Archive for the ‘alternative health’ Category

The Spirituality of Wellness

It’s been a few weeks since I last blogged. The reason certainly isn’t because I don’t have anything to say. The reason seems to be more a case of not knowing exactly how to make my thoughts align with the overall purpose of my website and my business, which is wellness.

I have had many interesting experiences in the last few years. My life really began to shift in 2003 when a modest career move that I didn’t really request or pursue (and yet I can see now how I did) put me in places and around people who offered me tools that opened up my narrow view of the world. Those shifts and experiences have left me with many thoughts, feelings, opinions, and words that need to be spoken and written about, yet I have thus far been unable to see how they could be appropriate on a blog that is attached to a wellness site.

As of this morning, my vision has cleared and my voice may now speak and speak relevantly and powerfully on my wellness blog. How was I able to make the connection? By having the right materials in front of me at the right time. By having a clear intention of what I want to do. By maintaining focus on what I need to do. And by listening to the voice of my innermost being, the voice that speaks most clearly to me when I’m toasting my tush in a water-wasting, environmentally unconscious, long, hot, and prickly shower.

So what was this revelation that has suddenly made everything about which I need to write appropriate for a wellness blog? It is the realization that the road to wellness, whether striving to regain it or clinging to what remains of it, is indeed a spiritual journey. It is a knowing that my business is about healing: not my power to heal others, but my teaching others to heal themselves, if they so choose, while healing myself along the way. It is the recognition that my desire to understand Christianity’s greatest healer and teacher is what has led me through the many twists and turns, pain felt and pain inflicted, confusion and clarity, unconsciousness and awareness.

Wellness is spiritual. It is both a requirement for and a consequence of attaining enlightenment. It is not about a particular religion, group, or set of rules, but rather the interconnectedness of all. Wellness is about linking into the universal source of life, just as Jesus Christ did. It is about moving beyond (transcending) the walls and rules designed and built by human hands and minds and plugging into the ever present, all knowing, and all powerful life source we know as God.

It is recognizing that we are one body and together, this body can reclaim wellness.

Pondering Yoga

Yesterday I posted that one of my intentions for my Vision 2010 is to pursue a yoga instructor certification. It’s sort of a scary thought considering I’m not even much of a yoga student at this point. I mean a know a little bit. I’ve done some basic stuff with a video a time or two. I attended a yoga retreat last spring break. And hey, I have a Wii Fit that fusses at me if my poses are off balance. I admit it, I’m still pretty much a yoga novice.

So why in the world would I want to pursue an instructor certification when I don’t even know the basics? Three words….because I can. And a few more…because I want to. And then these….because our little town could use one. And don’t forget these….because it fits into my dream. And to trump all of that….because it costs a crazy amount of money that I don’t have right now, but hey, that’s never stopped me. 

Why yoga? Because yoga has a spiritual aspect to it that I crave. It isn’t a religion as some would have a person believe. It is a very gentle, yet potentially viscous fitness activity that slows the aging process and strengthens bodies while clearing the mind. I believe it will provide a means of generating some really positive energy in this little town, which is something that will greatly benefit everyone around here. 

Why me? Because I have always seen myself as being a fitness instructor. I have been a PE teacher to little kids. I am good at it. I have taught tons of cool things to adults. I am good at it. I always said I needed to be involved in a fitness/wellness line of work to stay in shape, knowing that it is so easy for me to let my body slide off the edge of the fat cliff. Yoga instructor fits in very nicely with massage therapy and energy work. I will have to back-burner the energy medicine classes for now, but that’s okay because I need some more time to digest that stuff. Besides, our local market isn’t quite ready to actually pay for energy work. However, there is a definite interest in yoga, and I believe we have at least the beginnings of a market for it. 

I have a terrific outdoor space for yoga (assuming the wind will cooperate). My indoor space is somewhat limited, but I will work on that. Ideas of course are always welcome. So what do you think? Have I lost my mind yet again? Or is this a cool thing? What new and cool things are you pursuing to stave off the encroachment of Alzheimer’s? 

Happy New Year everyone!

Vision 2010: Intentions for a New Year

I recently saw a post that suggested the use of intentions for the new year rather than resolutions or goals for the new year. I like that. I tend to believe intentions are a very powerful force. They are not some lofty pie in the sky wish list, but rather something truly…well…intended.

Danielle LaPorte’s blog is one of my favorite motivational resources, so I was intrigued when her intentions list was actually a Stop Doing list. Most of us think about things we should or need to start doing, but how many of us think about the balancing effect of stopping something? And as she pointed out, it isn’t about stopping things like “neglecting yourself” or some other goofy feel good crap. This is serious stuff. Everything needs balance, and if you are adding something to your to do list, you must also remove something from it or feel the wrathful stress of overload.

This got me thinking about my vision for 2010. Just saying the year has such a cool sound to it. I can remember when 2010 was the target date for a 15 year long range technology plan for schools. And now…..it’s here. 2010.

The year that is wrapping up was a pretty good one. I finished massage therapy school, which gives me new options and some movement towards achieving a long held desire to work in the wellness industry. We sent a kid off to face the world on her own. We tackled a renovation project that is my wellness center. I charged up a truckload of money going to some energy medicine workshops in Austin and Phoenix….and I stayed another year in the safety and security of a “guaranteed” paycheck with benefits, even though my passion has long since vacated the premises. That about sums up 2009.

So what exactly is my vision of 2010? Danielle suggested a three-question test that originated with Darwin Smith, CEO of Kimberly-Clark.
1)What are you deeply passionate about?
2)What are you genetically encoded for—what activities do you just feel “made to do”?
3)What makes economic sense—what can you make a living at?

It has taken me 41 years of life to feel as though maybe I have some idea about #1 and #2. I guess a person needs that many life experiences to know what they don’t want so as to figure out what they do want from life. Ironically, I am circling back into the vicinity of my college aspirations. I have done many things since college that were part of my dreams and aspirations. I wanted to be married and have a family. I wanted to have a nice house and nice things. I wanted the mini-van and the suburban to haul my growing family. I wanted sane working hours and a husband whose hours matched mine. I have done and continue to have all of those things with abundant love….well…most days.

I have also done some things that are not quite as fulfilling in order to have that which I really did want. I intended all of these things at a higher level than I intended my post college career aspirations, so I settled on a career that I thought best accommodated what I wanted most. For the most part it has worked well enough. Yet there has been this nagging, a yearning, to navigate back in the direction of my original passions. For the first time, I can see the possibilities of making it happen.

So here goes: In 2010, I will

  1. Build my wellness center business to a level that replaces my current income
  2. Complete the renovations on the wellness center
  3. Carve out space for writing projects
  4. Teach a couple of Brain Gym classes.
  5. Study and become highly proficient at the things in which I have already received training
  6. Spend time daily in some form of exercise, as in take care of ME
  7. Find ways to feed me and my family healthy and delicious foods
  8. Pursue a yoga instructor certification
  9. Pursue a personal trainer certification
  10. Travel some place really cool with my sweet husband
  11. Knock the debt load back by a huge chunk
  12. Knock the “butt/thigh” load back by a huge chunk (see #6 & 7)

In 2010, I will

  1. Stop working 8 hours a day in a windowless concrete cell surrounded by a massive electromagnetic field
  2. Stop sitting on my derriere 8 hours a day.
  3. Stop feeling resentment about events in my past that have proven to be blessings
  4. Stop feeling guilty just because others feel guilty (see #3)
  5. Stop trying to teach people who do not wish to learn
  6. Stop attending over-priced workshops that don’t lead to an accredited certification of some type (unless I really really want the info).
  7. Stop doing my own accounting. I suck at it and I hate it.
  8. Stop trying to market my talents all by myself. See #7. I do and teach what I know. Getting other people to buy in to my gigs are a pain in the tush.
  9. Stop eating crap that tastes good for a second, then leaves me feeling like the stuff that comes out at the end.
  10. Stop piling all of the construction projects on my sweet hubby. I intend to have sufficient profits to hire out the window replacement and maybe even the exterior paint job.
  11. Stop spending all my egg profits on Sonic Happy Hour.

The items on this second list only serve to make me a cranky chunky witchy kind of person. They leave me feeling less than my best and therefore, they must go. I’m thinking 2010 is going to be an amazingly powerful year for this goddess.

How about you? Do you have any STOP signs in your 2010 Vision?

The Energy of Wellness

Since finishing massage therapy school, I have been pursuing more knowledge about the body. My newest field of study is called energy medicine. I think I have known for a very long time that there is more to sickness and disease than pathogens, but our part of the world doesn’t readily recognize this.

Energy medicine recognizes several energy systems in the body, each of which plays an important role in everything from keeping us alive to keeping us vibrantly healthy. Most people these days have some familiarity with the energy system known as the meridians. Yet few know much about how they work. Fewer still know anything about the other systems such as the chakras, the electrics, the radiant circuits, the celtic weave, the grid, and more. These systems are the most basic infrastructure of life.

Our world has changed so rapidly that the human body has not had time to evolve and catch up. We live in a world where stress attacks the energy systems constantly in a wide variety of forms. Of course there are the day to day stresses we are all to familiar with. Yet there are also stressors that assail us in the form of toxic chemicals, food additives, man-made electromagnetic energy, microwave radiation, vaccines, and probably a dozen more.

How do these stressors affect our bodies? In an energy body where things are functioning normally, energy follows its designated pathways in the proper direction. In a system that has been compromised in some way, energy may flow backwards or very slowly much like a river that has been polluted with garbage and toxic chemicals. The life sustaining ecosystem is jeopardized. Unless something is done to remove the polution and restore the free flow of water, the river will eventually become so toxic as to be unable to sustain life.

It is the same with our bodies. Unless we have a constant influx of fresh life giving energy into all of our systems, something is bound to suffer. It may take a very long time for illness to take hold, but eventually it will in the absence of any corrective energy work.

Massage is a great way to reduce the overall effects of stress, however, it is not likely to correct energy imbalances unless the therapist uses some specific techniques designed for that purpose. A practitioner trained in energy medicine has the knowledge and skills to provide an energy assessment and the necessary corrections to yield improvements in the body’s energy systems.

Another benefit of energy medicine is the empowering of the client towards self-therapy. Most energy medicine practitioners will give the client some type of homework to help maintain the progress made during the session. Energy is a habit, and without the supportive actions of the homework piece, it will return to its former familiar state of imbalance.

Finally, energy medicine is harmless. Hippocrates believed practitioners should “First Do No Harm”. Few other healing methods can claim such a high rate of success with no side effects.

Energy medicine can be used as a stand alone therapy or as a complementary therapy along with standard medical treatments. It is worth checking out whether as a first choice option or as a last resort when other options have failed to produce the desired results. Give it try. I think you will be quite impressed with your experience.

Restoration

Dictionary.com defines restoration as the act of restoring; renewal, revival, or reestablishment; a return of something to a former, original, normal, or unimpaired condition; a putting back into a former position, dignity, etc.

I for one could use a little restoration. My body doesn’t look or act like it did when I was 20. It has been somewhat neglected over the years. I plead a lack of time, and I confess to a lack of self-discipline. No time to shop for and prepare really nourishing food, no time or self-discipline to exercise properly, no time or self-discipline for meditation, and on and on. I also blame addictions. I am addicted to sugar at this point in my life. For that matter, I think I’ve been addicted to sugar my ENTIRE life. If I were a car, I would have died on the side of the road a long time ago. Sugar in the fuel tank isn’t a good thing.

A little over a year ago, I began a journey toward my own personal restoration. I had (and still have) a great job with good pay and good benefits, yet I felt as though I was burned out. I wasn’t using my talents the way I once did. The feeling of value and fulfillment just wasn’t happening. Since I thrive on being helpful and valued, this further contributed to the deterioration of my well-being. And so, on a whim, I started massage therapy school. While the nutritional side of things continued its downhill spiral, the feeling that I had something of value to offer others, something they needed desperately from me, blossomed. I began to feel alive again.

Along the way, we had an opportunity to purchase a 75 year old two bedroom cottage on an acre of land adjacent to our little farm. The little house faithfully provided shelter for its residents for those many years. Unfortunately, it was well beyond time for some much needed TLC. The little house was on life support for all practical purposes. My sweet husband and I looked at it with the eyes of pathetic idealists and began dreaming of its restoration. We talked about things we would do when we had the opportunity. Last May I recognized that opportunity. This little house would be my wellness center…my little massage studio. And so the restoration process began.

An old garage was disassembled and parts given new purpose elsewhere on our property. Some dead trees were amputated. The front yard was hardly a yard, and so it got a major facelift complete with new grass, bushes, and and herbal flower mix. By summer’s end, the yard was beautiful.

Our renters moved out by labor day and the labor really began. We decided that one of the bedrooms could be salvaged and restored quickly for use as my initial massage treatment room. However, the bathroom area, kitchen, and the other bedroom would have to be gutted. Money (or should I say credit cards) had to be stretched, and the proceeds from my massage services would be reinvested into the project as much as possible.

Restoring just one room and a half bath has proven both expensive and exhausting, yet it has been worth it. My husband and I have done all of the work ourselves. The massage therapy room is beautiful. Its decorations and energy are so relaxing and life supporting. The hardwood floors with their nicks and dings and squeaks are a lasting testimony to the family legacy and the memories contained in the old house. The rest of the house is patiently waiting its transformation to full restoration.

As I think about the the work that has gone into restoring my little wellness center, as well as the mountain of work that remains, it reminds me of how often we let our bodies ever so gradually slide into a state of deterioration. One day we wake up and realize that things aren’t working as well as they used to work. Body parts creak and crackle and ache. The core foundation (our gut) has sprawled and weakened. Our muscles have seized in places causing constant pain. Energy doesn’t flow like it once did, and we begin to watch life from the sidelines instead of participating fully. We then wait for the day when our bodies cease to be useful and we sit helpless as the proverbial wrecking ball moves closer into our space. Not a pretty picture, is it?

Yet just as my little wellness house has begun to experienced “ restoring; renewal, revival, or reestablishment; a return of something to a former, original, normal, or unimpaired condition; a putting back into a former position, dignity…”, so too can our bodies experience the same restoration. Our bodies have an amazing capacity to heal themselves with proper support. It is possible to clean out the engine and the fuel tank and replace the fuel with that which is designed to help us run leaner, cleaner, and better. Electrical systems can be re-established and damaged energy highways cleared of congestion. Muscles can be softened, gently stretched, and made strong again. Just as a 75 year old house can be given new life, so too can a worn out body be improved.

Restoration isn’t about going back in time. It’s about breathing in new life. Restoration doesn’t come cheap or easy. It requires tremendous effort and commitment. It’s certainly less time consuming and more economical to keep a structure in top shape than it is to go the restoration route. Yet restoration is possible, and through commitment to restoration, amazing things can happen.

The holidays are upon us and as usually happens this time of year, self-evaluation is in the air. It is a great opportunity to take a look at ourselves and make a decision….a commitment….to restoration. Something may have to shift a bit to make room for restoration. It may mean trading some TV time for workout time. It may mean giving up a daily soft drink to pay for a much needed massage. It may mean leaving work at closing time instead of taking it home or extending work hours beyond what is required. It could even mean a radical change in lifestyle to support new goals and desires. Dream big. Be an idealist. We’ve got an amazing “house” that’s asking for some restoration.

If your body and mind restoration plans include relaxation and improving the way your body works, I trust that you will take a look at the Superior Performance difference. Stop by the Superior Performance Wellness Center and see its potential. If you like what you see, as I believe you will, I encourage you to join me and my little wellness house on the path to restoration.

May this holiday season bring you much joy and a renewed commitment to care for yourself as much as you care for others.

Lessons

This week has been exciting and inspiring to say the least. I had the privilege of traveling to a beautiful desert resort to learn more about energy medicine from one of the pioneers in the field, Donna Eden. She is a lovely, lively woman who wears flow-y clothing and comes packaged with a male resembling a cross between Pierce Brosnan and Texas Governor Rick Perry.

I went as I usually do to these things seeking. I’m not sure what it is I am seeking, but I always secretly hope to be the person called up on stage who levitates or has an out of body experience or something….and as usual, that didn’t happen. Instead, from the guru, I received tidbits of enlightenment–nuggets of wisdom that let me know I’m still interested in this direction of travel.

My previous encounters with energy medicine had left me with a touch of envy for the gift that some seemed to have. They seemed to see energy, feel energy, experience a knowing about energy that I did not seem to possess. Their practice of the technique seemed so much easier because of their gifts. I felt like the learning disabled in a G/T classroom, as though I had nothing in my toolkit.

The first day of classes, I approached the registration table and discovered a woman I recognized from the class in Austin. She is a teaching assistant who has been practicing energy medicine for some time. She greeted me with open arms and I immediately relaxed. The irony of this encounter is she is the one TA from the previous class by whom I had been so intimidated and uncomfortable (my perceptions, not her actions). Lesson #1—My first impressions aren’t always right. We had so much fun and she allowed me to spend lots of time with her both during the day and in the evenings. That was a gift that blessed me in so many ways as her circle of friends includes quite a group of really cool and intriguing people.

By the end of the first 24 hours, I had learned another lesson. Lesson #2—I do read the energies of other people. I found myself highly irritated any time I had to be around a negative person. It didn’t matter how bubbly and fun they were capable of being, I was annoyed. With this lesson, I learned how to tactfully give myself some space.

My divinely appointed roommate noticed me giving someone a head and neck massage and suggested that I really got “in the zone” when I was working on her. Since I’m thinking that is a good thing, Lesson #3—I am focused on my client when I work.

The next lesson came when I watched the headache person mentioned above suffer through two days of migraines while supposedly on vacation because she is so sensitive to all the crazy, mixed up, out of whack energies that come to these events hoping, as I do, for some type of profound healing experience. She described it like this, “You know that movie ‘The Sixth Sense’ where the little kid says I see dead people? Well, I feel people.” Along with that, we learned that our guru is so connected with the energies of her daughters and others that she experienced morning sickness for one and the near death trauma of the other within the same time frame. It put her health in serious jeopardy. Lesson #4—I am grateful that I am not highly sensitive to the energies of others. I no longer desire to have that level of connectedness. Muscle checking and basic intuition will be sufficient, thank you.

The guru did bless me with a gift and a lesson. I’m not one to chase autographs. I figure they’ve got enough people sucking life out of them and taking away from their free time that I don’t need to add to it. I did finally cave once I learned that she would look at my aura and tell me my life color(s). That was a piece I really wanted, and I figured if I just made it quick and didn’t ask any questions, it wouldn’t be too much of a burden. Besides, one of her body guards (Pirate Frank as he was affectionately known) had suggested she actually loves book signings. So day 3 found me standing in front of the guru watching as she signed my book in blue and “pinky rose”. After being asked, I told her that I had just finished massage therapy school and was looking to move out of my technology work. She quickly said, “Oh, you don’t need to be in technology.” Incidentally blue is the life color of healers and pinky rose has something to do with unconditional love. Life colors rarely if ever change. Lesson #5—I was born to help people heal and everything up to now has been preparation to get me ready to do so.

The end of Day 3 found about 5 of us at a restaurant eating supper. I was blessed to be in the presence of some fabulous people, one of whom I had only encountered that day. Kelly was a beautiful 49 year old woman that looked so amazing everyone thought she had to be 20 years younger. She made us laugh so hard that strawberry margarita almost shot out my nose. (Don’t worry, Mom, it was virgin.) Lesson #6—Everyone needs to laugh that hard at least once a day. I’m thinking of asking her to move in with us. I joked that I’d share my hubby with another woman if she had the ability to help me feel as wonderful as this woman did. She is awesome.

As Day 4 came to a close and everyone was leaving, Kelly and I were about the only ones staying an additional night. We went to supper together and had an awesome visit. I had asked God to give me some sort of sign as to my direction while on this trip. I didn’t realize he would wait until the last 24 hours and then blast me with every possible sign imaginable, yet that’s exactly what happened. My visit with Kelly wrapped both of us in the realization that we are a part of something incredibly awesome, fabulous, and bigger than life. As I told her my story, she both encouraged and scolded me. She encouraged me to share my story. I really didn’t think anyone would be all that interested. She said, “This is the stuff movies are made of.” She scolded me for not already seeing what was so plain to her. I am a writer, and so I should write. I am a teacher, and so I should teach. I am a healer, and so I should heal. After all, my parents named me Angela Dawn – angel of the morning – God’s messenger. We talked for many hours and the coincidences that surfaced simply could no longer be labeled coincidence. We agreed that somehow our meeting was divinely appointed and that we were meant to encounter each other for this moment and moments to come. Lesson #7—I am meant to heal through words and touch. It is my destiny, and it is time for me to get down to business. I must make space in my life to do this.

We said goodnight and farewell and I went back to my room. I logged onto Facebook and found a post by a college friend with whom I had recently reacquainted. When visiting, I had suggested she might want to research indigo and crystal children as her description of her beautiful son suggested he aligned with some of the qualities of those children. She had written a loving tribute to him and penned the words to a song about her indigo child. Lesson #8—My words are already helping people heal. There is no telling how many lives will be touched by her song, and in a roundabout way, by my nudge.

By 6:30 AM I was on a plane to Denver to see my vision therapist. He is an optometrist who works energetically through muscle checking to help people overcome that which holds them back from being their best. His work opens up the visual field using colored lights. He has other energetic work as well, which we may investigate next summer. While there, he told me about a family in Missouri who had reached the end of their rope with a child. In a desperate search, they found his website, and then my blog post that mentioned our results with his work. Long story short, they took a chance and it paid off in a life-changing way. Lesson #9—Sometimes I may not even know who my words help to heal.

Shortly after noon, I met another college friend whom I also had not seen in the 20 years since graduation. What a beautiful woman she is! As we began to visit and catch up, I saw a door open just slightly that allowed me to share with her a piece of my story. At one point, I felt compelled to ask her if she sees colors around people. She seemed shocked that I had asked that but quickly said, “Yes! Yes I do!”. I talked with her some more and shared the things I had seen and experienced earlier in the week. She was fascinated and excited to say the least. Overwhelmed is a descriptor that has surfaced many times this week for both of us. I wanted to ask her what she saw when she looked at me, but I refrained.

Later that evening after we had parted ways, she re-opened that door of opportunity as she texted me to make sure my trip had been a safe one. I then asked her what she saw when she looked at me. She indicated she hadn’t noticed when I was in her presence, but in looking back, she saw a blue color surrounding me and it was very strong. I had deliberately not told her my life colors when we visited because I knew this moment would come and it would be important for her to have the same validation I had been seeking. Since that time, she has messaged me that she continues to discover and experience incredible things. Lesson #10—The Divine will bring teacher into the student’s presence at a precise moment in time when the student is ready, and the teacher may learn as much from the student as the student learns from the teacher.

The Bonus Lesson

As I look around at my world and see so many people searching for a spiritual experience that goes beyond what religion has given them, I realize that many of us are being drawn together for a common purpose. The circumstances and time into which we were born and raised are important factors in our mission. Without the experiences, gifts, and even baggage our family, friends, and others who cross our path have given us, we could not accomplish that which is about to be undertaken.

Jesus Christ came 2000 years ago, gathered his team, and delivered his message of the extraordinary powers of healing we possess—life saving healing. For some reason, God has once again chosen to remind his creations, the extensions of his soul that they are in fact a part of him and are tapped into his power stream. It didn’t go away after the first century as some would have us to believe. It simply went dormant from lack of faith and use. Lesson #11—We chose this time, this place, these circumstances, our parents, and our friends because without them, we would not be properly equipped for the mission. We are here to remind humanity of who they are. Will humanity accept it this time or will they once again kill the messenger and the message?

Stay tuned…..

 

 

 

Concussion

Monday evening was the monthly horse club meeting at the rodeo arena. We’ve started riding at the meetings instead of having “just a meeting”. We decided to take both of our horses out to the arena since leaving Buddy at home results in a trench being worn all along the fence. He gets really cranky when he is left behind.

Once my daughter had her horse saddled and had started riding, I told my big brother that I wanted to ride the other horse bareback. On goes the bridle, up goes me (no easy feat), and into the arena we go. Buddy is an old horse, in his 20’s. He occasionally let’s me know that he is less than pleased that I have chosen to ride him, but nothing too violent.

We made 3 or 4 circles around the perimeter of the arena at a nice slow walk. On the fourth trip around, something happened. I guess he spooked at the late evening shadows and the next thing I knew, I was going down. I landed in plowed dirt (definitely not a soft substance if that’s what you were thinking), smacking my left glute and bouncing my head off the ground in the process. I rolled over rather slowly, took a second to collect my wits, and then proceeded to drag myself upright and walk to the center of the arena where Buddy and other adults were waiting for me. Knowing “the law” that says you must get back on a horse when you are thrown, I prepared myself for the ascent. However, a feeling of blackness began to envelope my vision and I leaned against Buddy’s shoulder to rest for a moment.

My next realization was of me sitting in the dirt and people around me asking the how many fingers and what’s today’s date questions. Yep, for the first time in my life, I involuntarily checked out. As concussions go, mine was probably very mild with no headache or nausea, and yet my brain was shaken enough to need a moment to shut down and reboot.

I went to see my amazing chiropractic neurologist Tuesday morning after a very sore and tender night sleeping in a chair in the living room. Our bed is in the basement, and there was NO WAY I was going to attempt descending and ascending those stairs. He did wonders for me resulting in at least a 50% improvement in the way my body was feeling 36 hours post accident. He even did some neuro stuff to help my head fog to clear and restore my ease of eye movement.

In spite of the chiropractic success, I couldn’t shake something my daughter’s vision specialist had once said to me. I sent him an email telling him what had happened and asking him his thoughts. He replied, “OK, well, I know you know that I want to see you YESTERDAY. The earlier we intervene, the quicker we can halt the cascade of excitotoxins that mediate the post-concussion symptoms and syndrome. For example, six months or two years from now, you could go through a deep depression and have no inkling it was caused by this concussion.”

“From what you’ve said, there’s no question that you’ve been injured (for example, many of the people I treat never blacked out). Yes, you’re likely to recover reasonably well w/o light therapy. But post-concussed brains are never the same. Just like any significant trauma, we may seem to get over it in time (actually, many are symptomatic, they just don’t relate their symptoms to their accident). All the traditional tests may be normal, but ultimately, we’re left more susceptible and less resilient to the next stress or trauma. That’s where the visual fields are most helpful. They help people see something is indeed wrong. Even when traditional testing measures little or nothing, I typically measure significantly more on visual fields. Optimally, I’d want to measure your fields and see exactly what we’d be treating.”

If I’m in need of the therapy, how many old cowboys (or young ones), ex-football players, and accident prone kids are walking around with emotional and physical limitations as a result of past head trauma? I know the therapy works, because I saw behavior changes that were nothing short of miraculous with my daughter. I will fork over the money and make at least three trips to Denver to see Dr. Stuart Tessler. I will experience his Fight or Flight Therapy and have the benefits of it while making strides to stop and reverse the damage done in a horse accident.

I know so many others who have had much worse accidents than mine. Dr. Tessler has told me in the past that he will bring his therapy to our area along with the follow-up visits if he has enough people who will commit to the therapy. His therapy isn’t cheap by small town standards, and yet how much money do people spend on super sized beverages and over priced junk food every week? How much do we spend each year on satellite or cable TV? If it were cancer, most would be selling a vehicle or mortgaging the house to get the necessary treatment. Unfortunately, insurance isn’t likely to pay for Fight or Flight Therapy, but it’s just as tax deductible as any other medical treatment. It’s an alternative therapy that requires a person to be willing to expend their own money to improve their quality of life.

That’s the direction western medicine is moving these days. If you want to get better, you’d better be prepared to foot the bill. If you want to get temporary relief of some of your symptoms while hanging onto your pet ailment, then take a pill that insurance pays for.

Stay tuned for the follow-up adventures in Fight or Flight Therapy. Maybe my experience will help others make a choice to get better.

Renewal

I am so grateful to be spending this weekend in beautiful Jemez Springs, New Mexico, at a spiritual renewal retreat. My very good and enlightened friend Debi is hosting the event which combines yoga, Native American Medicine Wheel, sound vibration, healing breath, accupressure, Aryuvedic massage, meridian massage, movement, stillness, plus BrainGym in an incredible setting. While I am familiar with many of these, I have yet to experience most of them. I am very excited about having the opportunity to get them in my body.

Debi’s flyer lists a ton of benefits to be gained by practicing these Multi-Sensory art forms. They include:

  • enhance body functions
  • increase energy
  • alleviate mental fatigue
  • create efficient electrical and chemical action between the brain and nervous system
  • reduce emotional flare ups
  • diffuse stress
  • improve self-control and sense of boundaries
  • lessen depression, fatigue, pain, and hypersensitivity

I’m dragging my wonderful hunky baby on this adventure. I don’t know that he is overly excited about being in the sessions, but he has such an incredible meditative mind. Besides,  from my past experiences after returning home to him from BrainGym workshops,  he will find it is WELL WORTH not having to wait for me to get back home to reap the benefits—if you know what I mean. Honestly, I’m just excited about being totally alone with him for a few hours. It’s been too long since we’ve had that privilege.

As for my friend Debi, I love being around her and her hunky baby. He doesn’t have the guts to endure a spiritual retreat, but that’s okay. He also probably isn’t into candles, fish, plants, and cats like my man is, yet we love him anyway. He gives some of the biggest and best hugs I’ve ever had. I fully intend to pick Debi’s brain right down to the very last neuron. She has knowledge that I want and skills that I would like to acquire. She has led or hosted several of the BrainGym workshops I have attended and one will never find a more gracious hostess. It will be an awesome weekend filled with incredible energy.

You can be assured of two things that will happen over the weekend. First, I won’t be checking my email. Second, upon my return to blogging, I will have details (well, G-rated details anyway) about the incredible things I am expecting to happen while in Jemez Springs.

Here’s trusting you will have a weekend just as amazing as mine.

Making a Difference

My Number Three child has made a significant contribution to my source of writing material. That is because she is such a gift to me in so many ways. She is wired much differently than her sisters. It’s not wrong or bad. It is just different, and it will most likely prove to serve her in ways that will make her highly successful.

Her uniqueness has allowed me to grow both personally and professionally. I am a better teacher because of her. I am a more flexible parent because of her. I recognize personality traits in others and am less quick to judge that person because of her. She is a gift not only to me, but to the entire world because of the lessons I have learned from her.

Her life is pretty blessed. She had a  normal baby-hood. No traumas during pregnancy or birth. Everything was pretty much routine. Yet even as a toddler,  her personality was much different than the previous two. She smacked her forehead on the coffee table at 2 1/2, which meant a trip to the emergency room and stitches, but she healed.

At four, we began to notice what the older girls called “the cross-eyed thing”. Every so often her right eye would do its own thing. I took her to an optometrist who diagnosed severe far-sightedness (like +5.0) and amblyopia. That was a difficult experience for my daughter because she was so painfully shy at that time she would not (and I now know she could not) respond to his questions as to which image was better. As a result, he used his magic lenses and a flashlight to focus the image on her retina to his satisfaction.

For the next few years, we did the coke-bottle lenses, then contacts at age six, and later back to glasses. All of these had traumatic effects on her. The prescription reduced some over the years, but was still pretty intense. All this time, as she fought having to wear anything, I would check her vision by having her read road signs. The kid could see close up, far off, and everywhere in between just fine. As a nearsighted person who needs correction to see two feet in front of my face, I had a real problem with this. Why would someone even need correction if they could see as well as she could?

That began my search for another answer. By that time, I had accumulated some BrainGym friends who I knew had contacts in the alternative medicine world. (No, BrainGym doesn’t necessarily equal alternative. It just happened to be my source for information.) They referred me to an optometrist in Denver who was doing some different types of therapies. His name is Dr. Stuart Tessler.

I contacted Dr. Tessler with my concerns. He wanted my daughter to see a behavioral optometrist before he saw her, so as to make sure we had all the basic vision issues assessed and addressed before moving forward. He gave me three possible locations, all of which are an eight hour drive from our house. I asked him who would be best able to work with my Number 3 child. Her differentness had by that time taken the form of frozen terror when faced with a stranger pumping her for the answer to the “which is better, one or two….one, two” question. I wasn’t interested in creating more trauma for her. He didn’t hesitate for even a second. He told us Dr. Marisa Kruger would be the one.  

By this time, Number 3 was approaching eight years old, the third grade, and a beast of a state mandated reading test loomed on her horizon. I wasted no time getting her in to see Dr. Kruger. We even went one step further and took the whole family (minus one). That was probably the best experience Number 3 has ever had. Dr. Kruger was extremely patient with her and managed to draw out the necessary information without throwing her into a total frozen meltdown.

Dr. Kruger did a lot of educating that day. I learned so much about what this child was dealing with. She spoke to me from the voice of having lived a big part of what my child was living. Far sighted children have the ability to force focus their eyes, so it appears they can see clearly. The problem is this creates a tremendous amount of of stress that shows up in other areas of their lives, including behavior and academic success. She identified the activity that caused the most stress for Number 3, and prescribed minimum correction to reduce her stress for that activity. It was a pretty radical reduction in correction.

We rocked along through that school year. My daughter passed her test on the first attempt, but it was kind of close. She scored a 75 on reading and an 85 on math. We went back to Dr. Kruger during the summer after third grade and had a checkup. Adjustments were made as needed and then back to the school routine we went.

Fourth grade proved to be downright scary. It is a major leap in expectations for the students. It sees the addition of the state mandated writing test, and the reading requirements jump quite a bit. After a nerve-racking first six weeks, I requested all sorts of intervention possibilities as a means of opening the door to get my daughter some help if things continued like they had begun.

During the process, I also made contact with Dr. Tessler again. I decided to move forward with seeing what he could offer us. We scheduled, and of all things, he sent us a stress evaluation. One night before the trip to Denver, my daughter and I filled out the assessment. I knew she was experiencing lots of stress. I didn’t realize how much EVERYTHING was stressing her out.

He looked over her questionaire, asked me what my concerns were, and then proceeded to discover what was going on with her visual field. I watched the whole process from the sidelines. What he discovered was a child whose eyes worked, but whose brain wasn’t making sense of most of what was in her visual field. My daughter’s blind spot (everyone has them where the optic nerve attaches to the eye) was twice the normal size on the left eye and almost four times normal on the right side. She was only able to clearly identify what she saw in an area slightly larger than the size of a quarter with each eye. She was essentially functioning with tunnel vision. No wonder she was in a constant state of stress. She literally didn’t know what was about to blind-side her every second of every day of her young life.

He then proceded to identify a series of colors that were supportive for her body. He did this using muscle checking similar to what a chiropractor might use. We had experienced muscle checking in some of my early BrainGym classes, so I was very comfortable and confident with the process.

We left Denver with a very simple setup that included a light and some colored overlays. My daughter had been instructed to spend 20 minutes a day in total darkness with only the colored light on. She was to practice relaxed breathing techniques during that time.

The first session at home was extremely painful and traumatic. She was adamant that she didn’t want to do it. I have learned with her that punishment won’t necessarily get the desired outcome, so I have to offer some pretty significant bribes, which I did in the form of riding horses at her uncle’s house after a certain number of sessions had been completed without fuss. It worked.

The process was never an easy one, because it took away from other things she would rather be doing, however, it got easier, and the results were incredible.

After approximately six months and three different color combinations, her final visual assessment showed that her visual field had returned to something close to normal. Her stress self-assessment revealed a child who had mellowed substantially. She went from mostly 4’s and 5’s on the assessment to 0’s, 1’s, and 2’s. Her quarter-sized visual field opened up to the full limits of the testing apparatus. Her blind spots returned to normal size. Her fourth grade TAKS tests were 85 in reading and 95 in math, and she received “commended” status in math and writing. Her shyness decreased radically, and her response to discipline improved noticeably.

A year later, we are facing the fifth grade tests. Math, science, grammar, and spelling continue to be her strong subjects. Reading is still more challenging. However, she is making choices about her success in reading. When she chooses to be successful, she is. She did not have that ability before.

There are a number of things we continue to do to support my daughter’s vision and reduce her stress. We have a fabulous chiropractic neurologist who does some pretty incredible things for her. We own two horses that she rides frequently. We do our best to find sports activities that allow her to run and jump and experience success.

However, I cannot say enough about the work of Dr. Stuart Tessler and Dr. Marisa Kruger. These two people changed my daughter’s destiny in so many ways. I will continue to stay in contact with them and revisit this healing process as needed.

I highly recommend that educators and parents consider what “else” might be going on with a child who has reading challenges. Think outside the box like we did. Do what you have to do to get your child the help he or she needs. Don’t expect the school to fix things for you. They are limited in what they can do. Too many of the traditional and accepted offerings do not produce adequate results. Push your own envelope and go against the grain if you have to. It is worth spending every last penny you have to see your child turn the page on success.

What successful alternative therapies and providers have you found in your search for health and wellness? Let’s build a resource center within this blog.

Resources:

Dr. Stuart Tessler http://www.fightorflighttherapy.com/

Dr. Marisa Atria Kruger http://www.visiontransformation.net/

Soul Soothers

Here are a few things (in no particular order) that soothe my soul when life gets crazy:

  1. Cuddling up with a love-y dove-y cat.
  2. Rubbing our dog’s ears as if doing Thinking Caps (that’s a BrainGym activity).
  3. Taking a walk in a pasture on a warm wind-less day with the sun blazing down on my forehead.
  4. Scratching our horse’s belly.  He has this one spot that makes him go nuts. It is so much fun to make him feel good.
  5. Listening to the song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy!” It’s a hoot.
  6. Imagining life in a 600 sq foot house powered by solar and wind, totally independent of everything and everybody.
  7. Imagining how our 300 sq foot barn could be converted into the house I just mentioned.
  8. Looking at a picture of a tropical jungle with an incredible waterfall tumbling down the side of a cliff. I can almost get there in my mind.
  9. Getting wrapped up in the arms of my hunky monkey man.
  10. Talking with my oldest about her dreams and aspirations.
  11. Holding my youngest in my lap while she drifts off to sleep.
  12. Watching my chickens. They are better than any Seinfeld rerun.
  13. Planting my garden. It’s a killer of a job, but such an amazing feeling. This time of year really rocks for me.
  14. Visiting my growing garden BWTO(before weeds take over).
  15. Dragging the chicken pen to a new spot of pasture without any man help.
  16. Watching the water sprinklers dance in a circle and smelling the damp sod.
  17. Roaming the aisles of a greenhouse.
  18. Imagine having my own greenhouse.
  19. Writing blog posts.
  20. Reading blog posts.
  21. Kidnapping my husband and …ahem…”hiding out” with him in the 300 sq foot barn.
  22. Lying flat on my back in the middle of the pasture with the sun on my face.

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