Monday, July 31, 2017

Dealing With Phone Anxiety

Telephone phobia is not a new thing – after all, it was listed in The Encyclopedia of Phobias, Fears, and Anxieties, long before the iPhone, Droid, or Galaxy Nexus ever came into our lives.   It might not be new, but in this age of text messages that demand instant responses, or robocalls that never seem to end, there are more and more people who’ve come to despise the sound of their own ringtones.

Two of our columnists have joined me for this post since all three of us have some degree of telephone anxiety.  What follows is a roundtable discussion with Marie Davino (Natural Healing Gal), Jeff Lemlich, and myself, as we try to understand and come to terms with this growing problem.

Jeff: Everywhere I go, I see people talking on their cell phones.   I know people that can chatter away for hours at a time, day after day after day.   To many (maybe most), that’s the way things are and the way things should be.   But I’m not like that.   Not even close.

I have telephone anxiety.  When someone says “call me,” I immediately try to see if I can text or email instead.   I don’t just hate talking on the phone – sometimes I fear it.  Sometimes it makes me shake, or lose what seems like half of my vocabulary.

Don: Phone anxiety is not fun for me.  There have been times I’ve been okay with it and other times when it becomes a living torment every day.  The phone was a constant source of anxiety for me just before I was paralyzed (insert blog post link).  After I got out of the hospital, hearing the phone ring would bring on an anxiety attack.  With time, I learned to get over it.

Marie:  I have had this issue with phone anxiety for as long as I can remember. I can feel it now just thinking about it. I avoid the phone most of the time. I procrastinate listening to messages to avoid making the call ... and the longer I let it go, the more shame I feel, because it seems it is something so simple.

Don: When the phone rings, it feels like a tornado siren going off that will not stop.  I find it disruptive and annoying at best.  Most of the time, there are phone spammers and scammers on the other end that I have no desire to talk to at any time of the day.

Jeff: I had no trouble talking on the phone when I was a teenager, back when everyone in the house shared a single phone line.   I don’t know if years as a TV news producer, assignment editor, and researcher (pre-internet) burned me out on reaching out and touching someone, but it sure hit me in a big way… and still does.

Don: I had a recent job that had me on the phone from early morning until late night.  I would do conference calls, and for the most part, I was okay with it.  However, I was doing so much travel that at times I think the phone became my companion.  Even with me being able to handle it, I know towards the end of the job that the phone was becoming a knife that would stab me every time it rang.

Marie: When I do make a call, most of the time I do so well, you would think that it would build my confidence and the next time would be easier. It doesn't... and it isn't. There is always the possibility of that humiliating feeling of drawing a blank. Words disappear. I can't think. I want to sleep.  I go numb and disappear somewhere inside myself. It also happens in normal conversations in person. When I "come back," I have missed half the conversation, and I inevitably say something stupid, and I get that look of "what did she just say?" The embarrassment is overwhelming.

Jeff: I can usually handle short phone calls.   I like when the conversation gets right to the point.  After about 20 or 30 minutes, I start to pace, and before too long it becomes clear that the call must come to an end.

I can’t stand one more minute.   I can’t stand one more second… and it doesn’t matter who’s on the line.   It could be the most important people in my life.   When I reach that point of no return, that’s it.   Please, please, please stop talking!

Don: For me, it is pure torment when the phone rings unless I know someone is calling that is on my approved favorites list.  When the text messages come, and I’m not busy or just relaxing, they are okay, but for the most part, I find them disruptive.

Getting awakened by the phone early in the morning, especially from phone scammers, does not yield a good reaction from me.  Some days I want to pound the phone into oblivion.

Marie: The anxiety can be so frustrating. It bleeds over to my relationship with my husband. It leads to tense moments; we have arguments over it. He does not have this issue. He loves to talk on the phone, and so it makes no sense to him. Or maybe he does have the issue, but he is able to push it aside and do it anyway. I do not know why some people can push through the troubles in their lives and some have so much more difficulty. At least, that is how it looks in my view of the world!

Don: I get this intense anxiety that comes over me and shows up as profuse sweating.  It will soak my clothes in less time than sitting in a steam room for a few minutes.  It angers me because there are people that I do love talking to on the phone, but it has made this difficult.

Marie: Most people don't understand... and I hear, so what, just get over it.  Well, if it holds me back so much, which it does, and I could just "get over it," why wouldn't I? Am I just lazy? Is it because I am sabotaging myself? I ask myself these questions often.

Don: I can feel the anxiety and anger kick up big time when all of this happens.  So far, I can’t identify why it happens or how to hold it down.  I’m still working on this part of my life.

I try to moderate some of this by shutting off the text message sound, but the phone still vibrates.  At times, I unplug the main phone, so I don’t have to hear it ring.  I wish I could say I have this under control, but lately, the phone had better be thankful I don’t keep my hammer nearby for it would meet its untimely demise.

Marie: I wonder if there is an answer. If there is, I have not found it yet... but in my business, I found someone else to make the calls now.  It has taken a huge burden off me.

Jeff: As you see, I’m not alone in this.  If someone you know is balking at giving you a call, try to understand that not everyone was born to chat.   It’s not that we don’t want to talk to you.   It’s just that, sometimes, we can’t.

Thank You you everyone for this discussion and thank you to Jeff for pulling this blog post together.  I hope that by all of us sharing what we experience it will help someone else understand the anxiety they face.  This is something I am working on in my own life.

Check Out more info on the blog post contributors

Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
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Friday, July 28, 2017

Healing Back Pain Beliefs

Written By Don Shetterly

Some days I scratch my head at how people approach issues in life.  Healing back pain is one of those.  I grew up with a father who had constant back pain, and I'm still nauseated by the smell of Absorbine Junior.  For some reason, I was one of the "chosen ones" that got to apply this to him, but that's another story for another time.

Of course, I know his back pain hurt, and I know it bothered him.  He tried every product known under the sun.  They all promised "relief" of course, and if they did, he bought them.  However, very few if any worked.  Those were the days before back surgery, and before Oxycontin and Opioid usage were prevalent like it is today.

Today, it is the just about the same as it once was then.  We do all kinds of "procedures" and "surgeries" and "pain meds" to relieve the pain.  In the alternative therapy world, there are many "healing procedures" that promise to get rid of the pain.  Unfortunately, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but so many of these things just don't work.  Why?   Because they aren't approaching the entire body and mind together.

In a recently released movie documentary called ALL THE RAGE, Michael Galinsky showed through his own life history how much Dr. John Sarno, M.D., helped heal back pain.  Sarno's ideas were revolutionary at the time, and he was ostracized by much of the medical establishment, but he did help many people.  John Stossel and Howard Stern cannot sing high enough praises for Dr. Sarno, claiming he helped save their lives,

Dr. Sarno's concepts were not packaged in a once daily, ready-to-take pill, yet they worked!  They worked because he understood how our feelings and emotions, stresses and experiences in life impacted the physical body in ways that defied medicine.  He saw beyond the physical, and connected the body and mind together.

Unfortunately, when you try to share this with people, they are skeptical at best and dismissive at worse.  They don't want to hear what you have to say.  They ignore it, dismiss it and look at you like you are crazy.  You don't know their pain, so you know nothing.

The same thing happened to Dr. John Sarno.  People would bring in their medical tests, X-rays, and CT scans to prove that there was something physically wrong with them.  Yet, that was like looking through a pair of glasses and only seeing the color green and nothing else.  He looked beyond it and saved many people from surgery while helping them find lasting relief.

Many years ago, reporter John Stossel did a 20/20 story on Dr. John Sarno.  Even though Stossel knew how effective Dr. Sarno's concepts were, his own brother, who was a doctor, didn't believe it.  I remember in that report how John was saying, "but it helped me", yet that was not proof enough for his brother.  It appeared that his brother's paradigms were getting in the way.

I recently shared this with someone I know, and they immediately dismissed me.  This individual did not even take the time to check it out.  I was wrong, and they were right.  I didn't understand what their pain was about, they told me.  I didn't know what I was talking about, they said.  They called me crazy.  They called me a few other things.

Then I remembered that in the movie documentary, All The Rage, Dr. Sarno said to someone that people just would not listen.  He advised them to move on and let it go.  I'm paraphrasing here, of course.  He reasoned that if someone would not listen, there was not much you could do and you were wasting your time.

In the case of Conversion Disorder, which I have dealt with in my own life, many have laughed at me and thought I don't have a clue what I was talking about.  They have mocked me, dismissed me,and flat out just told me how wrong and stupid I am.  Yet, I see them continue to struggle with Conversion Disorder.  I know you can heal from it.  The help is available but far too many do not want to go in and do the hard work required to heal.  They just want the magic pill to make it all go away.

When presented with information, we can either dismiss it and turn away, or we can see how it could apply.  We can call it crazy and ill-informed or we can see if there is an element of truth in it.  Now, I'm not saying everything is full of truth, but there are elements of truth in everything.  The rest is filler material and beliefs.

Whether we go further into our own awareness and healing, or we sit back in our lounge chairs watching the same old life movies play over and over., is up to each of us.  I can't make that decision for you and neither can anyone else.  That has to come from within you, and whether you are aware or not, you're making a choice each day in your own life.

Be sure to watch out for the movie documentary, All The Rage, because it is a good movie to see.

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Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
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Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Felt Sense

By far, we under-utilize this part of human biology and healing.  The felt sense is critical and powerful to changing the direction of our lives, increasing awareness, and consciousness and helping us heal the experiences of our day.

I've learned about the felt sense through the work of Dr. Paul Canali, known as Unified Therapy.  Felt sense, in my understanding, is about feeling the emotions and what is going on in life in the body.  It is the connection between those emotions and the body, including the mind.

All too often we only focus on what we feel, or that emotions are present.  We tend to focus on it from a mind approach where we are in our heads, but not in our bodies.

Emotions are outward manifestations of what is going on in life.  They are our reaction to events and experiences, originating from deep within us.

Felt sense takes us into the moment where we feel the experiences and emotions in our body, not just observe them in our reactions.  When we stop and allow ourselves to go in and feel them, it is then that we have the power to change them.

Most of us will feel the emotions, and feel pain in our bodies, but we don't connect the two together.  The felt sense is where we are able to do this.

Being aware of how these things connect to our body and our mind is the key to working with them.  The more we can work with the experiences and emotions we face, from a connected mind and body interface, the more we can make major changes in life.

These changes are not limited to physical only, but our increased consciousness and awareness.

A good quote from Eugene Gendlin's book, Focusing, puts this in perspective.

"The change process we have discovered is natural to the body, and it feels that way in the body.  The crucial move goes beneath the usual painful places to a bodily sensing that is at first unclear.  From this new vantage point, the traditional methods of working on oneself are seen to have been mostly pain-centered.  People get into and repeat over and over their painful emotions, without knowing how to use the body's own life-centered and inherently positive direction and force." (Focusing)

Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Traumatic Effects

The book by Peter Levine, Ph.D. called Waking The Tiger has so much to share on how trauma affects us.  All too often we go through life oblivious to it.  All too often we think trauma is some horrific one-time incident, failing to see how the little moments can be just as traumatic as one big moment.

In the following quote, he sums up so much of what happens in traumatic effects.

Traumatic effects are not always apparent immediately following the incidents that caused them.  Symptoms remain dormant, accumulating over years or even decades.  Then, during a stressful period, or as the result of another incident, they can show up without warning.  There may also be no indication of the original cause.  Thus, a seemingly minor event can give rise to a sudden breakdown, similar to the one that might be caused by a single catastrophic event."  (Waking The Tiger by Dr. Peter Levine)

In my own life, I've had those moments that connected from the current moment I'm living into something that happened in my past.  I was not aware of it. It led me to the Conversion Disorder.  It took me years to put those pieces together to understand what happened.

The series of events didn't affect most people.  They didn't end up with back and neck pain.  They didn't end up being paralyzed and almost dying.  But, I did...  See my book for more about what I went through.

The thing is, we all have those connections, and they impact us differently.  They can add to anxiety, depression, back pain, neck pain and other physical issues in our body.

What happens to us does impact our body, and so often we don't stop to look at that connection.  Even if we do, we barely open the closet door to see what is inside.  We do everything we can to avoid it and delay it and act as if it doesn't exist.

You might not be able to put one thing with the other in a connection, but it doesn't mean that it is not there.  Sometimes we just cannot see the connection.  Our brain is protecting us from things that are just too difficult to deal with in our life.

However, you can be sure that if something physical is showing up in the body, that you need to look beyond your usual paradigms and beliefs.  There is more to it.  There is a mind body connection that means so much more than the buzzword we use every day.

Just the awareness that there can be the connection present may help you heal and move through what is showing up.  Sometimes, that is the hardest part of the journey, but it is often the most important part.

Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Inhuman Online Activities on Twitter

These days I wonder about the long-term survivability of the human race.  Maybe that's not the best word to use, but I really wonder if we can sustain the human race in the era of inhuman online activity.

We're hit with auto messages of every type and flavor on Twitter.  I gave up on Facebook because I got tired of it trying to run my life with likes, shares, and the latest rants of the day.  At least on Twitter, I can mute words and boy do I have words muted!

However, everyone thinks that automated bots and replies are good.  Even Twitter does it.  Have you ever tried to contact Twitter help and support?  Good luck if you reach anything but their automated bots that give you canned responses.

I try to play by the rules on Twitter.  I try to genuinely make a difference on what I share on Twitter.  Yet, for some reason in the past two weeks, I've been locked out of Twitter.  In the first instance, I wasn't able to get it unlocked until late into the following day.  This more recent time, I was able to get it unlocked because they ACTUALLY called my phone (unlike the last time).

I just wish there were humans you could talk to that would explain why things happen.  Twitter so hates the automated bots, but yet they do exactly that which they despise.  They don't have any controls in place for stopping the porn and hate like they should,  yet they will slap you for some unknown infraction or mistake by locking your account.

Some days, it really gets old dealing with everything being automated.  I'm tired of my direct message inbox filling up on Twitter with all the "against the rule" spam messages that get sent to me, including TrueTwit spam messages.

No one seems to care.  No one wants to be human.  Everyone just wants to blast everything to everyone all day long.  That is not human.  That is inhuman.

Many times, I've tried to respond back to the automated messages, but I never get a response.  I scratch my head and wonder - then why send it to me?  You're nothing more than annoying when you do this.

I think we have to pull our heads out of our collective backsides and start to figure out how to at least be human.  Right now, we're failing ourselves and the world in the behaviors and activities we do.

If we keep going down the path like we are, places like Twitter and the users that spam people will degrade us to a point where inhuman will be the norm.  Surely we've got to be better than that.  Surely we've got to engage our mind, body, and heart together as one.

Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
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Monday, July 24, 2017

Self Care Changes With Our Journey

(Written by Survive - Thrive - Conquer, Matt)

Self Care Changes With Our Journey

As human beings, we are creatures of habit. We do things on a daily or routine basis because "that's what we've always" done. I know I've said that very phrase countless times in my life whenever someone questions me, or I question myself as to why I do something.

Why do we go to the same grocery store, by the same brands of food, or stop at the same gas station? Because at one time we tried something and since the experience was positive and gratifying in some way, we just stuck with it. Over time, even with a myriad of other options, we often default back to what works for us. We are familiar with it, and we know the result of engaging in that behavior generally yields a positive result.

For example, there are two convenience stores within a block of each other, or right across the street from each other, how often do you find yourself gravitating towards one more than the other? I know for me, there are two gas stations that are on the way home from work, but I almost always stop at one instead of the other, regardless of which direction I'm headed.

Why?  Habit, Familiarity, Just Because...?

We also might be forming habits in our healing journey, in particularly with self-care. We continue to do what works for us because it's worked in the past, and while there's nothing wrong with that, it would also behoove us to keep an open mind to new experiences that might also be beneficial.

For me, self-care has always involved several Go-To options:
  • Listening to Music
  • Playing my bass.
  • Going for a walk.
  • Catching up on shows that I've recorded and allowing myself to be carried away in the story.
  • Reading my Kindle.

Those things usually always work, or if one doesn't work as well as expected, I can try another and often find some emotional peace and relaxation. After all, self-care is about doing things that we enjoy, things that make us feel good, or take us away from the reality of what's troubling our minds for awhile.

But, self-care can evolve too, if we let it. As we age, our likes and dislikes can change. What we did as teenagers, we probably don't do anymore, or at least not as often or as rigorously. What happens though, since we are creatures of habit, we sometimes ignore new opportunities or brush them aside in favor of what works for us.

Case in point, I had a bit of an epiphany not long ago. Each year I go to a music festival not too far from where I live. It's always a very good time, two days of reliving the glory days and singing along to iconic anthems from a cherished time of my life. That festival has been a rock solid form of self-care for me up until this year.

On the drive home, I was pondering this and wondering to myself, "what is happening to me"? Am I just getting too old for this or is there something more profound happening in my healing journey or just my life in general?

It caused me a good deal of stress for awhile, not so much from the "getting old" thought but more from the, "why doesn't this work for me anymore like it used too" perspective.  As it turns out, after much debate in my head and talking to a couple of close friends, I concluded that my self-care routine is simply evolving.

Maybe I don't need to go to this every year anymore. Perhaps every other year would be fine, or maybe just going down for 1 of the days instead of both would do the trick. Only time will tell, but the point is, that it's okay to be open to change in self-care. Just because something always worked before, doesn't mean that we can't ever deviate or find something different, should that time ever arise.

Back to this whole creature of habit topic that we started with - do you find yourself doing the same self-care just because it's always worked or because it's become a habit?  Have you begun to feel twinges that maybe something isn't working quite the way it used too?

If you have, I encourage you to sit with that feeling, explore it, and understand that there's nothing wrong with you. There's nothing to fear, and you aren't suddenly going backward in your healing. It just simply means that your needs are changing as you grow throughout this journey.

What's done the trick and been your go-to method of self-care might just be evolving into something new and exciting, or maybe just slightly different. Either way, what matters is that we do what's best for us and be open to whatever that change may be.

Rock Your Survivor Journey!

 - Matt (

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Friday, July 21, 2017

I Struggle To Let Go

One of the things I believe happens to people who have been traumatized is wanting to remain in control, long after the events are past.   It makes sense in my mind because if control is taken away from you in abuse or other traumatic incidents, then it is the thing that your mind and body attempt to reconcile.

Often we get lost in this during recovery because things just don't fit together.  We strive for a series of events that fit and many times, these events have not surfaced.  It becomes like putting a puzzle together, and the pieces don't fit until you get enough in place to see the puzzle more clearly.

What our rational brain now sees compared to what was happening during the event does not mesh together.  It is like two separate things attempting to operate at the same time, and it just doesn't work.

I struggle to let go of things.  I struggle to let go of control in life.  When this happens, I increase the anxiety and stress in my life.  Yet, even though the best thing for me to do may be letting go, I cling to it as if it is my existence.  I cling to it because it feels familiar.

Unfortunately the more we try to control everything in life, the more difficult we make it.  Sometimes controlling everything is the worst thing we can do, but when you attempt to tell that to a traumatized brain, it laughs in your face as if you know nothing.

These days, there are many ways that most of us don't let go.  You can see it online in social media where someone just has to get that last word or that insult in.  You see in political discussions that no matter what side you are on, someone is not going to let up until they convince you that their ideas are right.

When couples argue, you can see this first hand.  Neither party often wants to give up and let go, for they are right and the other is wrong.  It is so prevalent throughout relationships, and in friends and people we meet every day.

Often times it shows up as "I'm Right, You're Wrong, " but that just brings more harm, strife, stress, and anxiety to the world.  You may prove your point, but you lose all that matters to yourself, your relationships. and your humanity in this world.

It is not easy to let go.  While it may be easy to say or create happy thoughts about letting go, most humans struggle with this.  Even if you're the most enlightened of individuals, this is not easy to do.  We tend to continually hold on to things that we don't need to hold on to in our lives.

Sometimes on social media, I find myself struggling to just walk away from the insults and arguments.  I've had people mock me for being on Oprah, when if they would understand that the show was about male survivors, most likely they would not have been mocking me.

In those times I want to put them in their place, but then I would become just like them.  My mom always told me to not lower myself to their standards, but keep my head held high.  In essence, she was telling me to "just let it go."

I know it isn't easy to let things go.  I struggle with it too, but don't give up that process.  We create a lot of our stress and a lot of anxiety in our lives and the more we can learn to let go, the better off we will be.  It is a continual process of learning and awareness, not just something you write as a happy thought.

Learn from the process, and let the process of learning to let go be your guide to greater awareness and possibility for your future.  That's what I'm striving to do!

Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
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Thursday, July 20, 2017

What Does Mindful Mean?

I see many things discussed about this every day, and while some hit the mark, others miss it, and some do a drive-by.  Mindful has become a buzzword these days, and while some of that is good, there's a lot that is not helpful at the end of the day.

So I'll give you my take on it, and I'm sure some will disagree.  However, what I write will be from my own experience, and what I have learned in the healing work I've been a part of over the past decade.

What Does Mindful Mean?

First off, it has to do with the mind.

Second, in my view, it is a connection between the mind and the body.  This is probably the point in which I differ with many, but again, I am speaking from my own experience and knowledge.

Too often as humans, we live in our head.  Yes, physically we are attached to our bodies, but we are so disconnected from anything we feel there.  No, I'm not referring to the pain that you feel, but an overall sense of being disconnected.

Most of the time we go through our days not fully feeling what is going on in our bodies. We don't stop to check in.  We don't notice how shallow and ineffective our breathing is.  We don't stop to see how stress and tension are affecting our bodies.

We just go through our days as if it is one task to the next, oblivious to what the body feels.  Yes, we need to do this to function and get our tasks done, but we often forget to stop, step back, and slow down or rest.  We think that's only for a yearly vacation, a weekend, or when we sleep at night.

So, while we focus on the mind part of mindful, we usually blow right past the body part.  The body part is where most of it happens.  Check out more on the Enteric Brain to get a better sense of that.

While it is nice to take a walk in the park and notice all that is around us, or to see something we normally don't see in a day, mindfulness is more than that.  It is about seeing and feeling all of these things from deep within your body so that it resonates outward and upward to your mind.

Mindfulness is about finding peace through awareness of all parts of the body, not just what thoughts we derive and create in our mind.  You can reach a level of peaceful contentment in your mind with your thoughts, which can be very helpful, but without the body you're only embracing half of mindfulness.

With feeling more in your body and getting in touch with those deep corners and recesses within you, you'll find that there is more to the mind body connection.  The more you embrace this and feel it and sense it, the more mindful you will become.  You will enhance your overall experience.

While experiences in life, stressors, and other situations keep us in our heads and out of our bodies, it should be our goal to be more in touch with the physical sensations lying beneath the surface.  We don't have to ignore and disconnect from them.  We can experience them and in turn, bring more fulfillment and mindfulness to our lives.

Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Disrespect On Social Media

More and more I'm seeing behavior that falls short of people online being human.  Yes, it is social media.  Yes, I know that kind of behavior has always been there.  However,  the amount that is showing up seems to be setting records, and I find that very sad.  Surely, we can be more than this as humans.

A recent tweet referenced a blog post about how studies show we influence the world through our thoughts.  The blog post referenced was "Influencing The World Through Our Thoughts"

Here's the tweet

Of course, one follower thought they had to come back and reply with "You don't wanna study my thoughts about this b.s. right now."  No, I'm not going to reference their name because I would not want to give them any publicity.

At first, I was taken aback by what they said, and thought "how rude."  In fact, I asked them to be at least respectful and if they could not, to just run along.  It isn't that I don't allow someone to disagree.  It is how someone does it.  If you can't be respectful and at least open to what I post, then we have major issues.

In this case, I don't think the follower even read the blog post.  Hey, why be bothered reading what is behind the tweet when you can just declare how stupid you think the other person is?  I mean, that's the way it comes across.  Sorry if that sounds rude or harsh, but it is the way I perceive it.

Of course, with his reply of "You don't wanna study my thoughts about this b.s. right now," he really proved the point of the article.  Because our thoughts and behavior do impact the world and yet we walk around with our heads buried somewhere as if they don't.  So in many ways, maybe I should be thanking this person for proving my blog post.

What I really find disturbing, though, is how we treat others.  This is a perfect example of it.  If I look at the guy's Twitter feed, I can see that he has little respect for anyone and therefore has little respect for himself.  That is his issue.  If he wanted to change it, he would, but it is obvious he does not.

My life goes on regardless of people such as this one, but I think we all need to take a step back and learn once again what respect for others in life actually is.  You can't have that much hate in your heart without it spewing over to everything in your life.

We are humans and we were put on this planet to work together, not stand at odds with one another.  We weren't put here to trample over one another.  I'm so reminded of the story in the movie "I Am" by Tom Shadyac.

We each play a role in humanity every day.  Either we are part of making the world a better place through our words, actions, and thoughts, or we are part of the problem.  We like to think it is everyone else that is the problem, but we often state those words with blinders on.

Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Flashbacks Wipe Me Out

I've come a long way in my healing.  I've leaped over mountains.  I've not only survived what was done to me, but I have thrived and I'm conquering new worlds.  Yet, the flashbacks come up every now and then and wipe me out.

The feelings are the first to show up for the flashbacks.  Then it progresses to the hint of the images.  Next the images start to take a shape, and a larger view of what they are follows.

The night time becomes an exercise to convince my eyes that it is okay to close them for a few hours.  I try to coax my brain into turning off long enough to get some rest.  It becomes a tug-of-war, and who wins is anyone's guess.  The winner result will be known when the sun comes up.

As the images, thoughts, feelings, and sensations come on, my mind works feverishly to hide from them.  In this stage, I despise them.  I hate them.  I abhor them.  How dare they sneak into my conscious thought!  How dare they!

At times, I feel like a deer caught in the headlights, not sure what to think or what I'm seeing.  At times, I just sit there bewildered and caught off guard as if my thoughts are a million light years away.

My mind tries to rationalize the flashbacks as if there was some way to make sense of them.  There is no way these images are real, I scream violently back to them.  There is no way this could have happened.  "Are you so stupid that you would think they would," I chastise myself.

Yet, myself laughs at the ridiculousness of my aversion to the flashbacks.  It knows more than I see and sees more than I know.  Yet I'm not about to give up the control.  I'm not about to hand over the keys to something I don't know exists.  No way - no how!

Then I read an article in the paper about some father sexually abusing and torturing his 7 year old daughter.  My eyes turn to rage.  I want to make that father suffer as much as he made his 7 year old daughter suffer.  For I know that this will forever change her and it will be something she has to deal with for the rest of her life.  I try to silence my rage and anger, for they will lead me down a path that will not be good.  I can only hope they lock him up for good, but I know all too well, that often the child abusers get very little punishment if at all.

The flashbacks don't stop.

The flashbacks continue.

At times, my body feels like a wrung-out wash cloth ready to be tossed into the garbage.

At times my body feels like an exhausted mess of muscles, tissues and cells all frustrated with another episode of flashbacks that I have to deal with in my life.

This is what my life becomes at times.  This is the horrible world of flashbacks that I live with from all the abuse and torture that was done to me as a kid.  I struggle to write those words because what child would even think a family member could do anything bad to them.  "How dare the child think this?" I scream at myself!  It is hard to accept.

The images aren't pretty.  It isn't only my mind that remembers.  It is the physical reactions I can see in my legs and across my skin.  It is the shivering one minute, followed by heat and sweating the next.  It is the rash that shows up.  It is the burning that I feel one minute, followed by nothing the next.

Some days I wonder if I've gone crazy.  Some days I am so tired of dealing with flashbacks that I despise the air I breathe.  Some days, I just don't feel strong enough to face them.

Yet, I know - that this too shall pass.  One of these days, things will calm down.  Yes, I know, I've got more to work through in my life and when I get through these things, there will be greater peace.

Today, that all seems like a dream.

Today, I will hold on to that dream.

Today, I feel wiped out.

(From my journal on 6/22/17)

Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
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Monday, July 17, 2017

What Type Of Reading Is Right For Me?

(Written by A Happy Medium, Amanda)

Which type of reading is right for me?

When I'm having conversations with friends and clients, I'm often asked about the difference between card readings and mediumship readings and which is "better."

There are a lot of different forms of divination: tarot cards, oracle cards, mediumship, dowsing (pendulum), runes, sticks, you name it!

It's hard for me to tell you what type of reading is best for you right now. You really need to decide what it is you are looking for to make a better-informed decision. Have you lost a relative or friend that you are looking to connect with? In that case, I'd recommend a mediumship reading.

Once you have a purpose in mind for the reading or the information you are seeking, you can make a more informed choice on the type of reading you need at this time.

What is a Medium?

 A medium is someone who channels spirit. What does that mean? Mediums can work in lots of different ways. Some are clairvoyant (they "see" things in their mind's eye), some, like me, are clairaudient (they "hear" information), some are clairsentient (they "feel" information), some are claircognizant (they just "know" information), and some work with a combination of the "clairs". My clairvoyance is developing the more I use it.

I can only really speak for myself as a medium, but mediums work with the past and the present, not so much the future. At least for me, that is true. If you are looking for a reading that's going to give you messages about lost loved ones, you want to see a medium.

Generally a medium clears their working space, sets an intention for the reading, grounds and protects and asks for spirit to come in and speak through them with any messages that are needed at this time.

It's interesting because I will ask for this information before a client comes and for me, it's like switching on a light. I may sense a male energy, I can tell what age it is, and usually, they tell me how they died because that's how a lot of spirits identify themselves. So for example, I could have a client sit down, and I could say, "The first energy presenting for you is an older male energy. This feels to me like a father or grandfather. I'm having difficulty breathing, which is an indication that the cause of death had something to do with the lungs."

Many of the messages I receive in these readings are about gratitude and their safe passage to the other side. Sometimes they tell me who came to get them. As I start with the first energy, others will often step forward. This man I sensed in my example may have his wife standing slightly behind him. If you have a huge family, I could have a room full of people that I can see inside my head.

Mediumship can be useful for finding things which are lost as well, although I haven't had a ton of success with it, but I did find someone's passport once! That falls more into the realm of remote viewing, which is different and very cool. I don't know a ton about it, but am just learning about it now.  You might also want to see a medium if you have a lot of activity happening in your house and you are looking for insights into who it is and why they are there. Maybe you'd like someone to sage your house and bless it. Mediums can do this as well.

What is a Card Reader?

If you are looking for a reading based on the future, I would recommend a tarot or oracle card reader. These are people who have tarot or oracle decks which are shuffled, drawn and placed into spreads to answer specific questions.

I read oracle cards regularly and incorporate them as a value add to my mediumship. I use them at the end of my readings to confirm the things we have discussed in your reading. Tarot readings are more structured, and readers will use card spreads that can lay out an overview for the next year, or specific to a certain situation including the outcome.

There are very gifted tarot readers out there, and most of them use a mix of intuitive hits and the cards in concert with each other. If you like logic, tarot cards may be for you. The cards are right in front of you and can be read right side up or reversed. Usually, when tarot cards are reversed, they signify a blockage or the card is read for the opposite of the meaning. I guess what I'm trying to say is that tarot is versatile and can have a lot of variety in the types of readings.

Which Is Better?

Okay, okay. You've explained the two types of readings - which is better?

Only you can decide which type of reading you need. The rules are basically the same. Come in with an open mind and walk out the same way. Figure out what you are looking for in the reading. Don't know anyone who has passed away? Not looking for information from those on the other side? I'd suggest going to a card reader at that point. However, even if you don't have people on the other side you know, mediums can connect to your guides, guardians and angels and your higher self.

Divination has been around for as long as people have been around and it's very personal choosing the type of reading you resonate with. I've said it in prior posts, and I'll say it again: Take the time to look around at potential readers. Look at photographs, read their blogs, view their social media platform. See how you feel about them, and feel free to call them and ask questions, ask for references and testimonials if you like.

You can always tell the reader what you are looking for and they will tell you how they feel about the reading. A reader working in integrity will refer you to a different reader who will fit your needs if they are not able to do the reading for you.

Good readers want you to get what you need, and they will help you get it by referring you to others in the community. Also, they may have good insight about what type of reading you may be looking for, so it never hurts to reach out, and we are always willing to talk about this work!

You want to talk about my mediumship activities? Do you have all day? *wink*

Until the next time!

 - Amanda (A Happy Medium)

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Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly and Amanda
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Friday, July 14, 2017

A Simple Touch Can Change So Much

If you read my blog post from yesterday on "Traumatized By Seizures", you will understand more of what I am writing today.  All too often we are just not fully connected to life, and we fail to see that a simple touch can change so much.

I'm sure we would all agree that healthy touch is good, but why is it we live in a society where touch is not honored and celebrated?  If it were, everyone would be having weekly massages and sharing hugs with one another.  Yes, I know there are some that do this, but it is more the exception than the norm.

When I went through the seizures of Conversion Disorder, I was so frightened and I felt so alone.  Yes, people were there with me, but deep inside I wanted someone to help comfort me.  I wanted to feel supported.  I wanted to know I wasn't going through this alone.

Yet, no one touched me.   No one supported me.  Everyone just stared at me through their own frightened eyes.

I have now realized that just a simple touch is what I needed.  That simple touch could have changed so much in me.  My eyes fill up with tears as I think of how alone I felt in those moments.

If you want to inflict further pain and trauma on someone, just withhold touch in a moment like this.  If you want to change someone's life, use a simple touch and see what happens.

Touch doesn't have to be extravagant and skilled.  All you need is touch that says, "I care about you or I love you."  It can be as simple as laying your hand on someone's shoulder or touching their arm.  It can be as simple as lightly caressing their arm or back, or even holding on to their hand with strength and courage.

A simple touch just requires that you show up, not to manipulate or cause anything to happen, but just to be there in that moment without judgment or preconceived ideas of what should happen.  Touch can be so light, but with your presence and your heart, you can affect so much in another person.  It can be most powerful when you are just holding the space for someone.

We can see what anger and hatred and a lack of healthy simple touch is doing to our world.  We have the power to change that.  We don't have to wait or depend upon anyone else to do it for us.

For a long time though, I was so afraid of simple touch because of how badly my body was beaten, abused, and traumatized as a small child.  It took me a lot of hard work to accept touch and to accept a hug.  If you're in doubt, ask permission from someone before hugging and touching.  In that small act of asking them permission, you might just be helping them to take major leaps in healing.

Regardless, let's get away from being afraid of touching others and allowing ourselves to be touched.  Massage, in the professional sense, is about healthy touch, and the human body really needs that.

Let's make the world a better place by realizing that a simple touch can change so much in the life of another person.  Let's not forget it can also change OUR lives in big ways.

Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Traumatized By Seizures

One of the things I experienced in 1991 was a condition called Conversion Disorder.  Many people see it in different ways, and there are many who do not understand this condition.  In a nutshell, it is like an overloaded circuit in the body that tends to flip the breaker and shut you down.  That is how I've come to understand it in my own healing and life.

Pseudo-seizures in Conversion Disorder are part of what I experienced after I lost control of my body through paralysis.  In those early moments, I could not walk or stand and function on my own.  Eating, talking, moving, and many other actions we take for granted were gone from me in the blink of an eye.

However, the seizures I went through was by far the worst.  I did not understand what was happening to me.  They would go on forever, it seemed.  My parents would watch me in the wheelchair I was sitting in as the seizures kicked in.  They would be frightened, and so would I.  The only thing that stopped the seizures was when my body got completely exhausted.

In these seizures (that's what I call them), my body would tremble and shake.  It felt like my arms and legs would move violently all over the place with absolutely no control.  It didn't feel as though I was present in the moment of what was happening, and it always felt like there was nothing I could do.

I was so frightened during these times.  I wanted so badly for someone to come and put their arm around me and hold me.  I didn't want people to stare at me as if I was some freak because they were afraid themselves.  If anyone talked to me or put a hand on me, I don't remember that.  I don't think that happened.

While I was in a healing session the other day, this is the subject that came up.  It took me by complete surprise because I had not even thought about it.  I sure didn't think I had been traumatized by the seizures.  However, I found out just how much is still locked up in my body from these seizures.

In the work I have gone through called Unified Therapy with Dr. Paul Canali, shaking and trembling are often part of the healing session.  It is normal for our bodies to shake and tremble to dissipate stress or trauma.  However, most of the time the mind and body stop this.  So if we allow ourselves into these healing moments, they can release so much locked energy within our cells, tissues, and our mind body.

It is important to make a note here that just shaking and trembling by themselves are not the healing part.  When you connect it to an emotion coming up in the body or some experience you've been through that automatically appears, then you have the basis for a very powerful healing moment.  If you're not careful though, you can get locked into this trembling and shaking and have it yield nothing more than re-traumatizing yourself or a person you are working with.

As the session went along, all of this came front and center and something that was actually healing and helpful was frightening to me.  Dr. Canali is able to understand this and work with me so that I don't go into the overwhelm moment.   I go up to the edge of it, where I am instead empowered.  While this may all sound like too much and too scary to go through in a session, he is careful not to re-traumatize you.  The more you can go into these moments, the more healing and awareness comes out as a result.  It becomes empowering to aid you in further healing and growth.

It did not dawn on me until this session that I was storing so much trauma in my body and my mind from the seizures.  I just thought that once they were done, it was all over and I had moved on.  As I keep gathering the fragmented pieces together of what I went through, I begin to see a new picture of who I am.

All too often, we think that once things are over we are past them and we've moved on.  In fact, we often tell ourselves and others that we have moved on, or that they should move on.  It isn't until we allow ourselves to connect all of these things together that we truly are in the healing part of the mind body connection.

This is what healing and awareness are all about, but it all depends on how far I'm willing to let myself go into these moments.  If I hold myself back, they will not happen.  If I let go and surrender to them, the other side of peace and joy that I gain is beyond any words I can use to describe it.  If I do not integrate them in and acknowledge their presence in my life, I will continue to wander through life as if it is another foggy day.

Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Fear On Autopilot

I see this subject talked about online so much, but yet few too many people fully understand it.  Even,  I consider myself a life long learner when it comes to the subject of fear.  Yet, there is so much more I need to learn to fully understand fear.

We are on autopilot more than we realize with fear.

Fear is insidious.

Fear is clever and crafty.

Fear hides from our awareness and view. 

We may think we see fear and we may connect with some of our fears, but far too much of it goes hidden from our view.  It keeps us blind to that which we cannot see and it keeps us numb and disconnected.

So if fear is on autopilot in our lives, how do we notice it?  How do we go in and deal with it?  How do we become aware of it?

For if you're not aware of something, it is pretty difficult to work on it.  If you're not aware of its existence in your life, why would you even be concerned?

Through much of the deep trauma healing work I've done with Dr. Paul Canali, we've come up on the fear that I often don't realize is there.  It is just too easy to miss it and often like I said, "fear keeps us blind".  Yet, fear controls so much of our lives.

One of the first things we do on the table in a Unified Therapy healing session with Dr. Canali is we are asked to "sense what is going on in our body".  Now, that may sound stupid and simple, but believe me, most of the time we as humans walk our days not fully sensing and feeling - even if we think we do.

When you stop and start to allow your mind to sense, you see so much that you didn't see moments earlier.  Generally, fear will be the next thing you sense, because it wants you to keep your eyes closed to the deeper truths of your life and your own awareness and consciousness.

When you come up on that fear you start to connect with, it almost feels like a gigantic mountain that you can't move.  If you can go into that fear, then you begin to take back its power and see just how much it is physically robbing from you.  Often times, it means doing this with a trusted healer, friend, or therapist that knows how to walk through the fires with you.

If you allow yourself to go through this process of feeling and sensing which leads to discovery, you'll be more amazed at just how much fear takes your life on autopilot without you knowing it is there.  Remember, fear is insidious.  It keeps us blind to that which would take its power away.

The thing is, this is not just a mental exercise.  Yes, you can attempt to program your mind to numb and disconnect from fear, but it only burrows deeper within your mind and body.  It is only when you go in and look at it face to face that you begin the process of reclaiming the power it has stolen from you.

I don't write these things as a mental concept that is unproven.  I write them from my own experiences of healing from trauma.  We are just so alseep in this world and not aware of as much as we think we are.

We have our fears being on autopilot to thank for that.  However, if we choose too, we can go in and take our life back.  It just begins with stopping to sense and feel in our body.

Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

It's Not My Circus

Some days it is far too easy to get wrapped up in events that are just not part of our lives.  I'm one that can easily wrap myself up in things that just don't need to be in my life.  Part of that goes with being a highly sensitive person.  I feel so much and want to help others so much.

However, I'm learning more and more that it is not always my circus.  I don't have to engage with everything going on.

We all tend to do this though or the vast majority.  We make things that are not necessarily our issues, into major catastrophes.  When we do that, we rob ourselves of joy and energy, and we place so much stress and trauma on our lives.

If you look at the latest news headlines, there are far too many that eat, breathe, and live this at every turn in their life.  Sure, some of it is important, but if everything becomes the latest headline of the day, you're missing out on so much that truly does matter.  So much of this, we just need to realize that it is not my circus.

There are people who twist everything you say into some political punchline or issue manifesto.  I'm just surprised and shocked by the extent of this.  No matter what you say, someone makes it into their issues that they can't let go.  To that, I have to say, It's Not My Circus!

Some days we are far too shallow in seeing the bigger picture of life.  We focus on the mundane moments that are fed to us as if they are the only things that matter.  We find blame in everyone and everything, but we don't stop and disengage from all these things.

Yes, there is so much going on in our world today, but if we belly up to the bar and drink from its sustenance, we're only adding to the world's problems.  I know this isn't easy to understand, but if we want humanity to come back to the forefront, we have had to take a hard look at why we engage in what we do.

 Sometimes just stepping back and realizing that it's not my circus is the best thing you can do.  Sometimes it is best to step back and breathe and look at the bigger picture.  I'm not saying, close your eyes to what is going on, but make your life into much more than is happening in the world around us.

There a bright big beautiful world out there and social media or the news or your friend's drama are most likely not going to be the ones to enlighten you with what exists.  It is only by disconnecting from the drama will you find a way to discover it.

Sometimes you just have to say, "it's not my circus."

Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
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Monday, July 10, 2017

Stop Bugging Me - Living With Bugs

(Written by Natural Healing Gal, Marie)

Living With Bugs

If you have not already read the previous month's column, Stop Bugging Me, take a look at it because it fits in with this month's column.

I have been writing a lot about homeopathic remedies, but as I mentioned in a previous article, there are many other natural plant or food based remedies, as well as solutions for the home. I will be writing what I have learned about many different approaches in future posts.

Let’s talk more about bugs. I know that bugs are necessary for life, they are part of the food chain, nature needs bugs, and we need bugs to live. Yes, we really do.

Bugs are nature’s clean-up crew, food producer, pollinator, little soldiers. 

They can be ugly and frightening, but they are also downright beautiful and mysterious, like butterflies and fireflies.

We humans find “balance” to be a very challenging thing. We think if something is good, more of it is better. We like quick fixes and instant cures. We work too much, or play too hard. It is not much different when it comes to bugs and nature.

When we moved to Florida, I was aware of the challenge we would face, but unfortunately not as prepared as I would have hoped. Florida is a challenging place to live with bugs, as I mentioned in the last blog on bites and stings

Nature has its own way of managing life:  checks and balances…until we humans get in the way and think we know better!  Bugs eat other bugs, and are food for many animals and other insects. Naturally, most bugs and animals are kept in balance and control by eating or being eaten.

When some of the balance of nature is messed with, like trying to produce something unnatural (GMO’s), or killing everything without careful thought, we get ourselves into more trouble. I have always been aware of this due to my experience in school and college in biology. Don’t fool with mother nature!

I try to keep in touch and in balance with nature as much as I can. That does not mean that I want dangerous bugs living in my space or hurting me, or those I love. So, I have found some wonderful, as natural as possible, solutions that I will share with you today. I am always open to learning more so these may change in the future, and if they do, I will continue to share what I learn.

Fire Ants

Fire ants are nasty and bites are painful.  After trying many approaches with our 2+ acres of land, I gave up on the pesticides I was told to use, as the ants were quickly becoming immune to it. I found the best solution so far is Medina orange oil.

To rid myself of these nasty critters, I use a gallon jug of water, add approximately an “inch” or so of the orange oil and a squirt of natural, liquid dish soap.

(Tip: When it is cooler outside, the ants are closer to the surface, and this is the ideal time to treat. During the heat of the day they retreat deeper into the earth to stay cool.)

Shake the gallon jug, pour a circle close to the outside perimeter of the fire ant mound, and then drown the rest of it with the mixture. A large pile will take a gallon or more, smaller ones a half gallon or less.

The soap and water alone will drown them, because they cannot climb or swim out of the soapy water. The orange oil melts their exoskeletons. You may find a smaller pile may come up a few feet away. If you treat the new one, it will be gone. We treat ant mounds this way, pile by pile, and although certain times of year I will find more, like directly after a rain, I have been able to manage them really well with this method! Often we see very few or none at all for quite a while. It will not kill them all, but it diminishes the population and keeps them fleeing from your property.


Fleas are easy to control; I use water soluble boric acid. Mix about a cupful to a gallon of warm water to dissolve, then use a good pump sprayer and apply a very light mist onto all porous furniture and curtains up to three feet off the ground.

(Tip: TEST a small area of your furniture first!)

Spray dog beds, couches, carpet, and a light spray around the baseboards and indoor perimeter of your home. It should dry in ten minutes. Don’t spray too heavily.

If you have fleas, you will see many more emerge as they are trying to leave the treated area.

It will kill newly hatched larvae and the fleas eat it and dehydrate, as if eating a whole container of salt. In a week they will be gone, and it will control fleas for up to six months unless you wash it off the surface.

This will also kill other insects with a similar life cycle as the flea.

Ticks And Wasps

Cedarcide is another wonderful indoor spray for ticks, wasps and other nasties that enter your home unwanted. It's made of red cedar and does not have much of a residual, but kills on contact.

See next month’s post for solutions to keeping bugs off our skin!

 - Marie (Natural Healing Gal)

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Please note that this blog post and these remedies are for information purposes only.  Please consult with your own medical providers should you have medical questions and see the Medical Disclaimer here.

Also make sure that you read and follow any label directions for products listed in these blog posts.  This is the opinion and practice of Marie, but make sure you are being safe in how you use the products.

Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly and Marie

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