How to be Present

You might think that where ever you are, you are present. Is that what we mean by being present?

How often has your attention been somewhere different from your body? No I don’t mean some sort of “Out of body experience.”

When you’re thoughts are not where your body are what have been the consequences?

Sometimes letting our minds go to places or thoughts that leave our bodies behind is good. Like when I write these blogs. I suspend my awareness of the chair upon which I sit, and the sounds around me. (OK, my wise guy doesn’t say these blogs aren’t good, but at least they are a great diversion from your reality.) That diversion lets my mind focus on typing and what I type.

When I get into a novel or TV show, I am not present. That allows me to clear the noise that has been accumulating in my mind. It is sort of a resetting pause for my mind.

Are there better ways to reset our minds?

When we let a novel or TV show reset our minds we are letting our human choices direct our minds. How does the universe choose to reset our minds?

How can we let the Universe reset our minds?

This is what the various forms of meditative practice do. They silence the “Monkey chatter” and let other things come into our minds. Often we are not conscious of what these are. That is proper since our conscious minds are only a small part of our brain. Our brains are constantly being assaulted with signals from our body as well as our consciousness. These signals send impulses thru our brain that connect and touch on other neurons. When we silence the flood of impulses our brain gets to restore its normal balance.

Once rebalanced, our brain can let the normal flow of the world around us in without the filter of our recent past.

Have you ever mistreated someone because you were preoccupied with something that happened to you just before you met them?

If so, you did that because your brain was set to respond to the prior situation. If that situation had persisted then your next thoughts and actions would have been appropriate. But if your current situation changes suddenly your brain may not shift to respond to your new circumstances.

How can we leave one situation behind and prepare ourselves for the next? How can we become present again?

First, we need to alert ourselves that the situation has changed. How often do you take the feelings of the day home with you? As we arrive home we need to remind ourselves that the trials of the office belong there. Now we need to focus upon our home.

To refocus upon our home life (or any other new situation) we need to first take stock of how we Aare feeling. Are we happy, sad, angry or tense? It might be better to put on some calming music as we drive home. We do not always need to have the latest news on the radio.

Second, we need to focus ahead. Who will we meet? What will their situation be? Will they need us to listen to their troubles?

To decide how to focus our attention we should ask, “What does the WORLD need now.” We are part of a world which is greater than ourselves. The ultimate need is not mine or the people I meet, but of the whole world. For example, what happens in my mind affects others around me. What happens within the group in which I am sharing will affect the greater world. The greater world will come back at both me and those around me.

How can we get in touch with the greater world?

Getting in touch with the greater world is the stuff of philosophers and mystics. . Yet this is what we, too, will ultimately do. Each night when we sleep we surrender ourselves to the world we are in and each morning we awake to participate in that world again.

How do you want to participate in the world?

When we were children we had needs and sought to have the world provide for us. As infants we cried to get fed, our diapers changed, and loved. As we became adults and parents we provided this for the next generation.

The world is more than just child and parent or parent and child relationships. Yet, both relationships give and receive Love. Is not love what we need from the world too?

As children and parents we gave Love and received love back. So as we enter into each new situation might the best question we can ask ourselves is, “How can I be loving in this moment?”

When were you most in touch with the world?

How can you be more in touch with the world?

What practices can you start to open yourself to the world?

As all Ways, Seek Joy,

Coach Dr. Dave

Note: this is the fourteenth in my blog series inspired by Brendon Burchard’s book, The Charge

Stephanie Goodman, “The Nourishing Guru” talks about her story

Stephanie Goodman of the Nourishing Gurus www.nurishinggufus.com tells how she came to realize that her diet was disabling her. This led her to change careers and become the Nourishing Guru.

She found help in the book,

Wheat Belly Total Health: The Ultimate Grain-Free Health and Weight-Loss Life Plan
William Davis

She talks about the many benefits of eating a diet better suited for you. When you eat your proper diet you lose with without dieting. Inflammatory conditions like fibromyalgia and other forms of arthritis improve. Even depression can be improved by changing your diet.

She has many resouces and recipe ideas one of which is

Wheat Belly Cookbook: 150 Recipes to Help You Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health
William Davis

And

Wheat Belly Diet For Beginners – Shave Off That Belly, Lose Weight, Lower Blood Pressure And Achieve A Healthy Lifestyle: (Includes Over 60 Wheat Belly Meal Plans Recipes)
Allen Houston

Tips for getting help when blind by Rebecca Anderson

Rebecca talks about how she learned to ask for and respond to offers to help her. She talks about shopping and other common situations you might en;counter

We all have different abilities, so why are some of us, “disabled” and others not?

We all have different abilities, so why do some have the “disabled” label and others not? Maybe we should start by defining a disability. Going to the internet we get the following definition of a disability: “a physical or mental condition that limits a person’s movements, senses, or activities.”

According to this definition many of us are disabled. We all have limitations. Can you throw a ball as well as a pitcher? Can you run a four minute mile or a marathon?

Yes, I am comparing us to the best here. It might be better to say a disability is a physical or mental condition that prevents a person from performing in life as well as most others.

If we look at conditions individually we are hard pressed to find any single condition that uniformly disables people.

Take blindness for example. There are many who see nothing at all and function well in society. There are musicians, speakers, and even a Governor who cannot see.

Then maybe we should ask why those with a condition that disables most people doesn’t disable them? . This is the question I am exploring by interviewing such people in Disability Freedom.

Some of the things I have found are:

  • An attitude of being “able.”: This is apparent in how some who were born blind just went ahead and did what they wanted. I remember the story of a three-year old blind girl getting stuck in a tree. She got up in the tree by herself, but like many three-year olds she could not figure out how to get back down.
  • Parental support: Children who overcome significant limitations can usually point to one or more parent who was there to insure that opportunities were found for the child to do things. They would see to it that the child was taught the necessary adaptive skills to do school work.
  • Options to do things: Lewis Braille had to invent the writing code that bears his name. He didn’t invent it so he could take notes. He invented it so Napoleon could send messages at night. However, Lewis was blind and lived with other blind children. His braille writing system soon caught on and the rest is history.
  • Community support: Lewis Braille had been sent to a school for blind boys. This school had been set up and run by adults. He (like many other blind boys) learned to play the organ. That was a common occupation for blind persons in his day.
  • Social supports: having people around when we need help is universally important. Parents ensure that their children have the opportunity to play with other children. Schools and clubs provide these contacts.

All this is find for children, but how do adults who develop a condition that might disable them in some way continue to function?

The biggest disabling factor is attitude. The Rep. John Boehner who says he has both a bad back and anxiety clearly does not want to stop being in the public eye. He has the idea that he is not “disabled.” He is able to compensate. What sort of abilities does it take to get elected and stay elected? Clearly, he is able to read people and influence them. Many others tried to get nominated and elected but he is the one in office. He could be a politician working from a wheelchair the same way FDR did.

How many of us have exceptional abilities that allow us to function in spite of a disabling condition?

The resource of a parent is lost once we become adults. Some of us replace our parents with mentors. That role has to be sought out and agreed upon by both people. Mentors are a new concept in our society. I would have done things differently if I had a mentor earlier in my medical career. My failing eyesight might not have been so much of a problem. I would have been doing a lot of administrative things that I avoided early in my career. The lack of those experiences prevented me from getting interviews for medical administrative roles.

Options to do things differently: We live in a time when each day brings new options. A Few months ago I added an app to my smart phone that allows me to take a printed page or a sign and have my phone read it to me. Soon my phone will also be able to read US money to me. I know about these because I have been able to gain membership in a supportive blind community.

The third way a child overcomes a disability: Community support systems are available to those of us who are adults. There are vocational rehabilitation services in all states. They are limited in that they are funded primarily to put people into jobs. For many people that is the least of their problems when a disability hits. There whole social support system crumbles.

For those no longer seeking to work there are limited funds available for their rehabilitation. Rehab. Services can help people learn to get around or use adaptive software on a computer.

There is no formal way to recreate a social support system. Your family will always exist. However, how many of your family members know anything about living with a disability, especially the one you have?

Where did we get our support system originally? I met my wife at a summer job while I was in school. Most of us met our life partners either at school or work. Now there are on-line dating services. Do they help to find those who will support someone with a disability? This weekend I met three people who found someone to marry that way. Two of them are blind.

There are organizations of persons with almost any kind of disability. They are both in the community and on-line. Facebook has many such groups and a review of the posts shows that Facebookers are supportive of each other.

So a Disability is a condition you blame for not being able to function. Not being able to function results from so much more than one condition.

As you can see learning to live with a disability is complicated. That is why I focus my life coaching upon those with disabilities.

As All Ways, Seek Joy,

  1. Comments and sharing my blogs are welcome. Who do you know who is struggling with their decreased abilities?

How to really Matter

When you are asked, “do you matter?” What do you say? I mean what you really think in your heart. For most of us especially after a disability we might think we don’t matter. That is the way much of society treats us. We are redundant. No one wants to work with us and help us contribute to the group.

Those who are too slow soon get left behind. Not just on the metaphoric journey thru life, but also in school and elsewhere. In school we followed the successes of the stars. They were our heroes, the ones who got to do the special things. We read about them in the school news. Everyone knew who they were.

As adults we hear about those people with exceptional abilities. We elect the best politician into office. We promote the best candidate for the job. Then we fire the ones who struggle to keep up. They are soon gone and forgotten from the team.

When you find you are the one who got cut out what do you do?

You have just been told you don’t matter. Do you take that on as your new identity?

It is so easy to think we don’t matter anymore and get depressed. Depression serves only to separate you further from the pack. Until you realize that you need to find a new way of thinking about yourself and take charge you will always wonder if you will ever find yourself in a pack again.

In order to matter, you need to understand how you fit in, so ask yourself:

  • How have you contributed to the lives of your family members?
  • How have you contributed to your friends?
  • How have you contributed at work?
  • How have you contributed to your community?
  • What have you created and given to the world?

Many of us will notice that we have fallen short of what we wished. Now how can we activate our drive to matter to the world?

First, give of your best in all that you do. Strive to do your best and when you fall short let yourself learn from the experience.

Last evening I was with some friends and one woman suddenly started putting down what I was saying. I persisted in trying to make my point. Later I realized that she had a story she needed to share. While I don’t think that would have been the best place to share her story, I do not know for sure. I think we could have addressed it. The next time I get an opportunity, I will try to hear others stories when they interrupt me.

Next, seek out opportunities to contribute. Where might your gifts and abilities benefit others? This need not be in formal volunteer settings. You can contribute by holding open a door and smiling at the people you meet on the street. Yes, even such a simple act as smiling at strangers matters. Does seeing happy people make you feel better?

There are guidelines you can use to evaluate your experiences so you can recognize those opportunities which confirm that you matter.

  • What are your abilities?
  • How do they benefit others?
  • How do you see the benefit?
  • What new opportunities are coming your way? Yes, the world is always offering you things. You need to recognize and accept what is offered.

Third, how can you help others to live better? This may be just calling someone who is suffering and showing them you care. When you were sick and others contacted you did that make your day? You can make someone else’s day and say Hi.

What have you contributed that mattered to the world?

What new opportunities do you notice coming your way to be someone who matters?

What steps will you take to become someone who matters?

Remember when you matter you feel better.

As all Ways, Seek Joy,

PS, this is the thirteenth in the blog series on making a Disability your life’s biggest gift. They are inspired by Brendon Burchard’s book, The Charge

Puppy expecting something creative

Disability frees you to become more creative

A disability frees you to become more creative. In fact, it demands creativity, because you can no longer do things the way you did before. This is the key to thriving with a disability.

How do you find the creativity to thrive with your disability?

Creativity is unique to us all. It is an expression of who you really are. That’s right when you create something it comes from all that has made you. No one else has had your experiences and thus lives in your body. Once a disability has entered your life, you no longer fit the pattern of anyone else. Your parents and others could not have envisioned who you now are. In fact, they tried their best to change you into someone else.

Let us first decide how creative you are. Take this test. On a scale of 1 to 10 rate the following statements:

  • When I look around my home I see myself everywhere.
  • When I look around my work space I see my unique self.
  • My most intimate relationships reflect who I am.
  • My friendships are an expression of who I am.
  • My leisure activities show who I am.
  • My contributions to the world express who I am.

If your grand total is less than 45 your creative expression has been stifled. Many of us tried to fit into the molds others created for us. Now that a disability has taken over your life, you probably can see this expressed everywhere you looked in this exercise.

Now, as you examine these six areas, where can you express yourself better? This can become the source of your new life plan for sharing who you are with the world.

The world deserves you! This is correct! When we think of how humanity has progressed we realize that this is the result of creativity. Creativity results from self-expression.

As you look around you, what things do you notice that you like? Are they the same as everything else? No, they would not stand out and catch your attention if they were all the same.

Someone had to be willing to be different. Where did they find the capacity to be different if not from within themselves?

We marvel at the passion of paintings by Vincent van Go. He had the passion because he was plagued by depression. Yes, it was the potentially disabling illness that gave him the power to express so much in his works. Yes, the depression finally led him to cut off his ear and kill himself, but what vibrancy and creativity it unleashed in the process.

True, living often means holding the potentially disabling parts of ourselves at bay so we can function. If I let myself go around without trying to see, my typing would really be bad. While my screen reader helps me find where I am on the page, using my eyes makes it so much faster and easier.

To further unleash your creativity you need to associate with other creative people. I am in several groups of coaches. We share the ways we have found to coach others.

I also associate with those who are blind or disabled in other ways. Along with them I am inspired to set my limitations aside and do things. This is where the podcast, “Disability Freedom” gets its material. (You can find out more about that on www.www.bsmk-med.com/podcast).

Another way to unleash your creativity is to create and share with others. That is right. You did not learn to ride a bike alone. Initially your parents helped you, but later you learned from other kids. You would show them what you could do and then they would share what they had learned with you. It was in this process of trying out new things and sharing the results that you mastered the bike.

Now you need to master a life with a disability in it. That means you need to try new things and learn from others with similar disabilities.

So how will you unleash your creativity?

What will you do at home and at work to show your creative self?

How will you find more creativity in the world?

What are you going to create and share with the world?

As All Ways, Seek Joy,

This is the twelfth in the series of blogs based on Brendon Burhcard’s book, The Charge

  1. Over the last few months I have been unleashing my creativity. This week I launched the podcast, “Disability Freedom.” This has been both challenging and exciting as it forced me to express my creativity and solve many problems.

I now continue to unleash my creativity by creating a program to teach the ideas of this blog series to others. You can find out more about that at www.www.bsmk-med.com

Disability Freedom

The podcast where we explore how a Disability has freed others to live the lives they want, and finding the secrets others found to thrive with a Disability. Each Week we meet someone who has faced a disability and found a way to thrive by facing that disability. No topic is off limits.

How to succeed with a challenge when disabled

When we have a disability in our lives we often feel just living is enough of a challenge. However, taking on additional challenges can make the “challenge” of disability seem minor. That’s right! Trying to do more, not less, can make it easier to do the normal things.

Why you should take on a challenge in spite of a disability.

When we live with a disability we often find ourselves stuck in a sort of purgatory. Because we know that we have limitations we don’t try new things. That leaves us stuck without the thrills of achievement.

If we accept the label of “disabled” we will have disabled our lives. When we were children we couldn’t’ do many things, yet we still tried. We would ride a bike even if we fell off the last time. So why don’t we keep trying after a disability. Yes there were many times we fell off the bike, yet we were usually able to go farther each time once we got back on. Each incremental improvement kept us trying to ride, so why is it that as adults we accept failure when the first attempt doesn’t go well?

There are several reasons why we might not try a second time, but none are valid. You should expect to do better with second and subsequent attempts. You should be able to gain both skill and knowledge with each failure. The fact that you keep trying defeats that self-image of a failure.

Now that you feel like trying, what should you try?

Here are guidelines for what challenges to undertake:

  • Choose a challenge that excites you. Bike riding is exciting. That was one of the reasons we kept trying.
    • The challenge needs to make you focus. You did not worry what you would watch on TV after you rode your bike.
    • The challenge needs to keep offering you room to improve. Once you could ride the bike downhill, you then had to learn how to turn around and ride it back up the hill.
    • The challenge needs to offer you milestones. Bike riding had those, ride down, turn, and ride up the hill.
    • Each step along the way needs to make you feel you accomplished something.
    • You get to share your achievements. Initially your parents were there to cheer on your bike riding. True they also picked you up and tended to the scraped knees.
  • You need to be able to focus upon the process. You looked forward to each attempt to ride the bike. Then riding the bike became a joy in itself.
  • To really get your life going as an adult you now need to set challenges for yourself each day, week and month in the various areas of your life, physical, emotional, social, and work. Yes, you need to pay attention to all these areas. Would your life be fuller if you lost weight, found more reasons for joy, made more friends, and did a better job at work?
    • Don’t expect to conquer your challenges alone, you did not learn to ride that bike by yourself, so why should you go it alone now?

So, ask yourself:

  • What will be the next bold challenge I undertake?
  • What challenge did I avoid because I feared how others would react?
  • What will be the challenges I will choose each month for the rest of the year?

Now make your plans and get your team together. I have assembled a team to help me with this blog, the podcast, “Disability Freedom” and to find ways to reach more with these two mediums.

As all ways, Seek Joy

Ps this is the eleventh in the series on making a disability your biggest Gift. They are based on Brendon burhcard’s book, The Charge

 

How to succeed with a challenge when disabled

When we have a disability in our lives we often feel just living is enough of a challenge. However, taking on additional challenges can make the “challenge” of disability seem minor. That’s right! Trying to do more, not less, can make it easier to do the normal things.

Why you should take on a challenge in spite of a disability.

When we live with a disability we often find ourselves stuck in a sort of purgatory. Because we know that we have limitations we don’t try new things. That leaves us stuck without the thrills of achievement.

If we accept the label of “disabled” we will have disabled our lives. When we were children we couldn’t’ do many things, yet we still tried. We would ride a bike even if we fell off the last time. So why don’t we keep trying after a disability. Yes there were many times we fell off the bike, yet we were usually able to go farther each time once we got back on. Each incremental improvement kept us trying to ride, so why is it that as adults we accept failure when the first attempt doesn’t go well?

There are several reasons why we might not try a second time, but none are valid. You should expect to do better with second and subsequent attempts. You should be able to gain both skill and knowledge with each failure. The fact that you keep trying defeats that self-image of a failure.

Now that you feel like trying, what should you try?

Here are guidelines for what challenges to undertake:

  • Choose a challenge that excites you. Bike riding is exciting. That was one of the reasons we kept trying.
    • The challenge needs to make you focus. You did not worry what you would watch on TV after you rode your bike.
    • The challenge needs to keep offering you room to improve. Once you could ride the bike downhill, you then had to learn how to turn around and ride it back up the hill.
    • The challenge needs to offer you milestones. Bike riding had those, ride down, turn, and ride up the hill.
    • Each step along the way needs to make you feel you accomplished something.
    • You get to share your achievements. Initially your parents were there to cheer on your bike riding. True they also picked you up and tended to the scraped knees.
  • You need to be able to focus upon the process. You looked forward to each attempt to ride the bike. Then riding the bike became a joy in itself.
  • To really get your life going as an adult you now need to set challenges for yourself each day, week and month in the various areas of your life, physical, emotional, social, and work. Yes, you need to pay attention to all these areas. Would your life be fuller if you lost weight, found more reasons for joy, made more friends, and did a better job at work?
    • Don’t expect to conquer your challenges alone, you did not learn to ride that bike by yourself, so why should you go it alone now?

So, ask yourself:

  • What will be the next bold challenge I undertake?
  • What challenge did I avoid because I feared how others would react?
  • What will be the challenges I will choose each month for the rest of the year?

Now make your plans and get your team together. I have assembled a team to help me with this blog, the podcast, “Disability Freedom” and to find ways to reach more with these two mediums.

As all ways, Seek Joy

Ps this is the eleventh in the series on making a disability your biggest Gift. They are based on Brendon burhcard’s book, The Charge

Chaging color in nature

You must Change your Disabled Life

You must change your disabled Life or you will become disabled for Life. When a disability enters your life your old life ends. You may have thought – like me – that after a period of re-training you could resume your former life. Honestly, no one can.

The fact that you faced a disability will change you. This was a major life trial and now is part of your story. You were tested and achieved many things.

Since your life has been changed, are you really living the life you want to live now?

Many times in one’s life we ask this question, usually about some aspect of our lives and not the life itself. Major disabilities force most of us to pause and ask questions about our lives.

As a Life coach I divide life into four areas, physical, emotional, social and spiritual. Now with a disability you will have to re-assess your life in all of these areas.

I talked about how to do that in the first few blogs of this series. You are now faced with the choice of either letting your life go on in a disabled cruise-mode or taking charge and living your life fully.

How do you make such a radical change in your life?

First, you have to decide what you are really trying to do in life. Most of us had only a vague plan of what we were seeking to do when we left home. Now with some experience we can make better informed choices.

If you think you know what you want to do with your life, ask yourself what you did with it in the last 12 months.

Then set some goals for yourself. What do you want to be doing for the next 12 months in the following areas: physically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually? You may want to re-read, “How to envision your Dreams after a Disability.”

How often have you thought you made some goals for yourself only to find that weeks later you have made no progress toward them?

Here are some ways to make the changes you want to happen.

  1. Keep the prize in your eyes. Not only do you need an Avatar of who you want to become but the benefits of those changes need to come to mind each time you begin a new day.
  2. Enjoy the new experiences. With a disability you will have to do some things differently and in order to achieve new goals there will be new tasks. Enjoy the challenges and be sure to stop occasionally to look around. While climbing a mountain you often stop to take a breather and enjoy the view. In life we also need to enjoy what we accomplish.
  3. Get clarity on what you are seeking to do. It is hard to see a mountain’s summit from the foot of the mountain. If you just start going up because the summit is at the top, you can easily find a Clift blocking your way. If you had looked at a map or photo of the mountain you might have discovered an easier way up. What are the various paths that might lead to your goal?
  4. Get a guide. It will be easier if you find someone who has walked this or a similar path before you. You can find these people in biographies, fiction or real life. Living guides can take the form of new friends, mentors, or coaches. Look around and see who you can find.
  5. Get clear on what you do and don’t want to do. Create for yourself these “This/That” statements:
    1. I want to do this, but I don’t want to do that.
    2. I want to do more of this and less of that.
    3. Hook a new behavior on to an existing one. For example, when I greet my wife I really listen to how she responds to me.
    4. Always choose this, not that. Choose a smile over a frown.
    5. Do this now before you do that. Brush your teeth before going to bed.
  6. Add to your journal each day those this/that statements you made.

So, on which of the changes have you been holding back?

As All Ways, Seek Joy,

This is the 10th in the blog series, “Thriving after a Disability.” they are based on Brendon Burchard’s The Charge