Self Care Sunday – Empathy & Vulnerability

Brene Brown quote

I woke up Saturday morning ready to rumble 😂 Seriously, I was looking for someone to fight 😂 This week has been frustrating. I am embarrassed to admit my jaw has been clenched so much it was almost on locked down by Saturday Afternoon😂 So here’s what was driving me crazy this week.

I was diagnosed with Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) with IBS-D and Pancreatic Enzyme Deficiency on October 24th. My doctor prescribed an antibiotic that has to be made at a compounding pharmacy. He wants me to take this particular antibiotic because it stays in the bowel and doesn’t have any systemic side affects. It’s not absorbed into the blood stream. Without insurance it would cost $2,100 for 14 days. I need it for 28 days. It needed to be approved by the Insurance company before it was filled. It took over a week and five phone calls to the specialty pharmacy, doctor and insurance to find out the prescription was denied by my insurance and is now in the appeals process. I still don’t know what’s going to happen with it. Meanwhile, I’m not paying $4k for a prescription and I am still symptomatic. I am in limbo. It frustrating and uncomfortable. I finally got an answer to what is wrong with my tummy but I may not be able to get the thing that could help fix it. I could get a surgery covered under insurance but not this drug. I am hoping my doctor can do something about it. 🤞I will say the Low FODMAP Diet is already helping but I am missing my Avocados and Apples 🍎 ☹️

Next, I need a special certification at work for one potential opportunity I’ve been exploring. To get the certification I need to take a training class that is not offered very often. I managed to find a virtual class for next week and I am 4th on the waitlist. I called to find out if they could squeeze me in. They said the course is capped and they won’t know until Monday if they can fit me in. I can’t understand why course administration can’t fit four more people into a virtual class that is offered company wide on such a limited basis. Sounds simple, right? It’s not! I have to wait until Monday to find out if I got into the class. If I do get into it, I have to cancel a work road trip with coworkers to Hampton University in Hampton Va that is scheduled for Wednesday & Thursday. I may not want to drive that far with my coworkers while having these tummy issue anyway; my boss is good with whatever I choose to do ☺️ The good news I found out on Friday they can get a “Training Waiver” for one year for me to complete the class. If I don’t get into the class this week, it won’t hold me back from the opportunity.

By far my biggest frustration this week is a heat valve in my bedroom that is broken. It won’t turn off! 🔥🔥It’s close to 90 degrees in my bedroom! I reported it last Sunday. I was on the list and got bumped twice this week which almost made me lose my mind when I found it out last night. I work all day and haven’t been able to go downstairs to complain every day like everyone else has done. The maintenance guy wanted to fix it today but the property manager would not let him do work on a Saturday. So, it won’t be done until Tuesday. Meanwhile, I have windows open, I am not sleeping and I’ve had a headache for a week. Yep, this one has my jaw good and locked up with tension 🤬

Remember I said I wanted to rumble with someone? Well, I planted myself in the lobby of my building on Saturday afternoon. I was stalking the Property Manager and waiting for her to come out of a Board Meeting. I waited 90 minutes while reading a book on my phone. The whole time I was stewing. I saw her and for a moment I almost felt sorry for her, I was about to destroy her for bumping me. She invited me into her office. I sat down and started to give her an earful. She was defensive and dismissive. The story I was telling myself was she didn’t care and my discomfort didn’t matter to her. My perception of her lack of empathy was totally ratcheting my crazy up. Just before my crazy reached DEFCON FIVE which would have involved me possibly jumping across the desk at her, Brene Brown flashed in my mind.

Rumble Definition by Brene Brown

I am reading “Dare to Lead” by Brene Brown. In her book, Brene talks a lot about “rumbling” and how use vulnerability and empath as tools during a rumble. That’s when I pulled back and decided to try another tactic. I then told the Property Manager I was expecting her to show some empathy for the situation and understand how it was impacting me instead it seemed like she immediately armored up and got defensive. I then apologize and said, “If it came across to you that I was attacking you or blaming you for my situation, I am sorry. It’s not your fault. I just haven’t been sleeping and I have a headache. It’s hard to sleep in 90 degrees even with the windows open….I can empathize with you and imagine people yell at you all day for their problems. That has to be hard and I don’t want to do that to you. I am sorry” As I was talking, her eyes started to swell up with tears and she said, “Everything in this building is my fault and people yell at me all day long.” This woman was now crying in front of me. Great job Linda. “You successfully made someone cry today” is all I thought. But, I had one redeeming thought… I didn’t make her cry because I yelled at her. I made her cry when I showed my vulnerability and expressed empathy towards her. She was crying because I understood how she was feeling. Then she explained to me in order to fix my heat valve they have to turn off the steam boiler for the whole complex. She told me it is not good for a steam boiler to be turned on and off every day. It has to be planned out so four or five of them can be done on the same day. She apologize I was bumped from this week but said they can do it on Tuesday; I will be first on the list. People keep asking me why I don’t want to buy in my building. Well, it’s an old building with issues and the Condo Association has had a reassessment every year. It might be cheap to buy but the maintenance isn’t cheap. My unit needs work. I am taking a pictures and sending to the landlord.

So, I walked away from my rumble today with mixed results. My heat valve still isn’t getting fixed until Tuesday but I am now officially the first on the list that morning. They promised me I would not be bumped again but I don’t trust that so I am planning to call them at 8:30am Tuesday to make sure they stick to plan 😂😂 I already set a calendar reminder on my phone 😂 In my rumble today someone cried…it wasn’t me 😂 She cried because I showed her compassion and empathy. She cried because I opened myself up to her. She cried because I was vulnerable and that made her comfortable enough to take off her amour. I am not sure I technically won today’s rumble — not at least how I envisioned winning. But I was a good human being who cared about another person’s feelings and had the self awareness to use a more compassionate tool during the rumble. Some would call that winning.

This is why I read books. If I wasn’t reading Brene Brown’s book right now and if I hadn’t decided to use one of the Rumble Tools in the book, how would that conversation (rumble) been different? I think we would have both walked away angry without understanding each other. I think she would have felt attacked and I would have eventually felt shitty self righteousness for taking her down without any regards to her feelings. But the question is, is that really the person I want to be in this world. Do I really want to be a bully or shitty and self righteous? Do I really want to “win” at all costs – no matter how people perceive me or how I perceive myself. No, I am grateful I was self aware enough that in that moment I pulled back and switch to a more wholehearted approach. It is possible to maintain boundaries, be assertive while also be vulnerable, empathetic and aware of how our actions and words affect others.

In the meantime, I am hoping for nice weather until Tuesday so I can keep the windows open otherwise it will be like the tropics in my condo 😂 I will end this post by trying to ground myself in gratitude. I am grateful for:

    I finally know what is wrong with my tummy and hopefully a treatment will be on it’s way soon
    I have a good job. I’ve had a great time in my temporary assignment this year and learned a lot. I am hopeful the irons I have in the fire will manifest another great growth opportunity in the coming weeks.
    My heart is overflowing with love this week.
    With my windows open, I can hear the ocean while I am in bed 😂😂
    I can see the beach from my window😂😂
    I took a migraine medicine today. It substantially reduced the TMJ pain and isn’t making me sleepy or tired. That’s when I know it was tension that had me jacked up 😂
    I am reading a few good books instead of wasting time on Social Media
    I am living wholeheartedly

Are you ready to rumble? How do you react when things aren’t going as smooth as you would like? Does your crazy get to DEFCON FIVE or do you have the self awareness to pull yourself back? Most importantly, are you living WHOLEHEARTEDLY? 💙

Guidepost for Wholehearted Living by Brene Brown

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Self Care Sunday – How do you define success?

Art

On this Self Care Sunday I want to discuss Career. Career is the one of the four areas of life that Integrative Nutrition Health Coaches call “Primary Food”. Career satisfaction can affect your overall happiness and it also can affect your health and relationships. It’s important to step back and evaluate career satisfaction from time to time. If you are manager, I would recommend encouraging your employees to do this too.

For me, it’s so easy for me to get caught up in constant movement. As a “do-er”, I check my boxes off and claim my productivity by accomplishments and goals achieved. In a recent professional experience, things didn’t work out quiet the way I thought they were going to. I was not going to be able to achieve the goal I had set for myself which was causing me some anxiety and making me doubt myself a bit. Being trapped in my own definition of success was undermining my enthusiasm for the work I am doing and I was starting to feel a bit deflated.

I traveled to DC to give a briefing to senior leadership on Tuesday morning. In the briefing, I discussed my honest assessment of the program I am working on and its future if it remains supported the way it stands today. As I spoke, I was careful to be confident while also be truthful about my observations of the challenges and opportunities.

As I spoke, the conversation and energy in the room shifted and became supportive even nurturing. That’s when we realized that my definition of success was different from senior leadership’s definition of success. Leadership already viewed me and my Program as successful while I was still trying to prove to myself I could be successful. Let me say that again… Leadership already viewed me and my Program as successful while I was still trying to prove to myself I could be successful. My leadership explained to me that I already accomplished more than they originally thought was possible. WOW! That hit me hard. Right as I sat there in front of them I felt the magnitude of that reality hit me. I was pushing forward so hard that I never stopped for one minute in the last nine months to really see what I accomplished or to be proud of myself. They made me stop in that 45 minute meeting. It was a powerful moment for me. It was a powerful moment in my career💙

One of the Directors pulled me into her office for a chat about career opportunities. She wants me think about what I want because there are few different type of opportunities that could be open to me. She said I’ve proven myself capable and comfortable in “high profile” roles. She wanted to know if I would be satisfied going back to something less “sexy” after this 😊 It’s an interesting question for me. The truth is I am comfortable in this type of high visibility role. I am good with stakeholder engagement, up and down the chain. I present well and handle myself well. My biggest challenge this year was my own body. The constant health issues have been frustrating and the current issue with my stomach still isn’t resolved. I told her about my current issue and that I needed to see a specialist because of a suspicious stomach biopsy. She reassured me. She told me I shouldn’t let that be my deciding factor because my health issues obviously didn’t interfere with my work performance this year. She also told me accommodations could always be made for me. Yes, it may be easier for me to go back to a desk job that has more predictability, maturity and less of an ask from me but will it be enough for me after this???? My intuition says no…😊 But, I am keeping an open mind because I think it will depend on the opportunity and if it has room for growth and diversification. I also don’t want to work in chaos again. So work environment is important to me now too. For now, I am going let go and trust that everything is always working out for my highest good. I am going to trust God and my intuition to direct me to the right choice. As opportunities present themselves I will ask myself, “Does this honor who I am?”

I also met with new GM who is now an advisor to my program. Wow! What a difference chatting with someone with fresh eyes and fresh perspective can have! Having to walk her through my whole program reenergized me. It reminded me why I was passionate about this. It reminded why I wanted to do this in the first place. Her thoughtful questions and insights helped me find an unexplored path forward. I just met her that morning and already she helped me get unstuck. She suggested I look for something I can leave as a legacy, something tangible that people can say, “Linda did this”. I laughed and said, “Being the first and standing up the program isn’t enough?” 😂😂 She laughed but said she was thinking something more like a brochure or even a webinar that folks could use after I’ve moved on…. The budget will not allow for my current role to be a full time position. However, the role will continue as a temporary assignment after I move on to something new. She encouraged me to remember that I was first. I was the trail blazer. I have been the vision setter. I need to leave a legacy as well as start thinking about a transition plan. I came home full of things to think about as well a fresh new perspective and a new to do list. As I flew home looking out of window at the spectacular clouds, I was pensive. I was thinking about the events of the day and what I accomplished this year and what I learned about myself along the way. It’s been a great year professionally and great work experience.

I learned this week it’s important for folks to agree on what success looks like. While we had conversations about the goals of the program, their view of success was actually more achievable than my own. I learned this week the value of talking to people face to face when you have an important message to relay to them. If I presented my briefing over the phone, they would not have felt my energy or passion. The conversations that took place that day never would have happened. They would have missed the subtle nuances of my facial expressions and body language. This is good advice in any situation. If you have something important to say to someone, say it in person. The message may not be received in the way you are intending through phone, text or email. I learned this week talking to someone with fresh eyes or perspective can reenergize you. It can help you see things you may have missed. I learned this week to be open to constructive guidance and accept support when it is offered. Most importantly, I learned this week to always speak from my heart with confidence, authenticity and honesty even when I am briefing the big cheese in the organization😊

I write about self awareness a lot on this blog. I write about it so much because I truly believe self awareness is the key to growth and development. I think it’s especially important to practice self awareness in our careers. I admire leaders who encourage self awareness. How can you grow if you refuse to see yourself as you are instead of how you perceive yourself to be? How can you grow if leave no room for inner reflection and self knowledge? How can you be empathetic and sensitive to the needs of others including your employees if you can’t even acknowledge your own needs and desires? It’s with this new self awareness I will be moving into the future and evaluating upcoming career opportunities.

Do you celebrate your career accomplishments? Do you honor who you are while making career decisions? What legacy will you be leaving to the folks who will step into your shoes? Do you encourage your employees to leave a legacy? When you talk to employees, do you ask thoughtful questions and give helpful insights? Do you help them define success in their careers or projects? And is your definition of success in alignment with the folks around you? Do you practice self awareness as a leader or in your life?

I chose “Blackbird” by the Beatles for this post. It was written by Paul McCartney during the Civil Rights movement after seeing a black women arrested for sitting on a bench in a “white” section of a park in the United States. As a highly sensitive, empathic feeler, the current political climate is causing me a bit of anxiety.  I worry about our Democracy and the inflammatory rhetoric used by leaders against the Press and to stoke right extremists.  And now, a “USA Today” Op-Ed full of outright lies that many will believe on the surface without questioning. He’s gaslighting our nation.  I urge people to fact check politicians.  Even worse are the rich GOPers who only care about the economy and their own economic interests; turning a blind eye to everything else because life is good for them. I’ve been pulling away from people who lack a social conscience and put money & power over people. If you recall, fair haired white people were living good lives and turning blind eyes while 600K Jews were executed. I do not think our President is a horrible human being but I do think he lacks social consciousness.  Money and power are his Gods and rulers.  He’s willing to exploit the right extremist groups to win and aligns himself with Dictators.  The Senate and/or House needs to be a different party to separate and diffuse his power as well as bring accountability & transparency back in DC. November 6th is my sister, Sandy’s, birthday. I am hoping her spirit brings us luck and change. Stop the #trumpcult 🌊#votethemout 🌊💙

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Self Care Sunday – Are you being called to “wake up”?

Healing

This Self Care Sunday I offer some thoughts on how I practiced restraint in my communications and I offer some food for thought on “waking up” or higher consciousness.

I’ve needed to practice restraint in how I am handling conversations regarding politics lately. I really have no tolerance for folks who don’t do their own research, propagate divisive rhetoric and are contributing to the crisis our nation is encountering. I wish folks would take a moment before sharing inflammatory posts and I especially wish politician would stop using inflammatory rhetoric. I think it’s important for folks on both sides to realize the power of words, images and even memes. I believe demonizing people only adds to the polarity and it’s just mean.

If you read this blog, it’s not a secret I am a Democrat. I consider myself moderate and I have at times voted Republican but I will be honest. The events of the last few weeks have pushed me a little further to the left. Rather than arguing with my Red friends, I am choosing to peacefully coexist or disengage. Getting into debates and arguments is not worth my time or energy; it will only further divide us and possibly damage our friendships permanently. It doesn’t have be that way. Neither one of us are going to change our views but it is starting to feel like we no longer have anything in common – maybe we never did and I am only now accepting that truth.

Perhaps it’s idealist – but I believe people should always come before money and power. I am firmly Pro Choice. Abortion is not nor has ever been an option for me personally. I do, however, believe in a woman’s right to choose what’s best for her body. I believe men should stand together with women against sexual assault and for women’s rights. I believe in the separation of power. I believe the Senate has Constitutional responsibility to keep the President in check but our current Senate seems to be more concerned with obtaining power and control. Lastly, I believe the Supreme Court of the United States should been held in the highest esteem and only have the most reputable Judges holding the seats. This doesn’t seems like a lot to ask. Sorry, but there are other well qualified conservative judges with less baggage, who are less controversial and who could have made it through the confirmation process with Democratic support just like Neil Gorsuch. Gorsuch is conservative, got democratic support and didn’t divide our nation. So why Kavanaugh – especially with all of his baggage that is going to follow him onto the Court? Why do the Republicans want him on the Court is my question… I have my own conspiracy theories about Presidential Pardon Power being expanded to the States in an upcoming case in front of the Court. Hopefully, one of the other judges pulls to left to offset this guy….So, yes! I’ve been practicing restraint and holding my words. Just because I am silent doesn’t mean I didn’t notice something; I am just taking care of myself by not wasting my time or energy acknowledging it.

I’ve been practicing restraint in my use of social media to protect myself as well. This includes ensuring that I do not like, share, tweet, retweet or engage on social media while at work or during official work hours. That’s just a good self care for anyone…period. Protecting your livelihood should come first; advocating smartly for causes that speak to your soul should come second. While I may scroll through my Twitter feed during the day, I do not engage until I am off and away from work. Generally, I consider all of my Tweets to be temporary. I eventually delete them all. I clean them up every month, if not sooner. It’s been four days since I deactivated Facebook. I don’t miss it. I realize now that checking Facebook was just a habit. I didn’t enjoy it; I used it as a distraction or when I wanted a break from what I was doing. I did it out of habit. I like having less noise in my life. I haven’t been posting to Instagram lately. The account only has one post on it. I still like to scroll and get inspiration from other posts but I am not interested in posting there for now. A smaller social media footprint feels like better self care for me. I am in touch with the folks I want to be in touch with. I don’t need to be “Fakebook” friends just to be connected to folks. While I am enjoying less social media, I do also enjoy writing this blog. I’ll continue with at least two posts per week – every Sunday and at least one mid week.

I spent the better part of three months deleting all of my activity from Facebook. I still felt a bit creeped out and decided to finally deactivated it. I don’t need Facebook owning my data since we now know they can’t be trusted. I also don’t use Google anymore. I use DuckDuckGo or FireFox Focus Privacy Browsers for web searches; neither retains your information and both block tracking. You can add DuckDuckGo to Safari on Apple devices or add the DuckDuckGo app to your dock. I wish I could disable the new Presidential alerts. I’ve managed without them so far just fine. Getting them just tells me they can hack into our phones whenever they want. Something about that seems like a violation of privacy and is creepy! I feel bad for the younger generations. They won’t have any privacy and will be tracked and monitored their entire lives.

Well, on to my next topic – food for thought about higher consciousness…

I would like to offer some food for thought for those who may be struggling with spiritual awakenings and higher consciousness issues. It’s is said the family member who “wakes up” first is the one in isolation. In other words, when someone is removed from the noise that surrounds their regular daily life, they are able to hear the truth in the Universe and within themselves. That happened to me when I distanced myself from a group of friends and moved to my condo five years ago. Once I started to spend more time alone and focused on self growth and development, my awareness opened and I started changing. I am stronger and back into alignment with my true self.

Some folks never wake up. They don’t want to wake up. While others of us, have no choice.
Once awakening starts, it is hard to stop but the choice is always yours. Often God will make you uncomfortable until you have the courage to see it’s time to let go and change. Sometimes letting go becomes your only choice. A “spiritual” awakening is far from pretty. It’s messy, stressful and often turns your life upside down. The worst part is you start seeing your own bullshit and the darkness comes to light to be healed. That’s not alway fun. For me, I ended relationships and friendships. Changed jobs. Started letting myself deal with repressed anger and feelings from sexual assaults, loss and grief. But I am honesty happier and better off for going through it and having the courage to sit in self awareness.

If you let yourself go for the ride and surrender into it, if you let your eyes and awareness open, it’s a truly a beautiful experience. While I will say I had a lot of fun in the past, it’s today that I feel the most at peace and the most authentic. It’s in the peacefulness of my condo as I write this blog that I find my own voice. It’s without comparing my life to others on Facebook that I find acceptance and peace. It’s in helping others step into their power and find their voice, I find my strength. Make no mistake, I am here to change the world in some way. I am here to be a force to be reckoned with. I am here to be a warrior, lover and an inspiration. I am here to change the world even if it’s just my little corner of it. Will you awaken and help me? Will you help me make the world a better place with your light? Will you put people before money and power? Will you bring light into world and instead of selfishness and darkness? Will you “wake up” with me?

Does this resonant with you? Are you feeling a shift or does it feel more like an earthquake? If so, take some time in silence to hear what your soul is trying to tell you. Are you willing to surrender? Does it make you sad to see things change? Have you reached acceptance yet? These defining moments in our lives are extremely stressful but also are the moments where we grow into the powerful beings God always intended us to be.

To harness your own power and manage your thoughts in times of uncertainly, I would suggest using affirmations. If you start seeing repetitive number sequences please know you are being called to “wake” up. It usually starts with 11:11. That was the first one I noticed a few years ago. Now I see all of them all day long. 222 and 2222 are my favorite repetitive number sequence. When you see a repetitive number sequence, say an affirmation to direct your thoughts or create an intention. When I see 222 or 2222, I say my favorite affirmation.

EVERYTHING IS ALWAY WORKING OUT FOR MY HIGHEST GOOD. THE LOVE I GIVE IS RETURNED

If you need an affirmation to keep your thoughts positive, try using this one or create one for yourself. If you need support, reach out to someone who has been through this type of change. Also, there are lots of Instagram accounts with some really great info on awareness, consciousness, spiritual awakening, 11:11and the Universe. Starting following some of them. If you know me personally, please feel free to call or text me for support or just to chat about things. As far as my personal coaching business, I am not taking new clients for a while. I have to take care of some health stuff. I should also note too that I only take clients who are personally referred to me by family or friends. I can gladly give referrals to other great coaches. Feel free to reach out to me through the “Contact Me” page for a referral.

Well, after the new judge was confirmed I was nauseated. I practiced good self care by turning off the TV and staying off of Twitter all night. Instead I watched “A Wrinkle In Time” on Netflix. I decompressed by writing this blog and listening to my favorite music which is on the mellow side and is 70s folk/rock. 70s music speaks to my soul. If I had to name my top favorite songs of all time, in no particular order it would be these:

Taxi – Harry Chapin
Come in from the cold – Joni Mitchell
Landslide – Fleetwood Mac
You’re my home – Billy Joel
Love Ballad – LTD
Me & Bobby McGee – Janis Joplin
Sound of Silence – Simon and Garfunkel
What’s going on – Marvin Gaye
Leaving on a jet plane – Peter, Paul and Mary
Wooden Ships, Carry On, Woodstock and Ohio by Crosby, Still & Nash
River, Help Me, Both Sides Now, Woodstock – Joni Mitchell
Can’t find my way home – Blind Faith
Simple Man – Lynyrd Skynyrd
Shooting Star – Bad Company
If loving you is wrong – Luther Ingram

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Taxi from Harry Chapin brings a tear to my eye every time I hear it. I was in grade school the first time I heard it. The woman I babysat for was drinking a glass a wine and listening to it when I walked in the door of her home. She looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, “just a beautifully sad song; listen to the story.” She was right. It’s a beautifully sad song… I will never forget that.

Self Care Sunday – Live In The Now

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Self Care can take on many different flavors depending on where we are in life and the circumstances we find ourselves in at the present moment.

As for right now, I am trying to embrace a spiritual approach to things while still having my feet firmly planted in practically and realism. Often new age spirituality of love, light and positivity can be odds with our true emotions. The key seems to be to acknowledge the heavy emotions, feel what you feel, while not letting yourself get pulled too far under. This is typically where I struggle. I often seem to either go full steam ahead and completely ignore any heavy feelings until I have some type of physical or emotion crash or I go so far down into my emotions that I struggle to pull myself out.

I suppose all of this is a reflection of how I live life – I am ALL OR NOTHING kind of girl. I am all in or I am all out. There is no grey to me. Grey to me isn’t authentic. Grey is keeping your options open. Grey is skimming the surface but not really feeling anything deep. From my perspective, grey is a half-hearted way to live. It’s non-committal and form of settling. Grey has no clarity to me. Typically I struggle when things are grey or lack clarity. I value clarity and authenticity in my life, in my relationships, in my career and in my body.

My recent health issues have had me squarely planted in the grey world of having no idea what’s happening in my body or how to fix it. In the early weeks of the Gastro symptoms, I was changing my diet, increasing medications, living on Gaviscon and getting relief. I tried stretching out in case it was muscular. I bought new bras in case the bands were putting pressure on the area. I was so busy trying to fix it that I was just wasn’t accepting it and loving this part of my body that was in pain. In reality, I was creating anxiety and stress for myself by trying so hard to fix it.

It wasn’t until this past week that I started to think differently about things. I had a few key conversations that helped me seeing from a different perspective. Most importantly, it was a conversation with a Nurse Practitioner at my Cardiologist office that gave me the most to contemplate.

My Cardiologist retired in June. This is the second Cardiologist that I’ve had in five years that retired. I decided to switch to the younger Cardiologist who is joining the practice September. Perhaps we will grow old together 🙂 Because I have congenital arrhythmia and have a cardiac history, I needed Cardiac Clearance to get Conscious Sedation during an Upper Endoscopy. The Nurse Practitioner was able to see me to do the assessment. The appointment went well. She did tell me they will give me clearance for Conscious Sedation which is used Endoscopies and Colonoscopies but she said I would need a Echo and Stress Test by my new Cardiologist for General Anesthesia. She also told me if I ever need General Anesthesia, a Cardiologist should be on standby. She advised me to add Cardiac Conditioning to my work outs. She thinks I am getting dizzy on the treadmill because I am losing Cardiac Conditioning. I need to start doing interval training with the incline while leaving the speed at 3.0. For example, I start walking for 2 minutes, then raise the incline to 7 for two minutes then lower the incline to zero for two minutes and repeat this cycle for 20 minutes working up to 30 minutes twice a week. This is in addition to strength training and power walking.

The technical part of the Cardiologist appointment was successful and went smoothly. However, we got into a conversation about my history and my arrhythmia. Here’s some background info…The arrhythmia wasn’t detected until I was 24 year old. I was in great physical shape. I was a runner and a gym rat in my mid-20s. A doctor heard a murmur during an exam and sent me to a Cardiologist for an EKG. It was on the EKG they saw Inverted T-Waves and Premature Ventricular contractions (PVCs). This can often indicate Ischemia or a heart attack. Some folks call PVCs skipped beats. In PVCs, the beat actually comes prematurely and there is a delay before the next beat. The Cardiologist did an Echocardiogram and a treadmill stress test. I passed both as he said “with flying colors” and it appeared my heartbeat regulated itself during exercise or when my heart rate goes up. That means it was functional and innocent. However, he cautioned me it would need to be monitored for the rest of my life because as I age it may cause me problems.

I told the Nurse Practitioner that I quit smoking and drinking, I lost 60 pounds, changed my lifestyle and diet. I then said my heart has been more stable since doing all of that but I have had a lot of tummy issues. As we were talking about Cardiac risk, she told me other than my congenital arrhythmia and family history, I didn’t have any risk. I am not diabetic. I don’t smoke or drink. My weight is ok and I am active. It was then she hesitated. She looked me in the eyes and said, “In your situation, a congenital issues and genetic issue, what’s wrong can’t be fixed. It can only be managed. You are doing everything you can do to help yourself. Other than adding Cardiac Conditioning, I don’t see anything more you could be doing. You know sometimes you can do everything right but a congenital or genetics issue still can get the best of you. I am not telling you this to scare you. I am saying this because I think you may be trying so so hard to do everything right that you are stressing yourself out, causing yourself anxiety and quiet possibly making yourself sick with worry.” My eyes welled up as she said it. I am trying very hard at everything. She then said, “You poor thing. I really feel for you. I want to make sure you know YOU ARE DOING EVERYTHING RIGHT! I think you need to cut yourself some slack and accept that there are some aspects of this you have no control over. It’s in God’s hands. Go Live life. Go out and live. Enjoy every moment and try to work toward acceptance that there are some things you have no control over.”

I’ve been thinking A LOT about that conversation. I’ve been thinking so much about it because she was 100% right. I just couldn’t see it. I have been stressing myself out trying to control things I can’t control; not just with my heart and stomach problems but in other aspects of my life too. I also been keeping myself busy so I couldn’t grieve for the loss of my best friend and also trying to fight the feeling that I may be losing BlueLove too. Nothing negative has happened between us. Seems like everything is fine. I just haven’t been able to see those beautiful eyes much. I’ve been keeping a distance because I can’t get a sense if I am wanted and welcomed. I worry about us but I know it’s best not to push with him. I will put it in God’s hands. If we are meant to deepen our connection, it will happen without me worrying about. I truly love him. That is my authentic truth.

Self Care often requires us to accept things as they are and live in present. To live in the present, we must not live in our past memories or plan the future so much that we don’t enjoy the now. I would liken it to folks who go to concerts and spend the whole concert recording it on their cell phone. They see the whole concert through the small screen of their cell phone to upload to Social Media and miss the 3D live experience of the now. Don’t view your life through the small screen of the past or future. I am working toward acceptance that some things are out of my control and to be present and live in the NOW. That is good self care.

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

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Buddha quote

Blue Love Haiku #13

Blue Love Haiku #13

Blue Love Haiku #13 – http://www.writingholistically.com

Blue Love Haiku #13
By: Linda A Long
I rest in your thoughts
Riding the wave of your breathes
Filling you with love

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

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NOTE
This is a mid-week poetry and a little bit of a self care post.

I am enjoying writing the Blue Love Haikus. They give me a quick creative outlet without saying too much. As far as the future of this blog, I am focusing on writing a Self Care Sunday post each week and writing one mid-week poetry post for now. Any additional posts will be ad-hoc as the spirit moves me.

I haven’t written about my Holistic Health Coaching business lately. That is mostly because I wanted to take the summer off. It is also because I changed full time jobs. I now have a job that I find fulfilling so I’ve been focusing on growing into that position and taking advantage of opportunities related to my full time career. I realized in recent weeks that I can’t build a Personal coaching business while also investing myself in building a new program in my full time job. I thought I would be able to manage two clients at a time in my coaching business while working full time and still have a enough time for self care. It’s not quite working out that way. After giving it a lot of thought, my intuition is telling me my energy needs to stay with my full time career. I also need to ensure I have time proper self care. Therefore, I will not be looking to grow a coaching business at this time. I contacted a local homeless shelter. We are working on an agreement for me to provide three to four hours per month of pro bono Life Coaching services to their residents/clients. This means I will still be able to work as a Life Coach but won’t have my own clients to manage. I will also have some freedom on how and when I schedule the appointments. Most importantly, I will be able to offer Life Coaching services to folks who normally would not be able to afford them. That feels good to me. We haven’t officially kicked anything off yet but I hope to have this all in place by the fall. I also decided I want my Life Coaching practice to focus on Self Care practices. While I can do Life Coaching under my Integrative Nutrition Health Coaching Certificate, I would not mind getting an official Life Coach credential as well. That’s a personal goal for my future.

It’s 4th of July. I am taking a short break to rest and write this blog. I walked four miles this morning. Afterwards I came home to clean and pack. Two coworkers and I are jumping in a car tomorrow for an overnight trip to southern Virginia (not far from Virginia Beach). We are  going to kickoff a “Get Well Plan” with a school that has a grant that is at risk. It’s a great learning opportunity for me. It’s also an opportunity for me to facilitate between the faculty and my coworkers. I’m a little nervous about traveling in a car for five hours with two people I really don’t know. We are also taking the Ferry and Cheasepeak Bay Bridge Tunnel. We are scheduled for 5:15 ferry home Friday night. I am hoping for good weather and calm seas. lol 🙂 I probably won’t be home until close to 8pm on Friday. A weekend of fun in the sun and in DC for the day on Monday.

This is the time of the year that beach town residents life myeslf get to practice our Defensive Driving Skills 😂 Oh my goodness. People and bikes darting out in front of cars. It’s scary. 😱😂 I try to walk as much as possible. Parking in my neighborhood has been insane this year. Not sure what happened. I have off-street parking but folks still come into our lot and take our spots. Guess what? Several have already been towed 🙂 I almost had someone towed on Friday night but fortunately our maintenance guy found them and told them to leave. I didn’t want to go to any barbeques off-shore today because I wanted to make sure my car is safely in my parking spot before folks starting coming into town for the fireworks later. Fireworks aren’t over until close to 10:30ish. That’s too late for me to come home from offshore on a work night. It’s now about 2:00pm and I am getting ready to head down to the beach for a couple hours.

Lastly, The below quote spoke to me 🙂 I definitely speak Butterfly 🦋 I believe in transformations, breaking free and metamorphosis. I hope to continue to surround myself with folks who are good for me. I hope I also encourage folks to transform and break free from their cocoons. My question to you is:

Do you speak Butterfly or Catterpillar?

Quote

Look for my next blog post on Sunday. It will be about ways to practice Self Care and I’ll tell you all about my road trip to Virginia in that post. To see my daily posts, follow me on:

IG: @highestgoodcoach
Twitter: @highestgoodhhc

Self Care Sunday – Looking Out For Yourself And Others

Art

It’s Self Care Sunday. How have you taken care of yourself this week? Have you moved your body physically and made it stronger? Have you enforced and maintained boundaries in your relationships? Have you protected your spiritual alignment by choosing to be with folks who are good for you? Have you taken advantage of opportunities in your career to set yourself up for future? Or did you slow down and allow yourself a day to rest your body and mind? I did all of these things this week.

God proved to me this morning he puts you exactly where you need to be. It’s up to us to be awareness and alignment so we can see when he is asking us to take action. I was walking early this morning. I walked a different route than I normally do today when a frantic elderly Indian woman came up to me. She was sweating, panicked, holding an umbrella and her purse. She handed me her cell phone and phone book. I couldn’t understand much of what she was saying but I could tell she wanted me to talk to someone on the phone. After hesitating for a moment, I took the phone and said hello. The guy on the other end told me she got lost because she got of the Jitney bus at the wrong street. He asked me to point her in the direction of his home which was about three blocks from where we were. She was panicked. It’s really hot today and I was bit worried about her. After I hung up, I decided to turn around and walk her to her at least to the street her Son lived on. When she saw his house, she must have said thank you to me over a hundred times. Honestly, I couldn’t understand anything else she was saying to me. She hugged me and was smiling ear to ear. The amount of relief, happiness and peace I could see in her face made it totally worth me turning around and escorting her so she didn’t get lost again. I am sharing this story just to encourage folks to look out for each other. Use your instincts and intuition. You don’t always need to understand someone’s words to know when they are in distress. After doing a quick assessment of the situation, I trusted my intuition and knew God was asking me to her. I said, “YES”!

I had my last PT appointment on my SI Joint, IT Band and foot earlier this week. The therapist and I agreed it is not healed yet. I am not ready for yoga yet. However, my work schedule and travel schedule has my calendar screwed up. My therapist worked my leg pretty hard and gave me the home exercises to do in the gym. I am trying this for a month to see if I can strengthen it on my own. With that said, I don’t usually go to the gym on Sundays. Since I was down for the count Friday night and Saturday with a migraine, I went to the gym today and walked three miles today to get back on schedule. I am committed to getting back to yoga and making my body stronger. On another note, I wore my highest high heels for the first time since rolling my ankle & breaking my foot. It was time to get back on the horse and wear high heels again😊I wore high platform sandals. I will say I was a little nervous & extremely careful 😂 I was ok👍

In recent weeks, two men from my past have been in my experience. One has been trying to re-establish contact and I ran into the other one at the grocery store; I completely ignored him. I am writing about this here just in case either one of them (older or younger guy) is reading my blog. I want to make things crystal clear without having any direct contact with either one of them. There is nothing here for either one of them. NOTHING! I am not interested in reengaging with either one of them and I have no feelings for either one of them. Let’s just leave things in the past where they belong. Those relationships were not good for me back then and I am not interested in revisiting them now. I wish both men well. I have no hard feelings. The point of me writing this is to say I actually have no feelings – at all – for either one. Again, I am only putting this on my blog in this post just in case one of them, younger or older guy) is reading my blog. The Blue Love poetry collection is not written for either one of them. Neither one of them is the inspiration for my poetry. It’s really that simple. Blue Love is a man who is good for me. My connection with him is healthy. He’s taught me how a man should treat a woman. While he desires me, he also respects me. Whatever happens in our future, he helped me grow. He helped me see I deserve better than what I accepted in the past. So, I am enforcing boundaries and not allowing men from my past who were not good for me to return into my life. Once again, I am thankful to Blue Love for looking at me with the beautiful blue eyes of love and helping me to know I deserve better. Thank You Blue Love.

I woke up at 2:00am on Friday morning with a migraine. When I get migraines, they usually start in the middle of night. I have medication. I usually get up, take the meds and go back to bed for a couple of hours. Usually by the time I wake up, it’s gone. This one wasn’t. While I was functional on Friday, I was still in pain. I came home around 4pm and gave into the headache. I knew it was going to take a few cycles of meds for it to go away. I pulled the shades, curled up in bed, watched tv and slept most of Saturday. The headache was gone when I woke up this morning. I think the headaches are prompted by jaw tightness and TMJ. My jaw was popping a lot last week and I was eating chewy stuff more than I should. Instead of pushing through it, I surrendered yesterday and rested. I allowed my mind and body to slow down. I took care of myself.

Sometimes self care is more tactical; it’s about actually physically taking care of yourself. Other times it’s more about enforcing boundaries. For me, it’s also been about learning I deserve better than I what I accepted and expected in the past. I am happy where I am now. I am happy with how I have grown and woman I have become in recent years. Folks who knew me seven, ten or fifteen years ago, really don’t know me at all anymore.  I am also eagerly looking forward to more – so much more in the future. I am looking forward to surrounding myself with people who are good for me like Blue Love. I am thankful and grateful for all of my blessings. I am happy for the love in my heart and good the people kind souls who are in my life.  I am happy and grateful.
(C) 2018 Linda A. Long – All Rights Reserved – Highest Good Holistic Health Coaching, LLC

ICYMI My last post was Blue Love Haiku #12

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Holistic Health And Self Care Sunday – March 25, 2018

Self Care Self Love

Self Care looks a little different for me this weekend that most weekends. Usually I move my body on weekends and do food prep for the week. This weekend I am truly slowing down to take care of my physical body.

I stepped in a pot hole on Tuesday night. I rolled my right foot over onto the side and sprain my Ankle. I knew immediately I injured it. I iced and elevated it as soon as I got home. Luckily, the snow storm gave me a day off and I also took off Thursday to at least rest it for the first 48 hours.

While I was home resting on Thursday, I started sneezing. I must have sneezed over 30 times over the course of the day. I knew a head cold was coming too. My head cold started on Thursday afternoon. It’s pretty much gone by Sunday afternoon. That suggests my Immune System is pretty strong and I took good care of myself appropriately when the cold started. The worst of it is over. Here’s what I did as soon the I felt the head cold coming on:

  • Ear drops: Equal parts 70% Rubbing Alcohol and White table vinegar. Three drops each ear twice a day. The ENT gave me this recipe 🙂 See photo at bottom.
  • OTC: Mucinex and Tylenol. I only took one Decongestant
  • Gargle: With warm salt water
  • Saline Rinse: Rinse my nose out with Saline from CVS
  • Take my usual vitamins: Multi-vitamin, Vitamin D & E, Magnesium at bedtime. I also added Coconut Walter for Potassium
  • Green Juice: I drink 16oz of Green Juice each day: Kale, Apple, Ginger, Lemon, Parsley, Celery and Cucumber. I sometimes I blend it at home. This week I bought at a local produce store that makes it for only $4.00 a bottle.
  • Omega 3s: I drink Hemp Milk and took Salmon Oil pills for a couple of days
  • Rest and sleep: I left work on Friday at noon. I came home and stayed in bed until Saturday.

Holistic Ear Drops

As for my Ankle, I ended up going to Urgent Care yesterday because it’s looks pretty bad. I didn’t think it was broken but wanted to be sure so I didn’t continue to do more damage. The X-ray showed I have a contusion of the soft tissue around the 5th Metatarsals. I’ve been doing everything right. He didn’t give me any drugs. He told me to stay off of it as much as possible for the next few days. It could take five to ten additional days to heal depending upon how much I am on it. It’s making me walk weird which is bothering the rest of my leg and my hip. I have been resting it. I will still go to work tomorrow. I will wear comfy shoes and won’t be walking my normal 10K steps. The doctor told me I did everything right so far. Again, good self care prevented my injury from being worse than just a contusion.

Sprained Ankle Meme

Sometimes my self care is pretty and is about pampering at a spa. Other times my self care is about moving my body in yoga and walking 10K steps a day or other times my self care is about mediating and slowing my mind down. This week self care has been about actually taking care of physical body to ensure a quick and full recovery from illness and injury.

Before attending the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and becoming a certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, I really didn’t know how to take care of myself. A year ago I would have pushed through both the cold and the injury and would have made both worse. What a difference a year has made.

IIN Primary Foods

Making the decision to attend to IIN was the best decision I made a very a long time in my life. The last year hasn’t been easy. Going to school while working full time, starting a new job, juggling various other aspects of life hasn’t been easy. I’ve been over my head at times but I hung in there. On Friday I learned that I have already accumulated the minimum graduation requirements. I still have one test, two Coaching Circles and four weeks of lectures to go until graduation but even I I missed all of them, I will still graduate. It really takes the pressure off and I am looking forward to slowing down and entering the next phase of life.

So, what’s next after I am done school? Well, I am looking forward to enjoying this summer. I am looking forward to having a social life again. While part of me is very interested in continuing my education with another class, that needs to go on hold for a while. First, it’s expensive. Second, I need to slow down a bit and enjoy life without any pressure other than my full time job for a while.

Work will also require more of my focused attention this summer as the Implementation phase of my Outreach plan will start in the May/June timeframe. Therefore, I will be traveling to DC more as well as visiting a few colleges through the rest of year. I am looking forward to that. If you need help developing an Outreach Plan, I can help. Here’s the basic flow.

Outreach Plan Flow

As for my Health Coaching business, I plan to step back and really think how I want to position it and what I hope to achieve. My classmates are very focused on getting clients and making money. I sometimes get caught up in my that. Being stuck at home with just myself most of this week, I’ve had time to think stuff over. I am seeing things differently. With having a decent full time job and income, I am not pressured to take a lot of clients. I can be selective. I can also offer services at discount rates, even pro-bono to those folks who really need it. I also plan to volunteer my services at the local Rescue Mission after I have my official Graduation Certificate.

I need to do some business planning and think over my business model a bit. During the next few months, I will be working on building a website and branding. I know I want my website to be free resource for people to access important guidance about how to care for their holistic health. I also know I want my Health Coaching business to be a platform to affect change about how people approach self care. I have the knowledge, skills and ability to design and build my own website. I am going to do that this summer as my hobby 🙂 Come on, Y’all know I can’t just sit in a beach chair all summer only working on a tan. Lol 🙂 This photo was taken at sunset on the beach out front of my apartment 🙂

Atlantic City, NJ Sunset

How are you taking care of yourself? What does your body, mind or soul need from you today?

🙌

I am a certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. I help clients find strategies to achieve a balance of body, mind and spirit so they can find their highest good in all aspects of their life.

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

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