Thursday, December 13, 2012

To the PowerLife Butches and Studs

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This is for butch and/or stud women and those who love us. Butch women claim power by overtly challenging society's gender expectations. We are women who--without apology--dress, sit, love, walk, talk, work, and play counter to what society deems acceptable for females. Women who are strapped, wrapped, hung, and happiest when we face life on our own terms. We can be found in every corner of the world and that makes us global. The theme for this post is uniquely together in power at the edge of the gender line.

In a world where technology allows us to know the sex of our babies before birth, change our sex as adults after birth, and anonymously explore our fantasies through the Internet or private clubs, we are free to avoid the effects of not fitting neatly into one of society’s gender categories. 

For instance, as parents if we prefer sons over daughters, we can avoid facing our motives through a quick ultrasound. If we are uncomfortable living as a man, we can avoid understanding why with hormones. If we enjoy unconventional sex we can avoid thinking about what this means through videos, chat rooms, and private communities. 

Often, as so many take advantage of the freedom to align how we look with how we feel and the expectations of society, those of us who choose to live on the edge of the male/female gender categories become invisible. Often, those of us whose very presence reveals the fact that how we look and how we feel is counter to society’s expectations are ostracized. 

For example, the fact that butch women are easy targets for people who need scapegoats for their feelings of insecurity is seldom addressed. The reality that butch women are economically penalized because they do not look the part is under recognized. Butch women are sometimes even avoided by women who do not want to be labeled as lesbian, which is a form of homophobia that is often ignored. 

Because of these reasons and more I write. I write to bring my power to life by reclaiming my butch/stud identity. I write to acknowledge the butch woman who took me under her wing and showed me how to swagger. I write to atone for the time, brief though it was, when I avoided the effects of my connection to the butch community by yielding to pressure to femme up.

During my yielding time, I discarded my handmade pipe. Gave away my ties, cufflinks, and dress shirts. Traded in my tailored suits for Land's End women's slacks, and replaced my comfy dress socks with Knee Highs. I exchanged the men's shoes that fit like a glove for women's that either confined my foot like a vise-grip plier or flopped like a bedroom shoe.  

Yes, there was a time when my own actions revealed that I wanted to avoid facing the fact that I did not neatly fit into one of society's gender roles. I betrayed my butch community; I denied an integral part of me. This became crystal clear a few days ago as I prepared to attend my first lesbian dance as a single butch woman. I was getting dressed and fumbling around with tying my tie (my skills in this area had become rusty from lack of use) when a woman from my past came to mind. 

This was the first time that I had thought about her in years and her memory stopped me in mid-tie. Then a smile came to my face as I realized that I was currently feeling a little like I felt when this woman was in my life. It was the early 1990's and I was preparing to attend my first dance as an out lesbian. I guess you could say that I was a baby butch back then. The woman I remembered was the one who took me to get my first butch outfit; she was my butch mentor for my first dance.

Chuckling to myself in present time, and still fumbling with tying my tie, I remembered the past and how excited I was as I followed my mentor into the men's clothing department. I felt totally lost, and expected someone to yell Hay! Get out of here and get back to the women's section where you belong with each item of clothing that I considered. My mentor took me under her wing and helped me figure out what I needed to know. 

Standing in front of my mirror, having finally tied a decent knot in my tie, I suddenly remembered that I never thanked her for being my mentor. I also realized what butch/stud community can be and is. At that point in time, we were uniquely together as she demonstrated for me how to claim and live butch power. She showed me how to swagger through the world without apology. Together we met at the edge of the male/female gender categories, and she took my hand so that I could take my next step. I will always be grateful for that.

Today, the world is very different from the time when I first came out. In many countries we have same gender marriage; our country is trying to catch up state by state. The butch community is becoming more organized, through the work of groups like Butch Voices, and others. We even have clothing designers who cater to the needs of butch style.  

Part of me misses the time when I was a baby butch. There was a certain excitement that came with the newness of it all. I remember when I put on my first suit, for instance, and how happy I was. At the same time, part of me is happy to be right where I am today--unafraid of feeling my power, comfortable with expressing my needs, and excited about renewing my connection with butch community.

Merry Christmas,


2012. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A PowerLife Holiday Season

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'Tis the season for family, food, friends, and fun, unless you are at odds with family, overwhelmed by financial obligations, isolated socially, and distracted from joy by feelings of sadness or loss. Ads on television, radio, and Internet show us ways to be happy and to buy big holiday presents with big holiday discounts. Most of our waking time is bombarded by bells, music, and laughter as we rush from store to store checking one item after another off our holiday to do list. The temptation is to eat too much exercise too little, and excuse behavior that we would not otherwise. This is the time to remember the basics of the Living PowerLife approach to health and well-being. Consequently, the theme for today's post is stick with the basics.

One thing that I have learned without doubt while researching and developing Living PowerLife is that the closer we get to happiness, health, and peace the stronger negativity and opposition can seem. Knowing this is important to successfully face and overcome obstacles as they arrive. When we accept the premise that opposition is an opportunity to become stronger and that negativity is a revelation that shows we are closer to our goals, we are not thrown off balance by unexpected problems or bad behavior. Instead, we are inspired and energized. As has become my custom with these posts, I will provide a real-life example for this. 

This example happened a few days after Thanksgiving. I was still enjoying the peace and happiness that my family and I shared while preparing and eating Thanksgiving dinner. We had arranged the day so that we had ample time to talk and spend time together. The food tasted good and was good for the body. The result was that none of the discomfort that comes with eating and drinking too much was present. Thanksgiving day, we were three generations together laughing, joking, and sharing. The day and evening felt warm and wonderful.

The next day, we had an unexpected visit from a family friend that was not as warm or pleasant. Without going into great detail, suffice it to write that the person brought negativity and disrespect through the door. The visit could have ended with these negative feelings overshadowing the good from Thanksgiving because an argument could easily have ensued. Instead, we stuck with the basics, and made the conscious decision to refrain from giving the behavior much energy. The person left after several efforts to engender animosity failed. I used sage to clear our space from the visit. 

It is possible to live your power in your life even when faced with obstacles that come through the presence of others or our own behavior. As the season continues into the new year, remember to keep yourself hydrated with water. Try to get at least 6 hours of sleep every night. Stick to your regular eating habits as much as possible, and think about how your body will react to what you eat and drink. When confronted with difficult behavior from your friends or colleagues, try to make the conscious decision to turn away from their negativity. If necessary, remove yourself from the environment. 

Maintaining your balance and health is important if for no other reason than only you will live with the effects. Have a wonderful. peaceful, loving holiday season.

From my PowerLife to Yours,



2012. All rights reserved.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

PowerLife 101: Gender is Secondary

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October is domestic violence (DV) awareness month, and this morning as I followed my usual routine, I ran across this video: Fox News DV awareness month Interview.  As I watched, My initial reactions were the information was well covered, and I applauded the people involved with helping to bring public awareness to DV. Later, though, a deeper reaction sunk in; I felt invisible. Before developing and following the Living PowerLife approach to health and wellness, I probably would have ignored my deeper reaction. I would have gone about my day and pushed those feelings deep inside; made them invisible to my consciousness. Now, I address my feelings head on and this post is the result. The theme is power through transparency.

I am a DV survivor. I have been for over 10 years, and most people who are, or have been, acquainted with me would not know. This is something that I kept hidden from most people and away from my own scrutiny. Even as a minister and counseling people who were living with DV, I kept the fact that I lived the same way hidden. I kept it hidden from others, but most important, I kept it hidden from myself. I did this because of many reasons, most of which fall under shame or fear categories. 

SHAME AND FEAR: In the past, I was ashamed of the fact that I allowed someone whom I loved to verbally, emotionally, and economically abuse me. My shame came from the fact that I knew from my education, professional experience, and common sense that what she was doing was wrong. Still, deep down inside I believed that I deserved no better treatment. This belief came from being told for decades that I was not good enough. In addition, I was afraid of being alone. I equated being single with personal deficiency. I was afraid of recognizing my DV status. I did not know what changes that recognition would bring in my life.

POWER THROUGH TRANSPARENCY: Today I live my life with as much transparency as safety allows because I believe this is how we give power and gain power. We give power by letting people who are struggling with similar challenges know they are not alone. We give power by showing people what we have learned from our own struggles. We gain power by facing life head on, with no dodges, no denials, and no distractions. The process of facing our problems and challenges head on teaches us where we are strong and where we need to improve.

This is why, when I found myself feeling invisible after watching the interview, I decided to write about my personal experience. You see, the interview focused on male/female relationships. This means that the information discussed was based on the assumption that in DV relationships, men were usually the offenders and women were the survivors. My relationship was same gender. People like me were not visible. Because of this, I write that gender is secondary in DV. 

DV is how one person gets, maintains, and misuses control over another. The size, background, gender, orientation, religious persuasion, economical status, education, profession, race, ethnicity, ... are all secondary. DV is about one person violating another. The violation can be as obvious as rape or as subtle as gently stroking where you do not want to be touched. DV is about one person isolating another.  The isolation can be as difficult as losing contact with your family or as easy as quitting your job. 

If you are in a relationship where you feel as though you have little control in your life, where your resources are being systematically eliminated from your life, where your options are decreasing rather than increasing it is time to talk and examine the dynamics of that relationship. 

Remember, you deserve only the best. Stay safe.

From my PowerLife to Yours,

2012. All rights reserved. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

PowerLife 101: Your Friends. Right Or Wrong For You?

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Here you will read about some common human behavior. Understanding them will help you determine the quality of the relationships that you value in your life. The examples are not exhaustive. Instead, they are a place to start. Examining your relationships in the light of how people behave toward one another is an important step toward getting the best out of the Living PowerLife approach to health and happiness.The theme for this post is health through honesty.

You will be surprised, as was I, by just how much you will learn about yourself and what motivates you when you honestly consider each relationship that you value and why. When I first completed this step, I started with a shorter list of examples. As I progressed, I added more. I suspect you will do the same. For brevity, I have three main categories to get you started: A) People who find the discomfort of others entertaining. B) People who need to be with us to be real. C) People who gossip. I chose these three because most of our destructive behavior such as physical/mental/spiritual abuse, cheating, or lying fall under at least one.

Also Included are real-life examples from past relationships. I do not blame or want to embarrass anyone, so I have taken great pain not to reveal the identities of the people in my real-life examples.

Along with your list of behaviors, another way to determine the value of your relationships is to take an honest look at how you are when you are with each person. If you like how you feel, and how you behave when you are with them, try to identify why this is the case. Conversely if you do not like how you feel, or how you behave when you are with them, try to determine why. Understanding the why is where you will gain more knowledge about what motivates you to act. Understanding why will also reveal how healthy a particular relationship is for you.

 Physical/Mental/Spiritual Abuse

The first group is people who find demeaning others pleasurable. I call them potential, or actual, abusers because on some level they enjoy hurting others. 

Some of the people who use this type of humor like to call it dark humor as defined on The Free Dictionary website. For our purposes, dark humor becomes destructive when people laugh at the pain, discomfort, or isolation of those considered as outsiders. One real-life example  that I can offer for this happened in a social setting where everyone appeared to be jovial and at ease except me. 

I was attending a social event made up of about 8-10 men and women. I remember feeling very uncomfortable and was confused because everyone there was laughing, talking, and seemed to be having a very good time. It was not until I started really listening for themes in the conversation, that I realized why I felt so uncomfortable. The conversation for most of the night consisted of one person sharing rude and crude remarks about conservatives, church goers, people from the 'wrong' side of town, or anyone who was not part of their group. Each comment or story was followed by hearty laughs and little digs from the rest. 

My discomfort came from the fact that I felt pressured to go against my inclination and join in laughing and poking fun at people viewed as others. Perhaps a younger and weaker me would have ignored my discomfort and joined in the behavior. However, that was the beginning and the end of my social contact with them.


The second group is people who believe that they cannot be themselves unless they are around us. I see these people as potential or actual cheaters, because they hide or show who they are and what they think based on who they are with. 

The first time that I encountered this puzzling behavior was at least 10 years ago. Because I was reared in an ethnically blended family, I was an adult before I first encountered affinity groups. These are groups of people who come together around a common political or ideological platform. Affinity groups can also form around racial affiliation. This particular real-life example illustrates my experience with the us vs them mentality and a connection to cheating.

I was attending a conference that was made up of racially diverse women. There was a break-out session for people who wanted to meet as a subgroup they called people of color (POC). Not ever feeling the need for this, and because my outsider's view was judgmental, I decided to attend based on the fact that I fell in their POC category. I wanted to see what happened in these meetings. I wanted to learn about why so many people needed these spaces. I wanted to see if my outsider's view was correct.

The discussion topic, interestingly, was about why POC meetings were important. When I heard this, I came to attention and prepared to take lots of mental notes. My disappointment grew as each person shared their thoughts, and I felt even more perplexed. While I cannot include personal thoughts shared by any particular individual, I can give an example that was used to explain the feelings in general.The comfort level that many people had while in POC settings was described as one where shoes and pantyhose could be taken off and no one would be offended. 

I was surprised, and immediately felt even more out of place. First, I did not wear pantyhose. Second, I considered it poor etiquette to take off my shoes, let alone my underwear, in a meeting. Third, I could not understand why POC meant that general privacy or courtesy standards no longer applied. Fourth, being in a setting where 30 to 40 people took off their underwear was not something that I wanted to experience. Fifth, and for me most important, I wondered how anyone could trust members of a group who hid who they really were from the rest of society. During the entire discussion, the underlying tone was of us vs them where the us believed that they could not be authentic in the presence of the them because... The why was never made clear to me.


Group three is people who gossip. I see these people as potential or actual liars because they spread information about others without knowing if what they spread is true. 

Gossip is a behavior that is commonly indulged in our culture. The print and Internet media have gossip columns and entire television programs are built around spreading gossip about celebrities. So many exist because so many are interested. Indeed, some people are so involved in getting or finding tidbits on their neighbors or other people that they have trouble taking care of their own responsibilities and relationships. The following is a real-life example of how people use gossip to ostracize others, distract attention from their own wrong doing, or to harm the good reputation of someone.

At one time in my life, I was affiliated with a person (I am going to label this person leader. I am also going to use the pronouns they, them, or their instead of he/she, him/her) who, to outsiders appeared to be quiet, self-deprecating, righteous, and passionate for defending the oppressed. On first meeting leader, I was very impressed and happy about the prospect of being under leader's tutelage (I was a student at the time and somewhat naive about people). 

It was not long before I was part of leader's inner circle. Once part of that group, though, I began to see a different-real side of leader. This side was abusive, dishonest, very insecure, manipulative, vulgar, and demanding. Anyone who questioned their authority was quickly and firmly slapped down. The stage was set for the two of us to part ways. That time came when leader unexpectedly fired someone within the inner group. 

This person was there before me, and leader gave no information about why the person was gone. I knew that there had been tension between leader and the person fired, but did not know why. I did not want to know details, but I was also not comfortable with behaving as though the fired person had never existed. I needed the time, space, and guidance to process the loss of someone who had become my friend and colleague. Consequently, I met with leader to voice my needs. This is where I learned that gossip can be much more than a silly behavior engaged in by small-minded people with little excitement in their lives. 

Leader told me that they had first hand knowledge about the person they fired. Leader said that they could not talk about the secret knowledge because they gained it during a confidential conversation. Leader said that what they knew illustrated the fact that the person fired was unethical and unfit for the position they had. I had no way of knowing how true leader's accusations were, and really did not want to know details about the decision. 

As a student, I went to leader with a need for help to process an unexpected change, a need for space to incorporate that change into my growth process. My need was ignored and overshadowed by leader's defensive, self-serving response. Yes, leader failed as a mentor, but what I got instead was far more useful in the long run. What I got was a lesson in just how easy people can use the cloak of confidentiality or anonymity to spread damaging gossip about anyone they see as a threat. 

Why Bother?

This is important because the energy you keep around you and send out to others is the same energy that you invite into your personal life. Making an assessment of the relationships that you value most is difficult. You may realize that people you love, trust, or feel you cannot live without are actually not good for you. You may learn that you behave in destructive ways in your efforts to keep certain relationships. While difficult, the assessment is also a crucial part of living your power in your life. Once you go through this process, you will come out on the other side stronger, more confident, and more able to see where you are either being true to yourself or letting yourself down.

From my PowerLife to yours,


2012. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Living In Reverse III

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Since describing the improvements in the Living In Reverse I and Living In Reverse II posts, I have noticed changes in myself that reveal just how much my mind, body, and spirit were struggling before I started following the Living PowerLife approach to health and well-being. The theme for this post is without responsibility there is no freedom.

Until about 4 years ago, I took very little responsibility for my health and happiness. In fact, instead of following a plan with goals and accomplishments, I simply let health and happiness happen. While I did go to the gym, I had very little conscious awareness of the connection between what I ate and good health. I also paid little attention to how my thoughts determined how happy I felt. 

I do not want to give you the impression that until 4 years ago, I was lazy. The opposite is true. Over the years, I earned a master's degree, worked full-time, had an active social life, ran a successful non-profit, published my first book, managed 2 websites, produced several public access television programs, produced and hosted two radio shows, was in a long-term relationship, and had an active writing and speaking profession. The difference between then and now is illustrated by where I focused my energy and why. 

Before, most of my energy was focused outward with very little left for inner connections. I went from one project to the next, sometimes juggling several at once, without really taking the time to learn about what frightened, energized, soothed, excited, emboldened, inspired, or inhibited me. 

In other words, I became very good at helping people recognize what frightened, energized... them but horrible at doing this for myself. I lived this way because, on some level, I was rewarded. I was rewarded financially, socially, and personally. The rewards, however, came with a few price tags.

First, focusing most of my energy on others, resulted in me I living a disjointed life. I was not connected to my inner guidance and spent most of my time honoring the guidance of other people. This affected my professional and personal relationships. Because I valued an inner compass that was not mine, I came across sometimes as conflicting and unpredictable.

Second, I became depended on others for feelings and conditions that I should have controlled for myself. I did not take responsibility for my own health and happiness. I did not value myself enough to do the work that was needed to learn about me. Instead, I allowed others to project their expectations and hopes on to me in exchange for a false sense of acceptance and love. I lived in a gilded cage, but I was just as trapped and miserable as any wild animal in the woods.

Now, most of my energy is focused inward with some reserved for outer connections. Instead of moving from one project to the next without regarding how the project fits into my life story, I take the time to see which is best for me. 

Before reaching out my hand in friendship, which I value greatly, I take the time to get to know the person so that I can determine if friendship is possible. If I ever decide to consider another long-term relationship, I plan to avoid being bowled by my emotions. I will take the time to determine if the relationship would be healthy for us both.

So, what other changes come with my new direction? Well, my memory is back to where it was in my 30's. By claiming responsibility for my own health and happiness, I am free of the constant anxiety over what other people think about me. The mental energy that I once used to attend to this fear of rejection, is now free to be used in other ways.

I have no joint pain or clicking noises in my knees when I walk up and down the stairs. This can be attributed to the fact that I am eating better, and drinking more water than any other liquid, but I also think that having a more relaxed body overall helps too.

I sleep more soundly, I wake up feeling refreshed and actually smiling. When I do stay awake too late, stray from my usual routine, or eating habits, I am not affect as dramatically as before. I bounce back faster.

I no longer have the feeling of loss as before. Once I lived with an incredible feeling of loss. I could not identify the source of the loss, but was constantly aware of the feeling. Now, I understand because as I continued to reconnect with my inner guidance the feeling of loss lessened.

I am not afraid that I will lose my confidence, sense of safety, or internal peace. In my gilded cage, I lived with the constant fear that the rug would be pulled out from under my feet. In fact, that was the state of my life back then. Just as I felt I was getting my emotional and mental footing, someone would pull the rug. Now, because I have taken responsibility for my sense of confidence, safety, and peace I do not let fear of the unknown stop me from trying new things like I did before.

From my PowerLife to yours,

2012. All rights reserved. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Living In Reverse II

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After months of observing more improvements to my physical health, I am ready to share. For continuity from the previous post, the title is Living In Reverse II. This means that the improvements are such that my health state has been restored to where it was several years ago. The theme for this post is looking back while moving forward.

Over the past 10 to 15 years, I lived with a limited range of motion. This limitation came about so gradually that I cannot pinpoint the moment it started. For instance, when standing on one leg, I struggled to keep my balance. 

While walking, I took short steps because the ligaments, muscles, and tendons in my pelvis did not have much flexibility to allow a longer stride. I knew these were changes, but I could not say when they first happened.

Bending down to plug in an electrical appliance was a chore because my stomach and back muscles were weak. In addition, I became so accustomed to living with tension that my entire body was stiff. I had a stiff neck, stiff joints, stiff back. I constantly held my shoulders stiff and pointing up toward my ears. 

While driving, looking to my left or right had to be done with more effort because the muscles in my back and neck were so rigid. Living this way was the norm for me until I started following the Living PowerLife approach to health and wellness.

Today, I am happy to share that I no longer live with the rigidity, inflexibility, and weakness that I took for granted as part of living before. One example that led me to look for and observe these improvements happened just this past summer. 

During a camping trip, I had the chance to kayak for the first time. I canoed over the years and still do, but never kayaked and was excited that a family friend had an extra boat to share. While helping her take the kayaks off the top rack of her SUV, it became evident that I had more upper body strength. Since she was at least 30 years my junior and lived an active lifestyle, I was pleasantly surprised.

Once back home from camping, I decided to look for other signs that my physical health had improved. First, I checked my balance because this is what bothered me the most. As a child and young adult, I was very active and enjoyed athletics. 

Diminishing balance meant that I could not compete or even participate in sports like basketball, softball, tag football, or even boxing as well. After checking my balance, though, I found a great deal of improvement; I was back to when I was much younger.

Second, I checked my flexibility and found that I was much more able to do things that were a struggle before. Keep in mind that I have not really made a conscious effort to stretch or increase my flexibility. This improvement came about solely with me stretching before, during, and after my weightlifting workouts, bike riding, and running.

Third, bending down and doing things such as plugging in an electrical appliance was no problem. I did not even need to think about what to do. In fact, getting up and down from the floor is much easier again. 

By looking back over how much living and eating well has restored my health, I realize that part of claiming my power in my own life means that I take the time to consistently look back as I move forward. Look back to what was a struggle or difficult before, so that I can see how I am moving forward. Recognizing how I am moving forward helps to keep me motivated into the future.

From my PowerLife to yours,


2012. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Living In Reverse I

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Since around 2001, I have lived with what my doctor told me was the life-long effect of surviving a DVT (deep vein thrombosis) in my left leg. I had accepted this life-long effect and lived with it. Today, however I am totally surprised that this is no longer the case. The theme for this post is nothing is written in stone. 

I first noticed that my leg was no longer showing post DVT signs several months ago, but was hesitant to describe this in a post. My leg swelled often and my doctor, at the time, said this was something I would need to get used to. The swelling was not going to go away, and it had not gone away, until now. After observing this for months, I am ready to share and comfortable with attributing this good outcome to following the Living PowerLife approach to health and happiness. 

Back in 2000 or so, I had a major health catastrophe. I was being treated for lung congestion, which my doctor diagnosed as pneumonia. I was on antibiotics, really did not feel well, but was able to go about my daily obligations. Then one day I noticed that my left leg was much larger than my right from my groin down to my toes. Not long after that, my entire leg became shinny and had a reddish tint. I called my doctor and the message was to come to her office ASAP. 

I had a DVT and was admitted to the hospital. I was checked into the cardiac floor and not many people thought I would make it through the night. I did. I also became a novelty for the interns there because people seldom survive the condition that I had. My DVT was so large that part of it had broken off and traveled to my lung. Interns, nurses, doctors, came by my room to see the woman who beat the odds.

Once I was back on my feet (I was bedridden for 3 days. Hospitalized for 5) I saw that my left leg was still much larger than my right. In fact, I almost could not get my left leg into pants that fit otherwise. I asked my doctor during a check-up if my leg would go back to normal and she told me that I was just going to have to live with the swelling. She told me matter of fact with no room for maybe. 

She said that the leg will go down some, but that I was always going to have the problem of it swelling. Until recently, I treated what she told me as though it were written in stone. If I sat for a time, my leg would swell. If I stood or walked for a time, my leg would swell. To compensate, I propped my leg up whenever possible. This helped some. As years went by, the swelling leveled out so that my leg only swelled from the knee down, and was not as much a problem. That was then. 

Now, after following the Living PowerLife approach to health and happiness I can happily report that my leg no longer swells. I sit and write at the computer, and my leg does not swell. I run, walk, work out, and my leg does not swell. While my left leg is larger than my right, just as my left side is larger than my right, the swelling is gone. The only difference is Living PowerLife. 

I share this with you to remind you that nothing is written in stone in this world because the one thing you can count on is change. The question is which direction will the change take. Affecting the direction of the changes that come in your life is where you have control. You can find your optimal health through healthy eating, exercise, and meditation.

Remember: I am not a doctor, nor do I encourage anyone to stop taking medication, stop following your doctor's orders, start self-medicating, or start self-diagnosing. What I describe in my posts are what I experience and notice after changing how I live and eat.

From my PowerLife to yours,

2012. All rights reserved.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

PowerLife Living: Swimining Uncharted Waters

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Recently, I have noticed several changes that I can share at this time. I cannot indicate whether these changes are negative or positive. They simply have occurred. Because I am following the Living PowerLife approach to better living exclusively and because I did not expect what has happened, the changes that I have noticed are important insight for anyone who is working to incorporate this approach into a healthier life. The overall theme of this post is continuing into the unknown.

For the majority of my adult life, I have engaged in consistent meditation. I first used meditation to recognize and try to understand some of the difficulties in the relationship that I had with my mother. At the time, I knew that she loved me, and there was no terrible abuse in my childhood. At the same time, though, I knew there was tension between us. 

Tension that I wanted to come to terms with so that I would not pass it on to my daughters. Meditation was how I succeeded. Meditation was key to learning that the relationship between my mother and me was, to use a Facebook description, complicated. This was also how I came to terms with the fact that parents often have difficulties in their relationships with their children.

Today, I have noticed that I cannot meditate the way that I have for most of my life. Every day, at my usual meditation time, I fall asleep at the beginning of my routine instead. The first few times, I thought that I was tired, but several weeks have gone by with the same result; I start my meditation routine only to awaken about 30 minutes later. Right now, I am not sure what to make of this.

In addition, I do not remember my dreams the way that I did. One consistency of sleep was that I remembered vivid dreams upon awakening. Maybe a few days would pass when I did not remember a dream, but that was not often. Constant dream recall was why I started keeping a dream log years ago. Not a person to believe in coincidence, I instinctively saw dream recall as a tool. 

Going back and reading my dream log was when I realized that there was useful insight into myself. This discipline helped me navigate very difficult emotional times in the past. However, today my dream recall consists of impressions or snapshot images at best. Most mornings I have no memory of dreaming at all.

Other than the fact that I miss being able to meditate, and I find sleep boring without remembering my dreams, I feel fine. Emotionally/mentally, I am the happiest and most focused than I have been for a long time. I do not have the feeling that someone, or something is missing in my life. I am not more invested in pleasing others than taking care of my needs. I feel good about my future.

Not remembering my dreams could mean that my subconscious is finished incorporating the new information that I was consciously accepting. If so, that is good and means an old chapter in my life is closed and a new one is beginning. I find not being able to meditate puzzling, though, and do not have any thoughts about why this is the case.

I do remember that when I first started meditating, letting my mind wander uncensored was difficult. I also remember that I would fall asleep when I meditated in bed, which is why I sit. In the past, I stopped meditating for short periods. In retrospect, each time that I decided to stop, I was drawn into to destructive waters. Since I did not decide to stop meditating, I am not sure what is coming next.

Only time will tell what all these changes mean. Only time will tell if I will start back remembering dreams and be able to meditate again. Right now, I am in uncharted waters. I do know that nothing is coincidental, and my assessments tell me that I am still moving in a good direction.

From my PowerLife to yours,

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