Giving up was not an option

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I am writing this to remind myself…

There was a point in my health journey where I had not only lost my health but also my savings and my livelihood. It was about 8 months in that my savings was gone, my successful career was gone and all of my credit cards were maxed out from basic living and medical bills. This was probably the most stressful time in my life.

But something kept pulling me forward. The pull was my purpose. My purpose this lifetime has always been to create art that had a positive, transformational impact. Writing, which is part of that purpose came later. I write from the same place as I paint.

This is to say that when I was at my lowest lows, I still could paint and I still could write and those two things pulled me through. I could also see there would be a time when I could fully live my purpose again. That what I was going through had meaning in this purpose and I wasn’t intended to die from it.

And so I painted…and I wrote…32 paintings focused on the heart and several other paintings. I wrote and illustrated a children’s book. I wrote Resilient Heart a book all about heart health and my journey. I wrote Resilient Heart Art, the healing power of art. I built an Etsy site and two new websites for my art and writing. I created a festival for artists and writers to combine my to loves. All while I was sick. Those things pulled me through my illness and kept me focused on my purpose.

I was grateful for each positive step forward no matter how small.

So now getting 4 shows for my art in 3 days tells me my focus paid off. Getting the feed back from curators that they are touched by my art means a lot. It shows me I have built momentum. I am in a place of joy because my physical crisis is finally over and I am in the flow of the vision I held for the past 3 years.

I am sharing this not to brag but to give someone, somewhere hope. No matter what happens hold on to your dream. Let it lift you up and maybe out of where you are right now.

Today I thank myself for not giving up.

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Filed under health and wellness, heart Health, Personal development, Resilient Heart

Third Anniversary of Heart Attack

 

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Three years ago today, on the Equinox, I had the first of three heart attacks, that resulted in my having open heart surgery.  This first heart attack lead me on an amazing journey home to my heart. I painted this painting to celebrate the anniversary and my healthy ❤️

Early in the morning, three years ago, I had a dream that was a sacred ceremony in which the six pointed star was placed in my heart and the Vesica Pisces was placed in my womb. Both of these are symbols of balancing the Masculine and Feminine energies. So is the Equinox. I woke up knowing something powerful had just happened. That evening I had the heart attack.

I was blindsided. Soul contracts are like that!

That began a 2 1/2 year journey of self discovery, where I found out what I was capable of doing under extreme pressure. It showed me what I was truly made of and that I could endure the worst and become my best. It showed me my mortality and highlighted my desire to live❤️

This journey brought me back to my heart, which is the source of my wisdom. I know what my heart desires and what it doesn’t. It brought me back to my purpose, which is to share my love and deep wisdom through my art and I am committed and dedicated to that purpose now more than ever. No more distractions.

My heart is open. It is tender, sensitive and knowing as well as strong, wise and healthy. I am at home in my heart.

Thank you for witnessing my process, loving me through it, shoring me up when I needed it and showing me the importance of surrounding yourself with a community of care.

Sharing this journey was the most vulnerable thing I have done and not easy, but it felt important.

That chapter is done and I am onto a new chapter.

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Healing is a process many don’t understand.

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Changing your story isn’t easy,especially if it is one that turned your world upside down and inside out. It takes courage, tenacity, desire and will to move from the known to the unknown and trust that you will find something better on the other side.

There is an ‘after’ after a life threatening illness, but from the outside looking in, most don’t understand what it takes. I am speaking as someone who has been inside of a healing process, which included financial troubles.  I didn’t understand what it would take either until I went through it.

People on the outside don’t understand what it takes. I had people ask why I didn’t go out and get a job after having open heart surgery. Why did I need to have a fundraiser to help me through this healing process? Why was I so destitute? I had people say you look good so you should be good to go. I see you going for walks so why are you getting a job. Why do you have to ask for help. I have also heard that I created this illness with my thoughts so why can’t I heal by changing my thoughts. Other people I know recovering from life threatening illness have had similar experiences.

This made me think about what is really involved in healing and recovering and creating a new life story.

Healing is a process and many of the steps repeat over and over before they resolve. Recovery by itself takes desire, strength, trust and vision of something better. Those things take mastery of focus when you are in a “reality “ where you don’t feel well.

Here is a list of processes you go through when healing.

1-Life threatening illness

2-Shock

3-Fear

4-Grief   (Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance) Most people cycle in and out of these. Some get stuck in a stage.

5-PTSD (Anxiety, Depression, Fear, terror ) this is common when you have a life threatening illness. You wonder if/when it will happen again

6-Financial Difficulties( Fear, Worry, Increased body pain, Raise in Stess Hormones, Hopelessness, Self-Doubt, Feeling like a failure)

7-The healing Process itself (extreme illness, determining what it is, finding the right treatment, finding the right doctors, feeling better and sometimes setbacks)

8- Acceptance, the stage where you can start thinking about how to create a life that is better.

9-Distancing yourself from current reality, which can include pain and disability and side effects of the illness , so you can even think about something better.

10-Writing a new story for your life

11-Learning how to adjust and navigate the new story

12- Integrate it so it becomes part of your life.

As you can see, there are many things involved in the healing and recovery process. Each step takes time. You might look good on the outside but all of this is going on, on the inside.

I had three heart attacks, every four months over ten months. I didn’t have enough time between heart attacks to physically heal before I had another one. Each one took me back to the beginning of the healing process. By the time I had open heart  surgery, I was still healing from three heart attacks which made healing even more difficult.

The healing process is challenged further by the fact that you will probably face financial difficulties as a result.  53% of Americans with health insurance have difficulty paying their medical bills. More than a third of seriously ill use all of their savings to pay for care. 21% had trouble paying for basic necessities.  This should not be the consequences of getting sick in America.

So add this immense stress to the healing process and it is even more difficult recovering.

l say this to remind you that if you haven’t gone through a serious illness, please be a compassionate witness to someone who is. Understand they are doing the best they can under the circumstances and that if they had a choice this wouldn’t be happening. Don’t make assumptions.  Understand that recovery and getting their life back doesn’t happen over night. Even if they look good on the outside it doesn’t me they feel better. And if they have to ask their community for help, know that is uncomfortable, embarrassing and humiliating.

What a person in recovery needs the most is loving kindness.

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Empowered Health and Wellness, health and wellness, Resilient Heart

A Time to Incubate

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I believe there are times where it is important to share our stories authentically as ther unfold. It can be healing for the teller and the listener. You will know when that time is.

And other times when it is time to incubate and hold the new story tenderly. We don’t want outside influences when we are nurturing a new story.

For now, as I write my new story, I hold it in sacred space within my heart, as its midwife💚…while it incubates ❤️

I am at the end of the bridge between the old story and the new story just about to step into the new. The sacred space of new beginnings.

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I thought this was how the brain was supposed to work…

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Its my nature to think differently, challenge the status quo and come up with new, innovative ways of looking at things. I have done it since I was a child, it’s just my nature. I always felt there were more than one way to look at things and I was going to find them. That is what made me a good therapist. It is also what makes my art so unique.

I just thought that was how the brain worked. I didn’t understand that it was a unique gift, though over the years people would tell me I thought differently. I always thought to myself, doesn’t everyone?

About 5 days before I had the first of three heart attacks a friend did a interview quiz with me that was supposed to hone in on my Why.  The results were that I naturally think differently and challenge the status quo. From the results, “ you do not believe in the norm or following the rules or drawing inside the lines. It is far more natural for you to rebel against the stereotypical or classical ways of doing things. You naturally seek unique ways of approaching the world and finding solutions that no one else has considered.”

She told me that one of the challenges of having this why is you are generally unaware of it and therefore do not appreciate what a unique gift it truly is.  Yes, I didn’t know it was different than the way other people’s brain worked so how could I see it as a gift.

Five days after making this discovery I had a heart attack and staying true to my nature I started thinking about what was happening to me differently and thinking how I could challenge the status quo to see if I could find a more natural way to heal the issue.

In this case the status quo was the medical system, which came with its own set of challenges.

I was tapping into my natural intelligence in a way that was normal for me, but this time I had the understanding that I had a gift in the way I looked at things differently.  I thought that if that was true, sharing what I discovered might be helpful to other people because I was finding things that were outside of the traditional box of healing and they were working for me. I also felt that sharing the experience, openly and authentically as I was going through it might be helpful too because I was coming at that from a different perspective and that might be helpful to someone else.

The other thing that was happening simultaneously was, my heart was opening up in a new and expanded way that I had never experienced before. I was communicating from a new space, the heart.

There were no ulterior motives like changing peoples minds or getting some kind of approval or getting my ego stroked. If sharing,  to maybe help other people is an ulterior motive, than I am indeed guilty of that. If enjoying the rich dialogue and creative thinking of other people because it pushed me to look deeper and missing that when it didn’t happen is an ulterior motive, I am also guilty of that.

Had I not gotten the understanding a few days earlier that I had a unique perspective to share I would have worked through my healing process in my journal as I always had. It was a soul prompting to share it publicly and trust me when I say that wasn’t my idea of a good time for all kinds of reasons.

I was told by my soul to do it, I did it and now I am questioning if it was a good Idea.

It really is that simple.

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Filed under A wakening consciousness, health and wellness, heart Health