The DeRozan DeBate

Today’s post is inspired by an article I read in the Star regarding Demar DeRozan’s and the conversation I had with a family member after it.  I am a huge Raptor fan, since 1995 (yes, I’m aging me), and DeRozan is one of my favourite players.  Not only because he is a fantastic offensive player, but he presents himself with such calm, poise, and professionalism which I greatly admire in an athlete.  I was surprised to hear that he suffered from depression, as noted in a self proclaimed tweet during the all-star game (yes, it was a verbatim song lyric but the article that ensued explained more).  I don’t know him personally, and was suprised by and proud of his admission.

Cut to this morning retelling and paraphrasing the article to a family member.  Mind you they are incredibly supportive and understanding, just not of mental health being an actual medical condition.  We had a discussion, close to disagreement, of how athletes should just “shut up and play” and there was no reason for him to disclose his mental state, as he was “looking for attention”.

This is a conversation we have had before and recently.   It was during the olympics. I like to watch the back stories, the trials and tribulations, and being emotionally invested in the athlete.  They can’t stand it. They turn it off and say that they are just trying to gain sympathy.  See the pattern? Their excuse is that they come from an “old world” point of view when “men were men” and didn’t express their feelings.  They were stronger back then.  Or more suppressed in my opinion.  My theory is that this person just doesn’t like being uncomfortable and that emotions make them uncomfortable so they scoff at people expressing emotions instead as a defense mechanism. Or may be it’s a “superhero effect” where there is this idolized opinion of athletes being superhuman and indispensable and any crack in that illusion would cause a crack in the perception of idolizer.  Goes hand in hand with the previous – if the strong superhuman athlete shows emotions or any vulnerability then the illusion of being emotionless becomes challenged and then the person has to face emotions.

Back to the kitchen table and coffee convo.  This month has been one of self discovery, restoration, self care and really pure and utter compassion (see the compassion challenge, which has been a game changer for me).  Rather than react with retaliation to these infuriating statements, I decided to sit in uncomfortablility myself and put on my compassion goggles.  This was their opinion for a reason.  It’s hard for us to be logical or unbiased when there is emotion attached to our opinion.  Any challenge of that opinion challenges reality.  That may be this person’s opinion because that is what they had experienced.  When someone acts so strongly against something, it’s because they don’t want to address the reasoning behind it and no logic, regardless of how many studies and books you throw, literally, at them, will change or sway them.  It’s better to understand than understate.  Also, yes people can use mental health statements (like “I’m depressed” or “no one likes me”) to gain sympathy.  But that’s part of the mental health disorder!  If someone is happy, healthy and content, they don’t look for sympathy to “feel better”.  Looking for sympathy can be part of people’s not so coping mechanisms (which attracts enablers that just feed this disordered delusion and disable the person from taking responsibility for their own health).

So in conclusion, on article and one conversation with my family member gave me a lot of insight into compassion and mental health.  It’s healthy for people (even athletes!) to express their emotions and communicate with others – that’s what makes them human.  It’s also ok to feel uncomfortable with emotion or situations.  Rather than run from it, ask yourself why it is you are uncomfortable and perhaps you will learn some lessons toward your own health and growth.   And lastly mental health is real, it’s intertwined into physical health, and it’s a lot more complicated than a simple tweet.   Notice how 1 tweet can elicit multiple different insights and opinions?  It’s the same with 1 action interpreted by multiple different minds.  They create thoughts and feelings unrelated to the actual action because it’s been twisted by their delusioned reality.  That is a very true fact in relation to mental health disorders.  You may not understand it but you don’t need to in order to be compassionate to those that experience it.

Hope everyone had a healthy happy Februaruy and thanks for reading 🙂

 

 

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The Compassion Challenge

Happy Super Soul Sunday!

In order to embrace February, which historically has never been my favourite month, I decided create a self love soul driven challenge to make the month more enjoyable.  February is heart month in everyway – it’s heart disease awareness month, it’s Valentines, it’s even a “2” month (the number of relationships, also 2018 is a “2” year – so double 2!).  It’s a month to focus on relationships – with the world, with others, and with yourself.

As I started to think about self love and self worth, one word strongly came to mind – COMPASSION.  It’s a beautiful concept that embodies love, kindness, awareness and empathy.  In order to be compassionate, we need to be aware of the environment around us and the people in it.  We need to be present and focused in the present.  It’s being kind without expecting anything in return, including the need for acknowledgement of being kind. To evoke compassion we need to let go of the traumas and people that hurt us, and see them with empathy rather than contempt.  It comes with gratitude, appreciation, and an optimistic excitement that everything is possible and everyone is love.

I’ve create a workbook, “The Compassion Challenge“, for others to use and share in order to evoke and embrace the positive vibes of compassion.  The first week is about release past traumas and embracing your true self (you need to connect with yourself first before you can completely connect with others) and the second week is about restoration (we have to practice compassion for ourselves, which is self care, so we are our best selves when helping others).  Read it, work through it, share it, embrace it.

Sending you all healthy happy compassionate vibes for this month of self love and appreciation!!!!

ND embrace

 

 

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Once in a Blue Moon

Image result for blue moon fairy

Tomorrow, well tonight, is going to be an interesting triad of events – it’s a blue moon, a blood moon, and a lunar eclipse.  I wish here in Ontario we could see it, but we are definitely feeling it!  Full moons create a greater “pull” on earth – so those affected by EMFs or barometric/gravitational pressure are most physically and/or emotionally affected.  I woke up this morning in a gluten-like foggy stupor.  Nothing else was different in my environment, so I’m attributing it to the moon!

When I first heard about this moon I had one distinct image come into my head – the scene in Pinocchio where the blue fairy comes down and magically grants animated life to the wooden puppet.  Does that mean this is a wishing moon?  Who knows.  The optimistic in me would like to believe that is so and I’ll be setting intentions today to achieve (and the rational side of my brain will turn them into goals I’ll be accountable for throughout the month).   Perhaps it has a different meaning where those once oblivious will become awaken by this moon (analogous to the young puppet).  Mind you that’s just my perception – if it becomes reality then that’s yet to be determined.

That’s the interesting thing about reality – it is created by your perception of the environment around you.  Hence why everyone’s reality, or retelling of a situation, is slightly different, or skewed through a personal filter cultivated by previous experiences and biases.  If I believe it’s a wishing moon, then subconscious I will create an environment where my wishes become more tangible due to my change in perception, or reality.  Ironically the opposite is true as well – if we believe something negative then we increase the probability of creating it – it’s titled a self-fulfilling prophecy (quite a lot of evidence based papers on this, it’s a fun read).  Even if you don’t belief the moon can affect you, you can believe in the power of belief so if someone says that the moon affects them than there is some truth in it as they believe it to be so.

A common symptom felt during “full moon times”, aside from the typical headaches, fatigue and insomnia, is anxiety.  Anxiety is on the rise in our society, especially in the younger population.  It relates to the concept of resilience – which is our ability to critique changes in our environment and determine whether they are stressors or not.  We are constantly bombarded by external stimuli, whether physical or metaphysical, and become overwhelmed physically and emotionally.  Our bodies are unable to process what is important and what isn’t, so it has a default response of perceiving everything as a stressor.  Hence the over stressed, all-or-none, and dramatically personalities adopted by our youth.  When you are already frazzled or on edge (think of a night of no sleep – how hyperreactive and moody are you the day after?) any change in your environment, whether conscious or unconscious, puts you over the edge and you have an anxious, or sometimes panic, response.  Add in the fact that you don’t understand why you are anxious and that creates more anxiety.  The unknown is incredibly anxiety provoking.

With this knowledge, or insight, what can we do to reduce this anxious response?  Think of a live wire – when we need to discharge energy we need to ground.  Go to your basics to improve your resiliency. During times when you know the environment is going to be temperamental, or times you know it’s going to be stressed, try to get adequate food/water/sleep (you can’t control the environment, but you can control those!).  If you feel anxious, go through objective reasons why – did I eat, sleep, drink water, have a stressful day, etc. If you are more of a sensitive or empath (and if you are you know that you are) anxiety is common occurrence.  It may not have a reason why or a stressor causing it, but it always passes.  It’s uncomfortable, definitely, put it does pass.  The best thing you can do is support yourself through it.

Have a healthy happy blue blood super moon everyone!

(photo taken from iamthequeenoflight.com – how beautiful it is????)

 

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New Year Intentions and Reflections

2018

Happy last day of 2017!  It’s been an interesting year and everyone seems to be brimming with excitement and hope about the oncoming 2018 year.  A new year means new goals.  Some spend today scrounging for last minute new year eve plans and other spend it planning out their new year.  Goals are easy to make, and they are easy to break.  The challenge is maintain the motivation to complete and succeed at our goals year long.  To achieve this we need to: ignite an intent, find our theme, prepare for barriers, and track and act.

The number one documented reason for not accomplishing our goal is lack of motivation.  Completing a CBT course recently I learned that the most detrimental symptom of depression is apathy.  The way you counteract that lack of motivation is to just do the activity or goal you set out.  Even if you don’t want to.  By being active you natural raise your endorphin and mood elevating neurotransmitters which decreases the depressive mood.  With the new year we think this is a perfect time for a new start and endless opportunities.  Any setbacks we encounter negatively affects our thinking and through an “all or none” filter we abandon the goals due to our inability to achieve it instantly.  Imagine if every day was a new year day.  Imagine the unlimited and infinite possibilities we could create for ourselves.  Hence why I’m coining 2018 as the infinity year (the “8” is a rotated infinity sign so it works!).  Infinite possibilities, infinite change, and endless opportunities.

The amazing aspect about the infinity symbol is that it goes on endlessly, yet it has a wave-like property of going up and going down. That’s what life is – you go up, you go down, but it averages into a balance.  Think of conservation of energy principles – all energy is a combination of potential and kinetic energy.  Stop and start.  Push and pull.  Up and down.  Or simply think of a basketball player taking a foul shot – they need to plant their feet and center their balance before they take the shot.  If they don’t, their aim is affected and they have a higher probability of missing their shot.  You have to set than shoot.  Before we leap we have to plant our feet.

Before coming up with your new years goals (or resolutions), reflect on the past year.  What was your theme?  What did you achieve? And if you didn’t, what were your barriers to success? Then you can create your intent for the new year.  What is your theme, or what do you want to focus on (pick a noun – like business, self, family, health, joy, etc.)?  From your intention you then can create some smaller SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely) to help you achieve your theme.  Lastly track and act – track your progress of actual action towards your goal.

For example: The goal of “being healthy”.

What does “being healthy” mean?  What does it look and feel like?  Is your picture of healthy attainable and realistic?  Perhaps you mean to have more energy, or wake up refreshed, or doing things you use to enjoy.  Pick  2-3 smaller goals related to your theme – then act and track.  What are some barriers you may encounter?  Perhaps no time, no energy, or no motivation.  How will you conquer these barriers? Here is a Weekly GOal tracking document to help!

That’s my last blog post for the year!  Have a healthy and happy holiday season and wishing you an amazing infinity year for 2018!!!!

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A Woman’s Worth – What do you Value?

Image result for madonna and child

This has been a blog about a month in the making.  Let me first start with a disclaimer of why I chose the title and picture.  My birthday is coming up shortly and I’ve been bombarded with autonomic thoughts and visual images regarding identity and worth.  When I was asked what defines me, or what I want to be  most, my answer came quickly and strongly – a Mother.  And with that came a smile, a picture of the Madonna and child, and Maxwell’s remake of “A Woman’s Worth” in my head (hence title and picture).  This image has been following me everywhere – in cards, in posts, in signs, and in my head.  To me it’s the perfect depiction of my feeling toward motherhood – loving, connected, protective and supported.  All virtues which I greatly value and try to evoke everyday with myself, my friends, and my community.  Mother, caretaker, doctor, teacher – they all are homologous to me in virtuosity.

In the beginning this image, all though beautiful, haunted me.  Well time did.  Birthdays force you to reflect on the past year and do an inventory of all your accomplishments (even if it’s done subconsciously).  The past month that is what I did, and I did not like the results.  Tangibly not much has changed and that disappointed me.  To get my gratitude on and change my perspective I embarked on a 12 days of December (on my Instagram) to reflect on the treasures I do have and appreciate in my life.  That truly got me to reflect on my life and mood (it’s a great exercise, I recommend it highly).  Time creates anxiety.  I see this constantly with patients in clinic – if things aren’t on schedule or they are not accomplishing what they want to in a timely fashion – it creates anxiety, aggression, anger or frustration.  It’s similar to writing an exam – when there is a constraint of time once there are 5 minutes left in the exam and you haven’t finished all the questions then you become instantly flushed with fear and anxiety.  What if you didn’t get all the answers right?  What if you did worse than your friends?  What if this mark defines your entire future and if you perform poorly than it’ll ruin your life (that last one is extreme but I assure you it goes through student’s minds)?  The amount of constraints and pressure we put on ourselves because of our linear view of time is daunting.  We can’t control time, but we can control how we view it.  And how we view ourselves.

So why did this image original bother me?  Because that’s whom I define myself as, put the most value in, but am not.  Currently I have no children and sometimes absorb societal views of time constraining my opportunity.  There is no window for motherhood, regardless of what the popular opinion is.  Originally I thought I had to choose – school or family. I decided most noble would be to sacrifice my energy towards school for the greater good.  I felt like I had to sacrifice what I desired most to be more virtuous in my quest for medicine.  That’s how deep rooted my mother archetype was – already sacrificing myself for others.  Mother’s need not to sacrifice themselves for their children and I did not need to sacrifice my motherliness for others.  And that was the root behind my birthday anxieties for years – fear of losing time combined with not living my true identity.  When we don’t live harmoniously within our value set we become disresonant – thus disordered or dis-eased.  We begin to experience physical and mental emotionally symptoms due to this dis-ease.

Take a quick minute to write down what your values are.  Prioritize your top 3.  Are you living in resonance with these values?  If not, what are your blocks?  How can you change your situation so that you can be in harmony with these values?  If you picked identities, describe them.  What characteristics did you list?  Those are the things you value about those identities and need to embody in your own life to be at peace with yourself.

What does a mother mean to me?  Supportive, loving, protective, involved with children, caretaking, creating, teaching.  Ironically those are the same descripts I would use to define my value set.  I don’t need to be a mother physically, well not yet, to embody and live those values.  I can incorporate them into my work, my family, my community, and most important myself.  Magically then the fear of time dissolves away.  I don’t have to wait to be my true self, I can evoke and embrace it now by living those definitive core values.  Now I can see the true beauty of that picture, without anxiety, without judgement, without fear.  With just pure love and joy of living.

 

 

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“Wise Woman” – The Original Witch Doctor

witch doctorI was inspired to draw to above image after a wonderful visit with a patient a couple of days ago.  She took one look at my herb wall (I have a shelf full of herbs for making medicinal teas) and asked happily if I was a witch.  I laughed and said I get that a lot (usually it’s meant as a compliment), but she mentioned how witches were known for being healers and herbalism and I seemed to embody that energy.  This comment, and of course Halloween, really got me thinking about witches and their original role in society.

When you think witch, you may identify with my drawing above – green skinned, pointed hat, flare for fashion and lots of black.  Witch translates to “wise woman” – whom were revered in villages and kingdoms as natural healers and proficient in herbal medicine. Ironically, prehistoric medicine originated from herbalism before being modernized into treating infectious disease.  The father of medicine was Hippocrates (5th cen. BCE), who acclaimed that the body has the ability to self heal and that food and plants should be the medicine of choice (Doctors still swear the Hippocratic oath to this day when being initiated into the profession).  In ancient civilizations “witches” would be priestesses, servicing families rich and poor, delivery babies and helping with fertility issues.  They were looked upon with respect and admiration, as they were integral in the health of the ancient household.  Ultimately they embraced the virtues of healing with nature, celebrating feminity, and bringing harmony of the mind and body by educating and supporting their constituents.

It’s unsure of when the tide turned and wise women inherited the negative connotation of “witch” – an evil worshiper of the devil that brought havoc on whomever they were envious of.   Scholars speculate it was initiated by the church, spurned by a German manifesto “Malleus Maleficarium” which was a manual on how to identify, hunt and interrogate witches (this is where “Maleficant” comes from Disney fans!).   Many are familiar with the Salem Witch Trials in the US, yet the majority of witches were persecuted in Europe.  Over 80, 000 to be exact, between the years of 1500-1660, 80% of them woman (and I’m speculating 100% of them innocent), and majority in Germany (where is actually the origin of Naturopathic Medicine).  Ireland had the lowest amount of persecutions, which I speculate to the fact that herbalism and medicine is deep routed in Irelands history and they didn’t have the same fear-based reaction to a woman healing with herbs.

So how has the revered wise woman tumbled down into the marginalized and disgusting witch?  It all about power, ego and control (all traits that should not be included in regards to medicine).  Medical woman owned their wisdom in ancient (and now current) times, they celebrated their feminity, divinity, knowledge, and healing capabilities.  They were confident in themselves and their intellect and intuition.  This was seen as a threat.  The confident woman was seen as provocative, as “using their mind and body for evil means.  It’s a trend seen in today’s times (especially currently) – shaming woman for being confident in their feminity (or sexuality).  Sexuality and confidence were seen as detriment, and those whom spoke their mind were chastised for their opinion.  The very fact that they were a woman was used against them as a form of control.  This trend remained in professionalized medicine late into the late 1800s (the first woman to be  admitted into an American medical school was in 1849 and it was due to a joke ….. but Elizabeth Blackwell prevailed thankful).  Woman were still monumental in medicine – they were just practicing silently more as caretakers rather than “doctors” (even though one can’t exist without the other).

Although the church was an avid enemy and spear header of witch hunts, an ironic tidbit is that within the church those who practiced medicine and ran hospices were woman – mostly nuns and volutneers.  The major difference was that they were controlled within the convent and most times paid less than average house servant.  Hence these trends of wage inequality and suppressing sexual confidence are rooted deeply in our history, in addition to the “witch doctor” stereotype.

Ever so often I am slurred the term “Witch Doctor” as a form of insult to somehow undermine my education and intellect.  Honestly it doesn’t phase me because I don’t think it’s a negative term.  Wise woman, or witches, were the original medicine practitioners, believing and utilizing the healing power of nature and vitality (innate ability of the body to heal itself).  The main wiccan motto is to “harm none”, very similar to the first principle of the Hippocratic oath “do no harm”.  Combine that intuitive knowledge and care taking archetype with proper regulated education in medical diagnostics and physical examination and you get a pretty wicked doctor…..

 

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The Tipping Point

As a quick shout out to all the sensitives out there – what is going on the past two weeks?

There has been so much turmoil energetically out there, causing people to want to turn inwards and cocoon themselves in safety and comfort.  Jokingly, I’ve compared this to people needing to hibernate (the call of the fall season), but that is actually what is occurring.  People are feeling anxious, angry, frustrated, hypersensitive, and the need to implement self care is immediate to help mediate these reactive symptoms.  The reason I’m writing this post is in hopes that if people are experiencing unelicited emotional outbursts that they know it’s not in isolation – many are experiencing the same issues with no cause.

One my friends called me a couple of days ago asking the same question – “What the heck is going on?”.  She had been feeling anxious, angry, and hypersensitive.  She asked, I’m hoping joking, “isn’t there some way that I can just shut myself down and numb myself to all these environmental stressors?”.  Quick answer is no.  Long answer is even if you do try to numb yourself it’s not sustainable and the answer is still no.  Many sensitives will purposely, or subconsciously, shut off their sensitivities as children because they don’t have the ability to cope with their influx of emotions and the mind-body disconnects in order to survive.  This state however is not sustainable, and eventually the adrenals exhaust and people begin experiencing physical symptoms of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis dysregulation.  Certain symptoms experienced could be hormonal imbalances, anxiety, depression, digestive issues, dizziness, vertigo, chronic fatigue, and more.  These symptoms occur as a way of the body trying to regulate itself,  to reconnect the mind-body symbiotic relationship.  When this first occurs the influx of symptoms/emotions are overwhelming – that’s normal.  It’s like twirling, twirling, twirling, then the body stops and your mind sees the world spinning out of control in order for the brain to regulate itself again (which eventually it does).  You ride the discomfort, support yourself through it, and eventually your body finds balance.  If you try to avoid or suppress the discomfort it doesn’t go away, it comes back with a vengeance until you address it.   Balance is attainable – but it is a constant flux of up and down.  Nothing is ever static.

When I say “sensitive”, I mean someone whom is hypersensitive to the energy of the environment or the energies of the people around them.  They cry at commercials, they feel people’s pain more acutely than there own, they are caretakers and empathizers, creatives and idealists.  For those whom aren’t are sensitives or are familiar with them, I ask you to imagine this – visualize going into an environment and being stung by millions of bees at the micro surface – and not able to tell where the bees are coming from or how to get away from them.  Or the itchiest wool sweater stuck to you during summer and not able to scratch.  And now imagine that feeling on the inside.  That’s how unbalance sensitives feel.  It’s overall discomfort.

How do we dissolve this discomfort?  We need balance.  If we are over sensitive, then we either decrease the sensitivity or our reactivity (not suppress it).  We improve our resilience through high protein/fat foods and green veggies, calm herbs like rhodiola and holy basil, get fulfilling sleep and rest, and overall just breath.  When we have periods of discomfort – we support ourselves through it.  Mind you that doesn’t mean “suck it up”, as that has a condescension of undermining our feelings and struggle.  It is uncomfortable, it is a struggle, but it will pass.  And we will be stronger from it.  The more we share our discomfort, they kinder we become to our self and others.  The kinder we are, the calmer we are, and that is a universal consciousness that can be collectively felt.  We will get through this, one scale at a time.

 

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“Virgo – is the Archetype of the Healer, the Medicine Woman, the one who is dedicated to servicing her people.  And yet, there always comes a time when even she must retreat and give some of that healing to herself.  Her connection to source is strengthened when she goes within… She allows herself the time she needs to heal”

virgo

I found this beautiful quote while reading MysticMamma’s lovely blog on the new moon in September.  This quote as a health care practitioner, a medicine woman, and a healer/care taker archetype really resonated with me.  I completely understand and respect if you don’t believe in astrology (as a young scientist I had difficulties with the concept as well).  However, I find that every new and full moons have associated “themes”, just like people have themes in their life, and they seem to coordinate together.  For example, a subset of my friend group would text me about the same subject all within the same day and after reading other blogs find that it’s the same subject or theme reflected in recent astrology.  This has happened numerous times, hence I now pay closer attention to universal themes to prepare me for the conversations I’ll be having with friends and patients.  It’s a tool, amongst many, that helps with counseling and mindfulness.

The “theme” this September new moon (also the Equinox upcoming), is self-care.  It makes sense as we come to Autumn it’s all about abundance and coveting resources to prepare for winter’s harsh lessons.  Self care is so important.  Usually those whom take care of others (care takers, mother’s, healers, health care practitioners) are so focused on others and their healing that they neglect themselves.  We need balance in life.  That means stress with rest, movement with meditation, and helping others with helping ourselves.  If we don’t take care of ourselves, everything crumbles, and we feel stuck, frustrated, fatigued, and unable to function.  Our gifts can only shine when they are polished.  We have to care for ourselves to care for others (remember – mother does not mean martyr….. serving others does not mean sacrificing yourself!).

So how do we care for ourselves?  We need calm, we need ground, we need rest, we need nourishment.  Nourish our bodies, our minds, our souls.  Reconnect with source means reconnect with nature.  Take a “nature break”!  Go outside!  See the beauty around you to see the beauty within you.  We need time to heal.  And we deserve that rest and restoration to evoke our own inner healing.

Happy healing everyone!

 

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The Power of Music – Sister Act Edition

Image result for sister act movie

It has been 25 years since the movie “Sister Act” came out.  Yes.  That long ago.  I had no idea until I happened to watch “The View” today.  I usually don’t watch television, but was really happy I caught the show.  Listening to the choir reunion made me smile, and brought me back to how I felt originally when I first saw the movie as a kid.  I had a flood of memories in an instant – at that age I was originally a happy child but was having difficulties at school, had just moved, and my family was experiencing a tremendous loss.  Now that I think of it, it was a difficult time.  This movie, still one of my favourites, uplifted me through its music and message.  I identified with this movie – I felt alone in my new environment and wasn’t sure how to fit in.  Music and singing helped me process this difficult time, as it still does.

Music is a universal language.  Regardless of your age, gender, orientation, race, etc. we all have a love for music.  Some read music, some compose it, some sing from their heart, some beat together pots and pans, some create music electronically – it’s all music.  No matter the medium or the delivery, it’s all music.  That’s what makes it beautiful and cathartic.  Music is a way for us to express in a safe way.  When most people feel apprehensive about expressing their feelings, but they will happily join in a group singing a well known song (I call it the “bar effect” – put on any well known song in a bar and people will belt it out without qualms about their pitch and sound).  And after you sing you feel relief.  You feel a sense of belonging with the group you are singing with.  You feel a rush of adrenalin followed by elation and improved mood.  It is therapeutic.  Hence, music is wonderful therapeutic tool for people to use.

Music heals.  Many musicians use music as their healing tool.  Listen to their songs, their lyrics, their tone.  It’s them pouring their heart out, expressing their feelings in rhythm and key for all to know.  And when they, or their music, is received positively then they feel like they belong, that they are heard, and they start to heal.  Musicians sometimes are the most broken and vulnerable, which makes their music beautiful and relatable.  Some heal through song, some spiral further into darkness.  Hopeful those whom need more treatment will recognize it, receive it, and convey their journey through song.

Music brings us together, it evokes a sense of belonging, a feeling of community.  That’s what community is – communication between others creating a sense of connection.  Through music we express our emotions, we communicate and connect.  The next time you feel your mood is lowered, or you feel like you don’t belong, use music.  Dance around the house to your favourite song, shout out and sing, play or make an instrument, or remember the feeling you felt when you sang/danced to music as a child.  Music elicits your amygdala and engages your emotional memory – with the hum of a bar you can instantly get a jolt of happy mood elevating endorphins, similar to what you experienced when you first heard the song (the opposite is true too, if you hear a song that you used to help your through a tough time you can relive that memory too).  We can learn music and learn through music.  We feel music in everyway – physically (rhythm and base), emotionally (tune and pitch), and mentally (lyrics and hidden meaning behind songs).  Hence, music can be used to help heal one or all of these aspects that make up our whole self.  It helps change our resonance, soothe “dis-ease”, and evoke healing.  It is gentle, yet powerful, therapy.  Think of how easily a tune can stick in your head and change your mood for an entirely – the power of notes and words.  I think I’m going to start singing my affirmations…. give them that much more healing power.

“I will follow…. will follow… will follow”………………………………………………

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The Art of Scheduling – An Organized Mind leads to An Organized Life  

Scheduling is a way to evoke order and calm in your everyday life.  It gives balance and structure, which we need to operate fully physically and mental-emotionally.  Even in infancy schedules are imprutnent to life.  Babies feel best when they have a general routine or order (sleep, food, play, repeat).  Adults and kids are no different.  Kids may appear to favor chaos (especially when they are running circles around you), but actually thrive with scheduling as it gives them a feeling of order, safety, and comfort in knowing what is going to happen.  The ability to accomplish a goal, no matter how small, causes an intrinsic boost to our mood and enhances our self esteem.  Hence, it’s important to teach children how to create, implement, and continue a schedule, as it will help improve their mind/body and develop crucial adult skills of organization and independence.  We organize our routine, we organize our mind, and things seem, and become, more attainable.  So let’s talk about the importance of schedulers and planners for kids (and adults)……

1. Make it colorful

Pick out a planner in your favorite colour/theme in order for it to stand out.  Use coloured pens, highlighter, glitter pens, as a motivational and organizing tool.  Purple can be social, red academic, green sports, gold important events, etc.  Add in extra pages  for notes, affirmations, colouring sheets, and more to make it a journal and planner. 

2. Make it creative 

Use your scheduler for school but also social events, celebrations, events, play dates, job interview, everything!  Put in word searches, sudoku, games, crosswords, etc. to stimulate your kid’s mind to put them in  a more cognitive and focused state.  Create scavenger events, craft activities, art ideas, simple goals and challenges (like find a tree you like, or new book you have read).   You can play hide and find – hide stickers or notes in their planner and once they get to that day they get a prize or special event.  This helps them continue their planning past the first week (or when the excitement about their new planner wears off).  Lastly you can write in affirmations or put them on sticky notes as boosts of encouragement. 

3. Make it fun (educational)

Schedule 1 month and see how you can improve for the next (try for a balance of all different types of events – see if one colour prevails in your journal and that could signal that you focus too much on that aspect).  Set goals – make them clear and quantify them.  Instead of “do better” – listen 10 minutes more to the teacher and make notes.  Did you achieve your goal? Why or why not?  Problem solve how you can achieve your goal in the future – and write it in your planner!  If they are older kids (teens) maybe provide extrinsic motivation such as coffee cards or clothes for accomplishing goals. For younger kids, use a sticker tracker system and for every 5/10 award a special day with mom/dad.

4.  Make it your own.

If you don’t want to purchase a planner you can run off planner sheets online or from word documents and bind it into a planner.   You can design it anyway you like in any color or theme. You can even use black pages with gels pens or use natural paper.  Online schedulers exist too, but don’t provide the same satisfaction as a physical planner.

I understand how many don’t want to use a paper product because of the waste of disposing it at the end of the year.  Now I kept, and still have, all my past planners.  I find that they give me great glimpse into my past years and projects.  If you don’t want to keep them you can recycle or repurpose them.  You can keep the cover and craft the pages in to modpodge projects or vision board materials.   Cut out the goals and post them into a gratitude goal collage.  Burn them if you want to cleanse the year, or shread them and use it as stuffing material.  The possibilities are endless… The only limits are your creativity.

Have a wonderful year back to school and happy planning everyone! 

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