Month: October 2018

Let’s Connect!

Mia Famiglia

My uncle passed away eight days ago.  He was 88 and in declining health.  While it was sad, it was not unexpected and I am relieved he is no longer suffering.

Last Friday, everyone kindly gathered at our house after the funeral since I am still on bed rest.  There are no words for how great it felt to reconnect with family members I had not seen in a ridiculously long time.

We exchanged phone numbers and I have reached out to people and am getting together for lunch with a cousin and a mutual friend.  I am so looking forward to that.  I also have a cousin in Florida who I have been talking with on a regular basis and a cousin in California who has invited me to visit once I am sitting up more full-time.

Why do we let life get in the way of connecting with our loved ones?  We were not built to be solitary beings. Connecting feels so wonderful that it is actually beneficial to our health, so why not do it more often?

One of the blessings of this healing journey has been and continues to be connecting with so many people— sometimes on line at first, but that often led to meeting in person.  While there have been moments of loneliness in the past 14 moments, the times of feeling deeply connected to some amazing souls have far outweighed the feelings of isolation.  I know those connections were an essential part of my healing.

Is there a loved one you have not reached out to because it’s been an embarrassingly long time since you last saw each other?  Suck it up and do it.  I’ll bet you’ll be glad you did.

If you have a story about reconnecting with a loved one, please share it in the comments below.

Yours truly,
InspiraGirl

 

Healing Lesson: Bouncing Back

I knew down deep that this was not going to be a healing week.   I got a bit careless and sat up in bed too much, so I still have a layer of skin that needs to heal before I can start my wheelchair sitting protocol.  I’m angry at myself because I know better and I want to heal.  I see the light at the end of the tunnel and I am almost there.  ALMOST.

For the first time in the past 14 months, I was truly depressed.  However, I have gotten to a point in my life where I can only stay depressed for a short time before I feel I have to bounce back from it or I’ll get lost in a sea of negativity. I am not about to let that happen.  I have to maintain a positive mindset so I can heal.

What I have to do to get myself out of a depression is look for the lessons that a tough situation is trying to teach me.  As lofty as that might sound, it’s true.  I have a feeling that the better I learn the lessons, the faster I will get out of said situation.  I don’t know if that is overly optimistic of me, but I hope it’s true.

Looking at my life prior to the pressure wound diagnosis, I was wasting time procrastinating and indulging in habits that were not getting me anywhere (too much TV) and keeping me unhealthy (overeating the wrong things).  My mission with Operation INSPIRATION is to help people create and live their most fulfilling lives.  But, if I’m not doing that myself, how can I effectively help others do it?

The pressure wound was my wake-up call and, as much as it sucks, I am grateful for it.  The most valuable lessons I have learned this year are realizing what is most important to me and to value my time more by focusing on those things. Had I not gotten the pressure wound, I might not have become as healthy as I am or be as focused as I am on creating the life I want to live.  I am now a better, stronger person and I know I will be much more effective in my Operation INSPIRATION work because of this whole experience.

In future blogs and workshops, I will share with you how I am bouncing back after this year of recovery to become the person I want to be and what I am doing to create my own most fulfilling life.  I hope you will join me in the journey.

Yours truly,
InspiraGirl

 

Art and The Healing Hats

Last Christmas, I received a knitting loom kit.  I made my first hat the next day.  Just for fun, I posted it on Facebook.  Miraculously, someone posted a comment asking if they could order a hat.  In short, that’s how InspiraWear was born and it has been a blessing in so many ways,.

Arts ‘n’ Crafts always frustrated me as a kid.  The projects I attempted didn’t come out as well as I wanted or expected, so I never felt very artistic, although I always wished I was.

A few years ago, I had a conversation with a colleague who is a painter.  I was complimenting her work and said I wished I was an artist.  She looked at me and said, “You are.”

I looked back at her quizzically, so she went on to explain,”You are a writer and a web designer.  Anytime you write a poem or a story or create a website, you are putting art out into the world.  Therefore, you are an artist.”

I loved her reasoning and, while it took me a while to feel like I deserved to be called an artist, I now own it and it makes me so happy.

When I took up crocheting and looming, that added another dimension to my creativity.  All of these handcrafted items are art.  Each piece I create brings about ideas for new items and my clients have also inspired all sorts of color combinations and styles.  The loomed hats lead to shawls and scarves.  Little crocheted hearts lead to washcloths, pot holders and soap scrubbies.  The options are endless and so inspiring.

Looming and crocheting has also been vital to my healing.

From a practical perspective, it has helped pay the bills, especially my health insurance deductible and the medical bills that insurance does not cover.  Therefore, it has relieved financial stress so I can concentrate on healing.

It has also kept me occupied.  Translation:  I am never bored, so it’s kept me from going crazy while on bed rest.

As an added bonus, I have found looming to be particularly healing.  Like meditation, it calms me and I sleep more soundly.  I also think better.  Often, while I am looming, I am able to come up with solutions to various work and life issues.

With winter around the corner, “hat season” is upon us and I would love to make a hat, or any of my handcrafted items, just for you.  To place your custom order, you can email me at andrea@operationinspiration.com or, if you are on Facebook or Facebook Messenger, feel free to comment on my InspiraWear posts or private message me.

Artistically yours,
Andrea
aka InspiraGirl

InspiraWear:  You never know where great ideas are going to come from. This one started with a loom kit from Michael’s.

 

 

Managing the Itty Bitty Shitty Committee

Stress has been weighing me down this week.

On Monday morning, two unfortunate events occurred within 10 minutes of each other.  First, a tree came down across our driveway.  Then, my laptop conked out.  So, I turned on my cell phone, logged onto Facebook and reached out to you, InspiraGang, and you helped tremendously.

First, my friend and colleague Chuck Hendershot, owner of Feel @Home Realty, came over and chopped up the tree and he called Pablo Chica, owner of Sunflower Landscaping, to take away the cut logs.  Problem solved.

For the laptop, I posted on two Facebook group pages, asking for recommendations for a reputable, reasonably priced, local IT person.  Knowledgeable and kind Chris D’Amato showed up on my doorstep on Tuesday evening and transferred my files to my mom’s laptop until I can get a new laptop.  If you need an IT person, I can put you in touch with him.

It was stressful not being able to get computer work done for a couple of days, but I managed by filling up the time knitting, crocheting and cleaning up a lot of paper work.  I hate that last task, but it did feel good to get it done.

Now, I am back on-line, but the stress continued.

Earlier this year, I entered into an agreement to barter services with a colleague.  This morning, he welched on the agreement and sent me a bill.  Now, I am faced with initiating an uncomfortable conversation.  If someone is going to dishonor you and your business agreement and you can’t resolve the issue, it’s probably best to break ties.  While I will speak up for what is ethically right, it’s still upsetting that the business relationship may end.

In addition to the bill from my colleague, I also received a rather large medical bill in error.  So, tomorrow I have to call the billing department at the physician’s office and the insurance company to resolve the issue.

There is an expression that my friend Kathy uses for the worrisome thoughts that takes up space in one’s brain:  The Itty Bitty Shitty Committee.  This week, my IBSC was working overtime to stress me out.

Enter my friend and yoga/meditation teacher, Linda Metcalfe.  Linda is one of the deacons at my church.  She began visiting me  when I went on bed rest last year and she started teaching me yoga at our first meeting.  It was wonderful.  We have been having regular yoga and meditation sessions ever since and she and they have been vital to my healing.  The breathing exercises alone have gotten me through nerve-wracking wound check-ups.

I could not wait until Linda’s visit today because I knew it would help and it did.  Minutes into the session, I was gifted with clarity on how to handle the erroneous medical bill and the difficult conversation with my colleague.

While I can practice yoga and meditation on my own, there’s nothing like practicing with a trusted and caring friend.  It helps me think through problems with amazing clarity and it’s one of the best ways I know to manage stress and maintain one’s peace.

If you want to learn yoga and meditation with a certified, experienced instructor, I highly recommend Linda Metcalfe.  She can be reached at lntmecalfe@gmail.com or (908)256-6879.

How do you manage your stress?  Please share in the comments below.

Namaste, InspiraGang,
Andrea
aka InspiraGirl

 

I AM HEALING: Part Deux

At this past Monday’s wound healing check-up, the doctor declared my wound healed … again.  When he declared it healed a few weeks ago, he stopped the stem cell treatment after the seventh application with three more available treatments to go. I was uneasy about that decision—so much so that when I shared the news on social media, I called it a “cautious celebration.”  My mind-body-spirit connection kicked in and, even though I wanted to celebrate, I knew down deep that the wound was not yet healed.

The following week, the wound opened up slightly.  So, I insisted on following through with the last three applications.

The tenth treatment was applied this past Monday and, based on how well the treatments are working so far, the wound should look even better at next Monday’s check-up.  Then, the doctor will probably advise me to stay on bed rest for another three weeks after the treatments are complete to ensure the wound stays healed.

Always thinking ahead, I asked the rep from the company that provided the stem cell treatment if additional applications can be made available, just in case.  He said we can “re-evaluate”, if necessary.  It’s good to keep your options open.

I chose to heal as naturally as possible and I want this treatment to stick.  There is no reason to doubt that it will.  Yet, sometimes the doubts creep into my brain.

Even when it looks looks like we will experience a positive outcome, why do we often fixate on that one negative thought?  As Julia Roberts’ Vivian says in Pretty Woman, “The bad stuff is easier to believe.”  While that can feel true it doesn’t have to be true.

Whenever I feel myself going negative, I focus on the positive in many ways:

  • I journal, starting with daily prayers and affirmations.
  • I exercise, including weights, stretchy bands and yoga.
  • I meditate.
  • I knit and crochet, which is another form of meditation to me.  Anyone want a handmade item from InspiraWear? 😉
  • I engage with the people around me, often looking for who I can help and inspire.  You would be amazed how quickly negativity dissolves when you focus on helping others.
  • I connect with you, my InspiraGang, on social media. (I am about to do a Facebook Live after I post this latest blog entry.)

When I started writing this blog entry, I was feeling the fear and the non-healing negative thoughts permeate my brain. But I knew that confronting those feelings by blogging about them would dissolve the fear and chase the negativity away, AND IT DID!

I hope that this blog is helping you as much as it is helping me.  Please comment below to let me know.

Enjoy the gorgeous autumn weather!

Andrea
aka InspiraGirl