Write on – Unfair Treatment

Since I spend a lot of time (off and on) writing this blog and attending a writing critique group I figured it’s time to learn the tools of the trade.  I signed up for a free Emeritus writing class from the local junior college.  (“emeritus” is a sophisticated word for anyone who qualifies for Social Security.) 

The first assignment was to write a two page SHORT story about being unfairly treated or treating someone else unfairly. 

(Names have been omitted to protect my image)

Unfair Treatment – Body, Mind & Me

By Judy Westerfield

     “More! More!” my mind screams at me. Her desire reverberates throughout my body. Once again, I’m caught in the middle ­ between body and mind, between hedonism and health.

     The three of us — body, mind and me — have been together a very long time. Over the years the mind has grown bolder, louder. To keep the peace I usually do what she says, even though it’s often based on want rather than need. Today is no exception.

     For the second time in less than an hour I retrieve the half-gallon carton from the freezer.

     “More! More!” She is unrelenting.

     “Calm down. “I’m scooping as fast as I can.”

      I ladle from the carton to the soup bowl –­ 1/3 less fat, 120 calories, $2.99 on sale ­ — spoonfuls of vanilla, chock full of chocolate chunks and ripples of golden caramel. Hard, too hard. I like it soft, just this side of starting-to-melt. Ten seconds in the microwave will do it. I’ve perfected the timing.

      “More! More!”

      “You will just have to wait 10 seconds.” I can be firm.

        It’s creamy, cold, sweet and glides deliciously from the lips all the way down to the stomach.

     “Ahhhh. Mmmm,” she purrs and declares it to be an invention ranking right up there with the discovery of fire, the wheel and Tampax.

      The bowl is empty. She points out that there’s more in the carton, purposely left out on the counter, which is now just the right soft consistency.

     “120 calories per serving . . . 12 servings per carton . . .1,440 calories,“ she calculates. “We’ll just skip dinner.”

*         *         *

     “Why? Why?” My distended stomach cries out, pushing painfully against the waistband of my pants. Hips expand, thighs grate together, intestines grumble while impolitely relieving themselves of gas as I walk to the trash to throw away the empty carton.

     The body unfairly treated, yet again, by me. And the mind . . . she’s still screaming . . .    

   “More! More!”

Bob Blobfish sez:

Bob Blobfish sez: “. . . I prefer ice cream cones –  they’re easier to hold in the water”

How Your Brain Can Turn Worry into Calmness

Marty Rossman, M.D. is one of my first Interactive Guided Imagery(sm) teachers.   Marty and David Bressler, Ph.D. are the co-founders of the Academy of Guided Imagery (AGI)

I “stumbled” onto one of their introductory workshops in the 1980’s.  I had already been certified in hypnosis but was never comfortable with the idea that as the hypnotherapist I held the key, I had the power, to create change.

When I attended that first AGI workshop it was a eureka moment for me.  The process and technique of Interactive Guided Imagery(sm)  Marty and David were teaching was how I intuitively did hypnosis:  The client held the key, the power, I was the guide.   Marty and David are brilliant and innovative.  I was hooked and went on to study with both of them.  I’ve now been on the AGI faculty  teaching other health care practitioners  how to do Interactive Guided Imagery(sm) since 1988.

I “stumbled” across this video of Marty Rossman and want to share what he teaches about the mind and how you hold the key and the power to create calm.

It is an 1 1/2 hour lecture – easy listening and WORTH your time.

At the end Marty will lead you through an imagery exercise for you to experience the power of your mind-body connection .

Physician, author, speaker, researcher, and consultant Martin L. Rossman, MD, discusses how to use the power of the healing mind to reduce stress and anxiety, relieve pain, change lifestyle habits, and live with more wellness.”

Healing, The Living Matrix

I don’t often talk about it – in public at any rate – but I have been exposed to many cutting edge or “far out”  health & healing techniques and processes.

David Bresler, Ph.D. and Marty Rossman, MD, the founders of the Academy for Guided Imagery  (AGI), have been on the forefront of  alternative medicine and brought leading edge researchers and doctors to speak at  AGI conferences I attended.  Much of what I heard “blew me away” at the time.

This video reminded me of many of the concepts I heard about long ago.   Watching it made me rethink my heart “problems”.

Even if your ticker is ticking just fine it will make you view your heart differently too.  

Take the time to watch and expand your world of “possibility”.  

(And for those of you who have not been “cured” by western mainstream medicine, watch!)

http://vimeo.com/21432874

Thanks to Kathe Caldwell, hypnotherapist and instructor par excellence for sharing The Living Matrix Video with me!

Living with God, Aliens and Pain

I was asked to give the keynote address for the 2009 Fibromyalgia Awareness Day at Cal State Fullerton.  I’ve given it many times since.  Here’s an abbreviated version:

I became symptomatic in 1996 when Fibromyalgia was considered a Hysterical Middle Aged Woman’s SYNDROME.  By the time I was diagnosed I met that criteria.  Doctor after doctor with a wink and a knowing pat on my shoulder (at least that was what I perceived) let me know nothing was PHYSICALLY wrong with me.
I decided I was inhabited by Aliens who were using me as a Southern California time-share.  It gave me comfort to find the cause.
Years passed, the Aliens stayed and the pain turned into depression, into exhaustion, into despair.  My body betrayed me, my mind fogged, the medical community  abandoned me,  family & friends were powerless. 
I was both sustained and drained by my psychotherapy practice.
Raised as a non-practicing Jew, whose father and mother were professed agnostics. I now had no faith – in my body, mind or a God. I had nothing to hold onto for comfort much less hope.
I didn’t matter.  Now THAT’S a depressing thought which I suspected was part of the Alien’s plot to render me completely helpless & hopeless in order to take over my time-share real estate.
I didn’t matter.  There was no purpose to my life.  I started making pictures: Ugly pictures, scribbling pictures, angry pictures.  I would paint and paste, scribble and scrawl without any conscious thought. 
Weeks later, months later, in some cases years later I would put words and meanings to my unconscious expression.  That body of work  turned out to be a visual document of my journey with the aliens.
I realized I had been mourning.  Grieving my loss of identity, a loss of purpose. I mourned for that energetic person: The one who worked a 60 hour week and went to school for two Master’s degrees; who jogged 10 miles in 100 degree heat; who saw 8 clients in a row and remembered the details of their lives a year later…

She was dead. I was angry. Now I had to check my appointment book to remind me of my clients’ names. I could work only for 3 hours before I had to take a nap.  Walking around the grocery store was exhausting.  I didn’t want to talk to anyone.  Holding the phone to my ear hurt my arms. Walking burned my feet. I didn’t make commitments other than work because I never knew how I would feel.

Life as I knew it was gone.  What was I?  Who was I?  Why was I here?  If there was a purpose to my having fibromyalgia it could only be an alien plot.

Without any pre-determined intent I drew a picture of my fibromyalgia:  Three eyes, three-tongues and spontaneously titled it “The Soul Slayer

Until that moment I had been focused on my body and mind, never my soul.   Since I’d been searching for the cause and a cure for my fibro for over a decade it was natural to now start searching for my soul.
Where does one look for a soul?  I went to synagogues and churches .  Found wonderful people but no soul – at least not mine.  I read about the world’s religions and searched SOUL on the internet.  I was sure that everyone else had a soul and it was only time that they discovered mine was missing.
Accidentally (maybe not?) I was introduced to a spiritual mentor, no more no less.  He was Baha’i, a faith I was familiar with but about which I knew only some basics.  He asked me to examine my life, my choices, my beliefs.  I had long known from a psychological perspective about my choices and beliefs but now that my mind and body had betrayed me it all rang hollow.
He told me to repeat out loud “Say, all are created by God” and “Thy Name is my healing.” each, 95 times every day. (95 is a sacred number to the Baha’is.)  There was nothing to lose.  Unlike everything else I had tried as a “cure” this Rx didn’t cost me a penny and had no side effects (or so I thought).   
I needed a time and place where my fogged brain would remember to repeat each of these sentences 95 times out loud.
So I started walking and repeating “Say, all are created by God” and “Thy name is my healing.” 95 times.  It took my mind off the pain in my legs & hips and burning feet as I walked.  I started talking to God.
beginnings of Faith – My Servant of God explained to me that ALL souls recognize each other in passing.  I smiled at everyone I passed wherever I went, secretly delighted their souls knew my soul, even if I didn’t.
Exercising, smiling, talking to God!  
I’m not sure I’ve mastered listening to God but suddenly at the ripe old age of 66 I discovered faith. 
Walking, talking and smiling may not be the cure for fibromyalgia but they are damn good medicine (God, forgive me for swearing  – it’s the only way I can underscore my point)  and faith that the Aliens can’t destroy me.  I’m much more than just a convenient timeshare.
My soul  knows.  I can live with that.

“Know thou that the soul of man is exalted above,  and is independent of all infirmities of body or mind. That a sick person showeth signs of weakness is due to the hindrances that interpose themselves between his soul and his body, for the soul itself remaineth unaffected by any bodily ailments.”

“Consider the light of the lamp. Though an external object may interfere with its radiance, the light itself continueth to shine with undiminished power. In like manner, every malady afflicting the body of man is an impediment that preventeth the soul from manifesting its inherent might and power. When it leaveth the body, however, it will evince such ascendancy, and reveal such influence as no force on earth can equal. Every pure, every refined and sanctified soul will be endowed with tremendous power, and shall rejoice with exceeding gladness.”