Handling Stress… Letters To My Children


Reblogged from SomeLettersToMyChildren.

Stress can take our joy away.  It can make us sick, keep us from sleeping restfully.  Stress can be a huge strain on relationships.  It can even kill.  And it causes many more symptoms as well – constant fatigue, fat gain around the abdomen, overeating because of low blood sugar episodes, inability to lose weight, feeling light-headed, body pain for no apparent reason, gut symptoms, irritable bowel, chest pain and rapid heartbeat, loss of sex drive, increased PMS or menopausal symptoms, allergic reactions, skin problems and sensitivities, acid reflux, frequent colds, flu and lowered immunity….it’s not fun!

There is much written about adrenal stress and cortisone – an anti-stress hormone.  It’s worth reading about on the internet.

Some causes are physical – low blood sugar, chronic illness, late hours, jammed schedules, chronic pain, sleep deprivation, excessive exercise, excessive stimulants (to keep you going), eating a poor diet – too much sugars, especially sugar substitutes, processed foods, environmental toxins…

Other causes of stress can be constant worry,  our inability to handle uncertainty,  pessimism, trying to “do it all”, emotional trauma and ongoing strain, perfectionism, negative self talk, unrealistic expectations, lack of asserting ourselves, continual anger, pushing yourself when you know you need to rest…

We need to take personal responsibility for our health – physical and emotional.  Taking medication for stress and depression is an interim solution but not a cure – should be used only when absolutely necessary while we are working on the real cause.  I  was the Queen of Stress and anxiety over this last year, (WAS – past tense, thank God!)  and it caused so many problems  that it got my full attention – physically, spiritually and emotionally.  I’ve studied in detail.   I’ve learned so much.  So thought  I’d pass on some things I’ve learned –  some simple and healthy ways to deal with stress…

  • Breathing exercises.  Learning to breathe properly and consciously has been a miracle for me.  Breathing can reduce stress, help maintain focus, increase energy, calm mind and body, and help with sleep.    Exhaling completely is easy to learn – it will improve health.  Take a deep breath through your nose, exhale naturally through your mouth –  and then squeeze out a little more.   It’s the old smell a rose – blow out a candle exercise.   Do it regularly and it will become a body habit with time.  Try to concentrate only on your breathing out – exhaling – and saying “relax” to yourself while you’re exhaling.  Let go of all of your worries by breathing them out.
  • Exercise – Morning is better but anytime works!  Other than within four hours of bedtime – it may keep you from sleeping.
  • Quit all stimulants – caffeine and any type of energy drink, chocolate and teas for starters.
  • Diet is huge in managing stress.  And it’s effects are nearly immediately – good and bad.  Cut sugar and sugar substitutes, starches and processed foods out of your diet.
  • Eat tons of fruit and veggies.  1/3 protein, 2/3 steamed veggies and fresh fruit that is in season.
  • Stress and adrenal stress makes us crave salty foods.  A signal?
  • Always eat a healthy breakfast within an hour of getting up.  It will give you energy, better brain function and help keep your blood sugar stable during the day.  You can’t drive a car without gas and you can’t function efficiently without good nutritious food in your beautiful body!
  • Eat something, a healthy snack, every three hours – every two hours if you’re really stressed.  But keep them healthy.  Remember – protein is brain food.   If you’re craving sweets, eat some protein.  It helps take away the craving.  You don’t  have to eat a lot when it’s nutritious – a good combination of lean or plant-based protein and healthy carbs.  Consider a high nutrition-low calorie way of eating.
  • Get rid of boxed, processed and man-made food!  It’s toxic.
  • Drink plenty of water – it cleans and detoxifies your body.
  • Don’t eat late at night but a small protein-high fiber carb at night just before bedtime helps you fall asleep and keeps your blood sugar level stable throughout the night so that you don’t wake up.  A few pumpkin seeds or a tablespoon of almond butter is a great bedtime snack – full of magnesium.
  • Take a good whole food multivitamin every day.
    • B-complex. B vitamins can help calm and balance your mood.
    • Omega-3 (fish oil) supplement. Either from molecularly distilled fish oil or from krill.  Omega-3 fatty acid deficiency has been associated with increased anxiety and depression.
    • Valerian (Valeriana officinalis). An extract from the root of this flowering perennial contains essential oils that have been shown to help some people more effectively deal with stress.  Don’t mix this with prescription drugs.  Ask a pharmacist before you use any medication or mix medications – or herbs for that matter.   Ask about the half-life of a medication that you’ve been taking to determine how long you need to be off of it before mixing with another herb or medication.
    • Calcium and magnesium. These can help a lot with muscle relaxation and healthy sleep.
    • Take vitamin supplements in the morning.  They help wake-up your brain.  Taking them too late in the day may keep you awake.
  • Sleep Sleep Sleep – and I know this is a tuff one when you’re under a lot of stress.  It takes a lot of meditation, planning and maybe sometimes a little help.  I prefer herbal sleep aids – melatonin, valerian, hops, passion flower – there are many combinations available and pretty inexpensive.  But don’t mix them with any other sleep medication and be sure to check with your pharmacist before you mix them with any medication that you’re taking.  
    • Pay attention to what you eat and drink at dinnertime and later.  Avoid sodas (horrible! Anytime!), overeating, chocolate, tea, coffee, and excessive sugar and salt.
    • Plan your evening carefully.  Create a relaxing sleep routine.  Think about how we put our babies to bed – we rub their backs, read them a book, turn down the lights.  To this for yourself.  We need a “turn-off” period so our brains know it’s time for sleep.
    • You may be photosensitive so avoid working on a computer or looking at a bright cell phone before bedtime. Try setting an 8 pm limit on visual stimuli.  Reading may or may not help you fall asleep.
    • Make a To-Do List for the net day and then let it go.  It will get done.
    • Aim for 8 hours of sleep a night.  Tell your body that it will sleep restfully and deeply for 8 hours.  I’ve read where it’s very important to go to prepare to fall asleep before 10 pm, that sleep before 2 am is the most beneficial.
    • Keep everything out of your bedroom that keeps you awake – TV, animals…
    • Keep your room cool and uncluttered.   Keep it clean, organized and the bed made daily.
    • Make your bedroom your sleep retreat.   Make it your haven.  Don’t watch TV (especially the news), check email or eat in bed.  Bed is for sleep.  Don’t confuse yourself.
    • Have a cup of chamomile tea at bedtime.  (I know – I said no tea or coffee.  But chamomile?….
    • And take calcium and magnesium in the evening or at bedtime with your snack.
    • Snuggle in bed.  Close your eyes, consciously rest your mind and every part of your body. Breathe deeply.  Meditate.  There are great free and inexpensive apps for your phone to guide you thru relaxation.
    • Put lavender in or around your pillow to help calm and relax you.
  • Most importantly, start working on yourself.  Start identifying problems and situations that cause stress in your life.
    • Say no to at least as many things as you say yes to
    • Don’t worry about other peoples’ problems – you have enough of your own.
    • Exercise.  It’s the only way to balance your brain and your body – a great way to “burn off your stress”
    • Eat lean protein with every meal – preferably before you eat the carbs.   No carb-only meals.  Ever.  Proteins build healthy brain chemicals.
    • Manage your hormones.  Get tested to see if you have too much estrogen in your body.  It can be balanced.  Small amounts of natural bio-identical hormones that perfectly match the body’s molecular structure make a huge difference!
    • Get rid of the toxic people in your life.  Surround yourself with more people who make you laugh and smile, who have positive energy, who help you be a better person.
    • Brush off emotional baggage – literally.   Therapeutic touch, energy fields – our entire body and world is energy.  I read this and I like it…”If you have left a conversation, a meeting, or a negative encounter with anyone – even yourself; if an encounter leaves you feeling drained, irritable, angry, exhausted or totally wiped out, try this.  Use your hand to brush your arms, legs, head and back  as if you’re wiping them and removing a layer of bad emotional residue.  Do it outside if you can and imagine yourself removing everything you no longer need – irritation, anger, bitterness, jealousy, sadness, fear, etc.  And keep what you want – love, compassion, empathy, calmness and peace.”
    • Shrug your shoulders.  “If you can’t get outside, or you want to switch the negative energy coming in, consider the simple act of shrugging your shoulders.”  We carry emotional stress in our shoulders.  So shrug them and tell yourself that you don’t need to carry resentment or other peoples’ problems.  If you have to be around negative energy, when you leave, shrug your shoulders to symbolically remove the negativity when you leave their presence  Don’t take it with you.
    • Blow off your negative feelings, energy, emotions and irritability.  Yep – that works too!  Breathe deeply and exhale quickly and forcefully through your mouth.  When you’re by yourself, make a loud sound – “ahhhh” – when you exhale.  Try it daily after work or at the end of the day before bed.  Visualize getting rid of or blowing out everything that is no longer serving you.
    • Re-fuel.  Make positive statements to yourself.  Put affirmations on your phone reminders – every hour if you need them.  I do.  Make sticky notes and put them on your mirror.  Make a positive statement and memorize it.  Say it out loud.  Every day.  Flood your mind with positive thoughts.  It it’s true that you are your thoughts, think what you can do with this one!  You are in control of your destiny by changing your thoughts.  Keep them positive even if you don’t believe them right now.  Keep your eyes on what you want and where you want to be and you can’t help but get there.
    • Schedule time for you.  Do something that you just love to do  as often as possible – where you lose track of time, forget to eat….  Find ways to help others – every day.  It doesn’t have to be huge.  Senseless acts of kindness…
    • Remember how much you are cherished!  My world lights up just thinking about you!
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My Letter to God


These are my personal beliefs.  I think we all have our own path and our own personal belief system.  I respect everyone’s experience and choice.  I agree with Mark Nepo – I’m a student of all traditions – I look to learn from where they all meet.

For me,  there is one God.  Period.  I believe that being may be called by many different names.  Or none at all.

I believe I have a mind, a body and spirit/soul.  My soul is the essence of me.   It is the part of me that loves.   My soul is my spiritual experience and guides my life.  When I manage to be still.  When I listen.  My soul is my guide.  I believe it is God in me. I also call it “my gut”, intuition, a “knowing”.

I pray, mainly when I’m in a difficult place in my life.   I have a running conversation with God – in my head and heart.  Very rarely out loud.(Smile)

One of my favorite books, life changing, I might add, is Conversations With God by Neale Donald Walsch.  When I was reading it, I wondered if I wrote letters to God if he’d respond to me like he did in the book.  But I never tried.

Last week, On Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday, I was listening to her interview with Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love.   When I heard Elizabeth say that when she was at her lowest, she wrote a letter to God and he responded to her. Not a booming God voice, not her voice, but it was an immediate response and it comforted her.

Well…I decided to write a letter to God and see if it would work for me.

Ok.  I did it and was given immediate responses.  I recognize that it was the same inner voice that guides me when I talk to God in my head/heart.  To see it in print (I saved the letter), to be able to go back and read it again…well, it’s pretty amazing.   One of the answers was something that I had not thought of.  It was news to me.  It was also really exciting advice.  I did it and it worked.

Whatever it is – it’s adding a new dimension to my life.  I’m grateful.  It’s fun too.

Just thought I’d pass it on…

Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday
Elizabeth Gilbert – Eat, Pray Love
Neale Donald Walsch – Conversations With God

Fear – How Do I Get It Out of My Life?!


Please PLEASE, Dr. OZ.  Help me!

I feel like I’m bordering on pathological fear and it seems to be getting a bigger hold on my life.  My physical symptoms are progressing and I want my life back.  How ever do I make this happen?

I’ve had test after test, including an angiogram.  Now my doctor wants me to have an MRI/MRA.  At this point, I think the basis of my physical ailments are fear about my health – and in some ways, for valid reasons.  I feel desperate – that I’m a time bomb in a race to find an answer before I have a stroke!

My blood pressure spikes are causing more consistent symptoms – the stinging pain in the top of my head, a droopy sensation at the temple corner of my left eye, and a stinging numbish sensation at the left corner of my mouth.  These areas  don’t look any different – but they feel very  different while my blood pressure is high.   They are new symptoms.  As is a periodic discomfort in my left eye.  I was checked by an ophthalmologist  at Devers Eye Clinic yesterday and he said my eyes are in excellent condition.  My eye feels slightly irritated and sometimes has a few seconds of feeling like it does when I have the flu.

My blood pressure normally runs great – 111-low 120’s/low 60s and on the low side in the night and mornings.   My pulse is usually in the low 50s (I don’t feel well when it’s in the low 50’s) to high 50s in the morning so I usually take my morning dose of Metoprolol 25 mg at 10:30-11 am rather than when I should be taking it at 9 a.  My blood pressure is usually in the mid to high 120’s  when I take my 9 pm dose.  When I try to go below this, I have a lot of palpitations/skipped beats.   My blood pressure has been up very high (190s-212/low 100s) at least 10 times this year – an unusual event for me.   The first few times happened in the night – woke me up.  No one has been able to figure a cause other than sleep apnea.   My symptoms include those of sleep apnea I’m told –  and from what I’ve researched.  It’s so difficult to be who I am with so little sleep.  I have no problems for a period of time and just getting comfortable with my body’s behavior and then it happens again.    I manage my blood pressure spikes with meditation and Lisinopril if it doesn’t come down with deep breathing and relaxation visualization.  I’ve been seen several times in the ER, admitted 3 times, had an angiogram as well as 24 hour catecholamine and many other tests.  Everything has been normal.   I have great doctors and they have deduced that I have sleep apena which is causing the blood pressure spikes, severe lack of sleep and anxiety.

I had a sleep lab study but couldn’t sleep enough to get a good report but did show hypopnea.   My doctor then arranged for a home sleep study which I had.   He told me that it showed apnea, hypopnea and very low oxygen levels which he feels awaken me.   Last night I had a sleep lab titration study but again couldn’t sleep enough to get a good report.   From research and a visit with a person at the sleep lab, I was told that home studies are very inaccurate.  I was told by my technician at the sleep lab that I don’t have apnea at all that he could see.  My doctor will have my report on Friday and I’ll ask my questions from him and find out the news.  I was so excited to have the study, believing that it would resolve the blood pressure spikes issue and that I could eventually get over my distrust of my body – and my fear.

I am so stressed and exhausted with all of this and I think the stress is keeping me from sleeping.  It’s a vicious cycle.  That is where my fear comes in – I’m terrified that I’m bringing on the very thing I’m trying to avoid.  I try every thing I can – medication regimen, meditation, read Eckhart Tolle’s books, in fact listen to them when I’m walking.  And I have a glass of wine now and then…

I’m a very strong and healthy 71-year-old woman with a wonderful life otherwise.   I have many reasons to live including 2 brand new great-grandchildren.   I have walked 10,000+ steps (thanks to your encouragement) every day for sometime, have lost over 30 pounds, gotten off my Metformin and now manage my type 2 diabetes with diet and exercise.   I’m so grateful to you and your show!

I watched your show about sleep disorders and learned a lot.  I’ve had difficulties sleeping since I was a child.  In fact, my Dad has told me that I had a difficult time sleeping as a baby and small child – that he used to rock and walk me half the night.  I had never heard of genetic insomnia but I wonder if that describes my sleep problems.   I hope we hear about her treatment.   I’ve been taking occasional trazadone when I can’t sleep, anywhere from a quarter of a 50 mg tablet to the entire 50 mgs.   Sometimes it doesn’t work at all.   I definitely prefer natural treatments but am fearful about trying something else right now.  I’m normally awake at least every 2 hours each night and routinely get 3-5 hours of sleep each night,  rarely six, very rarely 7.  I’m so desperate that I can’t even tell you – for sleep, peace, no anxiety, no more fear – for getting my life back.

My fear is such a problem for me that it’s interfering with my life.  It’s embarrassing to admit that I’m so fearful but am deciding if I’m going to get help for it, I have to talk about it.  There must be others in my situations.  As soon as I receive reassurance – reading my normal labs and other reports, I feel all right for a bit and then the fear starts creeping in again.  I no longer trust my body! What if my blood pressure rises again and I have a stroke.   I dread night time so much – no words – what if I lie awake all night and imagine the worst – despite my best efforts.  The less sleep I have, the more my emotional defenses are down.    I’ve had 17 deaths of family and best friends in the last 18 years, 6 of those (my Dad, two sisters, brother-in-law, and besties) in the last 5-1/2 years.   I’m still reeling from those deaths and definitely feeling my mortality.  My fear is beginning to include my husband and family’s safety.  It feels like fear is  taking over my life.  It is.  I pray.  I talk to my sisters and husband.  I journal.  I research.  I exercise the power of believing…

Have I missed one of your shows that dealt with fear?   Please schedule or replay?

Thanks!

Religion (Spiritual to me) and politics….


I know, touchy subjects I suppose. But this is my journal and I’m looking for answers.  Comments are welcome!

I’ve struggled with getting to sleep for years.  And struggle is an understatement in the last year.   My health has always been pretty good, however, a struggle this year.  I’m told by the guys with the stethoscopes that the only thing that they can deduce from my symptoms and experiences is a sleep disorder that is affecting my blood pressure and  these scarey symptoms are all part of it.  A lady doctor told me she thought my problems were about not grieving recent deaths.  Hmmm.   I sleep well about every other night when I’m exhausted from very little (and I mean very little!) sleep the prior night.

This leads me to my latest episode last night.   Yesterday was my “good” day, awesome, felt like myself, had fun.  My day was a great one actually.  Then in the late afternoon it hit.  My blood pressure took a hike – upward.  Way high again.  All of my ugly symptoms alerted me to what my blood pressure was doing.   I had taken my highest recommended dose of meds by late evening and they were not doing their job.  I continued meditating and doing the best blood pressure lowering breathing that I could muster.   It wasn’t helping.  In fact, my BP was going higher!   By 2 am, I was exhausted, considering yet another trip to the ER, trying very hard to visualize good things but ending up right back in my scariest thoughts.   I was, to say the least, desperate.  I had moved into sheer terror and fear.  And that was not helping my blood pressure – at all!  That’s when I suddenly got help.  I don’t say this easily or carelessly.  But it was nothing short of a miracle.   If you had been there you’d understand.

OK, this is the God part.

I think there are a lot of  different names for God if we believe in a higher power – I call mine God.  My belief is that there is no doubt – God exists.  In fact, I don’t even consider it a belief – it’s who I am.  Me and God.  I don’t talk about it much at all but it’s always there.  I don’t go to church, at least at this point, but I talk to him regularly.  My Dad was a preacher.  Yes, I’m a PK (preacher’s kid).  I enjoy good conversations about spiritual things with a few people but I rarely talk about being a PK to most people.  They expect me to know verses and have answers.  Uh…Not!  I’m not proud to say that I did more note-passing and day-dreaming in church than listening.   Not to say I didn’t have my spiritual experiences as a young person – a few funny stories about some of those.

Over the years, I’ve tried many times to read the bible but it’s totally confusing to me – I have a very difficult time understanding and applying what I read.   Those who can and do, amaze me!   I have read other easy-to-understand translations.  They’re interesting but even if they’re inspired, I question words.  They can be interpreted many ways – depending on many things – human perceptions and motives.  I would like to have a bible written by God – not translated by humans who may or may not have agendas.  I have my favorite verses but I rely mainly on my very personal communication with God.  Thus the spiritual and not religious comment.

I have huge questions of my own.  (I’ll be writing about those and comments from anyone who happens on to my questions will be welcomed!)  Most of the time I don’t want to think about my questions.  Not saying that’s smart, but it makes things simpler for me right now.  I’ve spent so much time in my life trying to figure things out.  Having faith, “just accepting” and believing are not my strong suits.  I’m working on that…in a lot of areas.  Balance Grasshopper….

Well, last night – in the night – in my desperation, I was talking to my Dad – in my thoughts.   I was missing him terribly.  Right up until his death, I could call him from wherever I was and he’d say a prayer.  It almost always – 99% of the time – helped me.   He’d invariably ask God to “renew my mind and my spirit”.  And God did.    It seemed that My Dad had a real connection.  My sister seems to have that connection… but it was 2 am!  Not a good time for a phone call.

Anyway, that’s when it happened.  It wasn’t my Dad but I felt sudden relief.  I felt God.   I haven’t experienced this – to this degree – except for one other time years ago when my best girlfriend was killed by a drunk driver.  I was deep in grief over my loss and suddenly felt the comfort of God. No other way to say it.  I had grown up hearing about “The Great Comforter” and that spirit was very real for those moments.  And it relieved my angst.  I don’t know how to explain the experience so I won’t try.  It wouldn’t work and would sound woo-woo.   But it happened.   It happened again in the night.  It was a complete surprise.  I sure can’t say that I used the power of believing –  “believed” it was going to happen and then brought it on myself.  But I’ll gratefully take it!!  It was quite the opposite.  I was in a “fear spin” and far from being able to be positive – even with my best effort.   I was shocked.  Very peaceful – immediate and sudden –  And very, very grateful.  That Great Comforter again – I recognized it immediately.  In my head I was singing “He Touched Me” (Gaithers).

I finally went to sleep!

I’ll work on the Politics part another time

Oprah Life Classes
The Power of Believing

A Life and Death “Aha” Moment – No Words Can Express – Thank You Though!


This is such a long story about my “Aha Moment” but I have to write it – I’m 71 years old right now and I’ve lived with this for many, many years.  I’ll never be able to express enough gratitude for this one – to Oprah, Eckhart Tolle, my husband, and many, many others who shared their stories.   Now I’m sharing mine.

I feel my lack of self-value started in my early childhood.  One of my most painful memories is my Mom taking me for a ride and then blowing my mind.  She told me that my Dad never wanted me, that I had been terrified of him and all other men from the time I was a baby up until ….  I could feel myself shrinking down and slumping in the passenger seat of our Chevy.  I felt deep shame and made a vow that I would be even more invisible and less bother – to everyone.  Except my sister.  Of course, I was devastated and wrote a long long entry in my diary that extended to additional notebook paper.

Next chapter.  Sometime later, no idea how long, but my Dad read my diary and he was very emotional with a generous dose of anger  – now I know it was at my Mom, but it sounded like it was me –  when he told me his story.  I didn’t ask for it, was extremely uncomfortable and ended up being sad for him.   He sobbed as he told me that it was not me that he didn’t want, it was another child.   I was born in 1940, he had been suffering pretty indescribable needs during that time, took old broken frames from the factory where he worked, repaired and made them beautiful, and sold them.  Sometimes he and Mom sold honey and Mom’s homemade jams door-to-door to make a living.  Although it was from a child’s experience and frame-of-reference, I kind of understood that they lived in pretty dire circumstances.  He was feeling great weight and a lot of anger, raising 3 young children during the depression and here comes a fourth!  I  doubt that he told me then, but I clearly knew he had made it clear to Mom that he wanted no more children but that she continued to want more children.  (Like he had no part it in!!).

Anyway, he told me that I was a very colicky baby, had difficulty sleeping and he would be up all night with me, rocking or walking me, and then have to go to work in the morning.   I felt like even more of a burden by this time.  I certainly didn’t feel better.   Plus I felt responsible for his lack of sleep, eating more food that he could manage to provide, and on and on.  I was pre-teen when this drama played out.

He did end up telling me that I gave him great pleasure with my piano playing and that he was glad that I had been born.  I highly doubted that for some reason.

During my school years, when I had to ask dad for paper money, pencils, etc. – which I probably did abuse – (I ask for very little but even then at some level knew I was testing to see if he loved me enough to give me something I ask for).  It was torture.  He groaned, looked disgusted and grudgingly would reach into his pocket to deliver the nickle, dime, quarter – whatever it was at that time.  I was looking for love.

As I’m writing, I’m realizing even more about my AHA Moment that I had yesterday.  I realize how I’ve measured my value by my success, external things.  Wonder where I started that pattern!!  Wow, as I deal with this issue, I’m sure I’ll make some major changes in my life in yet another direction.

Back to my AHA Moment – At sometime in my youth, I had vowed that I would never be in a position to have to ask anyone for anything.  That if I couldn’t get it myself, I’d do without.  That has not exactly been my experience – but it certainly has been my vow.  At some point, I also added this to the equation – that if I could not afford to take care of myself, if I were to ever become dependent physically or financially on anyone, I would die.  Not like, “Oh I’ll just die if I have to do that”.  No – that I would die.  At times I had a plan on how I would do it, other times, even recently,  just vowed and knew that if I ever came to that place, no doubt I’d be able to carry it out.   That was sent out into the universe!!!  A core belief of mine.  Unconscious about what I was doing and accomplishing in my body with that vow.

After one of my divorces, I went to a divorce recovery class and clearly learned the mess that we make of our lives with our vows.  They’re not a good thing.  But somehow I didn’t relate that to my “knowing” that I’d die.  But yes, it was a vow.

About seven years ago, I left my business in the Southwest, retired and moved to the Pacific Northwest.  I had built a great referral business from my website that was bringing enough income for me to live pretty comfortably with my social security that I had recently started collecting.  I had invested in two rental condos in my town, put a good deal of cash down but structured them to protect my tax position with my income.  Within a few months, my referral income started dropping precipitously.  My real estate expenses were still quite large but manageable.  I had a pretty good savings stash so felt protected.   I was certain that my business was going to come back so continued carrying it financially for many months but alas, the economy was changing in ways none of us fully expected.  It took out my income over the next couple of years.  So many adjustments in a lifestyle that I lived for quite a few years – very difficult to change but was working on it.

Then, I got a notice of audit from the IRS for three separate years.  I had been having my taxes prepared by a former IRS auditor and CPA and felt fine about being audited.  My accountant would accompany me.  I made four trips back  to consult with my accountant and each time, she was extremely stressed and ask if I could come back a few weeks later.  I had other business to take care of there so agreed to do that.  On the fourth trip, she still was unable to cope with my situation.  By then I was extremely stressed and panicked.  I was the only one talking to the IRS and was feeling very intimidated and vulnerable.  I ended up hiring tax attorneys near where I am living who dealt with situations like mine and they redid my taxes – after lugging boxes of receipts to Seattle – and said that the IRS was correct – that I owed them $38,000 plus penalties and interest.

I had been in a car accident in 1994, had been receiving treatment for injuries.  Short story is – insurance ended up denying payment for all treatment – I can’t remember the details, I’ve put them out of my mind.  Basically I ended up feeling that they believed I was faking my injuries.  I was not.  In any event, I ended up paying about $9,000 in medical fees.

Most of my savings were gone.  Over this period of time, I short sold the two investment condos – my cash investment in those was gone – and then some.

Within a very few months I was broke!

There were way too many financial issues and adjustments and personal issues that go with those failures – business and investments – all things financial in my life were changed.  And of course that changed my life.  In every way.

Right after I had gotten my notice of IRS audit, I had met the man who is now my husband.  We traveled for several months in his motorhome.  He ask that I pay half of the expenses and I was still ok, I thought, so I agreed.  I was still paying all of my own expenses and my income had been dropping steadily, however, my business income had been consistent for sometime before my move, so I was certain that I’d be fine.  I wasn’t.   My husband had been used to splitting everything 50/50 in his relationships and I tried to do that, but it was becoming extremely difficult.  I talked to him about it and we decided that we would change to percentages, based on our incomes.  That worked somewhat but I continued to struggle.  I can handle struggle and have always landed on my feet.  But, I’d always had income and a way to make more if I temporarily needed it.  Different now – way different now.

I’ve known for some time that if I were ever to be in a relationship, that I’d need to make adjustments and thought I’d done a good job in educating myself, thinking thru scenarios, was well prepared for a true relationship after years of no real relationship – other than my relationship with my work and friends.  I’ve been very independent, and remember my vow – never to be financially dependent on anyone – ever again!!   Vows – now I can see clearly why I failed financially – a major life lesson that I was learning and probably the deepest healing I’ve ever experienced.  It was so painful and bizarre at the time.  As soon as I’d handled one financial mess – not really handled, just paid, tried to let go of anger, feeling trapped, no good options – another seemingly impossible financial situation occurred.   It was uncanny after always being able to get on my feet, find a good solution.  This time, and in every instance, my only solution was to pay.  Until I was broke and dependent on someone else financially!!

All of this really came to a head with I started having serious health problems in January of 2011.  Suddenly.  I was in a lot of stress with my Son’s botched surgery rendering him disabled, his family in serious stress with very little food, faced being homeless and in severe constant pain after his back surgery.  My daughter’s long time marriage was in serious trouble, much pain for my like-a-son, son-in-law and my dear daughter.  It was all so tragic – all of them.

Oh, and in 2009, my husband and I were in an accident on a major freeway, overturned our RV and I was injured with injuries that I still deal with every day – not life threatening, thank God.

And in the last five years, there were multiple deaths in my immediate family, and close loves, my Dad, my ex-husband and closest friend, two other closest friends, two sisters and my brother-in-law.  Some major stressors here!

Even though I’ve had my share of challenges during my life, I’ve had a fun, inspired, adventurous, pretty fulfilling life, some great loves and problems that were manageable and had solutions.  All of a sudden, everything was totally out of control and unmanageable in almost every area of my life.  And my son had desperate needs – financial needs, and me with no money and unable to get by myself.

I blamed my medical issues on these stresses – and they did have a part.  But there was something deeper and I could never – or didn’t want to – acknowledge what it was.   I didn’t put it all together until this month in fact.  It came out in marital pain.  My husband and I have had many challenging issues since our marriage late in our life.  It’s basically a wonderful relationship but not without pain when our issues collide.  We are both excellent problem solvers, have great resolve, sincerely want a fulfilling relationship and are committed.  We’re both open to taking responsibility for our own issues and working thru them.

Using all the skills that I’ve learned from Eckhart Tolle, Oprah and many others on her shows, I wrote him a letter expressing my pain – about myself.  He really listened.  I listened.  I had been paying almost my entire check towards our expenses and medical bills and failing every month with my finances – reinforcing my feelings of being a financial failure.  This has been going on for months.   My husband initiated a “talk” about my letter.  He suggested that I no longer pay rent and he wanted to pay my medical bills because he felt that some of his issues had caused my hospitalizations – in reality, we were partners in that one.  But he “got it” and my immediate relief told me volumes.  I felt healed but didn’t understand why immediately.   I don’t know if I even comprehend everything yet but my shame is gone.  It’s gone and I didn’t even know how huge it was in me until it was gone.  It feels like a miracle.   It may take some time to figure this out but my gratefulness starts right here!

I flashed back to my Dad grudgingly giving me a nickle, a quarter, whatever it was.   As an adult, I have so often thought how loving it would have been for my Dad to look at me adoringly and with love and say – here it is Daughter.  I love you.   Get some pretty pencils.  Idealistic, but wow – would I have felt cherished.   It would not have been about the money – it would have been the giving and receiving and the love that went with it, filling a need.  The love.   Instead it turned into things, giving myself – and others –  things to feel love – not from others as that has always been very uncomfortable.   Duh.    I’ve given a lot away, but I’ve always gotten way too much for myself, as well – way more than I’ve needed.  Profound.  Now I can apply the phrases to myself and really get it – it’s not what you have, it’s who you are.  Now I need to learn more about who I am.  My husband freely tells me.   I’m really watching to see what it is about me that I love and appreciate.  It’s nice to have people – that matter to me – mirror how they see me.

Yesterday, we were on a trip to the mountains to pick huckleberries.  I’d had about 3 hours sleep the night before and was semi-dosing in the car when I realized – the vow!  My health problems.  No words can come close to expressing my freedom and clarity.   Suddenly I knew –  and now I’m free!!!!  Just like that (I’m snapping my fingers:)  Free of fear of death – at least if it happens, I’m no longer doing it to myself.  I was living in terror – in the night especially – of my death.   I believe my subconscious was telling me what it was doing.   I had become financially incapable of caring for myself and my mind and body were carrying out the vow.   I was killing myself.  I knew from all of my medical tests that I am in exceptional health but I was having severe blood pressure problems that were threatening stroke or heart attack and I have no doubt that I was well on my way to accomplishing my vow.  It had to be causing damage to my body.

I was in a downward spiral and in a dreadfully dark place.   It never occurred to me to talk to my husband and ask him for more financial help.   It wasn’t even in my frame of reference.   I was stuck, and in my darkness saw myself in a shameful place and a dismal failure and not deserving to be here.    I was saying the words to him, not realizing I was asking for help,  but without the intent to get help – felt I was stating where I was and why.  My unconscious intent was to die.   He heard me and loves me and problem solved.   Words can’t express – thank you husband.  Thank you Oprah and Eckhart Tolle!  There are no specifics that led to my “Aha moment” – it was a collection of so many things from the shows and Tolle books and discussions I’ve listened to.  How do I ever express how my life has changed.

I clearly understand things I’ve learned from Eckhard Tolle – that once we become conscious of any issue, it’s power is gone, the pain body can never harm us again as long as we remain conscious.  I think my husband understands his part in my healing, I hope so.  Maybe no one can fully understand but I think he does.  I’ll bet Eckhart Tolle and Oprah would know exactly what has happened within me.  Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!

And I can feel my Dad rejoicing – he never meant harm.   I know that.

Right now I have such peace!

Missing A Memory – And Oprah!


Some things are just not meant to be.  In a sense.   At least the planned outcome.   Or is there a deeper meaning, lesson or awareness gained from every  process?

My sister who lives in another City told me about the Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers and I was excited.  I love being a grandmother and believe in the purpose they hold.  And at least one of the Grandmothers was participating in a nearby gathering.

My sister and I decided to attend the fair.   These Grandmothers – what an example of the power of a group of women – any group of women –  with a united intent and purpose.   Another story, another time.

My niece lives in the general vicinity of our destination so we met at her home and left the following morning for our mecca.  My niece is a unique blend of intelligence, creativity and humor embodied in love.  We had one of those amazing times that cannot be planned or forced – they just happen.   I think “awesome” is an overused adjective – but well described our evening.  Special – very special.

Naturally, our conversation included Oprah.  My Sis told me she had gotten a ticket for “O You” in Atlanta.  I was in no financial position to expect to go but I decided to “see myself there”, expect a miracle,  and bought a ticket.  Impulse.  I let myself get excited and did a lot of visualizing.  My sister said that she was thinking of getting an airline ticket for me with her frequent flyer points and she had a hotel reservation that she would have for herself with room for me.  If I had pursued that, which would have been extremely difficult for me to do, I know I could have gotten there.  Somehow I couldn’t do it.  Why?

I believed  – boy did I believe.  But finances didn’t work the way I had planned and the refund deadline was drawing closer.  I was struggling with questions about spending the money even if I had it when some of my family is in dire need of help and I have very little to help them with – so I requested a refund.  About 3-4 days later, my sister called and said that her husband had offered to buy an airline ticket if I would go with her.   Conversation led to my being excited again and jumping in with both feet.  My sister did too.  I would need to see if I could get my ticket back but Oprah’s team is efficient and it had already been processed.  I was VERY disappointed.  My Sis suggested the response was only regarding the refund process, not an answer to my Oprah email asking her to let me have my ticket back.  I know she would if she possibly could.  I even fantasized Oprah surprising me at my door with my ticket and a trip to Atlanta.  Just a thought that crossed my hopeful mind:)

I advertised on Craigslist in Atlanta, was told by some sellers that their advertised tickets had sold within seconds of posting.  Then the miracle happened – I got a note from Oprah (collectively speaking again) saying that they could provide a ticket for me, that someone would be calling shortly, ask for a time frame and phone number.  I was again SO excited.   The roller coaster was on the way up!  Yay!!

And then… in the meantime, we had been looking for a reasonable airline ticket – impossible to find on such short notice.   Prices were going up each day and by the time the opportunity hit – O You ticket and airline ticket opportunity – at the same time – our conservative (somewhat) natures kicked in.  Down again.  The pits.  I hadn’t been able to hold my brand new great-granddaughter AND missed my O You opportunity.  All in the same day.  I was in the pits.  Pretty deep pits!

Well, I’m still in the pits and sick to my stomach – literally – and trying to figure this whole emotional fiasco out.  What is my lesson – I truly believe that’s what the whole thing was about – some kind of lesson that I want not to repeat.   Why so much pain – about both disappointments – and why did they hit on the same day.  What the heck, Edgar???  In the whole scheme of things – what is the meaning.    This has been the short version.

I have to go eat lunch and walk.   And listen again to  Eckhart Tolle!!!   To be continued…..

PS Update:   Oh! Now I get it!