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The gift of music

Posted in Uncategorized on December 11th, 2017 by carol – Be the first to comment


Posted in Uncategorized on May 15th, 2011 by carol – 71 Comments


Does dieting make you fat?

Posted in Uncategorized on May 15th, 2011 by carol – 36 Comments

I think spring is a good time to check ourselves from going too crazy with dieting. If our culture isn’t reason enough to feel that we need to restrict, the season calls for taking off layers and that can be difficult for some.

But, before you stock up on food for the next diet, consider these facts. Within 36 hours of reducing caloric intake drastically~the metabolism of your body will drop by 10-15% to compensate. And when your blood sugar gets low because you have gone too long without eating, your body prepares to store what you eat next. And all of the ways we deprive ourselves of “bad” foods only makes them more appealing to us,…and leads to overindulging when we do partake of them. So,…what is the answer to achieving a healthy weight?

As radical as it may sound,…eating when you’re hungry -and stopping when you are full. Not as easy as it sounds. We have so bombarded our bodies with cognitive messages which ignore internal cravings, that we are no longer able to hear our inner cues. How many times do we keep working when our system is asking for energy? How many times do we keep eating after we are full, because the food is pretty or there’s an emotion we don’t like? This ends up confusing the need for food with other “hungers” or denying our hunger in an attempt to force weight loss.

Next time you feel hunger, try to respond as immediately as possible, and before you feel ravenous. When you eat, really look at the food and enjoy all your senses as you feed your body. When you notice that you are feeling like you’ve had enough~stop. Wait for 20-30 minutes, and if you are needing more fuel for your body, you will know it. But it takes practice.

There are many great books on the market that go into depth about mindful eating. Choose one that resonates for you, and start the journey toward healthy eating.

The Peace of Wild Things, by Wendell Berry

Posted in Uncategorized on March 6th, 2011 by carol – 27 Comments

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

— Wendell Berry hug1

The Power of Self Compassion~ Great NY Times Blog

Posted in Uncategorized on March 5th, 2011 by carol – Be the first to comment


Posted in Uncategorized on December 30th, 2010 by carol – 35 Comments


Posted in Uncategorized on September 5th, 2010 by carol – 28 Comments

Sharing a Loved One’s Pain

by Beth Gainer

Beth Gainer

Beth Gainer

When I was fighting breast cancer a few years ago, I fell into an abyss of despair and anguish. Luckily, many of my friends and family were there to catch me. They encouraged me to keep fighting and shared their feelings with me.

But others who also cared about me shunned me, rejected me, and/or tried to sweep my emotional and physical pain under the cancer carpet. Some whom I called for support wished me luck, got off the phone quickly, and never called me back. To my surprise and dismay, those closest to me avoided me. I went to chemotherapy and radiation sessions alone because others couldn’t bear to go with me.

I was devastated and felt like a pariah.

I now realize that while I could bear the pain, many who knew and loved me could not. Some friends and family wouldn’t allow themselves to show their pain to me; they felt they had to put on a brave face so as not to upset me and potentially worsen my condition.

When I told individuals that I was feeling ill from treatments, they would respond ad nauseum, “Well, at least you look good.” This was easy enough for them to say, I suppose, as I was lucky enough not to lose my hair and look “ill,” whatever “ill” was supposed to look like. (I only wish I would’ve shaved my head and eyebrows, for if I looked sick, perhaps it would’ve been harder for people to deny that I was.)

Of course, I also had to deal with the deluge of remarks from people who thought they were being helpful, comments like, “At least breast cancer is the best cancer to get,” and the much-hated “Think positively,” as if putting on my Positive-Thinking Cap would cure my disease.

I am no longer angry about such remarks, for I realize these insensitive comments had nothing to do with me, but everything to do with the individuals saying them.

It was difficult for them to see someone they loved suffering, especially when they felt powerless to help. We humans, as any other animal, try to avoid pain. People who rejected me or spouted empty clichés were trying to “fix” me or deny my suffering in order to avoid sharing in that pain. Maybe I reminded them of a beloved one who lost a battle with cancer. Maybe I reminded them that if a fit, young, health-conscious person could get cancer, so could they and their loved ones.

How sad that these individuals didn’t feel they had the right to share their true feelings with me.

In fact, my brother was the only person who cried with me during our first post-diagnosis phone chat. His crying made him vulnerable, and this helped me feel less alone, for our grief was communal. Others, I later found out, were also crying for me, but doing so privately. About a year after my last chemotherapy treatment, my aunt admitted that she stayed calm for me whenever I called for emotional support, but she “lost it” after she hung up. Although her calmness helped me cope, it’s sad that she could not show her heart to me.

Opposite to what many individuals believe, embracing and sharing your pain with the sufferer is therapeutic for all parties. Doing so builds a sense of togetherness. Most importantly, it reminds the sufferer that he or she is not alone.

Believe it or not, what ill people need is really quite simple. They don’t need those in their support network to cure their disease or “fix” their situation. All they need is a simple “I love you,” or “I really am scared, too, but we’ll get through this together.”

It’s an honor and privilege to appropriately share your feelings of grief, despair, and fear with the person who is in emotional and/or physical pain. In a future posting, I will give specific details about how I was able to effectively share my pain with a dear friend who lost her battle with cancer.

In the meantime, share your feelings – happy, sad, and everything in between – with the ones you love. You are worthy enough to express your feelings. Time moves on, so don’t hold back.

Beth L. Gainer is a breast cancer survivor who writes a column on self-advocacy, Calling the Shots

Posted in Uncategorized on July 22nd, 2010 by carol – 27 Comments


ADHD and Marriage

Posted in Uncategorized on July 22nd, 2010 by carol – 33 Comments


You Are What You “Eat”

Posted in Uncategorized on May 11th, 2010 by carol – 27 Comments

Someone wise told me recently that we must be responsible for what we “take in” by digesting it, processing it, or cleansing it. Just like if we eat too much sugar, we might feel ill,….and our bodies have to detox,….we might have to detox after choosing the company of a foul person, or after listening to negativity in all its forms.

Sometimes we feel we have no choice about what ‘goes in’ us,…but many times it is our unconsciousness that allows the poisons of life to seep into our space. Think of how often we hear complaining and don’t leave the company of whom we are with. Think of the advertising and marketing that preys on our fears or feelings of not being enough.

The music we choose, the persons we call friends, the places we walk and work and live,…all are sending out information to us on a daily basis,..and yet, we rarely monitor such things with care.

Once we have taken in the food that upsets our stomach, the company that sours the day, or the responsibility that wasn’t ours,…we are responsible to process this and find our balance. Or not.

Obviously, it is a choice how we carry forth once exposed to the darknesses of life, but for health~it requires us to be mindful of all that is around us,…so that when we can find more positive influences, we do.

I’m often unhappy if I eat too much, because of the discomfort and consequences of this behavior, but this is actually easier to remedy than if I participate in a negative exchange with another person. That toxicity is, for me, the harder of the two to “digest”. Think about what it is for you that turns your energy to sludge~and know that it is okay to refuse such experiences. After all,…you are the one who will have to clear it out and rebalance yourself in the time to follow.