Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Your Nose and Sunshine

Dr. Oz recommends an easy way to naturally elevate your mood.

Dr. Oz says: Just inhale. And don't stop reading—because I'm not talking about deep breathing, although that can work, too. I'm talking about tapping into the power of scent. The nose is a gateway to the mind, and researchers have discovered that scents can influence your mood in powerful ways. For example, one recent study from the Medical University of Vienna found that the smell of both oranges and lavender lifted the moods of patients about to undergo dental procedures. If that's enough to make people facing a root canal happy, imagine what it could do for you. Try placing some lavender oil on your desk at work and taking a whiff when you're feeling down. Source: Oprah Website

Also, ten to twenty minutes of sunshine will uplift your mood for up to two hours! Soooo, go outside and smell something!


This week I have reentered the world of Paulo Coelho via his book the Fifth Mountain. It is a tale about the prophet Elijah (you non-religious folks stay with me) and his internal struggles with his role as a prophet.

The characters in the book representative of modern day behaviors and events that are fodder for CNN, print news, movies - you name it. All the key elements are there, fear, rapid change, the desire for power, hanging onto power, tragedy, fear of empowering others, and greed to highlight a few.

One of the catalysts for change in the book is Byblos which you may recognize from the Greek name, alphabet. The character of the high priest is terrified of putting the alphabet into the hands of ‘everyday’ people. They could write what they want, they could reshape ideas – most of all this freedom would erode his position, his stranglehold on information and power. It has been this way for generations, why put information and freedome of thought into untrained hands? In his efforts to combat Byblos, the high priest stops at nothing, including plunging his country into war as a means to hold onto power. He whips up terror among the people, playing on their ignorance, cultural and religious fears to bolster his position - marching the masses head long into unimaginable ruin.

There are other characters, all motivated by fear on some level – the main culprit in every case is change. The world around them is changing. For each of them combating change is must regardless of great cost and suffering to those around them. Death and financial ruin is not a deterrent. Their fear and quest to maintain the status quo blinds them.

My goodness how this sounds so familar. We are living in a time of rapid change and upheaval, politically, financially, environmentally, yet those in our country will inject fear into our hearts and misguide us with faulty information without regard to outcome. They want things to stay the same no matter how shortsighted and harmful the results.

Interesting how a book set in ancient times parallels events in our world. So what will be the spark of us? What are we going to do about our country? What are we willing to change for the greater good of all human kind and the planet that sustains us? What are we willing to change to be better parents, partners, and friends? When will we begin to take action at a personal and social level to contribute to a better outcome?

I’m working on my answers and still reading the book…stay tuned.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Curve Ball

Life’s curve balls come in various shapes and sizes hitting your heart and soul in any number of ways. Curve balls do not always have to be negative in nature; I submit they are unexpected events of varying magnitude.

For this topic, the first curve ball, the inability to have children, thousands of dollars, tears, and years of stops and starts pursuing a goal my wallet and body could not produce. Which is fraught with irony.

So my body fights me and now time is not necessarily on my side either as there is a cap on age for adoption as well. With encouragement and support from friends, the universe granted me a break - my time waiting for a baby to adopt moved more quickly than anyone expected. Curve ball – premature child, hospital five hours from home, no medical reason to move the child closer to home and a recommendation not to move her as a precaution. As fate would have it there were no major medical issues to contend with, only questions as to what the future would bring due to 1.) low birth weight and 2.) the birth mother smoked during the pregnancy.

Time marched on, baby grew bigger, baby was small but showing signs of a sharp mind and healthy body. Infancy melts into the toddler years and before you know it, kindergarten. Over time signs emerge, signs that are not obvious to the untrained observer. These signs are merely age specific and developmental - or are they? First grade second grade, more signs emerge, emotional issues, problems writing and reading but a bright child shouldn’t be having this issues…. yet the teachers continue to advise patience it will get better. Third grade, it isn’t better, life continues to be hell at home and getting worse, curve ball after curve ball keep coming. One wonders, are they going mad? Imagining things?

By now how many curve balls have come? I have lost track. Diagnosis of a learning disability, evidence of fetal alcohol syndrome (undisclosed by the birth mother), evidence of brain processing issues, vision problems never caught by a doctor although time after time questions were posed about her eyes. Diagnosis of anxiety and depression – I am thinking can it get any worse? Months of tutors, eye specialists, auditory tests, on and on – trying to adapt parenting styles to what appears like a moving target – still no improvement. Now what?

Then the therapist basically says I am very sorry but your child has an attachment disorder that is common in adopted children. Especially if there was a lot of negativity around the pregnancy from the birth parents – all that bad juju goes into the baby. Stated simply, they have a hard time attaching to people. These words shattered every dream I had for this child. I have been watching them all fall to pieces a bit at a time over the years. Such a smart kid, so kind and yet so unhappy – all this potential and they tell me to be grateful if she makes it through high school without a drug problem or unwanted pregnancy. They say adjust (as in lower) your expectations. It will get harder, it will be harder, you don’t have a typical child and it will be hard on your relationship, and your friends and family will think you are nuts – because they don’t see the day to day stuff. The days you don’t know what child you’ll be picking up from school or you dread the weekends because you’ll be home with her hour after hour, or the lack of friendships in her life. The constant pressure on your relationship - the list seems endless.

This was no curve ball – it was an explosion. I am so sad – not sure how to help her outside of what resources that are already in place or are coming.  In the end, she has to do her part, it cannot be done for her.

My heart aches and I want to strangle the birth parents – my emotions are all over the place, overwhelming grief - it is like so one died. My heart aches for how hard life may be for her. My head is screaming for the therapist to be wrong on some level – it will be different, we can reach her. And then I wonder if I am being honestly with myself about this – am I really accepting that this is how it will be?  Should I hope?

It has been a long six years since this began to become clear it wasn’t developmental – it has been a drain on my relationship. I am fortunate to be blessed with someone who hasn’t run – who has been the voice of sanity in all this constant chaos. Who loving left me alone to write and try to process all that is raging through me right now.

So folks, go hug your partners, hug your children - pet your dogs or cats. I am hoping that later my child will accept the same from me and hoping I can open myself up to go do it even if she doesn’t hug me back. But as my acupuncturist wisely counseled me today – it is a window of opportunity to connect. My addition to that thought - do so without expectations, just do it and maybe a curve ball of goodness will come from it.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Super Brain Yoga

Okay folks you must check this out!  It is remarkably easy!

The Alchemist

Happy Friday!

This week I have mentioned this book to at least three people.  Read it!

The Tooth Fairy Revisited

Every day on my commute to the office I listen to National Public Radio (NPR) unless of course I am cajoled into a DVD of Dora the Explorer or Blues Clues...but I digress.

Please take the time to visit NPR at:

I encourage you to listen to the story via the audio feed found rather than reading the story. The audio is available on the same page. Note the closing the remarks of the speaker in those few words lie the power of the story.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Happy New Year

Welcome to 2010! 

I look at this blog and think...okay your last post was October 2009!  You can imagine the rest of that thought - but I am not even going to type the words.  I will not let myself "go there" as they say.

With that said, as with any New Year the promise of a fresh start smells as sweet as the holiday goodies we have enjoyed in the recent month.

Generally the New Year brings promises of losing weight, exercising more, stopping smoking, eating better, spending more time with the family - fundamentally any good intention.  The usual suspects.  Now, what if we did something as simple as changing our thinking from a resolution to commitment?  A commitment to liking and loving ourselves to take action in areas where we want to make changes. What would that look like?  How would it feel?

Indulge me in this thought: liking and loving ourselves leads to those well intended January resolutions.

When we like and love ourselves, naturally our patterns of thinking begin to shift.  We want to exercise, we want to quit smoking, we want to call a relative or friend (regardless of the passage of time) and reconnect without attachment to outcome or timelines.  We want to do it (whatever it might be) because it feels right.  It feels right because we like doing something for the self.  We like being nice to the self.  We want to do it because we are worth the investment both physically and mentally.  And last I heard hedonism was in!  A little twist on the topic here - think about adding to your want list a pedicure, spa visit, a quiet bath, time to read a book or dance around your living room - anything that recharges you, that feeds your soul/spirit.  It isn't always about the waist line or diet!

Go out and take the first step toward whatever it is you want in the New Year - no matter how small!  Remove timelines and pressure, go have fun, you'll be amazed at the results.

Happy New You!