Archive for the ‘Change and Transformation’ Category


Life has a way of doling out unexpected circumstances for all of us. They arrive in many different forms, often compounding one another—among them disabilities, job layoffs, financial challenges, relationship matters, and many others. Health issues often bring them all at once, along with all the adjustments required in new roles as a caregiver, guardian, sole provider, single parent or all of the above.

In my own life, until I experienced the super tsunami in 2004, there were certainly always hurdles to overcome, but fairly manageable. Before then, by using the same strategies I wrote about and presented to audiences for creating a life filled with purpose and daily jolts of joy, wonderful things kept manifesting by walking that tried and true path focused on intentions to create positive outcomes, harmonious connections and embrace optimism, among other core beliefs.

I had long resonated with these beliefs “walking my talk” for bringing my heart’s desires into reality. I fully expected it all to keep on flowing and couldn’t foresee how they would truly be put to the test in my early 50’s. However, the Universe had totally different plans and sent a tidal wave of uninvited circumstances, undoubtedly to test my coping skills, core beliefs and values, and to open my eyes to new realities.

In 2004, life in the harmonious zone spun me in directions never, ever imagined, and I tried my best to keep my footing while weathering a tidal wave of unexpected changes. My husband of 27 years became suddenly and mysteriously ill at 59 with a neurological condition conventional medicine couldn’t explain, which transformed him into a stranger, setting me on a long quest of discovery. Mainstream medicine didn’t recognize all of his symptoms were related to chronic inflammation impacting both his body and brain. Gone were all his beloved traits and calm demeanor. I didn’t know how to handle all the bizarre, behavioral changes that both frightened and confused me, without answers from doctors as to the cause of them all or how to handle them.

A year later, that quest finally led to a doctor, Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker, a leader in biotoxin illness, who though his functional medicine evaluation, identified Rick with an autoimmune disorder, toxic encephalopathy, a result of chronic inflammation for those genetically susceptible. His therapies provided relief, helping Rick return to an improved quality of life, but that became dependent over the years on the open-mindedness of some of his treating conventional practitioners. Some refused to follow my requests for treatment, or accept the biotoxic diagnosis, and treated him solely with medications for psychiatric conditions which never really resolved his brain issues, and later learned they were actually detrimental to him.

While I was in the midst of adjusting to my role as caregiver for my husband, my mother was diagnosed with colon cancer and I became her caregiver, too. It soon became obvious she was suffering full-blown, cognitive decline around the same time I was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor. So, my head and heart were spinning in so many directions and I was frazzled, frustrated and chronically stressed in dealing with it all.

It was only what I eventually learned about the roots of Rick’s maladies that I realized through genetic testing that both had a similar predisposition (and  testing revealed so did our daughters and myself!), estimated to affect 25% of the population making us all poor detoxifiers and especially vulnerable to biotoxic exposures, from mold, insect bites and other agents.

Mom and Rick suffered a wide range of symptoms from their long-term, biotoxic exposure,  causing chronic inflammation and autoimmune issues, which were never properly evaluated nor treated by mainstream medicine. Fortunately, this would be discovered through functional medicine, and only due to a synchronistic connection.

Both would die years later from all the complications of their bodies gone haywire, suffering the consequences from our conventional healthcare system not yet prepared to properly evaluate or treat estimated millions of cases related to root causes of toxicity, genetics, nutritional deficiencies, imbalances, and other agents flaring inflammation.

Through this 12-year journey, I learned about caregiver exhaustion, of being on call constantly to handle the unpredictable . . . of witnessing torment and feeling helpless to offer relief. . . letting go of countless expectations. . . feeling guilty whenever I felt impatient, the continuing need to shift priorities in my then, very messy, disorderly life, among countless other lessons. Indeed, it was a regular reminder that resisting what was couldn’t change a thing and just made it worse. Life became overwhelming at times, requiring a total redirection of my energy, focus and priorities.

At times, I was both angry, frustrated and admittedly selfish. With all the doctor and hospital visits, countless trips to pharmacies for medications that didn’t have much effect, on-call for all needs, especially when inflammation was flaring so much pain and brains doing things never imagined, and sorting out endless stacks of paperwork and bills, I no longer had much time to do much of anything I enjoyed which I had long taken for granted. Writing, among them which always served to feed my soul from digging down for the truths within.

Instead of writing about ideas to include in my presentations, books or blog, most of my writing was in the form of regular emails to doctors about new or continuing symptoms I observed in my husband. I hoped these might serve as clues as to what had robbed him of his personality, his brain, his health, and our relationship because I was desperate for answers. I lived in a perpetually crazy world and I was losing myself in the process.

One of the biggest challenges was keeping my own sanity when two loved ones had lost theirs, and dealing with all the chaos that often swirled about threatening to steal my peace during big chunks of time. What ultimately did make a difference was remembering self-care—to dig down in the midst of all the angst, to the beliefs I had long ago taken to heart—the same ones I had shared during my presentations, my sanity savers for the heart and soul which echoed right to my core, and I needed to hold fast to them, more than ever.

I survived these periods of desperation and despair, sometimes moment-by-moment, by remembering to focus on the right thoughts to offer resilience and strength instead of those mental companions invited to my “pity parties,” which would only spiral down and zap my much needed energy to sustain myself and everything else required during this uncharted journey.

In the midst of this unwelcome siege of my heart and soul, I missed so much from my former life, especially of feeling truly happy. I knew happiness was an inside job, so if my life was to improve, which I desperately longed for, I had to take responsibility. I knew the right thoughts were lifesavers, and consciously had to remember to shift them, time and time again, to the ones that would serve me best. This was not easy when just about every day the unexpected arrived and had to adapt to that ever-changing rhythm.

I accepted help from others, my life savers, a network of friends, acquaintances and even strangers, who volunteered to take on tasks in service. They lifted my spirits and lightened the heaviness of my heart.  I began carving out slivers of time doing the things that I loved to do in spite of all the concerns that were never entirely chased away. I hosted gatherings to celebrate life, even as messy as mine was, but it was my life nonetheless, and being surrounded by those who lifted my heart and fed my soul. I re-discovered joy in the process and was forever grateful for all the support that carried me through the darkest times of my life.

For twelve years, a roller coaster ride whipped around lots of emotion, twisting and turning my heart and my hope, sometimes rising up with optimism and other times, free falling down, then circling back again to hope—this was indeed life in perfection, messy, raw and real.

As with most of life’s challenges, we usually can’t see the reasons why we’re having to experience them, yet in retrospect, they often reveal a most vital and significant purpose. So it is with the discoveries uncovered through my own journey—of the lessons learned not only for the heart, but other perspectives regarding health, wellness and well-being vital to all of us and why I’m re-launching my blog. It’s a needed story now, to support the mounting cases of inflamed bodies and brains which are its casualties.

Through this confusing, harrowing journey, my eyes were opened to today’s scary realities now impacting all ages. Those suffering from similar mysterious ailments may soon be spared being misdiagnosed, thanks to recent research uncovering root causes related to many of today’s maladies, along with therapies offering hope. With mainstream medicine’s adaptation of this research which has become part of the growing science of functional medicine, more patients will be able to circumvent the prospect of the heartbreaking, tumultuous journey of neurodegenerative diseases, autoimmune disorders, brain issues and others connected to these same root causes.

With content of this blog focused in support of wellness and well-being, posts will also include perspectives on navigating the elusive states of harmony and happiness amidst the challenges of our own respective journeys. Its purpose is to awaken readers to the potential for transforming health and wellness destinies grounded in hope, and the possibilities offered from those perspectives.

Baby Boomers are getting older, living longer but with growing rates of obesity, diabetes and other chronic diseases. Not exactly the picture of enjoying a healthy, vibrant future for those in their silver or golden years. In fact, those turning 65 today “are more likely to live longer than their parents and grandparents, and much more likely to live sicker for a longer period of time,” commented Dr. Rhonda Randall, a senior adviser to the not-for-profit United Health Foundation which commissioned America’s  Health Rankings® Senior Edition: A Call to Action for Individuals & Their  Communities

This research confirmed that a serious health care crisis is brewing and vital for implementing strategies especially now since America’s senior population will grow by more than 50 percent in the next 15 years.

America’s Health Rankings has tracked the health of the nation for the past 23 years, offering insights into American health as well as state-by-state. The 2012 report suggests Americans are struggling to change unhealthy behaviors such as smoking and obesity, at the root of many health problems but challenging to get needed results. Read the rest of this entry »

Updated from article written years ago and inspired from this season’s lessons in patience!

June 14: This is a photo of my “patience plant,” taken today, the same bush which was barren for many seasons, and tested my patience to endure the barren seasons.  Coincidentally, it’s perfect timing, today is the anniversary of my father’s passing, and beautifully demonstrates that faith, patience and careful tending of our desires, does manifest, although we may experience seasons of doubt.

stress reduction, patienceWatching things grow is good for our souls—reminding us of how nature unfolds in just the right way and time. We can’t rush the process, no matter what we do. Some things grow at the speed of time-lapse photography. Other times, it’s more like a waiting and wondering game as in, “Will those seeds ever sprout and grow? “Will that barren bush ever bloom?” I question my green thumb when things don’t grow according to plan, my plan and my timetable. Observing nature teaches me about things I need to take to heart, in all areas of my life, especially when I need to remember them most.

Years ago, I planted a hydrangea bush in memory of my father. It was in glorious full bloom that first spring. The following year I eagerly awaited the display of showy blossoms both for their beauty and for the symbol they represented.  Lush leaves emerged but not one bud. I tended that bush carefully, weeding, watering and fertilizing it. Next season, I waited again for the buds to appear. I was certain they would for I had invested time, energy and effort. Surely I would get the reward. Once again, that barren bush bushwacked my desires.

I asked the garden center what else I could do. “Have patience,” they said.” Sounds like you’re doing everything right.” If I was doing everything right, why wasn’t that darn bush blooming? And so it went. Season after season, year after year. Every spring hydrangeas were in full profusion everywhere, laden with so many flowers they drooped to the ground. Just not in my yard. I dubbed my flowerless hydrangea, my “patience plant.” It had gorgeous, glossy leaves but never a bud for a blossom to grow.

What was I doing wrong? Sure looked healthy and should bear beautiful blossoms. I didn’t give up for I believed that bush would have to eventually blossom. In fact, I was sure of it because I was giving it attention and begging it to bloom. I even talked to it and asked for a little divine intervention. After all, my dad was never long on patience, maybe this was a test!

Finally, all that time, energy and patience paid off—a miracle appeared this spring. Adorning the very top of my “patience plant,” was one regal purple blossom, the long-awaited, crown jewel of patience! To me, it symbolized the power of perseverance and doing what it takes to create manifestation of desire, even without success in sight.

In the garden of life, sometimes success does sprout right away. You make a sale. Get the date. Land the contract. Get the job. Other times when you’re not reaping any harvest from all your time and effort, you may wait and wonder. You may question your ability. You may doubt that what you desire will ever materialize. You might be tempted to give up. Read the rest of this entry »

weight loss, health & wellnessIt’s truly heartening to see the Mega Mouse empire of The Walt Disney Co. take a stand in support of healthier food choices for kids and do something about it. Not just lip service but a plan in place for throwing out junk food advertising and the millions of lost revenue that goes with that committment, to help kids make healthier choices.

It definitely takes more than a village to impact global health with all of its complexities and the growing incidence of childhood obesity.  With Michelle Obama in attendance who’s championing fighting chidhood obesity, Disney Chairman and CEO, Roger Iger, announced earlier this week that Disney would ban all junk-food advertising, including from their Disney cable network and Saturday morning shows on ABC, with plans to take effect in 2015, the delay due to contractual arrangements with advertisers.

“We’ve taken steps across our company to support better choices for families and now, we’re taking the next important step forward by setting new food advertising standards for kids,” commented Iger. The new plan will follow nutritional guidelines similar to federal standards promoting fruit and vegetable consumption, limiting calories and reducing saturated fat, sodium and sugar.

We’re all ears, Disney, in hearing more about your committment for impacting healthier destinies. Hopefully, your leadership will inspire other companies to follow your lead with messaging that supports wellness for kids so they grow up making choices for delighting in a world of wellness and well-being. That is indeed the Magic Kingdom, when your world is filled with possibilities and you’ve got your health to make your dreams come true.

 

 

As events were unfolding 10 years ago, I was at my computer, stunned, just miles from the Pentagon.  I wrote the following in my attempt to process the events of which had never been experienced, and sharing now as my way of reflecting back.

It’s Tuesday, September 11, 2001. I look out the window and see a gorgeous day. I turn on the TV and our world is in chaos. Fifteen miles down the road, thousands have lost their lives, families have lost fathers, sons, daughters and mothers, husbands and wives. Many children now in school will learn too soon they have lost a mommy or daddy. We too, may have lost friends in this unexplained tragedy and wait for any news.

How can we sort out the chaos and what comes from such terror and tragedy? This is a life-as-you-know-it-shattering event. What we believed to be safe no longer is. This event will shape millions of lives in immeasurable ways. We won’t ever think the same, perspectives on life are jolted into a new reality along with our priorities. Things that seemed so important and pressing just a few hours ago, really don’t matter now.

America is reeling from the unfathomable. The tallest buildings in the world just collapsed into rubble. Multiple jetliners hijacked off airport runways and became vehicles of destruction and devastation. Our nation’s defense center is in flames.

We haven’t heard the stories yet of the lives lost or those that almost perished but were miraculously spared. Those stories will come in time and break open our hearts.Thousands walked out of their homes this morning, believing it to be just another day. Some stopped for their morning mocha. Some kissed their lovers goodbye. Some didn’t. Some dropped their kids at daycare. Some fought traffic snarls and rushed to their desks to tackle their priorities. An hour or so later, all work stood still as the world watched and wondered why.

What will we do about this? How will we change? What is this all about? Why was this necessary for the world to witness? Some of the answers will come. Some will likely forever be questions. Read the rest of this entry »

weight loss, health & wellnessHave you ever been so determined to achieve a life-changing goal that you set your intention and boldly declared you were going for it? As a wellness coach, I work with many who do just that. Some are tired of feeling constantly fatigued, exhausted, overweight, and other conditions that are robbing them of vibrant living. They’re  seeking solutions to look and feel better, to have more energy, shed pounds and inches, often lots of them, and to make healthier choices.  It requires setting intentions to succeed and the challenge of changing habits that support their health.  It’s rewarding to see people who set those intentions and take them to heart, reach their goals and triumph in their victories.

There are many factors working against wellness today and why two-thirds of Americans are overweight, and one-third considered obese. Our world has changed and our bodies barraged by toxins, stress and nutritional deficiencies, which contribute to weight gain, energy drain and many degenerative conditions. Toxins and impurities are surrounded by fat cells which accumulate around the organs, midriff and throughout the body in the form of toxic fat. Whole body nutritional cleansing has proven to be an effective solution for so many seeking weight loss and enhancing their overall health. Read the rest of this entry »

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