Posted by: sistermom1 | August 4, 2020

Don’t bring Me No Bad News…

I just ate a 2-scoop Baskin-Robbins ice cream sundae with whipped cream, chocolate sauce and nuts. And it was delicious….

Why do I confess that? Because I just left an appointment with the pain doctor who has been taking care of me for 10 years — the man who surgically implanted my Baclofen pain pump, the man who closely worked with me to determine the best dose of medicine to stave off the level of spasticity that I had developed over the previous few years from MS, the doctor who replaced that pump when it reached its 5-year life, the doctor who is married with 3 children under 11 with whom I shared Conscious Parenting — THAT doctor, is leaving the practice to work closer to his home.  He just told me today, and after he finished, all I could say to my husband was “I need some ice cream.”

Dr. G is a wonderful man, who has been a solid member of my medical team. We have developed a positive relationship, discussing kids, Conscious Parenting, Buddhism, MS, and life in general.  We have laughed together like old friends, and even discussed politics from time to time! (Easy to do with a Democrat!)

Once my pump was filled, Dr. G and I spoke privately for about 30 minutes. (Difficult to do when docs have so little extra time built into their schedules.) He talked about what brought him to this decision to leave (only good things!), how we can handle the transition, (cleanly, because he has a non-compete), and how much we have enjoyed working together. I was able to stay tear-free, at least until I got to the car.

One of the best books I read when I was first diagnosed with MS, was Lean on Me by Nancy Davis. In it, she shares 10 steps to help move from initial diagnosis to empowered medical consumer, and it continues to help me move forward.  in it, she says, zzzz’think of yourself as CEO of Your Health, Inc……Enjoy and encourage the friendships that you develop with the people who share their abilities to support you in your time of need. Always thank them and show your gratitude.”

Thank you for everything Dr. G! I have had an emotional cry into my ice cream, and now I am ready to start looking for a new pain doctor. I will get your advice (despite the non-compete!) and only hope to find another fabulous healthcare teammate for the next ten years!

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: sistermom1 | August 3, 2020

Moving Ahead Consciously

Last month, I shared that I had earned a certification in the Conscious Parenting Method of coaching. Several of you have asked me how it’s going, and more about what CP means?

Conscious Parenting approaches parenting with a non-hierarchical model. Parents are not inherently worth more than our children, and we are not in control of them.  When they are young (10 and under…) we are in charge, simply to teach and protect them as they begin to learn general information about how life works. (e.g. cause and effect, making friends, how school typically works, and what your family practices are…) Since they have just joined this world, we parents are their guides. But they do have a special job too — to help us parents grow and learn things we would only learn through our interaction with them.

Think about it — the challenges that our children have (ranging from learning/reading struggles, behavioral differences, or personality differences to mental health and/or addiction challenges…) certainly stretch us in unexpected ways. And that’s not all. What about the standards/expectations we have for our children before we even know who they are (Ivy League college anyone?) Add to this the experiences we had in our own childhoods and what  parenting ideas those experiences have left us with (familial expectations, the challenges our own parents had growing up in an unconscious or traditional manner themselves…) and we face quite a combination of situations when welcoming our children to the world. How to even begin?

Well, over the next few weeks, I will break down some parts of Conscious Parenting into what my friend Janet Roth Philbin on her Facebook page calls “Bite-Sized Pieces”.  (I hope she does not mind me referring to her page!  If you want help meditating, or with CP, she is another great coach, and she can help!)

Thanks for checking in on the latest stop on my Detour! See you next time!

Posted by: sistermom1 | July 16, 2020

A Conscious Diva

Today is Certification Day!

I just completed studying to become a Conscious Parenting Coach! For the past few years, I have been participating in classes with Dr. Shefali Tsabary, whose books, The Conscious Parent, Out of Control, and The Awakened Family introduced me to a more awake way to parent my children, who are now 21 and 24. These books really changed the way I connected with them, the way I interact with my family-of-origin, and the way I approach other moms and my  fabulous mom group – Sistermoms.

According to Dr. Tsabary, “… to parent consciously requires us to undergo personal transformation. In fact, it’s my experience that the relationship between parent and child exists for the primary purpose of the parent’s transformation and only secondarily for the raising of the child.”

Since first reading these words in 2014, my life as a parent began shifting — up until 5 months ago, when, along with handling pandemic-related issues, I began training to become a parent coach certified in the Conscious Parenting Method.

The training required us to open our lives wide to examine things like why we became parents, the state of our marriages/partnerships, our relationships with our families-of-origin, our childhood experiences, as well as how to successfully work with other families to help them awaken.

The classes and Buddy work required to earn this certification were life- and perspective-altering.  Not only that, seeing a wide variety of parenting styles combined with role-plays in real-time, made me think about how to help other people re-assess their own parenting journeys.  After all, one of the best ways to help the next generation is to awaken their parents. We learned  that our children are our teachers, and that it is not our place to rule over them – much like the hierarchical approach embraced by  traditional parenting (which had often been modeled by our parents!)

And now that graduation is complete – what now?  Well, this Diva on a Detour is getting ready for yet another stop along the way… I’m excited to move forward as a Conscious Parent Coach!

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: sistermom1 | May 2, 2020

MS in the Time of Covid-19

It is an unusual time.

During the seven weeks of this pandemic so far, I have spent time reading and listening to many wisdom teachers including Daisaku Ikeda, Eckhardt Tolle, Shefali Tsabary, Brene Brown, Byron Katie and many others. My lessons have included much that I value, including what this time has shown me so far about the life that I had built, and how much needed to be changed.

This pandemic has made many things crystal clear to me – including what I truly needed to shift. In the past, much of my energy was spent on chasing after things like the right jobs/titles, luxury items, designer shoes, money, and the appearance of accomplishment. I thank my husband for supporting my choices, even when they required him taking the kids full-time — even after my 2005 MS diagnosis. So much ended up changing about my life pretty quickly. By 2007 I had to let go of many things, including a job that I loved but no longer had energy for (too much travelling…), and I began needing a wheelchair 100% of the time.

My pursuit of many external things over the years taught me a great deal, but this pandemic has brought many of those lessons back into focus for me. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed spending time with the kids (now 23 and 20!) and my husband (25 years together!), playing board games, cooking, and spending time outside. Even chatting with our neighbors while social distancing in the cul-de-sac was enjoyable.

This challenge has shown me how things have changed.   And how much I needed to remember about what is important before I am too old to enjoy it. And I didn’t have to pay a terrible price to learn it, thank goodness.

Can you thank a pandemic?

 

 

 

Posted by: sistermom1 | April 18, 2020

On Becoming Conscious

A few years ago, I was introduced to Dr. Shefali Tsabary, author of several books including The Conscious Parent.  This book put me on the pathway to becoming a better parent, wife, and adult.  Many of you may have been introduced to “Dr. Shefali” through Super Soul Sunday, on which she has appeared several times. I must say that I have grown “exponentially” (my husband’s words!) since first encountering this wise, irreverent, and life-changing woman.

Now I am not saying that I have reached a final destination of consciousness. In truth, my journey has begun and I can say that on the scale of consciousness I have certainly progressed. And I have further to advance. I am becoming a more conscious diva, And what at one time I considered a “detour”, I have learned is my real journey.

My experience has shown me how much I needed to learn starting in 2005, when I was first diagnosed with MS. You may recall that I became wheelchair-dependent in 2007, and it continues currently. I have been on a wide range of MS medicines ranging from the self-injectables, infusions, orals, returning to infusions, and in May starting The Wahls protocol, an approach considering food as medicine which has been very successful. (Wish me luck!)

As I write today, I have experienced many ups and downs, but becoming a more conscious traveler has allowed me to maintain a more positive attitude towards this journey. The sadness – even depression, that I have felt sporadically, has left me in far better space with Dr. Shefali than I have felt on my own. With her I have learned how to deconstruct my internal beliefs and biases to reveal what has prevented me from progressing along my pathway. Combining her approach to Mindfulness (www.drshefali.com), with my own experience of Buddhism, (www.sgi-usa org), I am spiritually stronger than ever and ready to move farther along my journey!

Looking forward to seeing you along this pathway!

 

Posted by: sistermom1 | December 30, 2019

Reviewing 2019…

I finally have the answers to two questions that were asked of me this weekend! They both came from a wonderful family game – The And game – which can be purchased through http://www.Theand.us.

Question 1: What is the best thing that happened this year?

A: Encountering Dr. Shefali Tsabary‘s writings and teachings. I have read two of her books, The Conscious Parent and The Awakened Family, and taken several of her courses. Through participating in all of these, my life as a parent has dramatically changed for the best! (my family agrees!) I have even applied to the Conscious Coaching Institute to become a Parent Coach. Please check her out on http://www.drshefali.com.

Question 2: What was the best thing to happen to me in the past decade?

A: The best thing this decade will happen to me on 12/31 — my 25th wedding anniversary!!! Our journey through life as a married couple has been a multiple-layered one that has required deepening love, tremendous flexibility, impressive patience, powerful prayers, and much laughter and appreciation!

Being diagnosed with MS in 2005 has certainly contributed to the challenges we have experienced over these 25 years.  I have been wheelchair-bound since 2007, which has forced us to grow in many ways – mostly consciously – as we have navigated parenting our two children, caring for aging parents, retirement, bill paying, healthcare, partnership, love-making and goal-setting together and individually.

I have been a SGI member for over 35 years, which has really helped me confront the challenges connected with building a powerful life as a woman with Secondary-Progressive Multiple Sclerosis.  My mentor in life, Daisaku Ikeda, has written, “…Nichiren Buddhism does not view sickness as something  to be feared or despised but rather as an opportunity for doing human revolution (living your life in your own way; being true to yourself) and attaining the life state of Buddhahood (Achieving absolute happiness).”

My daily prayer is to be able to introduce someone to this incredible practice.  I know that through it,any and all problems can be solved — including enjoying my life regardless (or including!) a diagnosis of MS!

 

 

 

Posted by: sistermom1 | December 21, 2019

Getting Ready for Christmas 2019

It’s the end of 2019, and it’s time to start an annual review.  In general my health is not great. I do still have Multiple Sclerosis, and my diagnosis has changed to Secondary Progressive instead of Relapsing-Remitting. I now need a different type of medicine which has only been available through this year. Because I am on Medicare, this new medication is not covered and costs $3500 per month to take, which we cannot afford.

Simultaneously, a good friend introduced me to two products that could be helpful to me as I navigated this auto immune disorder. They are both distributed through ASEA, which develops products using and supporting cellular communications, particularly with individuals with auto-immune disease. I have tried both products this year and experienced very positive results from both and still use them. more on this in a future post…

After taking a fall and breaking my leg this Spring, the ASEA products were very helpful in my healing, along with intense Physical Therapy. All of my doctors were fabulous, and I have learned so much about the future and what it holds for me — at least through 2020

This year I continued serial classes with Shefali Tsabary, writer of The Conscious Parent and The Awakened Family. (www.drshefali.com)  Through the classes, I have started learning how to be a more effective parent of our two children, ages 23 and 20, and spouse of my husband (no age here!). As a wheelchair-bound parent, I have often blamed MS for any time I experience difficulty with my children.  What I have learned over the course of these classes is that most (if not all) of my discomfort must be credited to my own Inner Child wreaking havoc in my life unrestrained. My main job as a Conscious Parent (CP) is to raise my own inner child. Not to raise our son and daughter — they came here knowing so much more than I could ever teach them about the world that they will inhabit. Even more on this (and my decision to start training to become a Parenting Coach!) later….

Posted by: sistermom1 | December 19, 2019

Another Difficult Morning – Part 2

Today started out as another challenging day.  Both of my lower legs experienced pins and needles – very difficult to manage as I cannot stand or move my legs independently. B.– the Health Aide that gets me started every morning — began massaging my legs, and they did feel better, but I could not do that all day myself. In addition to this challenge with my legs, my right shoulder pains and pops when I move it.  Also, my vision is a bit blurry this morning, which happens from time to time.

It is not often that I experience depression – and certainly not the “Why me?” reaction that many people have shared that they often have when facing the challenges of MS. Chronic illness can feel incredibly heavy – it can be a lot to deal with from day-to-day.  I find that the curse of limited movement in a fast-moving world is often too much to bear.

Luckily at these moments of difficulty there are two places that have been encouraging and inspiring for me.  One is the haven of my Buddhist practice. Chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo  has always provided a wonderful, nurturing place for me to build my courage and confidence allowing me to move forward. (www.sgi-usa.org) The other place reminds me of the importance of taking the time to live consciously – taking one step at a time, enjoying each one. with no judgment regardless of what is going on that day. (www.drshefali.com).

Taking the time to breathe deeply and accept myself wherever I am – even amid/despite the challenges of the day.  This totally supports me moving forward one step (or push in my wheelchair Denise!) at a time!

 

Posted by: sistermom1 | November 28, 2019

On Becoming a Conscious Parent

Now that our children are 20 and 23 years old, I am learning that as a Conscious Parent (CP), my role as Mom has evolved and I find myself playing a very different role than I used to — one of co-traveler instead of all-knowing leader. Truth be told, this has always been the role that my spouse and I should have played, even when our children were younger. But I come to this understanding late — not never!  I mean, I can’t begin to know the nooks and crannies of the world in which our children must operate — it is so different than when I was in my 20’s — so many things about daily life have changed. My suggestions often fall on deaf ears because they have so little to do with how their world (and it is their world!) actually works.
Now I can hear many of you react: “But so many things from that time are still true! The virtues that our parents taught us are still very applicable to today!” Yes, very true, but the way that our children embrace them has nothing to do with us directly.  It is completely up to them, no matter what we say or think.  “But as Black and Brown youths in today’s combustive, caustic and (hopefully!) changing world, they have a specially challenging way to navigate! They still need me to protect them!”  I say in response, “No they do not.”
“…It’s a tremendous privilege to raise children, though for a quite different reason than most of us who are parents imagine.   While we think it’s our responsibility to mold and shape our children’s future, the essential premise of Dr. Shefali Tsabary’s A Call to Conscious Parenting (www drshefali.com) is that our children are born to us to create deep internal transformation within us.”  As we change and grow, we overcome many of the messages we have internalized about ourselves and as a result, do not pass on generational pain to our own children. In my experience over the course of three years of voracious study with Dr. Tsabary, this is a huge issue that makes a big difference in how strongly I am able to connect with my children.
I wanted to share a little about what I have learned about Conscious Parenting so far. Please check it out – our children (and we!) deserve it! I have already seen a dramatic change in my spirit, my relationship with my spouse, a deeper understanding of my own parents’ journey, and a serious improvement of my relationship with both of our children!  I will write more again as this journey continues!
Posted by: sistermom1 | November 26, 2019

A Difficult Morning…

Woke up this morning for the first time in years feeling completely overwhelmed and very teary-eyed. This MS health journey has provided 12 years of unexpected challenges and learning – I will call them “opportunities”.  The latest addition of my mother-in-law (who struggles with dementia) to our home on a live-in basis is giving new meaning to our official inclusion in the sandwich generation.

I fought back tears all morning as my wonderful Health Aide (who I am blessed to have!) gave me a sponge bath and dressed me.   I cried as I am currently unable to move my legs on my own, and my shoulder creaks and pops as I move, and my back hurts terribly.  On a lighter note, I am also missing the daily morning kiss from my husband, since he does not have to help me dress these days

As I became overwhelmed by the heaviness of this illness and the way it manifests in me, my deep sadness about it, and my general  aches and pains, I arrived at the “Why me?” place. (WTF! I never get to the “Why me?” place! I have taken great pride in not going to that place! Never ever!)

In the midst of my funk, my 20 year-old daughter walked in the room on her way to Pilates class. She was energetic, positive and light — completely re-charging my depleted spirit. It only took a few minutes connecting with her to ease my negative mood.  What is it about our children (even 20 year-olds!) that can lighten us so dramatically, even in the midst of an unusual depression? Don’t get me wrong, I am still feeling a bit adrift — more so than usual.  I do love how I now know to  breathe deeply and to meditate to feel better. (Have to credit Shefali Tsabary!)

Thank you Lindsey-girl for simply being yourself and dramatically shifting my overwhelm. This Thanksgiving finds our family in pretty good space, which leaves me deeply encouraged. I am focusing on getting better care, and taking better care of myself,  strengthening the connection between me and my spouse, my son, and my other siblings on both sides.  I am determined to manage this MS more pro – actively, and to bring together all of the things I have been learning about myself and how I handle challenges, and the ways to move forward positively……

Time to start cooking the refrigerator pie and the cranberry sauce!

Part Two is coming shortly…

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