Yes it has been a while since you’ve heard from Celebrating Life Anew. My sister, Tisha and I are continuing to celebrate life and enjoy the journey.
We are excited to share that we are venturing into a new adventure. As sisters, we have collaborated over the years on different projects and now we have a project that is bigger than us, but heavy on our hearts.
As “Sisters in Service” we are on mission to do our part during these troubling times. The world is filled with so much adversity and as women, it is critical that we be a part of helping our communities. Unfortunately, so many women are stagnated by situations of abuse that happened to us children or women. We pick up the pieces, put on a smile and carry on day in and day out. We could do more, but the baggage weighs us down. We are not sure how to release so that we can live our purpose and make greater contributions to our families and others in our circles.
Over the next few months, we will share with you our plan to design an outlet for women using writing as a tool to heal.Your feedback, and suggestions are welcome.
“Writing about an emotionally charged subject or an unresolved trauma helps you put the event into perspective and give some structure and organization to those anxious feelings, which ultimately helps you get through it,” notes James Pennebaker, a professor of psychology at The University of Texas–Austin and co-author of the new book “Opening Up by Writing it Down: How Expressive Writing Improves Health and Eases Emotional Pain.” “This can help people sleep better, feel and think better, and have richer social lives, all of which can bolster immune function and improve health.”
As always thank you for taking a moment to connect with us!
It is August yet it feels like September. I love when I can feel the seasons change. I can feel it and breathe it in and know that change is coming. Last month I shared with you the idea of recreating yourself. What responsibilities did you release to free up time for what you are meant to do?
I’ve discovered that first it is a mental about face. Over the course of time it is so easy to forget who you are if your focus has always been tasks performed for your job. The two tend to merge together if you are not careful.
I suggest you find the space you need to discover your authentic self. What do you enjoy? What makes you feel like you are making a contribution to the planet that only you can make? That is the exciting part of this discovery. We are all unique and because of that we each bring something to the table that only we can bring. Without our contribution something is missing from the fabric of life. Once you conquer the mental about face, hit the ground running!
You’ve discovered your passion in life. Now it is time to put it into practice. I’m a planner who enjoys mapping everything out, but don’t spend all your time on planning. It is easy to get stuck there and spin your wheels. Action! Create some action around your new found discovery. Consider a monthly or quarterly timeline in order to feel victory in small goals you establish.
As I share this information with you, I am putting it into practice for myself. The world and opportunities in it are larger than we know when we busy ourselves with the usual routine of life. I challenge you and as I am challenging myself to step outside of the usual routine and begin creating the new you on the outside that mirrors the inside which has been waiting to venture in a new direction.
When you are suffering from a bad cough or back pains you seek out a doctor’s opinion in order to regain your strength, lower your temperature, or stop coughing. If you are like some people I know, you will go to the pharmacy and purchase an over-the-counter medication to feel comfortable. Just as we take the time to tend to our physical health, we must also invest the time it takes to ensure our mental health is functioning at its best.
Imagine a child who depends on you for their mental health. Although somewhat dated, the 1999 Mental Health Report from the Surgeon General indicates that “Four million children and adolescents in this country suffer from a serious mental disorder that causes significant functional impairments at home, at school and with peers. Of children ages 9 to 17, 21 percent have a diagnosable mental or addictive disorder that causes at least minimal impairment” (Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General, 1999).
In this wonderful journey of life, eight years ago I was blessed to care for a child that has developmental disabilities and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). His mental health is a priority every day. The latest research from the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network finds that “1 in every 110 eight-year old children were diagnosable for an ASD” (Autism, 2012). If he had a cold, I would make sure to serve him orange juice, hot soup and other remedies to comfort and restore his health. In a week, life would go back to its usual routine.
Not so with his mental health. I cannot take anything for granted. If you are a parent of a child who looks normal and most times acts normal except for the occasional head banging, refusal to use the toilet and is content in his own fictional world, then I have a few tips to make your life easier.
TIP1: Make sure your child’s teacher, principal, social worker, and special education team are on your team. You are your child’s number one advocate and he or she needs you to reflect that when you communicate with the team.
TIP2: Educate your family about your child’s diagnosis. Sometimes an unformed family member’s perspective of the actions of your child can create the wrong idea about your child’s behavior.
TIP3: Be prepared for what you will need to say when there is a public outburst. Choose the words you use with your child and any adults who will have a comment or two.
TIP4: Remember you are not alone. Use the resources available to you and your child. In the state of Michigan, contact your local county mental health agency. In Oakland County a good resource is the Community Living Services (http://www.comlivserv.com/oaklandcty.htm). Mental Health America( http://www.nmha.org/) is a national organization with valuable information as well.
Writing has always been who I am as far back as I can remember. As a child I had several diaries with exciting stories of what I hoped to accomplished; accounts of reoccurring nightmares that plagued me for years; blow-by-blow details of how I felt and viewed situations that were happening in my life and around me. I discovered there is always something to write about. When I opened my eyes, I discovered words in magazines, newspapers, sales papers, advertisements, websites, and the list goes on. I began to see how I could become a part of this world were words are used to inform, delight, analyze, create, research and present.
In the blogs to follow you will see me focus more on my passions in life. I will share tips on how to parent a child with autism spectrum disorder and how to use writing as a tool to heal from past hurts. In collaboration with my partner, my sister, Tisha we will also blog about tips to prepare students for their educational journey. Finally, we will dive into life for women behind bars; what it means to be separated from children and love ones; and life after incarcerated. Your feedback is always welcome and we look forward to future conversations with you.
There is a story to be told. It has been building over the last few months . . . the characters are coming to life and the plot is unfolding.
I have a wonderful recipe for dinner rollsto share. It was handed down by my grandmother. Perhaps a book of recipes is in my future.
My writers’ group met last Saturday and wow what a session it was. The opportunity to buildrelationships with other writers is so important because of the support received. I never feel alone being a part of this community.
Reading and writing in a quiet space . . . with jazz softly streaming through the room . . . releases stress, makes me happy, and fulfills my creative need. Every day I strive toward my goal of healthy living. It is important to develop a ritual, something that makes a writer feel comfortable or safe while writing.
Why do I choose to write? I choose to write to tell stories, share information, build relationships, acquire new knowledge, and to meet my goal of health living!
Why do you choose to write? Please leave a comment.