Tag Archives: health

Elusive Pleasures Part 5

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Elusive Pleasures Part 5

This is the last of a five-part series on Elusive Pleasures, in which we’re exploring losses, their associated neural connections and ways to adapt to changes and renew pleasure.

Elusive Pleasure: Sprinklers in the Garden of Life at JoanTWarren.com

In the first installment, we learned that the brain has a pleasure center, and that sensations travel along the nervous system to bring messages to the brain. The brain is a whiz at associating emotionally-charged memories (especially fear and pleasure) with sensations (such as sights, sounds and aromas). That’s why something as simple as changing the sprinkler heads in my yard could cause the pleasure response in my brain not to fire. This whole series began when I found the new sprinkler sounds detracted from the enjoyment I had sipping coffee on the back porch.

In the second post, we learned that pleasure can be associated not only to incoming sensations, but also to underlying perceptions or beliefs. Thoughts are neuronal connections too! In this segment, I examined my struggle to accept some physical impairments, and realized I had an erroneous underlying belief: that I needed to do things better than others to feel good. I wondered: Can change in underlying beliefs restore pleasure?

Elusive Pleasures: Aging with Erroneous Beliefs Be sure to read this second in a five-part series designed to help you restore pleasue after losing it! This is not just for the aging, it is for anyone who is experiencing a loss of pleasure!

 

In the third installment of the series, we explored how important pleasure is in life, and how making new connections in our brains can create the experience of pleasure. We realized the best new connections happen inside our brains. The principle, “neurons that fire together, wire together” suggests that if we repeatedly pair one sensation or movement with another, we not only enhance their function, but eventually, we create an automatic response. We tried this by picking something that makes us feel good and pairing it with a new sensation or movement –then practicing it regularly, so the two become automatically associated. If you did your homework, you likely found that when you experience the sensation you paired with your pleasurable activity, your brain eventually delivered that pleasure response! We also learned that adding physical exercise to pleasurable thoughts increased those neuronal connections.

 

In the fourth installment, we learned ten brain exercises to improve our pleasure responses. We found that learning new things, doing routine things differently, running (or other strenuous exercise) and even foods, probiotics and experiencing orgasm can all strengthen our neuronal connections for pleasure.

 

In this segment, we’ll look more in depth at ways we can establish long-term neuronal connections that can really make the difference in adjusting to major life changes.

This is the part where we learn how to dig in and make changes in our erroneous underlying thoughts and beliefs.

Maybe you’re familiar with some of the basic developmental and psychological concepts of our day, like the idea that there are stages of development that include trust vs. mistrust, and autonomy vs. shame and guilt (Erikson), or the idea that there’s an hierarchy of psychological stability and growth, and the base or foundation is safety and security (Maslow).

Well, here’s the thing: During those early years of development, we learned whether or not we felt safe in our world. We learned who was safe, and who was not. We learned what it took to get attention. We learned whether others saw us as good or not. We decided what we thought of ourselves. We made plenty of associations. Our brains built a foundation during those formative years, a foundation that functioned automatically once established.

It was in those years, for example, that my brain got a firm hold on the erroneous belief that outshining my siblings and peers was good. That belief didn’t seem wrong when I was a child! At the time, it was a reliable method to get attention and affirmation, which made me feel good. I was a kid in a large, dysfunctional family. All kids need attention and affirmation. They’ll do whatever it takes. As I grew, the practice of getting pleasure by outshining others started to feel wrong. Selfish. Self-centered. And yes, I got shamed for it. “She thinks she’s better than everybody else.” “Goody-two shoes.” By the end of elementary school, I’d lost friends for it. As a teen, I left off the goody-two-shoes behavior to replace it with the attention and affection of my peers. I cared less for my parents’ admiration.

As  a young adult, I learned about Maslow and his assertion that the highest level of human development is a self-actualized person who can give selflessly to help others. Subconsciously wanting to be the best, I focused my energy on helping others. I thought I had squelched that self-centered need for attention. Yet that function continued, on auto-pilot, in the recesses of my mind. I helped others while still feeling needy on the inside. I became a co-dependent helping professional. When I realized my codependency, I learned I had a faulty foundation, laid in my early years. It didn’t seem fair. I didn’t want to live my life paying the price for what happened when I was a child.  I had tried my best to eradicate self-centeredness from my life, without success.

I sought God’s help. Admitting my failure, I asked Him to replace those faulty layers with a solid foundation. Much to my relief, I found that God is in the business of renewing minds. He was happy to help me, as though He were saying, “Ah, now you’re asking the right questions, my dear.” Together, we embarked on that journey.

Thanks to DenesiaChristine at Instagram

It’s been decades since that journey began. At first it was a deeply emotional and difficult journey for me, as I found many very painful memories buried in the recesses of my mind. It consumed much time and energy. It was like feeling my way through a dark, cold, rocky and jagged mountain range, with fog all around and no map to direct me. I had no idea how long it would take or what it would entail. I relied on God for each step and hold as I pulled myself along the craggy way, clinging to the rock.

Thanks to DenesiaChristine at Instagram

The journey led to a beautiful land of rolling hills and rich soil. The sun’s warm rays consumed the fog and the way became easier. I found a little garden to tend. It was the garden of my heart. Beautiful new growth promised a life of health and security.

Any remaining faulty beliefs occasionally sent shoots into this garden, but maintenance was as easy as pulling weedy tendrils from soft, moist ground.

For many years, I didn’t realize that even my strong desire for God to renew me came from my faulty foundation. I didn’t realize I wanted Him to change me because I didn’t think I’d be good enough, or feel good, unless He did.

I found out along the way, though, that He knew all along. His grace covered me with love no matter how faulty my foundations were. His heart as Holy Father looked past all that I tried to accomplish to win His love, and showed me He just loved me, period. He loved me whether I worked on myself or not. He loved me whether I served Him or not. He loved me whether I had a perfect childhood or not. He loved me whether I was mad at Him for all that had happened, or not. He just loved me. Period.

That love is what transforms me to this day.

So what have I learned about replacing erroneous beliefs?

First: The most amazing miracles are those that take place inside the human mind.

Just before Jesus took off to send the Holy Spirit our way, he told his disciples they would perform greater miracles than he did. What could be greater than healing the sick, raising the dead, and feeding thousands on a few loaves and fish?  Transforming human beings from the inside out. Our brains are formed and functioning early in life. Those early neuronal connections operate on auto-pilot, behind the scenes. Changing a person’s deeply-rooted beliefs and processes is nothing short of a miracle. It’s the biggest miracle of all!

Second: It’s a cooperative effort; you do your part and ask Him to do His.

Someone once told me, “God is a gentleman. He’s not going to barge in where he’s not been invited.” It’s true! We can’t expect God to go digging in and changing things all around if we don’t invite Him in to do the work. Once He’s been invited, He’s not going to just snap His fingers and make it so. He’s not Mary Poppins. He prefers to work with us. He’s more interested in the relationship we build as we work together on this common goal. He won’t force us. He won’t push us. He will, however, be with us as we examine our thoughts, feelings and associated memories, and present them to Him. Our task is to turn our finger from pointing at and blaming others to the courageous work of self-examination. What did I feel? What did I think? What did I do? What shall I do now? He will perform the miracle of comforting us when we realize the wounds we covered with whatever we had at the time. He will apply the miraculous balm of weeping with us through the memories of lonely times, hurtful words or actions. He will share with us how He was there all along, longing to take action to change the situation, but having to hold to His conviction of giving mankind free will. He will whisper beautiful truths that electrify our neuronal connections, replacing things like, “I’m no good,” with things like, “I am very dear to my Father God.” He will reach into our thorny hearts and pull the roots of the many weeds, without damaging the good that is there. He will take faulty beliefs like, “I have to outshine others to get your attention,” to the realization that He cares for all of us, and maybe especially the lost, the lonely and the oppressed. Yes, it’s a cooperative effort with a miraculous Holy Spirit working inside our physical minds. It’s the most amazing miracle of all, and we (as disciples) get to be a part of it!

Third: It takes time, but is worth the effort.

Just as we’ve learned in the last four installments in this series, creating new neuronal connections for pleasure takes repetition and practice, along with activities, exercise and engaging our senses. Working along with God, it takes time to mature. He relates to us as the Holy Father we need, consistently reaching out with pure love to hold us every time we struggle and look to Him. He relates to us as the Friend and Brother we need, stepping in to talk with us when we’re confused, standing up to our foes for us and even taking upon Himself the consequences of our own mistakes and failures. He relates to us as the Holy Spirit we need, charging our thoughts and hearts with powerful energy that lights up our darkness and changes our outlook, empowering us to love and forgive others and ourselves. The relationships we build with God, ourselves and others through this process of remodeling our neuronal connections results in a life of immeasurable peace, unexpected patience and generosity of spirit toward others. How could that not be worth the effort?

So now, more than a year after the first installment in this series, when new sprinklers in my garden disrupted my sense of pleasure, you must be wondering how that turned out.

The pleasure is back! I look forward to hearing the gentle wisps of water now. In fact, I much prefer this sound to the more violent splays of the old sprinklers. Brewing coffee into my favorite mug, I hurry to the garden to make it in time for the music of this water dance in my back yard. It’s gentle enough that the birds stay through the cycles now, adding their song to the symphony as they gather the bits of seeds and dried fruit the squirrels didn’t steal.

And the aging thing? I feel much better in my skin now. It’s okay with me that I’m not what I used to be. It’s okay with me that others can do things better. It turns out I actually really enjoy seeing them outperform me! I’m the grandma who pretends to race as fast as I can, beating my granddaughter to her room as we prepare her for bedtime, but am delighted to watch the youngster zoom by me every time. I delight in hearing my students come up with ideas that far surpass my own. I’m learning to pace myself because I’ve been learning how loved I am, just as I am. I’m learning to call on others to take their place where I leave off, because it’s good for them. I’ve found that by not trying to do it all myself, I now recognize the amazing abilities of those around me. How good it is for them to be able to rise to their fullest potential. How silly it was of me to think I had to do it all.

There’s no need to spend our lives unhappy. Pleasure is a good thing. There’s no need to feel guilty about wanting pleasure! There’s no reason to think we’re stuck with the hand dealt, or that others have to change, or things have to change, to make us happy. We can reclaim, remodel and transform elusive pleasures. We have the power to transform our brains from the inside out. It may take some work, but the result is amazing. Oh, yes, it’s worth it. So let’s get to it!

Lovingly,

Joan

“You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy, at Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11, AMPC

 

How About Another?

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It’s not like I don’t have plenty to do. Actually, I live in Plenty to Do. I know everyone there.

In the center of Plenty to Do lives a tiny little voice named ‘But.’

But, and her best friends, ‘Lemme,’ ‘Justdothis,’ and ‘Onemorething’ have been nagging me quite a lot lately. In fact, they kept me up too late several times this past week, looking at photos to crop, laughing over background colors and arguing over which WordPress theme would let them get their job done best.

I finally got fed up with their noise and decided, “Why not? Might as well have another!” I went on over to help them out today. I missed lunch and some paperwork of my own, but now maybe I’ll get some sleep.

At least until it’s time to get the next post ready!

Want to see what these gals from the land of Plenty to Do came up with? It’s a brand new blog, a forum for interacting about health, functioning well, recovering from injuries and disabilities, raising children with special needs, and the like. It’s a forum for people–patients, families, therapists, teachers, anyone interested in these things. Here, I’ll be writing more about what I know: Occupational Therapy. Here, I’ll be hosting other bloggers who are therapists, health care professionals, parents of kids with special needs, adults with spouses or parents with special needs, and such! There will be interviews, re-blogs and links to great resources.

Sound good?

Then come on, join the fun!

OT Interactions

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Sincerely,

Joan T Warren

 

 

April is National OT Month and Poetry Month

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Note: some posts deserve a second life. Here’s a repost from last April; what do you think, worthy?

April: Not a month for fools! Pull a prank on the first, but the rest of the month is National Poetry Month and National OT Month.

Most of us know what poetry is, but what is OT? An occupational therapist myself, I can say a little something about that!

Let’s start with some spring cleaning and air out the room with what occupational therapy is NOT:

Read the rest of this entry

Take Care of Your Heart

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All this talk about compassion and heart! Now it’s time for a quick word about your physical heart.

 

Click to learn more

Click to learn more

 

February is American Heart Month! How can we reach out to the world with compassionate hearts if our tickers aren’t working well?

Here are a few tips from Healthiest Weight Florida Initiative, to achieve and maintain a healthy heart:

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Quit smoking
  • Be active at least 30–60 minutes a day
  • Make an appointment for an annual check up
  • Monitor existing health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol
  • Practice effective stress management
  • Reduce salt intake (sodium)
  • Eat at least five to seven servings of fruits and vegetables every day

I hope you’ll join me, keep tickin’ and spread the good thoughts!

Beating Heart

 

©Joan T Warren

http://www.floridahealth.gov/newsroom/2015/02/020315-heart-health.html

http://www.healthiestweightflorida.com/

 

 

Doctor’s Recommendation

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Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.

Dr. Seuss

(The Lorax)

Compassion: Left and Right

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Marge lay exhausted at the end of a long day, her eyes puffy from too many tears. It has been an emotional day for her. As she lay on the sofa catching a quick break, an ear out for when her son’s trach needs suctioning, she becomes acutely aware that Read the rest of this entry

Dark Chocolate to my Soul

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This slideshow requires JavaScript.

First smile from my baby~

Fingertips at my back~

Purple hued sunsets o’er mountain or sea.

A word fitly spoken~

Laughing toddlers at play~

Secret gifts sent before there’s a plea.

Read the rest of this entry

It’s not all about what’s inside.

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These days we have disposable containers, because what matters is what’s inside. Right?

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Besides, what’s inside is not the same as the container, right?

Not so, on either count. Often the two are so melded, so interactive, so mutually dependent, that we just can’t separate them. We can’t value them separately, either.

Take, for example, a good book and its cover. Oh, you don’t think so? Well, how about Uranium-235 and its core container? Or, here’s a good one: the inner self and its human body.

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Successful grandkids: My granddaughter contained my grandson the troll, in an unexpected snare.

We are quite attached to these bodies, our containers.

Think about it; when we were little, we’d fall and scrape our knee, and it hurt. We cried. Our inner selves felt as if the world was coming to an end; at least until some sweet and very tall human kissed it, bandaged it, and promised, “No Mercurachrome.”

As children, we saw dead bugs, dead flowers, maybe even some dearly loved dead pets. Our inner selves realized those dead ones aren’t coming back. Most of us learned to be more careful with our bodies, to avoid the pain–and, hopefully, not go away forever.

I know I did. I wanted to grow up to be . . . alive! Then, when I grew up, I wanted to live to raise my daughter. Then, to see my grandchildren succeed. Still, I want to live, to create gifts for future generations.

Speaking of grandkids, I’ve seen this generation grow up playing war and street-gang video games, with avatars instead of real people. They don’t even flinch as they gun down innocent bystanders in the midst of the game. On top of that, the heroes get right up and keep going.

But life is for real, and so is death.

Many religions teach us about the inner person, the spirit, and a glorious afterlife. These teachings are inspirational. They are vital, compelling and comforting. Yet something about this begs more.

Maybe it’s the poor track record religion plays in war and peace.

Maybe it’s the impersonal way many religions try to comfort those who mourn.

Or maybe it’s the fallout of valuing inner, spirit-life as eternal, while considering the containers disposable.

Ask anyone who has lost a loved one; it’s not easy to separate the person from the container that now is gone. There is no one in their arms to hold. The loved one’s laughter no longer fills the room. Yes, the memory remains, and gives some comfort. A little comfort. To the grieving widow, child, and friend, though, the container is gone, and so the person inside.

Last year on this day we lost our beloved . . . been in a daze for over a year. . .

 

Containers are important.

With so much talk about what is in the container, what about the container itself? With such emphasis on inner life, and on the glorious afterlife, do we devalue the precious containers that are vital to achieving our purpose here on earth?

Just tonight, I opened my refrigerator to get a salad I hadn’t been in the mood for yesterday. Having not been sealed in a container, the salad had wilted. I regrouped, and slid it into the juicer with the other veggies. As the juice flowed out, I wondered: what if there were no container to hold the juice? That juice would have spilled out, rather than fulfilling its purpose– to nourish my body.

Our bodies–our containers–are important. They are more than avatars in a game! Take care of your body and treasure what it holds. Encourage others to nurture their bodies. Respect life in others. Feed your bodies with healthy, organic food. Exercise regularly in whatever way you can, building up to and maintaining your best physical state. Take care of the relationships and the planet we need for our containers’ survival. Live in balance: work, rest and play.

For without your container, how will your purpose here be fulfilled?

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For we hold these treasures in jars of clay –II Cor. 4

 

Joan T. Warren
Heart to Heart in a Shielded World

This post grew from:

Containers | The Daily Post
http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/containers/

And further developed into a mystery ending with encouragement from:
Mystery Ending | The Daily Post
http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_writing_challenge/telephone/

ROFLMAO

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I can’t remember the last time I actually rolled on the floor, laughing my ass off. Maybe that would explain the slight but ever so definite widening of this writer’s derriere?

This week’s DP Challenge from WordPress prompts us to remember and share the last time we had a “real, authentic, tearful, hearty belly laugh.” Perhaps the editor is in need of a good laugh. Apparently, so am I!

It’s funny you should ask, WordPress. Just yesterday, I wondered aloud (to a confidant) if I may be getting depressed, maybe need a little medication. I’ve been pushing my mind toward gratitude, happiness, enjoyment, and it keeps sliding back into the gutter where sludge hangs out. Sludge like the PLOM’s (poor little ol’ me’s), BLAHS’s (Boy Look at Her Stuff’s) and the POINTY FINGER’s (Projecting Out In Negative Thinking: Your Fault I’m Not Getting Everything Right!).  There’s been a lot of stress in life in the last year, oh, actually make that in the last fifty-six years (yes, I’ll be fifty-seven soon! Maybe that’s reason enough!). Stress, they say, can lead to depression by depleting the serotonin levels over time.

The prescription, so kindly returned, included practical things to improve my mindset, such as mentally rehearsing all I’m grateful for (check), getting enough sleep (un-check), exercising regularly (getting better, check), making time for friends (yeah, right), and, last but not least, laughing.
“Rent a comedy you’re sure will really make you laugh: belly laugh, can’t stop laughing, rolling on the floor laughter. It’s really good medicine!”
I slumped on through the day, the next morning, and then saw the WordPress challenge for the week. Maybe there’s something to this idea, twice in two days coming at me.

So, dutifully, I Googled movies that are sure to make me roll on the floor laughing.

Reading their reviews, I noticed something odd. All, without exception, had a dark side, a tragedy or relationship struggle, a cancer to battle, you know, really un-funny stuff, blended with “hilarious” antics. It made me wonder, Is it funny because we need something to be funny at that moment? Would it still be funny if you take it out of the context of contrasting misery? They say most comedians come from grossly abusive and dysfunctional families, you know. Anyway, I’m not sure that’s the sort of comedy I need right now. None the less, I selected a few that seemed lighter than most. Here’s my list:

Midnight in Paris

Greenberg

Kick-Ass

MacGruber

Seven Psychopaths

Sleepwalk with Me

This is 40

What do you think? Will any of these actually take me there? What funny movie or show do you recommend?

Hopefully at least one of these movies will get me ROFLMAO. Real. Authentic. Tearful. Hearty. Belly Laughs. Then I can tell you why it’s funny.

In the mean time, something happened to remind me that someone around me may need encouragement more than I. It only took a minute to give that person some positive feedback. Guess what? I feel better, for two days now. I think she does too.

So for now, I’ll be happy with feeling better, but I won’t turn down a hearty laugh as soon as it finds me.

Thanks, WordPress!

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=9_fjZHcs2bY

©Joan T. Warren

April is National OT Month and Poetry Month

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April: Not a month for fools! Pull a prank on the first, but the rest of the month is National Poetry Month and National OT Month.

Most of us know what poetry is, but what is OT? An occupational therapist myself, I can say a little something about that!

Let’s start with some spring cleaning and air out the room with what occupational therapy is NOT:

  • OT is not helping a person find a job and get back to work (though it could include that)
  • OT is not physical therapy (though it includes physical rehabilitation and exercise)
  • OT is not weaving baskets (though we started that way, helping injured Civil War soldiers find their usefulness again)
  • OT is not playing with children (though, if we are doing our job well, it feels like play to the child!)
  • OT is not making crafts in the psych ward (there is a method to their madness!)
  • OT is not a therapist prescribing activities you must do to get better (if it feels that way, we missed the mark)

Misconceptions aside, let’s focus on celebrating the awesomeness!

Occupational therapy IS a health profession that skillfully employs meaningful activities to create and support functional participation for people with challenging conditions. We work in hospitals, physical rehabilitation centers, homes, schools, daycare and mental health centers. We facilitate all facets of health with persons, families, companies, communities. . . even societies. As an occupational therapist, I freely, openly and unabashedly admit that I love occupational therapy!

To celebrate National Poetry and Occupational Therapy Month, I offer this, my poem about occupational therapy! As you will soon see, I am more OT than poet.

 

Occupational Therapy

 

An artful blend

of science

and simplicity,

therapeutic

authenticity.

 

Buoyed by heritage,

research, and college:

Intense preparation,

foundational knowledge~

 

There’s anatomy,

physiology,

neurology, too.

Psychology,

kinesiology,

technology, woo!

development and human ecology,

and a little pharmacology, who knew?

 

A touch of gerontology,

anthropology, yes.

Micro- to macro- sociology,

a bit of theology,  God bless.

 

There’s structure

and function,

identity, process,

abilities, unction.

 

There are roles and habits

to assess,

routines and interests

to address.

 

There’s history, framework

and principled theories,

Models and practice,

and, lest you grow weary:

 

Consider relationships,

values, beliefs,

cognition, attention,

caregiver relief.

 

Assessing environment,

ergonomics and means,

selecting equipment,

for elders or teens.

 

We modify, formulate

and make adaptations.

We codify, delegate

and give adulations.

 

All of this knowledge concealed from your view,

we come alongside and spend time with you.

We share in your struggle,

engage your connection;

we want to do more than facilitate function.

For joy, and purpose,

and efficacy too,

are the pillars supporting what humans can do.

 

We’re primed for the NICU,

the preemie-pound baby;

to nestle him, swaddle her,

give hope for what may be.

Teach parents and nurses

to grade stimulation:

his stress signs, her turning. . .

reduce light, sound and touch,

like a womb, for the learning.

Chin tuck, cheek support,

respect gaze aversion;

promoting connection,

’til infant can burgeon.

 

Then, later on,

tummy time,

feeding and play,

motor skills,

reaching,

into something all day.

 

Sensory processing,

modulation and then,

integration for ease

of all systems to blend.

Bringing the just-right challenge,

we grow–

producing responses

in beautiful flow.

 

Developing handwriting,

visual perception,

peer interactions

and social connection.

 

Teens needing special consideration,

peer groups and identity,

with little oration.

Any splint that we form,

or device that we craft

better suit the teen norm

so they won’t feel outcast.

 

On to adulthood,

where the great inclination–

to establish and master,

with keen inspiration,

independence and skill

in the face of impairment.

We come alongside,

being tough, with endearment.

Empowering patience,

setting goals for today,

equipping the wounded

with a will and a way.

 

You’ll find us with elders

wherever the need;

healing with basics

from bathing and dressing, to pulling a weed.

It may seem we’re playing when we bring you your putter,

but we’re really ensuring your balance is better.

“I can cook this at home,”

you may say with assurance.

“Teach me how,” we implore,

(for your safety, endurance).

Whether cooking or eating,

standing or seating,

playing piano, or maybe just listening,

balancing checkbooks

or just reminiscing;

we’re facilitating

what matters to you,

showing your value

whether just be, or do.

 

And then, in the workplace,

the healthcare machine–

equipped here to manage,

so much to convene:

Keeping ethics, best practice

and excellence as key,

we do billing and coding,

document properly.

For without reimbursement,

we could not continue

to make such a difference

For someone–like you.

 

So, in all walks of life

there is some occupation;

we therapists share

this one aspiration:

To be about

the work of imbuing

The beauty of

human beings, doing.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Did I mention that I love occupational therapy? 😉

Everyone knows someone who needs to hear about OT. Link up, pingback, spread the word! Please, all of you OT’s out there, add a stanza or two and tell us what you do.

 

©Joan T. Warren

AprilPoetryMonth

Reblog of my Daughter’s Amazing Post Today

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You’ve read here about my daughter a bit, and you’ve seen some of my daughter’s photography. Now, be blown away with her most recent post:

http://theopenbench.blogspot.com/2014/02/the-yellow-brick-road.html

©DenesiaChristine on Instagram, View from Yellow Brick Road

©DenesiaChristine on Instagram, View from Yellow Brick Road

She is amazing. I love her so much–I am spilling with clichés to try to tell you, but I guess you can imagine, if you read this.

© Joan T Warren

Haiku Grace Journey

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The Fall

Heart falls–glass vase. . . down
Droplets and shards splay with force
Dreams, with them, splatter.

imageThe Ache

Heart aches–lost in gloom
Dull and flat to spite the sun
Hopes, defied and slain.

imageThe Hardening

Heart hardens–dark shroud
Surrounds, squeezes, tender shoot
Shriveled, left to die.
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The Gasp
Heart gasps–reflexive,
Violently as from sleep
Final thrust for life.
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 The Cry
Heart cries–help me, please–
Sobs deeply heaving, need dire;
Light enters, here, now.
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The Nurturing
Heart heals–sunrise warms,
Kissing snowdrops, melt to tears
warming buds unfurl.
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The Restoration
Heart rejoices–Grace is!
Joy and life fill broken heart
Carry on to love.
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©Joan T. Warren

DPchallenge this week, to write five Haiku (or more) about anything. I choose to write this series, a journey of grace.

New Menu Topic

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possible looking down to say we dont talk about those things“My dear,”

she whispered as she peered down over her bifocals

to the little one fearfully looking up to her for help,

girl looking up for help 2

“These are not the sort of things people talk about.”

This new category/menu heading is dedicated to those things.

Because silence is not always golden.

©JoanTWarren

A Delicate Strength

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Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park

Above the tree line, frigid wind, snow and ice sever all but the most adapted life forms.

In this harsh environment, against all expectation, alpine wildflowers paint the rocky terrain with vibrant hues of pink, purple, white and yellow:

National Park Service, Rocky Mountain National Park Alpine Flower
Rocky Mountain National Park Alpine Flower

Colors we typically associate with femininity–

certainly not our definition of rugged.
 
 
Courtesy Andy Baird, Travels with Gertie
Courtesy Andy Baird, Travels with Gertie

Though the largest clusters are one to two inches tall and less than a foot in diameter, most are miniscule–those pictured here, just an eighth of an inch! These tiny beauties have the power to attract attention despite intense competition from endless mountain views and pristine open skies:

Miniature stature we typically deem picayune–
certainly not our definition of majestic.

Sometimes needing several years to produce their brilliant best, they bloom as long as they’re able, which is sometimes just a day, a week, perhaps a month at most, then rest for the long winter. If damaged by caribou, moose or tourist, it may take years to recover the wound.

This level of productivity we might typically judge as insubstantial, flimsy–certainly not our definition of efficient or prolific.

Yet who among us could survive the throes of an alpine home?

Rocky Mountain National Park – National Park Service

How is it, then, these dainty fairies thrive amidst frozen, barren, wind-torn and rocky terrain? Read the rest of this entry

Life, Death and Grains of Sand

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We never know how long we have. We don’t know how long we have with the ones we love. Read the rest of this entry

What does it mean? What does it matter?

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What does it mean to live heart to heart in a shielded world? What does it matter?

Today I passed the television as it played to an empty room. Katie Couric’s show was on, a first for me. She interviewed teens who nearly lost their lives from designer drugs. A young man explained how he got into Molly (ecstasy, MDMA, reportedly in its purest form) and began selling it to support his habit: when he tried it, it made him “feel like telling all his secrets” to someone, and in less than hour with someone he felt a close bond, like he’d known them forever. Wow. Sounds like the drug intensified then satisfied a craving he didn’t even know he had–a craving for intimacy, a craving for authenticity, a craving for feeling open and close to another human being. It’s too bad he needed a drug to give him that, since the side effects are so disastrous.

Living heart to heart is perhaps a bit like Molly, except it is real, throughout, and there are no significant negative side-effects. Living heart to heart is Read the rest of this entry

Birth of a Blog: Heart to Heart

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Somewhere around my fiftieth birthday I started thinking seriously about what I could still achieve in the fifteen to twenty years I had left in the work force, and hoping I’ll have many healthy years after that to pursue leisure, creative and volunteer activities. I set goals, then made some tough decisions and changes to help me reach those goals. As of this writing, five years have passed since then. Sometimes I feel I am no closer than I was, that unforeseen challenges have blocked progress. Time to stop and take stock.
What was I thinking? In these five years I started and finished a master’s degree, started my own business while maintaining my annual income, kept up a large percentage of maintaining our home and daily life, helped my husband’s business through four months during shortages of office manager, front desk and phone system meltdowns, managed the stress of helping a teen stepdaughter through some serious challenges (that shall remain confidential unless she consents to my sharing them), and gave a large portion of my time to nurture and care for my live-in step-granddaughter! Whew, and, now that I think of it, all while battling fibromyalgia and menopause! Not too shabby after all.
This brings me to why I began this blog. About twenty years ago I felt a Read the rest of this entry