Friday, August 18, 2017

Noticing Body and Rash More

 Written By Don Shetterly

One of the things I've noticed since some of the major healing session work I had done last Monday is how much more I notice.  Okay, I'm not talking about the itching or feeling the rash, I'm talking about what kicks it up.

Before the healing session work, I just noticed constant itching and burning from the rash.  It was uncomfortable.  It was not easy to deal with, and the warm summer weather made it worse.  I just could not articulate anything that kicked it up as it seemed to have a mind of its own.

Since the healing session, I've noticed the little things that kick it up.  I've seen how things kick up the body temperature in me where it feels like my body is consumed by fire.

The rash seems to act as a barometer for me in the little moments that most of us don't notice in a ay.  Even the slightest word or thought or comment kicks it into high gear.

Now, I'm noticing how my body temperature rises instantly, or at least it feels like an increase.  It goes from normal to feeling as if my body is on fire and being consumed.

I am beginning to see that the minute something comes along which affects me emotionally, the rash and itching start cranking up the response.  It does not take much.  At times, I find myself thinking - that's what kicked it up?  You've got to be kidding!

Yes, I know I am a sensitive person.  I pick up so much, and most of the time, it scares the daylights out of me.  Most of the time, I just shut down what I sense and pick up because it is often too much.

The rash is bringing all of this front and center.  Yes, I do realize that there are other things involved that are impacting me but to see, fully, what is going on is helping me.

Before this, I was oblivious to all that was involved which makes it hard to heal something.  Now, I'm seeing the little pieces and am more aware and in control of what is happening.  This puts me in the driver's seat, rather than just someone along for the ride.

Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Feel Your Body

Okay, the title of that blog post might be raising a few eyebrows and if it is, I'm okay with that.  There is nothing wrong with the statement, and I'm not trying to dupe you into something that is not.  Trust me, the statement "feel your body" is pure, and it is helpful.

Most of us humans go through life not feeling our bodies.  Yes, we think we do, and that we are in touch with it.  Unfortunately, we are very good at fooling ourselves far too often.  I know, no one wants to hear that, but it is true.

There are reasons why we don't completely feel our bodies.  I don't want anyone to be too hard on themselves for not feeling their body because, in many ways, this is part of being human and aware.

Some of the reasons that we do not feel our body include the following:

  1. Past experiences.
  2. Stress in our lives (whether we create it or it is around us).
  3. Physical issues we are struggling with.
  4. Diet.
  5. The level of exercise and activity.
  6. How we learned to deal with stress in life.
  7. Trauma.
  8. Abuse
  9. Rape
  10. Childhood Sexual Abuse.
  11. Unconsciousness.
  12. Numbness.
  13. Keeping ourselves busy all the time.
  14. Not taking the time to feel.
  15. Being afraid to feel.
  16. Dealing with an overwhelming life.
  17. Dealing with chronic pain.
  18. How we connect with the world around us.
  19. Immersed in the latest news and issues of the day.
  20. Avoidance

These are some of the reasons why we do not feel in our bodies.  With some of these, it is easy to look at and understand.  With some of the other reasons, it may be harder to understand.

When I was working a nonstop schedule of weekly travel and handling 400 to 600 emails a day. plus being the lead tech support person for a project, I found myself feeling almost no pain.  However, even though I didn't feel it, the pain was taking its toll on me through exhaustion.

It was when I finally stopped for a moment that the pain caught up with me, and it was not pretty.  I had suppressed it so much that I didn't feel it.

I'm amazed at what our bodies do to us and for us when we are oblivious to reality.  I saw this play out when Conversion Disorder paralyzed me.  I have observed it play out in other people and at other times in my life.

Recently, I went through some major healing work because anxiety, depression, despair, and pain were getting to be too much for me.  I could hardly go on in life.  I did not realize how painful my hamstring area was until I got in that session and allowed myself to feel.  Of course, the muscles were exhibiting the reactions to trauma from years past, but I was completely oblivious to it.

I see people talk about stress being all in our heads, but that could not be farther from the truth.  Stress is everywhere.  Yes, some don't feel it consciously, but it is there.  Stress impacts us every day, and if we hide from it and ignore it, then it will build up.  As stress continues to build, it will get our attention at some point in life.

If you're going through chronic pain and other conditions, you may be feeling pain but there is so much other stuff that has been blocked. It pushes the limits of pain to levels that are extremely difficult to endure.  It is as if one side of life has been pushed to the max while another side of life has been forgotten and numbed.

Feeling your body can be scary and frightening.  We have plenty of medications and drugs out there to prove this.  There are enough wine, alcohol and OTC pain relievers so help us disconnect and numb from what is going on.

Sometimes past experiences impact us more than we realize, and they start suppressing one side of our body systems while elevating other parts.  The more this happens, the more the fear increases and when it gets to be too much, we are shutting down our connection to what is going on in our bodies.

It is natural for humans to do this.  It is part of our survival mode, but unfortunate the survival mode doesn't get turned off after stress or experiences or past abuse and trauma.  Our brain then gets hijacked by all that happened to us or all that we experience, leaving us as puppets, rather than in control of our lives.

The more we can stop and recognize all of this, the greater the chance we have to overcome so much.  Experiences in life, stress, and trauma that we have endured suppress the healing power we have within us.

Just recognizing this in the mind is not enough.  It is only part of the equation.  We need to go in and feel our bodies.  We need to go in and feel every fiber of every muscle and each cell of every tissue.  It is through that connection to the body that we give ourselves the greatest hope of being more than we are.

The more we feel in the body, the more we can enact change and make better choices for our lives.  If we don't do this, the stress and trauma will take over and leave us as bystanders in our own life.  We have the option to connect more than we do and if we do this, the payoff is far beyond anything you most likely can comprehend in this moment.

Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Healing The Physical Trauma of Child Abuse

Written by Don Shetterly

This Unified Therapy session wasn't easy.  It was tough beyond any words that I can write.  In fact, just getting myself to see Dr. Canali was more than difficult.  I procrastinated.  I tried to wish it away.  I tried to numb it away.

No matter what, as hard as I tried to wish it away, my avoidance was not helping the issue at all.  I was begging for mercy.  I wanted relief.  I could not find it on my own no matter what I was doing.  As I wrote a few days earlier in a blog post, it was the Rash That Won't Stop that got me to the point where I finally went to see Dr. Canali.

My life had become one of so much difficulty with little sleep.  The burning and itching I described in that blog post were no lies.  It was all too real.  My anger was hard to contain with everyone and everything.  I did not know at that moment before the session if I could make it through this.  I was not sure if I could make it through this.  The session with Dr. Canali had become my last hope.

What I had written, I shared...

I shared with him what I had written in that blog post. I couldn't even manage to get the words out.  My voice would not articulate them.  As he sat down beside the massage table and read them out loud to me, my eyes welled up with tears.  To most people, they are words on a page.  To me, they were heartaches and pain from the abuse I suffered.

As we began to go into what was coming up in my body, it was evident to Dr. Canali and myself just how locked up my pelvis and abdomen were.  In fact, most of my pants were not fitting at that time.  They felt like 5 sizes too small.  The itching in this area was intense.  Any touch anywhere close and the pain would shoot through my body like there was no end.

Moving through things, everything from the itching to the heat in my body and the pain would kick up.  We would take it as far as we could, and then Dr. Canali would allow me to drop back down.  It felt like a physical workout.  It felt like there were moments that were almost too much.  However, I knew that this was part of the healing process.

An empowerment boost of healing...

The more I started to see that we could go into all of these things and then drop back into a more peaceful state, the more empowered my body became. It was as if pushing into these difficult moments and then dropping back was an empowerment boost.  A boost that kept me taking on more of the trauma my body had been holding for many years.

Some of these trauma memories of abuse that I was dealing with, I have seen in other forms and ways at various times.  However, this one was the more physical side of being raped and held down with no way to stop it.  It started by the time I was around six years old and continued until I was much older.

As we moved through the session, we discussed those things, and I was allowed to share them.  It wasn't easy to say the words.  It wasn't easy to recognize just how much the evil and darkness of these abusers and tried to squash any hope for light and existence I had.

The Body Shows The Trauma...

The physical trauma resides in the body.  The body remembers even if we attempt to keep it from reliving memories from years past.  The brain will try to block it, but when the body shows the evidence, it is then that the brain is in survival and numbing.

As we went through the session, I could feel the physical tension leaving my body.  It was more than if I had gotten a relaxing massage.  It was where my body goes into that deep peace and rest that it desperately needs.  The itching came down.  The pain came down.  The elevated body temperature I was feeling dropped down.

I noticed as we left the office and went out into the summer heat of a South Florida afternoon, that I was tolerating the heat much better.  Before this moment, I could barely stand in the summer heat for a few minutes.

I noticed that the world around me seemed more at peace.  I sensed the quiet stillness accessible to me even though the hustle and bustle of the city continued.  I felt lighter and more joyful.  I felt more hopeful and alive than I had a little while earlier that day.

As we left to go back to the hotel, I started to notice that the pants which were tight on me before the session, were now needing a belt.  There was so much physical tension in my abdomen and waist that had released that I could barely keep my pants up.  It shocked me because it showed me just how much trauma I was holding in my physical body.

I went from not wanting anyone close to me touching me to allowing myself to be touched.  I went from wanting no intimacy to welcoming it happily.

In that session with Dr. Canali, so much physically changed in my body.  It was like I was coming back into my body and learning to live life again as was meant for me to experience.

Healing Is More Than A Mental Exercise...

Once again, the work and concepts that Dr. Canali has discovered are helping me understand what trauma does to the body and how we store all of this for years and years.  It is not just a mental exercise.  It is an exercise where you connect the mind with what comes up in the body and then you are gently guided in different ways how to let go of it all.  It is a process that helps you find deep healing and peace, that is more than a quick point of change.  This healing is lasting.

As I write this, several days after the session, I can still feel my body letting go and processing all that went on in that session.  I can feel how little moments in life kick up the body temperature or the itching while being able to talk myself back down and put reality in perspective with what I am feeling.

Yes, I've had moments of anger and frustration, but I can deal with them more appropriately than I was.  I'm able to go in and stop and rest and allow my body to just be in the moment.  I've been able to be in a hot tub and sauna, be outside in the heat of an afternoon and not feel like I was going to lose my mind or pass out and drop on the ground.

I'm working to take care of myself, changing how I see things in my life and observing how I react.  I want the reactions to be from a more mind and body centered approach than feeling like an unwilling participant.  I'm focusing on the bigger picture of my life much more than I have been and seeing how all of this plays into where my life goes.

I'm monitoring how much I let in from the world that is full of screaming, anger, rage, and disrespect because the actions I see every day do nothing to help me in my own life.  I'm allowing myself to disconnect from them and replace them with things that are genuinely helpful.  I know that if I get caught up in the darkness of the day, it will do nothing positive for me.

Most of all, I feel better.  I feel more empowered.  I feel more centered.  It is like there is now hope where I thought I had lost all hope.

I'm thankful for Unified Therapy and Dr. Paul Canali and what he knows and how he helps me.  He is one of a kind.  If there are others beyond him (and a few other practitioners) that can do what he does for me, I have not found them.  He is a pioneer in the field of healing trauma.

Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Fearing The Fear

Written By Don Shetterly

If you've read much on my blog, you'll see that this subject has been one of my most challenging experiences in my life.  Fearing the fear consumed my life at one time, but over the years and through my healing, I've learned more how to deal with fear.

I am not going to sit here and write that fear is an easy thing for me to overcome.  I'm not going to give you some platitude or meme that says you can wave a magic wand and be in control of fear.  Those things are not helpful to healing and our growth.  They are stumbling blocks if we subscribe to them.

When I was in a healing session the other day, I started to notice the little things where fear would come on strong in me.  In these Unified Therapy healing sessions, we are encouraged to bring the fear up, not shove it down or hide from it or numb it.  It is the time to bring it up.

The "oh no" mode...

For me that day, the office air conditioning kicking on sent the fear going sky high.  It wasn't easy, and at first, I could notice my breath going into fear mode.  I could feel my body begin to tense up.  I could see that my mind was starting to go into the "oh no" mode.  It felt like everything was going to come crashing down on me and that my life at that moment would come to an end.

Fearing the fear was where I was in that particular moment.  There are reasons that all of this was coming up, but that detail is for another blog post.  Just recognizing how strong the fear was getting and how much was coming at me, my body went into the defensive mode of survival.

In a Unified Therapy healing session, you don't stay in this moment.  You are taken through it by Dr. Canali gently guiding you to feel in your body, sense what is going on, and remind yourself that it is fear, not the end of the world.

As you go in and begin to connect with the fear in your body, there are often emotions or physical sensations that appear as they did for me that day.  The anger and pain surfaced.  The emotions of sadness and grief showed up.  The point of not being able to stop what had happened to me as a kid was the dynamite ready to ignite.

In this session, I also did one more thing, and that was telling myself that what happened to me many years ago is not happening now.  Dr. Canali, of course, was coaching me through this, but just that realization in that particular moment was a big one for me.  It helped me to connect reality with fear.  It helped me to see that I feared the fear, but that the current reality was different.

Yes, there is a mental exercise in stopping how you deal with fear, but this approach that is so healing and empowering is body centered.  If I didn't deal with what was going on in my body, it would be nothing more than platitudes about how to treat fear.

Most of the time in healing, we deal with fear from an intellectual mind-centered level.  However, fear resides in the body, and if you fail to go in and touch the depths of it within the cells, you're only working with half the healing potential.

The further you can go in and feel it within the body, the more you will supercharge your healing.  Healing from the core of your cells in the body is lasting and life changing.

Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
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Monday, August 14, 2017

Stop Bugging Me - Back Away Bugs

(Written by Natural Healing Gal, Marie)

Back Away Bugs

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

Back in the early 80’s, before I became a professional dog trainer, I was a dog groomer. I learned a lot more than I ever wanted to know about ticks and fleas, their life cycle, feeding, breeding. Oh, yuck. Not pleasant. But it helps to know the information if you want to research what attracts them and how to repel them.

I currently teach dog training classes every evening, outdoors at dusk. It was not fun the first couple of years. Bugs LOVE me. Or they hate me. I guess they are just hungry and everyone has to eat!

Every morning Mike and I went to the beach for qigong class. It was a sunrise class that was beautiful and peaceful until the summer no-see-ums tried to mess with us. Then we all began sharing different natural formulas, as none of us wanted anything toxic on our skin.

You can see that I have plenty of time to test out products. And test them, I do! I have gone through many different essential oil recipes and many different pre-made brands over the 12 years we have been here. Some worked a little, but not so much. I finally found a good combination that works for us.

I have found that different formulas may work differently for some than for others. I am not sure why, but there are some products that people swear by that did not work for me and vice versa. The point is, don’t give up on using natural bug repellant if something does not work for you. There are many good ones out there that are worth a try. Be sure to check for skin sensitivity on you and your pets, even with natural products. There are also some people who are more attractive to certain bugs than others. I see this with dogs as well. Some dogs are magnets for ticks! Others barely get noticed by those nasty critters. Bugs Off Of Me

To keep bugs off of me outdoors, I found No no-see-um.  It is a combination of lemongrass, citronella, and geranium rose oil. I used it regularly for mosquitoes at dusk, and it worked really well. Unfortunately, when I used it for sunrise on the beach, it did not work for the no-see-ums!

I then found Terra Shield from Do terra. Terra Shield is a blend of several oils, including citronella and cedar wood.  This worked beautifully for me, both on the beach at sunrise and for mosquitoes at dusk! It comes in a 30 ml spray bottle and in a 15 ml refill. You can apply it as is, but it is a little thick, so I dilute with water, and shake before each spray.

Keeping Fleas and Ticks Off Of My Dogs

To keep fleas and ticks off my dogs, I use a combination of products. At home, I am using Dr. Mercola’s Herbal Repellent Collar  along with their Spot on Topical Herbal Repellent. If I am out at a show, I add a daily spray of Dr. Mercola’s Natural Flea and Tick defense,  especially on their feet. I still check them for ticks daily. Please note I do not have cats right now and cats tend to be sensitive to some essential oils. Be sure to do your own research when it comes to your kitty friends!

When I was a groomer, I learned to do a flea bath on my client's dogs and cats. Here is a little-known trick! A flea bath does not need toxic shampoos or dips.  If you use soapy water, the fleas drown. Many people do not know fleas drown in soapy water, but you will need to bathe carefully to be sure they don’t escape. As soon as water hits the skin, fleas retreat into a dog's eyes, ears, nose, and…  *ahem*… anus. This is not fun for your dog, and the fleas will just come out after your dog is dry, but they will not cross over the wet soapy solution!

Begin a flea bath by keeping your dog dry at first. I make my own shampoo by simmering soap nuts in water for 20 minutes, then adding cold water. It is a gentle, low suds, natural soap that has repellent properties, and leaves the coat clean and soft with no residue. 

Add shampoo to your DRY dog in a full circle around the neck, around the ears, and around the base of the tail. This will prevent the fleas from escaping into sensitive areas. Then continue to wet your dog and add shampoo to the rest of the body. If there are fleas present, you will see them being washed away with the soapy water.

Keeping your pet healthy with a strong immune system and feeding a healthy diet will also go a long way to make them less attractive to ticks and fleas.

Back AWAY from us, bugs!

 - Marie (Natural Healing Gal)

Read all of Marie's Columnist Posts

Guest Blogger
Dog Training, Qigong

Visit Marie's Website

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 safe in how you use the products.

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

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Friday, August 11, 2017

Dealing With Loneliness

Written By Don Shetterly

Recently I was reading the blog post that Jody wrote for her column on loneliness.  It is a topic that is near and dear to my heart as well.  I've struggled with loneliness all my life, and she is so right that Loneliness Can Break Your Heart.

I remember being in one of my grade school years and we were shown some movie about a little kid who was a loner.  I don't remember the name of the film.  I barely recall what the movie was about.

However, I remember one scene in particular that stands out in my mind.  The little boy was getting on the school bus and looking for anyone to see him off, talk to him, or act like he existed.  The look on his face was loneliness.  The little kid was a loner.

Somehow out of that movie, I learned that being a loner could kill you.  Again, I can't remember the entire movie, but that stuck in my mind all these years.  I know I've read other things about loneliness.  There was a song that someone sang in church one time when I was a kid that was titled, "Lonely Voices."

Even in a crowd of people, I can feel lonely.  In a group of close friends, I can feel alone.  I struggle with loneliness because it seems that it permeates every part of my life.

It has gotten a little better over the years, but I still long for being alone.  I could be one of those people like Grizzly Adams that lived out in the woods.  Yet, as much as I like being alone, I do like to be around people.  I love to help people.  I care about people.

Maybe it was because I was hurt so badly as a child being sexually abused and tortured.  Maybe it is that I never learned how to be around others because we were controlled and isolated as kids.

I know that there are lonely people out there and I desperately wish I could wave a magic wand and make it all better.   It is something we all have to work through if we are faced with loneliness, but I can tell you from first-hand experience, it isn't always easy for me.

Fortunately, there is support through friends that understand.  There are special connections online that can help.  Pets and animals make a world of difference for me.

Even if I feel alone, I know I am not.  There are people who care about me and love me, even if I can't always see it.  It is important to keep that in mind because loneliness is the jail we put ourselves in.  We alone can unlock it because we hold the key.

Make sure you check out Jody's post on Loneliness Can Break Your Heart.

Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Have Respect For Yourself

Written By Don Shetterly

It is easy to just walk all over ourselves some days.  It is much easier at times not to have respect for yourself.  However, if we don't respect ourselves, no one else will.

When you've been abused as a kid, you learned early on to not have respect for yourself.  People greater than you in those moments took that power away and robbed you of your respect.  It is one of the hardest things I've had to work on in my healing.

For a long time, I let bosses and jobs walk all over me.  If they wanted something done, I could not say no.  I could not say, enough is enough.  I did what was expected of me, not what was best for me.

Many times I have volunteered my skills and talents only to be taken advantage of in those situations.  I'm not sure the organization set out to do that to me, but they did, and I was a willing accomplice.  I didn't respect myself enough to say no, this is as much as I'm going to give.

In friendships, I sometimes give and give, but I rarely allow anyone to give back to me.  I feel like it is selfish at times, but in many respects, if a friendship is going one way only, it is not healthy.  I didn't respect myself enough to think that I deserved anything.

I'm a person that is always there for others, but sometimes I just don't respect myself enough to say, that's the line, and I'm not going to cross it.

Respecting ourselves is important, and even though our boundaries may have been obliterated, it is something we have to learn in our lives.  If not, we'll just heap turmoil and difficulty upon ourselves by not respecting who we are as a person.

No one else out there will have respect for us if we don't have respect for ourselves.  No one is going to give us respect if we cannot do the same.

It is up to us individually to set the tone for what we expect out of life.  Let us be the ones to establish the right tone.  Our example will illuminate others.

Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Rash That Won't Stop

 Written by Don Shetterly

At the slightest hint of anything, the rash picks up.  It changed from being constant to giving me moments of reprieve.  However, in exchange for this, it kicks up harder and with more fierceness than ever before.  The itching may subside after some moments, and if I’m lucky, the burning sensation doesn’t start in because it can last for a long time.  Most of the time lately, I’m not so lucky on that.

It doesn’t take much.  It can be fabric touching it.  It can be something touching me emotionally (good or bad).  It can be a conversation with someone.  It can be stepping outside in the warm summer weather or trying to wade in the pool.  It can be a phone call that I’m on or even listening in on these days.

When it picks up with intensity, I care barely sit still.  I struggle to keep my fingers from clawing at the rash.  Sometimes it won’t let me stop and sit down.  It keeps me pacing the floors screaming out in agony as if it won’t ever let me go.  Sometimes I find myself hitting and pounding my body just to numb it, as if I was doing what I once used to do as a kid.

My breathing gets shallow during these times.  Sleep is like something a million miles away.  My brain begins to run incessantly as if it must solve every issue known to man.  I find no relief – only distraction.  Most don’t understand.  In fact, it is almost too difficult to explain.  I feel ostracized by virtually everyone, but I want NO ONE to touch me or come close to me.

The images flood my mind of being held down while boiling water is poured upon me.  I know what they want me to allow them to do, but on that day, I’m fighting them.  I know I shouldn’t fight them for it will only get worse.  I just don’t want them to today.  I’m tired of enduring this.  I’m tired of them doing it to me.

Regardless, bad boys that don’t do as they are told suffer the consequences, and so the boiling water is poured on me as a punishment.  It seems boiling.  It could be hot water.  I can’t recall.  My body screams in pain.  My body shivers as the cold air of the winter in a drafty old house touches me.  I shiver and shake.  I tremble.  Just like in the days of the seizures.  I couldn’t control those either.  I would shake and tremble and flail around until exhaustion hit.  It went until I numbed and disconnected enough that I no longer was aware of what was happening.

But good little boys don’t have these images of their fathers and brothers.  Good little boys should never think about these things happening.  After all, God will torment and punish me forever for thinking this way and not obeying their every command.

My body wants some rest and relief.  It wants to numb at the same time because it is just too much at the time to deal with at this moment.  It is much too much even to want to deal with at this moment.  It seems like it has been an eternity that is has been happening when in reality, the rash only started last Christmas.

I try to tell my mind and my body that it will get better.  It laughs at me like a pack of hysterical hyenas.  It scoffs at me with ludicrous thoughts as if there is any way to get beyond this.  I try to have hope.  I try to have hope.  I know I’ve been in similar darkness before, but it is of little use because I feel too worn out and exhausted to care.

By the time anyone reads this blog post, I will have had some Unified Therapy sessions to hopefully help me get past this.  So, stay tuned for the follow-up blog posts.

Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Hurtful Words Of Healing And Support

 Written By Don Shetterly

Do we ever stop to think about what we say to others?  Do we realize that sometimes our words are so hurtful even though we intend them to be healing?  Obviously, these are rhetorical questions, but I am constantly amazed at how people can be so misguided when they think they are helping others.

If you've suffered from mental illness or depression and anxiety, you've probably heard the routine statements, "just get over it" and "just move on."  These statements are so hurtful to others, and they do little to offer hope and healing for their lives.

I had one person tell me after I came out of the hospital from being paralyzed by a conversion disorder that I should have just prayed about it.  I was stunned.  However, I replied to them, "if you broke your arm, would you just have prayed about it?"  Her answer was no.

Yet it doesn't stop people from engaging their vocal chords and disengaging their brain cells. I'm sorry if that sounds rough, but when people make these statements to others who are struggling, those statements are very harsh.  They are hurtful.  People are already going through enough without others piling on to the pain.

I do understand that sometimes we don't know what to say or how to say it.  I do understand that sometimes it is uncharted ground that makes us fearful of saying the wrong thing.

The best thing you can do is to connect with your heart.  I don't mean engage the brain first.  I am advocating that you engage the heart first, then attempt to speak from the vocabulary in your brain.

If you can share experiences that help others connect with you, it can be helpful.  Again, this must be done from your heart and not from your ego or brain.  If it is heart centered, you are more in tune with what they need.  It is never about what you need in this situation.  It is about what support the other person needs.  Be careful that it doesn't become about you and your experiences, but how those relate to their situation.

Many times, the issues we see in others connect to issues held deeply in our own lives.  I often acknowledge their presence, but we should not inflict our own issues upon the other person needing support.  Our issues are not their issues.  Our issues should not be forced upon them.  They need support at that moment, and if we offer it from our heart and our experiences, it will help them more than we know.

Let's stop being hurtful with our words in helping support someone.  There's a good chance you will likely mess up at some point, but be honest and heartfelt.  Be understanding if you are not getting your point across.  Be understanding if they don't understand what it is that you can see.

In the moment of grief and despair, our eyes and our minds are not seeing clearly.  Remember that, as you're offering words of support and healing to others.  It will go a long way to truly offering to be there for someone and not inflicting emotional pain upon them through your words.

Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
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Monday, August 7, 2017

How Does It Feel To Be Adopted

Someone asked me a question a while ago, to which I did not have an instant answer. She had asked me “what’s it feel like to be adopted?” and my instant reply was “how does it feel to not be?” but long after the conversation ceased, I found the question still rattling around in my brain.

I began pondering the many emotions and thoughts I have had over the years regarding my adoption and decided to try and answer that question from my perspective, which, please keep in mind, is not the average adoption. Every adoptee is going to have their own experience, which in most cases does not mirror mine.

Adoption is a weird amalgamation of rejection and acceptance. I was adopted at 18 months old and had bounced through multiple foster homes before I arrived at my permanent family, and although I was too young to fully comprehend the situations I had been through, I knew something was wrong. There was never a time that I did not know I was adopted and my parents made sure it was an open issue should it be something I ever chose to explore.

I was told the typical things by my parents…you were chosen, so that makes you even more special, or that someone’s trash is someone else’s treasure and although I tried to believe their words and intentions I never for one day felt like I fully belonged. After all, to be “chosen” means you were already “un-chosen”. I often felt like I wasn’t actually chosen, I was next on the list of children up for adoption, and they were the next parents waiting.

For me, there has always been a sense of detachment, not only from my parents but from most people. I wonder if it comes from being chosen rather than being “born to”. Not only did I deal with feeling unwanted and not good enough, from being given away, but I also felt like I was disposable; I had been given away once, and then in my case four times after, so there was obviously something wrong with me; something that made me not good enough to be loved and cared for at such a young age.

When I was around five years old, my parents fostered a girl a few years older than me for a period of time that I can’t recall, due to circumstances which I cannot remember; she left our home and was placed back into the foster system. I never heard from or saw her again. From that day on began an innate fear of being abandoned to wherever it was I came from. After all if they could return her, they certainly must be able to do the same thing with me. This is the base for my deep seeded fear of abandonment and insecurity.

There is an odd feeling of disconnect that comes with adoption. Perhaps it is the not knowing; the curiosity about our family of origin and our birth parents background. It was always weird to me to see other kids who looked like their families or brothers and sisters that looked alike. It made me wonder who I look like…do I have my father’s eyes and my mother’s lips, or did I have a sibling somewhere that I resembled, someone with similar features to mine? I yearned to look around and be able to see someone that looked like me.

As I grew older I wondered about such things as my personality traits, my abilities and my physical and mental health background. There was always a curiosity if I was talented at soccer because my father was athletic, or maybe my passion for reading and writing came from my mother, but instead I am left with a sense of transience and curiosity.

There were times I wondered if either of my birth parents came looking for me, or if they ever thought of me, or if I was just a forgotten part of the past. I wondered why she gave me up and how she felt about doing so. I grew up with an innate sense of rejection and wondered if she ever felt bad for abandoning me. Were her reasons legitimate or was I just too much of a burden.

It was in my early twenties when I learned her background and her propensity for drugs and alcohol and suicide attempts so maybe she really did give me away in hopes of a better life, or maybe she abandoned me to get back to partying. So many answers to my questions were buried when she died, before I had a chance to meet her, and I think because of that I have had to make peace with creating and living with my own answers.

So adoption for me, to sum it up, feels like being loved on the surface and not unconditionally. It feels like not quite ever being able to find your place in a family, a relationship, workplace or even the world. It feels like living with a never ending curiosity which you know will never be satisfied with the truth.

Most of all for me, it was the sense of being abandoned so many times and living with the fear it could happen again. That fear, unfortunately became the driving force in my life and by allowing that I have lived my life doing anything and everything to avoid abandonment, when in reality, that is just not possible. I often heard my friend’s parents tell them they love them no matter what…that sense of unconditional love I crave so badly but will never receive is something that has left a void deep down in my soul.

I just wanted to belong.

- Jody (Jody's Blog)

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Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly and Jody
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Friday, August 4, 2017

Sorry But Stress Is Present In Life

Written By Don Shetterly

Sometimes I see things stated and my eyes bulge out of my poor little mind. I am amazed at how unconscious and aware we can be even by those who claim to be conscious.  I believe that the things we preach to the world especially when they are our beliefs have serious consequences, and we need to be far more aware than we are.

I saw a quote online that said, "there is no such thing as stress in the world.  It is all in our mind." 
I had to read the quote a few times to make sure I saw the statement that I did.  Yes, that is the statement that I read, and it boggles my mind.

I had to read it and do a double take to make sure I saw what I did.  Yes, that is the statement.

This statement could not be further from the truth.  In fact, it and truth are strangers in distant galaxies.

There is stress no matter where you look.  Some of it is positive stress which we need in our lives.  Some of it is toxic stress.  No matter what you think your thoughts can do, stress is present.

  • If you walk outside in the hot sun, the stress of the heat makes your body work to cool and find equilibrium.  
  • If you get in the car and drive down the street, there are cars not obeying the traffic laws and rules of driving so that they can present stress to you. 
  • There is the boss that yells at an employee in front of a meeting for something beyond their control.  That is stress on your mind and body.  
  • There is the demanding boss that wants you to follow their every whim and demand with no respect for you.  That is stress.
  • There is the stress of the kids needing help with homework, or to take them to every activity meeting they have.  
  • There is the stress of trying to get your family fed and answering emails and texts from the boss.
  • There is even stress from moments gone by in how it impacts your current thought processes on a million different subjects and points.  
  • There are the financial consequences of spending too much and dealing with your ever changing budget that creates stress.
  • There is that rude person who tries to ruin your day or just get in your face for the stupidest thing that they can.  
  • There is the stress of a significant other feeling left out or putting demands upon your time that causes stress.
  • There is the stress of all those things you were taught and learned as a young child that now sometimes makes current moments not seem reasonable to you.  In the process of those connections that happen unconsciously every minute of their day, they create stress that we don't often see.
  • Learning and growth are most likely stressful moments because it takes you out of your comfort zone and into something new.

There is hardly a day that goes by where we have no stress.  If we walk around not recognizing the stress in our lives, we're not as awake and aware and conscious as we think we are.  We may be able to talk the talk, but if we can't connect the talk with real life action or the places in our bodies that it resides, we're only fooling ourselves.

If you don't recognize stress in your life, you're only setting yourself up for a big fall later on in life.  At some point, it will build up to a breaking point, and it will get your attention.  You can mark my words on that.  I've lived it.

We can't go through life putting the happy smile on our face while we ignore stress and connections to the past.  If you try to do this, let me tell you from first-hand experience that the result will not be a good one.  I don't say this out of belief.  I say it from experience.

Learn to recognize stress for what it is.  It is present.  Instead of trying to act like it doesn't exist, go in and allow yourself to see it for what it is.  Allow yourself to find ways to acknowledge and let go of it. 

It is not just an exercise for the mind because stress finds a place within our body.  If we don't see its existence, it takes us permanent residency and then crowds out the joy and peace and love you so badly desire for life.

Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
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Thursday, August 3, 2017

Healing Is Too Much Sometimes

Written By Don Shetterly

Many years ago, my former therapist shared something with me before the last session I had with her since I was moving.  She told me that many people just don't go far enough in therapy.  They stop after a few sessions and feel that is enough when in reality they need to go further.

I have seen this time and time again with myself and others, not only people I know but clients I have had.  It is just too darn easy to quit before you get to the point that you're healing those deep layers.

I know, it isn't easy healing.  I know, it isn't easy going through pains of life and uncovering them.  It is like a festered cut on your finger as you play in the salt mines.  There is just no way that is going to feel good. It reminds me of a story from my own experiences.

For awhile, I was working at a fertilizer plant.  It was easy to cut your finger, but because of the salt content, it was much harder to get your finger to heal.  The salt just kept the wound open, and it would burn when the salt touched the exposed area of the cut on my finger.  It wasn't until I was able to protect the cut or remove myself from this situation that it could finally heal.

Healing can be the same way.  Sometimes it just hits us and feels like the festered wound of a cut soaking in salt.  The thing is, if we continue to stay in that environment where we hunker down in the salt mines, we'll just keep causing more pain in life.

The layers of healing run deep.  They took a long time to build up and they are not going to disappear overnight or over a few therapy sessions.  We may trick ourselves into believing they will, but we will only be lying to ourselves.

When we experience things in life that are anything but good, we tend to bury them deep within our body and cells.  Every year that goes by, we pour another layer of cement on them.  After a time, the cement hardens and gets so thick that it becomes difficult at best, to get to them.

Yes, we can use a jackhammer and chip the layers of cement away, but the more years we have buried it, the deeper we must go.  Sometimes we get tired.  Sometimes ask ourselves, what is the use in continuing through healing?  Sometimes we think, this is more than I want to do and so we sit down to take a rest.  Just make sure, you don't sit there for a rest for the rest of your life.

Yes, healing is not easy.  There is a positive outcome as we get rid of the layers of past experiences we have endured.  Sometimes to heal, time is required.  It takes courage and determination.

Often it takes us saying that no matter what, we are not going to give up.  We're not going to let anything stop us.  Sometimes when we are at the point of saying "this is too much," it is then that we may just likely be on the edge of a major breakthrough.  We won't know unless we keep going.

I've had those moments where I said, "this is too much" and I wanted to stop.  In fact, there were times that I did stop.  Life had a way of getting my attention and getting back to the point of seeking help that I needed.  If I had listened to the parts of me that wanted to give up, I would have missed the breakthroughs in my healing.

Life is a journey.  Life is about going in and reclaiming parts where life hurt us.  Yes, healing is too much sometimes, but the alternative is to live a life of pain and heartbreak.

The alternative is to stay stuck in that which we so desperately want to let go.  Healing is about digging through the layers and finding who we are, not what we experienced and done to us.

Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Anger Spilling Into Everything

Written By Don Shetterly

Every day I keep seeing more and more that almost gives evidence to the human population spinning out of control.  It is sad in my view because surely as human beings, we can be more than that.

We point the fingers at one another.  We become disrespectful with our social media words.  We look at everyone who doesn't agree with us as some part of the problem, not as a human like us.

I see anger spilling into everything.  Maybe it is because we do not know how to let the anger go as a civilization.  Maybe it is that there is so much anger that it is feeding off of every facet of our lives.  I just see anger spilling out into the simplest of moments.

Lately, I've gotten replies on tweets that boggle my mind.  The ones responding are either trying to sound cute or just responding out of anger and spite and disrespect.  I struggle to figure it out at times.  Even if you try to ask for clarification, they come back with even more anger-filled comments.

I've had people try to tell me how to run my stuff and tweet and write.  My system does work for me, but if it bothers someone so much that they respond with anger, maybe they need not follow me.  I cannot please all people all the time.  I don't understand the control that some will try to push upon others.

But more importantly, we need to stop and check our anger at the door.  Anger is far too prevalent these days, and the more we nurture its growth rather than acknowledging it and letting it go, the more we will harm ourselves and all humans.

This world doesn't need more anger hurled at itself.  The world needs respect and love and compassion.

It is up to each one of us what we do and how we do this that makes all the difference.  If you connect into anger every day, that's what you are going to get back out.

While anger is spilling into everything these days, it is up to us to not be a part of that and show something different by our lives.  We alone can do that or we alone can add to the problem.

Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

We Help Through Our Own Vulnerability

In my many years of healing, I have found that we often hold back far too much.  We are afraid what others might think or scared of how we will impact them.  We walk on eggshells around them.  We hold back.

Yet, it is through our own vulnerability that we meet others where they are and we help them.  By sharing our pains and struggles, they find that they are not alone.  Together we accomplish much more healing than if we would have hidden inside our own cave, keeping vulnerability out of sight.

I do realize that it isn't easy being vulnerable and sharing, but I know from firsthand experience that it is crucial to helping others.  No one wants a scientific emotionless person there to be a sounding board.

You want someone that has walked through the fire.  You want someone to grab your hand and say, I'm here for you and I'll walk through the fire with you.  Together, we will make it.

They say it not as mere words, but as someone that has been there and fought every inch of the way to find their footing and existence in life.  They say it as an extension of their heart that they give without judgment, in pure love and compassion to say - I'm here for you.

I had many that were there for me, some in deeper ways than others.  Since others have been there for me, I try to be there for people who are needing help, support, or just someone that understands.

In this day and age, we've got too many people hurling insults at one another, but not enough that will say "I understand your pain.  I understand your struggle.  I've been there." We need more people to be there for one another, not stand opposed as is seen on every street corner of this world.

I share my struggle in this blog.  I share my struggle with those who know me personally.  I am often criticized for not "moving beyond" or "not being positive".  Yet, I know that many have shared with me how something has touched their lives.  They were impacted positively because they knew that someone understood and cared.

Sharing my struggle is my truth.  Quoting other people is their truth.  Coming up with my own set of beliefs to explain every mystery is not necessarily a valuable thing.  It can help, but more often than not, the beliefs hinder and blind us.

I don't plan on changing how I do things because I know that we help others through our own vulnerability.  When others are able to connect with us in those deep ways, their lives are transformed.  Often times, my own life is transformed as well.

Let's not hold back being human.  Let's not numb and disconnect into a positive and happy thought only reality.  Let's be real and authentic and through our vulnerability, let's show that to those who need a helping hand, a moment of support and understanding, or an extra ounce of love to know that they matter.

Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
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