Category Archives: heart Health

The Wrong Person Can be Lurking Anywhere.

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At the end of February this year I decided to look at renter options. I live in a big house and several people had encouraged me to rent one of my rooms. One friend was very persistent about it, to the point of being demanding, and I couldn’t get her voice out of my mind.

I had rented space in my house many times before but not in about 10 years. I really didn’t want to do it and that should have been my first clue.

I was looking at Craigslist on a whim and found an ad that sounded like something I could do short term. This is the ad:

 Two Month Rental wanted for March and April (St. Paul) 

Good morning,

My 6 month lease is up at the end of February and I have an apartment lined up for May 1st. However that leaves a two month time frame where I need to find a temporary place.

Brief about me:
I’m a writer in my early 30’s that works at a well established art gallery in downtown St. Paul 6 days a week (sometimes 7) 9-11 hour days.My work schedule is typically 10 am to 9pm. Sometimes the start and end times fluctuate an hour.

I dont drink or party. I do not mind those who do, as long as they remain respectful and safe to be around.

I do not have a significant other, so I won’t be having any over night guests.

I moved back to Minnesota in mid August from San Diego where I worked at a Greyhound rescue center. Aside from California and my college days in Denver I’ve lived and worked in the twin cities for most of my life.

My hope is to find a simple and safe living arrangement that is as close to my job if not closer. That leaves about a 10 mile max commute out of downtown. I love to bike to work in the summer so location is a factor. I’m a very clean and organized person, but that’s just me. I’ve lived happily with messy people during times in my life.

I also enjoy oddjob DIY home improvement projects when im not working . The homeowner of my current rental in South St lowered my rent to redo his basement and vestibule, which he was very happy with. I’m in good shape physically and can contribute basic handy man skills and yard work.

I’ve never been evicted from anywhere or late on a rental payment.

I’d really appreciate responses from individuals looking for a temporary renter or a month to month basis. I have May 1st all lined up for housing, just unfortunately, not the immediate two months. Any responses would be greatly appreciated! Thank you for your time and consideration.

-LW “

This person sounded perfect. I could do this for two months and it would be a win/win for both of us. I could make some extra money, which I needed, and he would have an interim place to stay.

Before he moved in I met his aunt, who is a Judge for the State of Minnesota. I said to her “He seems like a great guy” to which she replied that he was and she hope this would be a good situation for both of us.  With the information in his ad and his aunts affirmation it looked like a go. ( I found out later that she purposely withheld information because he was living in her son’s basement and they wanted him out. She actually put my life in jeopardy because she knew he was dangerous)

LW moved in. He was polite, respectful and a likable young man. He was respectful of my space and accommodating to my requests. The first 2 weeks he lived in my house he worked long hours so wasn’t home much.

He wanted me to know more about him because he was living in my house so he slowly began sharing his history.  Some good and some not so good. At the beginning of the third week he quit his job. The second one he had since moving in. That day he sat down with me and shared that he had been in jail for a year for domestic violence and was in residential treatment for drug and alcohol addiction in California. (Not working in a grey hound rescue center) He was in jail for assaulting three different women. He said he only got violent when he was drunk and he wasn’t drinking anymore.

Great! Me a single woman with a potentially violent male living in my house. The one benefit in my favor was that I had 26 years experience as a therapist behind me so I knew how to de escalate and talk to people with mental health issues.

At this point I would like to address the fact that several people have said I was stupid for renting to someone from a Craigslist ad. The truth is, an unstable person could put an ad anywhere. They could place an ad on a college bulletin board, on the Nextdoor app, in a coffee shop, or even come from the recommendation of a judge. Everyone on Craigslist list is NOT unstable. Unstable people can be found everywhere.  Based on the information I had, this sounded like a good roommate.

Another important factor is, unstable people work very hard at looking normal, maybe even overcompensating, like LW did in his ad.  What he said was mostly true…when he is clean and sober and on medication.

Through some kind of divine intervention, I met his sister and she had my phone number because he used my phone to call her. One morning I got a message from her that he had threatened to kill a family friend and there was a order of protection against him.  That is when my anxiety kicked in. I wanted him out immediately! I talked to a neighbor and put a safety plan in place and gave my daughter information in case something happened to me.

I had watched his manic state escalating since he left his job and it was keeping me awake. We had talked about it several times and he said he would be more conscious of the noise. With this recent information I wanted him to move out.

The next morning, I got up the courage to ask him to leave. Trust me, it took a great deal of courage because I knew he could explode.

AND SO ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE!

I told him he needed to find a new place to live. I told him it was because of the mania and my not being able to sleep. I didn’t want him to know I had spoken to his sister or that I knew about his terroristic threat.  Instead I said I hoped he got help for his mania because it was not going to go away on its own and that I thought he was a great guy and wanted him to have a happy life.  He told me he was worthless and left the house.

He didn’t return for 10 hours.  I heard him come in and I got anxious. He was in the kitchen slamming things around and I heard him talking to a woman so I felt I was safe. I was in my room on the second floor and I could smell alcohol all the way up the stairs.

When he started storming up the stairs swearing and screaming I knew I was alone in the house with a violent drunk man. He had been talking in both a man and a woman’s voice. A classic psychotic break.

As he passed my room he angrily stated mimicking things I had said to him. As soon as he passed me room, I ran for my life out of the house. I went to a neighbors house and the police were called.

At first they wouldn’t remove him from my house because he was just drunk, hadn’t harmed me and it was my fault for renting to someone I didn’t know. Victim shaming at its best. I was in a full blown panic attack by that time, feeling helpless, shaking to my core and freezing at the same time. I could calm down. While I was out of the house he was destroying my things.

The police didn’t care about my heart history. They told me to go back into the house. They would only take him if he hurt me.  His sister called me and patched her brother in on a three way and I handed the cop the phone and he put it on speaker phone. LW threatened to kill me, his sister, said he was satan and knew witchcraft and other threatening things. The police went to my house and took him away.

I had a stress induced cardiomyopathy heart attack and spent two days in the hospital.

I will never rent to anyone again. If you are considering renting to someone you don’t know, no matter where you found their ad, do a background check and get references before you say yes. It could save you a lot of heart break.

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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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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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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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I Think the term “social media “ confused me.

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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?

 

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