become more open and the opportunities to keep receiving knowledge continue to present themselves from various "teachers".

While ill I was resentful, felt "why me", was a victim of my illnesses and I let myself be defined by my illnesses. I was Jenny -- "the chronically ill and chronically in pain mommy". I THOUGHT I was helping myself by going to forums to learn more about my illnesses and to bond with other people with similar conditions. I was reading books constantly about suffering, chronic illnesses and disease. I was looking into medical research being done on my conditions. I was also researching what ELSE my diseases would lead to. I talked to people who had my conditions much longer than I had them and used them to judge how I would be ten years down the line. I assumed I would be on JUST as many medications as they were and my body would probably start to get very heavy from the medications and the lack of exercise because I would be unable to move. I totally pictured my life as the doctors and others with illnesses said it would be; depressing, limited mobility, most likely in a wheelchair and with tons of pain. I received the pain and misery in abundance.

I had fought taking pain killers and anti-depressants for years because I did not want to be a mommy on pills and driving my kids around while under the influence of pain pills. I grew up in New York City and had seen my fair share of addiction and it was always something I was paranoid about. In college when I smoked cigarettes I would make myself stop for a few weeks "to prove I could" and there was never a doubt in my mind that after college I would be a non-smoker. My pain worsened and while I was able to still hold out from taking anti-depressants I started taking pain killers and feeling guilty about it the whole time. Part of me was still yelling at myself that I should be able to get on with life without them but the truth was I could barely get out of bed without them. I was passing out in the shower from pain, crying daily in agony and taking the pain pills did allow me to get on with my day and "get stuff done". Honestly they made me feel high on life -- like anything was possible, the pain was gone or minimal and I was hyper and full of energy for 4 hours -- then I would crash and face the moral dilemma of "Do I take another one or two so I can function or do I wallow in my pain?" I WANTED to feel better and was feeling more and more guilty about the pain pills (especially as my daily dosage needs were increasing) but was told by doctors this was how my life was going to be. The more pills I took the more guilty I felt and the more I was wishing there was an alternative.

My yoga-dance teacher was the first to tell me about Susan Sark. She knew I loved writing poetry and journaling and was surprised that I had not heard of her. I put a few of her books on my amazon wish list and received them as birthday gifts August 2006. From the moment I picked up her first book, "Succulent Wild Woman" I loved Sark's writing and it resonated. I also received "Sark's Journal and Playbook" where she gives ideas on WHAT to write about. I had journaled on and off throughout my life but in the last few years writing had just become a means for me to vent. I would go back through my journals and find that it was one complaint and horror health story after another. Sark showed me there are a lot of OTHER things to write about! She talks about her survival of sibling incest and how journaling helped her to heal. She tells you to write down friends that you are grateful for, favorite books, dreams, favorite inspiring things, "gorgeous moments" and oh so many more!. She became my first teacher in healing and I believe put me in the right space to receive my next teacher.

When my husband bought me "The Secret" for Christmas 2006 I was very happy to receive it. My good friend Alissa had been telling me about it for months and I really was excited to watch it. After watching it there was not a doubt in my mind that I would heal myself. How was it possible I had a BA in psychology, had taken graduate classes in psychology and had never heard of the Law of Attraction? I watched "The Secret" a few times and knew it was a turning point in my life and that I needed to gain more information. I started with the people who really resonated with me throughout the movie which led to me also wanting to learn more about the mind/body connection. The more I wanted to learn the more opportunities and teachers presented themselves. I considered Dr. Deepak Chopra a wonderful teacher through his books, audios and videos and ingested as much information as possible. Dr. Wayne Dyer also became a very important teacher to me as I poured through his books, videos and audios.

I started to heal so quickly it did seem like a miracle to me. Shifts were happening daily and I was amazed at how quickly some of my habits changed (of course some took a little longer ;-)). I decided I would write an e-book on my experience and I also decided it was time to start learning about the internet again so I could market my e-book. I knew I wanted to get my message out to others and that I wanted to help others to do what I did. I quickly found the FREE internet marketing course the thirty day challenge and my love of blogging was born. I started blogging as a means to sell my e-book but quickly realized it was MUCH more than that. I LOVED writing, I LOVED communicating with people about my passions (healing naturally and non-violent computer games for kids), I loved that I was now entering a field where learning constantly about how to better myself would be integral to my success, I loved the people I met from the start and I KNEW I had found what I wanted to be when I grew up! ;-)

Now I find teachers often in the blogs I read regularly and the new ones they lead me to or that I find. My mind is opening up to more and more possibilities and I have few if any self-limiting beliefs. I still have a ways to go in a lot of areas in my life -- I'm still a RECOVERING perfectionist, hope to develop a steady exercise plan that sticks, want to learn tons more on meditation and quieting my mind and have other areas that "need work". The best thing is I am READY for my teachers now. I am open and ready to receive and am so excited at the prospect of learning even more than I have over the last year.

Let's look back -- so if I had not been so ready for receiving Sark, I probably would not have been in the right place to receive "The Secret", which led to my healing through reading Dr. Chopra and Dr. Dyer among others, which led to me wanting to write and discovering the GREAT teachers of the thirty day challenge, which led me right here where I am now... thoroughly enjoying writing, empowering others and learning every day how to be a better person and live an even MORE fulfilling life. It is easy to see how once I was ready the teachers did come and continue to. I am so grateful for every step of the way and am so excited to see where I will go.

My life in 2007 was spectacular. I grew more spiritually and intellectually than I ever had in any other (or maybe even ALL all of my 38 accumulative) years. You need to open yourself up and be ready to learn for the teachers to present themselves. Are YOU ready for a teacher? What self-limiting beliefs do you have that you can start to work on getting rid of? What do you feel you could do to help you be more ready to receive? Once you start receiving it just leads to more goodness and more knowledge and teachers presenting themselves.... Thank you to all my teachers who enabled me to get where I am today -- my heart is truly filled with gratitude and love. I cannot tell you what it means to be healthy and feel the Universe is listening and ready to present me even more knowledge and teachers! I am so willing and grateful to receive!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Prescription Drugs Are Dangerous -- Time to Look At Alternative Methods to Heal

I was saddened when I read the latest featured article on Dr. Mercola's site but at the same time was very happy to see the issue over the dangers of prescription drugs finally getting the publicity it so urgently needs. This country has gotten very used to popping a pill whenever anything feels a little out of whack with their body instead of investigating WHY they feel that way. Dr. Christopher Kent wrote a wonderful article, "Recreational Drugs are FAR Less Likely to Kill You Than Prescribed Drugs" that I HIGHLY recommend everyone read!

While I wrote a post, "Prescription Drugs Numb Pain but DO Not Heal Pain", I think the above article goes WAY deeper into the dangers of relying on one doctor's opinion of what medications you NEED. The number of adverse drug-reactions causing hospitalizations and deaths, the number of unnecessary antibiotics and other medications being prescribed annually and the number of unnecessary medical and surgical procedures are growing at an alarming rate (each are in the millions -- for more info and exact numbers please read Dr. Kent's article)! The US medical system needs a total overhaul and quickly before these numbers get even worse.

Prescription Drugs are now the #4 recorded cause of death in the US. When you read Dr. Kent's article you will see that if you include all the figures it is actually #1. I am not saying ALL prescription medicines are bad -- there have been GREAT advances in medicine in the last 20 years that I am grateful for and that I have seen my friends and family greatly benefit from. The problem is in the way we tend to look at medicine in this country -- as a cure-all and a fail safe -- which it definitely IS NOT. Your body has a self healing system already in it -- if you fall and scrape yourself does that wound stay open forever? If you get a cold or the flu are you left coughing for the rest of your life? How come our parents and grandparents didn't "NEED" medicine for everything that ailed them and they got by just fine? What about the fact that a lot of prescription drugs have side-effects that sometimes make you feel even worse than your original ailment did? What about the fact that a LOT of these drugs haven't even been researched long enough to know what the "long-term" effects are, which is causing more drugs than even to be recalled?

I watched TV last night (a rare occasion for me) and was appalled that the number of prescription drug ads has grown exponentially. "Get back your energy", "end constipation", "get back your virility", "cure reflux", "cut cholesterol", "sleep better".... all of these ads showed attractive people smiling happily even as the announcer lists the long list of "possible reactions"..... stomach cramps, headaches, nausea, seizures and let's not forget "occasional death". All say contact your doctor for more information but none say "contact your doctor for ALL possible options for your problem including this drug" -- it is obviously just an ad to sell you their drug through your doctor and in short - -make money.

Prescription drugs need to be taken with care and to be monitored. If I am offered any medication now I would go get a second opinion AND make sure at least one of those doctors KNOW about integrative medicine and offer alternatives. I would also research the medication and the long term effects myself as much as I could online. I switched from a doctor that wanted me on SEVERE Pain Medication for my pain and illnesses to a doctor that asks me if I am meditating.... there is a HUGE discrepancy in the doctors and how they practice in the US. Make sure you and your loved ones have good doctors that know about ALL methods of healing and treatment.

We need to start concentrating on our mind's ailments and things we have not worked through before we start popping pills to cure ALL of our physical maladies. I was in SEVERE chronic pain EVERY DAY for over 2 years. I was ill and visiting SEVERAL doctors every week for over 6 years -- not once did someone mention natural ways that I could feel better. I had every pill imaginable offered to me as well as test after test, diagnosis and diagnosis and even was told I would only get worse, to "manage my pain" and that I would "most likely be in a wheelchair". I KNOW how powerful the mind is because I LIVED it and HEALED myself. It will always be my proudest accomplishment. I reclaimed my life and now feel healthier and happier than I ever did.

I did not consciously choose to be ill. It certainly was not "all in my head" because the pain was as real as the desk I am sitting at now. When you don't deal with "stuff" in your life and stop to REALLY listen to yourself -- your body will show signs of dis-ease. Are you still harboring guilt about a situation? Do you blame someone for something that you feel drastically changed your life for the worse? Do you have very low self esteem? Are you angry a lot? Do you have a "bad memory" you keep replaying in your mind? These all cause stress and are warning signs that a dis-ease or pain might be on it's way if you are not ill or in pain already. These are issues that can be dealt with and should be dealt with in order for you to be healthy and to grow.

There are TONS of ways to research for free online about ways to heal if you can't find a doctor that knows about alternative or complimentary methods. It did not cost me a penny to find out all the information I received that I used to heal myself. Friends and loved ones did buy me some requested books but I could have easily had gotten them out of the local library. I recommend Dr. Mercola's site and Dr. Deepak Chopra's site as well for information. There are TONS of personal development sites (Priscilla Palmer's List is a GREAT place to start) that offer tools on how to deal with past issues that might be plaguing your mind.

My e-book tells of the methods I adopted to heal myself... and if you cannot afford it but feel you would benefit from it -- email me.... I want to help as many people as I can heal from the inside and am available and willing to help. I am not a doctor so cannot advise on weaning off of ANY medication and certain medications you will need a doctor's assistance to wean yourself off of. I am not saying my methods will work for everyone for every disease AT ALL but I believe you need to be the healthiest you can be naturally and use prescribed medications only as absolutely necessary. I am on coumadin (a blood thinner) and have been told I will be on that for the rest of my life. It controls the thickness of my blood so I don't suffer from another blood clot. I am not convinced I will be on it forever but I know just stopping it would be reckless and put my body at risk. There ARE certain medicines that are necessary and beneficial.

I've written a bunch of other posts relating to this issue:

Holistic Doctor Search in the US
Study Shows Chronic Pain Can Be Healed By Natural Means
Having a Good Doctor is Indispensable in Your Quest to Heal Pain
Michael Moore's "Sicko"

A lot of my other posts deal with ways I used to heal my whole self inside and out. Exercise and fitness is needed as well as some mental housecleaning. It seems overwhelming to address issues that cause stress but the only way to let go of that stress is to face them head on. If you need a counselor or coach to do this -- by all means ask someone or find someone to help. Being on any "Extra" medications that are not NECESSARY for your health is detrimental to your health. It doesn't take long to start to feel the benefits of healing..... If you feel you are missing something in your life I just read an amazing post by Alex Blackwell at The Next 45 Years, "The Missing Piece". There are tons of GREAT articles and resources to be found... first you have to ask yourself some tough questions and actually LISTEN to the answers to start on your way to healing from the inside out.

Please, stop and think about ALL the medications you are taking. Do you reach for a pain killer after an extra stressful day? Is there any other method you can use to relax and feel better? I ask that if you use prescription drugs you are first as healthy as you can be without them, that you are knowledgeable about them and their effects and that you have a doctor that is monitoring you on them that you are totally comfortable with.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Time -- Are you Making the Most out of Yours?

I was guilty for SO long of saying "but there's no time". I still struggle with it but have to say I have gotten a whole lot better after finishing Tim Ferriss' "The Four Hour Workweek". It also helps having gentle reminders from the audio-book version of "The Secret". Time Management was my resolution for 2008. Now I am fine tuning EXACTLY WHAT that means and how I can use it to make time for my work, my family and friends and most importantly my physical and mental well-being because without that I am no good to anyone else!

I have "The Secret" on audio on my IPOD. I usually use the IPOD shuffle option in the car so I never know what songs, podcasts or audios will come on. Lately it seems whenever I am getting un-mindful a cut from "The Secret" will come on and bring me back to where I need to be. My favorite experience with this was when I had just dropped my daughter off at school and felt the timer ticking. OK, I thought, "so I need to go grocery shopping, unpack groceries, eat something, swap laundry, write a blog post, research something for my invention, read emails and be back to pick her up in T-minus 3 Hours". I felt that uncomfortable lurch in my stomach as I thought something surely will have to be sacrificed -- but what? Then a track from The Secret came on and I knew it would be the Universe trying to tell me something so I turned the volume up. It was all about hurrying and time. Rhonda Burns in her beautiful accent talking about how if we say we are in such a rush time moves faster. If we are present and say "we have loads of time" time will move slower. I smiled and immediately turned my self talk into "I am so grateful I have so much time to do all the things I want to accomplish today -- I KNOW I will get done what HAS to be done". I don't think I even need to tell you the rest -- but it did seem magical... There was no line at the grocery store, I made every light, when I sat down at my computer I KNEW what I would write about -- not only that but I got ideas for 2 other future blog posts in the process, I ate a healthy snack, swapped laundry, the research I needed was easily available and my emails were all easily answered.... I had done everything I had set out to do and still had 10 minutes to sit and be grateful for all that I had accomplished! There is no doubt in my mind if I had said "I'm so stressed -- I am NOT going to get all this done" that it wouldn't have gotten done.

Being in the right frame of mind and visualizing your day working out ahead of you is so powerful. This is one of the tools I am using to make sure I do have the time for everything. When you are negative your thoughts are jumbled, you are frazzled, you can easily get distracted. When you are positive things just "work out" and it is much easier to focus on the task at hand.

When I was ill my CONSTANT message to myself was "I don't have the time or energy for anything that needs to be done". Guess what? The Universe answered my request with abundance!

Tim Ferriss' book "The Four Hour Workweek" has also played a HUGE part in my time management skills. As I demonstrated in my previous story -- my lists are long and they used to be just a jumbled list of tasks. Now I set 3 essential tasks for each day and do them. I also check email FAR less frequently and shut off notifiers when I am doing a crucial task. At any time I could list 30 things "I should do" but some of those things can sit and some of those things need not even be put on a list... they'll get done WHEN they get done. In the above example I could have cut out laundry and eating as "tasks" because when I am hungry I will get up and get myself something to eat (my computer IS IN the kitchen) and laundry is never crucial. Emails can wait a few hours 99% of the time as Tim Ferriss points out (actually I think he'd say 100% of the time). ; ) I could have said I need to get groceries, get a blog post up and do invention research -- these are my 3 crucial tasks. Instead I was making my lists long with unnecessary items, listing every detail in the tasks which made my list longer (ex. get and unpack groceries), and not highlighting the things that were the most important.

Tim Ferriss offers a lot of tips through how he lives his life and runs his businesses. I LOVED the book and got a lot out of it. I looked at what 20% of my time was the most productive and copied that and eliminated a lot of the 80% of time-wasting tasks.... No, I can't outsource my blog posts nor would I want to -- I love writing and this is a personal journey to me. (Tim Ferriss talks a lot about all the benefits of out-sourcing work). I won't be taking my 2 kids out of school to travel the world on a whim any time soon -- although I will be incorporating travel into our lives more now that my youngest turns 5 soon and it's gotten MUCH easier. (Tim Ferriss also does A LOT of traveling). It is the way Tim Ferriss looks at life that makes him so different and allows you to think differently about your own life and what you can do to gain more hours in a day. As with any book, you take what resonates within and apply it to your life and appreciate the rest for what it is. Tim Ferriss is a fascinating person and I have passed the book onto my husband who is enjoying it as much as I did. I highly recommend reading it.

It is so easy to feel overwhelmed and feel like "there's no time" but in fact when we think like that we are MAKING it so. Focus, set only a few daily crucial tasks and tell yourself there is PLENTY of time. Ever notice how if you stare at a stop light WAITING for it to change impatiently it seems like you are there forever? But if you change your focus to the song on the radio, the scenery around you or a pleasant thought -- the wait seems like it didn't even exist. This goes back to my favorite quote by Dr. Wayne Dyer, "When you Change the Way you Look at Things the Things you Look at Change". Indeed they do, just as when I looked at my health instead of concentrating all of my energies on my sickness that began to shift. In 2008, I have decided that time is yet another way in which I am abundant!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Happy Birthday Aaron Potts

I have been reading Aaron Pott's blog Today is That Day since I started exploring the blogosphere in August. His writing is inspiring, he always has positive things to say and is a really great person as well as being such a phenomenal writer. His friends at his wonderful social network Personal Development Partners are getting together to show Aaron our appreciation and wish him a very happy birthday. I am grateful to be able to send birthday wishes to Aaron and to give him this tiny gift of appreciation for all I have learned by reading his writings. Happy Birthday Aaron -- here's a little poem for you:

Happy Birthday
to Aaron Potts of
Today is That Day.
Thank you
for helping so many
people find their way.

Your writing is
genuine, funny,
interesting and smart.
You show that success and happiness
are within reach for everyone
and offer the tools for how to start.

You started a new kind of
social network;
the inspirational PDP.
Where conversations and the atmosphere
flow comfortably
like good friends talking and sipping tea.

You also offer
free and useful products
for all of your Thought Leaders.
The value of these
e-books and material
could turn anyone into a "reader".

Then there are the 3 other blogs
Fitness Destinations, The 3 Alchemists
and The Information Underload...
How do you do it Aaron?
If I wrote this much
surely my brain or computer would explode!

As I have gotten to know you
You have shown you don't
just have an incredible mind.
You enjoy your family,
your friends and meeting others and
are extraordinarily kind.

You not only write
on how to be a success
but you lead by all that you do.
I wish you the most
wonderful birthday Aaron
no one deserves it more than you!

Friday, January 11, 2008

How to LOVE Spending Time by Yourself

I find it hard to believe that I ever looked at time alone as a "bad thing" but when I was ill and in pain I definitely did. I read a lot but if I was ever alone for an extended period of time (we're talking a few hours since I have a husband and 2 young children it is never longer than that) I would feel lonely and just wind up in a sad state. Looking back I can see it was my chronic pain, "monkey mind", negative self-talk and lack of self-love that made me feel this way.

If you are ill, in pain or if you are in emotional turmoil of some kind -- time alone can be a scary thing. I was always wondering how the next batch of medical tests would come out, concentrating on "how bad I felt" or I was feeling badly about whatever I was "missing out on". I got so caught up in the negatives that unless I "escaped" by means of a fictional novel for hours -- I was actually in worse shape when my family got home.

There were a bunch of things I did that now make me not only LOVE my time alone but CRAVE it if I go too long without! If you dread time alone or just want more ideas for what to do the next time you get some alone time to have a great time -- here are a few things you can do that will make you LOVE and look forward to your time by yourself.

Express Gratitude and Proclaim Your Self Love
I have written about the importance of gratitude and it is still an integral part of my feeling well every day. When ill or in a negative emotional state it seems easy to worry or think about the "bad" things but what a difference it makes when you turn those thoughts around. Stop, be conscious of WHAT you are thinking and DECIDE to list the things and people you are grateful for. Then list the accomplishments or qualities in yourself that you are proud of. This puts you in a MUCH better frame of mind to decide how you will spend the rest of your alone time. It was difficult for me to find positive things to say about myself in the beginning but even things like "I try my best to be a GREAT mom, I can cook, I can dance....." ANYTHING at all you can think of -- the list will just grow as time, your self confidence and your self-love increases.

MEDITATION
My favorite guided meditation, Dr. Deepak Chopra's "Soul of Healing Meditations" is still very powerful for me. Deepak's voice is calming as he has you focusing on what you are grateful for and also guides you through exercises that can show you just how powerful the mind is over the body. Whether you use a guided meditation or enjoy the quiet, take breaths and calm your monkey mind -- meditation is a great way to become conscious and relax.

LISTEN TO MUSIC
Whether it is calming meditative music or music that makes you get up and shake your body -- music can dramatically affect your mood. Do you have music that makes you happy easily available? Now with all the radio stations online and free services such as Pandora you can make sure there is always music you like ready to play. Meditative music can definitely calm my monkey mind at times and put me in a good state but I usually benefit more from putting on some upbeat music and DANCING! Paula Kawal has a GREAT post called "Just Shake It: An Unconventional Way to Shift States". Thank you Albert of The Urban Monk for introducing me to Paula's great blog!

EXERCISE
I have written on how walks heal me and this is still so true -- fresh air can work wonders! I think it is impossible for me to come back from a walk not totally invigorated. I have also used the alone time to put on an exercise video or watch an exercise program on TV. Whether it's gentle yoga stretches, 10 minute abs or a hip hop dance class -- exercising always gets my mood in a wonderful place.

WRITE
This is a biggie for me because my writing styles and habits have changed so dramatically over the years. I have always written in a journal and written poetry. After college and especially during my illnesses the journal writing became more like a verbal spewing when I wasn't feeling great and I was just writing out all the negative things affecting me. Thanks to Susan Sark I look at journaling MUCH differently now. Write about the GOOD stuff. Write out your gratitude list. Write down your top 10 songs. Write about your top happy memories. Write out your goals. No one can write about your life and "your story" like you can. If you write these things down you can later read them and get further inspiration.

Take Up a Hobby/Learn Something New
I wrote about this in my last post so won't rehash it all.... But it is SO wonderful to feel your self-esteem grow while you are gaining knowledge in something that interests you. I have had friends take up knitting and every different ethnicity of cooking. I have tried a myriad of different activities such as belly dancing, yoga, Indian cooking and MANY more. I love reading to educate myself on topics I am interested in such as the mind/body connection instead of JUST using reading as an "escape". There is absolutely nothing wrong with reading something light to make you laugh or that you enjoy but there is something very valuable and rewarding in reading for education on something you love. I try and do a fair amount of fictional and non-fictional reading now and I also listen to audio books.

Exercise your Mind -- Play Puzzles or Games
We seem to always hear about the fact that you should get in the habit of exercising our bodies but what about our minds? It has been proven that doing crosswords, sudoku and similar puzzles will in fact sharpen your mind and keep it young. There are so many great sites online to print puzzles out (my favorite is Conceptis Puzzles) and there are also systems like the Nintendo DS that offer games like Brain Age to train your brain in memory, logic and cognition. My other blog is on kid's computer game recommendations (you'll find some adult recommendations there as well) so games and puzzles are very close to my heart. I love the feeling after I finish a particularly hard Sudoku puzzle! It feels like my brain got a work out!

De-Clutter
Do you have a drawer that always seems to magically get full with miscellaneous stuff? Are your kid's toys taking over the house? Do you still have your favorite jeans from high school because you know you'll be that size again at SOME POINT? Cleansing and de-cluttering are VERY healing. Put on some music so you can sing along as you do it and watch the time fly. Throw out unneeded stuff and make piles to donate or put on ebay. You'll feel SO good when it is over and you look at the area you cleansed.

So I've mentioned a FEW things you can do to enjoy the time with yourself. Here's what NOT to do:

Don't watch/listen to the news
The news is 99.9% BAD NEWS. It's great to be knowledgeable with what is going on around you but to sit and watch and listen to for more than 5 minutes is ALWAYS depressing. Instead try making your influences positive. When I wrote about positive influences a friend from Zaadz left a comment telling me about a GREAT site to bookmark 'Happy News" which is just as it sounds.

Don't feel lonely
Feeling lonely can lead to you feeling depressed and your thoughts spiraling downward. If you REALLY want to be around people and don't want to be alone -- do it. Call an old friend. Visit a positive social networking site. If you are feeling you need human contact -- don't torture yourself -- there are tons of ways to reach out and there are times when we simply need and want human contact. Sometimes a 10 minute conversation with a good friend can totally change your mood and you'll feel more positive as you get off the phone and feel more willing to try something else.

I am empowered now BECAUSE I showed myself where my strengths and passions lie and am nurturing them. I have shown myself I am worthy of my own love and can do LOTS of things when I have time alone. I make sure to show gratitude no matter what my mood -- remember just being able to wake up and experience another day is a reason to be grateful! I not only enjoy time by myself now but always seem to be wanting more of it! When you are good company for yourself and gain self-love you are GREAT company for others as well.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Experience the Joy in Learning Something New -- Find Your Passion!

I grew up in NYC where I was fortunate enough to have tons of opportunities to try different activities. My parents introduced me to everything from dance, guitar lessons, acting classes, swimming lessons and anything else they could come up with for me to try. I am the same way with my children and if they show an interest in ANYTHING I will sign them up. I feel experiencing these things is the only way you will know if you have that passion for them.

So what is it about when we become adults that stops a lot of us from trying new things or educating ourselves in something new? Fear of failure? Fear of how we'll look doing something new? Fear of the unknown? How will you know what you are passionate about if you don't try a myriad of things? The only way you can excel at anything is learning about it, practicing and accepting that there will probably be some set-backs along the way.

Because my parents led by example I still have the drive to try new things. My father was taking new lessons over age 40 including tennis, tango and guitar lessons. If I hear of something and it holds an interest -- I want to pursue it to know if it IS a passion or something I want to learn more about.

After college, my friend Alissa and I took belly dancing together and had a BLAST. I've taken yoga, trance dance and a plethora of other dance/exercise classes. When I moved upstate NY I took up cross country skiing because I knew I would need to see the light of day in the long winters. I knew I'd probably fall and not have any kind of form WHATSOEVER but the point was to get out and try it -- and guess what -- I fell in love! When I saw "The Secret" I knew I had to learn about the Law of Attraction and the Mind/Body Connection and it resonated within me that THIS was something I was MEANT to learn about and experience.

Then -- there's inventing. I have had my idea for the last 5 years and only in the last 2 1/2 have I worked steadily on it and I have been amazed at all I have learned and experienced. I started off knowing NOTHING about inventing except that it interested me. I won't say I am an expert or a Stephen Key by ANY means now but I can tell you I have learned far more than I ever imagined I would. I have had TONS of set-backs but am still going strong. Thomas Edison's quote that "Inventing is 1% Inspiration and 99% Perspiration" rings VERY true to me!

When I was ill and in chronic pain I had my moments of wanting to give up on the inventing because it was "too hard" or "too much work". Since I have healed and studied the Law of Attraction I don't experience those feelings anymore. I know you have to fail in order to learn and progress. I have my goal of seeing this through and giving up won't make that happen. Priscilla Palmer wrote a great post on How Your Goals are Always Manifesting. I won't say I don't get disappointed when something doesn't happen the way I wanted to. I just choose not to dwell on it. It helps TREMENDOUSLY knowing there was a REASON things went the way they did and it helps to ask myself what I learned from the experience and will do differently next time.

The best thing about learning something new is the self confidence boost you get if you look back and see how far you have come! If I had never pursued inventing I would probably be kicking myself and wondering "what if?". Do I know if my invention will be manufactured and make me tons of money? I sure hope so and that is my intention and goal but if it doesn't that will be OK too. I do know I have learned priceless lessons in something that interested me for a long time and I will be MUCH better prepared to pursue my NEXT invention.

If I had not pursued learning more about the Law of Attraction and the mind/body connection after seeing "The Secret" it is probable that I would still be in pain instead of the feeling the best I have felt in over 20 YEARS! I would not have found BLOGGING if I was not physically well enough to take an internet marketing course..... Following one interest can easily lead to discovering a new one. Blogging is a GREAT love for me and I am SO grateful that I have the opportunity to write as often as I do about subjects that I am passionate about! If you pursue an interest and it doesn't resonate with you that is OK as well because at least you can say you have tried it and not continue to wonder.

What have you always wanted to learn more about or try? A language? An instrument? Indian Cooking? An exercise class? A sport? Writing poetry? What makes your heart beat with excitement when you think about it? NOW is the time to explore it further. There are TONS of resources online for learning new things. If you live near a college there are usually inexpensive exercise/dance classes available. (I took 1 1/2 hour yoga-dance classes for $5/class). There are libraries EVERYWHERE -- take out books to learn more! Just go for it and feel the joy within when you learn and experience something new! Find YOUR passion!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Vision Boards

The first time I heard of a Vision Board was in the movie "The Secret". A Vision Board is a collage filled with images, words and phrases with what you are hoping to be, achieve and have. It goes along with The Law of Attraction in that in order to manifest your desires you should have a clear picture of the goals in your mind. The thought being if you have your vision board somewhere you can see it every day those things will be ingrained (consciously and subconsciously) and you will manifest them.

Thanks to Edward Mills from Evolving Times and his "Vision Board Invitational" I made a vision board this weekend. After cross country skiing with my girlfriends they came back to my house and the 4 of us, my son and my friend Angela's son sat down and made really great vision boards. My daughter (4 1/2) started making one but Michael Jackson's "Thriller" came on and dancing to that seemed to be her priority! ; ) We had a fun time doing it and I highly recommend it as a way to focus on setting goals. It is fun to do as a group because as you are looking through magazines you see pictures and words that might be good for someone else. Also the energy is GREAT when you have a few people all focusing on goals and what GOOD THINGS are in the future.

Before sitting down to do the vision board I did some research online. Besides the Edward Mill's post on vision boards which is great I found Christine Kane's post , "How to Make a Vision Board" that tells of 3 different kinds you can make. You don't need many supplies and you WILL feel GREAT after completing one!

I chose to make a vision board that focus's on 3 of my main intentions for the year. Success financially by means of my invention being licensed which in turn will lead to more vacations, time with family and home improvements. I also chose a lot of words and phrases that resonated as to WHO I want to be. I chose images that I associate with success and what I intend to do when the money starts pouring in. ; ) Oprah is my hero in that as MUCH as she does (TV, radio, magazines, etc.) she stays real to who she is and is always helping people. For me that is what success is all about. You find your passions, find creative ways to make money doing what you love and then give back and inspire others. I can't think of anything better than that! Yes, blue drinks by a pool with my family sounds awesome as well. But it is so important not to just spend and enjoy your wealth for your own well being but to spread it around and help others.

I had such a great time with this project. I see doing this yearly as a way to keep on track with my goals and to keep setting intentions. Thank you Edward Mills for inspiring me to take action and spend the time making a vision board with my family and friends. Edward is offering prizes for the Vision Board Invitational -- all you need to do is go to Evolving Times to find out more and submit your vision board before January 14, 2008.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Are you Listening to Your Self-Talk?

I have written about self-talk a bunch of times because it was such an integral part of me healing myself. I was on auto-pilot for YEARS and just moving through my days without really listening to what my mind was saying. Oh, it said QUITE a lot and I HEARD it but I was not conscious of what the words and thoughts were doing to my body or how they affected me. I already wrote about how self-talk affected my pain levels and to read about that you can go here or read my e-book.

Today I want to talk about how negative versus positive self-talk can affect your life and how you can change it. When you are standing in line at a grocery store and you realize the person in front of you has an item that isn't ringing up and it will be a while -- how do you react? Do you calmly smile and say, "I hate when that happens -- it's Ok" and pick up a magazine or take the opportunity to think about your day and things that make you happy? When someone cuts you off driving maybe a little more aggressively than needed, do you say to yourself, "Wow -- they must be in a hurry?" and move onto the next thought. Or continue singing along with a good song on the radio? I think it's safe to say many of us have similar experiences to these or other things that might seem "not to go our way or cause distractions" almost daily. Only YOU can choose how your react to these situations and the messages you send yourself.

We all have knee jerk reactions to certain situations because they have happened a bunch of times in our lives and it is our habit to react that way. The great news is (most psychologists agree) it takes only 3 weeks (or 21 consistent days) of being mindful and changing your reaction to ingrain a new habit. I want you to think for a second about how you reacted to one of the above or a similar circumstance the last time it happened. If you reacted with calmness, clarity and the desire to focus on something happy -- GOOD FOR YOU! Most people will react to these situations with anger, impatience, frustration and some even despair.

So how do you begin to change your habits and your self-talk if you commonly have negative reactions to situations like these? I can tell you what worked for me.... Firstly I thought about the most common occurrences in my life that caused me stress and rationalized them. Let's take the grocery store example. If someone needs a "price check" or there is another reason for a hold up -- usually no one is happy about the situation. It means extra work for the check out person to either look up the item themselves or have someone help, the person it happened to is feeling stressed because they are "holding up the line" and the people behind in line are giving evil looks and looking at their watches wondering "how long it will take". Now let's look at the possible reactions.

You could get stressed and mutter under your breath, huff and puff
about running late and bring your blood pressure up a few notches.

You could show empathy to the person in front of you and the check out
person by saying "I hate when that happens -- don't worry about it I'm
in no hurry" which will probably get a smile or two and add a bit of relief.

You could stop and breathe, think about how best to use this unexpected
time and go on from there.

Your time is only wasted if you tell yourself it is – there is always a place to go in your mind to make the use of time more positive.

Currently I react the second and third way but for years reacted with hostility, frustration and worry over being late or "thrown off schedule". In reality, how much longer will it take? A few minutes? Wouldn't you RATHER spend that time productively or feeling good instead of feeling badly and upset about a situation that is brief and you have no control over? Wouldn't you rather relax the person in front of you and the check out person by commenting lightly and then think about something positive? Only YOU can make the decision to be mindful and to change the messages you are receiving.

Let's take the second example of the speeding driver because "road rage" is something a lot of people are guilty of. I grew up in NYC and because I grew up with public transportation and the fact that I walked everywhere -- did not learn to drive until I was 21. I did not drive daily until I was 29 and living in New Jersey (in my experience, THE WORST state to drive in). Road rage was something I had heard of but never experienced myself. WOW -- did I get my fill in the 5 years we were there! My husband and I even adopted the 3 A$%hole rule for ANY drive you took. Meaning every morning when I drove my son to preschool (4 miles but 20 minutes away with NJ rush hour traffic) I would count the A$%holes that cut me off and as I said, "#1" I would breathe and not get upset, the same with #2 and #3. After #3 I was allowed to get upset and it was time to get off of the road and pull in somewhere to take a breath and rejuvenate before I drove again.... and started off again with #1. It was a good temporary solution for us but in hindsight it still left us thinking negatively about people and did not put me in a good space at all considering most days my count was up to #3 and I was ready to blow!

What positive things can you say to yourself after being cut off? Firstly wish the person well. If they are in that much of a hurry to be aggressive they likely are not very happy, are rushing to get somewhere or are a very bad driver that will probably wind up hurt at some point. Putting the positive energy out there for that person and in your head lets you move on and feel good instead of letting your rage escalate about something that is over and done with. You can tell yourself to "let it go" that instant. Realize that the moment is over and refocus on finding a good song on the radio or appreciating the scenery in the world around you. You can also give yourself a mental pat on the back for your improved behavior and for listening to your POSITIVE self-talk!

To change your self-talk you need to be conscious of what you are saying to yourself. Making changes like this GREATLY affect your life. Positive self-talk reduces your stress level which in turn reduces your chance of illness and pain. What situations are recurring in your life that bring you stress and how are YOU going to change the messages you send yourself? No one can change the way you look at, perceive things and talk to yourself about ANYTHING besides you.




Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Psychoneuroimmunology -- The Study of How Your Thoughts and Behavior Affect Your Health

Some people ask me for "proof" when I tell them that I used the Law of Attraction and the mind/body connection to heal myself of chronic pain and several chronic illnesses. Beyond the fact that I now FEEL great, have no more symptoms and have not touched a pain pill in a year there is also a science that is the study of JUST how strong the mind/body connection is. The medical study of how behavior and thoughts affect you physically is called Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI). There are numerous studies that you can find online that have "proof" and it is also interesting to read about how far psychoneuroimmunology has come. I believe the study of PNI will help medicine become more integrative and complementary as time moves forward.

The definition is as follows:

Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) investigates the relations between the psychophysiological and immunophysiological dimensions of living beings. PNI brings together researchers in a number of scientific and medical disciplines, including psychology, neuroscience, immunology, physiology, pharmacology, psychiatry, behavioral medicine, infectious diseases, and rheumatology. The profound interest of PNI is in interactions between the nervous and immune systems, and the relation between behavior and health. Despite the protean approach to research, the outcome common to all research endeavors is the discovery of new information, or novel evidence, which contributes to the continuing and cumulative generation of knowledge. It deals with, among other things, the physiological functioning of the neuroimmune system in states of both health and disease; malfunctions of the neuroimmune system in disorders (autoimmune diseases, hypersensitivities, immune deficiency), the physical, chemical and physiological characteristics of the components of the neuroimmune system in vitro, in situ, and in vivo. PNI also involves endocrinology and is sometimes referred as psychoendoneuroimmunology (PENI).

Last week I was very happy to come across a great paper, "Psychoneuroimmunology: Connecting Mind, Body and Spirit" written by Dr. Made Wardhana. This paper not only comments on how emotions and the mind affect health but also how spirituality can affect health. This paper was presented at the International Conference on Science and Spirituality for World Peace held at the RIMS Jubilee Hall in Imphal on November 23-24, 2007. The writer is a doctor at the School of Medicine, Udayana University, Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia

After watching "The Secret" the parts that resonated the most were on health and thought. The fact that the body is constantly recreating itself and (as the movie said and was reaffirmed by studying the mind/body connection) "you have a whole new body in less than a year". Deepak Chopra in his book “Ageless Body, Timeless Mind” talks about exactly how long it takes for every organ and body part to recreate itself. For me, this meant the WAY I was thinking was contributing to the KIND of cells being made. When I was telling myself "I am so sick" and concentrating on my illness I was ensuring more “sick” cells were being made. When I started concentrating on the small parts of me that weren't in pain and declaring myself healthy I believe I switched to healthy cells being produced which aided in my healing. Of course I believe outside influences come into play in health and healing. If I was smoking cigarettes, working in a toxic environment or eating poorly -- these things would affect my health as well. I also don’t discount the advances in modern medicine. What I am trying to get across to people is HOW to maximize your health UTILIZING the powers of your mind. If I had not been made aware of all that I have learned in the last year there is no doubt that I would still be in pain. It probably would have gotten even worse since the doctors told me “the pain will only get worse” and that a few of my illnesses were progressive.

Exactly a year ago I set out to heal myself and I am so grateful for how good my body feels. If I get stressed I FEEL and am AWARE of it wanting to manifest into physical symptoms (headache, etc.). I can now use tools to stop it BEFORE the pain manifests or while it is slight. Every day I am becoming MORE and more mindful. I have not felt pain anywhere NEAR as bad as my daily pain was for over 5 years in almost 1 year. You can control a LOT of your health and your pain with your mind. Do the research, learn about techniques that you feel will work for you, set goals, set time aside for gratitude, listen to your self-talk, be mindful and practice consciousness. If you want to learn about the methods I used to heal myself after my studies, check out my e-book.

Read up on Psychoneuroimmunology to learn about some of the studies that have been done or to PROVE to yourself JUST how real and powerful the mind/body connection really is. I am grateful for PNI because I know it will help pave the way for our medical system becoming more integrative. Here are a few PNI resources below and you can always "google" it for TONS of useful info:

The "Bible on PNI" to purchase
is "Psychoneuroimmunology, Two-Volume Set, Volume 1-2, Fourth Edition" by Dr. Robert Ader -- Dr. Ader has been called the "father of pyschoneuroimmunology".

Sites:

UCLA - Semel Institute Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology




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