The Good – The Bad – The Possible

Over the years, I’ve written about Peak Oil, Community Exchanges, Shop Local, Campaign Finance Reform, Education Reform, Alternative Healthcare, Big Pharma, Corporate Monoculture Farming, Sustainable Living, Renewable Energy, Self-Healing and Spirituality.

I’ve read, listened and researched.

I’ve talked, argued and thrown my hands up in despair.

I’ve ranted, I’ve raved, tried sharing information through humor and How – Not – Too.

I’ve been on fire with enthusiasm and sick with despair when I believed that my passion for these subjects had no interested audience.

I’ve dreamed, I’ve hoped, I’ve struggled to make a difference through my lifestyle choices, purchasing decisions, writing topic choices and personal belief system improvements.

And now, all that experience has been encapsulated into one extraordinary two-hour film, “Thrive: What on Earth Will It Take?”, which I discovered this morning via a post by recOveryhealth.

(I embedded the film below – yes, it’s that important – I don’t want you to even have to click twice to start watching it  –  *You can donate to the producers here.)

So instead of digging through my archives, you can now glean all that info with the simple investment of a couple hours of your time – you can even watch in increments if you like…

The Good

From the beginning to about 33 minutes – the film highlights the creator’s background and reason for researching.  His quest for truth and the form he found it in echoes the conclusions found throughout the history of the spiritual, the religious and the scientific.  It has been postulated by the prophets, the holy men, the gurus, metaphysicists, cosmologists, cellular bioligists and quantum theorists:

There is a code to the Universe – to Life

If we  figure it out, we can work in harmony with it,

Instead of paddling upstream all the while…

And though I’ve had my crisis of faith moments and believed the Universe to be one big Chaotic mess, bent on destroying me – – I’ve found the only way for me to continue in this life with any semblance of happiness is to embrace the Code story in it’s many variations.

The Bad

Around 33 minutes, you enter the Bad phase – the phase that examines the problems facing our world and the inter-connected,  complex structures  that are contributing to or causing-on-purpose the disasters we fear and seek refuge from.    It digs deep into systems and mind-sets that contribute to the misery of our lives –

You may not agree with all the viewpoints referenced as causing our global problems, but only the truly oblivious could say we have no challenges regarding our continued existence given our present course.

It’s not always a pleasant or comforting place to be, confronting our fears – though I believe this film does it’s best to present the information within a space of hope – – which brings us to…

The Possible

At around 1 hour, 38 minutes – after you’ve delved into a story you really hope isn’t true -but suspect is –  you get to watch the What’s Possible portion.

(If you’re already worried and depressed about the state of things and you feel powerless in being able to do anything about it – skip from :33 to 1:38 on the film.

Choosing not to wallow in the problems portion will not keep you from being inspired by the Possible section; however, if you’re one of those who must know Why? before you do – best just take your lumps and confront your fears.  Watch with a friend and the lights on if it helps – – )

The Possible portion will inspire you – it will show you easy-to-integrate ways to make a difference, right now, today, with what you already know and  have, with who you already are.  To quit contributing to the problems and instead, become part of the solution – you don’t have to do them all – – any forays you make into your favorite arenas makes a difference – just pick one and start.

Without further ado – here’s “Thrive: What on Earth will it Take?”:

For myself, I’m continuing on through my day ‘off’ by meandering through the ThriveMovement website – – – they sound like my kind of folks….

Food and Chemicals

Lynne McTaggart’s blog this morning, citing the work of Dr. Grace E. Jackson, highlights the increasing volume of evidence linking some pharmaceutical medications to dementia.

The list of medicines cited as the biggest offenders against our brain matter:

  • Cholesterol lowering or blocking
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Anti-depressants
  • Sleeping pills
  • Certain Medications for ADHD

All have been shown to have debilitating effects on our grey matter, often resulting in some form of dementia.

Now I know why the recent elections in my area went the way they did.

Silly me, I thought people were just too lazy to research – turns out, they are probably suffering from some stage of dementia.

I feel bad about my previous harsh thoughts towards my fellow citizen voters.

Sick people deserve compassion.

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I’m also concerned about Dr. Jackson’s career.   History tells me she’s on a path that ends in being ostracized from the Lodge of Modern Medicine.  I’m awaiting her being added to the Quackwatch list.

(No, you don’t get a link for quackwatch.   This guy doesn’t do his homework.  I only know about him because he came out with egg on his face when the Weston A. Price foundation refuted his findings on a point-by-point basis.   Those folks know how to research and footnote, therefore are link-worthy. )

Maybe I should send her Mr. 11 Dimensions’ address – they can hang out in seclusion together.   Although I think he may be currently enjoying genius status….his status in the world of Physicists has changed frequently – so not sure if he’s in seclusion or not.

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I’ve always held that modern medicine has gotten very good at keeping the body alive while what’s wrong is figured out.   Broken bones, gun shot wounds, blocked airways…hey!  Modern is where it’s at.

I’m still convinced that daily health and quality of life comes from ingesting properly prepared, nutritious food and seeking assistance from a holistic provider when you’ve gotten yourself ‘jacked up’ (Politely referred to as ‘out of balance’ by the holistic circle.)

And taking supplements if you’re not getting nutritious food.

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When I first entered the Traditional Diet world, I ran my mouth to friends, family and neighbors nearly 24 hours a day.   The changes I observed in my own body were so significant I could hardly wait to share.   So many things became clear on why I had suffered from various health problems for so long.

I turned my back on USDA and FDA guidelines.   My new guidelines were: “Was this available to my ancestors who lived 40,000 years ago?  In this form?  If not, how much would they have to eat in order to get that amount?”

(Did you know that to get a cup of corn oil into your system, you would need to ingest 1/2 bushel of corn or more, at one sitting?)

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I’m a big fan of ‘experiential data’ – I’ve seen what happens to data when the graph doesn’t look just like someone wants it to…especially if that graph is directly tied to that someone’s paycheck.

I’m also a big fan of ‘natural selection’ – even though completely adhering to that would mean I would be dead by now…and wouldn’t have lived long enough to procreate….

My brain full of history tells me that if physical bodies evolve slowly to survive in new conditions, our bodies haven’t had enough time to catch up with all the wondrous food products that come to us via the Industrial Revolution.

I can trust my brain – I’m not on pharmaceuticals.

I can go crazy all by myself, thank you very much…

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I have my own set of data on whether to believe Modern medicine or Age-Old practices.   I’m not afraid to experiment on myself.   And I’m not afraid to say, “oops!  that didn’t go well, let’s try something else”.

I think my ‘all or nothing’ personality combined with a healthy skepticism of anyone who makes grand promises with a similarly attached price tag, along with personal mishandling by both modern and holistic practitioners,  has placed me in a position to be rather open to views that go against the majority consensus.

I also refuse to knowingly purchase anything with Aspartame in it.   My son sorely misses chewing gum.    We haven’t been able to find one that doesn’t contain aspartame.

If you do a search of Aspartame, you’ll find plenty of people crying “Poison!” and about the same number shouting, “Shut up, quacks!  It’s fine!”

My deductive reasoning says, “If it’s ‘fine’ then why do your footnotes (if you have any) contain studies 20 years old and dissenters cite numerous studies conducted almost non-stop for the last 10?”

Until proponents indicate to me they are willing to back up their claims with current, 3rd party performed, non-grant funded research, then I’ll stick with avoiding it.

(Maybe they are suffering from dementia and can’t remember to put footnotes in….)

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I changed over to ‘good fats’ in 2006.   As of January, 2010, blood tests revealed my Cholesterol (good, bad and trigs) to be in normal ranges.   2 modern medicine doctors, a chiropractor and an acupuncturist all stated they couldn’t see any problems there. (although one of the modern medicine folks suggested I should start medicine, to keep the number good…arggghhh!)

I’m over 40, my exercise entails typing and doing housework, I’m a smoker with a kitchen devoid of ‘fats’ except for the following: homemade lard, real butter, coconut oil, olive oil, tea oil and a smidge of peanut oil.

I’ve stubbornly ingested in large quantities the very fats the FDA, USDA, AHA and AMA have all told me to avoid like the plague.

Hmmm….still here.    Good Cholesterol levels.   Brain functioning (okay, maybe not to your standards, but I do not leave my house only to be found 6 hours later, wandering around in the woods, unable to tell you what my name is or where I live…)

I don’t take my blood pressure.   I don’t have any scales in my house except for those to weigh food (Uniformity in homemade dinner rolls necessitates this piece of equipment….)

I look over each day and ask: “Did my health prevent me from doing something I wanted to?  Do I have clothes that fit?” (I hate to shop – I still have the nightgown I wore on my wedding night…and yes, it still fits….)

I check in with my body after I eat.   Is my tummy happy?   How’s the digestive process going?  Painful?  Loud?  Smelly?

I also analyze my sleep patterns and dreaming.   If those are unusual, then I know something has gone astray either in my brain or my body.

(day 2 of no coffee…. day 3 of no Tylenol pm…..tummy is happier, body still not sure how to sleep 8 hours straight, on its’ own…but I did get to 4 last night….)

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In short, I come back to the same thinking.   I’m not particularly afraid to die, nor am I trying to extend my life as long as I can.   I instead am trying to enjoy whatever time I do have.

Home cooked meals with Hubby and son, made from food purchased direct from farmer/rancher satisfy my nose, heart and tummy in a way McDonalds can’t.

Pain pills, anti-depressants, and hormone therapy side effects made me decide the original symptoms were the lessor of two evils.

Extra Vitamin C, various Chinese herbal blends and aromatherapy make me feel better when I’ve overindulged in thoughts or substances I should have left alone.

Day after day, I practice medicine on myself…

Some things are just better left out of the hands of ‘experts’.

Confessions of A Smoker

A recent visit to a new health care provider resulted in another in-depth look at my smoking habit.

Well trained in Aware and Conscious Living, I am excellent at analyzing my motivations for my various behaviors.

Sometimes, these motivations are examined when I’m confronted by Ardent Non-Smokers.

Other times, these thoughts are visited when I’m questioning the validity of my stated, “I want to be healthy” goals.

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Motivation 1 – I like to smoke and I’m not convinced that tobacco, in and of itself is the demon it’s portrayed to be.

As the daughter of a smoker and the granddaughter of a tobacco farmer from Kentucky, I was raised in an environment that was rather tobacco friendly.

Long after I had started, I was informed by grandpa, “If you are going to smoke, then buy directly from the farmer and roll your own.  Do you know what they are putting in cigarettes these days?”  (my memory can only retrieve ‘fiberglass’ as one of the listed toxins…)

My dad quit in his later years.   I sat by his side while he fought his final battle against the enemies of COPD,  lung and brain cancer.

On the flip side, I also assisted in the care of an elderly man with 1/4 of one lung left, during my CNA career days.   He never smoked.   He did drive a coal truck for 30 years….

I’m also aware, now, that Dad was exposed to the evils of Asbestos.   Current law firm commercials tell me I may be entitled to compensation if my loved one worked in the plumbing, heating or air conditioning industry AND  was diagnosed with lung cancer or mesothelioma.   As a close family member, I may have been exposed too, according to ambulance chasers.

I can guarantee you I won’t get any compensation – I brought all my woes upon myself by daring to be a smoker.

Tobacco companies that used fillers to maximize profits and additives guaranteed to keep me craving their product are off the hook.  A nationwide campaign of The Evils of Smoking means I can’t claim ignorance or blame my actions on others.

Those who made their fortunes off asbestos related products and services are also off the hook, even though the dangers of asbestos inhalation were known to First Century AD Greeks and Romans.

I’m certain I will be on my own when health issues appear.

Motivation #2 – I try to do my civic duty.

From old sources that cite actual tax revenue and projected tax revenue from tobacco products through 2002 (yes, eight years old) I find the number of…you ready?

9.053 billion…yes, not a typo, billion.

And this number is from 8 years prior to recent tax hikes.   Can’t even imagine how many zero’s are behind that figure now…

Quitting smoking now would directly contribute to our national debt woes.    If I and all my fellow tobacco enthusiasts quit tomorrow, what taxes will need to be raised in order to recover from that budget blow?   Property?  Gas?  Twinkies?  Diet Coke?

So get off our back – we have just as valid a point as those who cry, “I have to go to work.  Millions on Welfare are depending on me.”

Also, indoor smoking bans have greatly impacted my fellow friends and neighbors who earn their living in tip-supplemented endeavors.  (Casino dealers, waitresses, bartenders and slot techs.)

Colorado’s Clean Indoor Air Act negatively impacted local bar, restaurant and casino revenues, as well as contributing to un- and under-employment.  We also lost a lot of locally owned mom and pop establishments.

24-hour and raised stakes gambling legislation was not enough to recover the lost revenues.

Casino employees in the know inform me of substantive reduction in profitsharing checks, daily business, work hours and tips.

Seems those who like to drink and gamble, for the most part, like to smoke too.

From my own perspective after years of waitress duties, I’ll tell you – Smokers, on the whole, are better tippers.

Saavy casinos have built protected, heat lamp decorated, enclosed “You can take your drink with you” smoker areas.

Doesn’t help much.

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Hold on, I’m rolling a cigarette…..

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Okay, I’m back.

In all fairness, I will report on the opposition’s side.

“You should pay the taxes.   Because your health care is going to cost the country money.”

Ummm…no.  Remember the above?  I’m a smoker, and therefore, whatever I get, I deserve and there will be no cries to spend public funds to save me.

I also have a living will that states, “Hospice care workers are allowed to give me a massive overdose of morphine during their first visit to my house – should I be in such poor health I’m unable to contribute to society in any beneficial way.”

I know it will not be heeded, but hey, I did try…

I also shared with Hubby, during a recent bout of pneumonia, my observation that he had a gun and I knew where  a ‘back forty’ existed and really, right now, I’m thinking he should quit dilly-dallying around and put me out of my misery.

He didn’t take me up on my offer.   I think more because it’s illegal to do so, rather than any great love of my occasional cooking forays….

Thanks to him and his restraint, you are now reading my thoughts on the matter…

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“But you are infringing upon my health rights with your second hand smoke”

Concerned loved ones have for pointed out my blatant selfishness for years via this argument.

I’m not convinced my second hand smoke is more dangerous than them driving in rush hour traffic with their windows down, (conserving gas by not using air conditioning…)

Studies compiled and widely publicized regarding the dangers of Second Hand Smoke (SHS) contain some glaring issues

Number one, many of the persons studied to determine the effects of second hand smokers were, previously, smokers themselves.

Also, the term “meta analysis” is used in the EPA study of ’93.  My overview (and prejudiced) definition of meta analysis is:

“We didn’t actually do any studies of our own.   We just read a crap load of other studies, took their numbers and crammed them into a statistical trending software tool and now, share those results with you.”

I have huge issues with Statistical Evidence.   Mainly because I worked as a temp on a Department of Defense contract at one time.   I’ve seen the graphs created when additional funding is requested and those produced when operation efficiency is questioned.   Totally different “pretty pictures’…from the same data set…

Highly educated statisticians will tell you that eliminating data points that are anomalies is needed to give a true picture of what’s what.

My personal experience shows that human bias will determine what is an anomaly and what’s not…

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I’m also highly suspicious of the transitive property.   You know, If A=B and B=C then A=C?

Great for 7th grade math class.

Terrible for health studies on average citizens with so many variables they can never all be identified, even by conscientious, live-and-let-live researchers.

Let’s not forget the famous No-Salt campaign that led to many sodium-deficient deaths among our elderly population a few years back…

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“But it stinks!” non-smoker’s inform me.  Yes, I know it offends your nose.

Skunks, poor exhaust systems on factories and vehicles as well as heavy cologne offends mine.   The fragrance of many personal hygiene products gives me a sore throat and a sick headache.   Can you please be a responsible citizen and quit applying ‘smell-goody’ products?

And can we please put another animal on the endangered species list…?

(I’m just kidding.   I think skunks are pretty, and if the dogs and people in my neighborhood would quit scaring our local family, we could all sleep peacefully…)

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I also have had opportunity to be exposed to a variety of viewpoints regarding what really causes illness.

Crappy attitude and defective immune system, compliments of stress and malnutrition head the list of many a holistic provider’s  Top Ten.

So when someone I regularly see with McDonald’s bags,  feels the need to walk over to the designated Smoker’s Area (located across the road, over the canyon filled with snakes and up the hill that mimics Mt. Everest) and lecture me on how I’ve somehow become more socially unacceptable than the local pedophile, well, I wonder just how much ‘dis-ease’ they are responsible for in both them and those in their vocal vicinity.

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I just have to share my all-time-favorite story about the discrimination against smokers.

Years ago, I worked for a local law enforcement agency.  I was taking advantage of my legally protected break time and adjourning to the outside smoker’s area to engage in my dirty little habit with another threat to society, also known as a smoking co-worker.

As we prepared to remove our stinky selves to the back forty, another co-worker, with physical dimensions of 5’1″ and 300+ lbs, lectured us on the evil of our ways through a mouth full of gummy bears, which had just been shoved in from a hand buried deep in a container size that can only be purchased at your local bulk-buying club.

I replied, “Well, c’mon out and we’ll have a 100 yard dash.  Whoever wins is deemed the healthiest. I suspect you’ll have a heart attack before I do.”

25 minutes later…

(and 20 minutes since I returned to my work station and working endeavors…“smokers get more break-time” is another favorite whine of those who cubicle hop and gossip most of their workday.  As a compulsive addict, I also have strong perfectionist tendencies.   That makes me a more productive worker.)

…my boss appears.

Seems he needs to talk to me about workplace harassment issues.

I’m to follow him to his office for another lecture.

I advise him I’m more than happy to attend an arbitration meeting, paneled by 3rd party members to decide who, exactly, started the harassment….

To his credit, he stared at me silently for awhile, then turned around and returned to his duties regarding local safety and security.

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Most of my complaints regarding the tobacco debate has more to do with what’s socially acceptable and what’s harassment.

It is not socially condoned for me to approach a grossly overweight fellow citizen at the local Wendy’s and say, “Hey!  Shouldn’t you re-think your triple patty, super-sized meal?  I mean, c’mon now, you’re the reason my health insurance rates are so high.”

It is perfectly all right, however, for a 3-year old I don’t know to see me and say, “Look mommy.  There’s one of the bad people.”  To which her mother replies, “Yes, honey.  Smokers are Baaadddd….” without even blinking an eye.

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I also submit if cigarettes were really as dangerous as they are made out to be, wouldn’t they have been added to the list of ‘unsafe products’  (a few on that list are LSD, Ecstasy, Meth and ephedra.)

Small amounts of ephedra to restore balance to lung function after illness has been used for thousands of years.   Recent massive overdoses in an attempt to look like a super-model by some citizens has resulted in me not getting this herb in order to recover from pneumonia.

Medical Marijuana big business has made it’s debut here locally.   New business, new jobs.   Great….

This results in a local hydroponic store who carries the organic potting soil I’m trying to grow a native-to-the-west tobacco plant in…

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The powers that be learned their lesson from Prohibition.    Instead, this go around, they profit from my consumption all the while guaranteeing Freedom of Speech to those who are, in my opinion, guilty of violating the misdemeanor harassment statute that reads:

“any verbal or physical action whose sole purpose is to incite and inflame.”

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All in all, I have many motivations for smoking, but I’ve decided my main one is

Rebellion.

I’ve worked, paid taxes, fed my family and cut down on my gas consumption.   I try to take care of myself and do my part in not raising health insurance premiums by insisting on having tests run every 4 weeks to determine if I really am healthy.

I choose to care for myself at home instead of the hospital when I get pneumonia.

I use energy efficient light-bulbs, shop as locally as I can (in transition) and hold doors for my elders.

I faithfully use my turn signal, stay home on the couch or ride in the passenger seat when I overindulge and provide my kids both modern entertainment and valued history lessons.

I drop everything to help those I love with their traumas and tragedies and lock myself in my bedroom when I’m not fit for polite society.

I’ve been encouraged  to sue regarding lost loved ones because of known dangers and modern medicine malpractice.   I’ve chosen to work and support those who work for my livelihood instead.

I am sick and tired of being placed on the lowest rung of society.  I’m tired of being an acceptable target for the release of pent-up stress and rage by those who engage in their own unhealthy habits.

So there….

Grief or Guilt?

By now, if you join me regularly, you’ll have figured out that my blog is less a sales pitch or useful social/intelligent commentary and more a daily journal…

I’ve known for a long time that I fall far on the right side of the Internal vs. External Processing pendulum.

I ponder, I analyze, I think for days on end.   But in the final analysis, to really keep sane, I have to work through things ‘out there’…

Meaning, I talk and write.

Since allegations of “Chatty-Kathy” have followed me for years, I’ve turned more to writing.   For one thing, my jaw finally got tired.   For another, I’m very sensitive to criticism (constructive or not) right now.   It’s hard to tune me out when I’m talking.   But hey, you chose to come here and read.  And you can criticize all you want in the privacy of your own home, where I can’t hear you…

Writing in my personal journal does not do the trick.   I can only see all the different perspectives of something if there is a believed-to-exist external audience.  (Hence, talking to folks with eyes glued to the TV does not result in completion for me either…)

So this morning’s topic is in regards to the various diagnosis regarding the persisting physical pain since my bout with pneumonia last year.

Western medicine dismisses current pain and past illness being related at all.   Narcotics and suggestions of therapy for depression are the recommended treatment.

Holistic medicine has danced around, “inflammation, stored toxins, stress, depression and guilt.”

Laymen diagnosis is, “Don’t care what it is, get it fixed and fast – can’t stand seeing much more of this.”

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My recent sojourn to a new practitioner who doesn’t know the story of my life for the past few years, resulted in a re-telling of the death of my oldest son from bacterial meningitis.

New doc asks, “Do you feel guilty?”

Are you kidding?   Of course I do.   I’m a Mom.  My job is to protect and nurture those given to my care.   One is dead.   Obviously, I failed in my mission.   How can you even ask such a stupid question?

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There has been a lot of similar advice tossed my way for quite a few months now.   Quite frankly, if I hear the words “co-dependent”, “guilt” or “depression” one more time, I’m going to make those who go postal look like amateurs.

For the record – I finally looked up the definition of ‘co-dependent’.  The allegations that I am are not true.

I really would like folks around me to quit having traumas, illnesses and such, so I could selfishly think about me and my healing, without feeling selfish.   But I’m still an empathetic person – If someone is struggling and I think I can be of help, I feel guilty if I don’t offer…

On the other hand, I’m famous for wrecking my own health in order to care for or provide for others.   It’s not on purpose.   I figure staying up all night in a hospital or working 120 hours a week is only a short term endeavor – I don’t ever plan for that to become my life….

(yes, I’m aware there are careers where I can work a 12-hour graveyard shift at a hospital and get paid for my time… I have a unique talent – people feel safe dying around me.   Since I tend to get attached and don’t want to inadvertently place my talent around those not sure about taking the journey just yet, those careers don’t really seem viable options…)

Guilt – This is sort of a no-brainer – I’m very much a product of my own environment.  Please combine the following belief systems and see what you come up with:

  • God helps those who help themselves
  • Love your neighbor as you love yourself (in other words, what would I give myself if I was in their shoes?)
  • You create your reality

My result when faithfully following the above recipe is: “How could I abandon one who is hurting right now?” “How could I possibly have done this to myself?  And why would I?”   and finally, “I have no one to blame but myself”.

My definition of guilt is as follows:

The emotional response to behavior that is either internally recognized or externally labeled as detrimental to others.

Depression – I’m not depressed.  There are plenty of things I’m interested in.  They just aren’t the same things as Before I Lost Two Whom I Loved Best.

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Still, part of the Rx script sent home with me was to, “Cut yourself some slack.  Get rid of the guilt and shame.  Quit arguing with who you are and just be.”

The last one cracked me up.  I AM being who I am.  Right now, that means I’m still ‘what iffing’ myself to death, and in general, a crusty, grumpy, cynical ole fart.   I totally accept that is who I am right now.   Why else do you think I shared it with you?

On the other hand, I apparently am ready to BE something else, hence I’m here….some help please? (Ya know, I really am very lucky anyone even ventures to take me on as a patient… Count your blessings, they say.)

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I’m well aware of the school of thought that says, “Each moment you make a choice of who you are.”

I’m also well aware of my life long story of, “I don’t want to be a person who leaves a path of destruction five miles wide behind me.”

Guilt, regret and shame are useful to keep you on the straight and narrow.   At least that’s the story planted in my brain.

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Not too long after Morgan died I had my little fit of hysteria.   I was at the local newspaper to submit and pay for the required Thank You note.

(Which also meant adjusting our annual budget, as I cannot say anything in 50 words or less (without cursing) and as a personal household, we are not allowed to run a trillion dollar deficit….)

I also picked up last week’s copy to re-read the obituary I had penned while running on no sleep and loads of coffee.   Too late to edit, but wanted to see if perhaps, after not seeing it for a week, I was still satisfied with it.  (I say I just write and don’t edit much – – I’ve been known to tell untruths occasionally…)

I discover the obituary did not run in last week’s issue.   How on earth can I submit a Thank You note if the obit hasn’t run?   Extreme panic, anger, stress – – fill in any other negative emotions you wish – – The carefully placed lid I had put on my emotions was working up to a blow similar to Pompeii…

The newspaper folks were very understanding of my incoherent ramblings.  Not to worry, could I just tell them the name of the funeral home?  They will take care of everything, don’t you worry.   Oh, no charge for your Thank You, we’re happy to be of service.   (there’s a thousand bucks out the window.  Who talks this much to say thank you?) No, no, it’s okay that you’re crying and unable to string two words together…we understand….we know how to look up phone numbers….there, there, (please, you’re scaring the other customers….)

Now, for better or worse, my chiropractor’s office is within blind stumbling distance of the newspaper office.   I weaved my way there, burst through the door and completely wrecked the quiet, healing atmosphere of the place.  (remember the ‘path of destruction’ phrase?   see now, why I have valid concerns?)

Bless their hearts.   For some reason known only to the Universe, there was not a queue of patients with appointments in the office that precise moment.  I vaguely remember being gently led back to the treatment room.

Extreme Caution Note* For those of you who have lost loved ones to the violent or reckless behavior of others, please do not read the following.   It is part of my analysis of my own healing, but will cause you pain.  Please trust me and just skip to the next section  Look for the Blue All Clear signal.

(Extra warning and space to give you time to look for blue…)

“I just want someone to be angry at and there isn’t anyone…” I hiccuup and wail through my tears.  “Other people have stupid drunks or drug dealers or murderers to vent their anger on.   I don’t have that.”

All Clear – you may continue reading….

“I want someone to blame.   I want to know why.   Barring that, I’ll even take a cat to kick.”  (not really, I can’t bear to see animals hurt… but I was reckless that day…)

Twenty minutes of soothing treatment and soft-spoken words later, I am fit for decent society again.

But somewhere along the line, I had identified a safe target for my anger.

Me.

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Now any fool can tell you that anger turned inward is one of the most destructive things possible.  Simply because, there is only so much space  ‘inward’ and sooner or later, it will overflow into ‘outward’.

And as intolerant as I am of fools, I plowed right ahead anyways.   10 months later, I confide in another that they can just forget trying to talk me out of my own guilt –  I will never, you hear me? Never!  forgive myself for failing in my duty.

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Now, anyone with any experience of seeing the light at the end of the tunnel that was not a train will tell you, Forgiveness is not for the one forgiven – it’s for the peace and well-being of the person who forgives.

On the other hand, when it’s yourself you forgive, then both parties (you and you) receive the blessing.

I had a long talk recently with a family member regarding forgiveness.   We discussed about how some view forgiveness as a “Free Pass to keep doing what you already did” and they are not willing to hand out Free Passes to those who are engaging in behavior they deem detrimental to others.

I can’t speak very knowledgeably about whether that’s true or not.   Heck, according to professionals, I have huge problems with setting boundaries.  I’ve also read  No Boundary by Ken Wilbur – it’s no wonder I argue with myself all the time.

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I also had early training in the concept, “If one person tells you something, it may be true or not.  At 2, still question.  But if everyone around you is pointing out the same thing, then it’s time to take it seriously.”

So this morning, unable to sleep, I’ve thought about guilt and forgiveness.

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On the one hand, I proclaim my belief in an Intelligent Universe, Omnipotent Higher Power and the Heroic Mission of the Soul.

Which means that to blame myself for Morgan’s death is in direct contradiction of my belief system.  (arguing with yourself is also known as “stress and dis-ease”)

On the flip side, if I just skip along, with a “Not my problem, it’s not my job to interfere with another soul’s journey” (aka I’m Not Responsible for the Choices/Actions of Others) la-de-dah Enlightened attitude, I don’t feel comfortable.  “Passing the buck and not taking responsibility” are the frequent internal commentaries made on this course of action.

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I could try the path of “don’t think about it” I’ve observed followed by some around me.

Not a good fit with Who I Am.   Believe me, I’ve tried over the years.   I often PRAY for a blank look and when asked, “What are you thinking” answering “Nothing” in all truthfulness.

Haven’t accomplished it yet and probably never will….

On the bright side, I don’t get asked what I’m thinking very often – the wise know they better be ready for a 30 minute discourse if they ask – therefore, no one cares what I’m thinking.  Makes isolating yourself from the world much easier.

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If you ever want to be held accountable for your beliefs and reminded whenever your actions fail to conform to what you say is true, just share your beliefs with your children.   Best accountability program in existence.

Morgan and I had several round-table discussions regarding the fine line between allowing others to take responsibility for their own reactions to you and behavior I considered blatant mistreatment of others.

“Do what you will, Harm None.” – But there are those walking around just waiting for the opportunity to be offended or hurt.   Yes.  I know.   I have now passed my insanity on.

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Not really.   He wasn’t insane.  He navigated the multiple worlds and belief systems he was exposed to very well, actually.   Better than I have.   Apparently, the sins of the mother are not always passed to the next generation.

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Although I spent a good deal of energy after his departure doing my best to make sure really great silver linings were noticed, appreciated or created out of this whole big, dark cloud (a memorial scholarship, repair of needed relationships and relinquishment of others, really good bonding with and daily appreciation of the son I have left, etc.) in the background, I have been quietly contemplating my own guilt in the whole affair, the unfairness of it all and how there is no possible way any plane of existence could need his presence more than than the one I currently occupy.

I’ve gotten very good at arguing with Morgan, the Universe, myself.  My thoughts and actions are not in tandem.   This is also referred to as ‘incongruity’ or ‘disconnectedness’ by the holistic world.

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Want to hear a good one?   Earlier this year, I embarked in a partnership with another to make a video series about how the stories you tell become the life you live.   My gift to the world.   One of the beautiful creations that came about solely because of the depth and growth of my soul through experiencing pain and loss.  Or so it was touted.

In a very early session, there I was, hair fixed, make-up applied, talking to camera, saying, “Anytime you are arguing with yourself, you’re going to have problems.”

Needless to say, that project got cut short.  How on earth can I tell others ‘how-to’ when I haven’t even figured it out myself?  Oh, I know there are those who make a very good living doing just that, but the secret  is they are oblivious to the fact they haven’t really figured out the end-all “How-To” – ergo, no internal conflict.

I echo Doc Holiday’s (played by Val Kilmer) sentiments, “My hypocrisy only goes so far.”

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In the end, I realize that in order to heal, go forth and have a fruitful life, I’ll have to forgive and forget.

To date, of all the coping mechanisms available, the one that has worked best is, “Every morning when I wake up, I live in the NOW.  I have no past and no future.  I observe and appreciate only what is right in front of me.   I do only what is right in front of me to do.”

This path is Great for inner-peace, comfort and calm.

It really sucks for functioning in the real world, unless you never make dates with friends and only work for people who don’t care when you show up, how long you work, or when you depart.

Living in the Now experiment made my already screwed up time-awareness vanish completely.

Fortunately, the sun and moon still help to remind me whether to return that voice mail call now, or wait awhile, in consideration of others’ sleep schedules. (consideration is, I’ve learned, a symptom of being co-dependent….)

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Another helpful course of action is believing that Morgan was really a super-duper-triple-under-cover agent saving the world and this whole fiasco was part of the undercover “cover”.    Hard to keep that one up, because in order to have shared reality, someone must share it and I haven’t had any takers yet.  Plus, it gets confusing using the word cover that often…

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Door number three for coping is from Roadhouse.  You remember that one?   Sam Elliot and Patrick Swayze.   Scene where Oh Wise and Revered Elder is assisting Young and Foolish One:

“Ya gotta cut it the fuck loose”

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If you’ve survived the world of multiple perspectives and read this far, I guess you know I’m tired of the ill health that is, supposedly, a result of guilt and grief.   So this whole morning’s exercise has been in trying to resolve my disagreements with myself, via talking with myself while pretending to talk to you. (you haven’t forgotten that whole “We Are All One” concept, have you?)

If you’re grieving yourself and in the same predicament, then this morning’s exercise was my feeble attempt to let you know, you’re not alone.

And yes, I believe, somehow, some way we will make it through.

One day, one thought, one agreement or contradiction,  one tear or laugh –  at a time.

The Dark before the Dawn II

Some time back, I wrote an article for That’s Natural regarding healing and what sometimes appears as a ‘one step forward, two steps back’ process. (Original Article Here, pg. 11)

Apparently, what I reported on is not just my unique viewpoint.   Health care providers asked permission to copy and give to their patients.  I realized my article could be utilized by the incompetent to convince patients to spend more time/money with their inadequate health care systems.   On the other hand, the requests to copy could mean that I had adequately conveyed and encouraged others in a topic that caregivers are all too aware of.  (Remember, I’m a good fence-walker…)

Basically, once you’ve gotten yourself ‘all jacked up’ (my favorite phrase that sent my first acupuncturist running for her American Idioms book), sometimes the road to healing isn’t a smooth, open four-laner.

More often, it resembles a narrow, mountain path – danger of falling boulders from above, sheer drop off to your right.   A thin rocky ledge, strewn with rocks to turn your ankle on and pebbles that work their annoying way into your shoe – persistently poking the most tender parts of your foot.  (yup, I’m not a hiker….)

My only advice is, “Hold on and move slowly.  Or better yet, sit down and rest and wait for the Search and Rescue guys to show up.  Just make sure you have plenty of water.”

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I’ve spent the past 5 months getting progressively more jacked up.  And not via a bottle with a black label.   Due to unforeseen circumstances, my acupuncturist of 5+ years is no longer so.

I tried other modalities.   I visited other providers.   Nothing gave me the relief of my previous care.  I observed the continuing decline and kept waiting for the healing sought to just show up, on my doorstep.   I asked didn’t I?

But I must not have communicated properly, because doorbell and “Avon calling…” was what I got.

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Starting with a new health care provider is sort of like dating again after being comfortably married for 20 years.    It’s scary.   I already informed Hubby that if we should be parted, I shall remain alone.   Dating in today’s world just seems like too much effort and energy.

(Sidenote*  My godmother, widowed for over 5 years, recently got remarried.   They are sooo cute and appreciative of each other.   All she did was go to church and sit at home waiting for the phone to ring.  Not that she was ‘waiting’ per se – she was just living her life.  But, the way the story sounds, didn’t even come close to the heart-wrenching horrible first date tales I see reported on Facebook.

Her activity worked well for him, because after he was widowed, he was shocked by the number of women in his age group who had taken the liberated stance of asking him out.   He was impressed with someone who waited for him to do his part.   And, I will add, I was Really impressed with how he did his part!   No grass grows under that man’s feet.   Once he makes up his mind to get a new queen, he makes a Princess’ life look drab!

Old-fashioned romance can still live, even in this liberated, modern world.)

I want my search and union with a new health care provider to work the same way.  I want to visualize what I need and then just wait for them to show up or call.

I’m a romantic at heart.

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After months of waiting and a few not-so-successful first dates, I mean appointments, I finally set up an appointment with someone locally.  Remember my “shop locally” transition?  I  had to lower my requirements for my new acupuncturist to be from China and a Dr. of Oriental Medicine in order to be in tune with shopping locally.

(I also have to make other hard choices when choosing organic vs. not-pure-organic, but grown locally by people I know, who eat the same stuff they’re selling me.   I’ve really gotten loads better at compromising.)

This new one has over 3000 hours training in various areas of Chinese Medicine – I figure they couldn’t have slept through ALL the classes – and they must really love the subject matter.

I’m a big fan of working with those who love what they do.   So off I cart my sorry self to another prince I hope isn’t a frog.

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Appointment went well.   I felt heard and, to my immense relief, my new provider does not think I’m crazy or a hypochondriac. (2 of my greatest fears – years of undiagnosed endometriosis schooled me well in the western medicine care model, “Here’s some pain pills, see a therapist.”   So now, being so well trained, I’m quick  to ask if those who supposedly know think I’m crazy…)

I left with improved emotional and mental well-being.   Checked in with my body.   Chest not so bad, back/ribs still sore, but not as much.   Went home, rested, drank plenty of water and gleefully reported I was NOT going to take Tylenol PM tonight.  (Yes, yes, I know – but Willow Bark just wasn’t cutting it and I had degraded to the point of not caring about liver damage….)

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And now I shall report the dark before the dawn – literally – sometime around 3:00 a.m.   Eyes open.   OUCH!   Why is my back and neck so sore?  What’s going on with my ribs?   I have a headache……

Finally stumbled from bed about 4:00.   Gave up on getting back to sleep and too late in the dark hours to take make-you-sleepy medicine.   Figure some coffee and cigarettes will distract me from my woes…

On the plus side, the Peak looked beautiful this morning…. I’ve gotten used to not being up at this time of day… Just think of all I’ve missed…

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Mentally, my committee was on running a full board meeting:

Ms. Hopeless: “See?  You’re never going to find another provider to work with.  Why do you keep trying?”

Ms. Sensible: “I told you to drink more water.  You have to flush out the released toxins.   And no, Pepsi is not considered water….”

Mr. Grumbles: “Would you all shut up?  My head hurts….”

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I went over my actions after my treatment.   Did I drink enough water?   I had been informed to take a heavily epsom salt laced bath when I got home (instructions in direct contradiction of my previous provider…who was right?)  Did I do enough deep breathing exercises?  Was my body protesting the lack of OTC assistance for sleep?  Maybe I should have done more resting and less reading when I got home….

I know just enough about holistic health to be dangerous to myself.

I also know just enough about mind/body medicine and Positive Thinking ideology to further injure myself with thoughts along the lines of, “Well, you could heal yourself if you wanted to..”

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Thankfully, I remembered to do a thorough check-in with my body before I called and left voice mail canceling my next appointment and sat around with Ms. Gloom and Mr. Doom center stage.

Here’s Its’ report:

“Wow!  Did we cut wood while I was asleep?   I’m feeling sort of stiff and sore this morning, albeit, in a good way.   And hey, what’s up with no Tylenol PM?  I’ve sort of gotten used to that, ya know.   But, que sera sera, I guess I can adjust if you can.  Might take me a few days, so quit nagging me, okay?   You’re the one who started this mess.   I do like what we did with the rib area.   Feels roomier and not so constricted here now we’ve flushed some of those toxins out.   Never really cared for them, they didn’t match the decor….”

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And as the bee-u-ti-ful sun turns the Peak from dusky pink to golden gleam, I stretch, take a deep breath and think, “Wow!  I’d forgotten how good it feels to breathe deeply.  Think I’ll go do some breathing exercises, now that it doesn’t cause sharp pain….

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The dark before the dawn is not the most pleasant time of day when you’re ill.   And narrow paths strewn with danger aren’t the most fun hiking trails.

But chin up.  Watching the sun come up or surveying the view you’ve hiked to makes it all worth it.