Thursday, December 28, 2017

Dearest 2017

I'm writing to you today, Dearest 2017, in the hope that you will listen.  I beg you to heed what I'm saying because if we have another year like 2016, I might have to seriously think differently how I get through to you.  (Note:  This was written at the end of 2016)

Yes, there were some good moments in 2016, like when I finally got to marry the love of my life.  I will honor and cherish that day for sure, even if many didn't agree.  It was a good day, and that's what I will remember.

However, there were some pretty terrifying moments like the Pulse Attack, an election season gone wild, and some other horrific acts of violence.  The entire year seemed to pit one person against the other, just because of what one person thought was right while others didn't.

There were individual moments for me where some turned on me and left me lying alone in agony and despair in the gutter.  Some moments left me wondering what direction I was walking and if I had the strength to find my way through the fog.

I'm hoping that in 2017, people may start to understand what it means to be human and to love one another and respect one another.  My land, we don't always need to be right about all this superficial stuff as much as everyone thinks they do.  May that change in 2017.

Hopefully, some of the problems that we face in the world will be solved, or at least I hope so -- from poverty and global climate issues to just not trying to control everyone with beliefs and opinions.

Hopefully, in 2017, we will begin to learn what it means to be conscious and aware, not just disconnected and numb.  I know that's asking a lot, dearest 2017, but it is my hope.  There are far too many that sleep and slumber, afraid to wake up and feel.

May 2017 bring about a year where we change our mind-numbed practices through online social media, and we truly begin to discover what others mean in our fight to advance our global civilization.  We're all on this journey together, and if we work together, we'll make it.  If we stay divided, we will most likely fail.  May 2017 bring this change about and lift us to greater heights.

Dearest 2017, I would love to see child molesters and abusers of all types find that they are no longer healthy members of our society.  Maybe we could stop turning a blind eye to those that abuse our children.  If the children are our future, we are severely failing them.

I hope that by the time we get to the end of 2017, that we're doing a lot less screaming at one another and listening to a lot more.  It feels like it is one constant screamfest every day, and I don't even think anyone listens to anyone anymore.

So, I'm writing this to be posted at the end of 2017, and we'll see if any of this matters or comes true.  Heck, by the time we get to the end of the year, we may have other things that require our attention and focus.  If not, please Dear 2017 - let's work on these things and see what we can accomplish.  We will all be better for it.

A Human

Blog Post And Images (c) 12/28/17 by Don Shetterly
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Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Rolling In The Mud Pit

Written By Don Shetterly
I know, it feels like you have to engage with others slinging the mud.  In all reality, you don't have to join in the mud pit.  For those people who are sensitive and care deeply, it feels like you have to fight back and stand up for what happens online.

Now, before you get me wrong, let me explain.  I am not talking about turning a blind eye to anything, especially abuse and people who are a bully.  It is my opinion that if you engage them and as a result, they engage you, you are rolling around in the mud pit with them.  If two people roll in the mud together, you can't tell them apart.

It is like someone that calls names on the playground.  If you call them names back, are you any different?  In my view, one becomes the same as the name caller.  If one bullies another and you do the same back, are you any different.  I would suggest that we are not.

In fact, with everyone screaming at one another or the ones they deem as being horrible and disgusting and abusive, the screaming is only rolling around in the mudpit with them.  It serves little purpose.  They are not going to listen.  They don't care about anyone's viewpoint but their own.

I grew up in a house like this where whatever was said by my Dad or older brother mattered.  Even if they were flat out wrong, they would still argue with me.  Here are two instances that are minor but show what I am referring to in this post.

One time my sheep needed some medication and I knew it.  I always read up on the latest techniques for caring for my sheep.  My neighbor which also had sheep worked with me to help me learn how to properly care for them.  Because I said to my dad that we needed to give this medication, he fought me.  In his eyes, I didn't know anything.  It took me getting my neighbor to come over and convince him that we needed to do this.  No matter what I said or did, my dad would not listen.  He was flat out wrong, but it was his way or no way.

Another time when I was a kid, my older brother tried to convince me that we needed to somehow buy a riding lawnmower.  I was much younger than him, but understood far more.  He argued with me that if we bought the lawnmower on payments, we only had to pay for it during the summer.  As a small kid, I knew this was not how things worked.  He argued until I just walked away and got my parents to convince him that he was wrong.  He was not going to allow for the fact that maybe he didn't understand things.  He was convinced he was right.

While these examples are minor, it is the same basic thing we are doing online and in family and friend circles today.  We just scream at one another.  We don't listen and we don't even hear the other side.  Everyone is an enemy that doesn't know anything.  While others may be flat out wrong, they might have valid points and if we don't attempt to see those, we're rolling around in the mud pit.

The human ego loves to be right.  It wants to be heard above anyone else.  It wants to know that it is in control.  The heart is shoved aside as if it doesn't matter even though it begs for everyone to engage it over the ego.

In this day, we're spending more time in the mud pit screaming with one another and it is almost impossible to tell each other apart.  We think we're adding something to the day, but we're adding to the problems.  The egotistical people who think all others are the enemy are not going to listen to reason.  Their ego will not allow them.  To engage with them in this way, will only exasperate the situation.  In fact, if you ignore their rants, it would drive them crazy and insane.  The only thing is the human ego is not wired to do that.

If you're very sensitive like I am and have been abused in the past, this behavior drives you crazy.  I struggle with it.  I weep for it.  This world is being cranked up into a danger zone and if we don't reverse this quickly, our collective health is going to suffer in ways that we cannot even see.

We can all do our part to not engage with the abusive bullies of our day.  We can work to help further civilization and humanity, or we can just get down in the mudpit with everyone else.

I no longer watch the news.  I do read some headlines, but the news is toxic and this goes for just about any side of it.  We've lost sight of this so much that we can no longer tell the difference.  It feels like we cannot survive without this toxic news we gulp down every day.

Making the world a better place isn't about what everyone else does.  It is what we do as individuals.  Collectively our attitudes and responses make up civilization.  If we do that which we despise, we're no better than those we deem as adversaries.

Let us get our own life in order and let that shine for the world to see.  No, it may not drown out the screaming voices in the mud pit, but I believe there are enough of us that together will be much louder in the end by not engaging.

Blog Post And Images (c) 11/29/17 by Don Shetterly
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Monday, December 25, 2017

Why I Loved Christmas As A Kid

Written By Don Shetterly
The day that many people have been waiting for has arrived.  If you're like me, Christmas Day is one of those times as a kid that I looked to in anticipation.  For days and weeks before, I struggled to sleep.

For me, I loved the Christmas programs at school and church.  Often, I would get to play the piano for all the Christmas music.  Also, my mom baked all kinds of Christmas goodies and cookies and candy.  It was fun decorating the Christmas cookies with her.

It also meant that for one day out of the year, we could just be kids and not have to go outside and work meaningless tasks on my father's to-do-list.  There were other aspects of the day that were not as pleasant, but I'm avoiding them in this blog post.

One other thing I loved about Christmas as a kid was seeing the decorated Christmas tree and all the tinsel and decorations and lights on it.  Living in the rural Midwest with the white snow-covered landscape, I loved to see Christmas lights on homes in the area.  The snow reflected the lights beautifully.  I am still mesmerized by the Christmas lights on houses.

These days things have changed for me, and I don't see Christmas in the same way as when I was a kid.  I still love Christmas Music playing in the background.  I still love the lights, decorations, and cookies.

It bothers me when I see people talking about this war on Christmas as if everything needs to be a battle.  Afterall, I think many who feel this way have lost sight of the true meaning of what Christmas is.  It is too easy to get lost in the "purchasing frenzy" and then claim there is a war on Christmas.  I believe some need to do some serious soul-searching before they proclaim what they do.  Unfortunately, the attitude of divisiveness seems to be the way of our society.

Regardless of how you view Christmas, I hope you have an enjoyable day.  I hope the joy and peace that comes on this day stay longer than a few hours or a couple of weeks.  I hope you took time out to not just focus on what you got, but that you gave back to someone else.

My only Christmas wish is that we as a civilization will start to practice love throughout the entire year.  I wish for respect and humility and kindness.  May we all start seeing one another through eyes where we recognize each other as human, not enemies.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Seasons Greetings to each one who visits my blog!  Don't forget, if you want to hear some beautiful Christmas music, check out my Christmas Cd.

Blog Post And Images (c) 11/30/17 by Don Shetterly
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Friday, December 22, 2017

Christmas Gift Giving Anxiety

Written By Don Shetterly
One of the things that makes this time of year so difficult is Christmas gift-giving anxiety.  I had many horrible experiences while growing up, and it makes it a struggle.

Yes, I know everyone will tell you that you give gifts at Christmas out of love.  While there is so much truth to that, there's a part that is not spoken.  Try not giving a gift to your family and see how the reaction is.   That will show you the other unspoken part.

In all honesty, though, we spend a lot of money at Christmas because we have to buy the perfect gift for our loved ones.  I think we've truly lost our way in what really matters, but trying to get the world to see that is like plugging a leaking dam with your finger.

One Christmas while I was in college, I was struggling to make it financially.  I didn't have money from parents.  I had no financial aid.  Everything I needed to pay for college was either student loans or from a full-time job I was working.  I was making it each month, but with nothing extra left over.  If Starbucks had been around then, that would have been a luxury.

This particular year, I had been saving my pennies, nickels, and dimes up.  I was collecting soda cans and turning them in for the 5 cent deposit we had in Iowa.  By Christmas, I think I had saved around $50 which was not a lot, but it's all I had.  I had presents to buy for my Dad, Mom, older brother, younger brother, and my older brother's wife.  Splitting $50 up between that many people doesn't go far, but I did the best I could.

I looked for items that they could use, and that would allow me to spend within the budget I had.  Using the comics sections of the Sunday newspaper, I wrapped the gifts with care.  Wrapping paper was too expensive for me to buy at that point.  I was proud of what I had done because the $50 I spent on gifts could have purchased a month's worth of groceries for me in those days.  Instead I was giving some of my Christmas joy away to my family.

When my family opened the gifts I had gotten for them on Christmas Day, the response I got was not what I expected.  They looked at me and said, "this is all you got us?"  I was crushed.  I was hurt.  They should have just shot me with a gun because it would not have hurt anymore at that moment.  I so badly wanted to take all the gifts back and go give them to the homeless.

Another experience was after I had just gotten out of the hospital from going through Conversion Disorder and being paralyzed.  My parents and I were not on great speaking terms because they were afraid I was going to spill the family secrets.  So, I could have cared less that year if I bought presents or not.  I finally sent them a check for $25 and a lovely card and letter.  The response I got back was "if this is all you're going to do for Christmas, then please don't send us anything more!"  You talk about being crushed.  This was so hurtful, and I honored their request.  I never sent them another thing.

So while everyone wants to think this is an excellent time of year, Christmas gift-giving anxiety is a real thing.  We might not be conscious enough to admit it, and often we feel powerless in our families.  There can be some real hurt inflicted on this day.

If someone gives me something, I don't care if it is a rock, I will cherish it.  Never will you hear me disparage a gift as if it is not enough.  Christmas gift-giving anxiety causes people to spend mega fortunes and go deep into debt at Christmas.

We never got a lot of gifts at Christmas, but the ones we got were special.  My mom would find a way to make the season special even if she could not spend much.

These days, I'll surprise people at the last minute the day before Christmas with homemade cookies or little things.  I'm not looking for them to give me a gift.  I just enjoy giving something.  I still struggle with Christmas gift-giving anxiety, but I try to do things on my own terms.

Call me a Scrooge if you want because I don't celebrate like most people do, but then why would I want more hurt inflicted upon me.  If someone doesn't appreciate what you get them, then no sense to do it for them.

I'm guessing that I am not the only one with Christmas gift-giving anxiety.  If you deal with this, please leave your story in a comment below.  I'd love to hear your experiences.

Blog Post And Images (c) 11/30/17 by Don Shetterly
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Thursday, December 21, 2017

Suck It Up And Move On

Written By Don Shetterly
These words make my skin crawl with disgust for humanity.  When I see someone tell another person going through a difficult time to suck it up and move on, it saddens me.  Why on earth would you make this statement to anyone?

We all have our difficult moments and issues in our life.  Sometimes they are not easy to just move on to the next moment as if they didn't happen.  They are often complex and require little steps towards healing and moving on.

No one can tell another when they should move on.  If we have not walked in the shoes of another and we don't know what they are dealing with in their life.  In fact, even though it may appear to us that they are not moving on, they may, in fact, be making significant progress.  They may be taking big leaps when we cannot see it.

It is not up to us to be heartless and mean and uncaring to someone by telling them to suck it up and move on.  I believe this is about as low as you can get on being human.  Okay, there are other things much lower, but this ranks right down at the bottom of human consciousness.

Telling someone to suck it up means you're telling them to ignore what it is they are feeling or have experienced.  You're saying to those who are struggling that what they are going through does not matter.  Most likely how it makes you feel is more important than what they are going through at that moment.

When others are going through difficult moments, one of the worst things is to listen to people telling them to suck it up and move on.  In fact, that's a recipe for major health issues, mental health struggles like depression and anxiety and suicide.  It is a recipe for adding stress to your life and setting up moments in the future where you don't deal with things in a healthy way.

If you can't be there for the person with empathy and compassion, maybe the best thing to do is run along into the woods.  Perhaps it is a time for you to do some soul-searching about what it means to be human.  You're not helping anyone if you are making statements like this to others.  You're hurting them in ways you don't even understand.

The world needs those who are peaceful and loving.  We don't need more judgment and condemnation.  We need empathy and love, compassion and understanding.  The world needs us to show up for one another and help support each other as we walk through this journey of life.

Be human and stop telling others to suck it up and move on!  You'll be doing the world a big favor.  You will be impacting the world in a positive way.

Extend your arms of support to people.  Don't harm them more when they are facing difficult moments.

Blog Post And Images (c) 12/21/17 by Don Shetterly
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Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Interview With Rebecca - It's Not Your Journey

Interview with Rebecca Lombardo
I had the wonderful opportunity to get a few moments of time with Rebcca Lombardo.  In case you don't know Rebecca, she's a wonderful person who works to help others.  She is an author, advocate and survivor and a Huffington Post Blogger.

Rebecca is the author of "It's Not Your Journey" where she talks about her battle with mental illness and suicide.  Using writing, she wanted to let go of some of the pain she had dealt with in her life.  It never dawned on her that by writing, she would be helping others.

This is what drew my attention to Rebecca because by sharing her pain, she did help others.  I have found the same thing to be true in my own life.   I personally have struggled with suicide in my own life and I try to be there for others when the moments get very dark in life.

Here are a few questions.

  1. How did you go about learning to make healthy decisions for your own healing

    After more than 20 years dealing with mental illness, I've become pretty self-aware. I know what works for me and what doesn't most of the time. Other times, my husband can see the tell-tale signs of me spiraling and carefully brings up the topic to me.
  2. What is the most important thing you have learned about healing in your own life?

    The most important thing is that I DO want to live. I want to be here and spend as much time as possible with my husband and pets, and that suicide is NOT an option. I'm never going back there again.

  3. How does writing help you to be able to help others?

    I feel like mental illness in all its forms is very lonely and isolating. When people see that there are others out there just like them that are living a decent life, it starts to occur to them that maybe it can happen for them as well.
  4. In what ways did your book help you in your healing?

    My book helped me purge all of the anger, resentment, and frustration from my life that I had just been carrying around like a weight on my shoulders. It also helped to validate what I was feeling.
  5. What is your most difficult challenge you face in your healing and life?

    It's always hard for me when I hit a bad patch with my depression. I always think to myself that I ought to know how to get out of this, but I don't. Every time you travel the journey, it's for a different reason and in a different direction.
  6.  What can we do to improve mental health in our world?

    I think we've definitely opened a dialogue, but we have to keep going. People fear what they do not understand.  We have to make it easier for them to understand. Make it a regular discussion.
  7. If someone is suicidal, what can they do?

    If they don't have someone they love to go to and talk it out, there are many resources out there, but going to the emergency room is an important option. They can also text Crisis Text Line at 741 741. I always advise, don't go on social media and talk about it because you may not get the reaction that you were hoping for and that may upset you even more. Find a friend or loved one and have a key word with them. Say, "apple." You just call or text that person and say "apple" and they will know you need help.
  8. How do you reach out and connect with someone that is suicidal?

    I am very cautious about offering any specific advice to someone that is suicidal. I'm not a doctor, and I don't want to make things worse, so I try to just be there and be a sounding board and hope to make them feel a bit better. I strongly urge them to seek out someone in there life to talk to.

I appreciate Rebecca sitting down with me for a few minutes and talking with me.  Please check out her book and website.  You can also find Rebecca on Twitter.

Rebecca also is open for speaking engagements in the Michigan area, and you can contact her for more details through her website.

If you are struggling with suicide, I know it isn't easy to reach out, but ask for help.  Find a trusted friend or text the crisis text line in question #7.  Reach out because there are others that know what it is like to go through these moments.  There is help!

For More On Rebecca

Blog Post And Images (c) 12/19/17 by Don Shetterly
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Thursday, December 14, 2017

Angry Rants

Written By Don Shetterly
I'm overwhelmed these days by most things online.  It feels like there is enough stress in a day and then seeing angry rants just pushes it over the edge.  I'm not sure why we as a world are at the place we are, but I'm worried for the future of our civilization.

No one seems to want to listen to another.  We only seem to want to scream and push our point of view on everyone.  I think many feel like no one hears them and if that's the case, the result is to scream louder to compensate.

Everyone seems to have their point of view and belief system.  While that is fine, when you force it upon everyone else, what do you profit?  How do you make their life better?  How do you make the world better?  After all, they are "our" beliefs.  Often times, "our" beliefs are not backed up by as much truth as we think they are.

I see the I'm right, you're wrong in the angry rants.  It doesn't matter the issue.  The ego is crafty and smart and powerful.  It says, my way or the highway and to heck with your views, thoughts, or ideas.  The only thing is, if we are all right, and everyone else is all wrong, then we've got a mess on our hands.  Surely life is more than you're wrong, and I'm right.

Angry rants go on about this individual or group of people.  It often centers around politics and the latest headline of the day.  I'm bewildered when I see the constant stream of it online, weeping in sadness for how we treat one another.

Surely our lives are more than angry rants of who is right and who is wrong.  Are we not more than all of the mind-numbed issue ranting of the day?  If you really look at it, it is not a conscious behavior.

I'm not saying that we should ignore injustice, abuse, and bullying.  In fact, I think we have to speak up, but there are different ways of doing that.  Many that are being used today are not effective and become nothing more than a noisy gong.  We are drowning each other out.

I get the frustration with what is happening throughout the world.  It feels frightening at times and stressful most other moments.  It feels like there is nothing stable or permanent.

In my mind, I see the pendulum of the planet swinging so far back and I wonder how much further it can go.  What will happen when it reaches its furthest most point?  My mind wonders about what will happen when it swings back and hits all the other balls hanging there without motion.

Some days I feel like the only one seeing this, but lately I've noticed I'm not alone.  There are others that see this and try not to add to the anger in this world.  I am inspired and hopeful by these connections.  The peaceful and loving ones are beginning to emerge.

Each and every human needs to stop and take stock of their lives.  We need to be mindful and aware of what we are putting out into the world.  There is more than one way to communicate and right now as a civilization, we're really messed up.

May we figure this out before the pendulum swings too far back.  I hope that everyone who reads this will stop and think about it for one moment.  We cannot expect everyone else to do what we want when we're doing the very same behavior.  We cannot expect others to listen if we do not hear.  If we are screaming, we can not expect them to be silent.

We may think we are right and quite possibly that is true.  However, being right comes with a responsibility to see others through the eyes of love and understanding.  In fact, love and understanding see beyond who is right or wrong.  Angry rants do very little to help.

How do angry rants impact your life?  Do you see anything that you can do differently to be part of the healing in this world?

Blog Post And Images (c) 12/14/17 by Don Shetterly
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Thursday, December 7, 2017

Dismissed By A Child Molester

Written By Don Shetterly
Years ago when I was going through some of the roughest healings, I decided to call my dad late one night.  I planned on confronting him about what he did to me.  It took a great deal of courage for me to get to this point.  Having friends close by helped so much.

It isn't easy for me to talk about this to this very day.  I get scared that if I speak out, bad things are going to happen to me.  After all, I was threatened that if I didn't shut up, that they would come after me.  My older brother left that clear message for me at my job.  So this is not a made up fear.  It is real.

At the time anger fueled my reasoning for calling my father.  I was dealing with very rough moments in life as a result of what I had experienced.  It took the anger to confront him because I was so frightened then.

Actually, I'm frightened now with speaking out publicly more, but I know I must.  There are far too many that endure molestation and child abuse.  I am honestly at a point where if they want to come after me, I'll expose every last bit of what they did to me in a public way that will make them regret their threats and actions against me.  I'm tired of hiding it because of what they might do to me.

When I called him up that night, my mom picked up the phone.  Yes, it was late in the middle of the night, but I wanted him on the phone, not her.  So I hung up and called back.  I have my issues with what my mom knew or didn't know, but I wanted him to be the one hearing what I said.

When I got him on the phone, I laid into him.  I didn't let up, and I didn't let him talk.  There was no way I was holding back, and so my anger and pain came out in full force.  I only got about a minute, or so I think of saying what I wanted to say before he hung up on me.

Just before he hung up on me, he said, "GROW UP Donald!"  That was the name he used when he was angry at me.  My final words to him were "GO TO HELL!"

I have never spoken to him since, and I have no intention of doing so.  He made his bed, and now he gets to lie in it.  I have no desire to communicate with him because there is no apology from him.  He doesn't think he did anything wrong.  Molestation was normal to him it seems.  I know it is up to me to continue moving forward and letting go of what he did.

In the news are stories of someone being molested by a prominent figure and they are getting the same treatment.  They are being dismissed by a child molester (or should I say, alleged child molester).  It triggers me back to the memories of what I went through.

Will my Dad and brother ever admit to molesting me?  I doubt it.  They've already convinced family friends that I was brainwashed by Psychiatrists and that I'm crazy.  I was the one that was wrong in their eyes for daring to speak up and expose the secrets.

You see, child molesters stop at nothing to convince the world that they are great humans.  They have no problem with blaming the victim.  They don't care that the child was helpless when they abused and molested them.  It is all about convincing the world that they didn't do anything wrong.

In my case, I'm sure if anyone confronted them, they would also say that "God has forgiven them."  Unfortunately, to me, that does not mean that you act as if nothing ever happened.  That is being a coward in my view.  Either you own up to what you did or don't tell me you've been forgiven.

Just a note here that in my house, forgiveness talk is not as it seems.  It means, forget it and act as if we didn't do anything to you. I heard this line about forgiveness so many times.  It usually was right after they did what they did to me.  I even heard it after my dad would beat my mom.  Thus, forgiveness talk to me is cheap and shallow.

Being dismissed by a child molester is what these people do.  They cannot allow themselves to be exposed to their secrets and lies and abuse.  They blame the victim.

To people that defend what child molesters do, you are not human in my eyes.  You are part of the problem that allows child abuse to continue.  Either you stand up for the rights of all humans, or you need to go find the door to your cave and crawl back inside.

Dismissed by a child molester just seems normal to me.  I almost expect nothing but the blame they put on their victims.  When I see news reports about others, and I hear the perverts attack the victims, my anger boils.  Child molesters don't have any business being on this earth.  When you harm the life of an innocent child, you give up all rights to be human in my view.

Blog Post And Images (c) 11/30/17 by Don Shetterly
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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

How I Handled Christmas In 10 Steps

I'm writing this a year in advance.  In fact, Christmas Day 2016, was just yesterday.  Things are beginning to get back to normal.  Email and social media feeds are starting to liven up again.  Trash pickup just went by trying to collect everyone's trash from yesterday.  So, yeah, Christmas is over once again.

However, I thought I would write this because someone asked me if I would do anything different the next year.  I had written earlier that I struggled to deal with the holidays.  I'm one of those where the hurt and pain shows up with the fun and presents.

Growing up, my mom did her best to really go all out celebrating Christmas on a shoestring budget.  Yes, we were envious of our friends who got a lot of presents, but my mom tried to make it special in other ways.  From decorating Christmas cookies, to the food and candy she would make and to just decorating the house, it became a special day.

Unfortunately, in the midst of all of it there was a lot of stuff that hit the fan.  There were many moments that are painful and in fact so painful, that I can't even talk about them yet.  I've done a tremendous amount of healing and forgiveness but the stuff is there in too great of quantities.

So, when Christmas comes - it isn't easy.  The turmoil that hits me emotionally and in my mind feels like 200 MACK trucks hitting me at about 100 mph every second of every day.  It isn't easy.  Lord knows I've tried to find ways to deal with it, but it just is not easy.  If you're like I am, than this isn't news to you.

Here's some of the things I did in 2016 and I'm writing this to my future self so I'll remember what worked and what helped.

  1. We were able to take a trip for a few days leading up to Christmas.  In that final week before Christmas, I truly struggle, and so this helped keep my mind off of dwelling on it.
  2. I tried to slow down for December.  Even half of my normal speed is almost too much.  A few things to do can quickly and easily overwhelm me.  So, it's best to slow it down a lot!
  3. I made sure that anything I wanted to get done to celebrate Christmas was done by the middle of the month.  I knew that the last week or two, I just needed to coast through it.  Any more than that and it was too much.
  4. I reached out to my partner and tried to explain things about what I needed.  He was very loving and compassionate and worked with me.
  5. I reached out to friends, and they were a support during this time.  In fact, I tried to help be there for them, and I think it helped me in the long run.
  6. I recognized that this was a tough time and tried hard not to beat myself up for it.  It is the way it is, and there is no sense in shaming myself into what my "surreal concept" should be for Christmas.
  7. I tried to get in extra exercise and activity by walking and worked to not let myself isolate from others or the outdoors.  Fortunately, I live in a warm climate, but just being outside in nature and the sun helped me greatly.
  8. I looked for ways to be creative, but not necessarily that I had to complete a project.  Creativity helps me deal with life and stress and the past.  If I embrace it, it helps me.
  9. I would look for moments of quietness and stillness to just take care of myself.  I didn't do this to hide or isolate, but to just give myself a chance to breathe.
  10. I worked to help connect with my mind and body through awareness and breathing so I could give myself a boost in energy to deal with all the pain I was facing.

For the most part, these things helped.  Yes, I did get depressed.  Yes, I struggled with anxiety.  I already try to stay out of the stores right around the holiday because people are usually rude and inconsiderate.  It takes very little to push me over the edge.

I do avoid any parties because I just don't do well at this time.  On Christmas, I stay away from family functions because it is just too much for me to sort out.  A good video and downtime from the computer are far more welcomed to me than having to negotiate family pain.

These things help.  I just know that it isn't an easy time and I've learned it is okay to be okay with that.  The "beautiful family gatherings" may exist out there, but I know many who struggle with the pain it brings.  If we honor and respect where we are, what we can do and that we have so much going for us, it can make the days go a little easier.

What do you do to help yourself handle Christmas?  Leave a reply and let me know.

Blog Post And Images (c) 11/30/17 by Don Shetterly
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Thursday, November 30, 2017

Tis The Season For Christmas Music

Written by Don Shetterly
By the time this posts, we will be well into the Christmas season.  The shopping is in full swing.  The company Christmas parties are scheduled.

Growing up as a kid, the holiday season was something I looked forward to for weeks.  The artificial Christmas tree going up with the lights and decorations holds an endearing place in my heart.  My mom would bake all types of Christmas candy and cookies which I enjoyed.

There were the Christmas programs at church and at school that I would rehearse for and prepare.  Most of the time I was playing Christmas carols on the piano.  I loved every minute of it.  In high school, I was the main pianist for the choir.

In among all the good, there were some very rough moments, but the one thing that remained with me throughout my life is Christmas music.  It always gave me a smile and a moment of peace.  It helps bring in the joy and anticipation of the season.

A few years ago, I had the opportunity of creating a CD of Christmas Music for someone to give as a gift.  My Christmas Songs CD is a collection of many of my own favorite songs of the season.

The CD is filled with simple music played on the piano in just the way I used to play it when I was a kid.  It will connect with you emotionally and lift you up in the spirit of the season with joy and peace.

I hope you check my CD out.  You can listen to it or download it on most of the music download sites.  If it doesn't show up in your favorite music store, let me know, and I'll see if I can get them to carry it.  If you want, you can also buy the physical CD!

The Christmas Songs CD is ideal for family gatherings or Christmas parties.  Play it when you decorate your Christmas tree.  Use it in the morning where you wake up on Christmas Day and open presents.

Please share this blog post with everyone you know.  I'm proud of this CD, and this music means something very special to me.

Tis The Season For Christmas Music!

The Christmas Songs On the CD

  1. Silent Night, Holy Night
  2. Angels From The Realms Of Glory
  3. Away In A Manger
  4. The First Noel (Nowell)
  5. What Child Is This?
  6. We Three Kings
  7. It Came Upon The Midnight Clear
  8. Hark The Herald Angels Sing
  9. O Little Town Of Bethlehem
  10. O Come All Ye Faithful
  11. Joy To The World
  12. Deck The Halls
  13. I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day
  14. Christmas Morning Bells
  15. Christmas Medley

Download / Listen To Christmas Songs 

Blog Post And Images (c) 11/30/17 by Don Shetterly
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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Sometimes We Break Into Many Pieces

Written By Don Shetterly
It is a given in life I think that sometimes things don't go as planned.  Sometimes we break into many pieces.  When this happens, it is never fun, but sometimes it is necessary.

I can look back at my life and see just how many times I felt so broken inside.  The moments where I felt like I could not go on and I would not make it.  Experiences that felt like they were taking me under as I gulped for my last breath of air.

In these moments of life, I felt like I had broken into so many pieces that there would never be a way to put myself together.  I didn't believe at those times that I could go on and make it in life.  In fact, at one point I went through the paralysis of Conversion Disorder. It felt like walking again was a pipe dream.

Through all of those moments, I came to realize that I could make it.  I had more strength within myself than I realized existed at that second.  When I thought there was no more to get, somehow I reached further down and found more strength.

I also came to realize that sometimes when I felt so broken, that it was in those moments where I found my way forward.  It almost took the millions of pieces I had become before I could begin to piece life back together.

In fact, I think for the junk in life I no longer needed, the pieces had to break.  It was the only way out for the stuff that was no longer useful.  If I hadn't broken into many pieces, I would have held on to the things forever.  In the end, I would not have made it without going through this step.

While I know, it isn't easy when your life has been shattered.  I know it is difficult to see that this may result in something good.  I understand that.  However, I know in my own life, and I've got a feeling you do too, that you will make it through this.  I've got a feeling that you'll discover strength you didn't know what was present.

Even though sometimes we break into many pieces, just remember that we can always put ourselves together.  When we do this, we often find a much stronger way of piecing our life back, so we're more prepared to take on so much more in the future!

Blog Post And Images (c) November 28, 2017, by Don Shetterly
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Thursday, November 23, 2017

A Thanksgiving Song

Written By Don Shetterly
This was a song I helped create for a Thanksgiving Day exercise.  I believe we were going to Faith Baptist Church of Hampton, Iowa at the time.  This was an activity we did as a family.  I guess because I played the piano it seemed logical. 

It has been many years since I have seen the words to this and my copy is tattered and worn.  To the best of my knowledge and as far as I know, there are no other copies of this song.

While it is hard to remember back to 1975 when this was created, I believe my mom helped me do this with limited assistance from others in my family.  My mom is no longer living, so there is no way to check for sure. 

At the top of the page is written, "tune to Onward Christian Soldiers."  I'm going to write the words here, and please feel free to use it if you want.  Just give me (Don Shetterly) credit for the words.  Most likely it was around 1975 when it was created.


Dear Lord, we love you every day.
We're thankful always too,
We praise you for your blessings,
And lift our hearts to you.
You give us hope and cheer our hearts and
you hear our prayers too.
Help us, Lord, to do your will and
keep us ever true.

Now we thank you for our friends, for fellowship so sweet,
keep us ever faithful and make our lives complete.

(c) 1975 by Don Shetterly, Barb Shetterly

May you be thankful in whatever form that takes for you on this Thanksgiving Day.  I hope that your thankfulness will extend beyond this day and become a daily experience.  Be not only thankful but let your heart give the blessings you have to those who need a little help.

Blog Post And Images (c) November 23, 2017, by Don Shetterly
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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Staying Ignorant

Written By Don Shetterly
Growing up, our house was not one where we were allowed to challenge the status quo.  What my father said was meant to be the law, and you did not object, argue, or ask for an explanation.  Staying ignorant was the law of our house.

We were abused under these rules, and we were molested and beaten and psychologically abused.  Any attempt to circumvent or change that was met with punishment that was more harsh and severe and quick then one could contemplate.  If you spare the rod, then it means you would spoil the child was the judgment of the court in our house.  Yet, staying ignorant was the norm.

Our minds were brainwashed under these rules.  Even though we were urged to think for ourselves, it was not allowed.  It was not given fertile ground to develop, and if you attempted to do it, you would be met with the "silent treatment."  You were ostracized and put in the dog house for daring to stand up and challenge anything spoken.

Sure, the king in charge of my family would act as if this did not happen. The family king would make a spectacle out of you, telling everyone that knew you, just how wrong you were.  They took facts out of context and prove to others, that you had no idea what you were saying.  No matter what was needed, they would ensure that you were the crazy one who dared stand up and speak out against the king of the house.

Watching pets be killed or being told that if you dared to stand up, the cops would not be able to do anything for you proved that you had no choice.  Learning that God would punish you if you challenged the king or he specially wanted you to just follow the will of the family is just how things were in our house.

Staying ignorant was all we knew.  While we heard others may brainwash us in their ways and beliefs, we were the ones being brainwashed and yet we did not know it.  What seemed abusive and wrong to others, seemed normal to us.  We knew no different.  It is what we had been taught.

When I finally got up the courage to stand on my own and walk away, I was labeled as crazy.  It was the medication, the doctors, and my friends who led me astray.  People that had known me most of my life were told just how far off the deep end I had gone.  Staying ignorant was what they demanded of us.

To this day, I'm on my own.  I don't have contact with the ones that wished to silence me.  I said enough is enough.  Staying ignorant was no longer a choice, but it was so difficult to do.  It took courage and strength to stand through the pain of the separation.  It was not for the faint of heart.

I'm glad I escaped and found my own life, but it took me many years to begin undoing the harm and brainwashing that was done to me.  Staying ignorant is how the family wishes to remain, but no longer will I let anyone brainwash me.

I work each day to become more than I am.  I strive to go in and clean out the dark places of my life and let go of things that no longer serve me.  It is a process to unlearn all that you were taught even if it was toxic and ignorant.  It is not an easy process, and while many give up trying to do it, I'm glad that I am no longer staying ignorant.

My life is much better as I grow in my own awareness and consciousness.  Keeping someone down because of beliefs and control is no way for any human to live.

Blog Post And Images (c) Nov 21, 2017, by Don Shetterly
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Thursday, November 16, 2017

Child Abuse Survivors Are Not Alone

Written By Don Shetterly
Far too many times we think we're all alone out in the world.  We believe there is no one else that has suffered through situations like we have.  We see our experiences as isolating us from others, when in fact, many have also walked in similar shoes on the road of life.

When I was first starting to deal with the memories of child sexual abuse, I thought I was alone.  I didn't think anyone understood.  I didn't know there was anyone else that had gone through these things.  Boy, was I so wrong!

In the early days, there were not the online resources that exist today.  There was not a team of therapists and support people that you could reach out to for help.  The internet was beginning to come alive, but resources were few and far between.  I remember going to one of the first support forums for male survivors.

The thing that this place helped the most was letting us all share our experiences and how we were struggling and dealing with them.  When you started to read the things other members wrote, you began to see that you weren't alone.  It was like a shot of a Hallelujah Chorus singing for all the heavens to hear.  It was that powerful.

When you go through abuse, even if the innermost parts of you can determine it is harmful and wrong, there's a part that says, "this is what is normal in life."  When you are a child experiencing these horrendous acts, it blurs the line between what is normal and what is not.  You carry that through into your adult years as if it is a conflicting truth which you have built your life upon.

Knowing that others have gone through experiences I had and that the trauma and abuse were anything but normal, helps significantly in reconciling your life with truth.  It is in that vulnerability that we come to know more of what the truth is.

One of the hardest things for survivors of abuse is feeling like they are alone and no one understands.  I'm grateful that there is a network of support out there for child abuse survivors.  The tricky part comes in getting those to see that they are not alone and others will be there supporting them as they begin their healing journey.

I can almost guarantee you that if you feel you're alone in what you are going through, there are others out there that understand this.  When you meet that individual, you will find a sense of strength and determination in healing from the horrors of your past.  It may not make the path easy, but at least you do not have to do this alone.

 Some great resources

  1. Male Survivor
  2. Surviving My Past
  3. Mind Body Thoughts Blog (this blog)

Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
  • Permission required before any part of this blog post is reprinted, reworded or used in any form. 
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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Do We Really Want Change?

Written By Don Shetterly
These days I see people pushing one movement or another.  I look at where we are told to "stand up to this issue" or "prevent this issue" or "bring awareness to an issue."  But yet, I wonder if we really want to change.

We give lip service that we do.  We fill our Twitter and Facebook feeds with it, but then our actions portray just the opposite.   Please don't mistake this blog post as being a political one, because it is much bigger than that. I am more focused on mind body health and healing.

I've written some blog posts about intense and difficult subjects.  These are often about the things that everyone wants to stop, prevent, change or bring about through awareness.  Yet, when I share those online, the click rate to the blog post is barely existent.

It appears that we want to help change the world and bring awareness, prevention, or support, but we really don't want to do much more than that.  So, I have to question, do we really want change?

I know... I know..  Everyone will say of course we want change.  Of course we care about our issues, but unfortunately, actions speak louder.  If all you're willing to do is retweet or like or share the fact that you are raising awareness, does that go far enough?  In my view, I don't believe that it does.

I don't even believe it means we have to protest or sign petitions.  I'm not convinced that those always bring about the change we need.  We may think we do, and there may be some evidence of it, but does it really do what we think it does?  To me, it feels more like screaming and boiling water than actually doing something.

After all, if you want to change the world, it begins with each one of us.  It doesn't start by beating someone else over the head to see the world the way we do.  It doesn't begin with bullying someone into believing the way we do.  It starts with how we change our own lives in this world.

It isn't just a thought process in what we think and believe.  From deep within the core of the mind and body, it radiates out energetically as a vibration.  What is genuinely within us is shown to the world.  We may not be conscious of it.  We may not be aware of it, but it is on display.

Do we really want change?  If we do, we'll support conscious behavior that helps others heal.  We will quit focusing on the latest trending story of the day and look beyond to a bigger picture.  If we really want change, we'll start by examining ourselves from the deepest parts, not from our belief system.

I'm not going to stop writing about the hard and challenging subjects.  People may stay in the clouds and not read these things.  That is their choice, but I'm not going to sit by silently.  I'm not going to watch others be abused and remain silenced.

This blog and everything I write is about pushing us beyond our comfort zone.  It is about challenging our beliefs and opinions and current awareness.  I strive to get people who read this blog to think about everything more and in a different light.

We are following a dangerous path in this world, and we really need to ask the hard questions.  I'll leave you with this question one last time:  Do we really want change?  If we do, it must begin with each one of us.  Let our mind body health and healing start within our own continued awareness of what is possible.

Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
  • Permission required before any part of this blog post is reprinted, reworded or used in any form. 
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Sunday, November 12, 2017

Need A Good Webhost for Wordpress?

Web Hosting

I know this is off topic!  Unfortunately, to keep the lights on, I have to do a little bit of this.  So, I only promote products that I love and use, and that help me.  This one happens to be a new web hosting company for my WordPress sites.

Lately, I've been having major issues with a webhost that I've been with for many years.  Most of the time, the webhost was good (LunarPages).  In the past six months to a year, they just weren't cutting it for me.  Their service was hit or miss and more miss than hit.  The performance of their servers was really dragging my sites down.

I tried to work with them.  I really did, but the support responses were so poor that I felt frustrated.  I signed up for their managed shared support and thought that this would help.  Instead, I had someone try to lecture me about something on which they were flat wrong.  Fortunately a supervisor stepped in and helped in that one situation.

Anyway, I got tired of continual problems, lack of support, and performance issues on my sites.  I started to look elsewhere, and fortunately, I found a place called

I was nervous to switch, but when LunarPages messed up my account so bad at one point that I could not access my site, it was the last straw.  I made the switch to, and I have not regretted it.

LunarPages did contact me after I left negative feedback and reviews about them asking if they could do anything to keep me and some clients as a customer.  Unfortunately, I had tried to reach out to them many times, and they dismissed me, so in my mind it was too late.  Plus the server performance was so much better for me that there was no way I was going back.

What I Love About

  1. The speed of my website and the WordPress dashboard are outstanding.  When I go to my site, it loads quickly.  There is no going to get a cup of coffee and waiting till it loads scenario.
  2. Customer support has been excellent.  No, let me rephrase that.  They have been outstanding.  Not only did they follow up making sure I had my new account set up correctly, but they also helped when I had one thing I was not sure how to do.  In seven minutes on live support chat, the customer rep had the issues solved and corrected.
  3. When I run on my account and start to look at page speed and performance, instead of my site taking 10 seconds to load, it now loads in about 2 seconds.  It is the same site, just transferred from LunarPages to

An Extra Bonus With

If you want to, you can apply for an affiliate account, which I did.  In fact, if you click on the banners or links here, you'll be helping me out.

But that's not all!  Even if you do not want to be an affiliate, they have a referral code, and for every friend that signs up for hosting with SiteGround, you get three months free on your hosting plan.  A nice little extra if you ask me!

See For Yourself

Don't just take my word for it, check out and see for yourself.  I've been extremely impressed with this place, and I'm in the process of migrating all my stuff over.

I did sign up for the Go Geek plan with them because I have big plans for upcoming website development.

Need Help With Wordpress?

If you need help with your own wordpress site, just email me.  I do build wordpress sites and I help people with SEO.  I can also assist you in migrating your site from a host over to .

Web Hosting

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Do You Want To Be Concsious Online?

Written By Don Shetterly
I'm sitting here in frustration at the moment watching what happens online every day.  I see it and keep hoping it will change, but the needle seems to be going in the negative direction.  So, I'm left to wonder, do people want to be conscious?

Somedays, it seems like social media is nothing more than a rant about political beliefs.  The world could be ending in this very second, and all anyone seems to care about is the latest tirade on Twitter or the grabbing headline of the day.  There is no in-depth analysis.  It is what people hear that they regurgitate no matter how hard they try to convince others they make up their own minds.  Sorry, the evidence shows the contrary.

People want to be concerned about mental health, depression, suicide and anxiety among other health situations.  I applaud this.  I think it needs to be talked about, but far too often it means nothing more than a retweet or like on social media.  The conversation doesn't continue.  It only ticks up the counters in the tweet or post.  I see this in stuff especially about suicide I have posted.  It gets clicks, but that's as far as it goes.

What does it matter?

There are so many games played online with people where if you click this, I'll follow you back.  Oh look, I can buy more followers.  Oh look, people, see how much I can spend online to get a lot of retweets, likes, and comments.  At the end of the day, what does that matter?  What have you accomplished that changed your life or the world?

Don't you dare say anything that doesn't fit into everyone's beliefs because it would be too uncomfortable if we could discuss with someone who holds opposing thoughts?  It doesn't matter if it is hot-button issues or simple things, I've seen the sudden drop online because of it.  I don't necessarily look for those that agree with me, but I just look for those that respect others.  We can hold differing viewpoints, but we're still fellow humans traveling on this earth.

Many people online act as if they have the only answer.  They are the experts.  They know the truth.  There is nothing else or anything that they could possibly entertain.  So, once again I ask, do people want to be conscious?

Some give lip service...

I really wonder if people do because I see very few that attempt to do this.  Some give lip service to it.  Some make it appear they do, but it is the same thing as if you have a glass house thinking no one can see inside.

It isn't about what other people want and what they do either.  It is about each one of us and what we want.  Do you want to be conscious?  Are you willing to go the distance and be conscious?  Are you ready to step away from all you know, all you have been taught and your beliefs to be conscious?

I mean, are you ready to challenge everything you know and drop what no longer serves you?  No, I don't say you do this if it agrees with you, but if it makes you uncomfortable.  I mean, if it makes you question things that are not easy.  It is where we begin to find consciousness.  We do not find it in the safety of our routine lives.

Diminished what was written...

I posted something about the topic of what is truth.  One person immediately without reading it said it is a religious thing.  They did not even entertain what the blog post was about but was so quick to state their belief rather than be informed.  They diminished what was written by their own unconsciousness.  They were not showing love or compassion or understanding.

So, once again I ask, Do you want to be conscious?  I'm not going to let anyone off the hook on this blog post.  I know this is a hard question.  I know we want to say, of course, we do, but in all reality - is that true?

I too struggle with this daily, and I think that is a good thing.  If you want to be conscious, but you don't wade into the water, you may need to work on being more honest with yourself.  See, we fool ourselves into thinking that we are more than what we are.  We kid ourselves into believing that we have everything together while we hide and ignore, numb and disconnect to what is the truth around us.

Deeper than we currently see...

Consciousness is not just a thought process.  It means being connected to our mind, body, emotions, thoughts, and the higher spiritual side of where we fit in this world.  Consciousness is not just a meme we retweet or the fake smile we paste on our face.  It is more than spouting our own beliefs as if everyone else should think like us.  It is deeper than we currently see and if we think we are conscious, we most likely are a long way off.

Consciousness means we go in and become aware of all parts of our life, even the most uncomfortable ones.  Where fear is afraid to tread, that's where we go to become more aware and conscious.

It is up to each one of us how we live our life.  If we spend every waking minute worrying about the latest tirade of the day, we're not helping the world.  We're adding to the problem.  The world and human civilization have serious issues, and it is looking for people to step up to the plate and help solve these problems.  Unfortunately, we have a world that is screaming at one another.  Nothing is being resolved.

Through your actions...

Do you want to be conscious?  It isn't a yes or no answer.  It is how you live in a day and what you do through your actions that give the answers.  It is where you focus your time and help and love, not just how much you act as if you do.  Conscious means doing more and being more than you were yesterday and not as far as tomorrow.  It is a daily commitment, not a one time retweet or like or post.

I write because I want to see the world and human civilization wake up.  No, I'm not referring to politics or religion.  I mean, waking up from the inside out.  Learning how to live not only in your mind but in your body.  Seeing that your life is led by a heart that is fully open, not close or semi-open from the trials of life.

I write because I want to make a difference.  I don't care about many of the issues most get frantic about these days.  Those are temporary unconscious events that only bring out the worst in people.  I'm more concerned with how you deal with your health and mental well-being.  The overall love and acceptance of others are what matters to me, not the judgment and condemnation we shove in other people's faces.

Do you want to be conscious?  If you do, make sure your actions and thoughts and your words work in that direction.  See the big picture, not the moment by moment parts of life that do not advance the civilization of this universe.  See that consciousness begins deep inside of you and radiates out for all to observe.

I'll leave you with this question one last time because I just want you to think about it.  The answer is not as important as the process of contemplation.  Do You Want To Be Conscious?

Blog Post And Images (c) 11/9/2017 by Don Shetterly
  • Permission required before any part of this blog post is reprinted, reworded or used in any form. 
  • You are welcomed to share the LINK to this blog post.  

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

I Won't Back Down

Written by Don Shetterly
I learned recently that Tom Petty passed away.  I did not know his music for a long time, but when I found it, it meant the world to me.  During that particular period in my life, it spoke to me like very little music did.

One of his songs that is an inspirational help to me is "I Won't Back Down."  When I first heard this song, I was going through horrible moments in my life.  I was just coming to terms with the abuse I had gone through.  It felt like everything was against me, including my family and life itself.

The lyrics state "you can stand me up at the gates of hell, but I won't back down," and that's exactly what it felt like to me.  It was hell in my life healing and coming to terms with what had been done to me.  If you've been through childhood sexual abuse or torture, you most likely understand the things I am saying.

In another line, the song goes, "Well I know what's right, I got just one life.  In a world that keeps pushin' me around, but I'll stand my ground."  At that moment of my life, I felt like I was being pushed around, but I still knew what was right.

I had a CD of songs that I played which I called my empowerment songs and "I Won't Back Down" was one of them.  Whenever I felt like I wasn't making it or I needed a boost in life, I would play this CD.

Tom Petty's song helped me see that no matter what I've been through, I Won't Back Down.  He kept me going when sometimes that was a huge mountain to climb.

Healing from childhood sexual abuse and torture was and still is not easy at times.  It feels like pure hell.  Often it feels like you won't make it through all the pain or be able to stand when it is over.  That's where I believe what Tom Petty says, "You can stand me up at the gates of hell, but I Won't Back Down."

I am sad to hear he passed away.  He will forever be missed in my heart and the hearts of many.  The world needs more people in it like him who see life for what it is, not what we're led to believe it is.

So even though Tom Petty is no longer with us on this earth, I'll say, "You can stand me up at the gates of hell, but I won't back down."  Oh no, I won't back down.

Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
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Blog Post And Images (c) 1/01/07 by Don Shetterly
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