Month: August 2013

Soulprint, Part 1

I recently started a book I received from one of my dear friends when I graduated back in 2011. Funny thing about this book, I didn’t get it till my bridal luncheon back in December. This book went through two friends to get to me.  After falling off the recovery track and losing steam about recovery my therapist suggested I go back and visit Step 4 (make a fearless inventory of myself). While I was making my inventory/list I came across Soulprint on my shelf. Something inside told me now is the time to start this book. That inner voice was right, I needed this book right now…

I want to share with everyone some points and quotes that I found particularly challenging or inspirational in the first section:

“There has never been and never will be anyone else like you. But that isn’t a testament to you. It’s a testament to the God who created you. You are unlike anyone who has ever lived. But that uniqueness isn’t a virtue. It’s a responsibility. Uniqueness is God’s gift to you, and uniqueness is your gift to God. You owe it to yourself to be yourself. But more important, you owe it to the One who designed you and destined you.”

“It’s never too late to be who you might have been.”

“You possess a uniqueness that is soul deep. I call it your soulprint. It’s not just who you are, present tense. It’s who you are destined to become, future tense. It’s not just who others see when they look at you from the outside in. It’s who God has destined you to become from the inside out.”

“If you learn the lesson God is trying to teach you, no matter how things turn out, you have not failed. In fact, you cannot fail.”

“He is preparing you for your date with destiny. I promise you that. But I also promise that He’s doing it in ways that are virtually undetectable. And it’s not until you find yourself facing the biggest challenge of you rife that god reveals how and when and where he prepared you.”

“We so quickly forget the central fact of our faith: without a crucifixion there is no resurrection. Those days between death and resurrection are long and dark, but that’s often when a miracle is about to happen. You never know how or when or where a dream will be resurrected, but if it’s God ordained, then God himself will bring it back to life somehow, somewhere, sometime.”

“God can use anything and everything for His purposes if we simply allow ourselves to be used by Him.”

“It’s our lack of trust in Him that results in high levels of past-tense guilt, present-tense stress, and future-tense anxiety.”

Can you believe this is just the first section? I have already been challenged mentally and had a lot of open discussion in therapy. My eyes are being opened. I am hoping for my heart to continue to be receptive as I find out more about my soulprint. I look forward to sharing more of this book with everyone and maybe you will pick up this book and discover your soulprint.

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Just Like A Little Dog Would

Imagine living in a new city/town/state, where you know no one. The only person you know is yourself and in my case, my husband. Your work schedule is part time, and outside of work there isn’t much to explore. The shopping is very little, it is too cold outside to go for walks in the park, and there are no friends to call up to go out for a beer because the town doesn’t have bars. All there is to do is clean the house, read, exercise, and cook. You can’t even find places to volunteer or understand how this new location works. On top of this, you suffer from anxiety and experience extreme loneliness. Your husband works everyday for eight hours and you sit by yourself just waiting for his return. You wait by the door just like a little dog would. I would hear my husband’s car pull into the driveway and I would go greet him at the door. When we would be reunited, I would jump on him and hug him. Give him kisses. Just like a little dog would.

On the weekends, if he left to go be with his friends, or leave for extended time for work, I would get sad. My anxiety and depression would sneak up. Then my eating disorder would arise. My exercise addiction would rear its ugly head. I wouldn’t know what to do. Sometimes I would go back home to be with my family and friends so I wouldn’t be alone while he was gone. When we would be reunited, I would jump on him and hug him. Give him kisses. Just like a little dog would.

Even before we got married my husband and I always talked about our first dog. What kind it would be, what we would name it, the bowties we would buy for it, how we would take it everywhere with us.  After the wedding, I got puppy fever instead of baby fever. I was so lonely and use to having animals in the house that I didn’t know what to do. We kept talking about it but the expense was so great. Many purebreds were thousands of dollars, we had a weight limit, and the deposit for the dog was expensive. Finding a small dog when you are use to big dogs is a challenge. After a few months I decided to just give up. Give up on the dog search and live without one. That didn’t last long. This time we decided to rescue a dog. During a slow day at work I went about researching small breed rescues. I then stumbled upon who would become our future dog. I felt a calling, something deep inside me that said this is your dog. Within days we were meeting the dog, his foster mom and had a trial week. That week was so lovely. I knew within the first day he was meant to be with us.

I never would have thought that this little dog would bring so much joy into my life. That is would be more than just our child. This dog has helped my recovery. Our puppy has decreased my anxiety and loneliness. I now come home to him and not an empty house. Here is someone who needs me and loves me (besides my husband). I have a buddy to go to the park with when my husband can’t. I have another body for when I do yoga at home.  I pet him, walk him, take care of him and everything that was bothering me settles.  My husband can go on a weekend trip or work trip and I don’t get anxious or loneliness or have to plan a trip back home. I have an animal that plays with me and listens to me.  It can be said that our dog, Winston, has become my therapy dog. He waits for me, and jumps on me when I walk in the doors. Winston licks me and looks up at me with those adoring eyes. Just like a dog does.

In mental health settings, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, even schools, pet therapy is a popular form of treatment. Pet therapy is also known animal interventions. It can be broken down into animal assisted therapy or animal assisted activity. Animal assisted therapy is where a clinical practitioner uses an animal in a treatment session to help meet treatment goals. Animal assisted activity is when an animal is used in recreation or activity to enhance a person’s quality of life (Fine, 2006).

The reason pet therapy is gaining popularity is because people who cannot make therapeutic gains in treatment make gains when an animal is integrated into treatment. It is believed that the reason animal therapy works is because of the affect an animal can have on the individual. Animals can serve as a buffer in a therapy session. When the session is getting intense the individual can touch the animal or even talk to the animal and share his or her feelings. It even is used as a positive reinforcement. If an individual had a bad experience in a session or with a certain type of treatment, using an animal of their liking can help them continue with treatment (Fine, 2006). Animals have a calming effect on the body as well. Animals, especially stroking, is shown to decrease heart rate and blood pressure.

With all this in mind, if you or someone you know needs a little happiness or stress relief, stop by your local shelter.  Pet some animals. Not only will they brighten your day, you will brighten theirs as well.

Sources:

Fine, Aubrey H. Handbook on Animal Assisted Therapy: Theoretical Foundations and Guidelines. 2006.

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Winston posing on the couch

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When are we gonna do downward dog?

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I LOVE belly rubs!

I am…

Who am I? I am many things. I am a Child of God, a sinner. I am saved by grace. I am a Yogi and love to spend time on my mat. I am a dancer; I express myself through body movement when there are no words. I am a wife. I love and adore my husband; I wake up each morning happy to be his helper. I pursue an active and healthy lifestyle. While I had an unhealthy lifestyle for many years, I am on the path to wellness. I am trying to improve my wellness across many dimensions: spiritual, mental, physical, and emotional.  I am a tiny woman with a big personality; my laugh can be heard through walls and from a distance. I am a lover. I want to help others, show them Christ’s love and give love. So many people don’t receive love or even a warm smile, so why not be the one who could possibly brighten their day? I am a friend to others. I am peaceful, violence is never the answer. I am interested in science, specifically kinesiology, mental health, art, and poetry.  I am a teacher. I love to share my knowledge of fitness, Pilates, wellness, and dance with others. When I can be a positive influence on someone’s lifestyle or perspective, it is the most rewarding gift. I am woman, a feminist. Reaching out to my fellow women to build them up and stand up for our gender.

I am also in recovery. I am battling anxiety, dysrhythmia, exercise addiction, and an eating disorder every day. I didn’t choose the ebb and flow, the never-ending cycle of these diseases, but I did choose recovery. I am choosing to not let my diseases define me. For years I defined myself by my disease(s) and faults. I only saw my negatives, the purges, the starving, and the depression.

One day I came to the conclusion that: I am not my anxiety. I am not my exercise addiction. I am not my eating disorder. I am everything in the first paragraph.  While it is not easy to write or accept the first paragraph; it is necessary that I remind myself of my good qualities. I swim in a sea of negative thoughts, but the positive thoughts are the little life rafts I need. I need them to carry me back to the shores of life so I can live a sane life (as the 12 Steps call it). In that sane life I can be me.

“I am a lake, my poem is an empty boat,

and my life is the breeze that blows

through the whole scene

stirring everything I touches—

the surface of the water, the limp sail,

even the heavy, leafy trees along the shore. “My Life”, Billy Collins