Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

How Do You Want to Feel?

How do you want to feel? What are you willing to do to experience that feeling? That’s the premise of Danielle LaPorte’s book The Desire Map, which is featured as part of my favorite books list to the right. In it, Danielle guides the reader through a process of brainstorming a list of feeling words that correspond to various areas of our lives including career, relationships, spirituality, leisure, and more. From those lists, the reader then narrows the collection to a few words that seem to appear more frequently than others. These words represent how the reader would like to feel in all areas of life. Based on the words chosen, the reader then identifies what he or she is willing to do to experience that feeling. It’s like goals setting in reverse. The focus is on what works for us, rather than the “should”.

I have completed this process each of the past two Decembers. Every time, I learn a little more about myself and discover areas where there is room for some personal growth. There were three words last year. This year there are four. Those four words serve as a guide along my path throughout the year. I journal over those four words. I make decisions around those four words. I plan purchases around those four words. I even do some things that seem counter-intuitive to those four words in support of those four words.

The first word is light. If ever there was a word with more possible meanings and nuances, I don’t know what it is. This word is in my life to represent all of them. I desire to feel light. I desire my physical body to feel light. I desire the environment around me to feel light. I desire my emotions to feel light. I desire the world around me to feel light. Light is a word that invokes many possibilities on the road to feeling great and becoming a better version of me. I am in the process of helping my body find a lighter and healthier state. I am attempting to reduce the amount of “stuff” that exists in my space. I am even working on my thoughts so as to support a lighter, more positive view of the world. That’s not the easiest thing to accomplish in these times, but it is important to me.

The second word is inspired. I desire to feel inspired. Inspiration comes in many forms. I am seeking them out. I have found many free sources of inspiration via You Tube. I have found additional sources of inspiration through my Audible subscription. I have pursued conferences and learning opportunities that light a fire of passion beneath me. I have invested in such motivators as Tony Robbins and I listen to the recorded telephone calls of multi-level-marketing businesses because their purpose is to inspire. I intend to raise the vibration not only of my own energy, but that of others as well, simply by them being around me. Energy is contagious and while I cannot fix the anger and vitriol that spews daily across various news sources, I can seek out inspiration so that I, in turn, can inspire.

My third word is accomplished. Last year I chose competent. That was sufficient. I needed to feel like I could do my job at an acceptable level. This year, competent isn’t good enough. I choose to feel accomplished. I choose to recognize the time, resources, and energy I have put into my education and acknowledge the value I bring to the organization for which I work. I am focused on maintaining positive self-feedback and avoidance of self-criticism. There will always be those who are ready to criticize. I don’t need to contribute to the sea of naysayers. I’ve done enough of that during my life to last the rest of my life. I will readily own my weaknesses not as weaknesses but as areas that either do not interest me or areas for which opportunity exists for learning to occur. My accomplishments are significant. I have done enough. I have been enough. I am enough. I am accomplished, and I will continue to demonstrate and feel accomplishment through my personal and professional life.

The final word that is joining me on my journey this year is secure. This may be the most important word along the way this year. Security embodies many aspects. It includes feeling secure in my job. It includes feeling secure in my home. It includes feeling secure in my relationships. It includes feeling financially secure. It is also a lesson in trust. I feel secure, because I believe I AM secure. That doesn’t mean challenges won’t come and the winds of change won’t blow. It means that I have a back-up plan and I am doing things to ensure an ongoing sense of security in my life. It means paying the bills. It means occasionally picking up those extra shifts. It means buying the life insurance. It means taking a hard look at that job “opportunity” to see if in fact it aligns with my core desired feelings. It means taking some risks to open the door to even greater security. It means being patient when patience is at a premium.

How do you want to feel? Grab a copy of Danielle’s book and work through the process. Then grab a copy of The Desire Map Daily Planner and take some time each day to journal about what you are doing to feel the way you want to feel.  Share your core desired feelings in the comments below and tell us how this approach is changing your life.

Oh yeah, just so you know, there are affiliate links in this post, however, I only share the super cool ones.


My Delusion to Inspire

When I was a freshman music major back in 1986/87, there were two things I figured out. The first was how much I hated spending my afternoons in the cramped closets that were the music practice rooms. The second was how much I loved my Fundamentals of Physical Fitness class that all students were required to take as part of our liberal arts education. That class was the first step toward changing my major, and it proved to be a catalyst for what would become my life’s passion.

Don’t get me wrong. There is NOTHING I truly love about exercise. What I loved (and still do) was the idea of physical fitness, the knowledge surrounding health and fitness, and the power they gave me to control part of my life. I also loved sharing this amazing information about health and fitness with others. I had dreams of becoming an aerobics teacher, but lacked the courage to just do it. I had thought I might go to graduate school to study exercise physiology at Texas A&M and someday work as a cardiac rehabilitation specialist. Instead, my passions turned toward a wonderful man and the idea of having babies in the same small town in which I had lived all my life. My passion for health and fitness morphed into a job as an elementary physical education teacher. The master’s degree came from West Texas A&M, and it included not only health and physical education emphasis, but elementary education, as well.

My role in the realm of health and physical fitness transformed over the years, but the passion never died. As life sped by and my babies grew into young adults, my desire to help others find health never faded. I searched and fate handed me another way to live my passion—holistic nursing. Somewhere in the interconnectedness of mind, body, spirit, and emotion lies the whole person. Dis-ease takes a toll on many, and teaching, supporting, and guiding those who so desire back to a state of balance (ease) is one of the most rewarding endeavors I can imagine.

The search for tools, techniques, strategies, and knowledge to help both myself and others find healthy balance continues to this day. Not everything science says should work does work. Exercise doesn’t always consistently push glucose into the cells preventing or reversing pre-diabetes and diabetes. I know this because I am living that journey. Cutting carbohydrates helps, but it doesn’t solve the problem. There is more to find, more to research, more to learn, and more to share. We are similar in many ways, yet we are all different. We are different makes, different models, and different styles. My desire is to bring my experiences, trials, frustrations, and successes to you to evaluate. My delusion is that my efforts might inspire you to be your best self and together we can change the world.

For The Men Lucky Enough to Win My Daughters

I was blessed to be loved by a man who knew how to be a great husband. I want my girls to be as blessed as I have been. There are several things I would like for the men in my girls’ lives to know…just in case no one ever told them:

1. Always make her smile.

2. Never ever ever cut her down or insult her….ever.

3. Make sure your words always help her to feel good about herself.

4. Mother nature is not always kind to her, usually because of the sacrifices she makes to give you children. Find ways to appreciate her body and the changes it endures. See the beauty in every stage of life.

5. Brag on her to your friends, and to her friends, and to anyone who will listen.

6. Be her friend, her companion, her lover, her soul mate, the wind beneath her wings.

7. Support her efforts to feed your children the healthiest way possible. Never make her choose between pleasing you and nursing her babies. Find a way to enjoy the process as much as she does. Encourage her and find ways to help her when it isn’t as enjoyable.

8. Talk to her. Tell her about your day. Listen to her tell you about hers.

9. Crawl yourself out of bed and change a midnight diaper and bring a baby to bed for her to feed.

10. Feed her while she’s feeding your babies. 

11. Hold her hand while walking down the street.

12. Hold her head when she’s puking her guts up.

13. Tell her she’s beautiful no matter what length she wears her hair.

14. Play with your kids when you get home from work so she has a few minutes to soak in the bathtub. She probably hasn’t had thirty seconds alone all day.

15. Hire a babysitter or find a grandma and take her out on the town often.

16. Take her on adventures.

17. Be her knight in shining armor.

18. Allow her freedom to grow and evolve.

19. Teach your kids to love and respect their mother. Set that example for them.

20. Be affectionate. Let your kids see that you adore their mom.

21. She is not your maid. Put your underwear in the hamper.

22. Realize that she doesn’t necessarily need you to solve every problem. Sometimes she just needs you to hold her while she walks that path herself.

23. Teach your children to be kind, caring, and honest people. If you manage to do that, they will be successful in every part of their lives.

24. Hitting is not discipline and it is not love. There are a thousand ways to train up a child that don’t involve hitting. Learn about them.

To be continued………

Weirdo Ideas to Rock Your World

There’s a fun little game of sorts that’s going around Facebook lately. Everyone is posting a list of little known things about themselves to share with the world.

It got me to thinking about what sorts of things I would post.

And then I realized my list would probably bring about the fall of the free world plus result in several defriending me…. And I worried about the impact on my business, but then I realized that I don’t have much business these days and the clients I do  have are super cool.

Worst case scenario is they’d just start praying for me, and I’m okay with that.

So here are 25 things some may have suspected about me, but didn’t know for sure, some of which may totally rock your world.  Just let it be. I don’t need an intervention. 

1. Between the ages of 21 and 30, I had all the answers….to everything…and anyone who disagreed with me was either ignorant or just plain stupid.

2. By age 38, I had figured out that nothing was as black and white as I had thought and all of it was just an opinion of what was possible, especially the things people said were black and white, especially if it could be used to justify a point of view. 

3. Today I see only possibilities, and pretty much no certainties.

4. I choose to believe in a higher power, but it has no resemblance to the God most people teach about in these parts.

5. I had a “rode to Damascus” experience that resulted in my decision to leave the church  I had been a part of my whole life. The message delivered to me loud and clear was that it wasn’t mine to change and that I needed to leave them alone and go my own way. So I did. No regrets. No, it wasn’t an audible voice. But the migraine symptoms (flashing lights) were pretty clear, and the message I intuited from the process was crystal clear.

6. I think Jesus was probably a Yogi, or Buddhist monk….or at the very least the missing years were spent studying with the wise men from the east who probably weren’t Jewish Rabis. It’s just a hunch. 

7. I do not believe in a miraculous resurrection. I believe it completely detracts from Jesus’ entire purpose and the teachings that are most likely to be truly his based on historical evidence.

8. I believe Satan and Hell are creations of human imaginations, most likely as a means of controlling people through fear.

9. I am fascinated that otherwise completely rational scientific people who are skeptical of EVERYTHING that they can’t touch, feel, smell, or otherwise prove (or sell) are willing to suspend rational thought when religion is involved.

10. I tend to think we are energy beings wearing a costume or space suit of sorts. (And no, I am not one of Tom Cruise’s minions.) Since matter can’t be created nor destroyed, I tend to go with the possibility that our existence preceded our birth and (more popularly) will continue long after our physical death.

11. …which means I believe in the possibility of reincarnation.

12. Pretty sure I might have been burned at the stake in Salem, Massachusetts in a previous life. I might have even been Laura Ingalls or one of her sisters, too. Who knows? The possibilities are endless.

13. I think it’s POSSIBLE we choose our parents and choose our experience before we arrive. (How would you like to be THAT travel agent.)

14. The concept of fractals as the foundation of the universe as well as our bodies fascinates me. A world is relative, but the pattern is similar no matter what the size or scale. I view the human body as a universe and the cells of our body as tiny planets. 

15. What some people refer to as the holy spirit I believe to be my own intuition, inner knowing, or inter-connectedness with the universe and all of its energy beings.

16. I choose not to pray for people by asking an outside force to do something. I tend to think healing prayer/meditation should involve consciously focusing attention on the person and sending them healing energy from my own inner source. I think this can be done either in person or over any distance. 

17. I think it is POSSIBLE that many of the reported miracles attributed to Jesus in the Bible COULD have happened. Having read some about yogi’s and the power of intention, and energy transference has left me intrigued about the possibilities.

18. I think it is inappropriate to believe that any sacred text was inspired by a deity. It is especially unacceptable to believe that “our” book is “THE” deity inspired book. It is downright tragic to use such writings as the basis for making laws and justifying prejudice….unless of course you wish to use the section of the book that mentions LOVE being the one and only law that matters.

19. I once purchased the services of a person who claimed to channel Jesus Christ on my behalf. I credit her with saving me a ton of money by telling me I did not really want to go to  nursing school……because at the time, she was right, but a few years later I was ready. 

20. I can facilitate and feel positive energy shifts in people who are stressed or in pain. The cool part is when they happen to be “energy sensitive” and can feel it, too. 

21. People who are intuitive fascinate me. I have this weird fantasy that some stranger (or acquaintance) will randomly come up to me one day and tell me something they could not have known about me, or that they will provide an insight or direction I need to move along my path. 

22. I really don’t have confidence that #21 will happen because I truly believe I should be able to attain the needed insight by trusting my own intuition. 

23. I believe illness is almost entirely a result of poor nutrition and emotional baggage, and while I totally believe the body is capable of healing itself, I am glad there are some medical interventions to help it along when my brain and emotions don’t want to cooperate. 

24. I once had an atheist massage client contact me because he saw the lotus flower on my sign out front and decided maybe I was safe and nonjudgmental

25. I was once told by an energy medicine guru that my aura was blue with a touch of pinky rose. When I told her I worked around computers, she quickly shook her head and said, “Oh no, that’s not your calling at all.” She was right. Computers were not my calling, but helping people overcome challenges is. At that point, I knew for sure my computer guru days were numbered. Blue is the aura color typically seen in people who are drawn to the helping professions…teachers, nurses, counselors, etc. I didn’t tell her I was a teacher or a massage therapist until after she told me the colors. 

 This is my list as of today at this point in my life. Tomorrow, the list may be completely different. I seem to change in some way on a daily basis as I learn more, experience more, see more, and do more. 

Life is so much fun! 


Dangerous Thinking

Recent travel has afforded me quite an extensive opportunity to listen to some audio books. At the top of my list has been the works of Bart Ehrman, evangelical Biblical scholar turned agnostic.

While listening my way through his book, God’s Problem, Ehrman told a story of a Cambodian refugee family with whom he became acquainted. I was fascinated by the tale of survival  that was shared as the father in the story described to Ehrman how he had destroyed his own eye glasses to avoid appearing educated to the brutal regime of Pol Pot, which was determine to destroy any threat to it’s dictatorial movement.

Destroy those who appear educated.

They are the greatest threat to dictatorial control.

Don’t ask questions. Don’t appear to be a thinker. Don’t challenge the status quo.

Education can be a dangerous thing.

More recent reading has led me to another of Ehrman’s works entitled Jesus Interrupted. In this work, the Biblical scholar shares both historical evidence and Biblical contradictions that are well known to seminary students, yet almost unheard of in the layity.

Could it be that the information and education vacuum that exists within the Christian community is a self-perpetuating beast? My faith history tends to shun (or at least regard as suspect) educational materials that are not created or generated from within its own faith community. They are serious educators, but only with their own brand of religious dogma. It wasn’t until I began to educate myself with materials from the “outside” world that I realized a more historically accurate truth.

When I did that, I became dangerous.

I became so dangerous that it was necessary to redirect me and keep me from contaminating those who might be easily influenced by my questioning. It happens all the time all over the world and has been going on for centuries.

Education is dangerous.

Rational, critical thinking is dangerous.

Poverty, ignorance, fear, and survival mode are religion’s best friend.

What are you doing to educate yourself on the facts?

What If It’s Us, Not God?

I just came upon a religious website that is quite a ways from the theological roots of my faith heritage. It had a paragraph explaining the “Basic Beliefs” of the religion that triggered an AHA moment for me.

Those AHA moments are dangerous ’round these parts.

For a good while now, I’ve held the belief that the fiery place called hell is actually a creation of the human mind in an attempt to control and acquire money from other humans through fear of death and pain. My reasoning behind this belief lies in the difficulty I have accepting something as absolutely black and white when so many contradictions surround it.

I can rattle off several examples, yet the one that packs the greatest punch for me is the God is Love vs. God is a vengeful God argument. You see, the same people that preach God is love, God is the ultimate Father, God so loved the world he gave his only son, yada yada yada, also preach that God destroyed his creation once because they became so wicked he hated them, and he’ll do it again if we don’t do things exactly right, like vote for the Republicans who won’t allow gays to marry because that’s an “abomination” (Bleah!) or get dunked appropriately in the watery grave of baptism–just as soon as we can agree on what is “appropriate”.  Not doing things exactly right will cause us to spend an eternity being punished in a fiery furnace of torture.

So, this tells me that there is a supreme being, a man that isn’t really a man, but, well, he just is sorta male (according to those who think they know because we all know men are better leaders, right? Double Bleah!), who is the ultimate loving compassionate father figure, who essentially birthed us all (let’s see a man do that one!), gave us free will because he wanted us to love him by choice and not by command and fear, then issued a bunch of commandments and said if we don’t follow them, he’ll pout and withdraw from us and we’ll spend an eternity being burned to a crisp without burning up while he says, “Nanny-nanny-boo-boo—you didn’t play by my rules!”

Uh, excuse me, but where’s the free will in that? And where’s the divine supreme loving entity in that?

That folks is what I call a contradiction. There are several others within religion, many of which I began to recognized long before this one, and which led to my awakening and departure from my faith heritage.

Besides, as a daughter, a mother, even an animal care-taker, I can say with a good bit of confidence that no sane entity, especially not the supreme God of Love, would or even could do this to someone in their care. I mean, I know for a fact that there were times when my dad’s blood pressure probably blew out the top of the sphygnomanometer (or however you spell that thingy), but I don’t think there is anything we could have done that would have pushed him to the brink of going out back and building a bonfire for the purpose of chunking me or my brother in it. It might have crossed his mind a time or two, but nothing would have caused him to actually follow through with his momentary frustration with us.

And I realize mine is quite the extraordinary dad, but this religion thing has preached all along that God is supposedly SOOOOO much more loving and incredible and giving and caring than even the most wonderful dad that has ever lived on earth, including mine.

So where’s the logic in preaching/teaching this loving father theory then scaring the crap out of us by reminding us that if we don’t love him and obey him, he’ll throw us in the big bonfire he’s built for his naughty children because he is a vengeful God?

Then there’s the whole bit about the divinely inspired Word of God that is THE AUTHORITY on God’s will for us. Except that it contains all this contradictory crap that religious people try to explain away or conveniently dismiss when it interferes with their views of what God intended for us to believe.

Oh yeah….and it took how many thousand years for THE Bible to be written? And HOW MANY different people? And HOW MANY different agendas? And how many supposedly inspired writings were dismissed when the ruler of the entire world decided to have them assembled into one book that he liked? And how many people died through the centuries because they didn’t agree with the emperor and his mignons? And how many years AFTER the death of Jesus were THOSE “eye-witness” accounts written? Don’t know about you, but my story gets better and better (and wilder and wilder) as time passes. Oh yeah….God possessed the writers’ bodies, glazed their eyes, and wrote HIS words through them.


I’m thinking the almighty supreme God would have made it a little less contradictory and a little more clear than the mess he is credited with creating that we call Christianity. Messes are usually made by men, not supreme beings. The only things I believe to be divinely inspired about the Bible are the egos of the ones who assembled the writings and proclaimed it as Divinely inspired. I’m pretty sure their Divine was no one any higher up than than a Roman ruler.

Religion is apparently the only acceptable field where otherwise rational, skeptical people can suspend all logic and intelligence in defense of their beliefs and get away with it. Hence, we have hell because the Bible says so, and because Mommy and Daddy said so.

And if the Bible says so (and Mom and Dad said so), then it must be so. Even if it doesn’t make any sense.

Which takes me back to the paragraph I found a religious website that appears at first glance to be significantly different in its teachings than my faith heritage preached. Paraphrased, it says that the the Holy Spirit purifies one of karma (sin), making it possible for him to accept the full love of God in this lifetime. Then he gains wisdom, charity, and freedom.

In other words, we CAN’T accept the incredible fullness of God’s love as long as we think and act in ways that are anything other than full of love. Only through fully connecting with Spirit (which requires stripping away the rules and laws created by religion) can we begin to see the possibilities for accepting the fullness of God’s love.

Remember that guy who said there are only two commandments? I believe he was a prophet named Jesus, and I believe he said to love the Lord your God with everything inside of you, and love your neighbor as yourself. Pretty short and sweet and simple.

What if it’s been us all along, and not God who invented hell (and religion and its laws)?

Maybe we’ve been blaming God for creating the hell that we have created for ourselves. Maybe hell is right here on earth (down below?), living out eternity one lifetime at a time until one day we understand love to the point that we can release the religious crap in favor of both giving and receiving love unconditionally. Maybe the Buddhists and Hindus are smarter than we give them credit for being.

Maybe this shoots the hell out of the hell thing.

For or Against and Feedback Followup

Election Day is here. Many have already cast their vote. I have not. Yesterday’s writing outlined the issues that are important to me, and likely many others, yet it acknowledged an attitude of apathy that I have developed due to frustration with career politicians, manipulation of said politicians by corporations and special interests, and the feeling that the political system has become a contest to see who can be hated the least instead of supported the most.

I added a link to my blogpost as my Facebook status yesterday along with a cocky, smart aleck comment about potentially not voting and what’s the point. Interestingly enough NO ONE had anything to say about the issues I mentioned, but I apparently struck a nerve with some by suggesting it might be pointless to vote.

It seems suggesting that one might choose not to vote ranks right up there with suggesting there isn’t really a fiery place called Hell.

The comments I received ranged from determination to vote against Rick Perry and his ridiculous monthly rent house payment being paid by the taxpayers of Texas to a plea to vote because our troops are fighting to protect our voting rights to how fortunate we are that we do have the right to disagree with elected officials or even choose not to vote.

The comment that I found most compelling, however, came from a long-time friend and former co-worker whom my oldest daughter had the privilege of having for a teacher. She said:

The reason I have voted (early) is to show that my small voice and meager pocketbook can still affect change. I am more concerned about the long term effect if our daughter sees that we are too eager or impatient to give up on our democracy. Though I am certain that tomorrow’s election results will be a sober reminder that “money” and “fear” will often win over the eligible voters who do exercise their right, I feel it is important to snub my nose in the face of corporate interests who are hoping that I will stay home and not vote. They are actually counting on the negativity and disgust factor to keep me away. I take pride in being one of their worst nightmares…a voter who tries to be as informed as possible, reasonable and one of “those” people who put signs in their yard.

I have to admit, she did an excellent job of answering my question, “What’s the point?”

The Facebook discussion raised another significant question for me.

Is it ethical to vote for a candidate simply to send a message that one is voting against another candidate? In other words, should the entire student body throw its support behind Cheerleader B simply because we don’t want Cheerleader A to win? If Cheerleader B is a good cheerleader and is likeable, then we will likely be voting FOR Cheerleader B anyway. But what if Cheerleader B is nothing more special than someone who is NOT Cheerleader A. Is it still ethical to vote for Cheerleader B solely to send a message to Cheerleader A that the student body doesn’t want her representing them? ….solely because we have a moral obligation to exercise our right to vote?

Law of Attraction gurus tend towards the philosophy that being against something or someone tends to give energy to the very thing/person we oppose. They suggest a healthier approach is to find something/someone we can champion and put our energy towards positive support.

With that in mind, I took to the internet this morning looking for reasons to support one of the candidates for governor of Texas. Already harboring a few negative opinions of my own regarding current Governor Goodhair, and armed with the comment of a close friend who indicated Bill White is a great guy, I began searching for reasons to support Bill White other than simply being against Rick Perry.

“Ask and it will be given, seek and you will find.”

I googled “why should I vote for Bill White” and was led right to his campaign page.

I compared his issues to the issues I mentioned in yesterday’s blog post.

I found several areas where I felt we might share some common ground, one of the most significant for me being his inclusive attitude toward marginalized people in Texas including GLBT groups. There was a video featuring Indo-Americans which was very positive. I was impressed that something had been produced which contained virtually no digs, slams, or complaints against the competition, but rather was totally focused on the positive characteristics of Bill White. It portrayed him as a man who is both accessible to the people and compassionate.

On the issue of border control, he used the right language to get my attention. He focused on the need to protect the US from threats to our safety while not “…disrupting lawful daily commerce and travel.” There was no mention of the need to stop illegal immigration that I found. That’s not the real issue. Safety is the issue. Deal with the problem. Penalize only those who need to be penalized.

On the issue of health care, there is evidence that he has at least attempted to improve access to affordable insurance and suggestions that he will continue to pursue efforts on that issue.

In an ironic twist of typical party-line positions, Bill White indicates he supports the rights of land owners and sees the use of eminent domain as a last resort. His focus on re-directing and re-organizing TxDOT is appealing to me as a taxpayer.

His position on energy includes strategies to not only move to more sustainable energy sources, but also improve energy efficiency in order to reduce consumption. That is significant in my book. He also mentions protecting the environment and natural resources. I’m not convinced about this in that he mentions reducing emissions, yet nothing addresses the environmental impact of massive wind farms.

As for education, I have long felt that career and technical education was being short-changed. I am glad to see a specific statement regarding support for career and technical education. It gives our kids an option for leading financially successful lives without incurring the massive debt that tends to accompany a traditional college education.

So why am I just now pursuing this information?

Mostly because I avoid television and the negative crap that accompanies any political discussion to be found on TV. The only thing I do see is the occasional negative ad that makes its way onto whatever satellite channel I am watching as I drift off to sleep or in the midst of the local news.

I am glad to know there is a viable choice that can give Texans a reason to believe in something better than what has been instead of simply a referendum against status quo. I am also grateful for friends who choose to respond to my frustrations not with defensiveness, but with real reasons to keep believing that the system works.

Books that Changed My Life — BrainGym and Bal-A-Vis-X

Disclaimer: Clicking some of these links will take you to Amazon. If you buy something through the link, I get a small kickback. However, I’m not exaggerating on the “changed my life” part. Just sayin’…..

My life has most certainly been quite a journey thus far. There haven’t been many exotic places or encounters with famous people, yet every twist and turn in the road has revealed some very cool mojo for me. Along the way, I have turned to books for answers to many of the questions that present themselves in my life at various points.

I’m not much of a fiction reader. I got way more of that than I needed in high school and college.

Over it. Plain and simple.

Instead, I read for information. I read for lots of information. I know things about bodies and minds and spirit matters that the average smart person doesn’t know and doesn’t know they doesn’t know. (Yes, I made up that horrible sentence on purpose. Deal with it.)

Summer of 2003 found me  given an “opportunity” <cough-choke> to teach little bitty bodies physical education. It also gave me the opportunity to learn about a couple of very cool teaching techniques that use movement to activate/focus the brain and calm the physical and mental stress response so learning can occur. The two programs were called BrainGym® and Bal-A-Vis-X.

My crash course introduction pointed me to a few book that literally changed my life. Those who best know me know this is not even the tiniest of exaggerations. The titles are Bal-A-Vis-X : Rhythmic Balance/Auditory/Vision eXercises for Brain and Brain-Body Integration by Bill Hubert, and two others written by Carla Hannaford, PhD entitled Smart Moves: Why Learning Is Not All in Your Head and The Dominance Factor: How Knowing Your Dominant Eye, Ear, Brain, Hand, & Foot Can Improve Your Learning. I am convinced these books should be required reading before any educator on any level is allowed to set foot in the classroom. I am also of the opinion The Dominance Factor should be required pre-marital and parenting reading.

These books began my quest to learn more about the brain-body connection.

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to pursue advanced training in BrainGym® and Bal-A-Vis-X on someone else’s dime. Both programs are specifically geared toward helping ease the learning process for children, in part by integrating the two hemispheres of the brain through movement. People who tend to be very left-brained get stuck in the details and can’t always see much of the big picture. People who tend to be right-brained sometimes get stuck with the big picture and can’t drill down to the important and necessary details.

Our brain was designed to be used as a whole, not a single dominant half. We are much smarter, nicer, more organized, and more creative people when we have access to our entire brain. For me, the experience of taking the workshops and practicing the exercises with my students had a significant brain-integrating effect. I began for the first time in my life to get glimpses of the big picture in several areas of my personal world.

**The new information and experience changed my perspective on teaching and learning.

**It changed my perspective on parenting, probably saving one of my children from my own ignorance and opening valuable doors of opportunity for her.

**It changed my personality from one of judgmental and absolute to one of greater gentleness and possibility.

**It allowed my spiritual perspectives to shift in ways that are still sorting themselves out. Some question whether this is a good thing. I think it has been a wonderful thing.

I owe a debt of gratitude to those who brought the information contained in these books to light, and to those who helped me acquire the information on a personal and professional level. I now teach these concepts and have integrated them with other learning which continues to evolve me personally.

I would love to share with you some of the amazing possibilities that await a person who has full access to all the potential of their brain. Check out these titles. Who knows? Maybe you’ll experience a life-enhancing shift, too.

Identifying NOTs to Find My AMs

Life takes us on some interesting journeys. Doors open and close. People walk in and walk out. Opportunities sprawl in front of us awaiting our decision to reach out and pluck it’s juicy fruit. Yet sometimes what seems like an opportunity is actually a glimpse at what may not be part of our dream.

I typically prefer to focus on the dream itself, keeping my energies directed at what works for me rather than what doesn’t work for me. However, occasionally, it becomes necessary to look closely at the NOTs in life in order to more fully reveal the AMs.

And often times, the process of experiencing a NOT leaves me with a small treasure that enhances the AMs in amazing ways.

This morning finds me meditating on what I AM, my dreams, my desires, my space of expertise and influence. It’s leaving me with a strong desire to identify out loud some of my NOTs.

Apparently, I am NOT interested in being a fitness-center-type personal trainer. The idea of calculating METS and reps and VO2 Max just annoys the crap out of me. Of course, a good class and good instructor might have been able to send that in a different direction, yet for now, this does not feel as if it is for me.

Dear Amarillo College, enjoy my $300 donation. Be sure to use it to pay that teacher for not teaching his online class at all.

I AM interested in coaching and teaching people basic principals about how their bodies work, what strengthens and weakens the body, as well as how food, stress, and exercise work together to support health and wellness. I am a cheerleader for these people.

I am NOT interested in being tied to a bureaucratic hierarchy that is public education. Too many chiefs, not enough warriors, and way too much rigid scheduling. I’m all for having some structure in my day, but lose structure seems to be more my thing. I like choosing my schedule as I go.

I AM interested in working when I choose to work with whom I choose to work. I am also interested in answering mostly to me and the person with whom I am providing services. That process eliminates a lot of second-guessing, condescending supervisory crap that tends to make me nuts. I am rapidly approaching the point at which I think I’ve made a good decision in choosing to be an entrepreneur.

I am NOT interested in trying to please supervisors by keeping my mouth shut when I see something with which I disagree. I am not thrilled about being bound by chains of command and 47 jillion policies and procedures which have been designed to discourage negative feedback. If compliments required as much hoop-jumping as requesting a review of something that is causing concern, no one would ever get an ataboy.

I AM interested in working with those people who will provide immediate feedback on what is effective and what doesn’t seem to be improving the situation. That just works for me.  And it strokes my ego.

My ego needs lots of stroking.

I am NOT interested in working for someone from whom I have to request permission to get or give professional training. I must admit, it is nice when their dime picks up part of the tab, but that frequently seems to come with a side dish of guilt, some soul-level ownership, and a dose of “you owe me”.

I AM interested in work that allows me to choose what, when, where, and how much training I will receive or provide. Yes, taking this approach means I am likely going to be paying for the training from my own earnings, but in most cases, the earnings out pace the cost of the training in some way.

I am NOT interested in working with people who don’t value what I have to offer. Hmmm…. that pretty much eliminates my children. Except when I offer money. Then they seem to value dear ol’ mom.

I AM interested in working with those people for whom my training has the potential to impact in a HUGE way. That would include children with disabilities, adults desperately seeking something outside of the ordinary box, those looking for information to help them take control of their health, people looking for a way to release stress and tension, and service providers who know there is something out there just begging to be revealed to them.

Let’s see. If I enter this information into the trusty ol’ computer, divide by my desire to take a vacation whenever I like, add in a smidgen of creativity, weirdness, and nature, the result is……….

Exactly where I am today.

Thank you, Universe, God, instinct, Spirit, whomever or whatever you are that has led me to this particular place in life.

I’m lovin’ it!

Silver City

This past week was a bit on the stressful side. I have to admit to being grateful to my father-in-law for passing at a time that allowed everything to occur as it should and not interfere with my plans to run away to Silver City for a few days.

I’ve been planning to kidnap my man and run away since my oldest arrived in SC a couple of months ago.

This past week just made that desire to run much more intense.

We discovered Silver City during Christmas break last year when it appeared in Mother Earth News as one of the ten best small towns in which to live. It had a college, and that college offered an in state tuition scholarship.

Daughter #1 was intrigued.

I’ve always thought her personality fit the New Mexico lifestyle really well. She’s artsy, eclectic, a bit of a free-thinker, and a wildlife lover. She’s the closest thing to a health nut I have birthed.

Silver City sure seemed to be a good match. It’s a small town, an art town, and it sits on the edge of the Gila (pronounced hee-lah) National Wilderness/Forest. It has quite the cool western history, with the likes of Billy the Kid, Geronimo, and Judge Roy Bean in it’s past.

And the sunrise over the eastern hills in Silver City is gorgeous.

I’m a sucker for sunrises over the top of a mountain.

There have been several trips to Silver City in the past few months. The first was last February for a campus tour. Then came the June orientation, August move-in, the pre-Labor Day car delivery, and finally the runaway kidnapping of my husband this past week.

Oh, who am I kidding. I like Silver City, too. I keep looking for excuses to go over there. What could possibly be the big attraction?

Maybe this will explain it:

1. My amazing #1 daughter is camped out over there in a dorm.

2. There are more 50+ year old men with long grey ponytails and neatly trimmed beards than I’ve ever imagined in my life. I kinda have a thing for that look.

3. There are places to eat like The Curious Kumquat and Vicki’s Eatery that have amazingly simple and somewhat healthy food.

4. Everyone we’ve met has been very friendly, welcoming, and helpful.

5. It’s a beautiful place for a trail ride, and #3 beautiful princess would love it beyond any human capacity to love anything.

6. It’s less than ten minutes into the forest and mountains.

7. You can drive two hours into the forest and mountains and only go 45 miles.

8. That drive is like finding a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. It’s beautiful along the way, and even better at the end.

9. Looking out at the varied landscape, rolling hills, and nearby mountains lets the imagination run wild as to what once covered the area and formed the land. It can certainly challenge some long-held simplistic creationist views, but that’s its own blog post for another day.


10. It’s hard to believe a pile of lava snot can be a fountain of earth energy, but it can. City of Rocks State Park is nothing short of phenomenal.

11. Silver City is a powerful testimony of what a small town in the middle of nowhere can do to revitalize itself. There is some incredible vision in this place, and it’s making some incredible progress.

12. There is something at Silver City that is calling to me. Something or someone I am supposed to find. Something that has yet to fully reveal itself to me.

Don’t worry. I like where I am and I’m not going anywhere long term at this point. Maybe that’s why I like SC. There are lots of similarities, minus the forest access, of course. I’ll be hanging out over there whenever possible on a visitor only basis for the time being.

If you are looking for a new place to explore, consider taking a drive through prairie, desert, Native American homelands, US Government sand dunes, more desert, a couple of border patrol check stations, and a million miles of nothing to arrive at an oasis of beauty at the intersection of awesome and barren.

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