Want Life despite the freakishly terrible. It’s really That Good.

Hope

Hope (Photo credit: bitzcelt)

So many of us don’t get much to speak of as a chance at life until we are older.  Raped with penetration by age five and following, traded for favors, fear and more fear, isolated, escaping from one to other places of objectification.  We don’t like closets.  We avoid reminders but since there is no place we don’t remember our traumas, we are, we know, not hidden well enough.

And then one day, Hope gets through the diseased surface of our primitive defense and delivers her message.  The message comes again, as Hope is unchangingly drawn to us.  Hope has been here before, but this time for what ever reason, it might be our age, finally seventeen or twenty-eight or fifty-four, it might be a nosey teacher or a fatal car crash involving one of our victimizers or our home is moved, but this time that Hope comes, we have the fortune of being pierced through.

When there are holes, Light can enter.  When Light enters, Light takes chase to darkness and then, served on a moment-gilded-platter, we have it.

This may not be your story, but is for enough.  Even one, right?  Even one matters.  Things really are that sick in more “homes,” represented by the normally garbed, disguised at school, work, church, stores and behind their computer screens.  We are all invariably fooled.  All of us respond to these disguises with what is available from our biopsychosocial-selves.  We respond by naming them consciously and unconsciously with a name that serves the needs of our biopsychosocial-self.  We could say that the disguises are designed both by them and us.  It is what it is.  We are all fools, this way by different degrees.

But back to those pierced by Hope.  Being a friend to yourself may not occur to us for what seems forever along the line that Time determinably follows in our dimension.  Being a friend to Me finds us now where light enters.  Hope and Light can have their way on our damaged selves.

Hope ports to all new beginnings.  The judgment of what makes living, through such distances, worth it is not for anyone but the individual and God.  However our opinion, served from our biopsychosocial selves is that life is worth living even in the distance before Hope pierces us through.   See Post, Your Pain is Not Special. It Is Normal., to read more on this.

We who have gotten friendly with Me, want Life despite the freakishly terrible.  Either we are masochistic to continue through such horrors, to continue living, or it is true.  What comes with hope, with being a Friend to Yourself, with Love, when experienced cannot be qualified or quantified other than to say, that Love wins.

Questions:  Do you believe Love wins?  If not, why?  What do you say about being a friend to yourself to those who are in the midst of being victimized?  Please tell us your story.

Self-Care Tip:  Want Life despite the freakishly terrible.  It’s true.  It’s that worth it.  Be a friend to yourself.

How to Trust Whom You Serve and Whom is Serving You

Michael E. DeBakey, world-famous cardiothoraci...

Much of what we do in medicine is elementary. I wouldn’t know how to quantify the amount of plainness involved with our goings-on. Behind the writing of controlled substances on pricey government controlled paper, behind our, “Hmm’s”, our flow of learning and teaching, and more (or less) than the laying on of professional hands, we are… we are common.

To say it simply, physicians are dealing with themselves. In medical practice, separating the self out, effectively breaking the emulsion of the physician from their personal journey leaves many of us suspiciously grouped into the numbers of old and lonely but practically excellent. Some medical specialties are infrequently bested by anything other than 80+ hour work-weeks, knowledge retention and steady hands. The imminent peril and the literal moment by moment of life-saving interventions helps the rest of us understand.

Even so, I’ve known some who have been “the best” and still managed to be connected to their personal. I imagine some other dimension is forced open by all the space that that kind of nearly fictional human occupies: Cardiothoracic surgeon, Anees J Razzouk, M.D., at Loma Linda University, for one; Gisella Sandy, M.D., critical care specialist, general surgeon and medical missionary in Peru, for another. We are all happy to say that the list is long here. We think of the ordinary physicians planted around our planet who are heroic enough to do the simple. After all, how much can a physician offer to her patient if she hasn’t taken care of herself first?

Those of us who seek medical care from a physician will be interested to know that the physician as well as the patient can only carry so much before things start to fall out of their arms. Before a sack tears on our way from the car to the kitchen, before there is spillage and things go unnoticed, we want to know that they thought about it. We want for them what they want for their patients in other words. Accountability to Me.

Wanting this for others, because we are afraid, is understandable. But it’s not at the aorta where life pumps and freedom flows. Each of us, regardless of fancy prescription pad or paper gown, to trust the other, we must have their own wanting. Wanting this for themselves. For Me. That is the pulse on trusting each other.

Questions: How has being a better friend to yourself improved your trust in those who are serving you? How has being a better friend to yourself improved your ability to trust those you hope to serve? Please tell us your story.

Self-Care Tip – Follow the thoughts that bring you back to Me where you will healthily grow your accountability, wanting and trust. Be a friend to yourself

Hermes’ Shoes

Repost of sorts.

Today I find myself walking with Hermes’ shoes on. Bits of fairy dust seem to have caught in my hair like shards of light in a forest of tight mountain pines. 3 hours into my day, I discovered I was full of gratitude. Where did it come from? I would like to find this spiriting again. I can’t help but admit, being thankful must be good for me.

People talk about gratitude to the fellow traveller of life as if it were pill, or morning chore to get over before play. But today, it came to me like a music-gram at my door. And there it is, the opening of the door.

Today my kids reminded me that no matter how much we get in life, (the little cherubs!) we will always want more. Coming out of Barnes and Noble post cookies and purchases, they were still listing off their desires. Us adults are not so different, we just package our orders differently. However, wanting more and ingratitude are different and not necessarily related. We agree with Nathaniel Hawthorne in “The Birth-Mark,” that we can have gratitude despite it.

“My poor Aylmer!” murmured she.

“Poor? Nay, richest, happiest, most favored!” exclaimed he. “My peerless bride, it is successful! You are perfect!”

“My poor Aylmer,” she repeated, with a more than human tenderness, “you have aimed loftily; you have done nobly. Do not repent that with so high and pure a feeling, you have rejected the best the earth could offer. Aylmer, dearest Aylmer, I am dying!”

So how do we “open the door” to gratitude amidst the wanting? Open your door any way you can, my friend.  I’ll watch and hope to learn from you.  Today mine opened without me even realizing the part I played.  Thinking back now, I remember that last night I asked my husband to pray for me. I believe that was the way I opened the door. It was a friendly thing to do.

Self Care Tip – Cultivate being thankful. Be a friend to yourself.

Questions:  How do you open the door to gratitude in your life?  How do you want more without losing gratitude?  Please tell us your story.

Science & Sensibility » Research Review: Maternal Metabolic Conditions and Risk for Autism and Other Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Hello friends.  Here is the link to my recent entry on obesity, autism and some of how to be a friend to yourself in the on-line Journal, Science & Sensibility.  Thank you for sharing space.  Keep on.

Science & Sensibility » Research Review: Maternal Metabolic Conditions and Risk for Autism and Other Neurodevelopmental Disorders.

Visiting Pre-Medicine Club

Thank you to La Sierra University (LSU), pre-medicine club, who included me in their pre-professional day today.

Any of us know that going back to our home-town is invocative.  I am, predictable.

Today, I came to LSU with my five-year-old son and my father.  My dad never misses an opportunity to socialize if he can, and my son never misses an opportunity to play Animal Jam, so the boys were happy.  Dad walks a little still.  He uses a cane.  To postpone any more structural injuries, we sat in the back and avoided the stairs.

I have grown “up” in an insular culture to some extent.  Perhaps because of this, many of my classmates have not gone far.  And by classmates, I mean, people I went to lower elementary with, middle school, in-between years, college, summer, medical school, residency and swim team.  There are people everywhere.  The traffic is terrible and urban sprawl, ach!  Awful.  You’d think it would do it’s thing on us and we’d dilute.  But we don’t.  We remain.  Cohesive, in each others space and decorating with stories.

This is why today I found myself standing in the back of Constantine Hall heckling with several of the same I had studied with twenty-one years ago.  We were glad to be together.  I remembered about them and I wondered what they remembered about me.  The room was seating other college students, (who looked twelve years old by the way), but it felt like it was still ours.  And that’s part of what being alumni is about, I guess.  We’ll always consider the ties between us.

Coming to the front of the room, the students were amazingly courteous.  I looked to their eyes to read who was itching to get this over with, who was weighing the time spent with us against the waiting homework and who was just so with-it, that they could relax in the luxury of pre-med club.  I had never been a “just so with-it” girl so I was sus.  I found myself increasing vocal energy as my way of thanking them.

And what do you think they wanted to hear about?  You guessed it!  How to be a friend to yourself!!!  Can you believe it?!  That’s what I heard anyway.

Walk with God.

Know yourself as early on as you can.  Know what brings you pleasure, what you’d do for money or for not, what feels like play even though you work like a bee in spring over it.  Get that clear as possible in your head and then rethink your goals.  Then rethink where you are spending your time and where you get your money.  Adjust.  Plan on doing this continually through life and even into the ending stages of life.

Remember your freedom.  With deliberation, actively, purposefully – keep your freedom.  When you give it away and finally realize it, humbly ask for it back.  It’s still yours.  You may have to fight.

Forgive yourself.

We touched on a few other pearls, community, variety, can’t have it all,… but that was mostly what we had time for today.  You know I really wanted to sell them on Me, but alas.

I wondered if my son would return with me in 40 years and sit me in back, look out and fumble with all that he has been given.  Thank you thank you thank you thank youuuuu thankkkkkkkkkk

Keep on.

Sleep Hygiene – my version

1.  The bedroom is only for sleep and for sex.

  • If you aren’t having sex than all you get to do is sleep.  No food, no phone, no TV.  Only sleep.
  • The bedroom is a sanctuary for sleep. Your subconscious is way to powerful to toy with.  When you go to bed you want it to be telling you to sleep, not read that last chapter or check the latest on @Twitter.
  • This can be a change in family culture and affects everyone in the home.

2.  No naps longer than 20 minutes during the day time – Known as a “Power Nap.”

  • If you are tired and have the luxury of lying down, do it!  But set your alarm to wake you up in 20 minutes.  You can do this 20 times a day if you want to.  But no longer than 20 minutes.  Anything longer will break into your deeper stages of sleep and throw off your sleep cycle (also known as sleep architecture) at night.

3.  No caffeine second half of the day.

4.  Exercise but not before bed.

  • Exercise will help regulate your sleep cycle at night if you just give your sleep initiation some space.
  • Try to get forty to sixty minutes 5-7 days a week of aerobic exercise to get best results.
  • Look at exercise like a pill.  A prescription.  Something for your medical and emotional health (inspiring to me), not necessarily for your waistline (inspiration notoriously short-lived.)
  • Every day think, “I’m exercising so I feel good, so I sleep good, so I can do what I want in life” – what ever that may be for you.  Some people will say, “…so I’m not a crazy Mom!”

5.  Keep the lights dim before bed.

  • Light turns off melatonin release from the pineal gland in our brains.  Darkness releases it.  Having your face 6 inches from the computer screen or TV before you lay down doesn’t give your body much time to turn itself off.  Melatonin is a cornerstone in sleep architecture.
  • Some people who feel they must be on the computer or TV before bed have found that wearing sunglasses for at least the last 30 minutes helps.

6.  Go to bed and get out of bed at the same time every day.

7.  If you can’t fall asleep in 30 minutes, get out of bed and do something else until you feel sleepy.  Then go to bed and try again.

  • Refer back to #5 when choosing what and how to do your activities during that time.

8.  If you can’t fall asleep in 30 minutes, consider taking a sleep aid.

9.  Do not take any sleep aids over-the-counter except melatonin, valerian root, or chamomile.

  • All others including anything containing diphenhydramine, block your deep sleep. You may end up sleeping a longer amount of time, but you won’t be getting restorative sleep.  It is during the deep sleep that your body heals, replenishes it’s hormones and neurotransmitters, and consolidates memories.

10.  If you choose to take a prescription sleep aid, do not take benzodiazepines such as diazepam, temazepam, clonazepam, alprazolam, or lorazepam to name a few.  These also block deep sleep.

  • Sleep aids safe for deep sleep and sleep architecture, include atypical benzodiazepine receptor ligands – such as zolpidem (Ambien), eszopiclone (Lunesta), or zaleplon (Sonata).  The main differences between these are how long it takes for them to be metabolized/washed out of the body.  Some are quick and some last the full 8 hours.
  • Trazodone (Desyrel) is also safe for sleep structure and maintenance.
  • Sometimes people will find that combining something like zolpidem with trazodone is most effective for them rather than using only one agent.

11.  Do not use alcohol to sleep.  Alcohol is a depressant (will make you depressed) and also blocks deep sleep.

12.  Do not smoke before bed or if you awaken from sleep.  Nicotine is stimulating.

13.  Don’t sleep with your pets or children.  They are disruptive.

  • It’s not personal.  It’s sleep hygiene.

Self Care Tip #34 – Use these tips to decode how to sleep well.  Be a friend to yourself.

Questions:  Why do you skip the bits of sleep hygiene that you do?  What helps you in your tough work of being your own friend in regards to sleep?  Please tell us your story.  

Owning Our Choices Is Self-Care Even When It Feels Painful To Do

Repost.Take that for a grimace

Self-Care Tip – Own your choices, even when they feel painful.

She was leaving after twenty-two years of marriage.  Eva married young and says that about one or two of those years were pleasant.  The rest of the time she disappeared in her service to her husband’s ever-growing list of needs.  Although he was employed, she considered him otherwise disabled by choice and mental illness.  It was the choice angle that hankered  to bleeding in her and she wasn’t going to tolerate it any longer.  Or maybe she would.  Stay, leave, stay leave.  She’d been straddling those for several years although she didn’t realize it until recently.  And that’s when she told him she was done.  But was she?  …They both decided to give it one last try.

How many of us have sabotaged ourselves like this.  The sabotage hides in the bit that says things like,

I’m sorry, but….

Or,

I have to do these things!  If I didn’t he couldn’t function!”

We are naturally self-preserving and it’s not a moral issue when we try to defend ourselves.  It just happens.  However, we are misperceiving what is in our best interest.  We misperceive what is self-reserving.  We misperceive what we need to defend ourselves against.

The self-sabotage Eva was doing came out more clearly when I echoed her, asking if she had chosen to give her marriage one last try.

You’d think the answer would be as easy as, “yes” or, “no.”  But in Eva’s marriage, she was using points of action, outside of herself, to explain her emotions and behaviors.  Eva had the gift of freedom right in front of her, wrapped and unopened.  Her freedom was hers however, whether she chose to take it or not.  Eva’s freedom to self-care is one of the natural laws.  It doesn’t change with her perception of what is real.

I am, but I’m not sure about him!  We’ll see!

I asked her if she heard the barely hidden way she was justifying her current limited engagement in their “last try.”  The “but” behind her emotions and behaviors was sabotaging her friendliness towards herself.  She was stuck, because of it, in her victim role.  This decision to stay or leave was not evidently her choice but rather the choice of her husband, she was saying.

We talked some more about this and when I asked her if it made sense to her, this freedom of owning her choices fully, she slowly and quietly said,

It does, but I’m not sure if I’m willing to do that.

When thinking about Eva’s self-sabotage, it’s reflexive to say that it was because of her ambivalence (i.e. two strongly felt opposing forces.)  Ambivalence may not be helping, but the real damage to herself is done with her victim role.  She is free to choose or not to.

I’m hoping that this discussion will also hanker in her – put up a little fight for space against the other hankering bleeds she’s got flowing.  We’ll go at it again when or if she comes back in to see me.

Questions:  What was it like for you when you started owning choices (any) that felt painful?  How do you see this as self-care?  Please tell me your story.