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Thanks But No

Thanks But No

On my healing path, there have been occasions when my doctors gave me a prescription for Norco to help control pain.

Each time has left me scratching my head and wondering, why?

Why would someone hand me a prescription for Norco when they have information right in front of them that I’m allergic to acetaminophen? (Acetaminophen is in Norco in case you’re wondering about that connection.) In one case, we’d even had a full conversation about how it (acetaminophen) affected me and how I came to figure it out in the first place.

So there’s that why. And then there’s the why a doctor would hand me such a script without even asking me if I wanted or needed it. I didn’t and I don’t, thank you. I have other, far safer, and far more effective methods of managing pain and I much prefer to use them rather than a prescription drug that will have me feeling like crap as long as it’s in my system. I much prefer to use plant based treatments from Mother Earth and believe it or not they work better, we just don’t tend to think of them first.

I feel that most doctors *think* that their patients want drugs so if there’s a reasonable opportunity to prescribe them, they just do it. There’s not even any conversation about other alternatives and ways of handling pain and that just makes me sad because so many people just don’t know. And for these people, when a doctor says here’s a prescription, they feel like 1. they have to take it and 2. they have to take it all.

This is never the case with painkillers.

Painkillers are not these awesome good guys that come bearing gifts for us. They come with some very serious strings attached. Those strings – or consequences – can be, and often are, far worse than the pain they’re being taken for.

I’m not saying there is no place for pain meds – goodness knows how I’ve needed them at times and when you need them, you NEED them. However, I am saying that you have to educate YOURSELF on what side effects or warnings that anything you put in your body comes along with.

There are always other options worth looking at.

You cannot depend on your doctor to tell you the potential issues the drug he or she is giving you carries with it. The doctor is going to treat your symptoms to make you feel better and if the best “fix” is to cover the symptom or temporarily hide it, that is what he or she will prescribe. (Note: I do know that there are some amazing evolved doctors who think outside the box but they take some work to find.)

The best thing that you can do for your health is to be your own health advocate (or find someone who will help you with this) and question and research EVERYTHING before you jump all in with it. You will be the one to face the consequences – whatever they are – so you definitely want to know about them – ALL of them you can find.

You need information in order to make the best decisions for yourself and you will not get the information from where you would expect to get it (especially so if there is really something to be concerned about).

Look, I believe that doctors are good people in general. They’re doing what they believe in and probably giving it their all but they are people (fallible human beings just like you and me) and they have different standards of care and consequences than you might have for yourself.

You simply cannot stick your head in the sand and just blindly follow directions or recommendations when it comes to your health. You must know what you’re facing and what options are available to you.

This is your life and your body. You will be the one to live with the outcome of whatever decisions are made regardless of who makes them… don’t blindly turn responsibility over to someone with an agenda different than yours.

Love Is…

Love Is…

When I was younger, I was a little obsessed with the “Love Is” characters of the 70s. I remember in elementary school I had this hot pink notebook with the characters on it and it was one of my most prized possessions at the time.

I didn’t grow up in a household where love was freely expressed and shown frequently. Warm fuzzy hugs and cuddles “just because” weren’t a thing. I knew this kind of love existed though because I’d seen glimpses of it outside my home. And I wanted to know more about THAT kind of love.

The idea of unconditional love fascinated me though I never really believed that it was a thing. Love as I knew it – the only way I’d experienced it – definitely came with conditions. At least I felt like it did. There were conditions and big strings attached where I came from but I knew it could be different.

I wanted better than that for me and my life. This desire set me on a path of living with my heart wide open and that of course, led to it getting shattered more than a few times.

It was the little tastes I got of love “that good” that always kept me going and to this day has kept my heart open in spite of some really painful experiences I’ve encountered and endured along the way.

Love is always worth the risk. It is always worth taking a chance – or another chance – on.

One of the really eye-opening realizations I learned along the way was that love isn’t about having something or owning something. Love is an experience or a state of being. It’s a form of connection and communication.

The more conditions we place on love, the more it starts to diminish. You can’t grasp it. You can’t cling to it. You can’t own it. You aren’t guaranteed it. You can only BE it.

I’m still a work in progress when it comes to love. I suppose I always will be and that’s the way I feel it’s supposed to be for me. But the kind of love that I AM has stayed basically the same. That is, I feel love a certain way in my body and being and I lead with love staying completely unafraid of getting hurt. I appreciate that in some relationships I encounter, it is fleeting and elusive and in others it is rich and fulfilling.

I’m willing to allow love to take whatever shape it will in my life. I don’t place demands or obligations on it.

I also respect that like the tide, love flows in and out of our lives and that’s ok because also like the tide, what flows out will always flow back in again. It washes over us and through us, leaving us far better for having its presence in us.

One of the hardest things I’ve found about love is learning to let go of the physical manifestation of it while the emotional part of it is still there. When we love someone or something, we want to hold it tightly so it doesn’t escape.

But here’s the thing… Love between people changes and grows and by being open and receptive to the changes, we’re able to experience it fully – the highs and the lows of it.

And yes, sometimes the most loving thing you can do is to let go when you see that the implied obligation of being in a love relationship is actually holding another back from a life that could be so much more fulfilling and rewarding to them. Agreeing to let go of the ties that bind is difficult and painful but also freeing when you realize that stepping away allows for ultimately greater love in the world even if it isn’t experienced by you directly according to the vision you had for it.

This poem has been particularly powerful for me and does a great job of explaining love as I understand it. I hope you enjoy it!

Comes The Dawn by Veronica Shoffstall

After a while you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul,
And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning
And company doesn’t mean security,
And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts
And presents aren’t promises,
And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes open
With the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child,
And you learn to build all your roads on today,
Because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans,
And futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.
After a while you learn
That even sunshine burns if you get too much.
So you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul,
Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure…
That you really are strong,
And you really do have worth.
And you learn and learn…
With every goodbye you learn.

Right Here Right Now – On Mindfulness

Right Here Right Now – On Mindfulness

Staying present. Mindfulness. Living consciously.

Whatever you call the concept, here’s what I’m going to tell you about it…

First, defines mindfulness as, “The state or quality of being mindful or aware of something.”

It can be hard as heck to do. Especially for a worry-prone control freak who wants always to be prepared
and never caught off guard.

Here’s the thing… Being present and worrying cannot co-exist.

When you worry about what’s going to happen next, you aren’t present in what’s happening now. You miss out on the good stuff right in front of you.

Worrying is a great way to senselessly and needlessly harm your health. When you worry, you make your body pay the consequences for something that hasn’t happened yet. Your body reacts as if what you’re worrying about is happening now. If the thing or situation doesn’t ever happen, you’ve called your body into action and made it suffer for nothing. If the thing or situation does actually happen, your body will pay the consequences TWICE – when you were in the state of worrying and again when it happened, The state of worrying just made things worse for you. It didn’t prepare you for diddly squat. That whole preparedness defense, is just a lie you tell yourself.

What you are feeling, thinking, and doing are all priming the pump for what is to come. What lies ahead for any of us is not some random, arbitrary occurrence, nor is it predetermined by a fate in which we have no control.

What will happen in our future is a direct result of what we are calling in for ourselves for whatever reason.

We are not on some universe-controlled carnival ride being tossed around only to come to a stop somewhere and then having to gather our wits back and walk off into a new direction. That’s just not how life works.

We are creating our future by what we are feeling, thinking, and doing right now. Mindfulness insures that we’re intentionally ordering up the future we want. This fact is why it is so important that we stay present and in control over how we are thinking and feeling right now.

One, so we can keep those thoughts and feelings positive and directed where we want them. And two, so we can actually feel deep in our body, and down to our toes, the morsels of joy and comfort that we are experiencing right now.

If we won’t take the time to enjoy what we have, there’s no reason for the universe to serve up increase because we aren’t taking in and using what is already available to us.

It all makes sense when you think about it. If we’re not using what we have, then getting more would be like clutter – something no one needs more of.

As a lifelong chronic worrier (somewhat in remission at the moment), I do have to take special care to keep myself grounded well with my feet firmly on the ground and my head in the space I need it to be in rather than floating off finding new concerns to feel anxious over.

Mindfulness is the best cure for anxiety.

You cannot be mindful of the fact that in this moment you are perfectly fine AND feel anxiety that you’re not perfectly fine in this moment. See how that works?

Using my beloved essential oils for grounding (and facilitating mindfulness) is my most frequent go-to (any of the woods work well for this, and I can give you additional options if you’d like… just reach out).

Other ways I keep myself grounded are sea salt baths. Walking barefoot on the grass. Taking a bike ride or hike. And no, I don’t care a bit about the germs or any other scary things that some folks would like to worry about. I trust outside. I trust nature. I grew up letting nature take care of me and showing me the way to great wellness, curiosity, wonder, joy, and appreciation and it’s never let me down.

The bottom line is… for better todays AND great, you-inspired tomorrows, you have to be sure that you’re paying attention to all that you have right now and that is this moment – the present. Find every little morsel you can love about right now — that is how your practice effective mindfulness.

The Poison Of Bitterness

The Poison Of Bitterness

As humans, we are social creatures, even if the introvert in me wants to argue that point until the cows come home (which would be a really long time considering I don’t have cows).

And as social creatures, being bitter toward another isn’t a natural state for us to be in, yet many of us hold feelings of bitterness for years. Sometimes the bitter feelings toward another last so long that we forget the reason we became bitter in the first place.

There are even those of us who will deny feeling bitter or angry – because it’s an ugly emotion or state of being that we don’t want to claim as part of us.

Anne Lamott said…
“Not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die.”

It’s important for our own healing and general wellbeing that we allow ourselves to connect with the undesirable feelings within us and to reconcile where they are coming from. From there, we can ask ourselves the questions we need to ask in order to move through – and past – the feelings and into forgiveness and letting go. To not do this, is to poison ourselves from within.

It is true that in some cases we need some time to pass in order to let the emotional charge die down a little. When someone does something we perceive as wrong to us, it is perfectly natural – even healthy – to get angry. That’s an appropriate response in many cases. However, when you hold on to anger so long that you become bitter, you’ve shifted from a healthy response to an unhealthy condition. We simply aren’t meant to stay in a reactionary state, like being angry, for long periods of time. We’re meant to move through that state into forgiveness and letting go.

We need to get to forgiveness for our own sake. It is not to allow opportunity for the “offense” to happen again, or to allow a person back into our lives after we’ve been hurt by them. We want to get to forgiveness to stop all future negativity around a person or situation from taking a toll on our health.

Understand that forgiveness is an inside job — we don’t need to involve the other party in any way because once we’ve buried the feelings and the situation has long passed, they’ve moved on (and rightfully so) and if they haven’t, you can be sure their recollection of it will be vastly different from yours and they will need to do their own work around it. Our excavation and clearing process is on us. It’s now our story and we need to work through how we’re still telling it to ourselves so we can identify the painful parts and find a healthier way of dealing with them… a way that stops it from eating away at us.

One way to start exploring what might be buried within you is to write about it.

We can all think of a situation that deeply affected us and still causes us some anguish when we think about it. Those situations will be the ones to explore. Tell the story with pen to paper, let it all flow out and then ask whatever questions come to mind about what happened and why.

From there, you ask a different question that removes you from the victim role into the role of resolution finder. So for example, a line of questioning might look like this…

Q1. Why am I still feeling off about this?
A1. Because it really hurt me.

Q2. What specifically hurt?
A2. She was my best friend and we shared everything except this time she hid what she was feeling and pushed me away.

Q3. What could I have done to change the situation?
A3. I couldn’t do anything. I had no idea why she was pushing me away and she wouldn’t tell me when I asked.

Q4. If I had a magic wand, or time hopping super powers, what would I change now that the situation has passed?
A4. I don’t think I’d change anything actually. While I loved our friendship the way it was, this was a huge breach of trust for me. It revealed an aspect of her character that I don’t want in my closest relationships.

Q5. So given all of the above, can I see this as a chapter in the story of my life, appreciating the good, and accepting the choices made by everyone involved without needing to judge anything as good or bad?
A5. Yes, I guess I can because in the end, I know everyone was doing the best they could with the best intentions even though it didn’t exactly turn out for the best.

This of course is an oversimplified version but one where you can get an idea for how to start exploring the buried feelings and how to work through them so they no longer carry an emotional charge for you.

The point isn’t to assign blame or fault, rather, it’s to realize that you’re holding on to a story that is affecting how you experience life now and that isn’t serving you well at all. You have to let the wounds heal by not continuing to keep them irritated and you can only do this by cleaning out the wound so it can heal properly… and only you can do this, no one else can do it for you.

Perfectionist No More

Perfectionist No More

The quest for perfection is frustrating and exhausting.

And it’s completely unnecessary.

I am a recovering perfectionist. It’s only natural that I would be. After all, that’s what I was conditioned for just like many of you were.

I learned early on that love, acceptance, and praise all followed perfection. The more perfect, self-sufficient, and accommodating I could be, the more I felt loved.

I learned to seek praise and reward because that meant I’d done a good job and the fact that I’d done a good job and made someone happy meant that I would get to experience the feelings of being loved. At least, that’s how I laid down the tracks of logic in my young brain. And like the rickety old railroad tracks in the neighborhood I grew up in, those tracks stayed in use for a very long time.

I still occasionally catch myself on a crazy train going down those tracks. Fortunately, it doesn’t happen often and I catch myself and get off of it much faster these days.

Now, don’t misunderstand here… I DO so love turning out perfection and it’s still what I strive for most often but here’s some of what I’ve learned along the way…

1. Perfect is a subjective term. What I might call perfect may not be what another calls it and vice versa.

2. Perfect can be a hindrance. If I have something great to contribute to the world in some way, if I wait for perfect, I may never get it out but if I let it fly when it’s good enough, it can be helping others while I continue to polish it up or I may see how it was actually perfect as is even though I couldn’t see it until I saw others using it.

3. Perfect isn’t worth it. It’s true, many people don’t appreciate perfect. They’re just as happy with good enough as they would have been with perfect – they can’t even tell the difference – so there’s no point in working your fingers to the bones — as the Hoyt Axton song goes, “Work your fingers to the bone – whadda ya get? Boney Fingers – Boney Fing-gers” (in case you want to hear that it is an actual song, you can listen here, but be forewarned, you might start talking with a twang and the tune may never leave your brain). Bottom line, you don’t get extra praise or recognition, you just get boney fingers.

4. Perfect is an excuse for procrastination. You may rationalize and justify but the fact remains that you’re not doing the work that gets you to done.

5. Perfect is exhausting. It causes us to hold ourselves to a different standard than we hold others to and because we do this, we can never seem to keep up.

6. Perfect will get in the way of you living your best life. I have worked with many successful business owners who have built multimillion dollar businesses turning out material that was so far from perfect that it caused me anxiety whenever I worked on it. And, guess what? It didn’t matter! Their clients loved their work and they were happy to pay for it. I know plenty of critical people who scoff at the “quality” of another’s work. Meanwhile, they’re creating nothing while hiding under their judge-y umbrella making nothing.

Instead of waiting for perfection, run with what you do, and fix it along the way. ~Paul Arden

7. Perfect stands in the way of you doing a little better. And a little better can make a big difference.

This is especially true when it comes to your lifestyle and decisions about your health and this is the area where I really see it hold people back. I talk to people all the time who want to eat better but know they’ll never stick with the plan so they never start.

Then there are people who want to start exercising but know they’ll slack off so again, they never begin.

Just start somewhere and grant yourself the grace that comes with being human. We all have good days and bad days and it’s ok, just do your best, giving it what you can day by day and moment by moment. Don’t feel like you have to be perfect once you start. If you mess up, let it go and get back on track with your next step.

While I don’t have any miraculous cures for instantly overcoming perfectionism, I do have some advice for you. First, read through the ways listed above that your quest for perfect may be holding you back. See if any resonate with you. For any that do, simply see if you can loosen your grip a little in that area.
It can also help to arm yourself with some check in questions like…

1. Is this good enough, or can I let it be?

2. Am I just procrastinating here?

3. What am I afraid of by letting this go now or as is?

And finally, I’ll leave you with some powerful words spoken by a venture capitalist here in Boulder, he said (and I’ve paraphrased a little)…

“You can’t let perfectionism paralyze you. Considering we no longer live in an age where the natives will kill you and eat you if you mess up, what’s the worst that can happen?” ~Brad Feld

You’ll figure out what needs to be better and you’ll do that. Your audience can actually help you get closer to perfect, if you’ll let them.

When you’re able to let go of the drive for perfectionism, you’ll relax into the journey of your life and begin to enjoy the ride a bit more.

Beyond Broken

Beyond Broken

Sometimes a fight for your life leaves you with battle wounds and broken pieces… it only makes sense that it would. Rarely does anyone escape any battle without some scars and this is no different.

What it doesn’t change is who you are and your value and contribution as a human being.

Some people will want to remind you of your broken pieces and how you don’t measure up anymore. During times like these, what I want you to remember is that this is merely what they see with their limited vision. Oh, and it’s not your problem, it’s theirs. It speaks volumes about them but says nothing about you. It’s also likely not personal. It’s more a reflection of the deep wounds that they carry within them.

However, while the opinions of others doesn’t say anything about you, it does say something TO you. It says that this person cannot be part of who you surround yourself with on your healing journey. It means that this person isn’t the one (or even one of the ones) who can have your back or be the safe place you need to fall during those weaker moments you will find yourself navigating occasionally.

The truth is…

You don’t need the person who looks at the broken pieces and reminds you of, and pines away for, the old picture they have of you. No, you need the person who looks at those broken pieces, smiles with a most sincere glimmer in their eyes, and says, “Wooo Hooo baby, this is perfect!” Let’s make some beautiful new art together! I’ll get the glue!

So, while some can only see broken pieces, others see a way to make something new and beautiful. Love those creative ones who are running for the supplies; keep them near.

Also, love those who can only see the brokenness, BUT release them from any role on your care team and don’t expect more from them. You’ll find this simple little adjustment to your expectations can make all the difference in the world to your emotional well-being.

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