Self Care Sunday – Vanity & Intentions

Art

My posts have been a bit heavy lately so I am lightening it up in today’s Self Care post about my vanity and intentions. I would like to say that I am spiritual enough to not be vain but apparently that’s not true and I am ok with it😂

The Grey Experiment
I went for a haircut earlier this week. My hair stylist says to me, “Are you intentionally letting your hair grow out all grey?” 😂 I said, “No, I am just tardy coloring it.” She says, “Wow, I’ve never seen you this grey.” 😂 I wasn’t offended but it did make me wonder what I would look like with all grey hair. It would certainly be less maintenance! As of Friday morning I was going to experiment for a few weeks and not color my hair. Well, that didn’t last very long… On Friday I went to get a massage and Chiropractic adjustment. My Massage Therapist and Chiropractor share an office. They were both there when I walked in and were talking about aging. I told them about my conversation with my hair stylist. After they got done laughing, my Chiropractor(a 45 year old guy that I’ve been friends with for a very long time) says, “You are too young looking and pretty to be all grey this soon! Color your hair. I would tell my wife the same thing!” And then he winked at me 😂I figured a guy’s opinion was good confirmation. So much for my grey experiment. After my adjustment and massage, I bought a box of color. My hair is no longer grey.

For the record, I am a BIG FAN of grey hair on men! When I was in my twenties I dated a guy in his late 40s. He had salt & pepper grey hair with beautiful blue eyes. I was wild about him. Blue Love has salt & pepper hair with beautiful blue eyes too. I am still wild about him even after all these years too 😉💙🔥😂 Yep, I am a BIG FAN of grey hair on men but not on me yet!….

Photo Shoot
Thursday was a great day in work. A vision I had a few months ago came to fruition exactly as I envisioned it. I hosted seven young men, the Dean of Engineering and a Professor from a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) at my workplace. I chaperoned them on a tour of our Research & Development facilities and then gave them the opportunity to present their research to my Director and leadership team in a large state of the art executive conference room. We also had mentors available to them for the last hour of the visit to discuss jobs and internships. I don’t know who was smiling more me or my Director during the student presentations.😊It was really rewarding to offer the young men the opportunity and it was also rewarding to see my vision come to fruition. It gave me some ideas for the future. It felt good to do some good in the world.

Our Communications Office is writing a news article about the visit and a photographer was with us all day. The Communications Office sent me the photos they plan to use in the article. Don’t ya know they chose the one group shot I was apparently scratching my leg😂 OMFG! I asked them if they could choose another. They laughed 😂Then told me I looked fine and I shouldn’t worry about it. I said, “But seriously, it looks like I was scratching my leg in the photo!” He started laughed again and said, “The photos are great. You were awesome today! RELAX!” Can you understand why I would want them to choose a different photo?😂 Anyways, I think I lost that battle; I’m pretty sure they will use the photo even though they took over 300 photos that day…sigh 😂

BOOBS
I have big boobs. I can’t hide them but now I have a scar in my cleavage from a cyst that was surgically removed last year. People look at it. As if 38DDD were not enough for folks to look at — now I have a scar in there to draw their attention. I am not going to hide my cleavage every day but I am actually thinking about seeing a plastic surgeon next year to fix the scar.

YOGA
I haven’t practiced yoga since I broke my foot in March. The small broken bone on the outside of my right ankle affected my whole leg and hip. Even with physical therapy it took forever to heal. It does still occasionally bother me and that largely depends on the type of shoes I wear. As a result, my leg hasn’t been strong enough to support a few yoga positions. This is a drag. I love yoga. Yoga is my escape; my refuge. I’ve noticed a huge difference in my body’s flexibility in the last few months. I am much tighter than I was. As someone who has been double jointed and very flexible my entire life, the restriction in my body is extremely frustrating.

I set an intention for 2019. Since my leg is starting to feel stronger, I am going to enroll in beginner’s yoga course in January at a local studio. While I am not a beginner, I’ve been practicing yoga for many years, a beginners course will start slow and gradually advance me back to where I was. This will lessen any chance of injury and give my body a chance to open gradually.

Sleep
Let me just say, I need seven to eight hours solid sleep most nights or I become exhausted. One of the challenges of menopause is that it is causing me to have broken sleep almost every night or no sleep some nights. It’s really frustrating and some days I am downright exhausted. I finally talked to my doctor who prescribed a low dose non habit forming sleep aid (Trazadone) to use as needed. I tried it Friday night. It didn’t help me fall asleep faster but it did help me stay asleep longer without waking up every two hours. I know I slept because I had vivid sex dreams last night…very vivid 🔥😉😂Since I have a recovering drug addict in my family, I am very aware about dependence on medication so I won’t be taking it every night. But it is nice to have something that I can use when I really need a good night’s sleep and the sex dreams are a nice bonus 😂

Setting intentionsACTION: Set an Intention for 2019
Do you have an Intention for 2019? Take a few moments and think about what how you envision 2019. What actions can you take in 2019 to support your holistic wellness? What do you want in your life in 2019? Who do you want in your life in 2019? What can you do to make that happen? Set an Intention…

Here’s my Intention for yoga as an example:

I will practice gentle yoga and take a beginner’s series yoga class…in order to…increase space and flexibility in my body without causing injury… starting in January 2019.

Use this formula to write your own intentions for the day, week, month or year…

✔️Intentions Start with an action sentence (I am, I will, etc).

✔️Include the statement “in order to”

✔️End it with a timeframe for accountability.

Mindful Challenge
Here’s a quick mindful exercise from Mindful Magazine https://www.mindful.org that can be done standing or seated.

Mindful Challenge

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Tips for setting intentions

Your Rhetoric Matters; Choose Wisely

Marianne Williamson Quote

“People hear you on the level you speak to them from; speak from your heart, and they will hear with theirs.” I’ve been taking a free online course, “Teaching the Teachers” with Marianne Williamson. The course is based on “A Course In Miracles” text. She used the above quote on the first night and it’s been rolling around in my head every since.

This quote resonants especially with me today since there has been terrorist attacks on Democrat’s and CNN that appear to be linked to the divisive hateful rhetoric the President and GOP has been using against Democrats and the Press. When he speaks at rallies his followers are hearing him from the level from which he speaks and responding to his call to arms the same way Russia responded to his message to hack Hilary Clinton.

The polarization in our nation makes me sad. I pray for good to triumph over evil. I also pray our DJT rises to the reputation of the his office and speaks like a POTUS instead of a mob boss. I was in the car a lot today.  As I drove, I was listening to CNN and praying. I am praying for healing in our Nation. I am praying for the return of our Democracy. I am praying POTUS finally sees how his words are polarizing our nation and leading to hate and now terrorist attacks. I expect better from our leader.

If you are not “woke”, now it the time to wake up! Hate brings more hate. So if you are a leader, take heed. People will hear you from the level from which you speak. Try speaking from you heart and think twice about your rhetoric. The below song from John Legend and Roots seemed fitting for today.

I am also extremely grateful today for getting good news at my appointment with Gastro specialist at Jeff. It’s highly unlikely my suspicious biopsy is Cancer. My problem is definitely in the Small Intestine. It appears to be Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) which can cause all of my symptoms as well cause swelling in the bowel that is pushing everything out of place. He ordered me a special antibiotic that has been made at compounding pharmacy and shipped to me. He said it will reset my bowel and bring it back into balance with minimal side affects. I have to take it for a month along with following a low FODMAP diet as best I can. He gave me the guidelines. I have to read more on it. And, I have two other problems 😂 From looking at my blood he’s pretty sure I have Pancreatic Enzyme Deficiency which is blocking my body’s ability to break down and digest foods which also leads to bloating and distention. After I am done the antibiotic, I’ll start taking Pancreatic Enzymes. Lastly, he said he thinks I have Splenic Flexure Syndrome.  When I do get gas it gets stuck just under my left breast in my upper left abdomen. SOOO, the key to all of this is managing the bloating, gas and distention by eliminating the bacterial overgrowth and increasing my body’s ability to break down food with Pancreatic Enzymes. Doing both of these will reduce the pressure on the Splenic Flexure issue. He told me to email him in two weeks to let him know how the meds are working and plan to see him again in two months. All in all good news today and I am very grateful. He was worth the wait 🙂

Since I drove into Philly through South Philly, I stopped at the Italian Market on 9th Street on my way home.  I bought some yummy Grass-Fed hard cheeses like Gouda and Gureye. I hit the Gluten Free Bakery and bought some produce. However, when I got home I saw all the produce I bought today is on the “AVOID Food List ” for the FODMAP Diet😂😂😂  That’s why I am not starting it for a couple of days 😉 Thank God hard cheese is allowed; it was expensive 😊

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Self Care Sunday – PTSD, Healing and a Call To Action

Stop Kavanaugh

Image is from The Chronicle Herald

On this Self Care Sunday, I am filled with incredible sadness. I am sad that “win at all costs” politics made a woman sit front of a Senate Committee on National television and speak of her deepest darkest pain. I am sad that a man, who may or may not be innocent, had to be on National television having his reputation destroyed. I am sad this triggered such a visceral response in me. I am sad it’s triggering pain from my own assaults. I am sad for so many people who are reliving traumas. I am sad politics have come to this in our Nation when it didn’t have to come to this. Or did it?

Did politics in our country have to come to such a new low for society to collectively awaken to what extremist partisanship is doing to the nation? Did this have to happen to galvanize a movement of women and men in unity to take a stand against sexual assault and change a Nation? Did politics have to come to such dark place that two women screaming in an elevator were the only people to get through to one, just one, sensitive Senator with a conscious, who was visibly distressed enough to pause. Was that the only way for us to move towards healing? Did Partisanship have to get this ugly in order to wake people up? Did this darkness have to come to light for transformation? I am hoping so but only time will tell.

As this has been playing out; I’ve been triggered. Triggered with flashbacks. Triggered with anger. It triggered pain that I stuffed down and ignored for years. With the help of my long term therapist, some courage and a determination to heal, I’ve been allowing myself to feel whatever comes up. I am no longer stuffing it down. I’ve been letting myself be sad. I’ve been unearthing pain. I’ve been sitting with how it affected my life and how it impacted my relationships with men. I’ve been letting the darkness come to light. I am opening myself to healing emotionally and spiritually to hopefully heal my physical body too.

I had a session with my therapist on Friday. It was helpful. I relayed to her that so much of Dr. Ford’s testimony was familiar to me. I relayed I had similar experiences with anxiety, PTSD and memories that never go away. My therapist said to me, “do you realize that this is the first time in the five years you’ve been coming to me that you’ve talked this openly for this long about these events?” I didn’t realize it. In the five years I’ve been seeing her, I always tipped toed around the sexaul assault would never actually talk about it. We’ve talked about so many other things but I shut down as soon as that topic came up. She never pushed; she would say something for my awareness but not push me to talk about it. It didn’t occur to me that I was finally able to talk about it without feeling ashamed, without feeling angry, without feeling sad and without feeling embarrassed. I wasn’t even crying. Maybe I am healing. It was in that moment I started to feel a bit freer. My soul was feeling lighter and perhaps healing. As raw and emotional I’ve been, I haven’t let it pull me down into the rabbit hole of depression like it normally would. I have been having anxiety, mild depression, sadness and flashbacks but I am not stuck there.

After my session on Friday, I ran into a male friend. We knew we had similar views so we started chatting about the last week. He is a sweet kind man; I am very comfortable being around him. I trust him and know I am always safe with him. In that conversation, I found myself telling him what happened to me over 30 years ago and how this last week has been affecting me. As I stood there exposed and vulnerable, I also felt safe. Shortly after I told him my story, He then told me his story… He started by saying only his wife and family knew and he didn’t tell them until he was in his 30s. The event happened when he was child. We witnessed for each other and perhaps helped each heal a by sharing in a safe space with another survivor. The survivor movement, #metoo #timesup, is bigger than just women; it’s men too. No one should be ashamed if it happened to them and they should know they have community of support out there ready to give them a safe space to talk about it.

I had another conversation with a woman who was also sexaully assaulted, it was almost like she wanted vengeance against her attacker with the Kavanuagh nomination. She couldn’t get vengeance against her attacker so she wanted to block the Kavanuagh nomination even without having evidence other than Dr. Ford’s testimony. I am more pragmatic about things. I think there needs to be a thorough unobstructed investigation. I also beleive Kavanuagh deserves respect. Even as a survivor I am empathetic and compassionate to what this must be doing to him and his family. I do not believe people should be punished for their past the rest of their lives. I certainly would not want my past unearthed on National TV. This doesn’t mean I support the Kavanuagh nomination, it just means I do not believe in an “eye for an eye”. He deserves compassion and empathy as a human being.

Well, I realized on Saturday that is far from over. It’s actually just getting started. The more the Republicans try to push his nomination forward, the more they are galvanizing the movement against them. Do a complete and thorough investigation. Do not obstruct it in any way. Let the facts come out, let the FBI follow whatever lead they get. Give these folks voice or they will just keep going after them and his judgeship will be tainted. How does that impact the image of SCOTUS? I just don’t understand how the Reps can’t see this. Perhaps they don’t have a backup plan so they have to stick with him. I won’t be protesting and I need to be careful what I do publically because of my job but I will be voting straight Blue for the rest of my life after this.

I am also seeing is that many of my friends who are white women over 50 do not believe Dr. Ford and support Kavanaugh. Either they are hard core Republicans, in subserivant relationships or they have never been sexaully assaulted. What I am also observing is this younger generation is pissed off. The only difference is the younger folks are armed with Social Media and are willing drop everything for a good protest. I also would advocate for younger folks to start running for office. What was so apparent was the age of the folks on the Judiciary Committee. No offense to anyone, but the younger generation needs to see their peers on these committees instead of a bunch of white guys over 50.

On this Self Care Sunday I have the below Call To Actions:

For men:
I call upon the men who are reading this blog to open yourself to awareness and audit how you treat women. Do you yell? Do you dismiss them? Are you a choir boy in public but physically or verbal abusive in private? Are you respectful? Can you be sensitive to a woman’s pain? I ask you to talk to your children. Explain to your boys how women should be treated and explain to your girls how they should be treated by a man. If you have been a victim of sexual assault, don’t stuff it down. Seek a safe person to confide in and work towards healing. As we heal ourselves, we heal the world.

For Women:
I call upon women reading this blog to ask themselves if they are being treated appropriately by the men in their lives? Are you safe? Are you being physically or verbally abused? Do you tolerate men yelling at you? I call upon you to set an example for the younger women. Do not let another generation be subjected to abuse or assaults. Make sure you sons and daughters know it’s not ok for anyone to grope them. It’s not ok for anyone touch them. It’s not ok for anyone tolerate rape in any circumstances. Above all, make sure children know it is ok for them to speak up and seek help if they are attacked.

Women, You need to know, if you are in a relationship were you being treated poorly, it’s ok to leave. If that man truly loves you, he will want to change to keep you. Otherwise, you are better off without him. Trust me, you are better off alone than in a relationship with a man who disrespects you. As we heal ourselves, we heal the world.

If you think something that happened to a person while they were 15 years old doesn’t matter, I can tell you it does matter and it affects people for the rest of their lives.

Remember this —

As we heal ourselves, we heal the world.

NOTES:

I chose the above image because perception is often another’s person’s reality. Most of women in the Nation are perceiving the GOP is silencing them.

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Quote

Self Care Sunday – Hibernating

Wild Black Bear Yellowstone
This Self Care Sunday finds me a bit frustrated with my physical body. I’ve had this Sinus and Ear infection/congestion going on for two weeks. Today is my 6th day of antibiotic and probiotics. While it is not as painful and is finally breaking up, it is happening quite slowly. If it’s not gone by Tuesday, I have to go into the ENT’s office. Maybe he will be able to drain the ears. I am hoping I don’t end up on steroids.

Here’s where I am struggling. I felt like I was getting better on Friday and then felt worse yesterday. I am not sure what happened. I am feeling like I failed myself because my body is taking slow long to heal. I keep thinking over what did I do wrong that it got this bad. Why is my body struggling to fight this?

In a conversation with a “spiritual mentor/teacher” earlier this week, she suggested that I get sick so much because I carry/take on the energetic burdens of people I love by because I am a highly sensitive Empath with strong intuitive abilities. I can take on emotions, feelings and symptoms of others.  I feel for people. For example, I get sick so my Mom doesn’t. I energetic take it on to protect her.

My mentor explained I unconsciously take on these burdens because I am stronger spiritually than most people; my empathetic abilities allow me to tune into people and lift their burdens. This is why my former work environment was spiritually so bad for me. My current work environment is better or me. It’s quiet, removed, bigger and calmer. Also, when I am close to someone, they can feel energetically strong when I am around because I give them strength. This is a great gift. However, you have to learn how to manage it. The problem is I am not managing it correctly and it’s breaking down my body, especially my heart which is already weak from a congenital issue. I need to learn how to disconnect empathetically from people and allow them to carry their own burdens; whatever that means. This concept makes total sense to me but it’s heavy stuff. I appreciated her insight because I couldn’t see this myself. I am reading a bit on how to survive as an Empath and Intuitive. Obviously, I haven’t figured it out yet but I am starting with Heart Chakra mantra and balancing work.

This comes back to me thinking I can control everything. It’s my body, I’ve been taking care of myself. I should be able to control this a little, right? Well, I thought I could. It wasn’t until yesterday that I decided to completely surrender for the whole weekend. I am just staying home snuggled up under a blanket with a antibiotics, probiotics, Mucinex, Flonase, water and a tissue box. I am bit a bored but I am coughing and hacking stuff up. No one would want to be around me anyway. I have no business going anywhere today.

Yesterday I watched the new series “Yellowstone” with Kevin Costner. I love it. It’s based in Montana and depicts life there and tensions between White and Native Americans. Since I definitely want to travel out west and especially visit Montana, I like it. Since Kevin Costner is still HOT, I rewatch “Dancing with Wolves” last night.

I definitely feel a spirit bond/connection to Native American history and traditions. The way the White man took form them and killed them makes me sad and a bit nauseous when I think about it. I am going to back to DC overnight next week. If I have time, I would like to go back to the American Indian Museum again. I didn’t have time to finish the whole museum the last time I was there. I also got a bit emotional reading about the Cherokee Removal in the Trail of Tears exhibit. I couldn’t read anymore and left. While watching “Yellowstone” on OnDemand, I stumbled across “Yellowstone Live” on NatGeo Channel. Really an amazing series highlighting wildlife and geology of the park. There are four episodes. You can stream all four online. I’ve enjoyed that as well. I definitely want to go there when I travel out west. My observation is that people are stupid putting their lives in danger to get their social media photos; not to mention how they show a total lack of respect for wildlife by intruding into their habitat. Wildlife photographers remaining save a far distance is different than human having a total disregard for the well being of the animals and theirselves. Let’s face it. If some idiot put himself near a black bear and got attacked, the bear would be put down; not the stupid human.

Well, I am hibernating this Self Care Sunday. I am surrendering and giving my body space to heal. I am also reading on how to survive and take care of myself as an Empath. I really need to learn this like my life depends upon it – because it does…I am still planning to go to work tomorrow. For now, I am under a blanket with books, tissues and stuff to entertain me.

I hope you are taking care of yourself today.

(C) 2018 Linda A. Long – All Rights Reserved – Highest Good Holistic Health Coaching, LLC

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NatGeo YellowStone LiveNatGeo YellowStone Live Streaming xfinity

https://youtu.be/A-Nn0VlS0CU

Self Care Sunday – Honoring Commitments We Make To Ourselves

Playground Pier - Atlantic City, NJ

Playground Pier – Atlantic City, NJ

Often times people are so used to putting others before themselves they forget that honoring the commitments they make to themselves is an act of self love and self care. Commitments we make to ourselves can define the quality of our life and our health. They can determine our future. They can also indicate how we treat other people.

I was thinking about this because I was rear-ended last week. I was fine. The only damage to my car was a hole in my bumper where his truck’s license plate bolt pierced it. We called cops. The guy is a retired cop and offered to pay cash for the repairs. While the police officer was there, I called my dealership since it’s a leased car. I asked what was the best way to handle it. They agreed no police report and cash instead insurance to keep it off of Carfax reports. I agreed not to file a police report. However, the police officer documented our names and addresses in her daily report in case I needed her help in tracking him down for payment.

I got the estimate a few days ago. It’s close to $400. I contacted the guy who hit me. He asked I wait until after June 1st to get the work done. I agreed. He called me Saturday morning and asked me to meet him at my dealership. When I got there, he not only paid the whole estimate up front for me he also made sure I had rental car for the two days my car would be in the shop. They will order the parts and schedule the job later this week. When I thanked him he said, “it’s important to me to honor my word.” That really stuck with me. I’ve been thinking about it a lot.

He was a 47 year old retired police officer. He could have easily only paid the deposit for the parts or not included the rental car. Instead he wanted to make sure he honored his word. He said he would take care of everything if I didn’t file a police report or go through insurance and he did just that. He paid it upfront and in full so I didn’t have to worry about contacting him again. He made a commitment to himself that honoring his word is a priority in his life. He also set an example for me. It also made me think about commitments I’ve made to myself.

I made a commitment to myself a few years back to live my life consciously; in awareness. That means I choose not to drink alcohol or take drugs on a daily basis to numb myself. I don’t care if others do, I just know it doesn’t work for me. That’s not to say under the right circumstances that I wouldn’t have one glass of delicious red wine with the right person. Trust me, if I do make it to Europe next year or even out west, you better believe I will be having pint in England and a glass of red in Spain. All I am saying is I made a commitment to myself that it can’t be part of my daily life because it makes me fat and stupid 🙂 I guarantee everything I accomplished in the last six years would not have happened if I stayed a party girl.

I also made a commitment to myself to work to the highest level I possibly can. It would be easy for me to work below my skill set and capabilities. However, as Marianne Williamson said, “playing small doesn’t serve the world.” I can offer so much more by allowing my innate skills and abilities to come forth rather than them holding back and allowing others to look good rather than myself.

I made commitment to myself six weeks ago to do strength training exercises twice a week. I already get cardio because I walk a lot; I was still weak and out of shape. As I get older, I am seeing the importance of staying strong. The more inactive you are, the more those old injures hurt. The more you sit still, the harder it is move. The truth is I am still experiencing widespread muscle and joint pain. I am dealing with it without really talking much about it. I have noticed an improvement since I started taking Iodine every day and I also have noticed I am starting to feel stronger. I can also see I am starting to thin out so the strength training is working. The routine I do takes about 30 minutes. I do it twice a week at a local gym that caters to older folks. I honestly think I am the youngest person who goes in there 😂 It works for me. It’s low key and low profile. I get in and get out. It’s a twice a week commitment; no exceptions. While a few coworkers were going to outside bar on the water after we attended a STEM event for work on Friday, I passed. I went to the gym and then walked four miles on the boardwalk to my beautiful spot on the edge of the pier over the water on a beautiful afternoon. I love being out in nature. Remember what I said? Strength training twice a week; no exceptions! I do have good self discipline!

The most important commitment I made to myself is to live authentically and honor the truth of who I am and to honor my body. When I make choices, I go inside. I pray and ask for divine wisdom from God and my angels and guides. I listen to my own intuition. I shut off the noise around me and honor my intuitive wisdom to lead me in the right direction. I very rarely ask anyone for advise or for their opinions. When I do ask someone for guidance, you know I must really trust them because it happens very rarely.

If you compared my life seven years ago to the life I have now, it would be clear the commitments I made to myself in the last seven years have changed my life for the better. I am getting stronger, mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually with each passing day. The future I see for myself is full of love, joy, opportunities and growth. On the career front, I am finally on a good path that is fulfilling and has plenty of opportunities. It’s really up to me to capitalize on them. The funny thing is I shared a big vision that I have for my Program with my boss the other day. He looked at me, smiled and then said, “That could actually happen; you are already working towards it!” Being a strategic thinker is one of my best assets 🙂

Other commitments I made to myself are less serious but equally important because they will create balance in my life:

🔷 I will have more fun and not take myself too seriously – I’m working my way back to fun in all areas of my life. My Dad will be happy about this one 🙂

🔷 I will have more adventures – I am thinking of taking a road trip to pow-wow on June 9th. That seems like fun to me and June 9th is also the 44th anniversary of my father’s death. Then I am hoping to hop a bus to NYC on June 10th to visit the American Indian Museum and tour a couple of Buddhist temples next Sunday 🙂 I may stay overnight because I am trying to catch up to friends for late lunch or early dinner. I am not sure yet of any of this yet because of the weather but I would like a little adventure this weekend. While I’ve been to NYC many times, I’ve never been to Indian Museum or the Buddhist Temples. I am sure there plenty of other off the beaten path things I’ve never done up there too. It’s definitely only a day trip or an overnight trip. I tentatively have to be in DC on June 12th for another work meeting with Program’s Sponsor.

🔷 I will walk the other way on the boardwalk towards the AC pier I love. I was avoiding that all summer last year to stay away from the crowds but I realized I missed the view. The above photo was taken from that pier. I need more of this view in my life. I need to maintain a strong connection to nature and the ocean.

🔷 I will sit on my balcony more. I am going to sit out there to write too. When I write outside, I can hear the ocean rolling in and out. I can hear the birds. I hear kids laughing. I can see folks enjoying the beach and boardwalk.

🔷 I will watch the fireworks Saturday nights from my balcony. The Tropicana will have fireworks every Saturday night through September 9th at 10pm. Well, I am hoping to watch them every Saturday night. Sometimes I am just tired and fall asleep before they start. The below photo was taken from my balcony last night during the fireworks.

🔷 I will go down to my building’s pool. It’s supposedly the best on the Island. I also plan to walk out to the beach more often as it is out my black door 🙂 I was in school full time while working full time last summer. I didn’t have much playtime. I am making a point of not over committing myself this summer.

🔷 I will experiment with riding a bike again 😂 I am not a big fan of bike riding but I want to try it again to see if I like it. If I do, I may buy one to ride around town and on the boards.

🔷 I will invite friends and family down more this summer. My new recliner is arriving in week or so that will be another comfy place for guests to sit. It will also be a comfy place for me to chill 🙂

🔷I will make sure the people I love know they are loved and thought about. I am committed to reaching out in little ways to people who I love to be sure they know I care about them. Smiles, text messages, phones calls, dropping by – it’s happening 😂

🔷 I will research my Spanish, Mexican and Native American Roots. I found out they are all connected. I always knew I was Irish, German and Spanish. The Native American was found in a DNA test. It said it was Native American in Mexico. I learned recently Mexico was originally settled by the Spanish and the Apache Tribe. Apaches were known to be warriors and gifted strategists. I have both of those qualities 🙂 It all makes sense. I’ve always enjoyed Native American Culture. I will also offer to pay for my mom to do a 23andme kit. I’d like to see for sure what her Ancestry DNA is. I am pretty sure she is Irish/English and German. She’s a fair skinned blue-eyed blonde. My dad had dark skin, dark eyes and dark hair. From oral family history, the Spanish and Mexican came from him. I also assume the Native American came from him but I am not completely sure. That’s why I want my Mom to do an Ancestry DNA kit.

🔷 I will spend more time with my Mom. There’s a party she wants to go to in few a weeks. Because there is still a family war going on and I am Switzerland, it’s best for me to go up and take her. So I rearranged my schedule to be her date. She was relieved and happy.

So, my question for you today is – what commitments have you made to yourself? Are you looking after you own happiness and fulfillment? Are you loved? Are you inspired by those around you? Are you having fun? Are you creating balance in your life? Are you choosing happiness?

Coming up later this week on Writing Holistically – Blue Love Haiku #10 (it’s already written)

(C) 2018 Linda A. Long – All Rights Reserved – Highest Good Holistic Health Coaching, LLC

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Tropicana Fireworks - Atlantic City, NJTropicana Fireworks – Atlantic City, NJ
Team Mexico - Si Se Puede!

Team Mexico – Si Se Puede!

Self Care Sunday – May 20, 2018

Self care sunday

It’s been a Self Care weekend. While I am feeling somewhat better and more energized, I am still not feeling 100%. I had a super busy week in work. I did manage to take off Friday afternoon but that was mostly to do four loads of laundry that I haven’t had any time to get to. Not exactly self care. Self Care kicked in on Saturday. I woke up early to watch the Royal Wedding and was back in bed by 10:00am. I stayed home all day in pajamas moving back and forth between napping and watching Netflix on the sofa. That’s about all I did. I even tried to stay off my phone and tablet too. I needed a total down day😴 I was tired 😴

Self Care Sunday started with my foot finally feeling good enough to get a good moderately paced three mile walk on a somewhat sunny but humid Sunday. There are a few reasons I enjoy walking in nature instead of on a treadmill. First, I believe angels and spirits connect with me while I am walking in nature. More often that not I find butterflies, feathers, coin and other signs along my walks. It gives me a feeling of protection and comfort. Second, I enjoy walking outside because in recent years treadmills can sometimes make me a little dizzy when I step off and that can trigger a headache. It doesn’t happen every time but it’s happened enough that it causes some anxiety. Lastly, I like to walk a good distance at a moderate pace outside because it helps me organize my thoughts. I can often think through work problems or challenges and find potential solutions while walking in nature.

Today’s walk was helpful in that it gave some time and space to think through a work challenge. The project I am working on is incredibly complicated. The further I get into it the bigger it is getting. Thankfully, my leadership set me up for success and is supportive. They’ve offered me direct access support at every level of leadership. When I was feeling a bit frustrated early this week, I was able to talk it out with folks and it was helpful. I’ve learned I can’t be so focused on one particular outcome and may have to measure success differently than I was originally thinking. I also was a little nervous when I was called the Director’s office on Thursday but I found out quickly it was only so she could give me my Program’s signed Charter 🙂 I walked back to my cubicle smiling ear to ear 🙂 I am meeting with my Sponsor on Wednesday in DC. Funny, I used to dread giving briefings. Since I started this assignment, I give a briefing just about once a week and now it no longer bothers me. I am much more relaxed. While I am in DC this week, I am visiting a University in DC with strong research capabilities on Thursday morning. We are hoping to identify potential research requirements we can partner in pursuing. And, I managed to get a hotel two blocks from work which is unusual. That was a big score. Lol 🙂

While I am only 3.5 months into a year assignment, I would like to stay in this Organization. The structure is more supportive and, overall, there much more opportunity for someone with my blend of skills. The slower pace is also better for me holistically. It gives me breathing room and space to manage my responsibilities according to my body’s needs without pressure or expectation. In my old group, I could not take a Monday or Friday off without a lot of coordination. It wasn’t even worth it. Now, I’ve settled into every other Friday off and working longer days when I feel good and shorter days when I need to rest. It’s working well for me. I’ve also learned to make my career moves based upon selecting the path with most opportunities for my future and growth rather than based upon loyalties to people. At the end of the day, people move around and will do what’s best for themselves first before thinking about my career or happiness. No judgment; just a fact of life that I’ve accepted. I have ten years to go before retirement is an option. I need to position myself to find the best growth opportunities even if my favorite managers and buddies move on.

As far as the rest of my life, I was half tempted to sign up for another course. I put myself on the waiting list for a hormone course starting in September. Until my Dad got a message through to me through a friend who is a professional Medium. I’ve known her a long time because she is also a Yoga Teacher. I saw her last week. We didn and she started laughing when she said to me, “I love your Dad. He makes me laugh. He asked me to tell you that he wants you to have an adventure and you need to have more fun. He’s concerned you are all business and no fun. You need to live and play instead of learn for a while. He said he wants you to spend the money on a trip to Europe instead of a hormone course; he’ll help you get there!” 😂😂 Seriously, that’s what she said to me! I then told her his grand mother was born in Spain but moved to Mexico and eventually San Antonio. I’ve been told that my Dad and I both favor her. I would be interested in going to Spain. I would also be interested in going to England again since it’s been 25 years since I was there. While I am good with short flights, I am not sure about longer flights so I will need to mentally prepare myself for that. So a trip to Spain and/or England in 2019 may be in my future. I just need to think if I want to do a trip solo or with friends or with a group. My friend then said, “this is about you connecting with and discovering Linda. If you do go with someone, make sure you choose wisely. The trip may be a fun adventure but it is also a bit spiritual for you too. Almost like you are on a mission with your Dad. Whoever you go with must understand that.” So, my Dad apparently wants me to have more fun and adventure for him. Made me laugh because he always liked having a good time.

Physically, I am getting stronger and have been going to gym but I’ve had elbow tendinitis for six weeks. I’ve been doing the exercises and icing it. I may have to give in and get a cortisone shot😏 Let me say – Menopause is no joke! I mean no joke! The craziest things happen in the body. My Integrative Doc told me aches and pains in muscles and joints can be because I have no Estrogen. I haven’t made a decision about Bioidentical Hormone Replacement yet. However, I have noticed the night sweats and hot flashes stopped two weeks ago. I am back to sleeping deep and dreaming again. I am not sure what happened to stop the night sweats and hot flashes. They were Brutal and could return. The Rosacea flare up is also calming down. Menopause makes skin more sensitive so I needed to change skin care products, routine and makeup. Nothing was really helping the Rosacea until I starting Coconut Oil on it twice a day! Yep, Coconut Oil is good for everything! As I said, Menopause is no joke 😂

Lastly, I am feeling like I need to do a detox diet. I may do a Vegan Challenge for a few weeks. I was thinking of using The Purple Carrot, A Vegan Meal Delivery service. It would be helpful so I wouldn’t have to do so much cooking. If anyone has used Purple Carrot, please send me reviews.
(C) 2018 Linda A. Long – All Rights Reserved – Highest Good Holistic Health Coaching, LLC

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Self Care Sunday – May 6, 2018

I Open, AmenI Open, Amen
By: Linda A. Long

I open
To possibility
That love
Can heal
The wounds
That line
My heart
And bruise my soul
I open, Amen

I trust that love
Will mend the edges
That heartache
Split apart
I open, Amen

I offer my
Mind, body and spirit
To the healing
Powers of love
Deep within
My own soul
Cultivating love
For myself
Before all others
I find
The promise
Of renewed
Hope within
I open, Amen

Loving myself
Enough
To let go
And trust
The journey
God chose for me
I don’t understand
Suffering
I only know
Pain has been
My teacher
I open, Amen

I let go
And so it is
I open
And surrender
To love
I open
Amen

(C) 2018 Linda A. Long – All Rights Reserved – Highest Good Holistic Health Coaching, LLC

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NOTE: Self Care Sunday today started with me thinking a lot about what I’ve learned in the last two months since I broke a small bone in my foot and I’ve been forced to slow down.

The interesting thing is everywhere I turn the message I am given is “slow down”. My doctor said it to me, my physical therapist said it to me, my mother said it to me and my friends have said it to me. But the question I asked myself is why was I so resistant to slow down. What was I running from? What didn’t I want to see? Was there a truth in my life I didn’t want to accept so I kept myself in constant motion so I didn’t have to confront it?

The answer to all of those questions is yes! YES! It’s only since I’ve been forced to stay in one place and spend a good portion of time alone that I’ve been able to see the truth. My truth is I am always very hard on myself. I am better friend to others than I am to myself. Perhaps that boils down to not loving myself. Maybe that says more about how I think about myself and my body. I am not sure. But it is the truth.

Breaking my foot taught me a few things about my body too. My body is muscularly weak. It’s time for strengthen myself so my bones, joints and muscles are stronger as I age and go through Menopause. I joined a small gym that is geared more towards folk over 50. I like it because there aren’t alot of people there and I am not there to socialize. It’s also owned by a physical therpaist and offer yoga and pilates too. My first workout with the trainer is tomorrow. I also bought a few personal training sessions for the first month to give me some structure. I am not looking to bulk up or get into the best shape of my life. I am looking to strengthen myself and maybe knock off the 20lbs I put on in the last five years. Although I’ve maintained a 40 pound weight loss for six years. I did put back on 20 in the last few years. I’d like to lose that.

My foot showed me I am actually exhausted on a few levels. Physically, I’ve been sleeping more, resting more and relaxing more. And, it’s all ok. Mentally I am tired too. This summer I will not be going to school or working towards any intellectual achievements. My brain needs a break. Spiritually, I’ve been feeling detached and have been more or less going through the motions. I wish folks would stop trying to recruit me into their churches. I am not interested in attending church services. It’s not my thing. I am, however, working to get back in touch with my spirituality. I am currently taking a 21 Days of Prayer course on http://www.dailyom.com. I love it. Each day we learn a new way to pray. It’s been very rewarding and I am building a Prayer Tool box. I also downloaded a couple of meditation apps to help calm my mind down. I LOVE the Stop, Breathe and Think app for iPhone. The meditations are all under 10 minutes and it has a daily check-in feature.

One of the nice things that has happened is I am writing a lot lately. Poetry, Haikus and blogs are flowing. It’s great outlet for me. I’ve reconnected with a few friends as a result of my best friend passing away a few weeks ago. A few people have reached out and we’ve been able to reconnect. I am even closer to my family than I was before. I talk to them more than before. My sister and I are closer than ever.

As far as my health goes, I am having a few challenges. I have a chronic gastritis flare up that is not calming down quickly so it looks like I need a scope in the coming weeks. It can be painful at times. My foot is slowly healing. Physical Therapy is working but I am not ready for power walking just yet. I have an appointment this coming Friday to see my Integrative Doctor at the Chung Institute in Moorestown, NJ. Since I am in Menopause we are going to start looking at bio-identical hormone replacement to help with some of symptoms. I love that my GP is so open to alternative treatments. She even told me the bio-identical hormones were my best bet and was happy I was going to the Chung Institute. Bio-identical hormone creams are made from your own saliva and are exact match to your own body’s chemistry. That means there are less side affects.

As far as work goes, it’s going extremely well. I did ask to work a reduced schedule through out May to give myself some space to heal. They approved it. They told me I was doing a great job and would support whatever I need. Even though today is Sunday I worked for a couple of hours this morning. I am briefing the Asst. Administrator on Tuesday and need to turn in my presentation by tomorrow for review. I think it’s interesting that I am doing the best work of my career while I am also experiencing so many challenges in my personal life.

I had a conversation with my therapist the other day. I mentioned about doing this all alone. She asked me to consider that perhaps I was meant to figure out this part of my life on my own. This is the time for me rest, heal, reconnect with friends and spirit, excel in work and just enjoy life rather than push. Maybe this time was just about me and no one else. Perhaps these challenges and how I am handling them is defining me and growing me for some other purpose. Who knows???

What I do know is, I did the dreaded swimsuit shopping and was pleasantly surprised to find two that look nice on me. Memorial Day to Labor Day you will find me by the pool or on the beach in my free time. This summer my focus is going to be just “being” instead of “doing”. The only things on my schedule will be work, self care(gym, etc), prayer, family and friends…That’s it.

What does Selfcare Sunday look like for you today?

Self Care Sunday – April 29, 2018

Midnight Red - C.M. Cooper

Midnight Red – C.M. Cooper

I am pusher. I push forward. I work sick. I don’t use a lot of vacation or sick time. I am a giver and a care taker. I take care of others. I’ve made a habit of showing up for others before showing up for myself. Quite frankly, I put loving others ahead of loving myself.

A foot injury a few weeks back triggered back problems and an autoimmune flare up. Then my best friend died at the same time. I am feeling the affects emotionally, physically and spiritually of the collective stress.

My foot and back and elbow tendinitis are healing. They are slowly improving. I was able to walk two miles yesterday and today with only a small amount of discomfort. Physical Therapy has been helpful.

I have Celiac Disease, an Autoimmune Disease. Celiac Disease destroys the digestive system and can lead to stomach Cancer. By the time I was diagnosed in my 40s, there was already substantial damage to my stomach, liver and gut. My Gallbladder was already removed in 1997. At the time I was diagnosed in 2011, I had Gastritis and Liver Damage. I was in the hospital for a week. I actually could not eat solid food for ten days. I immediately stopped drinking alcohol and changed to Gluten Free diet. I have seen substantial improvements in my health and in my gut. My Liver is completely healed. There is no sign of any Liver damage in any of my current blood work. However, my stomach will never be completely healed. I have what they call “chronic autoimmune gastritis”. My stomach will always be super sensitive and predisposed to gastritis flare ups when I get sick or stressed. It’s just a part of my life.

At this time, a gastritis flare up is my biggest challenge and it’s taking some time to get it settled down. I know for a fact I ate Gluten by accident last week. I also was drinking a lot of diet soda and taking fish oil for the inflammation in my foot. In retrospect, my tummy held out pretty good but this week it hit the brakes pretty hard on me. I am really tired, bloated, nauseous and in fair amount of belly pain. I also have TMJ which is stress related. I suspect grief, stress, worry, poor food choices and not taking care of myself properly caught up to me.

I’ve been praying and reflecting on how I got this far into a flare up and depression. Obviously, I am grieving for the loss of my best friend and the last few weeks have been very stressful. But, this is more about me not loving myself enough to take care of myself properly. Almost as if I was thinking that my broken body was not worthy of love; not by me or anyone else. I actually haven’t been dating the last few years because I haven’t wanted to explain to men all of my health issues. I haven’t wanted to explain that sometimes it flares up and I am tired. I can’t do what other folks can do. I didn’t want anyone to see it; not my friends, family or any man who may care about me. I’ve been asked on dates, I refused. I supposed it’s why I’ve always been attracted to “safe” men who I could love at distance. Now, don’t get me wrong. I do truly love Blue Love. I truly love him and I would feel safe letting him in and allowing him to see the real me, all of me – that’s if he was available to me. But, this is deeper than just having a man love me and my body. This is about ME loving and honoring MY body. This is about me being a friend to myself and my body.

Deep stuff, right? Well, you can’t heal something you refuse to see. So, I decided to bring it from the darkness to the light to be healed. As this time of my life, self care is about honoring where I am today and surrendering to what my mind, body and spirit needs to return to holistic wellness. I affirm I deserve to be loved. I affirm my body deserved to be loved and cared for. I will give myself the space I need to heal the right way this time.

As far as calming the gastritis down, I was going to do a Whole 30 diet to help settle my tummy down but I remembered Whole 30 is compromised mostly of meat and vegetables. Neither are really great for settling down Gastritis. Instead I am going to focus on bland easy to digest foods in smaller quantities for few weeks.

The bigger issue I have is work. I decided I need to go into work and talk to my new boss. I need to explain I am enjoying the job and don’t want to lose or walk away from the opportunity but I need to give myself some space to heal. I know my employer believes in reasonable accommodations so I am going to ask to work a reduced schedule for the month of May(maybe half days or three days a week) with no travel. I am hoping I’ve built up enough creditability that they will work with me. Also, my doctor told me she will write a note to cover whatever I need when I see her on Wednesday night. My boss and I can reassess my status at the end of the month. Hopefully, I am back to 100% by June and things work out. If they don’t, I’ve made my peace with that too. I’ve let go of attachment to any outcomes. My focus needs to be doing what’s best for my body and my life first. Even if this job doesn’t work out, I have a good job to return to. I have faith everything will work out for my highest good.

Self care for me today is about acceptance of my limitations. It’s also about bringing the dark parts of my soul to the light for healing and speaking my truth with authenticity by asking for what I need. Lastly, it’s about letting go and trusting that God will provide for me. I affirm – Everything always works out for my highest good.

I did buy myself a little happy this week. I’ve been wanting a comfy chair to rest in, watching TV in and for nights I have trouble sleeping. So, I ordered a leather recliner. It will be delivered in two weeks. It will look great in my condo which is decorated in red, brown (Mahogany) and off white. The photo is below.

What does self care look like for you today? What have you done recently to take care of yourself?

(C) 2018 Linda A. Long – All Rights Reserved – Highest Good Holistic Health Coaching, LLC

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Art Credit: Midnight Red by C.M. Cooper

Lane Tucker Leather Recliner

Prayer For Healing

Svethania Novikova Art

Prayer For Healing
By: Linda A. Long

As I look
Into the future
I find it
Hard to see
A path forward
Everything changed
In my life
This week
Tension
Stress
Anxiety
Built up
My body broke down

How do I
Care for myself
And give myself
Time to
Grieve and mend
How do I
Give myself space
To find my
New life
Without being
Under pressure
How do I
Remove chronic stress
From my body
So I finally can heal
And transform
My life

I don’t know
Answers to the
Questions yet
I just know
That God
Is calling me
To reflect and change
God
Is calling me
To trust my
Intuition and let go
God
Is calling me
To trust him
God
Angel and Guides
I ask for
Your divine
Inspiration and guidance
As I stand
At the fork
In the road
In my life
I ask for
Your love
And blessings
So that I
May heal
Body, mind and spirit
And transform
Into the
Highest reflection
Of your grace
And love
I am worthy
Of healing
Of Love
(C) 2018 Linda A. Long – All Rights Reserved – Highest Good Holistic Health Coaching, LLC

NOTE:

It’s all in a blur. My whole life is in a blur right now. I can’t see the future. I said these words to someone recently. He responded by saying, “Even in a snow storm, you have to be able to see. Try to see a path forward; try to put it into words. Write it out!” This is me writing it out. I am posting it on my blog to hold myself accountable more or less. And also to show others, everyone hurts… everyone struggles. I freely admit… I have no answers at this time of my life. I have no answers. But I do know God is calling me to reflect a bit before moving forward.

High levels of stress, anxiety and tension have been a part of my life for a while now. My best friend had Cancer for five years and died April 19th. I had tension in relationships. I was in school full time while working full time and I switched jobs three months ago.

I guess I didn’t realize that my body was having a physical response to the chronic stress I’ve been under every day for the last couple of years. Being strong, soldiering on took a toll on me and my body. I see now I held a lot of tension in my body. I held a lot of anxiety in my soul. Now, right now I have a foot injury which lead to back problem which is taking a long time to heal, I believe because of stress and muscle tension. I started physical therapy for it yesterday. I have a flare up of tendinitis in my left elbow. I’ve had migraines and digestive issues. Meanwhile, my blood work looks beautiful; it’s the best it’s been in years. Thank God! This tells me that stress, anxiety and tension as well as Menopause are taking a physical toll on my body.

I finished my school work today. As of today, I’m officially done my Integrative Nutrition Health Coach Training. I graduate on May 15th! I will take the Certified Holsitic Health Coach test later in summer. As stressful as school has been, it’s also been good for me. But I am glad I am done. As far as building a coaching business goes, it’s officially on hold indefinitely. I can’t even think about that right now.

After five years of watching and supporting my best friend battle Cancer, I am now left with grief. This summer I need to leave some space for grief as well as take time to figure out what life looks like without her. My body is breaking down from stress and I feel like like I need to slow down for self care and slow down for my body to heal.

This brings me to my new job…let me take a big sigh of right here…I proved to myself I can do the job. I proved to them I can do the job. But, the whole future of the Program rides on my back. It rides on my action. It rides on me. I have to drive it. The next few months will require me to travel, build and drive the program. It will be pressure. Pressure that I am just not sure I up to right now.

I keep hearing in my head, “just because you are capable, doesn’t mean you should be doing it right now!” I keep feeling like I need to pull back to heal. I feel like I have been pushing too hard for too long and trying to do too much for too long. It caught up to me… I guess what I am saying is… I am not sure I am physically up to this job given how my life changed and how my body is reacting to the stress.

The way I see it is, I have a decision to make. I have to decide I want to go in and talk to my new boss and explain all of this or if it would be best for me to go back to my home organization. I know my old group is struggling and could use my help. I would be completely honest with my old boss because of our history. It may be easier to manage this emotional time of healing while working in my old organization instead of being under the stress of trying to lead a new high profile Program. I need to reflect on this the new week or so…

I haven’t been able to get “Sound Of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel out of my head.

Art Credit: Svethania Novikova – www.fineartamerica.com

My Reason – In honor of a friend

Visible Darkness Pat Erickson

My Reason – In honor of a Friend
By: Linda A. Long

Your death
Will not be
My excuse
It will not be
The chip
On my shoulder
The reason
I take a drug
To escape
Or have a
Drink to
Feel numb

Your death
Will not be
A reason
I feel sorry
For myself
Under perform
Stay in bed
Give up
And
Lose hope

While your death
Broke me
It will not
Destroy me

Your death
Will be
The reason
I rise
The reason
I reach higher
Dream bigger
Try harder

Your death
Will be
My life force
My motivation
My inspiration
My Power

Your death
Will be
My reason
To live

Your life
Will be in
My memory
And move
On with me
Throughout
My lifetime
Your life
Will be my
Reason
To believe
Your life
Will be
My reason
To rise

Your death
Will not
Be my excuse
To fail
But my motivation
To succeed
Your life
And memory
Will remind
Me to rise
Rise
As a
Warrior
I will rise
In your memory
I will rise

(C) 2018 Linda A Long – Highest Good Holistic Health Coaching, LLC – All Rights Reserved

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Photo Credit
Visible Darkness by Pat Erickson – Fine Art America

NOTE In Loving Memory of Karen Grant – My Reason.
This photo was taken at the Kenny Chesney Concert in June 2011 two years before Karen was diagnosed with Peritoneal Cancer and one year before I had to stop drinking alcohol due to Chronic Gastritis and autoimmune issues. It was a fun day. I was also 40 pounds heavier in this photo than I am now. The most important thing about this photo is it was taken when Karen was healthy. This is how I will remember her beautiful face.