Where the Magic Happens

They say that “Magic happens when you’re willing to step outside your comfort zone” and that’s where I’ve spent the last six months, creating the Midwest Mind Body Health Center which opens today. When I first decided to enter this unknown territory, I reached out to another mind-body-spirit counseling professional, Maria Carella, who embraced the idea with the same enthusiasm I had. Next, I spoke with another amazing woman, Janet K, who I’ve known for 20+ years who agreed to be our office manager. In the past few weeks, I’ve discovered that no task is too daunting and she takes care of whatever I need-no worries. Pure magic.

After Janet, I ran into Shirley Stoll, our meditation instructor, at a Chopra Center meditation and yoga retreat. Next, I was introduced to Jen McCurdy, one of our counseling providers, through a chance conversation with my good friend and colleague, Executive Director of Mother to Mother, Linda Meyer. A couple weeks later, Jen, Maria and I were at a Mother to Mother fundraiser together (which we didn’t plan), and Maria told me Jen was the woman she wanted me to speak with about becoming part of our team. After that, my massage therapist Sage Kuhlmann who’s also a yoga instructor, joined. Then I contacted another psychologist, Megan Keyes, who I’d known for years through her family and thought would be too busy, but she was interested too.

And the magic didn’t stop there. My husband Steve supported me unconditionally from encouragement that things would work out despite setbacks to moving the contents of my entire office. There were also countless friends and family who kept me going with hopefulness when I’d misplaced mine. While I felt stretched and challenged, I didn’t feel  alone.

Goethe said, “What you can do, or dream you can do, begin it;
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”

Once again, I learned how much can be gained by stepping outside your comfort zone. Now, I’m encouraging you to do the same. That’s where you discover magic. I promise.

(Thanks to Shannon Hutson for inspiring this post)

Introducing the Midwest Mind Body Health Center

After many weeks of uncertainty about my new office, I can finally announce that on Oct. 1, the Midwest Mind Body Health Center will be open for business. In addition to the counseling services I’ve always provided, we’ll be offering weekly classes and multi-session workshops in mind-body practices including mindfulness, meditation and yoga. Research has shown that these practices can help reduce stress, depression and anxiety and improve health and well-being.

I could go on for hours, but instead check out the new website at www.mindbodystl.com.  And remember, “Self-care is like chocolate; you can never have enough.”


This Too Shall Pass

Reading Stacey’s post last week, reminded me that life is full of joy and sorrow, loss and gain. These shifts occur in a day, week, months or years. How do we keep going? Here’s what I decided to do.

Monday I discovered my colleagues leaving the practice I started and will be maintaining, sent marketing info out which prompted a nurse from one of the groups I work closely with to call and ask if Women’s Healthcare Partnership (my practice) was breaking up. I was worried and distressed. But, I had a cancellation the next hour so I phoned the group’s office manager to tell her Women’s Healthcare Partnership was not breaking up and arranged for them to visit my new location. I felt relieved. The same day, I got home to discover these colleagues had sent an e-mail with both their pictures on it after one of them told me she didn’t know anything about it. I felt angry and upset. However, Wednesday I signed my new lease and can finally move ahead with my plans to open the Midwest Mind Body Health Center on Oct. 1. Yeah!

How did I cope? I reminded myself of the story of King Solomon’s ring. As the story goes, King Solomon heard of a magical ring that had the power to make happy people sad, and sad people happy so he sent his minister out to find it. He was about to abandon the search when he came across a wise jeweler who said he’d heard of such a ring and would make him one. Taking a plain gold band he engraved four words in it. When the ring was delivered, King Solomon recognized the simple wisdom it contained, for engraved in the band were the words, “This too shall pass.”

Life is constantly changing. This is the hard and promising truth. Light becomes dark and dark turns to light in a single day.  Next time you face adversity, stress or just unpleasant feelings,  remember “This too shall pass.”

A Different Take on 9/11

The 9/11 tragedy affected so many people on so many different levels. Of course, there was loss, hatred, patriotism, conspiracy and a myriad of other feelings and consequences that came out of the loss of the World Trade Center in 2001. But what about the people who have birthdays and anniversaries on this significant date? What do they experience every year?

Dora* and Andrew* will have been married 11 years on September 11, 2012. They were married in a modest ceremony in a small town in southeast Texas. They had seriously considered postponing the wedding after watching what had happened that morning. Their friends and family convinced them to go ahead with the weekday wedding, as they didn’t know when Andrew would be available again. He had an offshore job that took him away from home for weeks at a time.

“Even 10 years after the whole World Trade Center thing, we get strange looks if we’re out celebrating our anniversary at a restaurant. We’ve even had one guy tell us that we were heartless for having a good time!” Andrew recalls. “When is this ever going to stop?”

Dora and Andrew are by no means alone. Over 10,000 babies were born on September 11, 2001. As it was a weekday, not as many weddings took place. However in 2004, when 9/11 fell on a Saturday, 8,000 weddings were held across the country. Reasons for choosing this date range from “taking back that day as a happy one,” to “honoring a fallen loved one.”

While birth dates are not as widely chosen as happen by chance, children born on that fateful day will turn 11 years old this year. Amanda*, a rambunctious 4th grader, has always known that something was different about her birthday. “Sometimes, people are sad on my birthday,” she says, frowning. “But everybody at my party is happy!” Her mother, Sandy*, says that she has experienced all kinds of reactions to party invitations she sends home with Amanda’s classmates. “I had one mom call me and yell at me once,” she remembers. “She asked me how I could be so thoughtless – like I had any say in when my daughter was born!” Most people are very gracious, Sandy says. “They realize this is a little girl’s birthday party and nothing else. Amanda hasn’t ever had a bad experience with her birth date.”

Perhaps the country will always mourn each year when September 11 rolls around. But for 10,000 kids and countless couples, that date will be special to them for entirely different – and joyous – reasons.

*Names have been changed for privacy reasons

Don’t Labor-Enjoy the Day!

Today is the perfect day to celebrate all the hard work you do by taking time off. Whether we are caring for our children, partners, parents, friends, or pets, most women labor all the time, both in and outside of home. So just today, climb back in bed, have a cup of coffee, watch the TV show you want, go to the mall, have your nails done, read a good book, or do whatever suits you. You can go back to work tomorrow. For now, enjoy!

For more ideas about what you can do to make self-care part of your life, visit “Taking Care of You: Body, Mind and Spirit” at http://extension.missouri.edu/takingcare. I just got trained in this program and can’t recommend it enough.

Have a great day.

If I Were A Guy???

This is the question I’ve been asking myself lately. Why? Because I’m in the “middle” of negotiating a lease for my new Midwest Mind Body Health Center which opens Oct. 1, and I’ve been in the “middle” for the past 8 weeks.

When I first saw the building, I asked the owner to deal with me directly but he said he’d hired a real estate broker and it’d be better to speak with him. Would a man have agreed to this? I don’t know, but I did to “be nice.” What’s happened since then? Not much. The broker has been on vacation twice, doesn’t answer morning calls, isn’t much better later in the day, and took 10 days to get me the draft of my lease even after I decided to take a bigger space in a building that’s only half-full.

Not a great way to run a business especially in a real estate market that’s glutted. Then yesterday I decided I’d had enough and called the owner who seemed “clueless” that his broker was handling our deal like this. I told him I’d tried to respect his request that I work with the broker but I’d had enough. How soon would a man have done this? Probably much sooner. Certainly a man wouldn’t have been “nice” about it when the broker wasn’t doing his job.

Although I was raised to be a “nice girl,” I was also brought up to respect myself. While I know the broker is not intentionally disrespecting my time and need to wrap things up, I’m done waiting for him. Einstein said “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different solution.”  So, Monday I’ll be phoning and e-mailing the owner again to get my lease settled. If the broker ends up with mud on his face, he’s earned it.

What are your thoughts about this? What would you do? How long would you “be nice.” Let us know.

A Not-So-Secret Anxiety Remedy

I was in session yesterday with a young lady who has been dealing with anxiety and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) for most of her life. I’ve been working with her for quite a while, and we’ve tried all kinds of coping mechanisms. In her session, she told me that she thinks she has found THE coping tool that has significantly reduced her symptoms. She had been discouraged after trying progressive muscle relaxation, breathing techniques, thought monitoring/stopping, visualization and a few others. So when she said this, I got excited! What was her favored remedy? Present moment awareness!

Diane and I have written about mindfulness and present moment awareness in the past, and we both agree that this technique is one of the basics of self-care. While it’s true that not all coping tools will work for everyone, this particular exercise, when made habitual, can change lives.

My client is dealing with financial problems, and found herself worked into a panic regularly, wondering how she was going to get enough money to pay her bills. Using present moment awareness, she has been able to tell herself, “The bills are not due today. Right now, all is well. I’ll deal with it when the time comes.” This usually brings her anxiety down and sometimes wipes it completely out!

Of course, some things do require planning ahead, and paying bills can be one of them. My client told me yesterday that she had 2 “out of the blue” opportunities to make extra money, and that would take care of her August bills! She’s now working on maintaining mindfulness, but also having faith that God/The Universe will provide for her, as long as she expects Him/it to.

She said she felt strange when practicing these new thoughts, because her old thought patterns were so negative. It made sense to her that we tend to get what we expect to get out of life. So, if she expects obstacles and depression, that’s what she gets. After getting some “proof” that positive and mindful thoughts DO have a real effect in her life, she’s finding renewed enthusiasm to keep it up!