The Meaning of Blessing

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A blessing can be a praise, a wish, a gift, or a sanctification.

Blessing as a custom derives from antiquity.  We were taught that as God created all living things he blessed them bidding them increase and multiply and fill the earth.  Matriarchal societies had blessing ceremonies honoring our natural resources.  Patriarchal elders of tribes blessed their young.  Medicine men and women blessed their warriors and hunters.  Later blessing became Read more »

Profound Sadness with Hope

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Profound SADNESS. Gut wrenching OUTRAGE. Questions with no satisfying answers. These are my reactions when faced with the horrific atrocities my fellow human beings to do each other. I try to distance myself from the violence by reminding myself that I am a good person, that those who I love are known as kind and loving human beings, and that it’s only a small percentage of the seven billion people on earth who commit extreme acts of hatred. Distance, however, is mollifying and numbing, not contributing to changing anything.

I want to MAKE A DIFFERENCE for the GOOD. I want my life to count on the side of LIFE ENHANCING VALUES AND BEHAVIOR. I do not want to annihilate anyone who disagrees with me or is different from me. Yet, I recognize and have to admit the instinctual human tendencies in me toward angry flare ups and murderous thoughts. What can I do? First CONTINUALLY TRANSFORM THE TERRORIST INSIDE ME, then CONTRIBUTE TO ALL THE GOODNESS in the world.

Please consider my NEWLY PUBLISHED EBOOK, Five Key Strategies of Thriving, a SHORT READ that tells my best practices based on 1011 years of accumulated wisdom from 20 thrivers interviewed on what it takes to THRIVE THROUGH DIFFICULT TIMES. It is available at Amazon Kindle store and, I am proud to say, it became a BESTSELLER in its categories.

 

Go to https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01GF8NN22#navbar for YOUR COPY. Then consider CONTRIBUTING YOUR STRATEGY to the NEXT EDITION.

Be a Placeholder for Love and a Beacon of Kindness.

Joyce Ann Tepley

Thriver Extraordinaire

Christie M. RosarioOur guest today is Christie M. Rosario, Wellness Expert and Fitness Trainer. Her story as a thriver exemplifies how adversity can drive creativity. She used her physical challenges as a motivation to find ways to strengthen her health and then teach others what she learned.

Here are her own words: My story started in 2012, four months after my husband and I had our first baby. I grew up sick. I lived in and out of hospitals suffering from asthma, siezures, and a heart condition. I also suffered severe asthma. With this thought in my mind, I looked at my baby and knew something had to change. I needed to know why it all happened and why I was still sick. This lead me to research. I learned that our food could make us sick and kill us before our time. I breastfed my daughter and made changes to my diet. I immediately dropped a lot of weight. I had started at 150 pounds pretty pregnancy and then went up to 178. Later, I got pregnant with our son. I still suffered from asthma symptoms and acne. My heart condition was improving and I only had one siezure pregnant with my daughter. After I had my son, I no longer suffered asthma symptoms and my acne was nearly gone. I had a lot of hair growth after losing much of it starting in my late teens and early 20s. Within this time, I enrolled in the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts holistic wellness practitioner program. In 2014, I enrolled in the International Sports Sciences Association personal trainer program and became certified as a personal fitness trainer in 2015. I am continuing my education with them.

I am still on my journey of building a strong body through fitness. It is not just a simple journey, but one that has taken time to educate myself and create a strong mindset to overcome many obstacles. Changing habits I once grew up with is no easy, but not impossible.

I currently share information from my instagram.com/nuli_fitness and Facebook.com/clrosario15. I am in the process of building a business. I currently offer virtual training and coaching services that anyone can message me about. I have a holistic approach in health and wellness that includes proper diet, physical activity, mindset training, and supplement coaching.

Magnetic Magic

SwirlyVectorWhen I was 10 or 11 years old I had a magic kit. I practiced the disappearing plastic ball trick, the pick a card and don’t tell me what it is but put it back in the deck and I’ll immediately retrieve it trick, and the colored scarves stuffed into my hand one at a time and came back out all strung together trick. I was clumsy but my parents as my audience gasped and clapped anyway.

As I grew in age and wisdom I went from trickery, slight-of-hand and deception to honesty, self-disclosure and connection. The magic in my life grew from my parents and grandparents values of duty and devotion, my Catholic religion’s values of God-centered living and superstition, and my hard won rewards from overcoming adversity. Magic happens through the synchronous events in my life and through my relationships or connections with my fellow beings. Dogs, cats and plants included. Magic is unexpected miracles. It’s made up of seemingly effortless happenings. It’s as if I waved a magic wand and, Poof! – A wish fulfilled. (It was actually a lot of work getting to that point just like when I practiced my magic tricks over and over again.)

In my older age I’ve noticed that all that hard work is paying off. I don’t have to put out as much physical energy as I once did to make something happen in my life, like driving to work and back home every day. My work is at home on the computer sitting in a chair. People come to me. The world comes through my Internet connection. It’s the difference between focusing on the magnetic versus the dynamic aspects of my life. We are surrounded by an electro-magnetic field. Is it possible to capture and direct more or less of one or the other energy sources to facilitate wishes fulfilled?

The other night my husband and I were trying to decide what to have for dinner. It was six in the evening and we were giving each other suggestions, but neither wanted to put out a lot of effort to cook. We were about to decide to order Chinese when, ding dong, the doorbell rang. It was our new next door neighbor who I had invited for tea two days before so I could welcome her into our friendly neighborhood and we could get to know each other. With a big smile she handed over a plastic container full of fresh made chicken and navy bean soup saying she took a chance without calling first.

Do you want dinner? How about some chicken soup? Poof! You got it! That’s the way to live.

Ubuntu

IMG_20150126_224633I have a small pink-covered notebook I write ideas in for these blog posts. Looking for inspiration for my holiday writing I came across this note dated September 1, 2015. I don’t remember where it came from.

“Ubuntu” – Definition: African concept of ‘I am because you are.’ We are co-creators of each other. Commitment to provide what is needed at the moment. Engage others to provide on deepest level of support to flourish. Both taking in breath and sharing the space in between.

Wow! What a concept! Breathing the space between us we co-create each other.

I am because my parents were. They created me in the space between them. I lived on my mother’s breath until I could breathe on my own. And even then my life depended on the nurturing air they provided along with the sun, the water, the plants, the animals, and the atmosphere around our earth. I am because it is.

Simply put, we live through our dependence on each other. We thrive because we support each other. Our choice is whether or not to support life affirming values or death affirming ones.

My mantra and practice for this season is ‘May my breath be a blessing.’

Find a Gain for Every Loss

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A Lesson from the Post-Polio Wise Elders: Find a Gain for Every Loss

by

Sunny Roller

How do we thrive in the midst of heartbreaking loss? How do we grieve well and then let go and forge ahead with grace and hope? It is not easy. But it is possible.

The only way I have been able to move forward after a life loss has been first, to cry my guts out and acknowledge my sorrow. Over and over.  Then, when I am ready, and sick of being so sad, I work to reinvent a new reality and perception of my life.  I look hard for some fresh gain in the aftermath of that debilitating loss.  It can be a large gain or a small gain. Doesn’t matter.  Just some gain. I work to reinvent my reality because I absolutely refuse to get stuck in the devastation which loss has the power to create, if we let it. Stomp! Stomp! That is not where I want to live every day.

About Loss From The Wise Elders

When I did a national study of fifteen “post-polio wise elders” in 2007, these role models for successful late life adaptation with a disability taught me about reconciling losses.   One hundred percent of the group expressed that adapting to losses had been a major life challenge, beginning with the termination of normal physical functioning at polio onset.   Loss of both function and the appearance of being an able-bodied (“normal”) person in society set off personal struggles from childhood until retirement.

Accepting early polio-related losses was difficult, and for some was still ongoing. One woman shared that she is just now dealing with her original polio losses: “I—it brings me back to seeing all those children in the ward that wouldn’t walk again. And I’ve never dealt with those images. [Sobs] Terrible!”  By contrast, another man said that he sees his disability now as simply “a speed bump (or pothole) on life’s highway.”

Everyone in the group was also dealing with mid to later life losses that were both physical and social. The entire group (all were over 65 years of age) reported having the late effects of polio–new weakness, pain, and disabling fatigue in recent years. Most of the group had developed at least one new physical problem such as high blood pressure, edema, high cholesterol, and/or circulatory problems.

One woman shared how losing her accustomed level of mobility was difficult: “I had to give up. I couldn’t defy nature anymore. It was harder than (after) the first battle with polio.” A combination of shame, grief, and relief was expressed at having to use new assistive and mobility devices.
The other losses that these polio survivors described as difficult to reconcile were social losses. It was the painful descriptions of social losses during the interviews that generated the most tears. These included the death of a spouse and/or friends, moving to new locations and leaving old friends and family members behind, and retiring from jobs.

In spite of major life losses, the wise elders, who are people with complicated physical disabilities from polio, have shown us that by using the powers of positive reappraisal, it is possible to reinvent ourselves. Turn the negative around and make it a positive. We can reinterpret life after loss. Shift our focus from what we have lost to what we have left.

About Gain From the Wise Elders

Believe it or not, many of the wise elders agreed that, in spite of new functional losses, life is somehow better now, than when they were younger and physically stronger. Perceptions have changed. There seems to be a new freedom that both an evolved, more positive perception of disability and not being in the workforce bring. When asked for a word or phrase that describes life for them now, their responses included:

• Comfortable
• Flourishing
• Grateful
• Excellent
• Open
• Wonderful, full, happy
• Satisfying, good
• Hopeful–filled with a sense of anticipation
• Good, fulfilling
• Better than expected–like a dream come true

They began to transform their losses into opportunities for gain. A woman from the east coast shared that getting older doesn’t always mean getting worse. A new flexible schedule in retirement offers her the freedom to do what she wants, like browse for a long time in bookstores, even though financially life is a little more restrained. Several people shared that their perceptions of others who have a disability have changed in late life, due to their own greater self-acceptance.  They are more compassionate and caring toward others than in their more competitive earlier years, when they had to “push, push, push–use it or lose it.”  One man even revealed that he enjoyed flirting with women in grocery stores now. He said “being older with a disability can give one license to ask for help and hugs…I’m an old guy and everybody thinks I’m not dangerous!”

These well-grounded role models teach us that on the heels of life’s deeply felt losses, potential gains swirl all around us. It’s not easy to see them at first, but as we invite them into view, and claim them one by one, it is possible to find the excitement in life again. In the process, we gotta ask for help and hugs. Then, when we suddenly catch ourselves spontaneously flirting with a fellow shopper amidst the carrots and rutabaga during our next trip to the supermarket, we’ll know we’re back up and running again! It’s what I call “a wise elder effect.”
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For conversations on living well with polio and more, check out Sunny’s Blog at  www.sunnyrollerblog.com