A journal of healing

How does that look?

This week and a half has been crazy. A week ago Wednesday we had a windstorm of epic proportions. Then this past week, on Tuesday and Wednesday, we received almost three feet of snow with more winds. They did not call it a blizzard, but it sure looked like one.

I do not like to drive in snow, especially blowing snow. I knew the storm was coming. We all did. I prepared. I moved all the classes, prepared my instructors and staff and told them to be safe and stay at home. I and my salaried staff all have access to the work systems from our home computers. I planned on working at home. I am actually very productive at home.

Wednesday morning, I get an email from my boss that if I am staying at home I must take PTO and so must my staff. Her main concern: How did it look?  Four people on the HR team came in, including her, but no one in Education did. How did that look? She said since I was a director, I should have come in because it looks better.

I replied, as a director, I executed an emergency plan that kept people safe. I had spent Monday rescheduling all the Tuesday and Wednesday classes, in case. I told my staff to bring work home in case. They would have been productive at home, as I trust them. I said I am not crossed trained to do anything else at the office. I am not on the Emergency Planning Committee, I cannot triage, and I am not in any manner essential to operations. I cannot even answer the switch board. I asked her, what would you have had me do if I did get in? Her reply only was to say it did not look good.

This is just one more stone in the bucket that makes me want to stop working. Those who came in are twenty and thirty years younger than me, including her. The three HR staff members do not have much in their PTO banks and did not want to waste it and one lives right around the corner from the office. This Momma don’t drive in blizzards anymore. Not for anyone. How would it look if I was somewhere in a ditch? I can’t walk for very long on flat dry land. Where am I going in a blizzard? I told her that from now on, I will take PTO when the weather is bad, so plan on it. I have enough PTO in my banks this year that I may lose it if I do not use it. That is what being faithful and not taking excessive time off does for you.

Maybe this is just her, but I have worked for other people where appearances are tantamount. It does not matter how good you are in your job, but how you make them look. This is not the first time with this boss that she was more worried about how she looked than being judicial. Our CEO is also very preoccupied with appearances. She enacted a dress code right out of the 70’s for in house staff.

I understand that health care providers need to be available and that part of the job is to be there in emergencies. But it was so bad that the visiting clinicians were told by the VP of Clinical to only make essential visits and to remain home….and work on audits. How does that work? The folks who could and should have reported were allowed to stay home and work. Supposedly he made the call before he checked with the CEO and VP of HR who should have made the call.

   Dad digging a poop spot

The medical center we are connected with sent an email saying essential staff only. That means staff who work in support areas such as HR and Ed were not to report. Our CEO over ruled that and said she was not calling an Essential Only Staff emergency. She was concerned more about the almighty dollar. She was also very upset because none of the switchboard operators came in. How did that look? One of the HR staff who used to answer the phones was in so she was sent down there. This is the gist of why everyone was so pissy.

We have triage nurses who are set up to answer incoming calls by switching over the system to their home phones. HELLO??? Why did they not do that? We do it every day from 5pm to 7 am. Pay them the frigging overtime.

My loyalty for this agency is dwindling rapidly. My desire to participate in crazy behavior in pursuit of the almighty dollar is gone. It is just not that important to me. I did the right thing and my team all agreed. They too were ordered to take PTO. I had gotten up at 5:30 on Wednesday and called my paraprofessional educator as we still had not formally cancelled a Health Aide training class. But we were prepared. We had warned them we may and would text them if we cancelled.  We texted everyone by 6:30 and they were grateful. They are not even employees and I offered a better situation for them. How does that look?

Just for an understanding of how bad it was out there, our governor called a State of Emergency for the whole state on Monday in preparation. By Tuesday, the county was under a travel ban and no unessential travel. All the malls, schools, and town and county offices were closed. The plows could not keep up. This picture below is my husband’s car. I could not have gotten out of the garage let alone the drive way. Our plow guy did not even come until almost 2PM.

But I shut off my computer. I did laundry and I actually sorted out my sock drawer. How does it look? It looks amazing.

Waking From the Dream

Fascinating…. and wonderful

The Complete Soul

Question: If I understand you right, you are saying the self-image is something separate from the soul. The soul, which is already complete, is the real of us. If this is true, how do I reclaim the soul as my true identity?

Let’s say someone gives you tickets to the Broadway production of The Wizard of Oz. As a member of the audience, you seat yourself before a stage. The house lights are still up, the curtain is drawn and the audience murmurs in quiet anticipation of the drama about to unfold before them. At this point, there are two worlds. There is the world of the audience and the anticipated world yet to unfold on the stage. The music begins, the lights go down, and a hush falls over the audience. At this moment, a transition occurs. Two worlds merge into one. As a member of the audience, your…

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Another fabulous post about the impact of being aware of the ACE Study and what it can do for healing. Every doctor out there should know about this.

ACEs Too High

Ahappy

Won’t it depress people?

Isn’t it triggering?

Aren’t the topics troubling?

Won’t it make people sad or upset?

Fear is what I often fight when talking about ACEs — adverse childhood experiences. It’s not my fear though. It’s the fear others have about all things ACEs. Adversity. Abuse. Addiction. Abandonment. Neglect. Dsyfunction.

I don’t think this fear actually belongs to those of us who have lived with ACEs, who have lived through ACEs, who live with the aftermath of ACEs as adults.

When I found out about ACEs I was overwhelmed with joy. I felt radical relief. What I experienced was a profound sense of validation. It was epic.

I also felt rage because the CDC-Kaiser Permanente Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study and related science hadn’t been shared with me. Not my doctors, therapists, shrinks, teachers, social workers or anyone while I got ready to become a parent.

Why?

This one study…

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Mother Nature’s Wrath

   This has been a strange week. Living near the Big Lakes, our weather is always changing. This week brought warm enough to sit outside temperatures and blue skies to the storm of the decade. And it looks like we are going to get creamed again this upcoming week with snow. Twenty-six years ago to the month, we went through an ice storm of epic proportions. It decimated the area. This week, we had a wind storm. It too decimated the area.

Our property is fine. Even our resident doves were fine. We have a ton of sticks in the garden. I hate picking up sticks but it beats what happened to our neighbor.

She has many old pine trees on her property. Many face our backyard. I thought for sure one that is still leaning was coming across and would have taken down a transformer and power lines and gone across our back yard.

Instead, a large tree very close to her house cracked in half and landed on her roof. It left a huge six foot gash in her roof which is now tarped. She has had power, but the people behind her do not. It was 9 degrees this morning with wind. It has snowed all weekend and has been bitterly cold.

When something like this hits a community, we rally and that has been happening. Our clinicians saw more patients just to make sure they were ok. On Friday, I volunteer for Meals on Wheels. Our delivery route was littered with down trees and large branches. We checked on our folks and made sure if they were in their homes, they were ok. And if they did not answer, we called in to verify their family knew they were not answering the door. The amount of damage was terrible. Huge old pines toppled like they were pushed over by a giant. One area would have nothing, and then there would be mass destruction to another.

I am so sadden by all the trees that are damaged or toppled. It takes a tree so long to get big and powerful and in a flash, they are gone. It reminds me how tenuous life really is. Strong and powerful pines, rooted into the earth and stable…ripped from their existence by the breath of Mother Nature.

Pantheism is a form a spiritual practice where you see God in everything, and everything has spirit. I subscribe to that belief. It really bothers me when I see the ruin of nature even when it is not man-made destruction. Houses can be fixed and cars can be replaced, but it the trees are not so easily replaced. The tree that came down on my neighbor was at least forty feet tall. It is part of what is left of a forest that lined the farm that was the center of our neighborhood before all the houses were built. The maples in my yard are over 75 years old; according to the arborist I had come in and trim. I am grateful they are ok.

  Amaryllis blooming in my inside garden

Slowly the community is coming back on line. It will take many months to clean up the area. No one was killed or even injured, which is amazing. People do not know how to handle intersections when the traffic lights are out. The Equinox is next week, it is full moon today and we are back to that silly daylight savings time. Everyone will be off kilter for this week. We will brace for the next storm this week, and hopefully, that will be then end of winter.

 

 

 

 

Induced Depression

falls rainbow

Last night we watched a couple of movies, like we do every Saturday night through the “can’t sit outside” time of the year. I rent all kinds of movies. Some are surprisingly good and some are so bad, you feel like you have been slapped when they are over. I rarely buy into what the Academy has touted as the best of the best. My favorites are usually love stories that end well, or animated. Anything from Pixar is a winner in my books.

But the choices seem to have narrowed. I try not to rent very violent movies. The violence stays with me for days. Any movie that has animals dying is not good and especially if it is a dog.

This post is not really movie critique but a commentary on what we are doing to ourselves. Depression is contagious. Being sad is not a good place to be. But we have surrounded ourselves with a world of death and mayhem and turmoil. We call it entertainment. What are we exposing our children to?

I no longer watch TV. Not at all. I was too disturbed by it. Funny, because that was what I did for a living and that is what I taught. But it to me is no longer entertainment. It is abusive. It sets up a world of comparison that no one can live up to. And the last thing I want to watch is people struggling and call it entertainment. I believe it desensitizes people so they are no longer shocked or empathetic. It is just someone else’s problem. Much like how images of war are no longer considered disturbing.

But I do love the escape of a good movie. I can see the art in the scenes and the pathos of a good story. I still watch for technical merit as well as looking for the quality of the finished movie.  I also love a good laugh. Best movie I have seen for a really good laugh is BFG (BIG Friendly Giant). Any movie that has a fart in it is big with me.

Last night’s choice was Manchester by the Sea followed by Beauty and the Beast. OMG, I had horrible dreams all night and feel like I was run over. Manchester has to be one of the saddest and most tragic movies out there, but I do not mean that in a good way. The hopelessness and chronic depression the main character goes through was not entertaining. It was just tragic. The story was about life and was very real in its depiction, I will give it that. But if I had known what I was going to be getting myself into viewing this, I would have not.

But the real offense was the second movie we rented; Beauty and the Beast. This was not an animated movie although there was tons of CG and special effects; it was live actors. I will say this, it was beautiful. The scenery, back grounds, dresses and sets were amazing. But it was extremely violent and filled with animals being killed. It missed the boat as far as we were concerned. But the violence was over the top and I would never let a child see that movie. The voice over did not match the mouths and it was choppy and erratically edited. It was a disappointment and again, just violent.

Even something like Pet Stories was violent. Why?

People might say that all fairy tales are violent. True as that is, they are only as violent as the reader and/or listener can conjure up in their head. When we put the stories to film, we are subjected to the movie maker’s concepts of violence.

Growing up in the 50’s and 60’s, we had a different selection of entertainment than we have now. TV was not violent or sexual at all. It was entertainment. Some of the first movies I did see as a child were musicals. They were happy and bright. The first real exposure I had to a violent movie was Clockwork Orange and to this day I still hate it.

What are we doing to ourselves as a society? We know that negative bias is a real thing. Biologically, we are designed to accept negative input more so than positive. https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200306/our-brains-negative-bias.

Is it just me who feels a sense of loss from such constant negative bombardment? Am I just being overly sensitive? (see past blog) This is my opinion: I think truly that the media output is by design meant to create a society that can be controlled and manipulated into accepting darkness as way of being. The results are demonstrated in the amount of bullying and just nastiness we see in our lives from our adult relationships  and the behavior of our children. I don’t find it acceptable.

Everyday hero

Cubid

There are few instances of people nowadays that are in my life that I would say are heroes or at least the bravest people I know. But I have been blessed to have someone in my life right now who I would call a hero. She works with me and at first; we did not hit it off. But as time has gone on, we have become work friends.

This woman does not see herself as anything but just getting along in life. Many years ago, when her three boys were little, her husband made a left turn into an intersection on his motorcycle. He died because someone did not see him. She rarely talks about it. I did not find out the whole story until recently when she was telling me it would have been her 40th wedding anniversary. She never remarried. She dated rarely and only after her boys were grown and on their own.

She is our recruiter for professional staff. I was not hired by her. She was out having surgery on her leg. A few years back she had been trying to open her garage door manually when the power was out and the rope gave way and sent her flying. She shattered her leg and hip. She was out having the pins redone as they had worked loose and were hurting her. When she came back, she was a bit cold to me. I did not realize that she feels possessive over her hires like a mother but I was not part of her flock. It took a while to break down the wall.

I found out that she also has ovarian cancer. I took great effort to make time every day to see how she was doing. As we got to know each other, she would inquire about my health. Turns out one of her sons has rheumatoid arthritis as did her husband. She was very concerned about the drugs I was on and the reactions I was having. She listened authentically to my concerns. She would always say, “Well, hang in there.”

I am not sure what or when, but we became pretty close. She would come to me when work was getting to her. Not much really got to her, but the pettiness of work really did. She does not like everyone in the HR department and shares her feelings about the inequities she sees. She has been doing her job for many years and is very good at what she does.

But then she would tell me of her journey with her cancer. She bravely faced infusions of chemo last year every four and then two weeks. It was killing her. She never wavered though and other than sharing with me and two other girls who were cancer survivors, she kept it to herself. Her doctor wanted her out of work but she persevered and kept working. There were days when she would walk all the way downstairs, back and forth with candidates who she was interviewing. She told me her bones hurt her so bad from the chemo that the first thing she did when she got home was take an oxycodone. She lives alone with her dog Jethro who she cherishes.

Every day she could make it in, she was as pleasant and helpful to new people as she always is. To look at her, you would never know the severe pain and misery she was going through. She would always ask how I was and I stopped complaining about anything. What I face is nothing in comparison to her journey.

About a month ago, they stopped the chemo. Her doctor told her it is going to kill her faster than the cancer. They also discover new cancer cells in her chest. The doctor feels he can surgically remove what they see. From then, they will start a new program with her of less aggressive chemo. She goes under the knife next week. We took her out for lunch this Friday as a treat and to bolster her. I think it was more for us.

There are very few people I know who are as brave as she is. She always is concerned for others. She asks little of her family and of us. But we all are there for her. So if you read this, I am asking that you take a moment and send my friend some healing energy. And then be grateful for your wellbeing.

4- 2016 garden   It’s the most wonderful time of the year for me. I love the Yule/Christmas season for its beauty. I love the crisp air and color of early fall. But my heart longs for early spring right into June. It is definitely my favorite time.

street in park    Right now the garden is still shrouded in snow and mud. There are sticks and debris and a plethora of doggie deposits. But last night, after work when I got home, I sat outside and could smell the harbingers of spring in the air. It is very hard to describe the smell. It is part sweet, mixed with earth and in my yard a bit of dog. It is the sweet that is the noticeable change.

spring ice

Even though we get notoriously serious storms in March, the weather slowly improves. I actually love a good snow storm if I don’t have to drive. I decided this year I would not put myself in a dangerous situation and call off. We have not had a storm yet that I have had to do that. Matter of fact it has been very mild.

Louie 1  There was a cardinal sitting in my honeysuckle. I have them all year but they hang out when the weather changes. But in the distance, I could hear another bird singing. I think it may have been a robin. This morning there is a cacophony of birdsong. It is no longer so quiet that you can actually hear snow fall.

dove nest  My already elevated spirit was treated this morning to the best surprise of all. The doves are back. We had sat out last night and just talked about how beat up the nest was and that we were wondering if they would be back. This morning, when I let the dogs out, she flew right by me from the old nest.

Dot and Dudley   It had been “spruced up”.. I was elated. We had several baby chicks born in that nest last year. I felt very protective.

CHUCK     I think it is time to put away the outside Christmas decorations and put up what my hubby refers to as the birthing centers. We have a bunch of bird houses that we put out and every year. We have a chick-a dee family that comes and has a family. We call them Chuck and Rita.

vhuck1 Last summer I bought a new big house to put out to see what I could entice. The rent is cheap and there are diners everywhere in the yard. (I have several bird/SQUIRREL feeders)

squirrel 2

I will spend as much of the day outside as I can. It amazes me how I connect with the change. I feel like there are possibilities and fortuitous changes on the horizon. The bleakness of winter will return for a while, but soon, the days will be warm and my garden will be alive again.

 praying bunny