Archive for the ‘mental and emotional health’ Category

Dogs and Trust

I think I might have writer’s block, but I’m not sure.  I do want to communicate and I have plenty to say, so I’m not sure why I am not writing more than I have been for the past several months.

With that said, I’d like to share just one photo with you today.  I’m not sure which one yet, but I’ll choose an image that will speak and say, “Me.  Share Me!”

sweet, sweet Ruthie

sweet, sweet Ruthie

Ruthie sure is a good friend to me. 

Most recently, I’ve learned that I have a difficult time trusting people.  I never thought I’d say that about myself.  I was always a trusting type of person.  

My dad used to tell me that, “People should earn your trust.” 

He was always saying how I trusted people too easily.  I wanted to be more free-spirited than I perceived he was.  I saw the good in people. 

Today, some twenty-plus years later, I understand why my dad used to tell me what he did.  I am much more like him now.  I understand too why he loved his dogs so much! 

Dogs are trustworthy animals. 

I wish my dad was alive to meet Ruthie.  He would like her.  He would try to teach her to hunt if I let him.  He’d say she’s shy. 

I’ve been pretty down and out lately, which is, I guess, why I was thinking about trust.  

After a few hard crying spells, I decided it was time to hug Ruthie.  She was lying on the floor next to my feet.  I figured she knew I was sad and I didn’t want her to feel that way. 

Ruthie has the softest fur I’ve ever felt on a dog, which makes petting her like eating a good potato chip, if you like chips.  You definitely want more than one. 

I sat there for a while, just being with Ruthie, when I realized that she is altogether trustworthy.  I may have a hard time knowing who to trust in this world, but I know I can trust my dog. 

I know Ruthie will never lie to me.  I know she will never mistreat me.  I know that as long as she is alive, she will be my dear friend.  She will always show her love.  She will certainly never abuse me.

I decided, upon this realization, to honor and not forget, what a very good friend my Ruthie is to me.

Thank you Ruthie! 

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The Monarch Image by Michelle aka 'dogkisses'

“Some how, monarchs are able, with much smaller brains than ours, to feel their own bodies, to read the weather and to instinctively feel where they are and where they are headed and how they should respond to the earth itself.”

Excerpt from the post: Butterfly Effect

(See link above to the blog, “what a shrink thinks”).

Thanks for visiting!

Terms of Use: Creative Commons License

what a shrink thinks

We are all connected; To each other, biologically. To the earth, chemically. To the rest of the universe atomically.
― Neil deGrasse Tyson

Every late August /early September it comes, whether I like it or not.

As soon as the wind shifts, without any invitation at all.

In fact, when I resist or forget that it is arriving, it bursts in a rage, like some slighted and pissed of fairy-witch that spits curses, wreaks havoc, and grinds the whole works to a stop.

When I just remember to behave with grace when it knocks it becomes a respectful, polite, if somewhat impinging guest who is aware that their presence is inconvenient, and unavoidably disruptive, and their scheduled stay just a little too long.

When I am attuned, prepared and accepting, it brings with it quiet pleasures and relief.

As the earth under my feet cools, and draws the heat out…

View original post 2,017 more words

Green Healing ~ Horticultural Notes

And the beat goes on…

life in the gardens

Quietly and Softly

soft and cheery, from Mother Nature.

Colorful Communications

We always begin Horticulture Therapy by gathering in a circle to share plant news.  This time together is good, interesting and takes us in many directions.  We often visit our past of garden or plant memories and look to the future with hopeful or creative garden dreams and ideas.

Last week I arrived just in time to hear another participant sharing his idea for a creative planting container.  The young man was more engaged than usual and when he smiled and became excited about what plants to choose and where he would put his new container, I felt like I saw the heart of horticulture therapy.

I like to call these times Healing Happenings, which are moments in time when hope or happiness fills my heart and mind.  I’m not talking about everything being right or all problems being fixed.  I’m talking about a little piece of time when worry and stress take a back seat and the beauty of life emerges.

healing horticulture

Sweet Peas make Smiles

Personally, ‘healing happenings’ include moments when I enjoy what I imagine most Mothers do, which is seeing our children, no matter what age they are, smile and be happy.  They’re also moments when I feel that my family will be okay.

a view of the big picture helps us stay hopeful

Therapeutic Gardening

“Drop by drop would make a lake.” (Azerbaijani proverb)

there is hope

The Intern in an early Garden

And then, there is faith.

We hope the garden grows and have faith in a plentiful harvest.

new lettuce and a few sprouted carrots

our garden grows

lettuce and carrots growing

A Prayer Request…

loving from the whole heart

He hugs "Bo" for taking him on a ride...

I have an important request.

People say prayer works.

I am asking for prayers and healing energy.

Please pray for my son.  He is a young man who is sadly, very lost and having a most difficult time.

Please see him receiving kindness and good care from the nurses and doctors.

Please ask that he be Well.

And, Please ask that I can carry on.

Thank you from all of my heart.

A Mother who loves her son, Michelle.


note: update on 8/27/11, Re: Defining Sick.

Wood and Chisel

Chisel revealed his tears

The Crying Man

“You need wood and a chisel,” Bo told me.  We headed to his backyard, which is where we always went when I visited.

Bo knew better than I did about the trials I would face in my near future.  He also knew a way to prevent me from going insane that summer.

I’d made a habit of visiting Bo when he wasn’t working.  He was definitely one of my favorite people.

Bo was a psychiatric nurse.  He had tired of the, “nine-to-fivers,”  and was instead traveling the country, teaching triage nurses how to, “be nicer,” to the psychiatric patients seeking help in hospital emergency rooms.   Humor was his magic in communication.

“I don’t know how to carve,” I told Bo.  I didn’t and truly thought he was joking.

“Oh, but you do! You do! Let me prove it to you.”

Bo was enthusiastic about life.  He lived every moment like it was the last one.

He’d created a wonderland in his backyard.  There were hills and wooden bridges, an old shed with a cute little deck perched above a small, but deep round fish pond.  The two short tree trunks for seats made the set up look very much like a hobbit house.

There was a sign on the front of the shed that read, “Bo Acres.”  He lived on almost two acres of land in a nice older neighborhood, not too far from downtown.

“Bo Acres” was a realistic fantasy land designed to nurture good mental health.

In the center of his backyard was a piece of wood at least five feet in diameter and three feet deep.  It was huge!  He didn’t know what he was making for the longest time.  A very large bowl perhaps?  A coffee table?

“I can’t carve wood Bo,” I told him again.  “I don’t even know how to use a chisel,” I added.

Bo laughed.  “That’s impossible!” he declared.  We walked over to the massive piece of wood.  For a few minutes I watched him work.  He talked about holding the chisel at an angle so that you didn’t take away large chunks of wood.  I was scared of destroying that wood, but he laughed about that too.

“Ha!  Miss prim and proper lady!” Bo said.  He had many nicknames for me, but they all had the same feel to them, which I liked.

He handed me the chisel and mallet.  “It would take you a long time to do any damage to that wood,” he said, still laughing and carrying on the way he did. It was a wonderful way that made people feel good.  “Believe me, you’ll be doing me a favor with every bit of wood you take off,” he reassured me.

The first few times I brought the mallet down, I either missed the chisel altogether or hit it in a way that made nothing more than a slight scratch on the wood.  Finally, Bo stood behind me, holding and guiding my hands as I held the chisel and mallet.  After a few minutes, I saw a perfect thin shaving of wood peel away.

It was a good feeling.  Secretly, I’ve always wished I could do something artistic with my hands.  I was quite pleased with myself.

“There!  You see!  That’s it!” Bo said with great satisfaction.  ” Now let’s get you a good chunk of wood.”

He stood in his yard with a big smile waving as I pulled out of his driveway, the same as he always did.  From my rear-view mirror, I saw him  still standing there waiting until I was out of sight.  I saw too, the chunk of Oak lying under the rear window above the backseat in my car.  I knew, on some level, that my world had changed.

Bo had helped me the only way he knew how, which was to give me something to take my mind off the terrible circumstances in my life.

An older heavy mallet.

MALLET

 The mallet in the above image is very much like the one I used that summer.

Sometimes you gotta make your own therapy.

New mallet & my first chisel.

The mallet above is a new lightweight one. 

still visible after all these yearsBo wrote my name on the chisel.  Barely visible are the last few letters.

The face I carved is The Crying Man.   He holds a year’s worth of pain and tears.  Maybe one day I’ll write that story. 

Thank you for visiting Dogkisses’s Blog.

Related articles

Peace in Nature

A poem by Wendell Berry:

The Peace Of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life
and my childrens lives may be

I go and lie down where the wood drake rests
in his beauty on the water
and the great heron feed

I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief
I come into the presence of still water
and I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light

for a time I rest in the grace of the world
and am free.

The music in the video is called Hawk Circle, played by George Winston.

Thank You for visiting Dogkisses’s blog!

 

What I can’t say no to

How do you say no to nicotine addiction with severe anxiety going on?

I guess there are a few things I can’t say no to, but most likely, outside of not being able to say no to air, water and food, tobacco is the one thing I can’t say no to.

I didn’t begin this post with tobacco as my choice of something I can’t say no to.  I was going to tell you about something else, something more fun and exciting, but maybe I’ll go with the flow on what I’ve already written on this page.

Maybe I should tell it like it is how addicted I am to smoking and nicotine and how I feel like I’m going to explode, or rather implode, if I go too long without a cigarette.

I may be in denial because I had to pause to write the word cigarette.  It sounds ugly to me.  I wondered before I wrote the word if I want to tell of this awful habit, this complete failing of myself and my family, especially in my attempts to heal my body.  This one thing that feels like if I hadn’t ever started that my entire life would be different today.

I could have been a great athlete.  I could have gone to New York and studied modern dance.  I could have taken job offers as an aerobics and aquatic fitness instructor.  People offered to pay for my training, but smoking made me feel like going into a career like that would be misleading or false.

My habit got worse during a very bad time in 1996.  It got worse again in 2003 when both my son and I became ill.

One day during the summer of 2003 I was smoking a cigarette and thought of a local man whom everyone downtown knew.  He had schizophrenia because his older brother, “dosed him with large amounts of acid,” when he was fifteen years old.  He died in the mental institution when they committed him and put him on a new medication.  It was a tragic loss to all who knew him.  I didn’t know him as well as some of the men did, but I cried when he died.

I was having tremendous anxiety the day I remembered him.  I felt like smoking an entire pack at once, like he did.  He cleaned windows for local small businesses and the owners paid him in food and cigarettes.  He would wait until he had what looked like over a hundred cigarettes.  Then he would sit down at the coffee-house, put them all in a large pile between his legs, and smoke every last one of them back to back.

I always felt his anxiety when I saw him smoking.  He rocked back and forth and smoked hard and fast.

I saw myself in his memory that day I wanted all those cigarettes.  My son was in serious trouble in life and utter fear was overwhelming me with anxiety.  That summer, before my son finally received medical help, is when I remembered our friend who smoked the pile of cigarettes.  I went in the side room of my little home, opened the window, and smoked while I wrote an ode to him.

“The tobacco plant, Nicotiana, has probably been responsible for more deaths than any other herb. At present, tobacco smoking is causing over 3 million deaths a year worldwide, and if current smoking trends continue the annual mortality will exceed 10 million by around 2030.”  (1)

The Nicotiana plant isn’t what’s so bad.  It’s the addiction to smoking and nicotine that leads so many to the doorway of death.

A beautiful plant meant for healing not harming

Nicotiana tabacum

A beautiful plant meant to heal not harm

Nicotiana rustica

Nicotiana tabacum, the plant now raised for commercial tobacco production, is probably of South American origin and Nicotiana rustica, the other major species which was carried around the world, came from North America. In 1492, Columbus found Native Americans growing and using tobacco, sometimes for its pleasurable effects but often for treatment of various ills.”  (1)

“As early as 15 October 1492 Columbus noted that dried leaves were carried by a man in a canoe near the island of Ferdinandina because they were esteemed for their healthfulness.  In the same year, two members of his crew observed people in what is now Cuba carrying a burning torch that contained tobacco, the purpose of which (it later emerged) was to disinfect and help ward off disease and fatigue.”  (1)

One time a wasp stung me and my leg swelled and ached badly.  I put a compress of wet tobacco on it and the swelling went down immediately.  I wore a patch for a couple of days and my leg was fine.  My grandmother had taught me that when a bee stung my foot around age seven.  I loved walking barefoot and we had more than what I considered our share of bees.

I grew up in the 1970’s in a rural cotton mill town where everyone smoked, except my grandmother.  She was the only adult in my family that didn’t smoke.

I remember my dad smoking in the line at the grocery store, along with everyone else.  The store manager walked around with a wide broom to clean up the butts on the floor.  He didn’t seem to mind this at all.   He would greet people as he did this.  I didn’t think anything about it.

I smoked my first cigarette in elementary school.  I stole them from my grandpa.  They said he was blind, but he always knew when I reached into the drawer where he always had a carton of Winston’s.  I don’t know how he knew because the drawer was out of his sight in the hallway.  One day when I opened the drawer there was a dozen packs of Juicy Fruit.  He never kept his cigarettes there anymore.

I nearly passed out the first time I inhaled smoke, but that didn’t stop me.  I thought I was cool.  I would go behind the neighbor’s outdoor shed, which was beside the cow pasture and smoke.  I didn’t do it often, thank goodness.

It was when I was around fourteen that I began to practice the habit.  I’d ride my bicycle and hide a pack of Marlboro’s in my socks or if I wore my cow girl boots then it was quite easy.  Nearly all my friends would hide cigarettes in their boots.  The cool ones anyway.

I quit the habit when I was seventeen.  That was the year when I made life-changing good decisions.  I wanted good health and an education and I got both.  I had many accomplishments when I was seventeen.

I started back one day when my son was a young toddler.  I was sitting around the kitchen table at my former sister-in-law’s house.  I hadn’t thought of a cigarette in five years.  I was having a hard time being a single mother.

“Maybe you need one of these.  You need something to calm your nerves,” my dear in law said to me.

She handed me a Marlboro light.  I thought I’d smoke only one.  I was wrong.

I was going to write that I can’t say no to severe sexual desire that has gone past the point of no return, but I wrote a little about that in The Elusive Fence.

Thank you for visiting Dogkisses’s blog.  Please feel free to leave a comment.

(1) PubMed Central, Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, Medicinal uses of tobacco in history.

(2) Image of sign via Wiki Commons

Click on images of plants for Wikimedia Commons description.

Topic #60 from The Daily Post, “What can’t you say no to?”