Becoming The Healer

psychologist atlanta Urszula Klich

In “Becoming a Healer,” author Deborah Schlag shares her observations, struggles, and successes with overcoming Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (MTBT).  Hers is an inspiring story of coming to terms with confusion, loss of memory and need to leave behind an old identity and discover a new way of living.  Becoming a Healer is a hopeful story that will lead you step by step through the unfolding of the aftermath of her injury and the challenge of handling the simplest of everyday tasks necessary for running a household.

During her process of growth through reliance on various methods of healing including her faith, compassion, and biofeedback. As Schlag rebuilds her life she finds the importance of living in the present moment. She learns many unexpected lessons along the way that help her get back to living a full, rich life. I invite to share in her journey in reading the brief story she offers and we look forward to your comments below.

Dr. Urszula Klich

As a little girl our family watched funny movies together.  Favorites included movies with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, Disorderly Orderly being at the top of the list.  In the movie Jerry was taking a woman in a wheelchair for a walk who was recovering from something to do with her gall bladder.  The woman talked on and on, describing in detail every aspect of her pain, suffering, and the procedures she endured. Jerry walked behind her flinching, grimacing, and gagging as he listened.  Even at a young age, I remember making a statement “I would never make anyone around me feel so bad if I were ever sick”.

Time went by and I was enjoying a very happy and healthy life when on January 23,2003 I was in a car accident where I experienced a severe Traumatic Brain Injury, (TBI).  Up until that point I had never heard the term TBI or what it entailed, even though several of our children had concussions, and my husband had fallen off the roof head first onto the concrete.  In each of those occurrences we spent time at doctors or hospitals and were sent home with not much more than “they hit their head and will have a headache for a week or so.”

This time was different; there was damage at my brain stem.  Immediately the sleep pattern I once enjoyed increased to 22 hours a day for about 3 months. My brain didn’t process light, color, or sound, like normal people.  I had no short-term memory.  Speed of processing, multitasking, executive functions, word retrieval ability, spelling and math were all impaired. I had hearing and issues with my eyes that kept me from having them open for the first year and a half. I was stuck in a fight or flight mode and emotions that were off the charts.  I asked things a million times. Sometimes, when I held a conversation, from the outside it looked as if there was no problem.  What the other person didn’t know was on the inside.  I didn’t understand or remember what I said or what they said although I knew I should. I didn’t recognize words I should have known, and I didn’t tell anyone because I was embarrassed that I didn’t know.  But, this was only the tip of the iceberg.

When I asked about timelines for recovery I was given the answer, “there are all kinds of statistics out there, let’s just see what you choose to do with it.”  The ball was put in my court to choose how, if, or when I would recover.  I am happy to report that I chose to recover, completely and live an extraordinary life…. And so it is.  I have always practiced a mindful way of life; before the accident I could see the blessings after the fact.  Now, I am able to fully live in the moment and see, know, and feel the blessings as they are happening!

Practicing mindfulness only one hour or one day a week is not enough.  It is a continuous process – what goes in must come out!  I knew that as long as the river continues to flow in a forward motion stagnation is impossible.  Mentally, I created new habits, new ways to do things to keep the mind sharp and help me learn to pay attention; read, learn new things, new games, do new things or old things a new way.  My spiritual practice has always been a daily practice, although  now it is different than what I used to do.  I have created a sacred space in my home, a comfortable place to be, to bring in a holy silence with reading, prayer or meditation, and journaling on a daily basis. (If you can, do these at the same time everyday.)  In my life, I have incorporated what I refer to as a “holy leisure,” by trying to bring balance to everything I do.  I manage this by paying attention to each area of my life and checking in as things arise. I find, this keeps functioning at an optimal level.   Lastly, I have found healing through focusing on developing “holy relationships” by surrounding myself in love through cultivating loving relationships.

Brain Injury

Deborah Schlag

Deborah Schlag lives in North Carolina with her husband where she founded Awakenings Center For Inner Healing & Empowerment, non-profit corporation, to bring healing to through by empowering them to move forward in their own process.  Her award winning book “Becoming the Healer: The Miracle of Brain Injury” is available at Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble.com. For more information Deborah invites you to reach out to her via contact information provided at AwakeningsCenternc.com

We would love to hear your comments below.

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The “No Time To Meditate” Meditation

Day 22- It seems that tSharon Salzberg 28 day challenge Mindfulness based biofeedbackhere is no time for time…or to do enough in that time. If I let myself get caught up in this ideology I will start thinking about all of the things I have to do and the amount of time left.  The super calculator in my brain would just combust.  Our sense of time is nonsensical. Anyway, I know better. See, I didn’t even list the things I am trying to do right now.  In the years of my Type A recovery I have learned that multitasking is not a real thing.  Most importantly, I have learned to just let go and do what I can, one step at a time, and to be present for it.

So if you are feeling any twinge of not having enough time, focus, organization, or whatever it is you don’t have enough of, this is my offering to you.  For the rest of the Real Happiness Meditation Challenge check out MyMindfulWayofLife.com and access our 5 minute Meditation on Breath: Click for meditation

Check out the full meditation CD with soothing sounds of nature here.

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Sharon Salzberg Meditation Challenge- Day 16 Begin again

MyMindfulwayofLife.com

sunrise by ikarwowski-deviantart.com

Begin Again

How is sit-sit-sitting
going to help?
When all I wanna do
is yell-cry-yell!

Okay okay okay
I’ll try again anyway.

I take a deep breath,
notice where my attention goes,
find I’m feeling grateful
for my amazing nose.

But then I remember
so much work to do,
and I’m not limber,
and I’m mad at you.

“Notice, simply notice,”
the calm voice says,
and I start to realize
the power in my head–

when I simply notice,
name, and let go,
this future-tripping
falls away like snow.

This judging and anger–
it’s ok they’re there,
but they’re not the same as me,
and I am everywhere.

Another deep breath
as my hands begin to warm,
and I forget to worry
about my lack of perfect form.

None of us are perfect,
and that’s okay.
Somehow each and every moment
can be the start of a new,
perfectly imperfect day.

                                  -Signed, Meditating Poet.

 Some days we want to never end, some days we may count down the minutes.  The moments contained in each of those days is precious in its own way, and possibly informative if we can stay present.  Each breath can be a resetting of the clock to signal a new beginning, even if only to get through a moment of difficulty.  Starting anew, beginning again is a way for us to refresh ourselves.

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Meditation on breath

Sign up to listen to our meditation on breath.

After you listen, be sure to check your email for the direct link to play it any time!  Check out the full CD here.

* Please allow up to 60 minutes for your email to arrive and check your spam folders.  You may need to add MyMindfulWayofLife.com to your filter.

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When You Are Hungry – Eat

Sharon Salzberg 28 day challenge Mindfulness based biofeedback
To meditate, or to do work, or to check the blog, or to be with the kids?  THAT is the question.  The possibilities floated by like fish gliding through the ocean and circling back around.  They weren’t intrusive thoughts.  On the contrary.  I barely paid any attention to them. That was it! I was not paying any mindful attention to what I was doing or my thoughts. Continue reading

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What We Lose When We Turn Away From Pain

my mindfulway of lifeThese thoughts arose from my stuffy nose sitting meditation.  I’d been down this road before. A sinus infection, a cold, a relentless headache.  None of these are an excuse to skip meditation, in my mind.  At the same time, these challenges dont make it any more pleasant. Over the years, I have begun to think of each sick, painful or “off” feeling as an opportunity to deepen my practice.  I suppose one could say this about any adversity.

Tonight, as if I needed to forewarn myself, I acknowledged that this would be my stuffy nose meditation.  It was almost as if to banish any expectations of relief or potential serenity.  So, I set my timer for a conservative 15 minute cutoff which I rationalized was adequate to sit with my stuffy nose, in my tired body.  My routine is to start with observing the breath from its moment of entry.  So there it was.  The breath was not going to make its way into my nose today. My mouth was getting dry and lips were chapped from the dry air. Still, I was in acceptance and I knew that was fine.  I would simply sit in expansive awareness and notice the totality of the experience.

Then, it arose.  The utter boredom.  It happened in a flash.  My mind had tired of being with this unpleasantness and sought greener pastures. It’s not even that I thought of good things, just anything other than what is. I had started to get absorbed in planning a task. I caught myself and laughed. I thought to myself, “if I am going to be with something else even mildly adverse that is not even happening, I might as well be with what is.” Here I have the advantage of truly feeling in real time. There was certainly much more richness within the present experience, outside of the breath itself.  Of course. There was the cozy comforter I had positioned around my meditation cushion.  It was warm, quiet and there was nothing to have to do but just be.  It was then that the fullness of the experience was present before me.

When we turn away from pain, we turn away from the only moment we have.  In that way, we don’t just avoid what is negative but miss what is full and good.  I emerged from my meditation with a stuffy nose and a smile. It was not that long ago that it occurred to me that wherever we are we need to practice being there, even if it is unpleasant or boring.  Otherwise, we will soon find ourselves somewhere else during those times it really matters, being only partially present with people we truly care about.

Read more in “Wherever You are You are Somewhere Else” If you haven’t done so already I, along with meditation teacher, Sharon Salzberg, challenge you to join us on this 28 day Real Happiness journey. In addition to resources at SharonSalzberg.com  check out MyMindfulWayofLife.com and access a free sample meditation to follow along: Click for meditation Come along there is still time to Begin!

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2015 Real Happiness 28 day Meditation Challenge- Day 1

Meditation challenge Sharon Salzberge Real Happiness challenge Commit to sit Mindful MeditationWhat is rain but the product of a collision between thousands of minuscule droplets of water. It is this collection of droplets that joins with particles in the air such as dust and other foreign bodies that form a cloud. Through this process of collision and joining, the mass eventually becomes heavy enough to cause what we see as rain- liquid drops of water falling from the sky.

Day 1 of Sharon Salzberg’s Real Happiness Challenge, and here it was evening already and I hadn’t formally meditated. No, I wasn’t avoiding it, at least not this time. No, I hadn’t forgotten. In fact, it was on my mind when I was awakened by an energetic superhero toddler. Continue reading

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Real Happiness is Possible

28 day Real happiness Meditation Challenge Sharon SalzbertgDuring February, renowned meditation teacher and author, Sharon Salzberg sponsors a 28-Day Meditation Challenge. I challenge you to join us on this 28 day Real Happiness journey to begin or renew your practice by committing to meditate every day for the month. During this time, there will be numerous references and a great deal of support from various areas to keep your practice going and help you understand the experience. You can find the posts on SharonSalzberg.com and on MyMindfulWayofLife.com  Like us on Facebook for updates. Access a free sample meditation to follow along: Click for meditation

 

We look forward to hearing from you and welcome observations and questions in the comment section below.

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True Compassion Requires Empathy

When people are in a reactive state while arguing they often shift into unwholesome emotions such as blaming, criticizing, judging, attacking or finding fault in order to justify their position. Once a person falls into these negative reactions they can become frozen or stuck in one of the three corner stones of a power struggle – dominating, manipulating and/or controlling. When this happens it leads to a breakdown in communications. So how can you stay centered and nonreactive when you’re in a heated conversation? Well the process begins by becoming a Mindful Listener. read more… 

 

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I Don’t Have an Accent, You Do!

Discrimination and accents barking dogs

Courtesy of   http://chapmangamo.tumblr.com

“You talk to her.  She’s got a thick accent, and I can’t understand a word she said.”  These are the words I overheard from the nurse on the other end of the line. Before the nurse who took over the call began to speak, I wondered if I’d been in the South so long that I’d lost all my northern pizazz and somehow traded it for a southern drawl. Continue reading

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