Summer living & loving…

There is no season more carefree and sensual than summer. Everywhere you look, glistening toned and/or bronzed skin is bared … How delightful! Along with all the bare skin come some dangers though. My reminder came early, Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial kickoff to the Summer season. Yet, I wasn’t to discover I had been infected until three weeks later – after I was already deathly ill.

Last Sunday was a regular day, biking with friends (all adult members of my immediate family were away on business)… my friends and I parted early (around 5ish). I’d been strangely chilled all day (since it was a warm day) & that migraine of unknown origins that had plagued me these past weeks was still with me… I was looking forward to getting home. Once there, the chill seemed to be bone deep. I decided to take my temp: 95 degrees? Odd. I turned on the heat (despite the warm weather), laid on the couch, piled on some blankets. I passed out.

When I awoke, I was sweating profusely. I took my temperature: 102 degrees?! “Oh no!”, I thought. “This is gonna get ugly.” I grabbed a litre of Evian, put some Bragg’s organic apple cider vinegar in it (to combat the nausea caused by the incessant migraine) and added some raw tupelo honey to the mix (to keep my blood sugar steady since I hadn’t eaten since lunch). I popped a bag of organic unbuttered unsalted popcorn and my survival kit was complete. I went to bed and waited for the fever to break.

Except, the chill came back. I was so cold, my teeth were chattering and my whole body was shivering. The shivering became extreme morphing into something completely bizarre: my body would become completely rigid, my teeth would clench shut and then there would be a terrible pain in my head (something that I can only imagine was akin to electrical shock) which would then cause my rigid body to convulse (during all of which it seemed as though I would black out for several seconds). After the entire sequence I would completely pass out… only to have it start all over again (repeatedly). It was terrifying. Was I having seizures?! From what?

This sequence went on for a period of time. How long I don’t know, for when it was all over I fell into a deep sleep. When I awoke, my head was in excruciating pain. Might head felt inflamed. My eyes definitely were. I took my temperature: back to 102 degrees? I stumbled (as if drunk) into my bathroom to get sick: passed out between the toilet and the vanity (for which I presently have a lovely gouge from my coccyx up to my mid-back – I must have grazed the corner of the vanity on the way down). I slept naked on the cold tile floor the rest of the night. The tile seemed like ice, but it felt like heaven against my throbbing head.

To make a much longer story shorter, it turns out, I have Lyme disease. That’s right, all of that was caused by a tiny little tick I found on myself the day after Memorial Day. A tiny, tinny tick (who is still in my freezer, and who is facing a very unceremonious burial when I have a moment) did that to me. A tinny, weenie, tiny tick (and his nasty imperceptible bacteria) took me down. And, did I get this tick in the woods/countryside? No, I did not. Instead, I picked him up in the city, in an urban park. Is nothing sacred anymore? It is bad enough we have to slather that wretched sun block all over our skin… now we have to suffocate our skin with bug repellent everyday too? Yuck!

Getting back to my ordeal… by the time my temperature came all the way down, it was Monday afternoon. I was having a hard time thinking. I would lose thoughts as I was forming them. I’d catch myself staring into space, having lost complete track of time. I called the pharmacy to deliver some migraine medication. Big mistake. After taking just half the recommended dosage, it sent me into a tail spin. My temperature was back at 102 degrees, and a more minor rendition of Sunday night ensued. The irregular racing heart beat I had noticed became more pronounced… When the symptoms subsided again, I plugged them all into the web and the only match was Lyme disease. I thought, “That tick!”

When I got to my doctor, he put me on doxycycline hyclate immediately, even before he got my bloodwork back. Today, a week later, I am feeling much improved (which would be hard not to). That incessant mystery migraine that had plagued me for weeks  – gone. Despite the upturn of events, my doctor scolded me for not coming in immediately after being bit. Is that common knowledge? Run to the doctor after every tick bite. I was completely unaware.

Well it’s now almost officially summer, schools out & I’m not going to let this little bug and his nasty bacteria get the better of me – even though the only “warning” on the medicine’s label is: Avoid Exposure to Sunlight (they’ve got to be joking)! It’s summer and I am ready for some living and loving & that’s exactly what I’m going to do (even though I am currently moving at half my normal speed & my mind goes completely blank mid task)!

Seriously, I wish all off us a summer filled with love and joy… just remember “safety first”. Whether it’s always wearing our bike helmets to protect us from that one freak accident; sun block, to protect us from potential sun cancer; bug spray (even in the city), to avoid being stricken with Lyme disease; condoms to prevent falling victim to the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) during a quick summer fling; or life perseveres on all our little ones (even if we feel they’re “strong enough” swimmers)…. It only takes one time, one small “bite”, to change your life (possibly forever). This is a lesson I will not soon forget.

I will maintain my site. However, I will be reading your blogs more than writing on mine while I convalesce. Be careful this summer (I know I certainly will), have fun, live, love, love the summer! I’ll start writing full-time again immediately after Labor Day week-end. Ciao, ciao for now! See you on your sites!

CiaoRSz

Refocus your Focus!

All of us have priorities, things we must focus on. Deadlines we must meet. But as we spend our days hyper focused on achieving whatever it is that is at the top of our to-do list…. Much of life (life happening all around us) seems to blur into the background – even when you think it is not. Even when you think your juggling really well; your eye, on all the balls… in reality, you ultimately drop one or two.

And what do we lose focus of most often? Things that are not a priority? Yes. But we also tend to lose focus on things that are a priority (usually things that are going so well… we simply feel we can relax a bit). Unfortunately, these are often our most important relationships.

Recently, my youngest started developing a nervous tick. Almost unperceivable at first, yet it went from 0 to 90 (becoming a chronic tick) in less than 2 weeks. It developed at such an alarming rate, that my child’s teacher, assistant teacher and myself all sought each other out (in a bit of a panic) to discuss what course of action should be taken.

My youngest has a learning disability, so he has had a lot of attention from me & help from tutors, therapists… to prepare him for school. After years of work & due to the fact everything was going so well, the tutors, teachers… and I all changed our main focus to more urgent priorities & BAM! Something happened to trigger his stress tick, but none of us had been focused on him enough to know exactly what. I took my eye of the ball so briefly, and one of my most important relationships immediately began to suffer.

During the same time period (not a coincidence), I had just gone back to work and was pushing myself to prove myself after being out of the workforce for a number of years. I spent far too many hours staring into my illuminated computer screens… and started developing mild headaches… Since I was trying to reach a deadline, I ignored my bodies warning and kept working until I got the job done. I pushed myself so hard that I ended up having a horrific migraine last Friday that lasted 72 hours through the Memorial Day weekend.

I reached my goal. However, I was so focused on my work, that I dropped two balls (my caregiver relationship with my son and my relationship with myself/my health). I ignored the warning signs (the mild tick and the mild headaches). I simply thought I had more time before I had to address the problems. Due to my delay, mild problems became chronic.

How often do we ignore (relationship and/or health) warning signs in our lives? We are all so busy, and our to-do lists at times seem endless… relationships (& health) often suffer because of it. How do we stay focused on all that is important to us? We don’t. However, we can address ensuing problems in our relationships as soon as they pop up – not waiting until they become chronic situations.

I know how to take care of myself when I get out of whack. So I do (although I shouldn’t) sometimes drive myself harder than I should. However, seeing my son out of whack for the first time – helped me refocus my focus on the most important things in my life. It was no mere coincidence that my son developed a nervous tick at the exact same time I went back to work. Everyone in a relationship (household…) affects everyone else. My son did not hear me speak or see me behave in any stressful ways… he simply felt the stress I was internalizing.

I dropped everything over Memorial Day weekend to right my wrongs. Thank goodness I was able to find a natural remedy for my migraines – and am back to work no problem. As for my son, we had a number of long talks. I am no longer multitasking in his presence. If he is “present” – so am I. His teachers are glad to report that his chronic tick is now no more than an occasional nervous twitch.

If I want my home to be healthy and harmonious, I have to be a model of health and harmony – not just outwardly but inwardly (physically, mentally & spiritually) as well. If your harmony/health is not deep – your energy/vibration will affect others/your relationships in negative ways (despite your outward well intended words and actions and/or your ability to “appear” healthy on the outside).

Pay attention to all that is important to you… when you notice something going astray – act as soon as possible. Don’t be afraid to face a problem or change the status quo. The less damage that is done, the easier things will be to rectify. When you do fall off the wagon (so-to-speak), don’t be upset with yourself. Simply do your best to regain your (physical, mental and/or spiritual) harmony again – ASAP. If it is done quickly enough (without too much harm to those around you), your relationships should get back on track (after you say any needed amends of course:).

If life has simply been too hectic to manage, and, issues in an important relationship do become chronic… Again, do not waste time feeling guilty and/or beating yourself up over the situation… Refocus your focus and face it head on!

In love, everyone needs to be “masculine” & “feminine”…

I had always been extremely extroverted, an overachiever, a triple A+ personality type, extraordinarily (materially) successful (even in my early twenties), blah, blah, blah… I was very “yang”. However, my marriage to my childhood sweetheart was an absolute mess! My husband was uncomfortable with my increasing success… No matter how much I tried to save our marriage, sadly our marriage was lost…

As time went on, my personality seemed to only attract alpha (yang) males. However, once in a committed relationship, they did everything in their (mighty) power to snuff out my light, always wanting the limelight for themselves & expecting me to take a backseat to their lives. After a while I thought I must have been doing something wrong.

I thought that I simply needed to work harder at practicing unconditional love. I had been researching psychology, philosophies, physiology, eastern philosophy, religion…. And, as we often do when we are trying something new, I made a mistake – a BIG mistake. I mistook the idea of the “feminine principle” (yin) as all I (a woman) should try to emulate in the hopes of creating harmony in myself and in my relations with others (especially my partner).

The semantically complex compound word “yinyang” simply put means “opposites”. Exact translations of “yin” & “yang” separately are: “shady side of the hill” & “sunny side of the hill”. Yin (the “shadow” side) represents the passive female principle in nature (defined by Chinese philosophy as: soft, wet, flowing, dark, mysterious… submissive); yang, the assertive male principle in nature (defined by Chinese philosophy as: rigid, dry, solid, visible, evident… dominant).

I had found the Chinese Taoist yin principle: “be like water” very helpful in handling rigid business colleagues. The principle believes that water is stronger than stone (simply look at the grand canyon). When dealing with a “rock”, one must learn how to go around the rock, to wear it down, to reach one’s final destination/goal… It actually works very well. Not wanting another failed marriage… I thought maybe there is more to the power of the innate “feminine” principle & that it was certainly worth a try.

YinYang

Since I had an extremely dominant male, I thought all I have to do to make our home harmonic is practice the yin principles. For the sake of peace, for the sake of my children, I’ll simply be the yin to his yang… I thought, “No one is perfect, so I should continue to try to love unconditionally – this time using the yin principles…” Surprisingly, ta dah! I actually found the Chinese Taoist yin principles to be very helpful guidelines in learning to love unconditionally. I was actually able to master unconditional love… I must say it gave me an inner peace and an ability to be happy like I’ve never known. My inner (mental & spiritual) life was now bliss. However, in time, it took a great toll on my physical & material well-being (my yang so-to-speak).

What was I doing wrong? “Such a great theory!” I thought, “Why isn’t it working?” I had a beloved Zen master (who sadly moved back to Japan), who told me for years, “Why are you trying to be a saint? You are not a saint. Stop trying to be one!” Zen masters always speak in riddles… so I never quite understood exactly what he was trying (repeatedly) to make me see. I would think, “I like being a good/loving person. What’s wrong with that?” Plus, I loved Zen meditation (a yin/feminine principle) – it was great for maintaining my mental well-being.

Later, I studied with a Sufi master (who is sadly back in Turkey), he would say (also repeatedly), “You have to be a warrior! You must learn to fight! Even Jesus was a warrior!!!” I never understood why a Sufi master would be referencing Jesus, but o.k. Whatever works I thought! But it didn’t work on me; I wanted to be as “loving” as I could be. Plus, I had never been happier, I loved being connected to my spiritual (yin/feminine) side – nothing bothered my inner peace.

Then at a New Year’s party. The hostess had hired a psychic as entertainment for the entire event. Everyone was letting her read their palms, cards or something… Anyway, late in the evening I finally acquiesced. I sat down and the woman looked at me and said, “You are a very loving person.” I can still feel myself swelling with pride, surrounded by a number of guests watching the “show”. Then, in front of all those people the psychic said, “No. No. Wait. You could be a very loving person, but you don’t love yourself. Until you love yourself, you’ll never be a truly loving person.” I was mortified! What a slap in the face. My swelled ego burst. I got the message this time – loud and clear!

How stupid I had been! The harmonic yinyang principle was never about separating yin & yang (the opposites). It was never about being a compliment to someone else… It was about being the compliment to my self – being everything (passive & aggressive, soft & hard, flowing & solid, shadowy & clearly visible, mysterious & evident, submissive & dominant…) all in one. Every person has to be a lover and a fighter. The key is to train oneself to know when (and how much of) each principle is required. The mastery is being able to do that well enough to use all of the principles in only a constructive way (that is what the dots in the symbol represent — when one aspect becomes so powerful that it is about to take away from/become destructive to the other — it is time to change focus/strategy) .

At first I was too assertive (yang without enough yin). Physically and materially at my peak, but my inner self was a mess. Then I became too passive (yin with not enough yang). My psychological and spiritual life blossomed –  while my finances and body were devoured by my spouse. Now, I am able to know exactly when to be assertive and when to be passive, which is needed when & how to utilize just the right amount of both. Am I happy? You bet I am! Am I at peace? You know it. Do I know how to get my needs met without bulldozing others? Un-huh. Do I love myself? Yes, I do. Am I a loving person? I think so (but I might want to get the number of that psychic)!

An Interesting Side Note:
The earliest recorded English usage of Chinese Taoist/Daoist “yin and yang”, is cited in the Oxford English Dictionary as: 1671 – yet we are just now starting to understand their true meaning. Talk about being lost in translation!

Let’s be clear…

There were several comments yesterday that made me feel I must clarify some points:

Some were worried that I might make people question their actions. In response: Yes. One intention in yesterday’s post was to suggest people question what they are now being told is a norm through the mass media capitalizing on the promotion of S&M (the subject raised in the film 50 Shades of Grey): hurting others intimately and/or letting others hurt you intimately. Even though some readers believed really hurting/injuring someone grows trust, respect and communication… studies have shown that in fact they have the exact opposite effect on a relationship.

Forget all the misleading mass media hype that it’s “playful”. Try to think of it in other terms. If you love your child, would you want to experiment with hurting them to build trust? Would it give you pleasure to hurt them? Would it give them pleasure? No, of course not! We have to be careful in confusing the trend of accepting/loving everyone for whom they are (which is a good thing), with accepting/allowing people to do what ever they want to us in the name of “love” (that is a bad thing).

Some inferred in comments to yesterday’s post: as long as it is consensual…it is ok to hurt others. Is it? There are many people in this world who think they are not worthy of being loved… Some people would prefer a destructive relationship to no relationship at all… The thought of being alone is unbearable for many — so they are willing to put up with all kinds of abuse… There are many reasons why someone would consent to being hurt — but none of them are healthy. No one should be abused, whether they “ask for it” or not. Just like, no one should be raped, even though many perps say their victim “asked for it”. People need to learn to love and respect themselves enough to tell their abusers, “No!”

Psychology is a relatively new science. There is so much psychiatrists/psychologists/therapists don’t know about what makes us “tick”. However, older sciences have proven that pain is the body’s alarm system. The sole purpose of pain is to alert the mind/person that there is something wrong; something needs to be addressed/attended to/resolved immediately. That is a fact. Pain = Something is Wrong.

Anger, not love, motivates people to inflict suffering on others (history is ripe with examples of this fact). Self-hate/lack of self-respect is what allows people to let others abuse them. Get rid of the anger and/or self-loathing. Experiment with love. For your own health and well-being… for all of us: love is the answer.

No (World) Peace Until You Learn to Love Yourself.

Peace is: a state of mutual harmony between people or groups, especially in personal relations. (Dictionary.com). If we truly want “world peace”: We must first (and foremost) learn to have harmony in our own lives (learn how to love, understand and accept ourselves, our most intimate relations, as well as our extended families, our neighbors, our communities, our school communities, even the people where we work…). Peace (harmony/love) must start with ourselves. When the majority of people master this, then (& only then) can the concept of “World Peace” become a reality.

A slogan that needs to become a reality long before the concept of “World Peace” is: “Harmonic Homes!”, or, “Home Peace!” We should rally for: Peace in our families! Peace in our schools! Peace in our neighborhoods! Peace on our roads! Peace in the workplace! But most importantly, we should be rallying for: “Inner Peace!”

Yet, what would be the purpose of gathering for an “Inner Peace” rally (demonstration, march, or, silent protest) — except to have another networking opportunity? It would be better if people simply dedicated (scheduled in non-social/non-networking) alone time for cultivating their own peace (understanding, acceptance, harmony). Anyone who is truly tired of war, road rage, charity board power plays… should consider making this a top priority.

Remember: Love is Energy. Love, our feelings, our thoughts, our anger, our prejudices…. are all energy/vibrations (just like music – some harmonious – some not). They all effect (consciously & unconsciously) everyone nearby – as well as everyone far away (the world per se). This is a simple fact of quantum physics. A person’s behavior and speech can be politically correct… However, if their heart and thoughts are not full of understanding, acceptance, love & harmony – their gestures and words will not have a peaceful effect on others (they will in fact have the exact opposite).

How many of us are living in truly peaceful, harmonious, loving homes? Relationships, neighborhoods, communities, schools, workplaces…? For any of this to happen, we must be at peace with ourselves first. As long as the majority of people are not at peace with themselves (not loving/harmonic individuals), not only is the concept of world peace somewhat of a cruel joke – so is desirable love.

It’s attainable. All of it. World Peace. Inner peace. & everything in between. It all starts with a seed & that seed is each and every one of us. For each of us that can attain inner peace/harmony (understanding, acceptance, love for ourselves), there is another intimate relationship that has the hope of doing the same; another family; another community… Each person’s thoughts and feeling effect so many others. Simply be the positive change you want to see in your world… and in time, the rest will follow.

Unconditional Love: WARNING!

You attract what you are. – Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
Is this true? Yes and no.

You hear from so many: “Become what you want to attract…”. Even some of the posts on this blog have inferred the same… However, before I write any further about desirable love (how to attain it)…I would like to attach a WARNING LABEL to the process.

You hear a lot about 1st “learn to love yourself”…. and as you “learn to forgive”, “love unconditionally”, and “be more accepting” of yourself – you will simultaneously learn how to be more empathetic/forgiving/loving to others… blah, blah, blah.

So now suppose we have done our “work”… we have become a more loving individual… we should attract a more empathetic/understanding/loving partner into our lives… Correct? Well, yes and NO! You will attract both; good & bad. In fact, the better you become, the better & the worse you will attract. Why? & How can one avoid this?

Every human being is attracted to beauty/harmony/love – it is essential to our health and well-being (physically/mentally and spiritually). We are therefore instinctively drawn to it. The more a person is lacking these qualities inside themselves – the more they need them from a source outside of themselves. In fact, the less desirable (unhealthy/inharmonic/unloving) a person is on the inside, the greater their attraction to posses these qualities through a person whom they perceive as having an abundance of loving qualities (empathy, compassion, supportiveness, unconditional love & acceptance…).

To use a vivid example: Psychopaths. They are proven to seek partners who rank in the very highest (90+ percentiles) for the human emotion: empathy. Psychopaths actually hunt to find the most loving of us (knowing that these people are best suited to let them get away with their lack of human kindness, compassion… love… for the longest period of time); a loving person balances out their complete inability to feel empathy, or, their complete inability to form human attachments. A loving partner helps them appear normal to society (giving them a cloak to hide under while they commit crimes against humanity – especially your humanity). The only way they can form a partnership is to pair with a person that practices forgiveness, compassion, unconditional love & acceptance. As you can see, the practice of unconditional love & acceptance can be very dangerous in real world scenarios.

How does one avoid getting involved with negative people? Practice unconditional love on yourself… not blindly on every person you meet! Even Jesus said: Forgive another “seventy times seven”. 70 x 7 = 490. Four hundred and ninety is a finite number. If a person is in an abusive relationship, that person could easily forgive their abuser 490 times in just one week (often less). Again, unconditional love should be practiced on yourself – to allow you to constantly move forward/make progress (physically/mentally and/or spiritually). However, forgiveness should be finite for those seeking to consume/destroy your health and well-being for their own selfish needs.

To be very clear: as you improve yourself be very careful of those you let into your inner circle. We all need to be improving ourselves. Be wary of those who are adults and are not. If someone seeks your help, don’t “do” for them — guide them. The best way to help someone else is to provide a good example (which obviously comes back to us focusing on our own frailties – working on making ourselves healthier).

If you do mistakenly get into a draining one-sided relationship, if a person is leaving you feeling physically, mentally and/or spiritually drained and/or confused – distance yourself ASAP (to regain your harmony/your inner strength). If later you decide to continue some form of a relationship with this person, maintain enough distance (physically and/or mentally) that they are no longer able to (literally) suck the life out of you. Try to remember to only have close intimate relationships with people that are already (or working hard to be) full of love.

Opposites do attract. Loving people have been programmed by culture to want to help those they believe need their love and support. Disharmonious people are instinctively attracted to those from whom they can easily take what they do in fact need – however, have not had the guidance to learn how to, or, simply do not want to put in the effort to build for themselves.

Be(a)ware; you can and should love other adults – just make sure it is not negatively affecting you physically, mentally and/or spiritually. Loving your children can be draining, Remember, you can only give what you have. If you sacrifice too much of yourself, in time you will not be able to give them the love they deserve. Always cultivate and protect your inner beauty/your loving spirit. Don’t depend on others to do this for you. Make maintaining AND protecting (respecting) your physical, mental and spiritual health/harmony your number one priority. Then you will have the chance of being available when the right person does come into your life.

Take care & be well!

Mother Love.

George Washington (b.1732- d.1799) is quoted as saying, “My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her.”

Due to family tragedy, this great man was only able to finish the equivalent of an elementary school education. What I find interesting about the quote is that fact that, George Washington attributes all his great successes in life to the fact his mother taught him physical, mental and spiritual well-being (in the 1740’s no less)…. and that his memory of her is one of great beauty…

Yet, Mothers are humans like all of us… some are healthy… some, not so much…

Albert Ellis, Ph. D. in Psychology (b.1913 – d.2007) is quoted as saying, “The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You (no longer)… blame them on your mother…. You realize that you control your own destiny.”

(Albert) Ellis characterized his mother as a self-absorbed woman…. according to Ellis, “she… never listened.”…. Ellis’ mother was emotionally distant…. Ellis recounted that she was often sleeping when he left for school and usually not home when he returned…. Ellis was sickly as a child…. he had eight hospitalizations between the ages of five and seven, one of which lasted nearly a year. His parents provided little emotional support… rarely visiting or consoling him. (Physical) Illness was to follow Ellis throughout his life…. (Mentally) Ellis had exaggerated fears of speaking in public and during his adolescence he was extremely shy around women (difficulty exposing his heart). (Wikipedia) Lack of his Mother’s love could be deemed as having negatively affected Ellis (physically, mentally and spiritually).

Today psychologists state that most mother’s asked, claim sincerely that they love their children. However, their findings have shown that many of the children of these same mother’s, do not in fact believe they are loved by their mothers (and some believe they are not worthy of love at all).

Psychologists go on to list the many factors as to the whys… a lot having to do with children thinking they have to achieve something before they would be worthy of (mother’s) love… The psychologists give an equally long list on how to “fix” the problem… saying, if not corrected these children often become overachievers in the unconscious desire to attain love….

All I want to say here is: a mother, her children & her relationship(s) with her children don’t have to be perfect – just harmonious. The role of the modern mom is still in a state of flux (a bit chaotic). Moms, like all of us, need to focus on learning to accept themselves first; focus on their own physical, mental and spiritual well-being. If the mother is full of love and harmony, her children will naturally reflect this.

May our hearts swell with love and gratitude (or at least understanding) for all our mothers!