Friday, December 31, 2010

Unexpected Opportunity

In today's blog post, a guest writer, Trish Kalhagen, writes about an unexpected opportunity and how it has broader implications to our interactions as humans with one another.

There was an opportunity for me to sit upon a committee for a period of two days for a private organization. I would need to unplug so to speak from my regular life and family. My meals and overnight lodging would be provided. Due to confidentiality issues, I cannot give specifics but I can share a few of my thoughts here.

I met a wonderful group of people on the committee and in the organization who were gifted at communicating in a kind, gentle, peaceful, supportive, and healthy manner. This group of people really stood out in my mind and in my heart. This is my heartfelt desire and prayer for our world.

To be able to communicate with each other in this way. They have the tools in place to work toward continuing to listen to each other, understand each other and support one another along the way. It is really a beautiful gift.

No one is perfect, yet the enthusiasm and dedication that was presented to me over the last two days is truly admirable. I know that there are personality “color” tests that one can take to determine what personality type you are. This can give us some insight as to who I am and what personality type those people are that you are in regular contact with.

I believe that if many people could create the time to take a simple test like this, we could begin to change the world, one person at a time. I know because I have seen it in action over the last 48 hours. There could be much more peaceful conflict resolution and supportive listening.

This tool can be key in beginning to understand why you and the people around you respond to the world as they do. It is a great opportunity to clear up or prevent many misunderstandings and areas of conflict. It was beautiful music for my soul.

This is my goal when I sit with my family (which is not easy) and my clients when I am given the opportunity to listen to their personal story and for me to support their journey of traveling through life. I was given a beautiful gift during this time away and I am very grateful.

About Trish Kalhagen
Trish is certified in Spiritual Direction from Spirations Institute in Iowa, and certified as Reiki Master from Healing Partners in Iowa and Koru Ceremony in Wisconsin. She has facilitated workshops, support groups, and women’s sacred circles. Trish has supported adults in Hospice Care and Gilda’s Club.

To contact Trish or learn more about her work, visit Sacred Moments.


Blog Post & Images (c) 12/15/10 Trish Kalhagen - use by permission only

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Child Abuse Monument

We are in the process of completing the World's First Monument to survivors and victims of child abuse. Once finished it needs to be placed in a prominent place, so as to have the most impact.

The purpose of this petition is to bring to the attention of the Province of Ontario the "Reaching Out" Child Abuse Monument and a way in which the Province can bring significant attention to the issue of child abuse, in a positive, meaningful context of hope and healing.

Please when signing the petition also comment in the box on the right to tell the Province what will the Monument mean to you and why it should be in a prominent location.

The Monument is a bronze statue built upon the courage and spirit of victims of child abuse and their supporters, and empowers them to speak out. It addresses child abuse in a non-confrontational way by focusing on the feelings of those affected, offering hope and facilitating the healing process.

The Monument uniquely uses the direct voice for survivors and their supporters to artistically speak about concerns words can often not convey. It serves to educate and increase awareness of an issue that, despite its prevalence, remains a subject around which the general public has limited knowledge and understanding.

Monument Design:

Dr. Michael Irving designed the Monument to incorporate the artistic contribution of survivors of abuse and/or their families and supporters. The underlying premise of a Monument of individual quilts is that people who have confronted and survived abuse, who have triumphed over adversity, possess a special wisdom that can help others face the reality of child abuse, through hopeful, healing messages.

Measuring over 11 feet tall and 32 feet wide, the bronze sculpture is a representation of two standing figures with arms spread out and upward in an encompassing embrace, as shown on the cover page of this proposal. Quilted shawls drape the outstretched arms and shoulders of the figures.

Each ten-inch square quilt features a cast hand of a survivor or a supporter of a survivor, along with their artwork and sometimes, their words. Seventy-six of the quilt squares have an outline of a child's hand and their personal message about child abuse. On each figure, a number quilt squares are left smooth as a place of remembrance for all survivors.

Visitors to the site can use water to moisten a hand and rest it on one of the plain squares, creating a temporary hand print and allowing them to be part of the Monument while undertaking a few moments of contemplation.

To fully do the work for which it was created, the Monument needs to be placed at a permanent site where its message can be available to the public.

To sign the petition:
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/A-Home-for-Child-Abuse-Monument/


Related YouTube Videos and News Interviews:
1) Child Abuse Monument Designed For Queen's Park
2) Viet Nam Wall Inspires Child Abuse Monument

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Asparagus the Cancer Fighter

According to Jeff Primack of Qigong.com, Asparagus has more Gluthathione than any other food. Gluthathione is a phytochemical that helps with detoxification of the body.

While you can receive injections of Gluathathione, it has been suggested that better results are obtained by eating asparagus.


According to Wikipedia, Gluathathione has the following functions:

1) It is the major endogenous antioxidant produced by the cells, participating directly in the neutralization of free radicals and reactive oxygen compounds, as well as maintaining exogenous antioxidants such as vitamins C and E in their reduced (active) forms. Note: Endogenous antioxidants are antioxidants that are made by our bodies versus exogenous antioxidants that we get by eating antioxidant rich foods.

2) Regulation of the nitric oxide cycle, which is critical for life

3) It detoxifies many foreign compounds and carcinogens, including heavy metals such as mercury, lead, and arsenic.

4) It is essential for the immune system to exert its full potential

Jeff Primack's action strategy for cancer is to boost the immune system and detoxify the body. He suggests lightly steaming asparagus rather than eating it raw. The cancer strategy he uses calls for eating asparagus every day in addition to other foods that are high in phytochemicals.

For more information on Phytochemicals, see my blog post on May 14, 2009.


Blog Post & Images (c) 12/14/10 Don Shetterly - use by permission only

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Don't Give Up

Whatever happens in life, I have learned that I can handle it. I know that deep down I have what I need to make it through the rough times. Not that it is easy to do this, but by example, I have been taught it is possible.

It was not always this way and in the crucible of life, I have been tested in difficult ways. There were times that I did not think I could make it through. There were times I just wanted to give up. In fact, there were times when I did try to give up. Even now, there are moments when I question everything in life and wonder if I can make it.

Never will I say to anyone that growth, healing and becoming more aware of yourself is a walk int he park. For I know just how difficult it is. When I was in the midst of all that I was being bombarded by, no one could have convinced me that I could make it through these moments.

Now, may I constantly remind myself of what I just wrote. May I draw upon my inner strength and knowledge to fully reclaim my power and soar past the peak of the highest mountains.


Blog Post & Images (c) 12/11/10 Don Shetterly - use by permission only

Monday, December 27, 2010

Triggers Are Everywhere

Triggers can get us at any time, place, moment or in any circumstance or with any person. There is no discrimination by triggers. Often when you least expect them, they rise up and smack you hard in life.

Recently I was in a workshop and got triggered so hard, the shame and pain of the trigger almost pulled me under. Fortunately, I was able to deal with it in a positive way because life was spiraling out of control very quickly. To read more, check out the blog post Healing The Triggers Of Life.

Another example was that I had gone to a Toastmasters meeting to check them out and possibly join. Toastmasters goal is to help you learn how to speak in public more effectively. The first meeting went okay with one individual significantly pushing the boundaries but I shrugged it off.

On my second visit, there was a person giving a speech who thought it was appropriate to give a sermon about God as her speech. The evaluator for her speech of course loved it because as he said, "I am a pastor (minster of a church)!" I felt violated and triggered. Later I found out that topics such as religion and politics are not appropriate for these meetings as they are not meant to make people uncomfortable. The purpose is to help people give speeches, not deal with hot button issues.

For me, going into stores during the holiday season and seeing people buy gifts for Christmas is extremely triggering. It brings me back to some very painful gift exchanges at Christmas in my early years.

Just to be in a store where it is crowded or where they have aisles filled with merchandise to restock the shelves like in Walmart, is triggering. I get claustrophobic easily and if aisles are blocked, I panic that I am trapped and cannot get out.

People (especially strangers) bumping into me are extremely triggering to me. At one time to be touched by anyone was so frightful. I have really come a long ways in this. Still, I am very guarded when I am out in public. It is hard for me to trust anyone.

Recently, I had a friend come down to visit and was triggered unexpectedly and hard when the friend left without saying goodbye. I remember the traumatic moments around my older brother getting up early, slipping out the door and driving away. No goodbye had been said and no one realized he had packed all his belongings into his car, the night before. The only way we knew he was gone was when we heard his car start as he coasted out the driveway.

Who could blame my older brother for his escape? While I had to play counselor and console my parents, I was both angry and jealous of him for leaving. I was just a teenager held captive in life that was brutally traumatic. What amazed me though was how strongly I was triggered back to these events and just how much pain surfaced as a result.

Other times in bodywork and massage, I've been strongly triggered in the role of being a massage therapist. I have had people overtly and covertly try to solicit sex from me as part of the massage. Some of it has been more of a sense and feeling than anything but each time it happens, it triggers me back to some horrible experiences I went through with my father.

I could go on and on about many more triggers. Triggers are the one thing that are abundant in my life. I wish I could wave that magic wand and make them all disappear. Often though they show up unexpectedly while surprising me with a hit and run kick to the gut.

When these triggers hit, I am trying hard to recognize them. It is so easy to continue in life thinking that everyone else is seeing the events unfold as you do. When you are able to check your reactions with people you trust, there is a chance for a different outcome. It is so easy to think that when you're triggered, how you see things is how others see them. Understanding that a difference exists is helpful and healing.

I do not try to stop my emotions or feelings when I am triggered. Instead I work to help myself understand what is going on in this situation and how it is affecting me. I allow myself to learn and work with the trigger by talking and writing about them. In addition, I also allow myself to connect with the feelings and emotions of it with where it is located in my body.

Triggers are not easy for me to deal with but I am learning that I can work with them and begin to heal from them. The more I acknowledge and give them a voice, the more energy and power that I take back from them. At times, I do try to minimize triggers in my life so that I am not completely overwhelmed.

In life, what I considered to once be a life sentence in dealing with triggers is now something I am able to work with. Even though times where I am triggered may get rough, I do realize there are other options in how I react to life. Triggers can get easier to deal with and I know that I can heal from these moments.

Further Reading:
Healing The Triggers Of Life, Blog Post on November 24, 2010


Blog Post & Images (c) 12/13/10 Don Shetterly - use by permission only

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Happy Holidays From Topanga

Oh my, let me take a moment to stretch here before I begin writing. Please take a moment and get up and stretch as well. Ahhh, doesn't that feel better now? There is nothing like stretching those claws up and out!

Anyway, hi, this is Topanga, the other cat that helps watch over Don. Corey explained yesterday that we are just giving Don the gift of writing his blog for a couple of days. It gives him a chance to rest up because he stays so busy. Sometimes I have to get a little pushy to get him to leave the computer alone and play with me.

Don is really special though because he loves all of us with unconditional love. Both Corey and I realize just how difficult life was for Don as he was growing up but we are here helping him try to become all he can be. He's really made great strides in all of this as well but we do realize that some days, it is still difficult for him. We just give him lots and lots of love!

My message this Christmas season is to just love one another with unconditional love. Try to not show your love with strings attached or with thoughts of what you feel is best for the person but truly accepting them just as they are in the moment. I know that's how Don accepts us and it makes me want to run and play with joy. It means the world to most people that they are just truly loved and accepted, not that they have to live a certain way or be a certain way to be loved and accepted.

We're all on this planet together and we really need to learn to love one another. Hopefully during this Christmas holiday season, we will all understand that a little more. In the meantime, show some love to your fellow human and cats of course. For when you show love, you get a ton back in return. Happy Holidays everyone and Merry Christmas to all!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Holidays From Corey

Hi everyone! This is Corey, one of cats that helps watch over Don. He's very busy these days and so me and Topanga are going to give him a break on the blog. He really does try hard to keep up with the blog and write meaningful concepts. So we thought it was only fitting that we would give this special gift of writing his blog for him.

However, we aren't really that good with words so we figured a couple of pictures showing us in the holiday spirit would warm the hearts of all who read the blog. For us, we're getting lots of love today and some special little toys. I'm actually enjoying the Christmas wrapping paper that we get to play with.

Seriously though, I just want everyone to realize that no matter how many paws you have in life, you are loved and cared for in a special way. We all matter regardless of our height in the world or how much food is in our food dish. Just know that you matter and you are loved. My sister and I was born three years ago right around Christmas Day. We were a Christmas wish that came true and so together we celebrate all the love that life has to give.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Pre-Frontal Cortex Functions

According to Daniel J. Siegel in "The Mindful Brain", the pre-frontal cortex has nine major functions. This part of the brain does not fully develop until around 25 years of age. It also depends upon how much time we spend working to develop this part of our brain. Like any muscle in our body, if we don't use it, it does not develop fully. While many people do develop and utilize the pre-frontal cortext (PFC) of their brain, there are many who do not and like any muscle in the body, if you don't use it, it doesn't fully reach full capacity.


The nine functions of the pre-frontal cortex according to Daniel Siegel are as follows:

  1. Body Regulation
  2. Attunement
  3. Emotional Balance
  4. Response Flexibility
  5. Empathy
  6. Self-knowing
  7. Awareness
  8. Fear Extinction
  9. Intuition
  10. Morality


  • Body Regulation - Functions of the body such as heart rate, respiration and digestion that are controlled by the nervous system.
  • Attunement - When we attune to others we allow our own internal state to shift, to come to resonate with the inner world of another.
  • Emotional Balance - Even the healthiest person may be temporarily thrown off and feel out of balance but the middle pre-frontal region functions to bring us back to equilibrium. The ability to stay focused on the inside when the storms of life are raging on the outside.
  • Response Flexibility - This ability to pause before responding is an important part of emotional and social intelligence.
  • Empathy - is the capacity to create mindsight images of other people's minds. These you-maps enable us to sense the internal mental stance of another person, not just to attune to their state of mind.
  • Self-Knowing - creates mental time travel in which we connect the past to the present and the anticipated future.
  • Fear Extinction - After experiencing a frightening event, we may come to feel fear in the face of a similar situation. But the middle prefrontal region has direct connections that pass down into the limbic area and make it possible to inhibit and modulate the firing of the fear-create amygdala.
  • Intuition - Can be seen as how the pre-frontal cortex gives us access to the wisdom of the body. This region receives information from throughout the interior of the body, including the viscera (heart, intestines) and uses this input to give us a "heart felt sense" of what to do or a "gut feeling" about the right choice.
  • Morality - Moral reasoning seems to require the integrative capacity of the pre-frontal cortex to sense the emotional meaning of present challenges and to override immediate impulses in order to create moral action in response to challenges.
I really enjoy reading and learning about the pre-frontal cortex because it is where the new wave of learning is taking place. The more we understand about how this area of our brain affects us, the more we become human. Just because we appear to be human and take the form of a human body, it does not truly mean we are human.

The development of the pre-frontal cortex is at the forefront of becoming a more conscious and aware human being. Through developing our felt sense and our connection to the body, we begin to connect with this portion of our brain and strengthen as well as develop its functions. As we begin to do that, our world which was once filled with turmoil, pain, despair and an over abundance of challenges begins to change. Through development of the pre-frontal cortex, we become acquainted to areas of life that we were not able to see and a brand new set of experiences begin to open up before our very eyes.

Note: Special thanks goes to Dr. Paul Canali and Evolutionary Healing for the development of some of my understanding in this area and to Daniel Siegel in his book, The Mindful Brain .




Blog Post & Images (c) 12/24/10 Don Shetterly - use by permission only

Thursday, December 23, 2010

NO High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)

If High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is so healthy, beneficial and good for us as the "corn sweetener industry" would have us believe, why is this ketchup product being sold in the way it is. On the label (see picture with this blog post), it clearly states that there is NO High Fructose Corn Syrup.

If this was such a healthy product for us to consume, wouldn't you think the manufacturer would be highlighting that point? They would not go to all the trouble of making a special label on a specific product that everyone uses to say, "hey our product does not have HFCS in it!"

I applaud Hunts for making a Ketchup product that has no high fructose corn syrup. Maybe by them doing this, it will push the other manufacturers to follow its lead and do the same thing.

We all know that the food industry makes claims of fact when it is nothing but organized branding and marketing campaigns. You can say all you want to about how great HFCS is but in the end, you're only fooling yourself. You can discount all the wisdom out there while pushing your claims of how it isn't really bad for you like you see in the commercials on TV. In the end, you're only fooling yourself.

I get appalled when I go grocery shopping and see just how many products have this sweetener in them when it is a product that should not have sweetener of any type in it. We wonder why diabetes and obesity are problems in this country? Do I need to say more?

In fact, it is difficult to find products these days without all the High Fructose Corn Syrup in them. When we go shopping we read the labels and if possible, we buy products without it. If you begin to read the labels of all the products you buy, you'll quickly see just what some of these corporate manufacturers put in the food we consume.

I hope that consumers in this country wake up to what is pushed upon us by corporations who are just out to make another dollar. Most of these corporations talk a good talk but they don't walk the walk.

It is up to each one of us to open our eyes and become aware of what we consume. Only then can we make the choices that are best for us. Don't just follow what the Corn Sweetener Industry or advertisements try to get you to believe. Be smarter than that and do your own homework.

For more information on this subject, check out a blog post I wrote in June 2010 called, "Agave Nectar, The High Fructose Health Food Fraud".

Become informed because the more you know, the better off you are!



Blog Post & Images (c) 12/13/10 Don Shetterly - use by permission only

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

H1N1 Vaccine Linked to Increase In Miscarriages

Recent data from a study presented to the US Centers For Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Advisory Committee on Children's Vaccines has revealed the effects of the H1N1 vaccine on miscarriages. The study was conducted during the 2009 H1N1 swine flu pandemic. During this time, there was a 700 percent increase in miscarriages compared to previous years. According to the study, this points directly to the vaccine as the culprit. The CDC denies this of course and insists that nobody has been harmed.

According to the CDC, almost 50% of all pregnant women were vaccinated with the H1N1 vaccine during the 2009/2010 influenza season. Those whose physicians instructed them to get a seasonal flu shot were three times more likely to get it while those instructed to get the H1N1 shot were ten times more likely to get it. The numbers clearly show that along with the rise in vaccinations due to the H1N1 scare came the sharp increase in miscarriages.

You can read the remainder of this article at NaturalNews.com

They all drank the kool-aid!

This is sad on so many levels. The fear the permeates every part of our society and would lead people to blindly get vaccines just about boggles my mind completely. What we convince ourselves is "healthy" and "proper" to do in this society is nothing short of ignorant.

Of course you can be like the CDC and dismiss the article saying no one was harmed and all these vaccinations are a good thing but please at least understand - you're drinking the kool-aid!

Becoming healthy is not what 99% of Americans believe it is. Granted, I just made the 99% statistic up but a very large percentage of our country (and most likely the world) believe that answers to health conditions exist only in vaccines, drugs and surgical procedures.

Please don't get me wrong. I'm not saying ALL medical intervention is bad. You need to do what is best for you and your body but just don't blindly follow what the medical machine dictates without checking it out first. Learn about how to become aware of your body and go inside of yourself for answers and healing because there is so much power in the natural healing abilities our bodies have located within. Treat healing as an entire life approach by learning to take care of yourself instead of reacting to situations that require emergency care.

All too often, we as humans give up on the basic things in life, thinking that some day we'll have time to relax more or take a rest. We think that all of the things that are considered alternative health procedures are something nice but not something that will truly do much for us. We tend to just want to mask the pain and the health conditions rather than really trying to find the root cause of what is going on. Of course we can act this way but at the end of the day, we will not be any more healthy than we are.

I hope that articles like this help people wake up just a little bit more. There is so much more that we can do with our own bodies that most of us are not even aware of. Taking care of ourselves has so much more to do with becoming more aware of ourselves than it does taking any pill, supplement or procedure hoping to escape the pain or horror we face.

Please, read the referenced article and the next time you are told that you need to take some medication, vaccine or go through some procedure - question it! Then question your conclusions again! And if you find yourself being afraid of other possible treatment scenarios, question why you are afraid. For when we search for the hard answers, only then will we know the truth. In that moment, we will become more aware and not just be one of the followers drinking the kool-aid.



Source: http://www.naturalnews.com/030657_vaccines_miscarriages.html



Blog Post & Images (c) 12/10/10 Don Shetterly - use by permission only

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Branding Disease

In a recent article on thebetterhealthstore.com, there was an article titled "Branding Disease, Selling Cures." Quoting the article, "Drug makers have have become expert at creating diseases to sell their pharmaceutical cures."

Stop and think about this for a moment. If you're a drug company and your shareholders want you to keep making a profit year after year, what would be the best way to sell your product? Why not create a need for the drug and then focus on people who possibly might need the drug?

Sure, a case could be made that each person really needs this drug and so the drug company is offering a vital service of health and well being to that consumer. You could make that argument or you could broaden your mindset a little, shift out of our current paradigm and really use all the brain cells to think about this.

If you think I am making this up, consider the following that the article talks about. In 1928, there was a popular book by the name of "Propaganda" by Edwards Bernays. He is considered to be the father of public relations. His main point was that the public relations business was less about selling things than about creating the conditions for things to sell themselves.

So you're saying, so what? Every company out there tries to sell their product and this is America, so what's your point or your beef with doing this? What are you, anti-capitalist? I can answer that last question in one word, NO! I am not against making money but when it preys upon innocent folks and gives the illusion that it is something good for them when maybe it is not, than "Houston, we have a problem!" Please though, let's not stop here. Let's explore this a little further and I think you will understand the point I'm trying to make (and the article was making).

Pharmaceutical marketers now sell drugs by selling the diseases that they treat, otherwise known as "disease branding". To brand a disease is to shape its public perception in order to make it more palatable to potential patients.

Panic disorder, reflux disease, erectile dysfunction, restless legs syndrome, bipolar disorder, overactive bladder, ADHD, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and even clinical depression: All these conditions were once regarded as rare until a marketing campaign transformed the brand.

Let me repeat that last statement from the article again because it is important. "ALL THESE CONDITIONS WERE ONCE REGARDED AS RARE UNTIL A MARKETING CAMPAIGN TRANSFORMED THE BRAND."

Once a branded disease has achieved a degree of cultural legitimacy, there is no need to convince anyone that a drug to treat it is necessary. It will come to them as their own idea.

Disease branding works especially well for two kinds of conditions. The first is the shameful condition that can be destigmatized. Another good candidate for branding is a condition that can be plausibly portrayed as under-diagnosed. Branding such a condition assures potential patients that they are part of a large and credible community of sufferers.

For another moment of truth, consider the following event that took place in 2002. The vice president of Pharmacia, Neil Wolf, explained the branding strategy in a presentation called "Positioning Detrol: Creating a Disease." By creating the disease of "overactive bladder," he claimed that Pharmacia created a market of 21 million potential patients.

Here's another moment of truth to bring the point I'm trying to make, closer to home. In order to convince shy people they had social anxiety disorder, GlaxoSmithKline, the maker of Paxil, hired a PR firm called Cohn and Wolfe. Cohn and Wolfe put together a public awareness campaign called "Imagine being allergic to people," which was allegedly sponsored by a group called the "Social Anxiety Disorders Coalition."

I could share so much more from the article but if this has gotten your attention, please go read the entire article. It is mind blowing exactly what is going on in the medical industry. I knew there was a shift in the advertising and marketing of these drugs but I could not quite put my finger on it until I read this article. If this doesn't wake someone up a little, than please rush to the doctor and have someone check your pulse - you might not be alive!

Am I being too radical on all of this? I don't think so and I've tried to offer some proof according to the article on the better health store.com website. We really need to wake up in this country because our health care system as we know it is failing. We are spending record amounts of money in medical care and are not any more healthy than we were 20 years ago. As humans, it is part of our existence to become more aware of ourselves and to grow, evolve and learn rather than just be mere participants in life.

I'm going to leave you with one statement in the article that I think really brings the entire article home. "If all drugs were harmless, disease branding would be relatively harmless, too. But no drug is completely benign." If you need any proof of that, just search the side effect of any drug you are interested in and see how many serious conditions (including death) are listed. That should be more than enough to make everyone sit up and think instead of just ingesting what is being marketing to them.

As with everything that I post, please feel free to challenge it for your own life and see what fits and what does not. Use the information here to help you learn more about yourself and the best way to take care of yourself. Do not use this information as the sole source of medical advice as to how to live your life. This is not meant as medical advice. It is only meant as information to help you understand and evolve as a human.

To Read The Complete Article, go to Branding Disease, Selling Cure found on The Better Health Store.com .



Blog Post & Images (c) 12/10/10 Don Shetterly - use by permission only

Monday, December 20, 2010

Carob

Many religious scholars believe that John The Baptist in the Bible lived on carob pods which were called locust beans in his day. In addition, the story of the prodigal son references eating the pods the swine were fed and it is believed to be the pods of carob trees.

Even the Greek Theophratus recorded in 4 B.C. that carob was the Egyptian fig. The Romans are thought to have eaten the carob pods as well.

The carob tree is a legume that grows in arid conditions in places like the Mediterranean areas. Because of the areas it grows in, they are naturally alien to fungus and pests so little or no chemical sprays are needed. It is a large tree and grows up to 50 feet. It flowers in September and October. The tree produces no fruit for the first 15 years of its life. A large tree can produce up to one ton of beans in one harvest and can often produce fruit well into its old age.

One tablespoon of unsweetened carob powder has 25 calories, no fat, no saturated fat, no cholesterol, and 6 grams carbohydrate. One tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder contains 12 calories, 1 gram of fat, no saturated fat, no cholesterol and 3 grams of carbohydrate.

Carob has been called the health substitute to chocolate. For people, who cannot eat chocolate, carob is a good alternative. Carob is free from caffeine and theobromine found in chocolate which are stimulants. It is also naturally sweet, so carob products will generally contain less sugar than chocolate.

For More Information:
1) http://recipes.howstuffworks.com/what-is-carob.htm

2) http://www.living-foods.com/articles/rawcarob.html

Carob can be purchased in your local health food store or in places like Whole Foods. It is available for purchase online at Amazon.com as well if you are not able to find it in your area.






Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Illusions

Christmas is many things to many people. If you ask a hundred different people what Christmas is all about, you will most likely get a hundred different responses. It is celebrated in many ways among many different people and yet, all across this world, it is a day of great importance.

When I was a child, the Christmas season was one of the happiest times of the year to me. My mom would bake Christmas cookies and candy, and together we would decorate the beautiful cookies with icing and sprinkles. I remember the taste of the fudge, so full of sugar and chocolate that it made your taste buds dance with glee. I remember the divinity and the peanut brittle along with many other types of Christmas treats.

Leading up to the days before Christmas, I was a child full of smiles, waiting for Santa Claus to bring me those special few gifts. It didn’t really matter to me what I got, just as long as there was some special gift for me to unwrap. I was happier receiving a gift than being concerned with what I was given. It did not matter to me what the gift was. It was the joy of the surprise and the endurance of the wait that I longed for each Christmas.

Through the many church programs, singing and playing the Christmas songs for the Christmas story, I found myself wanting to perform these moments forever and ever. I enjoyed playing the piano as well as singing the songs at the retirement homes, where the faces of the elderly beamed with joy. Tears would come to my eyes as these beautiful songs filled the room, and I felt the peace and love of the season flowing through me.

As time passed by, my life endured many things that were difficult beyond measure. I hid within the joy of Christmas from the pain that surrounded and engulfed me. It became my hope and fantasy but it also was my illusion. For me to realize that anything but happiness, joy, and good cheer existed, took me from the illusion that I was living in life. It grew into a conflict between trying to deal with reality and trying to enjoy a world of fantasy. The pain that I felt was mixed in with the joys of the season, and my heart longed with sadness, my eyes filled deep with tears.

As I stated at the beginning of this, Christmas means many things to many people. I wish I could write that it was all joy and magic and make believe that is portrayed through the season. I wish I could write that it is a time of family being together that I was born into, but I cannot write those words. For if I tried to make it appear that everything was full of cheer for me during this time, I would be living an illusion. As difficult as it is, I face a reality that is anything but full of cheer.

During the holiday season, I see so many people spending countless dollars of worry to make sure they buy the best present they can buy for another person. Whether it is family or friends, the stress of picking that right present is a struggle to many. I know completely just how difficult it can be to spend what little you could save throughout the year to buy Christmas gifts for family members, only to be shunned and ridiculed for the gift you bought and gave them. Christmas has to be about so much more than giving gifts or being with family.

Of course, we should not forget that the corporate retail market believes Christmas is a success when every man, woman, and child is out buying armfuls of gifts to shower their love upon their fellow humans. For according to the retailers, if you aren’t buying Christmas gifts and putting yourself in debt, you truly aren’t human. So many in our country celebrate this time by spending thousands of dollars to show they love one another.

Yet, my mind wanders into the night asking, “Is this what Christmas is truly about?” Is it a time of stressing over holiday parties, holiday gifts, and which family member is going to visit which home at what time? Is it a time of living in a fantasy world full of illusion, and sipping the champagne and egg nog until our senses grow numb? It is a time where we become intolerant of how others believe?

The answers to these questions I see in our world are inadequate. I only write about that which I see and currently understand. Each person is of course, free to believe and practice in the way that is appropriate for their life. My hope though is that each one of us will really stop and consider what this season truly means.

Christmas is a time of celebrating peace, love, and goodwill to men. It is a time of giving to others, not with hopes that you will have bought the perfect gift but that you will have given it out of pure love. It is a time of helping our fellow man, and realizing that the help should not only be on one day of the year, but each day we are fortunate to be alive and living in this world.

Christmas is much more than we make it out to be and much less than we think it truly is. The lights, trees, gifts, carols, and parties are all part of it. There is nothing wrong with these things. However, if we forget what Christmas is all about, we become a noisy gong and a clanging symbol decorated with pretty lights and glitter.

Let us remember that during this holiday time, not everyone is able to participate and many suffer in silence as a result of Christmases past. They often sit on the sidelines in suffering, hoping that the day will soon pass, when all they want to do is to forget the painful moments that this day brings. Let us reach out in love to these people, but let us remember to respect their pain and honor their true feelings.

Christmas is not about doing something because we expect anything in return. Christmas is about giving of our true heart through peace, understanding and goodwill to all that we know and meet. If we can understand this one thing about Christmas, then we will have truly celebrated the real spirit of the season.

I leave you with the lyrics to the song, “Let There Be Peace On Earth”

Let peace begin with me
Let this be the moment now.
With every step I take
Let this be my solemn vow.
To take each moment
And live each moment
With peace eternally.
Let there be peace on earth,
And let it begin with me.



Blog Post & Images (c) 12/5/10 Don Shetterly - use by permission only

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Stress Can Make Us Sick

All of us know that stress can make us sick but there is a disconnect in our society when it comes to actually realizing the impact of stress upon our life. If you don't believe me, just monitor how much time you spend relaxing and releasing stress in your life and how much others around you do the same thing. I have seen many people come in for a massage that is more like a treat than something healthy that they should do as often as they go through their week at a job.

Yet, we as humans and maybe more in our society push ourselves past our limits every day. Maybe it is this way in the whole world, I do not know because I am not able to travel and check it out. In our days, we have our jobs, our family functions and our organizational functions which we must attend. We are running here and there for everything, everyone and anything it seems. There is never a dull moment in our lives except when we are maybe watching the TV as we doze off to sleep. Our blackberry and iphone are filled with our schedule of many tasks we need to complete and we live to check those off one at a time.

Where is the sanity in staying so busy and treating our bodies as if they are a robot that is destined to be our servant in life? Where is the enjoyment of life when we can barely stop and smell the roses or notice the sounds of the birds waffling by our ears? Where is the the warmth of touch on our lives when we fail to connect with anyone around us in a meaningful way?

We all know that we push ourselves harder than we should and yet, many of us do very little about that. Maybe it is because we are not comfortable being alone in our body and in our mind for there are parts we just don't want to think about. Maybe you have been raised to believe that an idol mind is the devils playground. Some of us may feel that our self worth is defined by how much we accomplish and how successful we appear that we have become. Others may feel that it is our sense of duty or responsibility to never stop for fear of letting someone down in our life or letting ourselves down. There are many reasons and most of them need to be challenged to the core in our life.

Regardless of the reason, it is undeniable that what goes on in our mind and in our life is what is reflected in our body. They are one and the same. You cannot separate the two as hard as you might like to separate them. We can make ourselves sick because we do not stop and take care of ourselves. We can also make ourselves whole by stopping to really focus on our body, mind and spirit. It really is that easy and it is that difficult.

Consider the quote from the book, "Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers" by Robert M. Sapolsky on pages 2 and 3.

We have come to recognize the vastly complex intertwining of our biology and our emotions, the endless ways in which our personalities, feelings, and thoughts both reflect and influence the events in our bodies.

Extreme emotional disturbances can adversely affect us. Stress can make us sick, and a critical shift in medicine had been the recognition that many of the damaging diseases of slow accumulation can either be caused or made far worse by stress.

Further Reading:
Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers by Robert M. Sapolsky


Blog Post & Images (c) 12/6/10 Don Shetterly - use by permission only

Friday, December 17, 2010

Dreading Christmas

As the dreaded day of Christmas approaches, I find myself feeling at times like I want to cry but I'm afraid the crying will never end once it starts. I find myself wanting to avoid any mention of the holiday and staying clear of the stores at all costs.

Some days I feel overly hyper like I can't possibly sit down and stop but then sometimes in the same moment, I feel as if I'm exhausted - then the back and forth of the emotions starts the process all over again. I feel emotional at times, angry at times and hurt at times.

There are moments when I want to see the lights, decorate the house and bake some Christmas cookies. In the same moments, I want to lash out at anyone who dares mention Christmas to my face.

I long for the fantasy world I experienced during Christmas but along with it, the pain of the illusion is extremely difficult. It gets confusing and yet I know I'm making progress. It is fun at times, but it is exhausting and draining.

To all those that celebrate Christmas and have fun during this holiday, my hat is off to you. It is a time where I feel like one of those toys that you smack and it doesn't quite fall over, but it bounces back up. The only difference in this time for me is I feel like I'm constantly smacked and knocked down. My only hope and saving grace through this time is for December 26th to get here or to bury myself in work that keeps me from thinking about all of this.


Blog Post & Images (c) 12/15/10 Don Shetterly - use by permission only

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Holiday Message From Tama Kieves

The following video from Tama Kieves talks about how some are focusing on how many days there are left before Christmas. Tama, of a Jewish background, offers alternative ways to look at this time of the year. She is suggesting that people give of themselves this year as an alternative. She is asking people to consider asking themselves and focusing on the answers to questions like: What did I do right this year? How did I show up for myself? What inner shifts did I make?

While this is not a religious video in any sense, I struggled to watch it because I am so triggered by the Christmas holiday. For me, any mention of the holidays is difficult to deal with and I just wanted to be upfront and honest with anyone reading this. I have watched part of it but am relying on the judgment of a good friend of mine in sharing it on this blog.

To View The Video on Youtube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UyasRnz8tG4

For more information on Tama Kieves, check out www.AwakeningArtistry.com

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Unseen Steps

In life, I am beginning to define who I am and what I am about. It is not the easiest of times but I feel as if my discovery is exactly where i need to be in this moment. It doesn't pay the bills and often I get discouraged but deep down, I know this is part of my journey to all that is ahead.

If I do not walk these steps, I will not be prepared for what lies around the curve. I must follow my intuition and my gut feeling, no matter how difficult the next steps become on my journey. In the end, I will look back and be amazed at just how all my steps were in sequence even when they were difficult to see.

Yes, it would be easier to just not have to deal with any of this in life and hide my eyes from all that I experience but that is not growth. This is avoidance. I have hid myself from these things for too many years of my life and no longer am I content to do that. I can see how many light years I have traveled and in the difficult times, this gives solace to my soul.


Blog Post & Images (c) 12/8/10 Don Shetterly - use by permission only

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Mke Lew 2011 Events

Here are the upcoming events in 2011 for Mike Lew of Next Step Counseling.org. Please feel free to share this with others you know who might benefit as well. There are many events around the world from the United States to Canada and Australia and beyond. Mike Lew, M.Ed., a psychotherapist and group therapy leader in the Boston, MA area, is co-director of The Next Step Counseling and Training Center.

I've been to a couple of Mike Lew's mini workshops at the conferences for the Voices Organization. Every time I have attended events that he has put on, I have walked away with more insight and healing for my life.

To learn more about these events or Mike Lew and Next Step Counseling at http://www.nextstepcounseling.org

Mike Lew is the author of two books for male survivors, "Victims No Longer" and "Leaping Upon The Mountains" which can be purchased on Amazon or in most bookstores.

Link To Event Details:
http://www.nextstepcounseling.org/upcomingevents2.htm



2011 EVENTS:


February 25-27 2011
Bangor, Pennsylvania, USA
Allies in Recovery: A Couples Workshop
Led by Mike Lew and Thom Harrigan
Allies in Recovery
A Weekend Workshop for Sexual Abuse Survivors and their Partners
This weekend workshop is designed for couples where one or both of the partners is a non-offending survivor of sexual child abuse, rape, physical violence, emotional abuse and/or neglect. It is open to heterosexual, gay, and lesbian couples in committed relationships. Our goal is to offer a safe, encouraging environment of healing for each partner and the couple.
For more information and registration: http://www.kirkridge.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=318&Itemid=
7 PM Friday dinner through Sunday lunch $650.00 per couple includes room, meals, and workshop.

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March 4, 2011
Huntington, Long Island, New York, USA
Mike Lew and Carol Forgash will deliver keynote addresses and offer workshops at the Conference of the Long Island Committee on Sexual Abuse & Family Violence. Details will be posted when arranged. For further information: Holly Beck

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March 28 & 29, 2011
Seattle, Washington, USA
2 days of professional training (and possibly a one day male survivor workshop on March 26th still to be determined) sponsored by Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs (WCSAP)
Details will be added as they are made final.
For more information and registration: Trisha Smith
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April 9 & 10, 2011
Austin, Texas, USA
Mike will be offering a day long professional training on Saturday, April 9th and a day long male survivor recovery workshop on Sunday, April 10th sponsored by the Hays-Caldwell Women's Center. Details are not yet final. For information and registration contact Beverly Engel: BEngel@hcwc.org

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May 7-10, 2011
Prince Edward Island, Canada
Mike will be doing a 1 1/2 day presentation for social workers, mental health professionals, police, survivors, youth workers, etc. on May 9th and 10th. There will also be an evening presentation for the general public on May 9th and a workshop for male survivors (details will be posted once confirmed) on Saturday, May 7th sponsored by the PEI Child Sexual Abuse Advisory Committee and PEI Rape and Sexual Assault Centre For further information and registration details contact Sigrid Rolfe: admin@peirsac.org

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July 15-17, 2011
Maldon, Victoria, Australia
AUSTRALIA: Events are still in the planning stages for Mike's return to Australia in 2011. At this time, only the men's weekend in Victoria and events in Broome, Western Australia have been scheduled. Other events will be posted on the Web site as they are arranged.

Victims No Longer Weekend #5
Friday 15 July, 6pm – Sunday 17 July, 2pm
South Eastern Centre Against Sexual Assault (SECASA) invites male survivors of sexual abuse/assault to participate in a residential retreat weekend facilitated by Mike Lew, the world renowned author of ‘Victims No Longer, The Classic Guide for Men Recovering from Sexual Child Abuse’, & ‘Leaping Upon the Mountains’.

If you are interested in taking part in an incredible healing journey, please join us. No longer forced to suffer alone, survivors and professionals continue to develop resources and support systems that move the recovery process forward.

This weekend workshop is for non-offending adult males survivors of sexual abuse and rape. It provides a variety of healing activities: sharing of stories, writing exercises, anger work, group discussions, shared creativity, relaxation and even fun in a safe, nurturing environment.
The event is for men who are actively engaged in recovery work, and is not a substitute for therapy/counseling. A letter of recommendation from your counselor/therapist or support organization should accompany your registration. Considerable attention has been put into creating a safe, nurturing environment respectful of people’s needs
The weekend focuses on the reality of recovery as revealed by male survivors.

The workshop will be held in central Victoria at:
Derby Hill Blue Light Youth Camp, Phoenix Street, Maldon, Victoria 3463
The fee of AU$300 (inc. GST) covers accommodation and all meals. A deposit of AU$50 is required with your booking, with the balance payable by 1st July 2011 (with no refunds after 12th July 2011). Progressive advance payments welcome, following an Invoice request. No one will be turned away through inability to pay in full. A contribution to enable others to attend would be very welcome.

Please obtain an application form for completion, and return together with your deposit or full payment to: Maxwell Clarke – SECASA
P.O. Box 72 East Bentleigh 3165 Telephone enquires 9928 8741
Email Maxwell Clarke

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July 19-20, 2011
Broome, Western Australia
A day long professional training and a day long male survivor workshop sponsored by Anglicare WA and SECASA. For information and registration contact Karen Fitzpatrick: karen.fitzpatrick@anglicarewa.org.au

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August 12-14 2011
Bangor, Pennsylvania, USA
LEAPING UPON THE MOUNTAINS: A MEN'S RECOVERY WEEKEND
Led by Mike Lew & Thom Harrigan
The past years have seen great positive change for people in recovery from childhood trauma, and for males in particular. No longer forced to suffer alone, survivors and professionals continue to develop resources and support systems that move the recovery process forward.

This, our 21st annual weekend workshop is for non-offending adult male survivors of sexual child abuse and other sexual trauma. Our goal is to offer a recovery experience in a safe, powerful environment of shared healing. The Kirkridge Retreat and Study Center is on a beautiful, wooded ridge top in the Pocono Mountains of Eastern Pennsylvania.
The weekend will provide a variety of healing activities: sharing of stories, writing exercises, anger work, other emotional expression, group discussion, shared creativity, relaxation and even fun in a safe, nurturing environment. As in previous years, if there are sufficient numbers and interest, the workshop will include a special track for survivors of abuse by clergy.

This event for men actively engaged in recovery work is not a substitute for therapy. A letter of recommendation from a therapist/counselor must accompany one's registration. The deadline is July 30th. Space is limited, so please try to register early to secure your place.

Considerable attention has been paid to creating a safe, nurturing environment respectful of participants' needs.The weekend focuses on the reality of recovery as revealed by male survivors.

Led by Mike Lew, M.Ed. and Thom Harrigan, L.I.C.S.W., of The Next Step Counseling in Brookline, MA. Mike is the author of Victims No Longer:The Classic Guide for Men Recovering from Sexual Child Abuse, and Leaping Upon the Mountains: Men Proclaiming Victory Over Sexual Child Abuse. Thom leads groups for male survivors and works extensively with survivors of clergy abuse.

7 PM Friday dinner through Sunday lunch $380.00 includes room, meals, and workshop.
Copy the form section below, paste into a new document, print and mail it to:
Kirkridge Conference and Retreat Center
2495 Fox Gap Road, Bangor, PA 18013
Tel. (610) 588-1793

Registration deposits ($190.00) are non-refundable for cancellations within 14 days of the event. Prior to 14 days before the event deposits are refundable except for a $30 administrative fee. If possible, please register at least one month prior and use one form per person/event. Or you can register online at Kirkridge

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Other 2011-12 events in planning stages: Plans are underway for events in Manchester (England) in September, 2011, South Africa (2012), Niagara Falls, NY (2012). Information will be posted on the Web site as it becomes available.

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One more exciting event: I have just returned from Taiwan where I conducted a number of professional training days (8 training days in three cities) coordinated with the release of the Chinese translation of Victims No Longer. For ordering information contact PsyGarden Publishing: service@psygarde.com.tw

Monday, December 13, 2010

What Do You Believe?

Sometimes people believe in many things and yet there are things that don't fit into their view box of the way life should be. We as humans tend to discount those things or we put rules in place to keep them at a safe distance. People in churches, new age philosophies, rulers, government officials and ordinary people do this all this all the time. Much of the time, it goes unnoticed by the people who subscribe to these rules and beliefs.

Yes, there are things being expounded upon that really do not hold up to the test of time. However, to pick and choose what is proper for others to believe or accept is different for all of us. We should not all be the same. Yet, too often in our world we push everyone to be in lockstep with the mainstream society or with the subculture we are part of.

Each of us must find the truth within ourselves. We must go in and feel it within our body. When we find the existence of it deep within ourselves and we can connect with that biologically, we have found a truth for our life. This requires us to become more aware and more conscious of all parts of our life. If we sit only at the surface of our life, we will not travel inward through all the parts of our life. To not travel within, is keeping us from truly knowing our self and finding our truth.

What we believe is what we have discovered to this point in our life. Some of the these things will become our foundation to further understanding while some will not. We must never stop searching and growing in our life. We must never stop challenging all we hold sacred so we don't make the error of becoming anything less than human and what we possibly can become.


Blog Post & Images (c) 12/6/10 Don Shetterly - use by permission only

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Vegetable Lasagna

Here's my recipe for vegetable lasagna. Yes, this post is a little different but it is delicious food and well, that makes it great for the body!

When I make it, I put large quantities of chopped up vegetables. I use a vegetable chopper (click here to see picture). Although the one pictured appears to be for onions, we use it for just about everything and it makes cutting up veggies so much easier. I love this kitchen device.

Here's my recipe for Vegetable Lasagna. Add or subtract whatever veggies you want to put in it or ones that you might not like. The more vegetables, the better (at least in my view).

You'll have to play with the amount of vegetables that it will take and of course if I cut up too many vegetables for this, than we find another way to eat them up. Vegetables do not go to waste in our house!



Vegetable Lasagna

Bake at 375 covered for 50 minutes, removed cover and bake for 5 – 10 minutes more or until cheese melts. Let sit for a few minutes before serving

Ingredients:

· Broccoli (2 cups chopped)
· Zucchini
· Spinach (2 cups chopped)
· Carrots
· Pepper – Red
· Pepper – Yellow
· Pepper – Green
· Celery
· Yellow Squash
· Black Olives – Sliced – 2 small cans
· Basil
· Parsley
· Salt
· 2 Eggs
· 4-6 cups Mozzarella Shredded Cheese
· 1-2 cups Parmesan Cheese
· 16 oz Ricotta Cheese
· 2 Jars Barilla Marinara Sauce
· 1 box Barilla already cooked Lasagna Noodles


Directions

1) Chop up all vegetables and spices.
2) Melt 1 to 1.5 sticks of butter in a large skillet on high heat
3) Place vegetables in skillet
4) Cook vegetables until softened and cooked down
5) Mix 2 eggs, ricotta, 2 cups Mozzarella, 1 cup parmesan together
6) In a large 9x13x3 inch lasagna pan

· Spread 1 cup sauce on the bottom of the baking dish
· Layer 4 uncooked lasagna sheets
· Layer 1/3 ricotta mixture, half the vegetables, 1 C Mozzarella, 1 C Sauce
· Layer 4 uncooked lasagna sheets
· Layer 1/3 ricotta mixture, 1.5 Cups Sauce
· Layer 4 uncooked lasagna sheets
· Layer remaining ricotta mixture, remaining vegetables, 1 C Sauce
· Layer 4 uncooked lasagna sheets - top with remaining sauce, 1 C mozzarella, Parmesan



Blog Post & Images (c) 12/12/10 Don Shetterly - use by permission only

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Research Study of Labyrinths on Psychiatric Patients

The Orlando Regional Healthcare System (MD Anderson Cancer Center) commissioned a study through the Mind Body Spirit Center explored the value of the labyrinth on hospitalized psychiatric patients. I am not able to tell when the study was commissioned but it appears that it was completed around 2000 or 2001.

For the study, a replica of the Chartres Cathedral labyrinth was used at the Orlando Regional South Seminole Hospital. Patient found in the psychiatric observational unit over a two week period were involved in the study. Participants were provided with no explanation of the intervention to detach assumptions or presuppositions from the study. Participants were divided into a study and control group based on their desire to participate and/or physician clearance.

Physiological data was accumulated consisting of heart rate and blood pressure four times a day including immediately before and after the labyrinth experience. In addition a Hope Index was administered three times per day including immediately before and after as well as four hours post intervention.

Sample size of this study was 73 with 33 being in the control group and 40 in the study group. The patients who participated in walking the labyrinth were found to exhibit a lower pulse rate than those who did not. Regarding the Hope Index, patients who walked the labyrinth were more impacted, either by an increase or decrease than those who who were in the control group. They also found that four ours after walking the labyrinth, both the control group and the study group showed a marked decrease in their Hope Index scores.

According to the research paper published, the pilot study suggests that physiological results of lowered pulse rate that the labyrinth may serve as an effective tool in achieving the relaxation response. In addition, it would appear that this spiritual intervention may strongly impact a patient's sense of hope, stress, loneliness, despair and control (as measured with the Hope Index parameters).

For More Information, contact:
Dr. Beth Boyer Kollas
Director & Research Conductor
Orlando Regional Mind/Body/Spirit Center
1414 Kuhl Avenue
Orlando, FL. 32806

Blog Post & Images (c) 12/5/10 Don Shetterly - use by permission only

Friday, December 10, 2010

Using a GPS To Find Your Path In Life

Have you ever thought of how using a GPS is a great example of finding your path in life? I had not considered this thought until I was reading Chapter 3 of Manifesting Change by Mike Dooley. After all, the GPS gives us an insight to the way our journey in life unfolds or how we think our journey will unfold.

If you have a GPS, you know that in order for it to be of help, you have to put in your destination. In the GPS I have, you can also just display a map as you are driving which is nice because you can see from a bird's eye viewpoint all that is around you as you drive down the road. Without entering the destination, the GPS cannot help you find the location to where you desire to go.

So you put in the destination using the steps of the GPS by entering the city/town or zipcode. Then you enter the street and house or building number and if you have entered information that the GPS understands, it comes up with the correct address. Next, you have to tap the button, "GO" because until you do that, it is just an address showing on the screen. Once you do this, you will most likely hear proceed to designated route.

It is at this point that you have to put your car in motion to the proceed to the designated route and begin following the path the GPS is laying out before you. Most of the time, it just visually shows you the immediate upcoming turns guiding you to turn here or there or within so many feet. If you follow what it says, the GPS will guide you to your destination. At times though, the path it has laid out for you to get there will seem uncertain or strange or illogical but if you continue to follow the directions, most of the time you will end up at your destination.

Now, consider how this parallels life. Many of us know where we want to go or what we desire in life and so we enter it in the GPS of our life. We do this through the thoughts, actions, words and ways we spend our energy. It is like what you put in, you get out. Then once we've filled our world with what we are currently aware or conscious of (the address or destination) that goes into our life's GPS), than we proceed to our destination.

However, we often set our GPS up (with things that will help us get there or with things that may take us on a scenic route) and then we say - that's it - that's all I have to do. What a wonderful life (or a wonderful GPS) and that all I have done will just get me where I need to do. I'll just keep doing the thoughts, words, actions and spending my energy like I have. I'll keep repeating mantras, positive thoughts and hanging out with the junkies from the Secret. Of course, there is nothing wrong with any of that. It is all good stuff but here's the catch.

When I was reading this in Mike Dooley's book, it hit me like a 2x4 upside my head. The thing that most of us fail to do is to put the car in gear and let the GPS take us to our destination. We get so hung up on entering our destination and trying to figure out where we are going that we forget to engage the car (ourselves) in a forward motion. How can we expect the GPS (universe) to get us where we are going if we just stand still in life.

Wait though - there's another point in his book that just hit me a little harder. Often if we are headed to a destination that we have never been to before, we have no idea what roads the GPS (universe) will bring up in the display to get us there. It will most likely not be a familiar path we need to travel. Again, if we follow the GPS (universe) along with the roads that show up before us, we will get there. That is, if we trust that the GPS (universe) knows what is the best route for us and that it understands how to get us to our destination.

The point he makes in his book is that we may not often know what is coming up in our travel to the destination but we have to follow the road along. If we stop and analyze every mile and if this road is the right one or if it is turning the wrong direction or if it is too steep or long, we may be throwing ourselves off our path with unnecessary worry. If we stop and worry about whether there will be gas stations along the way or places to eat and rest or if we will be all alone or stuck in traffic, we may be focusing on things that most likely will appear just when we need them.

Let the GPS (universe) of life help guide you along your path because there is something much greater than ourselves that sees the best path ahead for us in our life. This is something that is located within each of us and if we search within the deepest parts of our consciousness and awareness we will find it. It is our connection to the path ahead. Don't worry about the roads may come before us but allow them to unfold as the miles progress. Keep following the GPS and keep trusting that it knows where it is taking you. Most of all, put your life in forward motion because if your life is at a stand still waiting to get to your destination, until you engage the forward motion, you won't get there.

For me personally, I have an idea of where I am going and where I need to go. It is something deep within me that keeps finding ways to prompt me and let me know when I'm headed in the right direction or when I need to take a U-Turn on my journey and recalculate my route. However, the part that is difficult for me is trusting this process. All too often, I want to know every step ahead and have it planned out. I'm sure this is part of the left over remnants from the days where life was out of control and I had no say in what was taking place. While that was something that was was part of my survival, it is no longer that useful to me in my daily journey. In fact, it takes me off my journey forward and keeps me from heading to my destination.

Yes, I've watched the movie, "The Secret" and "What The Bleep" and many other things. They are all great movies but in the end, our journey forward is not located in a movie or other new age concept or any one that says they have the answers for us. Some of these things can help us discover these moments of clarity within ourselves but to find your way, you must look within yourself for the answers. By cleaning out the cobwebs and clutter of your life, life will become more real, sincere and full of answers. Standing in the shadows of your life may be the necessary part to help you begin moving forward but at some point, you have to emerge from the shadows to walk on your journey.

I'm not going to write that any of this is easy to do. In my life, it has been anything but easy. It has been downright difficult. Often I have had to travel by faith that the GPS knew something I did not understand in that moment. There were times that I followed my gut instincts and intuition because it seemed right when in fact, I could not explain why I was doing this. I now understand more that all experiences we have had in life get us to the point where we are now at. At one time not long ago, I had no way to understand this.

If we put our destination into the GPS of our life and put ourselves in a forward motion, we will get where we are going. Yes, we may not even fully understand where that destination is but we can always adjust our route and make a U-Turn if we need to. We can always travel a scenic route while the GPS will recalculate to bring us back to our intended path. The best thing we can do is just keep moving forward and opening ourselves up to the roads that come our way. Knowing that everything we will need is going to show up when we need it is the key to allowing ourselves to move along our path. It may not be easy but if you look back at your life, you will see much of this in action and if it worked for you all these years, it will continue to work for you in the days ahead.

Further Reading: Manifesting Change by Mike Dooley


(c) 12/5/10 by Don Shetterly - use by permission only.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Hurt By People Who Mean Well

To many times in life, we have those busy bodies who think they are really trying to help us by their comments. I get it all the time in my life from people I know well to others who barely know me. Everyone thinks they have the "right answers" for us to LISTEN to.

Especially when it comes to talking about abuse from those who are survivors of child sexual abuse, the comments range from the following (and by no means is this an exhaustive list).

"Well maybe now you can move on and get past this"

"You just need to stay positive with your life and forget all of this bad stuff"

"You just need to let go of these things and give them up to God"

"God will take care of everything"

"Just pray about it"

"You need to forgive those that did this to you"

"I no longer let this stuff rule my life - I've healed from it all"

"It's time to move on"

"Let bygones by bygones"

"I just think happy thoughts"


And if these statements don't do enough, there are the families that use the "silent treatment" hoping that if they ignore you, it will all go away. I know that one well because it is used against me all the time. They think that the "silent treatment" will bring me into line and I've got a news bulletin for them - IT WON'T! The silent treatment helps others to ignore things that are just messy for them to think about. It is like it makes it so convenient for them to live their lives.

Going back to the statements above for a moment, I'm sure you have heard these or others like them. There are many more that could be added to the list. While these people appear to mean well, most of the time their comments are about as insensitive as you can get. These comments often hurt those that are forced to hear them. Granted, we've all probably made comments at one time or another where we weren't as sensitive and understanding as we could be.

I often find though that the people who think they have healed or moved on are usually just kidding themselves. By them trying to get you to not talk about these things, makes it easier for them to not have to face up with that painful side of their life. They won't admit that to themselves or to you but if you look beyond the words and read between the lines, you'll see what I'm talking about.

Healing from past issues of our life or healing from being a survivor of child abuse isn't like you wake up one day and poof, it no longer affects your life or matters to you. It is a process where you put more and more distance between you and the traumatic moments your mind has recorded. However, healing is not about masking the pain of the past or wishing and hoping it wasn't there.

Healing is about going into the pain and becoming more aware and conscious. The more you become aware of in your life, it leads to further healing. The more healing you get, the more you become aware of your life. It is an ongoing cycle of life that we should all be engaged in regardless of what we have been through in our lives.

So, if we act like everything is completely fine in our life or that we have moved on, it usually means I don't want to deal with the painful part of my life that I know exists. It means that I'd rather like to just ignore it as I can't deal with it. It does not mean that what we try to state is actually what it means. As hard as we try to silence the message, until the messenger is heard, it cannot be silenced. We can try but at some point, the messenger will be so strong that it will get our attention and hopefully we listen to it before it is too late.

You can run from your past but it will always be there. Eventually, it will catch up with you. It is up to each one of us whether we will continue running or we will become one with our past.

But please - if you are not wanting to deal with situations in your life, don't hurt others by throwing around insensitive comments. At least respect where they are at in their lives but don't just inflict your own pain upon them through your hurtful comments. It does not do a body good.


(c) 12/5/10 by Don Shetterly - use by permission only