Oct 112016
 

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Hurricane Matthew was my first big weather adventure in my new home state. YIKES!  What an experience. My online friend Lore Raymond of Women as Visionaries has more than thirty years of experience with Florida weather and, during the storm, reached out to me several times. Although that was reassuring, I especially appreciate the question she posed when we were safely home: What gifts did Hurricane Matthew send your way?

For us there were many. Give me a blizzard any day — I’m a lifelong New Englander and have a pretty good idea of what it will do as well as what needs to happen to stay safe. But this? I felt ignorant and helpless. The first gift was the ability to recognize our inexperience and listen to the warnings. When we left, Matthew was a Category 4 storm headed directly for our little island. We had no idea what we would face upon our return… or even IF we’d be able to return. (I shudder to think what we’d have faced if it had not tired itself out, drifted a few miles east, and become a Cat 2!)

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Favorite Husband and I packed up a few changes of clothing, our dogs, my laptop and a few books. Evacuation sure helps get priorities in order in a hurry. We headed west where we were able to connect with my son and my sister.

Western Floridians greeted us with incredible hospitality, generosity, and compassion. They’d gotten beat up by Hermine just 3 weeks ago; its memory was close to the surface. We were comfortable, safe and able to monitor island events through a combination of texts (both personal and from the Office of Emergency Management), social media and an occasional news broadcast.

You call those gifts?

Yes. But wait… there’s more! We spent time together as a family and connected with other evacuees from the island. We made some new friends and explored a new city.

And back home on the island? I feel a stronger bond  and a closer connection with my new home and everyone who lives here. Hurricane Matthew brought out the best in so many. I have mad respect for the utility company and our local first responders (who, by the way, waited at the bottom of the bridge and waved “welcome home” to those who were able to return late Saturday afternoon).

And, of course, there were our four-legged evacuees who, most likely, will get a post of their own.

Overall? I’m overwhelmed with gratitude and ready for a nap. Much love.

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How to support relief efforts in Haiti.

Resources to support hurricane relief in North Carolina.

 October 11, 2016  Posted by  Happiness, Self care, Special Topics 10 Responses »
Jun 152016
 

When I got up this morning it was still dark. Something wasn’t quite right, so I trundled off to urgent care to get checked. Long story short? Today turned into a #self-care fest of epic proportions. Not the fun kind, the “put on your big girl panties and get this stuff taken care of” kind.

Did I plan to spend my day like this? Hell no.  Absolutely not. And weird symptoms have a funny way of kicking me right square in the procrastinator. I’m fine… just more than a little bit finished with shuttling from place to place and to watch people check my insurance card.

I’m taking a break to post this before returning to our regularly scheduled self-care programming. Yoga class is calling.

 

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“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.”– Lucille Ball

“Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

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“You have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.”– Louise L. Hay

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” ~ Maya Angelou

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“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”― Audre Lorde

“Every sacred soul has a sacred body.”― Lailah Gifty Akita

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I had to use some ninja-level self-care skills to write and publish  The Inner Critic Advantage: Making Peace With the Noise in Your Head. It’s a little book full of big ideas about how — and why — you can learn to love “that voice.”   The Inner Critic Advantage is now available on Amazon.

 

 June 15, 2016  Posted by  E, Happiness, Self care 14 Responses »
Jun 012016
 

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When I last worked as a long-term consultant to a women’s inpatient facility for addiction treatment, I occasionally had the opportunity to use events at the facility to create unusual therapeutic experiences for patients. (I just consider it “good treatment” but I guess that’s why they needed a consultant, right?)

The place was sprucing up for a large event that would bring an influx of family members, alumni, and referents to the grounds. The staffer who had decided to help patients with a garden was “no longer available,” so I got to take a group of patient-volunteers to rehab the garden.

We tromped out to the part of the property the administration was calling “the garden,” and, once there, realized that “rehabbing the garden” was an overly-optimistic plan. First, we were going to have to find the garden. Then it was going to need some radical surgery.

The ladies savored simple pleasures: getting dirty outdoors combined with the opportunity to be in the sun for longer than a 20-minute break proved to be powerful medicine. The conversation quickly turned to fear of doing it “wrong,” along with memories of gardens past.

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Brand new sober ladies, working together on a project started to heal, right out loud. The newest member of the team hadn’t used drugs in about three days; the eldest had almost two months. They dropped the con games and tough girl attitudes as we stripped away old leaves and revealed the tender spring growth. They talked. Sometimes to themselves, sometimes to each other, sometimes to me.

“The weeds are like my addiction, my old habits, and my resentments. If I don’t get rid of them, they’ll kill me just like all this old stuff will kill the flowers. And that’s how I like to think about sobriety. I hear it’s awesome.”

“I went to 12-step meetings a long time ago. Is this what they meant when they said ‘put down the weapons and pick up the tools? I’ve  struggled with the spiritual thing, but here we are, on our knees with a group of drunks. G.O.D., right?”

“Some of them are very beautiful, they’re just in the wrong place at the wrong time. It’s not their fault. They just don’t fit. Like some of us and the things that happened when we were drinking and drugging.”

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“Weeds are like painful thoughts and bad memories; if I don’t leave them behind I could use them as an excuse to pick up drugs again.”

“I’m pulling out all the awful things the batterer used to say to keep me in my place. I’m not going to carry those around anymore. They have to go.”

They talked as much or as little as they wanted. We chopped and dropped the debris in neat piles where the elements would turn it into compost. When we returned to institutional life, the patients’ garden, formerly abandoned and overrun with weeds, was free to grow and prosper. What had almost killed it now fed its roots, making them stronger and healthier.

Just like the former inmates who set it free.

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The Inner Critic Advantage: Making Peace With the Noise in Your Head  is a little book full of big ideas about how — and why — you can learn to love “that voice in your head.”   The Inner Critic Advantage is now available on Amazon and, if you buy the paperback, you get the ebook for free.

 June 1, 2016  Posted by  Happiness, Self care 19 Responses »
Apr 192016
 

Ahhh, April…  While most are waxing poetic about showers and flowers, some of us are up to our eyeballs in awareness activities. April is Alcohol Awareness Month, Child Abuse Awareness Month, Autism Awareness Month, Sexual Violence Awareness Month…

For a time in my life, I was privileged to work with people who were experiencing difficulties as a result of one or more of these devastating circumstances.  Since starting as an advocate I’ve had many opportunities to learn about courage, resilience, and healing.  And, while I realize not everyone is touched by addiction and violence, we all have issues, injuries or illnesses from which we hope to heal. Here’s a little encouragement for anyone on a healing journey.

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Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone’s face? Did I say words of healing? Did I let go of my anger and resentment? Did I forgive? Did I love? These are the real questions. I must trust that the little bit of love that I sow now will bear many fruits, here in this world and the life to come. – Henri Nouwen

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Love one another and help others to rise to the higher levels, simply by pouring out love. Love is infectious and the greatest healing energy.  – Sai Baba

Healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity. – Hippocrates

The trauma said, ‘Don’t write these poems.
Nobody wants to hear you cry about the grief inside your bones.
― Andrea Gibson, The Madness Vase

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Allopathic doctors used to laugh condescendingly at those who posited that psychological, emotional and spiritual factors were important contributors to the sickness as well as healing of the body. – Marianne Williamson

There is so much division in this world. So what is really the path of healing? It can begin in this moment, by embracing the life that’s here. – Tara Brach

Please feel free to add some of your favorite healing thoughts in the comments.

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Sometimes our thinking is what needs to be healed.  The Inner Critic Advantage: Making Peace With the Noise in Your Head….  a little book full of big ideas about how — and why — you can learn to love “that voice.”   The Inner Critic Advantage is now available on Amazon.

 

 April 19, 2016  Posted by  E, Happiness, Inner Critic, Self care 16 Responses »