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.

Broken Halo

Fallen Angel Sorrow Art

Early in the morning on Thursday April 19, 2018 my beautiful best friend, Karen, lost her five year battle with Peritoneal Cancer, a rare aggressive Gynecological Cancer.

Karen was diagnosed five years ago after having severe bloating and stomach pain for three months. Her first surgery was supposed to be a complete hysterectomy. However, when they went in, they found tumor wrapped around her Colon. They removed 18 inches of her Colon, her Gallbladder and her Appendix in that surgery and advised the odds of her making it were slim. She made it.

One month later Karen had complete and total hysterectomy followed by aggressive Chemo. She lost her hair and a lot of weight. Again, they advised she probably would not make it. She made it.

They gave her 18 months to live and ensure there was understanding that Peritoneal Cancer never goes into remission. Karen had a six month break from Chemo but more or less received Chemo for the last five years. She was given 18 months to live and lived five years. She had me and all that loved her convinced she would beat it. She did not.

On Saturday April 7th, Karen reached out to me to say goodbye. She told me it was almost time. I asked to be with her and hold her hand. She told me she knew I lost my sister to a terminal illness in the same fashion and didn’t want me to do another death bed vigil. She also told me she wanted me to remember her strong. We said our goodbyes over the course of three hours. Every day from April 7th to April 19th I sent Karen a message in the morning that said that I loved her and I was lucky to have been her friend. I was told by her family she treasure each messaged but it would have been too hard for her if I was there and saw her that way. She wanted me to be remember her strong.

She was the best friend I ever had. I am not sure what life looks like without her. If you are the praying type, I ask you pray the healing of my mind, body and spirit because I feel very broken and lost. I also have my own health issues going on and had 10 tubes of blood drawn this morning.

My good news from yesterday was… I got the call about Karen only hours before I was giving the most important presentation of my entire career to two Directors and two Group Managers who will determine the future of my career. My boss was standing next to me when i got the call about Karen. I never told him my best friend was dying. He was in shock when I told him this was going on the whole time I worked for him. He asked if I wanted to reschedule the presentation because my Directors would understand the situation. I told him my Directors would understand but Karen was a hardass and would not understand. She would expect me to honor her by crushing it. I hung a Post-it note on my laptop that said, “Crush it for Karen” and off I went to do my presentation. I was very relaxed. I smiled and spoke authentically. At the end, one Director (a female Director I never met in person before)said, “I am very very impressed” and the other Director(a man who works in DC I’ve met and bonded with) said, “I am pleased as punch!”. My direct supervisory followed me out of the room and said, “GREAT Job. Now go take care of yourself. I’ll see you in a week!”. I thank Karen for the inspiration. I crushed it for Karen! I left the office immediately after that meeting was over. I am officially on Leave from work until April 30th.

I spent yesterday afternoon with with Karen’s sister and her long time boyfriend and caretaker. I spent yesterday evening with a couple of friends and spent last night making phone calls to tell folks I loved them. I went to Karen’s Mom’s house this morning and then focused on caring for myself this afternoon. Now, late on Friday afternoon I am starting to allow myself to feel again. I was strong for two days. It is time for good cry again.

Karen’s services should be Tuesday with her obit in the Sunday paper. Her sister was meeting with the Rabbi today.

Karen was a Country Music lover. She once said to me, “everyone needs some country in their life Linda Long!” She took me to two Country music concerts, Kenny Chesney and Darius Rucker. In memory of my beautiful best friend, Karen Grant, I am sharing “Broken Halos” and “Somewhere With You”. I needed Country in my life today.

(C) 2018 Linda A. Long – All Rights Reserved

Photo Credit: https://www.elvenstarart.com

I Create Art & Poetry

Art poetry health coaching

I Create Art & Poetry
By: Linda A Long

I am
A creator
I create
I create
Feelings through
My words
And
Illusions through
My brush
I create
Therefore
I am
A creator
I
Create
My life
Through intentional
Strategic choices
I take risks
I am a
Risk taker
I am
A creator
I move
With the flow
That runs
Through me
Of words
And color
I rise
With the challenges
Laid before me
To stretch
Become
Grow
And open
To a way
Of being
A new way
Of living
I rise
To the new
Life I created
With my
Intentional thoughts
I am
A creator
I manifest
With the flow
Of universal energies
And ride
The wave
Of higher consciousness
I am
A creator
I create
My life
I am
A creator

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

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NOTE

This the last day of my four day weekend. My biweekly day off at work got switched to Fridays so I ended up with a four day weekend. I was pretty busy Friday and Saturday. I started slowing down a bit yesterday. Today I am focusing on relaxing and taking care of my mind,body and spirit.

I started the day with breakfast a the local cafe. A friend was working so I ate at the counter and chatted with her. I then walked three miles and got my food and clothes ready for work tomorrow. Then I did a short yoga and meditation practice followed by painting with watercolors. Painting with watercolors is new to me. I’ve only been doing it for about a year or so. I do it freehand. I could probably use a class or two to learn some techniques. I did the below watercolor today. I would not say this one is frame-able but the lips in the heart does tell a story about speaking from the heart.

After the art was done, I wrote the above poem. I believe I create my life with my thoughts and through prudent courageous actions. I also enjoying creating art and poetry. It feeds my soul. I’ll probably end my day by watching a movie.

How did you feed your soul today?

Doing things that nourish your spirit can help improve your holistic wellness and even improve your health.

If you would like to learn more about holistic wellness or would like to schedule a 30 minutes consultation to explore if my health coaching services would be of benefit to you, I invite you to either visit the Coaching Services page of this website and or contact me directly at:

linda@writingholistically.com

Please visit my Coaching Services Page:

https://writingholistically.com/certified-health-coaching/

Big Love – Poetry

Big Love – Love, Sex & Poetry

By: Linda A. Long

Is our love
Big enough
To ride the waves
Riding the
Up and downs
Of life
Independently
But still
Carefully
Staying tethered
To each other
Balancing between
The needs of self
And the desires
Of the other
Is our love
Open enough
To allow growth
And awareness
Into our experience
Perhaps uncovering
Uncomfortable truths
Pushing each other
To the edge by
Challenging boundaries
Yet pulling back
With love
Compassion and
Acceptance
Are you working
In my background
Planning a way
Smoothing a road
Keeping a watchful eye
Without interjecting
Valuing my
Growth, happiness and fulfillment
As much as your own
Can I call you
A friend
Can I rest easy
In the knowledge
That you love me
Can I look into
Your beautiful
Blue eyes
And know our paths
Are intertwined
Can I sleep tonight
Knowing
This is not the end
Of the road for us
It’s just
A new direction
We will travel together
Can I move forward
Into my
Pursuit of personal
And professional fulfillment
Knowing you are
Moving along
With me
As the mate
To my soul
As the joint
Synergy of our
Divinely inspired
Connection
Can I rest assured
It is as important
To you as it is
To me
That I am fulfilled
Is our love
Big enough
Wide enough
Strong enough
Ready to face
The next chapter
In our journey
Is it your hand
I will hold
Is it your mouth
I will kiss
Is it your waist
I will ride for enjoyment
Before I drift off
To sleep
Wrapped in your arms
Is our love
Big enough
To handle the
Enormity of our shift
For me
The answer is
YES
My love for you
Is BIG enough
It’s BIG LOVE
(C) 2017 Linda A. Long – All Rights Reserved

Life is best to be lived passionately!

I Am ~ Love, Sex And Poetry 

I Am ~ Love, Sex And Poetry
Love, Sex And Poetry

I am
Love
I am the love
That surrounds
Your heart
In white protective light
Warming you with
The rays
Of the sun’s love
Beaming with
Joy and compassion
I am
Courage
I am the courage
Speaking bravery
Into your
Beautiful soul
Showing the
True warrior
That lives within you
Calling to your
Most high self
To affirm
Your heart’s intention
And honor
Your soul’s calling
I am
I am the path
Of highest good
Laid before you
Showing you
The best
That you can be
Asking you
To trust
The love
That is given
And honor
The craving
Of your soul
Instead of your ego
I am
I am eternal love
My love
Remains true
And steady
It hasn’t wavered
In absence
But grown
In the fire
And heat
Of our
Joined minds
And power
Of conscious creation
I am
Made
I am made from love
My eyes glisten
Affection
Into yours
My lips
Breathe passion
Into your heart
My breasts rise
In arousal
As your energy
Approaches mine
My hips relax
And open
Waiting for you
To press
Between them
And finally
Find peace
I am
Unconditional love
I am the
Unconditional love
That loves you
Without expectations
Or attachments
I am the
Unconditional love
That wants
The best and highest good
For both of us
I am the
Unconditional love
That respects your free will
To choose your life
But holds a space
For you
A Loving nurturing space
For you
In my heart
I am your
Unconditional love
You are
Loved Unconditionally
(C) 2017 Linda A. Long – All Rights Reserved

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Life Is Best When Lived Passionately

NOTE

One of the underpining of my Integrative Nutrition coursework is that holistic nutrition in one’s life comes from having balance and fulfilment in the Primary areas of life such as career, exercise, spirituality and relationships. I realized earlier this week that I was devoting so much time to my full time job & school work (tasks) that I was starting to feel unbalanced in my life. I knew it was time for me to pull back a bit and rebalance myself.

I slept 12 hours last night 😴 I was exhausted on many levels. I am an early riser so I was shocked when I woke up at 9am. I found out by 9:30am that my afternoon commitment was reschedule for tomorrow. This presented me with an opportunity to completely focus on nurturing myself all day and do things that nourish my mind, body and soul.

I walked down to the local breakfast hangout where everyone knows my name 😂I sat at the counter and enjoyed my breakfast while chatting with some locals and the servers who have become friends. I walked five miles on the boardwalk and enjoyed the beautiful sunshine. I bought all of my organic vegetables which I will cook tomorrow. I came home read my new book for two hours. I did a slow yoga practice focusing on my breath. I prayed, chanted mantras and meditated in silience. As I stood up from meditation the above poem was pushing against my heart and Blue Love came to mind. I curled up under the blanket and wrote the poem. I will finish my rebalance day with some more reading, Game Of Thrones from last Sunday and maybe a movie. Hopefully, I will sleep another 12 hours tonight 😂Tomorrow will be a busy day. I have school work and couple of school related phone calls plus cooking and laundry to tackle. But today – today is about doing things I enjoy and rebalancing my life…

What a beautiful day it has been 🙌🙏🦋It would have been absolutely spectacular if BlueLove was here in bed with me today 😉💙🦋💋

I am very grateful for this beautiful time of my life 🦋

Deep Rest ~ Love, Sex and Poetry


Deep Rest ~ Love, Sex and Poetry
By: Linda A. Long

The questions
I ask
Are all within
Am I strong enough
I ask my weary heart
The drops of rain
Fall down my cheek
As a long awaited
Spring rain
I feel the release
Of frustration
That I held
Tight in my hands
As if it were
My entitlement
Empowering me
Into silent
Introspection
Asking the questions
Only I can answer
I walk the
Edges of river
And swim in waters of
Frustration
Sadness
Despair
Floating to the bottom
Weighed down
By the heaviness
Of thoughts and spirit
Slipping to the river floor
Without resistance
I fall
Releasing the pressure
Of the fight
In act of surrender
I Acquiesce
Retreating to
The solace of meditation
And breathe
I allow myself
The self indulgence
Of this frustration
And succumb
To the call
From within
To relax into
Deep rest
And find healing
In the surrender
(C) 2016 Linda A. Long – All Rights Reserved

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Life Is Best When Lived Passionately

NOTE: I’m still feeling a good bit of frustration in just about every aspect of my life. I just feel like things shouldn’t always be so fucking hard all the time. I shouldn’t have to fight this hard all the time – for everything. Something should be easy – something. That’s about as much as I am going to write on that topic today.

Maybe after a couple days of “rest”, I will feel refreshed. I’m off a couple of days helping my Mom after Cataracts surgery; it is good because I’m not doing much😂 I need the rest😴I am also glad I have a three day weekend coming up. If I need more sleep, my plans for the weekend are loose; they’re easy for me to change or bail out.

I am thankful the swelling in my neck lymph node is going down with the antibiotics. That means it was a bacterial infection which is a relief. I am still fairly beat up😴That means my Immune System needs some TLC. Rest and good self-care are always the things my body needs most but I seem to fight the most.

Hopefully my attitude improves as I get my energy back 👍👍🙏

Growing Pains 

 
They don’t call them “Growing Pains” for no reason. Have you ever seen a Caterpillar break out of the cocoon and become a butterfly? The transformation process is a struggle! But then one day the Butterfly emerges and realizes it’s true potential. It’s simply magnificent.

This summer has been quiet strange and somewhat intense for me as compared to last year because I’ve been having “growing pains” this summer. Mostly these pains are self-inflicted as I’ve challenging myself in different aspects of my life to break old habits, smash the old paradigms of my thought processes, let go what no longer serves me and rise to be my highest best version of my myself. Yes, quite a change from last summer. Last summer allowed myself to stay still, rest and enjoy living on the beach. This summer, well, living on the beach is great but it’s time to focus on the other areas of my life that perhaps I’ve been ignoring or neglecting.

In July 2010 I had a major heart event that was related to my Congenital Arrhythmia. This “event” which was not a heart attack but an electrical problem in my heart was the first sign that something wasn’t right my body. But then I believed ignorance was bliss. I got out of the hospital and met my “friends” for happy hour the next night. But that was just the beginning of what only can be described as a storm that totally ripped apart my life. Over the next year and half I continued to have rhythm disturbances. I wore a heart monitor for three weeks to be sure It wasn’t time for a pace maker. I took two medications every day and rarely missed a happy hour.

Well, the combination of too much medication and too many happy hours destroyed my stomach and polluted my Liver causing Non Alcoholic Steatohepitiis. That’s when happy hour stopped being happy. I was sick more days than I was well but I was still working full time. I hid how sick I really was from everyone including family, friends, coworkers & bosses. I hid it because I hadn’t made my decision yet as to what I was going to do about the situation. I knew my life would have to change. I wasn’t sure I wanted it bad enough. I wasn’t sure life meant that much to me to fight that hard. I wasn’t ready to let go and I sure as hell wasn’t ready to lose everything I thought I needed. “I thought I needed.”

I called my Mother after I had a doctor’s appointment with a specialist at Temple University Hospital in Philly. It was time for me to come clean with her. It was serious and she needed to know. She was the first the person I admitted the truth to. She was the first person I told just how sick I really was. I’ll never forget her crying into the phone and saying, “Linda, just so you know, I’m not strong enough to watch another one of my children die. If you chose to continue living this way and die, you will be taking me with you because I just can’t do it again. I can’t!”

Her words sat on my chest like an elephant. I almost couldn’t breathe when I got off the phone. After crying for a few hours I made my decision and started the hardest job of my entire life. I started reclaiming my spirit but diving into meditation and yoga. I started reclaiming my health but quitting drinking, smoking and eating gluten. I reclaim my emotional well-being by disassociating myself from people who as it turned out were just drinking buddies and not real friends. I reclaimed my heart from an unhealthy relationship and man who treated me like crap.

That was the day I said, “What the fuck! How did I let things get this bad? How did I neglect myself this much? Why didn’t I see it before now?” Nothing like a Mother’s Guilt to open your eyes to the truth. My Mom is and always has been about “keeping it real.” But, now I can say my Mother not only gave me life but she also saved my life that day with her words. I am 100% healthy now. My Liver is 100% healthy. My arrhythmia is for the most part stabilized. It only acts up occasionally. But I only take a very low dose of one medication. I’m still a non smoker and I still don’t drink alcohol. While the Liver specialist said I could have a glass of wine, beer or champagne now and again, I don’t indulge because it can and has adversely affected my arrhythmia. The Premature Atrial Contractions & Tachycardia that I get are innocent for the most part but can really freak you out especially when you wake up out of a dead sleep feeling like your heart just stopped. It’s not worth it.

But, back to the reason I am writing this blog. I didn’t mean to retell my story. If you follow my blog, you probably read it before. I’m very proud of myself for having the balls and determination to reclaim my life and pull myself back from the edge. But, I’m still struggling some areas of my transition. As a natural introvert, alcohol used to grease the wheels for me and help me interact socially without constant anxiety. Going to happy hour was a social outlet and after my first drink I was actually quite extroverted, popular, fun, animated & chatty. But this new authentic Linda is more reserved and quiet. It’s hard for to enter new social environments especially alone.

Some friends from my former life invite me happy hour with them and say, “Oh, come on. You can come out. Just drink a soda!” That cracks me up because I tried it. I order a soda and I am ready to leave after about an hour. They knock back two Martinis or glasses of wine and nurse the last one begging me to stay until they finish. Meanwhile, it’s hard for me to understand their version of English and I get a headache from the noise. It’s not fun. I LOVE going out to Dinner! I enjoy going out to Dinner! Can’t we please eat a meal together while you drink? Then I can enjoy dessert and coffee while you nurse your after dinner drink. We will both be happy😄👍 But, it doesn’t seem to roll that way. I would go out dinner ever Friday night I could find someone who didn’t need to go to happy hour. Thankfully, I do have a few true friends who make an effort for me and will have dinner or go out for coffee with me.

As I’ve stepped away from the bar social scene and my old crowd, I’ve been exploring other interests. But honestly, a lot of these activities require me to go into new groups, new environments by myself for the first time. That is very hard for me with nothing to grease the wheels for me. Last night I went to a new Drum Circle on the beach a 1/2 mile from my house. I went alone. I didn’t know anyone. But, I pushed through my anxiety and did it. I enjoyed it. The facilitator also owns a Yoga studio which is perfect. I will go back. It’s was a first step in finding a new social outlet and new tribe of like minded people.

I was telling my story about last night to my friend, Brian, earlier this afternoon. He and his wife own Herban Legend in Smithville, NJ. I bought my Djembe Drum from him last year. After I told him the story, he got a big smile on his face and proclaimed, “I am proud of you and you should be proud of yourself!” He made me laugh. I felt like I was five and my Dad just told me he was proud of me. I then told him next I was going to go to an Open Mic Night on a Saturday night at the local Coffee Shop and read some of my poetry. He laughed and told me I was starting to talk crazy and winked at me.

This brings me back to my first sentence. They don’t call them “growing pains” for no reason. But if you want to grow, you have to leave the comfort zone and be extraordinarily horribly uncomfortable time to time. There is no way easy way around it.

Well, now I will be working up my nerve to read my poetry out loud at the Open Mic Night some Saturday Night. I will tell you this… It won’t be tonight😁 I grew enough last night. It’s time to chill out and just “be” for a while😁👍

Are you experiencing “growing pains”? Are you pushing yourself to expand and be open? Tell me your stories! Motivate me! Inspire me! Challenge me! But, most importantly, grow with me!

(C) 2015 Linda A. Long – All Rights Reserved

“Life is best when lived passionately”

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Art by; Jonas Kunickas

The song “Daughters” by John Mayer has always been especially moving to me. The truth is my Dad dying when I was seven was very traumatic for me and honestly fucked me up a bit in relationships. But, thankfulky, I have a strong Mother who not only gave me life but saved my life too. I’m the best Linda I’ve ever been. I’m finally ready to share myself and my life. I’ve finally grown enough that I am ready to let someone in.

GROWTH!