Sunday, November 8, 2015

Crawl before you walk

When I was 11 years old and in the 7th grade, I was diagnosed with a bone disease. When the pain began, we didn't think much of it. Perhaps I'd hit my leg on something or fallen in recent weeks. Worsened pain and many doctors later, we were told what was wrong. I returned to school with medical papers to inform my teachers and school administrators that I would have bone surgery over spring break. Although my doctor explained I would have a cast, I think I missed the part where he mentioned not being able to walk, having a wheelchair and missing school. When I left the Friday before spring break, I assumed I'd see my 7th grade classmates within a week or two. I had surgery in March and never returned to my 7th grade class. Spring break and many months to follow involved a very slow healing process.




My cast began at the top of my thigh and ended at my toes. I recall waking up in post op freezing and pained. As my teeth shattered and I requested yet another blanket, I looked down in horror to see a heavy beige cast that would accompany me for the next two months. I'll save every detail but at 11, bed pans, bathing with a cast, wheelchairs, crutches, and a home with a staircase weren't exactly "easy" to tackle. I soon mastered these tasks and became a pro at moving around with little to no assistance. I dreamt of the day I would take the cast off and to this day, "celebrate" every year by reminding my parents and sister of my cast removal anniversary. The true lessons came once the cast came off.

I'm sure I had a pep in my crutch step as I made it into the doctor's office the morning of my scheduled cast removal. I was ready to see my leg again and WALK. My doctor took the cast off and revealed a hairy, skinnier, lighter version of the leg I once knew. His first instructions were for me to stand with assistance. I thought nothing of it and with assistance, I stood. Light headedness and vomiting came next. (Sorry, hope you weren't eating.) I quickly sat in confusion and he explained blood rushing to my leg could do that and some other medical stuff beyond my 11 year old brain. It was at this moment, I realized I couldn't walk.



As you read this, with the exception of a disability, you've probably walked today. I doubt you thought about putting one foot forward before the other. I doubt you thought about the perfect angle your knee had to be before you took a step. Physical therapy was my next step after leaving that doctor's office. As painful as I remember this experience to be, learning to walk again was a mental challenge. The confusion of knowing I could walk before and had to be TAUGHT again was beyond my comprehension.

Life has a way of teaching us, doesn't it? When I stepped into that doctor's office, I thought the cast would be removed and I'd walk out of there back to normal. Babies crawl before they walk. No one teaches a baby to crawl, they just do it.

Perhaps you're an addict reading this unsure of the next step in how you're going to be clean "forever". Perhaps you're suffering with a mental illness but terrified of calling a therapist to schedule an appointment. Perhaps you're a therapist working for a community agency wishing to break out and do you own thing but having no idea where to begin.

Truth is, you have to start where you are with what you have now. Stepping out takes risk. You can choose to be still or step forward. My first bone surgery was 22 years ago and I can still look back and find many lessons from that time in my life. My experience was eye opening and a blessing in disguise.

As you read this, I challenge you to step out. What is holding you back? What if that obstacle could be removed? How different would your life be? How will you know if you never take that step?

Need help figuring it all out, find me here: my FB page or Personal email or Psychology Today.

Until next time,

JackieONappy




Saturday, October 24, 2015

Go Jackie, it's your birthday!

Here we are again. Today (October 24th) is my birthday. I'm 33 years YOUNG and so very grateful to be here to celebrate another year on earth. The facebook posts began before midnight. I woke up to 8 birthday texts and at this very moment, 202 people have taken the time to post birthday wishes on my fb wall.
I don't take birthdays lightly. Some years, I lay low and other times, I party like it's....1982? I always spend some time in deep thought about where I've been, where I am, and where I'm headed. In previous years, I've beat myself up for not being where I "should've" been. I made an effort NOT to do that this year. Truth is, I did have plans of things I wanted to accomplish by now but as long as I'm still here, it isn't too late.

As I continued to read the tagged posts and birthday wishes, I became teary eyed. Is this something that happens at 33? I wasn't ready! I can't help but think about my friend, Jennifer who died earlier this year in her early 30's from health problems or my cousin Ashdon who left us at age 14 by suicide. The most recent reminder has been my friend Kiko who committed suicide 8 days ago. At 35, life became more than she could handle. She leaves twin daughters behind.

As a therapist, I deal with suicide more often that I'd ever choose. When I found out about Kiko though, I was shocked, upset, disappointed, and guilty. For a moment, I wondered how I could've failed as a friend AND a therapist and not know she was battling something. I reflected on every conversation, every text, every fb inbox. I combed through every interaction we had trying to find an answer. I know even though there's nothing I can do now to save Kiko I can continue to be who I am and remain passionate about the work that I do to save other women and men like Kiko.

Today, as I celebrate my birthday and smile at every message received, I know I am loved. I never had a doubt but I can't help but think about Kiko. In her moment(s) of hopelessness, despair, depression perhaps, did she know the world was brighter with her here?

Let us continue to speak up and speak out about mental health. If you are dealing with mental health concerns, please tell someone, a friend, a therapist, call the Suicide Hotline at 1 (800) 273-8255 and/or reach out to me via my facebook or email address.

In honor of my birthday, I ask you to donate to the gofundme set up for her here: Kiko.

I need you all to survive and thrive, my friends and readers. Cheers to my 33rd year and beyond.

Big hugs!

And yes that's me in a Mr. T birthday hat! LOL

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Lesson learned

When things happen that I completely don't understand, I remind myself, "One day I'll look back and laugh at this." Perhaps it is a coping skill I've developed sort of like a, "This too shall pass" mentality. As cliché as those sayings are, my track record thus far has proven these statements to be true.

I tell my clients to look for the lesson. Life is a series of events. We always have the option to go through them or grow through them. Anything that has ever happened to you left you with a lesson. I also believe sometimes the lesson isn't discovered for months or years later but it's there. Our lessons may appear in ways we don't see at first. These lessons often come from people we'd never expect.

This past week, I found myself reflecting (again). My son's birthday was on Wednesday. He is now a 6 year old. I looked back not only on how much my life has changed with him but also the lessons I've learned since having him.


  
Truth is, these six years have flown by. I remember my pregnancy and birth as if it occurred yesterday. I've learned more about myself in the past six years than the twenty six prior ones. In addition to those life changing ones, my son teaches me daily.

Being a parent has been the most interesting ride and I wouldn't change it for the world. I am still learning and joke that I have no idea what I'm doing. When it comes to my son, so far so good. With everything else, I choose to continue to find the lessons, the small and big ones. Every day I am gifted a chance to still be here, I will look for these lessons. Some of these will come in the form of pain, disappointment and anger. Others will come via love, relationships, and pleasure.



The key is finding the lesson no matter the feeling associated with it. This, my friends, is how we grow. Look for lessons in every setting, every moment, and everyone you encounter.

What have you learned? I'd love to hear your life lessons.

Until next time,

JackieO

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Are you ready?

The weekends fly by. Although I'm grateful for EVERYDAY, I must admit I celebrate Fridays with a little more umph. This umph is typically in the form of a dance which may involve limbs waving in the air like I just don't care.

Ever since I stopped working weekends on someone else's watch, the weekends feel better. I loved the extra money, I mean who wouldn't, but the drain of working 7 days a week can leave you with an overwhelming feeling of defeat. The funny part is, I didn't choose to leave my weekend job, they no longer needed me there. That in itself is surely a blessing in disguise because knowing me, I would've still been there. Tired, drained but happy for a few extra dollars.

Back to Fridays.


I love them because it means the two days coming involve not punching a clock, setting an alarm to wake up, or ironing work clothes. It means I don't have to shower at 6 am or shove oatmeal down my throat.

With these two magical days, I have long to do lists. Most of my tasks are related to my business goals because frankly, during the work week, between work and family life, I don't get as much done as I'd like. Some tasks are simpler than others.

Organize desk. Sure. That's doable.



Print worksheets for a business course. Doable as well.

Finish website, schedule posts, branding, edit bio, email potential referral sources, make videos, take head shots, uhm......something about an S on my chest and saving the world?

Something mysteriously happens between Friday and Monday. I have yet to fully understand this phenomenon.

I blink and it's Monday again. There's no Monday dance. I've barely wiped off the sweat from the Friday one. I'm not ANTI monday, I'm just genuinely concerned that yet another 48 hours slipped by and I didn't accomplish everything I intended to.

This past Monday, I walked into work as I mentally reviewed the past weekend or lack thereof. The receptionist greets me and says, "Hello Miss Jackie, are you ready?"

I'm not one to panic but I had a moment. I quickly scanned my brain trying to think what I forgot to do or what major event was happening on this day and how this would impact my job. I screamed internally but calmly said, "What's happening today?"

She said "It's Monday."

I laughed out loud and exhaled. There was no emergency or pressing issue. There was no report due or auditor waiting. There was no meeting I missed or important call I didn't return.

It was Monday! (maybe I WILL come up with a Monday dance after all)

In that moment, she reminded me, like they say, "You have to stay ready so you never have to GET ready."

So with my long to do lists, I'm breaking them down and getting things done so when someone asks me that again.

The answer is YES!



P.S. Scroll up....that lovely clean desk isn't mine. *adds clean desk to do list again*

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Balancing Beam

I admire women who seem to have it together. They look "polished" and "well kept". Their homes are immaculate, their laundry baskets are EMPTY, not even a fork in the sink, and they have time for spa days and mud baths. In the past, I admit I've been jealous of those women for all of these reasons except the mud baths (can mud get stuck in a hole or crevice?). I wondered why my 24 hours didn't run as smoothly as theirs seemed to run. My home hasn't been immaculate since 2 days after never. My laundry baskets are empty on occasion but that typically lasts approximately 5 minutes. I have a 3 year old so toy cars, fridge magnets, and forks are fair game in the kitchen sink. My last spa day was in 2009 and it was a prenatal massage.


On my facebook page this week, we've been talking about balance. Although the ways we balance our lives or notice an imbalance may differ, most can agree we need  balance. Even if you have the perfect family and home, if your work is stressful to the point of major anxiety, life becomes miserable. I've met colleagues and co workers who hate their jobs. They go home and talk about how miserable their day was at work. They walk into the office doors with misery and carry that same heavy baggage home with them.

I can't ride a bicycle. I've mentioned this in a previous blog and said it was on my list of things to learn before I turned 30 (October 2012). It didn't happen. Frankly, I lost interest. My fear of falling and hurting myself continues to outweigh my interest in learning. I found an article in a fitness magazine a few months ago about a woman who learned to ride as an adult. I was excited and tore the article out for safekeeping. Today, I have no interest in learning but perhaps one day I'll want to learn again. If and when I do learn, I understand the concept and know the moment I lose balance, I will have to stop myself from falling (or break a limb). We can look at our lives through the same lens. After a while of imbalance, things will start to fall out of place.


As I type this, Alicia Keys' Superwoman began playing from my itunes. Today, I took the "S" off my chest. Today, I spent the day at home with my son. He was under the weather and I could not send him to school. I like to plan my days off but obviously no one plans to be sick (or home with a sick child). We spent the day singing songs, dancing, and writing. Today's lesson was simple. Sometimes things happen in life that will throw you off and bring you right back on track. Perhaps we needed the day off to slow down and regroup. Instead of spending the day with clients and co workers, I got to hang out with my favorite guy in the world. The only concern he had today was how many stickers to put on each side of my face.



Check out my page at www.facebook.com/jackieonappy to tell me how you find your balance!


Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Unplugged


In my last post, I decided I would meditate every week day in February. Although yesterday was Sunday, I decided to start meditation last night. Encouraged by a few friends to try online meditation sites and pandora, I searched both. Suddenly I felt overwhelmed by the results. I skimmed through about 20 sites and sat confused and disturbed I didn't know which one to pick. YES, I over think everything.




Then, I thought maybe I needed to read ABOUT meditation first. Wait..my friends said I could watch a video on youtube, right? I searched for guided meditation videos on youtube. Again, I stared blankly at all the options in front of me. A 15 minute video on how to meditate for 5 minutes. Huh? I know HOW to meditate. I've taught clients to meditate. Why was I making this so complicated? One link said focus on the breath coming from your nose and landing on your upper lip for 10 minutes.

I closed my eyes. I thought about my upper lip for 3.5 seconds and then I thought about my bottom lip and my nose and son's lip and nose and the Cheetos I let him eat. WAIT! Focus! Upper lip....this time I lasted 5 seconds maybe. I opened my eyes and decided I needed a guided meditation because this wasn't working.

I clicked a random guided video on you tube. The creepy voice said sit on the floor with my legs crossed and close my eyes. By this point, I was laying in bed and decided I'd stay still and close my eyes and listen to Mr. Creepy.

I woke up about 2 hours later. I chuckled to myself, got up to plug my phone in and went BACK to sleep.

My clock alarm went off at 5 am as usual. I decided 5 more minutes wouldn't hurt. I woke again at 7 a.m. It is amusing now but wasn't so amusing at 7 a.m. As I got ready, I decided maybe my body needed extra rest and my 7 am wake up wasn't the end of the world.



I always bring my phone charger wherever I go. My phone dies every few hours. No, I'm not exaggerating. I sat at my desk, got settled and gasped realizing I forgot my phone charger. "I'll go home at lunch time for it," I told myself. There was NO WAY I am going to get through my day without my phone! I was supposed to reply to an fb message, supposed to post about meditation, check in with my running group!

I left the building for lunch. I didn't go home. I drove in silence (I often drive in silence) and ran errands. I stood in line at the post office and Walgreens and couldn't browse the web while I waited.

After work, I had to go grocery shopping and to Walmart. By the way, I hate Walmart. I went into Walmart for ONE item and stood in line for 15 minutes. No phone to text or email or look at nonsense on fb. I grabbed a magazine and read a few articles. I drove home in silence. I came home to find my internet down. No wifi on my ipad, phone, or laptop.

Then the light bulb went off!



 I decided to start meditation to find more of a balance. I keep going nonstop and find I don't make time for quiet time. I work full time, spend my evenings bonding with my 3 year old and when he goes to bed, I spend time working on my passion/future business ideas.

I was forced to be "unplugged" today and I must say, it felt wonderful.





Friday, February 1, 2013

Fine Tuning February

I'm sure I've mentioned this before but I have a need to create lists. Maybe I shouldn't say that because now that I think about it, I've probably ALSO mentioned that I'd stop being so obsessed with creating said lists. I will admit I've cut down a TAD on my list creations but I haven't done away with them completely. I mean, do you really expect me to function without ANY lists at all?

So here I return with yet another list but you should be proud of me for this one.

Among my February goals, I've decided to reintroduce meditation. Reintroduce is probably not the correct term as I can count on one hand the amount of times I've meditated in my life. On this one hand, I can say only ONE of those times was done by myself.

I've decided to meditate every weekday starting today. A few friends sent me information for meditation information via you tube and pandora (an internet radio station). I must say I am excited to see the "results". I don't expect to turn into Buddha or anything drastic but I know it can't hurt!

I will take notes of what I meditate to so I can keep you posted.

I will be continuing my raw diet this month and exercising more.

Cheers to a Fine Tuning February!


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Rawking and Rolling

Well....happy new year!!!

Long time no see! I really must get better about updating these blogs!

I've decided to become a high raw vegan. My friend asked me yesterday, "Why do vegans and vegetarians need so many classifications? Why so complicated?" I laughed. It really isn't that complicated.

A high raw vegan is a vegan who eats mostly raw foods. I feel fantastic when I'm eating raw.

I must rewind to tell you I started off this year on a juice/smoothie fast. I planned to go 31 days...ALL of January! Key word here: PLANNED. I gave up today. Perhaps "gave up" isn't the right term but I was DONE. I was exhausted on the fast. That seems so backwards to me and I lost less than 3 lbs. Yep, that was my true sign I was done!

So I'm eating/drinking raw 100% of the time til Spring! I'm so excited to be chewing again. I'm meeting more and more raw vegans online who are making this transition SO much easier.

Cheers to a Rawtastic year!

Stay tuned for you tube videos, more blogs, and my websites! 2013 will be great!



Saturday, September 1, 2012

What are you waiting for?

We encourage each other to cherish life and enjoy every moment. We say it so much, it becomes redundant. We nod our heads in agreement that life is precious and go back to whatever it is we were doing at the time. Suddenly or not so suddenly, someone passes away and we question everything. If it has not happened yet, one day you will sit back and review your life and wonder if you should be doing more or less or something different all together.

2012 has been that year. An eye opening, slap in the face reality check.

I stopped at the gas station this morning. I greeted the clerk with a typical "good morning." He responded with, "is it morning?" Slighty confused by his question, I raised my eyebrow at him. Afterall, it was 9:00 am on a Friday morning, what were we questioning? He then said to me, "We work, work, work...for what? I have never seen the sunrise from my home because I start work before the sun comes up. Why do we do this to ourselves? What is it all for?" There I stood staring at his profound questions, questions I have asked myself a million times. "I don't know," I replied with a sigh. I then handed him a 50 dollar bill (that didn't even get my tank to 3/4 full) and went  on my way.

My grandmother passed away in May at the young and tender age of 94. As we watched her slowly leave this earth during her end stages of dementia, I wondered if she had any regrets. I imagined living almost a century. "Been there, done that," seemed like a huge understatement to describe her life. I thought about my never ending to do lists and bucket list. I remembered my "If" statements, my " one day" wishes and my "should haves". Grandma spent her last days in hospice and every day I went to visit, I wondered about her lists.



Mark passed away in May as well...earlier in the month. The partner and future husband to my dear friend, he was also the father of their two beautiful kids. Mark wasn't 94. He was in late 20's and died suddenly in a car accident. I sat at his funeral wondering about his lists. Passionate about life, Mark wasted no time. if he wanted it, he got it. Would his life had been any different had he known?

 There is a huge difference between being alive and living. Being alive doesn't require anything besides breathing. No effort. No purpose. Inhale. Exhale. There is something quite robotic about this. Get up and do the bare minimum to make it to tomorrow. Congrats, you are alive. Repeat tomorrow. Living involves effort. It is choosing to wake up daily and recognize that every single moment counts. It is remembering that everyday has a lesson. Every person you encounter can teach you something. Time is precious. Even in monotonous tasks, we are appreciating the activity. Living comes with vulnerability. It allows you to be exposed to the good, bad, and oh so ugly. 


2012 has reminded me that I have some living to do. Risk taking, fun having, mistake making living!

I'd like to hear from you. What does being alive vs living mean to you?

Do you have never ending to do lists? Bucket lists? Regrets?

Lastly, what are you waiting for?


 (Pics courtesy of facebook.com)


Friday, February 10, 2012

"Let's see ourselves beautiful again"

 I know it's been forever since I've posted a blog. I have the greatest intentions but don't seem to make it to blogspot as often as I should. However, I HAD to let the world know that I took pictures with the infamous Saddi Khali.



For anyone who has read a previous blog, you know that taking photos by Saddi was on my 29th year bucket list. Well, I did it!

Today (Feb 10), he asked me to write my afterthoughts about the shoot. Here is my reply to him:

Afterthoughts:

Online, I booked an "artistic" shoot and purposely did not click "nude" because there was NO WAY on earth I was doing nude pics at my size/weight. When Saddi called, he asked questions to get an idea about the shoot and advised me on the feelings I'd feel about being "nude". Silently I said "Uhm, i'm not taking nude pics Saddi" yet I said nothing. The day of the shoot, I drove to the photo site knowing i was not taking my clothes off.

When I walked into the room where the pictures would be taken, I exhaled and said to myself "Just do it". Saddi greeted me and instantly i felt a warm presence about him. Something about his demeanor told me there was no judgment here. He was NOT going to tell me how fat i was, how i needed to lose weight and why I wasn't "good enough" for nude pics. He was not going to point out my stretch marks or scars or birthmarks to me. In fact, I began to point them out to him as if I wanted to bring attention to my flaws before he had time to be disgusted by them. Yet in the 2 hours with Saddi, I felt beautiful. In a matter of one photo session, i became someone new. No longer worried about my weight and how many more pounds I needed to lose, i was able to be ME.



In 2 hours, I transformed.

I left Saddi a different person. A new found love of self. An appreciation of every curve. I stared at my pictures in awe. No touch ups, no photo shop, real, raw, ME.



This all took place one week ago (2/3/12). I've had people stop me and tell me "something is different about you". I've had friends tell me I seem brighter and happier. I stand in front of the mirror and smile at ALL of the goodness I see. I recognize I will NEVER be the same person again. My walk and talk is different. I had a random stranger at publix stop me this week and say "You're beautiful". Usually, I would've taken his comment and silently said he was crazy or it "must be the outfit" or the hair. I thanked him and internally said "Yep! I know. If you think i'm beautiful now, you should see me NAKED!"



I fell in love with a woman last week...my reflection in the mirror.

Thank you Saddi for changing my world and my life. I am forever grateful.
  
“From this hour I ordain myself loos'd of limits and imaginary lines.” ― Walt Whitman


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"Let's see ourselves beautiful again." --- Saddi Khali