You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Florida’ tag.

30 Days of gratitude- Day 16 by aussiegall.

At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person.
Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.

Albert Schweitzer


Hello All & An Early Happy Weekend!  Between being sick with a sinus infection since this past weekend and back to the doctor for a second time this afternoon for a nebulizer treatment of albuterol due to serious bronchial issues from a secondary infection I have been a bit of a sick-ful mess this week.  I was, as well as the rest of the sick staff at my job, pretty much ordered to go home and get well which I hope to do!

I have been left with little time, energy, and unfevered brainspace with which to write this week and I missed it.  I really relish the reflective moments on this blog and love to share in the community of the blogosphere!  Next week promises to be HEALTHFUL and BLOGFUL if I can get myself back on track internally and externally to do so.

I had my clients in group today end the week with a statement of gratitude to begin their weekend and I would like to do the same and go back to my enjoyable past time of a Friday LIST! Yay!  Fevers make me a bit punchy and jubilant–when not coughy and curmudgenly (also aliteration inspired apparently).  And I think ESPECIALLY when we feel low and depleted it is important to reflect on the metaphorical food that feeds us.  The literal food that feeds me today is pizza and sinus medication.

10 THINGS I AM GRATEFUL FOR RIGHT NOW ARE….

1. …A husband that will bring me soup on a tray and a seltzer in bed when I am hacking up my lungs.

2. …A wonderful holistic community in South Florida that continues to amaze me with the passionate professionals in mental health and beyond that are working to bring care to people : mind, body, and spirit.

3. …Sunshine.  I don’t think I even want to take for granted to wonders of sunshine and the plentiful sun of South Florida.  To be able to take a therapy group outside and by the beach is an amazing blessing.

4. …To be able to teach what I love to those who want to hear about it.  The other day I mentioned to a co-worker that when I was a child I wanted to be a teacher and a detective.  She replied, “So you sort of did that then didn’t you?”  I laughed and thought that is true–as therapist alone I am sort of an investigator of the psyche and teacher of coping skills.  It is even more rewarding that I get to be part of an academic sphere even beyond that–giving back what I learn as therapist-detective-teacher with my clients to other passionate professionals.

5. …Family.  I have an immediate and extended family and circle of friends that, especially hearing so much about the painful family histories of my clients, I know how lucky I am to have a system of support, caring, and mutual respect that many people struggle long and hard to find one tenth of the same.

6. …Yoga.  Especially lately with changing jobs and getting sick and having almost 3 WEEKS now yoga-less I am reminded again of how much yoga is at the core of my own grounding, self-care, and centering.  I gave a Self Care workshop last Friday (right before getting sick) in Delray Beach and I found myself leaving rejuvenated by the energy of the collective of women giving back a little peace to themselves–and found myself hungry for more moments of the same for myself.  I am so thankful for my yoga practice and cannot wait to stop hacking up my lungs and start down-dogging myself and my  limbs back to limber bliss.

7. …Virtual Communities & Live Communities.  There is so much power in the intimacy of a collective–whether in cyberspace or in physical presence–the healing power of communities and sharing constantly astounds me.  There is such a profoundness in group therapy–I love leading groups in collective healing and love any form of collective healing–community acupuncture, community EMDR (both which are done at my current job for patients), group equine facilitated psychotherapy programs, group creative arts workshops (like are being explored at the WISH STUDIO), and all avenues of sharing life experience and the journeys with others.

8. …The beautiful ANGEL SMILE FARMS in Loxahatchee where I cannot wait to begin presenting PRANA EQUUS workshops for self-care through yoga, creative arts, mindfulness, and equine relational activities!

9. …What I learn daily from others.  My clients are so profound–and often most profound when they don’t even intend it.  I love being able to take their journeys with them and in the process move forward on my own path with the richness of their experiences and their own revelations about life, self, and happiness.

10. Being asked to present at the 2010 National NARHA Conference in Denver!  I just found out today & I cannot wait.  Both because I always miss Colorado since I moved away in 2003 and because I cannot wait to talk with a national audience of equine mental health professionals about this integrative programming I am so passionate for–bringing yoga, horses, and mental health together in a creative package.  Check out this link for more information on the conference (I will also be speaking with Maurette Hanson at the Region 5 NARHA Conference in Alabama in August): http://www.narha.org/Conference/2010/Conference2010Home.asp

Brain by dierk schaefer.

“Every man can, of he so desires, become the sculptor of his own brain”
Santiago Ramon y Cajal

Santiago Ramon y Cajal was a nobel laureate and one of the greatest neurobiologists in history.  His assertion above has been proved more and more true as time has gone on and more elaborate science has been able to affirm the brain’s ability to change.  REMEMBER one of my favorite words for 2010 NEUROPLASTICITY?  I have been, as a trauma therapist, trauma survivor, and passionate advocate for people’s ability to find healing out of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, more invigorated by the day with the overwhelming new science proving that my experience and beliefs are more than just hypothesis in the mist.

I went to a lecture last Friday on “Neurobiology & Trauma” presented by the highly esteemed and eloquent Dr. Amanda Evans of Florida Gulf Coast University (and President of Florida’s National Association of Social Work).  I love a good neurobiology and trauma lecture as much as the next person–well, ok I guess I love it probably more than MOST of the people next to me–but I never know what to expect and get nervous for a 101 type generalist discussion.  I was blown away by Dr. Evans workshop–she affirmed all of what I have already learned and threw her own vantage point into the mix in a refreshing way.

One of the things she stressed, and I loved her description (I will paraphrase), was the difference between a traumatic experience, trauma survivor, and a person living with Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  I loved that she made this distinction because as a trauma therapist in a small field with this focus–most mental health professionals don’t specialize in this area–I have found there are so many perpetuated myths and misconceptions about PTSD that often get passed on as truths to clients and other professionals.  Some of the greatest myths I have heard perpetuated by other mental health professionals (well-intentioned but can be so damaging for clients and the perceptions of PTSD as a whole) are:

  • PTSD is a terminal diagnosis–You will have it forever.
  • PTSD is incurable, un-healable and can only be moderated with medication.
  • PTSD exists if you have even one or two of the symptoms and even if they go away if they return (even one symptom) then it means you have had it all along.
  • PTSD happens to anyone who has experienced trauma–if something traumatic happened you have PTSD.
  • PTSD is treated with talk therapy and medication–there are no other treatment approaches that do any good.
  • …I know there are more but these are the biggest.

Dr. Evans, in her eloquence, stated: (paraphrased)

“Having a symptom of PTSD does not make the diagnosis.  A person may have a flashback or intrusive thought at some point triggered by something that happens but that does not mean they have PTSD.  Post traumatic stress disorder is a persistent cluster of symptoms so great and overwhelming that they impact functioning and living life.  They affect a person’s ability to work, have personal relationships, and generally function in the world.  If you are not experiencing these elements in your daily life then you are having a normal response to a traumatic experience if you occasionally are reminded and it brings on a singular nightmare, thought, flashback–that is ok and does not mean that you have a disordered condition.  There is a misrepresentation of the difference between a normative response of a trauma survivor and a disordered way of being.”

Again, this is my paraphrasing of her words but the gist is what she stated.  It is always exciting for me to hear another professional, especially a well-versed specialist in the area of trauma, neurobiology, and diagnosis, describe what I know to be true as well.  Our brains can change.  The very nature of our own capacity for survival–mind,body, and spirit–that help us to SURVIVE are what can entrench that survival instinct and create a disordered response to the world–one that is all survival mode all the time.  This entrenched way of being that becomes a disordered response to the world in all aspects (mind,body, and spirit) are PTSD.  We can chip away at those responses and CHANGE our brain with the same resilience and survival capacity that brought us into a PTSD state in the first place.  The brain and our humanity are complex but also simple–we survive and hopefully through work we can do more than that and begin to THRIVE.  This is true for trauma survivors and everyone overcoming difficulties in life.

This also relates so much to MIND, BODY, and SPIRIT WELLNESS in that it gives hope and the potential for hope and change in ourselves and our lives grounding in reality and science!  Whether you are dealing with traumatic issues, stress, anxiety, or any emotionally distressing experience you can know that there is hope in our world and in our own BRAINS for CHANGE.  Neuroscientists are saying it, therapists are saying it, and the illusions and myths are being dispelled to make way for the truths of hard science and soft science.  I have known my own truth in my life, PTSD, and recovery journey in a visceral way…these new facts only help me to depict this truth concretely for others and be able to be an instiller of hope in my clients lives rather than handing out terminal diagnosis of disorder with no end.

APRIL is the beginning of Sexual Assault Awareness month and in the honor of that I wanted to discuss the exciting world of hope in recovery and healing from traumatic experience.  I hope more people can believe in themselves, their brains, their spirits, their bodies and the ability to find healing from a variety of sources!  I discovered yoga as an avenue to my own wellness and found, through neurobiology and the roots of trauma and trouble with speech in trauma, that movement can often be a great outlet for emotional pain when talk cannot.  I hope everyone, trauma survivor, and just those surviving their own issues of life, takes the time to search for their own avenues to wellness!  What do you love? What brings you comfort? Start there and reach out for professional help if you need it–there are ways to healing and there are people who can help!

All my thoughts and blessings to those suffering from emotional pains today and every day.


Beware _ Manure happens by ktylerconk.

“We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.”

Charles R Swindoll

Today I went to 6 a.m. morning meditation–yes, I went even though as of Sunday I am a Yoga Teacher NOT a trainee and it is NOT mandatory.  My yoga teacher discussed with great enthusiasm the manure that had been delivered in his driveway this week; leaving him plenty of rich and vitamin-dense poops (for lack of a better term) with which to create fertile soil and grow his garden to a lush jungle paradise.  It got me thinking about “crap” and growth.  Yes, I can find a metaphor anywhere!

This week has been one of the most professionally surreal and personally taxing week of my life in ways I could never have anticipated.  I thought, quite mistakenly, that the conclusion of yoga school would leave ample room to breathe, family time, and some reprieve before the next journey.  Apparently, God, the universe, and karma thought I needed a slap in the face and a real test of my dedication to my path towards complementary therapies, integrative mental health, and bringing education on the matter wherever I can.  I came to a professional crossroads of sorts.  I am having one of those life ultimatums that everyone would be propelled to say (and they have been saying), “Looks like someone is sending you a sign.”  Hmmm.

Everything happens for a reason?  I am still conflicted on this point, but there is something inside of me that tells me what everyone else has been, there is a decision I am being forced to make to follow what I believe in or let it die.   I am not willing to let it die.  So, I find myself on the precipice of a journey, jump started by life and circumstances, into something unknown, wonderful, and frightening.

With that I reveal the newest addition (upcoming) to my website which will be my “PRIVATE PRACTICE” section with all of the treatment modalities I focus on and the unique, creative, and eclectic approach to finding healing and wellness in issues of trauma and emotional distress in others.  I am launching my private practice this month and beginning to work towards what I know to be the path I was intended to be on.

So sometimes we walk out our door to find a pile o’ “crap” has been delivered at our doorstep and realize that much grows in manure–often richer and more lush than it would have in simple dirt.  Hence my metaphor-ing on the matter.  This week I was given some “crap” and found some inspiration for growth.

I have also been given a blessing far beyond anything I could have imagined.  In a moment of flux and uncertainty I found the beauty of being surrounded by caring, self-less souls, who are impassioned about my passion, supportive of my journey and believe strongly in this path I am on.  I have been rewarded with the riches of love beyond my imagining; in finding conflict I also found that in my brief time in Florida I have been given so many kindred spirits who are giving me their ears, their resources, their ideas, and their comfort–what more riches could anyone ask for.

So what began as a somewhat traumatic Monday morning has, with time and perspective, become a rich opportunity for growth in even the most stinky of piles.  As my yoga teacher stated when I told him of my turn of life events, “How lucky you are! What a blessing! God must really love you!”  I am going to try to continue on a path of enthusiasm and optimism and put everything I have into working towards bringing wellness–mind, body, and spirit–to as large a community of persons as possible!

CHECK OUT MY NEW PROFILE ON THE PSYCHOLOGY TODAY WEBSITE!

Om & Blessings!

Early pink dogwood flowering heads by Martin LaBar on flickr

Expect the unexpected. 

 

I had an entirely different post planned for today and then I found myself in my new doctor’s office this afternoon and all that changed.  I guess I should have learned this far into the living process that we can never assume, never predict, always just be prepared (like a good boy scout). 

 

It is always difficult to find a specialist for a chronic illness that does not have its own day or pin or charity of note.  So I held my breath as I waited to meet my new endometriosis specialist especially as I was at a particularly frustrated point, having spent the last week in fairly severe pain (or, medically speaking, about a 6 on a pain scale).  I had a constellation of thoughts sparking and shooting through my brain.  I was not sure what my next step was but I was fairly certain decisions would have to be made. 

 

I had my exam, lets pass over the details, and then I met with the doctor in his office to discuss things in a fully clothed state.  I found this doctor to be a refreshing anomaly already.  When dealing with a male doctor dealing with female issues I tend to walk with trepidation, assessing for a complete lack of empathy or bedside manner, but he had a jovial quality and a softness with a side of humor.  I already liked him.  Then I walked into the office for the “serious business” and sat down in the typical dark wood  office chair.  He began talking to me seriously, frankly, and in a way that was both frighteningly and refreshingly honest. 

 

“Endometriosis is worse than cancer, really.  It would be preferable to have cancer.  You treat it and it’s gone.  With endometriosis there is no cure it just continues to grow and all we can do is manage it long enough so that you have the time you need to have children, if you want them.” 

 

The follow-up inference of that statement is, “Before it all disintegrates in a painful sequence of  internal explosions till, like a building with detinators in the foundation, the entire structure collapses into dust”. (My paraphrasing of the inference later discussed at length with the doctor)

 

I sighed, maybe even audibly.  Finally, someone just said it how it was, and understood what it meant to have and live with this condition.  I needed a qualified person to validate my own hypotheses I had been mulling over this week. After not even a year following my first laparoscopy procedure my pain was returning to the same pinnacle point and I knew it was not a sign of internal wellness. 

 

After finding out in my first surgical procedure that the past 15 years of being told “it’s just your normal cycle, you get bad cramps is all,” was completely lazy diagnostics, I got the official stamp of “Endometriosis, Stage IV“.  There are four stages of the illness and four is the most severe and pervasive.  I knew even a year ago that, that was not a prediction of good to come but I had hoped for at least a couple of years between surgeries.  Now, sitting in that office, hearing the realities I knew I needed to know what was going on in there and there might be more decisions beyond just surgical maneuvers that would follow the “knowing”. 

 

 So, here I sit at home with a bit of medicine meant to mollify the pain beginning to make its way into my system system, along with the bread I use so that I don’t vomit from said medication.  I am preparing for my second laparoscopic surgery on Friday and pondering the information confirmed by my new doctor/surgeon.  I knew it would come to this but having the internal conversation that follows “knowing” is really frightening.

 

How badly do I want to physically have children? How soon am I willing to do that to keep it a possibility? And how do I discern both these things with a clear head and not rash sentimentality? 

 

The first question is: How long do I have before my internals liquify to use my inner pieces to procreate?  The follow-up question is: How soon am I willing to begin trying to have children to prevent losing the chance altogether? 

 

People sometimes ask the theoretical question, if you could know the day you might die would you want to know?  Is it better to know a fate or not.  If you can predict your potential for life, or to create life, would you really want to know?  I find the knowing that I have limited time is like a huge weight pressing on my airway, making it impossible to breathe let alone think clearly on the matter.  At least tonight it feels that way, full of bread, medication, and pulsing pain surging through my abdomen, back, and legs. 

 

Babies.  What are my thoughts on babies?  I am definitely of two minds.  They are messy, and poopy, and needy, and wake you up all the time, and need, and want, and must be constantly watched, and even if you do all the best for them there is no guarantee they will be ok.  They are so much responsibility, but conversely, they are so much love.  They smile, and laugh, and play, and love life in a way that could, potentially, remind you of how much there is to love in life. 

 

Why must I decide now though?  Part of this decision process makes me uncomfortable as an adoptee in a family that is mostly not genetically related.  There is no reason why my decisions, or my body, needs to prohibit babies just because it inhibits procreation.  And is making a decision with such importance about procreation diminishing to all the other ways to have and love a baby?  I never wanted to be a pained and yearning woman amid fertility treatment where it was biological or nothing, but conversely I feel a pang at the idea that I may never have the option for the biological even if I were to choose the non-genetic version of a family regardless. 

 

So, I have surgery the day after tomorrow and my husband is rushing his return to Florida to be here Saturday morning.  I have to get through one night of post-surgery pain alone.  That I can do.  The rest of it, perhaps, I will also leave up to my post-operative brain to coordinate.  After I find out what the present state of carnage is in my potentially womb-less womb. 

 

Make way for ducklings by shoothead on flickr

“True stability results when presumed order and presumed disorder are balanced. A truly stable system expects the unexpected, is prepared to be disrupted, waits to be transformed.”

Tom Robbins

 Old Sidesaddle from Early Montana days by Bitterroot on flickr

The essential joy of being with horses is that it brings us in contact with the rare elements of grace, beauty, spirit, and fire. 

Sharon Ralls Lemon

  

As a little girl I was in love with horses.  I was mesmerised by dark beautiful flanks and haunting equine eyes watching the films Black Beauty and National Velvet and ached for a horse of my own and wide open fields to ride her in.  I remember from as little as five going to the reservation near our house and running ahead of my parents on the trail so, away from their sight, I could mimick the sound of hooves on dirt, creating a  rhythmic beat of feet on paths and with my imagination, as I stared straight ahead, I could believe I was sitting atop a horse of my own, meandering down trails on a Saturday afternoon.  But I was a suburban girl from an area where reservations were as close to fields as I got and where riding was too expensive to really be possible. 

 

Right before entering middle school I saved up an entire year of allowances and odd jobs money for summer camp  riding school which my parents promised I could take if I could earn enough to pay for it.  I made just barely the allotment, maybe a little less (and my kindly parents pitched in the remainder) and I remember the heart pounding glee of walking into the barn on that first day of class–the smell of hay in the air and the sound of hooves on the dirt.  This was the closest I got to really being anything like the “country horse girl” of my dreams. 

 

Because, as a suburbanite raised person, I am not a country girl.  I may be one in spirit or musical orientation, but I have never been able to qualify myself as a bona-fide, born and bred, workin’ boot wearing country girl.  I aspired with great adulthood imaginations during my time living in Fort Collins, Colorado, surrounded by pickups, cowboys and horse ranches, but I was never able to bring it to fruition–I lacked any of the practical skills and I could never two-step.  The closest I got were a few wonderful rides on horseback through the mountains of Estes Park, care of the local tourist ranches. 

 

I have also, for quite some time, been a great proponent of animal-oriented psychotherapies.  I know from personal experience (much the way I do with my own practice of yoga) the healing benefits that can be derived from a relationship with an animal–their silent acceptance free of judgement, their love without conditions, and their quiet ability to intuit emotions and pain in another. 

 

It was my greatest hope to be able to combine my therapeutic practice with an animal oriented approach and even throw in body/mind elements to create innovative holistic practices.  The idea of truly being able to bring this to pass just seemed a bit too much to hope for.  Well with recent fortuitous events it seems that I may be able to find a way to enter into the amazingly inspiring world of Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy (EFP), which I spoke about briefly in my Friday list from last week. 

 

In this pursuit and active research into the is therapeutic area (I am perhaps a compulsive researcher) I have learned about and ran into some passionate and wonderful people involved in EFP.  One thing that I have found, overall, as I explore all of the holistic realms of the complementary therapies is how many amazing and vibrant people there are out there and I am only lucky to have fallen into their path.  I am forever grateful for where my passions have led me so far and where they continue to lead me.

 Angel Smile Farm Grazing

I happened upon, this past week, a wonderful little patch of heaven called “Angel Smile Farm” in a rural area of Southern Florida right on the periphery of the metropolitan cities of this Southern tip of the state.  This farm is something that replication images could barely do justice to and radiates the kind of beauty and calm that leaves one breathless–at least this “one”.  It smells like freshly cut grass and stallions and looks like something out of a glossy equine photo shoot.  The front corral is edged with crisp white fence posts that stretch out into the distance.  A long sandy path takes you down to an equally crisp white barn with bright mexican blankets and splashes of turquoise and leather that feel quintessentially country with a touch of softness and feminine decor. 

 

The owner is a woman, Maurette, with a friendly laugh, a bold personality, and a passionate heart.  She is one of many people I have discovered in a short period of time with a passion for working to heal through horses.  She, like myself, is full of hopes and plans and dreams for where this work can go and I only had to see her farm once to fall immediately in love with expanses of blue skies and green fields speckled with palms and rugged Floridian trees.  It takes little imagination, even for someone like me who teems with imaginative wells, to imagine such a place being  a site for emotional healing or for someone like Maurette to be a person to bring those hopes to fruition. 

 

I am enthused at the prospect of becoming intermingled into this equine world that seems inexhaustible in this area of the world.  I have found my home in Florida, in the work that I am doing, and the professional and personal adventures which are following with each step I take. 

 

My dream is to find a way to bring all of these worlds together into a cohesive whole.  My teeming imagination envisions a center built on an expanse of land much like the one I discovered and fell in love with this week.  A center under which someone could find all manner of holistic treatment–where psychotherapy, yoga therapy, equine facilitated therapy, creative arts therapy, and so many others can work hand-in-hand, collaborating and overlapping at points for the most complete therapeutic healing approach.  A place that could help those in emotional need of effecting changes in their whole selves–mind, body, heart, soul. 

 

The more I meet amazing people with passionate hearts full of the same yearning to make change and healing happen whatever it takes, the more confidence I have in a future that includes all of these things.  Having met people like Maurette of  Angel Smile Farm, Michele of Heal My PTSD, as well as Geri and Penni of Kula for Karma, I become more confident in the potential shifts for the better in the future of healing both locally and nationally. 

 

I wrote in my prior post titled Elephant Tears about elephants experiencing trauma and finding healing again.  This post I’ve explored how animals, particularly horses, can assist in human healing.  One thing I know, there is something magical in both large majestic creatures–horses and elephants. 

 

There is something intrinsically wild and free watching a herd move.  The earth rumbles and they beat out a rhythm only nature could write.  Their intrinsic freedom provokes the same in the humans they touch–evoking a strength and invoking a freedom in a person that is potent.  Both animals have done muchto help me understand healing in a multidimensional way.  Both make my heart race and my soul ache for a taste of what they have inside of them. 

 

 

Below are some Links to Lists of Therapeutic Riding Centers around the nation enacting this fantastic work of equine facilitated psychotherapy. 

*I have no formal knowledge of these centers, this is just meant as a general reference list for those that are interested. See the NARHA website for a comprehensive listing of accredited horse therapy centers.*

 

NARHA (General Website address: See “CENTERS” link for all variations of links to accredited centers):

http://www.narha.org/

EFMHA (Equine Facilitated Mental Health Association):

http://www.narha.org/SecEFMHA/WhatIsEFMHA.asp

Maryland Horse Country Comprehensive Listing of Psychotherapy and Physical Therapy Equine Programs:

http://www.mdhorsesource.com/therapy.htm

NARHA Premier Accredited Centers: (National and International)

http://www.narha.org/Centers/center_status_search.asp

NARHA “Horses for Heroes” Program (for Veterans) with links to nationwide facilities:

http://www.narha.org/Horses%20For%20Heroes/NARHAHorsesforHeroes.asp

 

Angel Smile Farm Barn  

Where in this wide world can man find nobility without pride,
Friendship without envy,
Or beauty without vanity?
Here, where grace is served with muscle
And strength by gentleness confined
He serves without servility; he has fought without enmity.
There is nothing so powerful, nothing less violent.
There is nothing so quick, nothing more patient.

 

Ronald Duncan, “The Horse,” 1954

 

 

1  …My husband’s move to Florida. 

Dog care and maintainance issues aside, I miss him.  I miss shared dinners after a long day of work, I miss taking the dogs out or exploring something new.  I miss watching a movie side-by-side either inside in the warmth and on a couch or shivering amid chilly theatre air.  I am excited to explore Florida together and create new memories under palms and sun.  I am hoping to find time to take a short trip to Marco Island which sounds like a lovely place and I have been hearing great things about it as a place to take a quick reprieve–from what I’m not sure, we do live in Florida, but I would love to explore.

 

 

 Horse and Fog by Claudio Ar

2  …The NARHA 2009 Conference! 

I am beginning an amazing new adventure involving complimentary therapies and horses and I am so excited.  One of the fantastic new avenues that has opened up due to postponing the yoga teacher training by two months is giving me the time to go to a three-day conference for specialized training in the area of Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy.  I will be beginning my first pilot program in late November and am so excited for where this new path will lead and how I can cross and blend multiple holistic approaches.  I may be incorporating some seated yoga on horseback during programming!  I am very excited about all these prospects.  If only I had a charitable financier to help afford all this here learnin’.  For now I will try to make it work any way I can because I know, somehow and in some deep place, that this new equine arena of study and practice is meant to be part of  a more cohesive therapeutic whole. 

 A Young Teresa Psychotically Happy On Her Horsey

 

 

 

3  …My upcoming speaking engagement at the “Let’s Talk” Adoption Conference at Rutgers University in New Jersey on November 7th. 

I will be speaking on Trauma and Yoga for adoptees, their caregivers, and for social service agencies working with adoptees and foster children.  I am so honored and happy to bring this information on mind/body healing to a large audience of people involved in the care of children who may find such great benefit from yoga.  I have purchased, via my good ol’ pal Amazon both of the following books to put out for attendees to flip through:  Babar’s Yoga For Elephants and My Daddy Is A Pretzel: Yoga for Parents and Kids.

 

 

 Merry Christmas to All my Flickr Friends by duane schoon on flickr

4  …Christmas in Florida. 

My lovely sister will be coming to visit and so I cannot wait to show her my new home state and enjoy the Holiday Season sans dirty soot colored snow.  New memories, new visual delights, and a reason to decorate my home thematically and “hang stockings with care”–just for a moment though because I have a feeling in a three dog household they will be dismantled and removed with very little care and much expediency. 

 

5  …My first wedding anniversary this New Year’s Eve. 

 

6  …Beginning my yoga teacher training program.

Hopefully, I will have cultivated some added manner and method of contemplative practice, meditative mind, and calmed spirit before I even walk through the door on the ever-nerve-wracking First Day of School.  I have, in the spirit of that effort, gone my first week without any television whatsoever.  Now this used to be, once upon a twenty-year-old, a very easy endeavor but I fear I have gotten into the “plopper” practices I discussed earlier this week and have to work my way back to enjoying the silence with nothing surrounding me but the tapping rhythm of puppy nails on wood and crisp pages turning in a good book. 

 

7  …Learning how to let go. 

Let go of the illusion of controls.  Let go of the illusion of “knowing”.  And letting go the self that expects so much but explores so little of the internal space of my own inner spaces–a funny irony for a person who, as a therapist, spends my days delving into the psyches of others and encouraging their self exploration.  No more holding on and holding in–I am giving over to letting go.  Tiny step by tiny step. 

 

8  …I am looking forward to seeing where this writing exploration will lead. 

I feel that all my internal archeology both starts and ends with this writing I am doing.  I have always felt like I explored myself most honestly when I wrote.  This is first time I share that journey in an outward way.  This is the first time I take this inner archeological dig into a public forum.  I am hoping it brings a new ripened and raw dimension to the journey that both enriches my own path of discovery and helps another on their internal and external quests.

 

 

Stairway to Heaven by Lyrical Time Wastrs on flickr

 

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things   that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Mark Twain

   

 

Moon Silhoutted Trees Mosaic by ctd 2005 on flickr 

        African proverb: “The ax forgets, the tree remembers.”

        Maya Angelou, Even the Stars Look Lonesome, 1997

 

 

When I left home for Fort Collins, Colorado at twenty I was running away.  Running away from my trauma, my memories of places, memories of the faces that had become blurred, and the history of a life that (at the time) I didn’t want to remember or own.  So, I went half way across the nation hoping for geographical healing and what I confronted was everything I left behind.  First, subconsciously, through painful mistakes, symptomatic responses in overdrive, and a very unhealthy and volatile relationship.  Then, intentionally, when two and a half years into my “new life” and many falls downward I realized that my demons, my ghosts, and my life didn’t disappear just because I did. 

 

I remember sitting in my first trauma therapist’s office and her making me do what I now know to be “The Empty Chair” Technique from Gestalt therapy and just crying all the tears I had been holding in for the person I was before my trauma, for the person I had become after it, and for all of the unnecessary years of guilt and shame I had bestowed on myself.  It was a first step on a very long journey that continued to include falling down, but at least it didn’t involve any more running away. 

 

Six months after the afternoon in that office I moved back to New Jersey—to confront myself and my memories in the place from whence they came.  I realized once I stopped hiding inside myself I no longer had to hide externally. 

 

On the brink of my move to Florida (just a few months ago) I wanted to make sure for myself that this was a move forward not a fleeing situation.  I find myself very attentive to my own self assessment—making sure I am making conscious decisions for viable reasons so as never to fall back into the trunk of my own car on the road of my own life again.  Most of me knows this will never happen, but the intellectual part of me just wants to think it through anyway.  I realized that in coming back to my hometown and confronting the faces and places that had haunted my mind I had been made free to find my home again.  Not home as a place on a map but as a space in my heart. 

 

I found home in my family, my friends, the new memories I created, and those I could let go of by confronting them.  I found home, most recently and most poignantly, in marrying my husband:  marriage being something I never thought I would do—some for feminist precepts that I held to tightly, but ultimately deep down I think I had cultivated a pervasive fear of trusting someone that implicitly with me—mind, heart, soul, and body

 

I found home in this past year in the most intimate way I could—In a family of my own, in love that gives all and allows the heart to receive all, and in learning in another that I could completely trust myself.

 

I realized in assessing my Florida move motivations that this physical move was essentially just shifting to another point on a map; the real move was a move forward to a life with my family of two plus (now) THREE dogs and an embracing of whatever is to come without fear. 

 

Trauma is like falling to the bottom of the deepest ravine or being pushed off a cliff’s edge into a frigidly cold ocean.  It is the hardest thing to climb out of and it takes all the strength you may have and often then a bit more than that.  You create new strength and new muscles you never had before in the process and it leaves you with a new sense of fearlessness.  Once you have seen the bottom of the coldest ocean and fallen from the highest peak the rest of life’s problems pale in comparison. 

 

Do you have weak points?  There are moments.  No one is impervious to life or feelings or memories.  There are moments when I wake up with a startle or I jump when someone comes up from behind or get a chill when I see a man leering at me, but they are identified and moved beyond—they are not paralyzing and immobilizing like they once were. 

 

 I don’t see shadows in my room every time I open my eyes or sleep with the lights on or numb out, block out, or space out to avoid the pain.  I do not fear life, fear love, fear touch anymore.  I do not hyperventilate and shake from some unknown triggered memory.  I do not hate my body (most days J).  I do not categorically hate men.  I do not wait for the day when the other shoe will drop or anticipate my world falling out from under me. 

 

I can move and move on without carting all that past pain around with me.  I can talk about healing from my own perspective as well as from my “therapist” chair.  I can, when hard days come (quoting, randomly,“Sex and the City”):  “Breathe and reboot.”  I can find my center, find my quiet mind, find my yogic self that can take life in.  I can let the past go enough so that I can keep breathing, breathing deeper, and breathing in this new life, new move, new dog, and whatever else is next. 

 

I will never run away again.  And I will keep remembering to run without fear into my future.

 

 

An Arabian Dream by TAYSER on flickr

          Experience is not what happens to you;
          it’s what you do with what happens to you.

            Adlous Huxley

 

* MY STORY to be continued tomorrow with the post “Full of Sound and Fury: A Survivor’s Tale”. *

New Banksy Rat Mural in New York by caruba on flickrNew Banksy Rat Mural in New York by caruba on flickr

 

In case you are trying to discern if you heard me correctly, you did.  I did say ROOF RATS.  Along with various discoveries by land and by sea I have been making in my new home and various acquiescence to local wildlife in my shower, in my guestroom, and elsewhere I do not think I properly equipped myself emotionally for roof rats.  And I am not sure that one can. 

 

I am in a bit of a city rat, country rat dilemma–of my own creation.  I expect to see rats in downtown Manhattan.  I did not plan on finding them hopping and tight rope walking from fruit-filled palms to electrical wires like very large very ratty-type squirrels in my backyard. 

 

I called my husband in a bit of a panic last night to relay my crisis, after reviewing the nature of the Floridian roof rat to shack up in fruit trees (yeah in my backyard) and then use electrical wiring to get into homes’ crawl spaces and such.  He began to tell me a story about a possum in his grandparents pool–he has a tendency to try to trump my issue of vermin with larger vermin stories to normalize a place that is rife with vermin.  I know his intentions are good but the results are always inducing a double shot of chills and paranoia into my system. 

 

Last night I spent jumping at every scuffle on the roof or scratchy noise above, certain with every fiber of my irrational being that roof rats were clawing their way through my roof, about to fall on my face at any moment.  I was also fairly certain that my tiny dog, who had been playing in the brush below the fruit tree that evening, had contracted some form of roof rat rabies when she began acting spastically before bedtime. 

 

These are the things that happen these days.  Induced by spending too much time in a house alone, down a dirt road, in a sort of isolation in the middle of suburbia, surrounded by nothing but amphibians, roof rats, various bugs of varying sizes, and dogs.  And lots of mysterious noises.

 

I am a therapist but this by no means makes me immune to human fallibility, human weakness, human fear, and sometimes even a tinge of solo living paranoia.  I say this although it may seem (especially after reading this blog) like a kind of “duh” statement, but often I have experienced in the therapist’s chair this sense from my clients that I am mental health perfection, somehow by profession carrying some kind of automatic immunity to any life issues, emotional struggles, or points of imperfection. 

 

In the earlier moments of my career I felt that I had to be all of those things as some sort of indebtedness to all of the people who seek my help:  I had to be above reproach, emotionally.  I quickly learned that not only is that an impossibility but it is also a disservice to my clients to attempt that or attempt to convey that to them.  I am human and the humanity and the similarities we all have with each other due to our humanness is what bonds us and allows us to work together–in life and in therapy. 

 

I will be someone who panics at the sight of roof rats and dwell on it far too long into the night.  Even if I can dissect my emotions in the morning and rationalize myself out of complete and utter rodent-induced insomnia it does not mean it won’t be a weak point.  I mean, ROOF RATS, really?  Can you blame me?

 

Occasionally I envy the relationship that is easily attained between yoga teacher or yoga therapist and client.  It lacks the barriers of formalities and often overly restrictive professionality of a psychotherapeutic relationship and allows the relationship to build from the start as one of equality, humanity, and trust.  And through the body-oriented nature of the work allows an innate ability to tap into emotion without worrying about 5 page assessments and protocols that often get in the way of the point of things–which is helping people to feel and heal. 

 

So,a big thank you to this time of humbleness and humility that reminds me of how truly human I am.  Thank you to roof rats and lizards and palmetto bugs.  Although I will continue to scour the electrical wires at sunset for the silhouettes of roof rats attempting to launch a full-house assault.  I’m no city rat fool.

 

Pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real.

Thomas Merton (Trappist Monk)

 

Bansky Rat Mural on Canal Street by caruba on flickr

 

 

Eat Heavy by drp on flickrEat Heavy by drp on flickr

 

I am from New Jersey.  This is a givenl but it is a much more invasive condition than might initially be assumed.  It is chronic, it is systemic, and it is very hard to cure.  This is not genetic, it is environmentally caused and did I mention it is very hard to cure…it may be medication resistant. 

 

When I moved to Colorado, after three years out of the environmental contaminant, I was nearly cured but I moved back to the affected locale  before any chance for a cure was made permanent and the condition resurfaced quickly–followed by a brief severe allergic reaction at being exposed to the hazardous materials again (no, not the garbage, the temperament). 

 

Seriously, I got hives.  They said it was a “sudden allergy to penicillin” but I am certain that Jersey was the root cause. 

 

I am now in Florida, the Sunshine State and although by their nicknames–as NJ is the Garden State–they might seem like close cousins they are in fact…not.  I had a store clerk the other day tell me, “Welcome to Heaven.”  I cannot recall similar conversational kindness in the Garden State–unless of course there were manslaughter in the mix and sarcasm on the tongue. 

 

I am having to recalibrate my response to the world at large in a huge way.  It is taking a lot of concerted effort and a lot of environmental medicinal treatment.  The more smiles I get, the more at ease I am with facing the world with smiles.  The more cordial conversations I have begun with me without alterior, sinister motives or hands in my pockets searching for my wallet, the more trusting I am of the endeavor of cordial conversations.  I am having to relearn the finer points of being human, sad as that is. 

 

I realize that although I knew the therapy room was a place of safety and a haven for my clients in New Jersey, a place they could open up and be themselves without fear of aggressive reprisals, I had not realized that it had been one of my sole bastions for the same.  My clients were open and emotionally vulnerable in their sessions and it was a refreshing alternative to all of the evasive, suspicious, aggressive bombardment that the outside war zone that was the metropolitan area had to offer. 

 

Many will argue that I am being dramatic.  Those from the area–native carriers of the illness of Jersey-itis–of course will adamantly disagree…it is, unfortunately, part of the affliction.  Anyone not from the Metro area who has come from infection-free zones will probably agree, between panicked breaths into a brown paper bag.  

 

I remember feeling in a constant state of panic and a constant sense of being accosted during the months following my transition back into the Garden State from Colorado.  I remember moments of near tears on the Garden State Parkway wondering where my life had taken me and why so many people were so angry at the same time–usually either 8am or 5pm. 

 

Now, all this said, I love New Jersey and the metro area–it is a sincere love/hate relationship.  I am tied to my sickness but I know I would be healthier without it. 

 

I love:

 –All night diners (yes, this goes at the top of the list).

–Every kind of food from anywhere in the world cooked excellently.

–An eclectic collection of everyone from around the world all in one place.

–Every kind of museum, art gallery, Broadway show, and pretty much anything else you can imagine, including that kitschy Naked Cowboy in Times Square all about 15 minutes away. (Addendum: everything is about 2-10 miles away that you could ever desire but traffic and subways and everything else that makes it so congested so that 2 miles on a map will take you 30-50 minutes at least)

–My family and friends.

–Alot of memories.

 

But at this point in my life and my health (mental and physical) it felt necessary to exit the infection zone before my condition became permanent. 

 

So, slowly, very slowly, I am learning things like kindness and patience and looking at skylines for abnormally long periods of time.  I am working on appreciation and accepting the kindness of others, and learning the social protocols for reciprocation.  It is a slow learning curve, as I recall from Colorado, but very much worth the effort.  I look forward to following my condition until full remission is achieved.  I am optimistic about the outcome.

 

Namaste (“The light in me honors the light in you”). 

 

May I be the very best Floridian, very best yogini, very best human that Florida and my inner better self allows me to be.  I will update my status when I am fully infection free.  I cannot “fix” the nature or course of my medical conditions, a fact I struggle with every day, but if I can remedy a locationally induced mental affliction then that is a pretty good start…or so I figure.

 

** Evidence in this satiric diagnosis may have been slightly exaggerated for effect.**

  

  

Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.

Mark Twain

Eros by drp on flickrEros by drp on flickr

 

underwater yoga by megan is me on flickrLearning to Swim

 

My lovely grandparents-in-law (is that a possible moniker?) allowed me to come over to their lovely backyard pool today, dogs in tow.  I was in desperate need of a geographic change after a week spent organizing, unboxing, and lugging everything and anything I own around the new house.  I was exhausted and testy; the dogs were spastic and antsy.  We needed a day of rest.  It was lovely.  Truly.

 

My husband’s grandparents are sweet, endearing people; his grandmother made me a plate of cheese, grapes, and crackers and his grandfather gave me dog care advice then they quickly retreated indoors to escape the heat and, I am certain, my over energized pups. 

 

The change of scenery was a starting point, a was finally absorbing some of the rich Florida sun and imbibing vibrant blue skies speckled with tufts of white but what really took me to another realm was the pool.  I have been what my mother lovingly titled “a fish” since I was old enough to walk and paddle through the shallow end of one public pool or another. 

 

I love the water.  I love to swim.  More than anything I adore the feeling of rocketing through deep waters, completely submerged, reaching for the rough cement floor, hearing nothing but the sound of limbs pushing through chlorine aqua and my own heartbeat.  It dives me into a silent internal peace that is akin to what I feel in the practice of yoga.  I feel in tune and rhythm with my body; swimming is like an aquatic dance of the body working in synchronicity with itself to create powerful motion.  Swimming to me is like flying; it makes me feel like I am transformed into something beyond human, something greater than myself. 

 

Yoga gives me a sense similar to that.  I feel in tune and a part of my surroundings in the water; the water and I are part of a large collective organism, working together.  With yoga I feel the fluidity of myself and the air around me, the ground below me; it holds me up and propels me from one pose to the next.  The two practices to me are moving arts and they take me to somewhere beyond me as an independent being. 

 

But I digress.  The day was just what was prescribed for all.  It was a feast for my senses and sun therapy to boot.  I read Julie & Julia (still avoiding reading my required texts for yoga school and beginning to feel the anxiety of a procrastinating delinquent) as I waded in the shallow end, putting it down every so often to swim laps back and forth from shallow to deep water. 

 

My big dog, Guinness, stalked  my every move like he was a hungry lion and I aquatic prey.  He followed every stroke and stared at me intently as I dove under and emerged again half way down the pool, longing to jump in but fearful to dive as he is still learning to swim.  The little one, Gaia, splashed and jumped in, swimming for her toy and then paddling frantically to the pool stairs.  She is definitely the bolder of the two of them, although their appearances deceptively mislead everyone into assuming the reverse. 

 

Completion of the day leaves me sufficiently tanned and satiated by the natural gifts of Florida life; the dogs are sufficiently exhausted and collapsed on their respective doggie beds.  I am also feeling acclimated and rejuvenated enough to brave my first Floridian yoga class tomorrow.  I am going to pick one of the few local studios and just dive in, having no option as of yet for home yoga as my husband, I have discovered, is holding my mat hostage in the great chilly north. 

 

So I revel in the new aquatic opportunities, both oceanic and chlorine-full, of this great warm state.  I am adjusting to the idea of year round warmth, year round sun, and year round access to cool waters to both lose and find myself in, in the best way: mind, body, soul.  Yoga & swimming–I could get used to this place.

 

For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)

it’s always ourselves we find in the sea.

 

e.e. cummings

 

*Found this program Yoga Afloat online that is a certification to become a teacher of water yoga; specifically created by the inventor for her chronic pain illness, something I know well and a lovely concept.  I believe I am going to explore this aquatic yoga hybrid some more.*

June 2020
M T W T F S S
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
2930  

RSS THE EMBODY MENTAL HEALTH TIMES

  • War Horse (Caballo de batalla) Pelicula Completa En Español Latino October 31, 2019
    Ver War Horse (Caballo de batalla) (2012) Pelicula completa online gratisWar Horse (Caballo de batalla) - En un pueblo inglés, Albert, el hijo de un granjero, ve nacer un potrillo. Poco después, su padre lo adquiere en una subasta, y el chico le pone de nombre Joey. Pero la familia se arruina y no tiene más remedio que vender el caballo justo cuando estalla […]
    noreply@blogger.com (Unknown)
  • Los Adiós pequeña, adiós Pelicula Completa En Español Hd October 31, 2019
    Ver Adiós pequeña, adiós 2007 Online Pelicula Completa en español LatinoAdiós pequeña, adiós - Basado en un best-seller del autor de "Mystic River", cuenta la historia de dos jóvenes detectives privados, Patrick Kenzie (Casey Affleck) y Angela Gennaro (Michelle Monaghan) que buscan a una niña de cuatro años, hija de una drogadicta (Amy Ryan), que h […]
    noreply@blogger.com (Unknown)
  • Cuando Harry encontró a Sally Pelicula Completa Español Mega October 31, 2019
    Ver Cuando Harry encontró a Sally 1990 Online Pelicula Completa en español LatinoCuando Harry encontró a Sally - Harry Burns y Sally Albright se conocen fortuitamente cuando ella se ofrece para llevarle en su coche hasta la ciudad, entablan una conversación sobre la amistad entre personas de diferente sexo; la conversación acaba en discusión, pero entre ello […]
    noreply@blogger.com (Unknown)
  • Mamá Pelicula Completa En Español Gratis October 31, 2019
    Ver Mamá 2012 Online Pelicula Completa en español LatinoMamá - Cuando una hija despierte, algo sucederá...Ver Mamá Pelicula Completa Castellano Titulo original: Mamá Reparto: Votar: 0 Popularidad: 0.6 Idioma Original: Spanish Géneros: Drama Lanzamiento: 2012-01-01 Palabras clave: Revisión:mam 2013 filmaffinity ~ mam es una pelcula dirigida por andy muschiett […]
    noreply@blogger.com (Unknown)
  • Reuniting the Rubins Pelicula Completa En Chino October 31, 2019
    Ver Reuniting the Rubins 2011 Pelicula Completa Online en español latinoReuniting the Rubins - Rubins Lenny, (Timothy Spall) un abogado, tiene que poner su sueño de retirarse en espera cuando su madre enferma (Honor Blackman) le chantajea emocionalmente para reunir a sus hijos distanciados por un día de fiesta judía.Reuniting the Rubins Pelicula Completa Esp […]
    noreply@blogger.com (Unknown)
  • Los El inocente Pelicula Completa En Español Hd October 31, 2019
    El inocente (2011) película completa en español latino online gratisEl inocente - Mickey Haller es un abogado que se ha especializado en defender a criminales de poca monta procedentes de los barrios bajos. Cuando un día se le presenta la oportunidad de defender a Louis Roulet, un rico heredero detenido por el intento de asesinato de una prostituta, su carre […]
    noreply@blogger.com (Unknown)
  • L'homme de ses rêves Pelicula Online Subtitulada October 31, 2019
    L'homme de ses rêves [2012] Pelicula Completa GratisL'homme de ses rêves - Trabjo niños y exmarido, emma está...L'homme de ses rêves Descargar Pelicula Completa Gratis Titulo original: L'homme de ses rêves Reparto: Votar: 1 Popularidad: 0.6 Idioma Original: Spanish Géneros: Lanzamiento: 2012-04-07 Palabras clave: Revisión:
    noreply@blogger.com (Unknown)
  • Millennium 2: La chica que soñaba con una cerilla y un bidón de gasolina Película Completa En Español Latino October 31, 2019
    Ver Pelicula Millennium 2: La chica que soñaba con una cerilla y un bidón de gasolina (2009) Online GratisMillennium 2: La chica que soñaba con una cerilla y un bidón de gasolina - Lisbeth Salander es buscada por la policía, tras verse envuelta en el asesinato de dos colaboradores de Millennium, a punto de sacar a la luz un escándalo sobre el comercio sexual […]
    noreply@blogger.com (Unknown)
  • 24 Horas en la vida de Querejeta Descargar Pelicula Completa En Español Latino October 31, 2019
    Ver 24 Horas en la vida de Querejeta (2012) Pelicula completa online gratis24 Horas en la vida de Querejeta - El documental se acerca a la persona y al profesional del cine tratando de desentrañar una personalidad tan fascinante como esquiva y lúcida.24 Horas en la vida de Querejeta Pelicula Completa Filtrada Español Titulo original: 24 Horas en la vida de Q […]
    noreply@blogger.com (Unknown)
  • A.I. Inteligencia Artificial Pelicula Completa Castellano October 31, 2019
    Ver A.I. Inteligencia Artificial (2001) Pelicula completa online gratisA.I. Inteligencia Artificial - En un futuro donde los avances científicos hacen posible la existencia, los humanos confían todos los aspectos de sus vidas a sofisticados robots denominados Mecas. La emoción es la última frontera en la evolución de las máquinas. Pero cuando un avanzado niñ […]
    noreply@blogger.com (Unknown)

Categories of Writings