If you, or someone you know, is a caregiver, it goes without saying that you could probably use more sleep. You are not alone! The statistics are staggering: there are approximately 43.5 million people in the United States who identify as caregivers!
Approximately 8.5 million of these primary caregivers are single mothers and 2.5 million are single fathers. These numbers don’t include the 1.7 million veterans who have returned home in the last ten years and who are now suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or some form of depression—individuals who also need a great deal of support and care.
Having recently completed a two and a half week assignment of being granny-nanny to my three youngest granddaughters (ages 10, 8 and 3 years old) while my daughter in-laws served in Africa, the words to the LEGOLAND theme song “Everything Is Awesome” will be forever etched in my brain. Nominated for Best Original Song at the 87th Academy Awards, the LEGO Movie song is infectious with its catchy rhythm; it’s difficult to not start shaking from side to side as if your body has turned into a little block-like-structure, bouncing around uncontrollably, when the words flow through your mind:
Everything is awesome, everything is cool when you’re part of a team!
Everything is awesome when you're living out a dream!
Was I living out a dream while spending 16 non-stop, action-packed, emotion-filled days dedicated to childcare… days which could easily be likened to one of the roller coasters at LEGOLAND, where we spent part of a week? Certainly… if this adventure was designed to assess and define the progression of my mindfulness practice!
How did I not lose my mind? By consciously and mindfully choosing to use as my sanity mantra the words, “Everything Is Awesome!”
Yoga Teacher Training,
"If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands! If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands! If you're happy and you know it, and you're not afraid to show it, clap your hands!"
If you know these words, you've probably either been in Sunday school at some point in your life, been to one of my yoga classes, or you know my grandkids! This is one of my favorite theme songs…
And they are also the words that broke me wide open recently.
“If you’re happy and you know it…”
At our household, we sing all of the verses and variations! “If you're happy and you know it… stomp your feet, say AMEN, scratch your head, rub your belly, pretend you’re jelly!” And we often run through all of the emotions of the Pixar movie Inside Out: Joy, sadness, anger, fear, disgust, and many more, often resulting in hold-your-belly laughter!
After a particular round of singing, laughing, and hilarious antics, one of my granddaughters spontaneously said to me, "What’s gay, Granny? What does gay mean?"
Yoga Teacher Training,
the just be love project,
trauma sensitive bodywork
For anyone older than about 18 to 20 years old, the mere mention of September 11, 2001, evokes visceral memories of the day the twin towers fell in New York City. Today marks the sixteenth anniversary of this heartbreaking event, and when asked to remember where they were on that day, most people have an almost automatic reflex, causing them to hold their breath and flit back to the memories buried within their emotional awareness. What is this universal emotion we are experiencing in recalling tragedy? Vulnerability!
No matter how old you were, the crack in the cosmic egg which occurred that day caused an entire nation to feel vulnerable. Something shifted in all of us, and that shift may still be affecting how we show up in the world today.
When Micah Lunassential speaks, she immediately commands your attention. Warm, kind, smart, and engaging, she brings experience, understanding, and enlightenment to people with her successful YouTube channel Ms.Micah. With a focus on love and relationships this channel embraces the discussion of uncomfortable topics that so often hold us back, like fear, forgiveness, addiction, and trauma.
Micah grew up knowing trauma, having PTSD as a child from a serious accident and later getting complex PTSD from abuse as an adult. These experiences dramatically affected her view on love and on herself. After years of feeling hopeless and being trapped in a victim mentality, Micah went to a Holistic Gathering at SWIHA in October of 2012 where she had a Toe Reading that would change her life.
“I was being mentored by the then Director of the Psychology department at Ottawa University for a class I was taking entitled Trauma Psychology,” Micah shared. “The Toe Reading reminded me of what I was avoiding because I was trapped in a victim mentality. True healing was learning to feel safe in the body after trauma or domestic violence.”
In 2015, my uncle suddenly passed away from a heart attack. Because I was at his house when he was found, I had the terrible and sad experience of seeing him after death in a state that I wish I could erase from my memory. I dealt with nightmares and trouble sleeping, and so I decided to see a therapist to talk it out, as I could not get the images out of my mind.The therapist had a list of suggestions and tools to help me cope with this trauma. On this list was a familiar word: yoga training.
Yoga Teacher Training,
Yoga for PTSD,
PTSD paralyzes, terrifies, saddens, and dulls the senses. We have long known that our mind and body record everything that happens to us. These highs and lows create Richter-scale size memories in our minds, with our emotional “seismograph” documenting the most crystallizing and paralyzing events of our life. If we were to take a metaphorical scan of the mind, we would clearly see PTSD appearing on the “map” as a series of dark, sharp peaks — indicators of turmoil from which it is very difficult to escape. Those dealing with PTSD get mired in those dark spots.
Grieving through the “Dark Spots”
Recently, after over twenty years of distinguished service to his country and three years of trying to reconcile the battles in his mind through intermittent psychiatric hospital stays, my stepson Todd made the permanent decision to end his life.
Yoga Teacher Training,
mind body wellness pracitioner,
Krystel Renee began coaching people as a fifteen year old teen, before she even knew what life coaching was. “As a young teen my dad made me enter beauty pageants, and I despised him for it,” recalled Krystel. She wanted to do martial arts, but her father wanted her to participate in more feminine activities. “So to 'stick it to the man' - my father - I would coach my competition and help them build confidence with their talents, all while doing their hair and makeup. My goal was to help these girls win, so he would quit making me compete.” It wasn't until her divorce occurred in 2013 that she discovered the life coaching program at SWIHA, and realized “I could get paid for this natural gift that I have and actually help more people!”
Krystel’s niche clientele are those that are struggling with PTSD and depression, or “those who have just lost the joy or sense of purpose in their life.” She also coaches a lot of military personnel and their families, as well as women in their 30's -50's. Krystel’s favorite life coaching tool is the Wheel of Balance. She shared how she enjoys “helping people gauge where they are at in all areas of their life and to help them finely focus on areas they want to be better.” In addition to coaching, she utilizes chakra balancing, neuro-kinesis, and laughter techniques to help her clients restore joy in their lives.
national life coaching month
The IMDHA, or International Medical & Dental Hypnosis Association, has a local chapter at SWIHA (Southwest Institute of Healing Arts), where they meet monthly and discuss different hypnosis techniques and ways to expand their profession as hypnotherapists. One evening in 2015, the group was viewing a video, “Free the Mind”. It was discussing meditation, mindfulness, and PTSD. As they watched, we got into a great discussion on how hypnosis could be so beneficial for those struggling with PTSD, and they knew they wanted to do something more for the community. The question of the night became, “How do we get the word out?” Hypnotherapy Program Director, Linda Bennett reflected, “In traditional SWIHA fashion, we asked, ‘Imagine if….???’” And thus, the idea for an event took shape. Members of the chapter worked together to bring about the event last November, and this year they are gearing up to do the same.