A journal of healing

Archive for the ‘growth’ Category

2nd Quote

 

magoo 2015  In following the challenge, I add this quote. It also reflects my concern about having a mission here on Earth.

“We did not come here to be common. We did not travel this great distance to give up, give in, and lie down. We came here to wake up and be joyful; to stand up and be powerful; to open up our hearts, our minds and our eyes as we expand our knowledge and our perception. You are extraordinary and you are powerful beyond belief!”

~Heather K. O’Hara

Birthday wishes for me

roses

On turning 61

I am not sure how and when, but tomorrow I turn 61. My last birthday at 60 was terrible. I am more used to the number but still overwhelmed with the swift passing of time. As the years accumulate, the time seems to expedite like traveling down a slope, picking up speed as I tumble and slide. There are no brakes.  I can see how the feeling of hopelessness can accompany someone as they age but that is not how I am feeling. Ok, well not all the time.

My dearest friend and I spent Friday night sitting in the garden and talking about our lives. We asked each other what we would do if we could do anything in our golden years of retirement. Her dream is to get into an RV and drive the country taken pictures and blogging about them. What a wonderful idea. My brain immediately went to all the reasons why I would not be able to do that. Fear is the biggest road block to happiness.

I have no clue what I would do. I could only see myself as I am now, working where I am and in my current home. That is not the real desire, but I could not put myself to the future and relinquish the controlled life I have now.  It spoke volumes about the level of stress I am in right now.

I am a believer of the power of vision. We all have the ability to close our eyes and “see” things, but you have to be ready and you have to really concentrate. The concept of the third eye and dream visions and so forth are real and has been around forever. I am not gifted like some with the power of vision, but I have an amazing empathic sense of the current situation. This is not to say I haven’t ever had visions or knowledge of something without tangible proof.

I find the lack of a plan for the future unsettling. I like to have a direction or path with a destination of some sort even if it is only a stopping point to the next place. Some say it is the journey not the destination that counts. Not having a plan is making me feel a bit lost and hitting this marker of my birthday had caused this concern to resurface.

I know every day is a blessing for me at this point. I watched my parents and many friends and family depart this plane of existence too early. I have always said I want to leave this world a better place because of my influence. I thought it would be through my own children, and that was not to be. I thought teaching was my contribution, but my level of influence in that area is negligible.

There is something  deep within me that says there is something I am supposed to do that will make a bigger difference in the world. I really only became aware of this in the past few years. It is like a simmering pot that has been turned up. We all have a calling, but many people do not hear it. For me, it burns within and shouts in my head. But it is unclear as to what it is supposed to be. It is very frustrating and being so adds to the noise and muddles the resolution. Meanwhile, time keeps ticking away.

I spent a lot of time studying many spiritual things. I read about neuroscience and the workings of the brain. I have done energy work and spent a small fortune on taking classes in Healing Touch and Reiki and Mindfulness. I have read volumes from the nonsense of Doreen Virtue, the science of many doctors like Peter Levin, and Robert Scaer to the prophecies of Eckhart Tolle, Brene Brown, Eric Pepin and Don Ruiz. I have over sixty or so spiritual books in my Kindle alone. My newest author is Stuart Wilde and I am devouring his books like candy.  I have studied Christian, Buddhist, Zen and Pagan methodologies and teachings. I lean more to a Pantheist viewpoint with rituals and the Craft.   I have taken classes in trauma treatment and may work on another certification in the fall.  It all is leading somewhere.

On this eve of this birthday, I am sending birthday wishes for a few things. I need a guide. I have known this for a while and have been asking every night for a guide. I had a dream about a friend of mine at work who is the Spiritual Chaplin for hospice. The next day, he stopped by at my desk. Was that the opportunity and I blew it? We talked about Weight Watchers as he was part of the group who was taking it at work. Not all is lost, but I am not sure about his connection. But that’s the point.

Am I supposed to take this next certification? It will cost me but the result will be a certification as a Trauma Specialist. I can work as a consultant for providers and schools. Do I  make this investment of time and money at this point? Not sure… So I wish for clarity of my path.

And my other wish is the health and strength to be physically able to do whatever is next. Some say if it is to be, I will be strong enough. I was lucky that there were other drugs to take when the Enbrel stopped working. The Simponi I am on is finally working. My 25 year old step daughter cannot keep up with me when we go shopping or work around the house. Granted, she is in terrible shape for a 25 year old. But I seem to have regrouped some of my energy and strength. I am so much better than I was a year ago at this time. Although I have stopped being extreme on my diet, I am still holding off the weight I lost. This month is not one for diets. We start celebrating the first week of June, and it goes right on until Father’s day when we celebrate that. You can never have enough birthday cake. We also are heading for The River for a while and I am going to enjoy myself. (I have a whole post brewing about being on a diet and how people can be so invasive of your life.)

I am hoping my time at The River will help me focus and find my footing again.  I am off to sit in my garden, give thanks for all I have received in my life, and acknowledge my gratitude to the Goddess for all she has given me and the world.  I am so blessed in so many ways. And I will again ask for guidance and direction.

So mote it be.

 

 

How does your garden grow?

early spring 2015 This first shot is the garden just after we had the beds mulched and the snow was official gone. However, Mr. Frost stopped by two more times.

My garden is my sanctuary. It is also a blank canvas where I paint with flowers. I love to spend my weekends working on it. I usually overdo it and hurt for several days later. But the joy I get from coming home and sitting and looking at all the different plants, flowers and “garden junk” I have planted is worth every ache. early spring 1 2015 We ended up as we do every winter with no grass. The combination of many  trees which deposit many leaves, running feet of dogs and too much snow kills off whatever is left at the end of summer.dead azalea Vegetation was very sparse this winter and many trees and shrubs were eaten by animals to survive the winter. Even though our garden is walled on all sides by a fence, we have two resident rabbits. I ended up feeding them carrots on our deck and bird seed. They have remained members of the garden club and that’s ok with me. bunnies a Louieu of bunnie

This year’s addition was a new rock wall garden. I wanted to finish the end of deck off. We also tilled the lawn  by hand  and reseeded it. I usually plant three flats of impatiens in pots. This year, the growers have put a ban on them because they get a blight. Mine did not last year but they did the year before. My favorite grower grew their own so I found a variety of them. I pot them up and it usually takes me a few weekends to get it done. After 1 This is just the first planting.After 2

I also have many perennialsside 5-15 and statues. I hang pots everywhere. The lawn is coming in great. I also collect solar lights and the garden at night is magickal.

Thanks for visiting and stop bye later when I will have many more photos.

Getting juiced

rhoda3

Over fifteen years ago, getting juiced meant sitting and drinking all night long. It was my method of numbing. I would consume a ton of crushed ice and then my chosen poison which was usually wine. I was committing slow suicide and I knew it. Now, getting juiced means a completely different thing to me.

The idea of getting juiced was brought to me by a very talented young woman who I am developing at work as a Mindfulness Instructor. She is amazing and her demeanor is one of such utter calm. I feel like a whirling dervish around her in contrast. She and I are working on our next series of instruction for clinicians on self-care. She just came back from a workshop and in conjunction with the work I am doing on Trauma Informed Care, we are putting a class together to teach compassionate care for caregivers (clinicians).

We talked about other programs I have in my head for the near future including alternative therapies in homecare. I have been promoting them since I started and was poo pooed. Last week, one of the PT managers said they are reconsidering a program I participated in as being offered for pain management. Inside my head I was doing all kinds of happy dances. One goal I have always had is to get our programs out of 1980 medicine. Maybe now with some of the old school leadership leaving and with the foreseen housecleaning coming, we can progress.

As we are talking, my young instructor was getting more excited with all the possibilities. She said to me, “this is what juices me.” I laughed as I often think buzz words, especially in the Woo Woo world, are so funny. She went on to explain that she wants to keep working with hospice patients but the idea of bringing classes in on Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and now her work in self-care “juices her to the max.” We already include MBSR in orientation and I guess at the workshop she went to that was quite impressive.

Later at night as I sat in my garden chair, I pondered what juices me? I have been in such a negative place lately that I thought not much. But what juices me was actually demonstrated right in the conversation the young lady and I were having. It was apparent later with the PT manager.

What juices me is getting the best out of people. I love development. I can see potential in people that others may not see. I love innovation. I love creative thinking. I realized that I struggle so much where I work because they are so stuck with doing things the way they always have. It has now come to haunt them and it will be their demise. I get juiced talking about new ways of doing things. I get juiced working with creative people who have so much to offer but need the push or a hand up. I understand now that this is a threat to the survival of the people who have put up roadblocks or who are actually miserable to me. I think they are frightened. They should be. I do not feel bad for them because there are more than enough educational roadways to get up to snuff. But in their arrogance, they did nothing to stay current and now the Mothership is sailing without them.

I also realized that I get juiced up working in my garden. Later I will post pictures. Planting flowers and vegetables really brings me great pleasure. I love the various lights and statues I have collected over the years. I get juiced when I get to take pictures of the flowers, birds and animals that come to visit. For me, creating a sanctuary, even though a lot of people will never see it, juices me.

Getting juiced is great for the soul. Some people call it putting oil into your lamp. But it is the sustenance of life. What juices you?

Trauma Informed Organziations

crystal light

I am currently working on a certification from the University of Buffalo on Trauma Informed Organizations.  I have been studying trauma related materials for a while. It has been fascinating and helpful  healing for me.

What is a Trauma Informed organization? It is an organization that has taught trauma informed care from the person who answers the phone to the CEO. It is the basis for policy and procedures. Trauma informed agencies and organizations are totally aware that every contact with a patient makes a difference in their reaction to the care being offered and also in their ability to get well.

For example, a person with mild PTSD is coming to see a doctor for stomach upset. The admission person snarls at them because they are lacking some information on their admission form. She tosses the clip board at the patient and says snottily, “you need to fill out all of the information!” She is line with several people behind her. (Having people behind you is a big trigger for trauma patients.) The client/patient did not fill out all the information on purpose because she is not ready to share her details yet. She will once she sees the clinician but not with everyone else. It is her right. Her stomach issues are actually a response to the stress from domestic violence, but she is not going to share that easily. A trauma informed organization treats everyone like they have a trauma. The clinician who she eventually works with should request a trauma screen once the patient is comfortable with the plan of care. By doing a root cause analysis, then, and only then, will the real healing begin.

Trust is huge along with safety for someone who is traumatized. Just walking into a new environment is bad enough, let alone in a waiting room with strangers, standing in line  and having to answering questions to someone who does not give a rats-ass about why your there.

Another perfect example of a non-informed practice is the process of getting vitals. This is me: I am sitting way too long in the waiting room. Other patients are called before me. I start to worry why I am not getting called back. Did they forget me? (Blood pressure begins to rise) Finally someone swings the door open, and even though I have been coming to this practice for years, and they all know me, they bark my name from across the room. I get my stuff and in a cadence for jogging, we go back to where all the rooms are. They stop and bark “get on the scale.” I am immediately humiliated. Blood pressure is really rising. Then we trundle off to the little room where she asks questions about meds. She pulls a cuff from the drawer and puts it on over my sweater. The pressure is high.  She sharply asks me why I am there. Of course by this point I am upset.

This is how I dealt with this. I sit near the door so they do not have to yell across the room. I refuse the scale….which used to be a fight. But it is your right and the trauma issues getting weighed causes me…well, they know now not to ask. I tell the doctor because I weigh myself every day. In winter, the clothes you have on can add many pounds.  I make them use the right sized cuff and on my skin. It bothers me that they don’t wipe it down afterwards. Surprisingly since I started doing this my blood pressure readings have been wonderful. When they ask why I am there to see the doctor, I simply and nicely say, “I will tell the doctor” or I say “follow-up.” They have no reason to know. If I need a shot, the doctor has to order it and he will tell them.

Being a trauma informed organization can only improve healthcare across the board. Non-adherence and non-compliance are huge issues. Patients need to want to take their medicine and follow their plan of care to improve their health. Our medical system in the USA is totally reactive. We spend millions on after-the-crisis care. Being trauma informed and using methods such as trauma screenings and motivational interviewing can only improve patient care.

Being trauma informed is for all health organizations. The scenario I described about myself is my GP at a family practice. Even though I work in homecare, being trauma informed can be practiced there as well. It can be used in every environment where there is a community. When we see people who seem out of it, or stand-offish or short tempered, it would be mindful to remember: You do not know the whole story.

 

 

 

Releasing

osprey

Most mornings, when I lay in bed for a moment, I sense fear. It is not a pleasant sensation. I have tried to explain this to many people, therapists and such. They  responded with a “get over it” attitude. It is a very real phenomenon for me. I do not enjoy it. I do not manufacture it by will and it often colors the rest of my day. Most of the time, the preoccupation with tasks and duties of the day helps to dissipate it in short course. But it often lingers in a physical reaction in my body, even if my mind has moved on.

The sensation is not about any one thing. It is so general; I do not think I can describe it well. But it comes over me like a heavy blanket as I lay there. It happened again this morning.

Last week, I spent some time listening to Hal Dwoskin talk about the Sedona Method. He has the greatest laugh by the way. His technique is to feel whatever feeling you are feeling. Really embrace it. Then you ask yourself a series of questions, which paraphrased is basically giving yourself permission to first acknowledge the feeling in all its intensity and then just for the present moment, letting it go. He demonstrates this by holding on very tightly to a pen, and then dropping the pen. You can pick the pen back up if you want or let it roll away.

At first I thought as I listen that this was the biggest pile of doo doo I had ever heard. But I listened to a series of six programs and then a movie. All this was a promo to buy the DVDs for his program. So for six nights while I was painting I listened and enjoyed his stories.

But I though what the heck, how hard can this be. I researched the Sedona Method, because that is what I do. It has been around for a very long time originating with Lester Levenson. There is a ton of material out there on the process and I also became aware of how many of the other programs are just modification of his method.

I have been trying it. I do it on the way to work when I have time to focus on what transpired since waking up. I have to admit this works. By really feeling whatever is going on, really being in the present moment and then just letting it go, there is a small shift every time. If I keep repeating it until the feeling is not apparent, and then I simply move on. The key is really acknowledging the feeling. People like me are riddled with guilt and so when we have a negative feeling, guilt comes along for the ride. We often suppress our anger or sadness as part of the conditioning we received. This process gives permission to me to really be mad or sad…. But then, let it go. I trick my brain by saying for only this moment. If I want to, I can come back to this. I never seem to.

I may have to repeat the process a couple of times to really drop it, but I do. The interesting part is that the body chemically shifts. I find my breathing returns to a deeper, calmer pattern. My muscles release and relax. I can get myself into a tight little ball in a NY minute. My gut eventually calms down. It is not like euphoria comes over me. It is all very subtle.

The brain can be a nasty beast. I found myself the other day coming up with something horrendous in my mind. I was so upset by what was transpiring out of my own creation that I was crying on my drive in. I did the method and by the time I was almost to work, it was gone. I cannot tell you what it was I created now. Gone. This has happened now a couple of times.

This is all very new. I am trying it when I get frustrated with people, which is often. I am trying it in situations where I would have in the past held on so tightly that I would get muscle cramps. I am far from 100% successful. But every time I let something go, I feel better and so it is becoming the preferred state.  More neural pathways of pleasant things are being created pushing the old nasty ones out of service.

Maybe this is why this method has been around for so long. It is so simple anyone can do it. Here are some links with more information.

http://lesterlevenson.org/   http://www.sedona.com/programs.asp

 

 

A promise of spring

bw garden Today was the end of a very long week. As I do ever so often, I deliver meals to the elderly on my lunch as part of Meals on Wheels, which is affiliated with our agency. It is very nice to stop in and say hello to these folks. Most are homebound and the volunteers and the staff volunteers are the highlight of their day.

As we drove from home to home, the air had that smell. The smell of spring. I love that feeling of the onset of a change of seasons. But this is my all time favorite time of year. I love the anticipation. I love to see the beginning of the blooming of all the plants. I feel the sap running in the trees (and yes, I am a sap too) I feel the energy of the earth coming back to life. Many think I am nuts, but I do not care. Those that know me understand that I commune with nature. And that is much more than a 60’s comment.

The day started for me when I woke up at 3:30 am. This too happens often this time of year. I got up for a bit, and then crawled back into bed and watched as lightning flashed outside; an indicator of an air mass change. I got up later after the rain was gone and spent sometime listening to the birds while sipping strong coffee. The doggies, who would rather sleep in normally, sat at my feet sniffing the air. They get it. The bunnies had visited their stash of carrots I leave out at night. All but one and some crumbs were left.

Peace envelopes me when I am in my garden chair. This is my sanctuary. We sit out every night before dinner. I will return to end my night out there.  This will be my tradition from now until fall. Tonight will require me being wrapped in a comforter and winter coat. Most nights, because I meditate, I will gently cross over into sleep. Many a night my husband has to come retrieve me, but it is still too cold for me to sleep out there for long.

This is the end of day#5 of the B&W challenge. So with fond adieu, I transition back to color. Just like coming out of the grey of winter and into the glorious colors of spring and summer.

garden 1

Crazy geese

bw ducks

I picked this photo because it is a good representation of what it is like working in health care. This past years has been insane. I work for a home care agency that provides high end nursing and therapy care including hospice. We have been around for 96 years. But last year we bought another agency and went from one county, which we did extremely well, to seven counties. We are a mess, to say the least.

We have some nurses who have been with the agency for over 40 years. Truly. Unfortunately, they have not kept up with the times and they are not business oriented, they are primarily clinicians who came up from the field with no formal business training. This has been part of the issue. One of these nurses is my arch nemesis which I will share another time.  “We have always done it that way” should be tattooed on their foreheads. Well, what they always did does not do it now.

We went from one nursing service with 500 patients  several years ago to a CHHA with nursing and therapy with over 1100 monthly census, plus two hospices, aide service, coaching, Health Home and MLTC. We start bundles in a few months and we are moving to be the homecare provider of choice with our big medical center here.

Everyone is still trying to do their own thing. Does not work. We have a brand new CEO and she is cleaning up the place. I have great hope. She seems to be a clinician with a strong business ethic. She and her new Chief Clinical Officer and Corporate Compliance Officer are really rearranging the deck furniture.

I was their first non-nurse to head up their education department. Even though I am credentialed and licensed, it has been very hard for me to fit in. I have a lead clinical instructor and she and I work extremely well together. She gets it. My role is not to try and be clinical. My role is to get others to teach well.

I think this picture really demonstrates how it is at work right now. We are also in the process of going for Joint Commission, which is a high level accreditation. Let’s just pile more on. This is a whole other story. Bottom line: the project director cannot get the program off the ground and she flails around with no direction, like a one-winged goose. She cannot lead a group out of a phone booth.

Can you guess who is my arch nemesis?

I am  participating in the Black and White Challenge from Cordelia’s Mom. This is Day #4.

Got a Boo Boo face on

bw basset

Some days just need to end. Today is one of those for me. I seemed to have gone from chair to chair, room to room, in meetings and out of meetings, and from issue to issue.

The highlight of the day was a thunderstorm that rolled in. In my new office, I can sit and see the storm and hear the rain on the roof of the building. This is most pleasant.

However, by the time I left, the rain and turned to light almost,… dare I say, snow.

Ok, I know I am not alone, but I am so sick of this weather.

All I can do is wait. Wait for the birds and the green of the garden to arrive. It should be here soon.

People are getting mighty snarky in these parts.

I am  participating in the Black and White Challenge from Cordelia’s Mom. This is Day #3.  I am supposed to nominate someone. But this has been a lot of work and so I do not want to burden anyone.

Family that sticks…..

little girl

You can pick your nose. You can pick your seat. But you can’t pick your family. Some people hold that you pick your family prior to coming to earth

When I met my husband his daughter was 12 and going through all the drama and crap that comes with that age. My husband had sole custody of her. Her mother was alive but lived on the other side of the continent. By the time I was on the scene her mother had married a wonderful gentleman. Stepdaughter (SD) went to see them at least twice a year, paid for by them. The whole relationship between all of us was actually quite pleasant and friendly. I actually worked for her mother for a while when I was back in college full time.

After living together, SD and I started to bond. The phone calls to her mother were filled with things we were doing and she often would say things that I had said. This made Mom pretty upset and she started to insert herself in our situation. I would say, “SD, please do this chore” and she would come back with the “You’re not my Mother” crap. She started to lie. She skipped classes. She spent a lot of time in her room. Some of this was just being 15. The rest of it was her mother.

After living with us for almost two years, she decided she wanted to stay with her mother. We were more than fine with it.

It turned out to be exactly what was supposed to happen. Her mother’s husband ended up having a brain tumor and dying. He did everything for those two. And he had money. It was a mess when he died and no one was there to take care of them.

Fast forward to fall last year and ten years after SD had left… We get a call from SD saying her mother was in the hospital and it was not good. She passed away this December. She left SD in a difficult situation. The ties of SD and her father and I were pretty strained. So SD moved back and is living with her mother’s relatives downstate.

This weekend she came here to stay for the weekend only. She is a mess. Her weight, which is a family issue, is very bad. She is in need of serious dental work. She has not seen a doctor in years. She has no direction and an inflated sense of what she is capable of.

Fortunately, she is also independently wealthy….she thinks. This is where it gets messy and it makes me angry.

SD is a 25 year old who has no idea of how to take care of herself. She has never worked a day in her life. Not even babysitting.

She has no idea of her trust fund and how to protect it. A friend of her mother is the executor. Yikes!

SD does not drive.

And she does not take care of herself. She has no health insurance. She could not even keep up with me when we went shopping for a bit yesterday. I am 60 and have PsA.

But as we chatted last night, SD opened up a bit. I had asked her why had her mother died so suddenly and we were not aware of her being so sick. It was not sudden. Her mother, a long time diabetic (II) never took her insulin or even read her BG. It was like this when she was married to my husband over 20 years ago. This transferred to kidney issues and then serious heart problems. Her mother smoked and her idea of walking was to come down three steps from the office in the house (she worked remotely) to the recliner where they ate and watched TV.

As SD sat at our table, she started to cry. She is angry. Her mother expected her to take care of her and yet, never provided her with the knowledge of how. Her mother was told many years ago that she was on a path of an early death. She needed to lose weight and exercise. SD used to fight with her to take better care of herself. Her mother needed to take her meds and she needed to monitor her BG. She did none of it. The progression of deterioration went to her liver. At that point they said she was not a candidate for a liver transplant because she was so non-adherent. There was no DNR, no advanced directive and we had to tell SD how to become the health proxy so she could do what needed to be done. Her liver failed and SD had to make the decision to have the medical apparatus that was keeping her alive removed. I also cannot fathom how that must have made SD feel.

She spoke about how her mother was so impaired that she could not get her out of her chair at night. You could hear the anger in SD’s voice as she spoke of how her mother made no effort to help herself.

And so, of course, SD has no clue at 25 of how to take care of herself. I chastise myself a bit that we let her go out there. Her life would have been very different. But even deeper inside of me is my own anger at her mother. SD has her faults as we all do. She is also a product of her childhood and the lack of parenting. But she was a child. I did have my own children and it is my greatest regret. It was not my choice either. I am angry that her mother did not cherish her life enough to honor this wonderful youngster and allowed this all to happen.

This is a very smart young woman who is a disaster and who is afraid.  SD has an amazing sense of humor and for all that she has been through, she is pretty resilient. I am hoping in time we can get her up and going in a healthy and better way. I think that this might be also incentive for my husband to be a better role model, too. I can only hope.