Category Archives: health and wellness

Giving up was not an option

E2241E8C-F671-4DCA-9EA5-6C7288EE2D6C

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.

Advertisements

3 Comments

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

Healing is a process many don’t understand.

038A5AAF-A642-4FB1-8A07-53C95DB01EA1

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.

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

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

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

6225033D-3B05-4CA0-82E4-D88078FE65EB

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.

1 Comment

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

I Think the term “social media “ confused me.

8C232C99-E4AC-4240-AB6C-5752A0814AC6

I have been having a dialogue on Facebook about whether to share authentic experience or not. It was a genuine inquiry I was having with myself because part of me felt it wasn’t working. I often get a lot of comments, Hearts and thumbs ups on some of my post so it wasn’t about not being seen. I am starting to see what might have been coming up for me whempn I wrote this blog about how I did Facebook in general.  It all started with this series of questions and a rich dialogue insued.

“I am questioning my choice to be authentic on social media and in my writing. Does it really matter, does it really have value, does it make a difference, does it just create distance and misunderstanding, does it just create a reason for people to judge, is it worth me being uncomfortable and courageous because it might help someone or is it best to keep my true experiences to myself?

Until I figure that out, this will be my last post for a while.

It is me questioning if there is value to being authentic in this medium and in my writing, which I put a lot of time and effort into,in hopes of inspiring and encouraging. “

I wasn’t really angry or making someone wrong or saying I was wrong, it was a genuine inquiry about was the way I was posting working, because I was feeling that it wasn’t.

The dialogue that came from this post and a subsequent post was rich, informative and was helping me get clarity in interesting ways. But a couple of things were confusing to me.

Suggestions to re-evaluate my thinking weren’t landing right, nor were suggested techniques for going deeper within my self. A handful of people suggested that I wouldn’t be having these questions if I just “write for myself and don’t worry about what people think”.  One person even put it in all caps so I wouldn’t miss it.

I couldn’t stop thinking about the point of writing. Isn’t the point of writing and painting to communicate something to the world?

When I write I am having a dialogue with you, I am not just talking to myself. To me it is different than writing a newspaper article, which isn’t a written dialogue, it is a one sided sharing of facts.

When I write I feel like I am with you, like we are out to coffee connecting and my post is part of the dialogue. I don’t go out to coffee with someone to have a conversation with myself. I could stay home and do that. When I write on Facebook is a conversation with you, the person reading what I wrote.  I don’t see my posts as a diary where I am writing to me for myself.  It’s a real, conversation with real live people. My heart and soul desire real interaction.

My life has always been about creativity, imagination, the supernatural and expressing from that space, to make connections with my fellow human beings.  I am a deep person and I realize now that might be at issue here too.

I am not one to share what other people write without adding my one thoughts and understanding to it. I might find a quote and use it as a jumping off point or to reinforce the thought I am sharing.  My process goes like this…I am having a curious thought about something or I just had an experience and I think I will share it with my friends because it might spark something in them that they can relate to. Depending on what it is, I think sharing it might be helpful to someone as well. (Some might see this as an ulterior motive, I guess). At any rate I think it might be an interesting thing to have a conversation about so I post it on my Facebook page.

I feel like there is a richness that happens when we share our experiences with each other. It’s a co-creative process. We aren’t separate, we are having a human experience together. I feel like the conversation is about us. This is the same way I write when I right books.

I don’t know if it works this way for everyone or if this is just the way a creative mind works. I think we are on earth to experience the richness of human connection, to share with each other, and learn from each other. We feel less separate. The only way I know how to do that is through dialogue and interaction. Social media allows us to do that even if we are thousands of miles away. I don’t feel the distance though, I feel like we’re are just across the table from each other, sharing coffee.

Just like any interaction there are an array of feelings that come up, some we like and some are less pleasant, but none of them means someone is wrong or that I don’t love myself enough, because if I did I wouldn’t have negative feelings.

I get it that it is less likely that I would bring up feelings if I just wrote for myself.  The truth is if I just wrote for myself, I would see no reason in posting it on my Facebook page.

So is Social Media, just another media outlet or is it a place to be social?

 

Leave a comment

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

Heart Disease is an Epidemic

EB15EA92-40B6-49D8-8685-FF23686013F5

#Healthyhearttip

Few people alive today are old enough to remember the beginning of the coronary heart disease (CHD) epidemic in the 1920s and 1930s, when physicians in the U.S. and U.K. began sounding alarm bells that an uncommon disease was rapidly becoming the leading cause of death. By the 1950s, their predictions had come true. A decade later, a new generation of physicians replaced their predecessors and began to doubt that heart attacks had ever been uncommon. Gradually, the idea that the disease was once uncommon faded from the public consciousness, and heart attacks were seen as an eternal plague of humankind, avoided only by dying of something else first.

According to U.S. National Vital Statistics records beginning in 1900, CHD was rarely given as the cause of death by physicians until after 1930. It used to be uncommon and now it is such a common occurrence that it’s an epidemic. It happens so often it’s like the common cold.

Did you know that 80% of heart attacks and stroke can be prevented through education and lifestyle changes. Here we are almost 90 years later and the medical interventions still being used are pharmaceuticals, stents and bypass surgery.

Doctors aren’t taught about natural supplements and nutrition as an option. It was natural supplements that save my life as far as I am concerned. What is considered a heart healthy diet is far from heart healthy.

When I was in the hospital after one of the heart attacks, they brought me a menu and I order the things that would fit with the Paleo diet I had been on. Lots of veggies and a hamburger without a bun, no wheat and no dairy. Soon after my food arrived a nurse ran into my room and grabbed my tray and told me I couldn’t eat that and that my food needed to come from the Heart Healthy Menu.

She arrived a few minutes later with a large plate of spaghetti, covered in sauce with meatballs! I was stunned! If this was what was being fed to heart patients as heart healthy, it would appear they were trying to kill people off! This wasn’t the exception. All of the heart healthy food was like that. If it was low sodium and low fat you could eat it. Nothing else was taken into consideration.

I wrote my book to address what wasn’t being address. Things you can do to prevent heart disease in the first place .Mystick Creek Publishing 

#Resilientheart

Leave a comment

Filed under health and wellness, heart Health, Resilient Heart