Connection and Belonging, How we heal (post 1 of 5)

When I consider my chronic pain and where it all began… I find myself thinking of: connection and belonging and my own healing journey…

…  all that I’ve learned about trauma and how it affects our health – both emotional(mental) and physical…

… how my own story unfolded and the impact various stresses had on my own connections to people and place…

… how my physical health has slowly improved significantly over the last few years…

Loneliness: the impact of connection and belonging on healing
Photo by Paul Wesson Photography

It has become clear to me that connection and belonging have had the most significant impact on my life and healing. I suspect that to be true for most, whether struggling with chronic health concerns or otherwise…

Lost social connection and belonging

  • Moving across the country, leaving loved ones behind…
  • Breakdown of marital relationships…
  • Lost friendships…
  • Death of loved ones…
  • Abusive relationships…
  • Lost family connections…
  • Workplace stress and breakdown…

Any ONE, any number, or ALL of these stressors can elicit a trauma response. At the very least they can be the reason that we are less resilient when trauma occurs. Without important connection, and belonging we can be at risk of turning inward more and more, with no real incentive to draw us back out. What inspires you to do hard things? More importantly, who do you share your journey from inspiration to hard work to reward with?

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What sparks joy for you?

So many organizing, de cluttering, self-help gurus tell you to think about what sparks joy for you.

Declutter by getting rid of things that don’t bring you joy…

When overwhelmed by the chaos or demanding schedule – such as it is- of your life, focus only on the things that meet your basic needs or spark joy in your life.

It’s true that by eliminating things that don’t bring you joy, you will make room for more joy… But it is also true that experiencing joy can be a mindset shift.

We can become blind to, or stop noticing the joyful things in our lives. There is a reason the figure of speech “stop and smell the roses” is so poignant. So how do we experience more joy without purging things that once brought us joy but doesn’t right now? Or when we can’t eliminate everything from our busy lives that is not joyful?

Mindful experiences can help. Practising gratitude… Acknowledging joyful things in our lives…

Help to feel the joy we’ve become blind to.

So, what would happen if we left our headphones at home while out walking the dog? What if we made a point of noticing the colours of the newly blossoming cherry trees along the way… rather than the latest news podcast or music blasting in our ear buds?

Gratitude sparks joy

What if we took a few moments everyday to note (in a journal like I am writing this in right now) just 2 small things – one that I am grateful for and one that sparks joy in me?

Here are just a few of the things I’ve made note of recently…

  • my dog’s excitement to see me after 5 hours… 5 days… 5 minutes…
  • my competent & reliable staff team
  • memories of childhood captured in my dad’s photographs
  • tasty ice cream treats
  • sunshine and sand or dirt beneath my toes
  • three day weekends

Practise Gratitude / Finding Joy

Not only does this practise make me more likely to look for the joy and/or things I’m thankful for… but it also creates a stronger authentic connection to myself and the things around me each day.

If you wanted to be more connected to your joy, what joy would you make note of right now?

#sparksjoy #findthejoy #practisegratitude #gratitude #journal #gratitudehournal #joyfulconnections #authenticconnections

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Drop me a note in the comments below, or connect with me on Twitter @ceilidhontherun, email me at trish at trishblogs dot com, or use my contact form.

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International Women’s Day #BreakTheBias

#BreakTheBias

International Women's Day
International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day is so much more than celebrating women’s accomplishments. It’s a day of activism. International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on how far we still need to go for equality for all genders in this world.

Activism

The feminist in me still calls out misogyny and the appalling treatment women continue to receive. I know that I do so from my position of white privilege in the Western World. I live the continued wage gap between men and women. I have experienced the reality of gender-based violence. I have struggled to be heard. To be respected in a room full of mostly male leaders. And yet, I have a roof over my head. I have food on my table. I have the freedom to move about at will…

Ironically, or perhaps more accurately – because of my inherently feminist values, I work in a field that is almost entirely occupied by women. Choosing “women’s work” that is critical to the success of any economy – childcare, early childhood education, family services, and social work, but feels counter intuitive to #BreakingTheBias. I celebrate women who chose non-traditional roles for women. A part of me wants to be them.

Use your privilege

I feel called to speak out from the trenches of women’s fights for equal rights, for safety, and respect. I have always viewed the world through a social justice lens. I am drawn to work helping women who have experienced an amplification of injustice. And from my seat of privilege as an educated white anglophone, I speak out where others may not have the freedom to.  

International Women's Day

I live in a space where air raid sirens are the stuff of international news stories. I am ever mindful that these stories are of real people. Stories of women. Women who are fighting alongside their neighbours for the very freedom that we often take for granted in North America. Women who are rushing their children into basement shelters in hopes they will see another day when the ever present fear for their lives will be behind them. Women who take on the duty to keep their children safe, while fleeing their homes and leaving behind their husbands, brothers, neighbours – and yes, even other women – who take up arms to defend their lives and their freedom.

Women helping women

It is easy to feel like our fight for equality is trivial compared to another’s fight for freedom. Yet, it is BECAUSE we live this life of freedom and relative wealth, that equality MUST prevail. “Westerners” are not ruled by dictators. We do not face imprisonment for speaking out. We can vote. We have a right to an education… Shouldn’t equality be a given? And if it were so, imagine the work we could do by coming together and assisting those outside of our insulated lives.

I don’t know how we can look to our neighbours and not be affronted that women still fight for equal pay. That our sisters deserve to be respected and absolutely not violated. Or that the decisions made by and for our cities, provinces and country are still made almost exclusively by white anglophone middle-aged men…

On International Women’s Day, and everyday, we must stand together, acknowledge and correct the inequality, and fight for those less fortunate than ourselves. At home and abroad.

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Drop me a note in the comments below, or connect with me on Twitter @ceilidhontherun, email me at trish at trishblogs dot com, or use my contact form.

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Managing health with a doctor shortage

Are you affected by our doctor shortage?

According to a November 2017 article on CBC the doctor shortage amounts to 37,000 Nova Scotians without family doctors. Our family is about to join the ranks with four of us losing our doctor.

We were very fortunate when we left the metro area and moved to the rural town of Yarmouth. With a referral from my doctor, to a doctor he’d worked with in some capacity we had a doctor almost immediately after moving. I know people who went 4 years before finding a new doctor after their doctor’s practise closed.

Today we are faced with our doctor’s practise closing in two months, if he can’t find someone to take over his practise. Fortunately for our community our doctor is moving to another much needed position, at our ER. However, for people such as myself and my daughter who have chronic conditions or frequent health concerns… it just plain sucks.

What does someone needing regular and consistent care do?

It’s not such a big deal for people like my youngest who almost solely sees a doctor in the event of an emergency. But what does someone who needs regular and frequent care do? I’m fortunate to have a specialist who helps me attempt to manage my pain, but I need more than just pain management. And I need someone who is familiar with my history.

I’ve been trying to set myself up to be taking a well-rounded approach to my care. I’ve been reading books on many different approaches to chronic pain management. I see a physiotherapist and a massage therapist regularly. I’ve tried many other modalities and professionals for treatment.

I am attempting to track everything somehow. I use a lot of apps that cross-sync, so most of my data is available on my smartphone.

Not only do we have no choice about who we see, but we have not choice about IF we see someone

The challenge with reading and attempting alternate treatment, is that not all doctors support that. And with a doctor shortage, not only do we have no choice about who we see, but we have no choice about IF we see someone at this point.

If it were possible to see a doctor, nurse practitioner, or other medical professional on an ongoing basis privately, I believe I would. Unfortunately, of the alternate treatment modalities I’ve tried there is not one collaborative source for this that I can find.

I’m seriously considering getting my own wellness coach. Someone who can help me navigate all of this. It’s interesting that even when someone has the skill set to do so for someone else, it is still important to find a third party for ourselves.

Find a wellness coach and support community

If you are looking for someone who understands the challenges of navigating a complex medical and alternative medicine approach to treatment for your own health & wellbeing, contact me. I have done a lot of research and am aware of multiple sources for information and for support.

Want a place to chat with a coach and others in similar circumstances? Join our community.

I hope to see you there! 

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Drop me a note in the comments below, or connect with me on Twitter @ceilidhontherun, email me at ceilidho at ceilidhontherun dot com, or use my contact form!

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Family traditions

What family traditions do you have and share?

There was a time when one of our family traditions was that I wrote a lengthy newsy letter to include in Christmas cards that I mailed. I’m not sure when or why I stopped the practise. It wasn’t just that I stopped mailing cards. For a while I sent my annual family newsletter via email.

Holiday cards

My mom used to do so as well only she called hers “Holiday cards”. They never made it in the mail in time for Christmas.

We’d run through the past year chronicling the highlights. We’d share the highlghts of each family members’ adventures and misadventures.

This year in an effort to connect better with loved ones I decided to revive one of the family traditions. Only I chose to go back even further to the days when we hand-wrote most of our correspondence. Rather than send the same family newsletter to each recipient, we wrote a personal note to each.

Snail mail

I wanted to include a short hand-written note with each card. After about 4 cards I had to mail them off as is, in order for the rest to arrive on time.

If I were to revive the whole tradition I’d write a newsletter about our bi-annual family New Year’s Eve party (kid-focused); my oldest’s learning to drive and her new-to-her car; my youngest’s move to the much bigger English high school, but remaining in French (immersion instead of francophone); how the girls continue to perform: signing in music productions; and their busy schedules with dance and part-time jobs; they’ve added tutoring to the repertoire this year. And I’d share how lucky we’ve been to have a new member of our family since summer of last year; and how his family includes us all and makes us feel like part of their family.

For the first time in years I planned a vacation (without kids) and had a great travel companion to come with me. My youngest did some of her own traveling this summer, flying unaccompanied for the first time and spent two weeks away from home.

It’s really been a pretty fantastic year!

What family traditions mean the most to you?

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Drop me a note in the comments below, or connect with me on Twitter @ceilidhontherun or email me at trish at trishblogs dot com!

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Social Worker burnout… not just talk

When I read the former Minister of Community Services’ response to Child Protection Social Workers’ circumstances and the concerns that the Union has identified I had to speak up.

“We want to make sure our social workers are well supported and we believe they are,” – Kelly Regan

I have kept quiet long enough.

I was reluctant to speak out after ending my permanent employment with the Dept. of Community Services for fear that I may jeopardize things if someday I wish to regain employment with the Province. After reading the former Minister’s comments about the supports in place for our Social Workers, and her absolute lack of concern for their wellbeing, I felt compelled to speak out and likely end all possibility of returning to work for the Provincial government.

I was so stricken by the lack of empathy, compassion or UNDERSTANDING demonstrated by Kelly Regan.  The practices of our current government and its restructuring have done little but exacerbate an already dire situation.

I’d challenge the Minister to go back and conduct exit-interviews with the MANY social workers who left permanent government positions in the last several years (including myself) for jobs with less so-called stability and much lower pay grade before making any further speculation about the support provided to our social workers. In my small office alone I counted 4 of us who did just that during the time immediately surrounding my own resignation. Perhaps it would also be enlightening to spend just a few weeks sitting in the chair of today’s child protection social workers – it wouldn’t take a day to see just how undervalued social workers are.

[Read more…]

The Finishing School

The Finishing School by Joanna Goodman

*The following post contains affiliate links. TrishBlogs receives a small percentage of compensation for purchases made via these links.

 

The Finishing School – murder mystery? Coming of age story? This reminds me of an interview I heard with Marg Delahunty on CBC Radio recently!

An easy read with a somewhat predictable ending, yet she was pretty good at getting the reader to head down another path briefly.

Not wanting to spoil anything for anyone considering reading the book…

All I really want to say is how much it disturbs me that these kinds of scandals get covered up for so long in the real world. Speak up! Speak out! Inaction is only supporting the action whether or not you agree with it internally.


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Drop me a note in the comments below, or connect with me on Twitter @ceilidhontherun or email me at trish at trishblogs dot com!

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Eyeglasses from GlassesShop.com

Eyeglasses from GlassesShop.com

*Sponsored post

I’m sure you’ve heard of the websites where you can purchase eyeglasses online for a fraction of the cost of your local ophthalmologist and eye wear shop. I know I had, but was always skeptical as to the quality of the prescription eyeglasses. Besides that’s what I pay all that money towards benefits for isn’t it?

Then I was approached by GlassesShop.com to collaborate on their blogger program. I was given a link to follow to order free glasses online. I was impressed by the “Try on” feature where you upload a photo and try the glasses on your own face! It was easy and gave a pretty good idea of how the glasses really would look in the mirror.

I tried a few for fun:

 

I even considererd prescription sunglasses, but I only wear mine for reading and computer work, so the one pair I already have is plenty!

My glasses took just a few weeks to arrive and when they did, I was not disappointed. The only thing was that I hadn’t noticed the nose piece on a style of glasses that I didn’t expect them to be on!

Here I am actually wearing my new glasses that I could have bought at a fraction of the cost of my regular provider:

Now I keep my new glasses at the office or in my purse and I keep my other pair at home. J

If you’re interested in giving GlassesShop.com a try, I have a coupon code for you!

Use GSHOT50 which gives 50% off all eyeglasses and sunglasses with free lenses only throughout their website, with the exception of sales frames.

Share your success with me! I’d love to see your new glasses pix too!

 

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Drop me a note in the comments below, or connect with me on Twitter @ceilidhontherun or email me at trish at trishblogs dot com!

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Life plan? A plan without action is just a dream…

Life plan? A plan without action is just a dream…

Have you been stuck in a rut? A never-ending cycle of planning, researching, and starting-but-not-quite, only to end up back at the drawing board?

Take action

I have heard this time and again as I have followed several influential side-hustlers/entrepeneurs… “take ACTION”… *don’t wait until you are ready* … take action now, and adjust the plan as it unfolds…

There are so many aspects of life that this is true, but probably most importantly when you are trying to affect change in your life. Action forces the envelope, pushes you outside of your little comfort box, and is how we learn! So go ahead, make mistakes! Then learn from them, and continue taking action!

Taking action, with all of the imperfection that comes along with it, is better than finding yourself in the same place only years older…

I recently stumbled upon aAction blog post of mine from years ago. Written back when my blog was more of a journal. Upon reading, I realized a few things. My life plan was nothing more than a bunch of partially realized or unrealized dreams. AND most of those dreams remain true today, more than seven years later.

There is one significant difference. I am now desperate to take action.

 

I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts, reading a lot of books, and doing a lot of researching, learning, thinking… and I know that I must take more significant steps than I have in the past. I need to stretch beyond my newer comfort zone, and THEN keep stretching.

There are a lot of great leaders out there. Each has their own way of doing things. Many have a philosophy that they have come to follow. The most common thread among those I have been drawn to: ACTION is much more effective than planning, goal-setting, dreaming. While it is important to have the eye on the prize, it should be evolving, and it cannot evolve without taking steps in a direction beyond the current state.

 

Resources that I have found useful:

Chris Guillebeau – Sidehustleschool.com; $100 Start-up; Born for This

Marie Forleo – B-School; MarieTV

Cathy Heller – Don’t Keep Your Day Job (podcast)

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Drop me a note in the comments below, or connect with me on Twitter @ceilidhontherun or email me at trish at trishblogs dot com!

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Nineteen Eighty-four

Nineteen Eighty-four

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George Orwell was certainly ahead of his time. He envisioned a future much like it became. Although I find beyond the references to Big Brother and how surveillance physically took place that there is so much different (thankfully).

Manipulative Politics

Another very poignant and disturbingly familiar theme is that of manipulation. Politicians and Politics which usually aim to address the needs of society at the start, become more and more manipulative in nature as Government becomes more Knowledgeable and prescriptive in what is best for the People.

Citizen surveillance

It makes you wonder though – could we be headed down the path lead by Big Brother (thankfully NOT a reality TV show) since we are using technology that so closely resembles and in many way surpasses his visions of surveillance? OR can we learn from the book as well as from history and prevent the worst of it?

One thing is certain, Nineteen Eighty-four could have been written much more recently and would still become a classic.

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Drop me a note in the comments below, or connect with me on Twitter @ceilidhontherun or email me at trish at trishblogs dot com!

I invite you to subscribe to my blog using one of the options available on my page (email, rss, Google Connect, like my page on Facebook, etc.)

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