What Timmy Taught Me (or How to Ask for Help)

What Timmy Taught Me (or How to Ask for Help)katharine2

-Katharine Conroy

A number of years ago, I was diagnosed with a Brain Tumor, which I not so lovingly named, Timmy.  For the record, I don’t have anything against anyone named Timmy, it just seemed like a good name for a tumor and I could address my feelings towards Timmy, the Tumor.

But I digress.  There were so many lessons that I learned, during the time of Timmy.  The most important lesson for me, was that it’s ok to ask for help and how much people really do want to help you (and strangers – think of all of the donations during a natural disaster that people make).

Growing up, I was taught to be strong, that showing any sign of weakness was bad.  I equated asking for help as a sign of weakness, that I couldn’t accomplish x by myself.  This did lead me to take risks early on in work, take on roles that I wasn’t fully qualified and work my butt off to be able to learn and be able to do the job.

And then one Friday, before the 4th of July weekend, I was SHOCKED to find out that not only did I have a brain tumor, it was huge! Luckily, I have the most amazing group of girlfriends.  One of my friends went with me to meet the neurosurgeon and afterwards, the two of us took turns calling the “girlies” to meet up for drinks and potentially get drunk.  One of the girlies was flying out early the next morning on an international trip.  She stopped in the middle of packing and came to the bar to meet us.

It was 6 weeks from diagnosis to surgery and then 6 weeks of recovery to 26 days of radiation.

During those 6 weeks, I contacted friends and family far and wide to tell them about Timmy.  My sister and sister-in-law took turns babysitting me prior to the surgery and then my best friend flew into town for the week of the surgery.  But before any of this could happen, I had to take a deep breath and acknowledge that I just couldn’t do this by myself, I needed help and asking for it wasn’t going to make me weak.

Everyone in my life showed up and showed up huge.  And they didn’t show up as a burden, they showed up because they wanted to.  They came to my house prior to the surgery, they came to the hospital during recovery and they came to the rehab hospital.  We didn’t know about the radiation and I didn’t know how hard radiation would be, so a few weeks after surgery, they went back to normal lives and then I shifted to radiation.

I hope that none of you have to learn about asking for help due to a significant health issue, but in everyday course of your life.  Know that asking for help doesn’t make you weak and your people will want to help – but they need to know that you need help.  Hopefully, you’ll end up with crazy funny stories that you can reflect back on and smile.

About Katharine:

Katharine and I met during a speech class in college and we became fast friends.   Years later, we had the opportunity to work together at Accenture.  She has also been a huge help to me with her marketing expertise.  We have learned a lot from each other throughout our friendship and I admire her for her honesty and courage through hardships. 

Katharine

 

Katharine Conroy

Digital Marketing Strategist for Fortune 100 companies

t: @celtickat

linkedin.com/in/katharineconroy

Changes

Changes

by Sofia Leite

It was June, in a beautiful mountain in Picos of Europe, we were sitting under a gorgeous tree. One of my dearest friends said “I wish I had your courage to change my life. You did it, and now you’re doing so well!”. I smiled and said, “Yes, but that’s the very short version of the process I’ve been through, without the painful part.”

Without a doubt, it was the best thing I could’ve done, but along the way, I had constant challenges and tests, that I overcame one by one, one day at a time. I was scared and had many doubts, but my conviction never let me give up.

Here are some challenges I had to face.

1 – Fear

It’s true, there’s always fear, especially when we’re going to leave everything that’s certain and step into the unknown. Fear never goes away, but I don’t let it make any decision. As Elizabeth Gilbert says, me and fear are on this journey together, but fear is going on the back seat of the car and can’t decide anything. It’s not even allowed to touch the radio!

2 – Doubts and uncertainties

It’s another constant, and it’s normal to question if it was the best decision. Many times! I remember once there was a week when everybody who had scheduled, canceled. Even one person who didn’t have an appointment called to cancel! I thought it was surreal and perhaps a sign that something was not ok. I waited and wondered if I was just needing a pause and rest some time. A bit annoyed, that’s what I did, and after a while, everything went back to normal.

3 – What other people say

Conversations like “It’s not going to work. What if you regret it? It’s too risky, too difficult. You better stay where you are, …etc.” Honestly, I have zero interest in chats like this. What we put our attention on, grows, and really it’s not the reality I’m interested in. I always think it might be true for you, but it’s not for me.

4 – It was not what I was expecting

At all. It’s much better! I tried to be flexible (like the bamboo) and experimented several approaches and techniques, and naturally left behind what didn’t work or didn’t like, and develop what gave better and faster results. With time, I dropped my expectations and stopped judging if it was good or bad. I trust in the Universe and know that what happens is always the best for me. I think that usually we dream too small and are almost afraid to ask for good things, be it to have inner peace, heal a health issue or solve a difficult financial situation. It’s always good to leave space and an open door for life to surprise us. We don’t have to control everything. Maybe it’s not the way we thought, but it can be so much better.

It’s time. Courage 🙂


About Sofia:

I met Sofia last year on the Camino de Santiago along with friend, Marisa Carvalho, both from Portugal. Sofia walks the Camino every year.  I was drawn to her for her spirituality, kindness, and dedication.  After the walk, we met again later in Portugal and have remained friends since.  We plan to get together and walk a different route of the Camino together in the future.  Thank you, Sofia for the engaging conversations and look forward to joining our forces together in the future.

Sofia has a degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Porto and has worked in the pharmacy area for seven years. She has taken courses in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Graduate Studies in Energy Medicine with Dr. Tran Viet Dzung.  Sofia is a Reiki Master.  She believes that more important than to choose one specific therapy is to chose the therapist. We can only understand, interpret and transmit the reality till our own level of development, and that affects directly the way a therapist works.

https://www.sofialeite.org/

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Mindfulness – Trend or Way of Life?

Mindfulness – Trend or Way of Life?

by Liz Rutledge

There has been a lot of discussion in the last few years about this thing called “Mindfulness.”   In this world of smartphones and free wi-fi, it can be challenging to find stillness.  The more busy schedules get, the more we are expected to multitask, eat on the go and rush through life, the more Mindfulness is desired.

What is it exactly?

Mindfulness is “being present and aware in a moment without judgment”. 

That’s it.  Getting still and letting our nervous systems settle is critical for balancing ourselves.  If you can sit up in a chair with feet on the floor, place one hand on your belly and one on your chest.  Close your eyes.  Feel your belly, then your chest, rise, and fall naturally, listening to the air come in and out of your lungs.  As you repeat this, try counting to five on the in breath and down from eight on the out breath.  Then repeat for a few, slow, deep breaths.  Do this for a minute any time you need to reduce anxiety, calm down and focus.  This is a great breath pattern for settling down to sleep at night as it is calming.

A lot of scientific research has shown that Mindfulness helps improve focus and concentration and reduce stress and anxiety.  And the most beautiful thing about it is it’s just breathing.  And, we have our lungs with us from the moment we are born until the moment we die.  They are always with us, and they are free.  Finding our breath puts us in a happier mood, helps us sleep deeper, reduces anxiety, helps our hearts be healthier, and improves our air intake among other benefits.

It’s as simple as taking one, slow, deep breath to deepening the Mindfulness Meditation experience to three, then five, then 10-20-30 minutes.  More experienced meditators can meditate for an hour or more.  The Dalai Lama meditates for something like seven hours a day.

The beauty of Mindfulness being trendy in the information age of smartphones, the Internet, tablets, and iPods is that there are free and low-cost apps available to guide us through Mindfulness meditation.

Some of the more popular apps are*:

  • The Mindfulness App (free)
  • Headspace (free)
  • Calm (free)
  • MINDBODY (free)
  • Buddhify (Price: iPhone, $4.99 and Android, $2.99)
  • Insight Timer (free)
  • Smiling Mind (free)
  • Meditation Timer Pro (Price: $0.99)
  • Sattva (free)
  • Stop, Breathe, & Think (free)

*https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/top-meditation-iphone-android-apps

Additionally, there are hundreds of free guided meditation videos on YouTube and Vimeo.

Some of my favorites are:

The Honest Guys’ 10-Minute Guided Meditation is a great first thing in the morning right after you wake up.

Yoga Nidra Body Scan Meditation is great if you have a little more time.

And this one from Michael Sealey is good any time to help reduce anxiety and stress:

About Liz:

I have known Liz for over 25 years, but it’s not until recently I have been inspired by her devotion to her family, the environment, and well-being.   Her transparency and friendship is something I admire about her.  Thank you, Liz! 

liz

SustainableThree founder Liz Rutledge is deeply passionate about the environment.

She has been doing Mindfulness in one form or another since she was 10 years old. She teaches Mindfulness at schools in the Denver area and is in the process of getting her Mindful Schools certification.

Mindfulness is about taking care of ourselves, our community, and our planet. Liz teaches people how to compost, garden, recycle and other sustainability activities. She is a blogger and has written the blog on sustainablethree.com since 2014. In addition, Liz is a freelance writer and dabbles in novels, editorials, and other blogs.  She loves to garden and travel as well as being a wife and mother to three children.

Brave Confessions From an Older Woman

Brave Confessions From an Older Woman – by Kim Salisbury

I am an older woman. I am an older woman. I am an older woman. I guess if I try to say it enough times it might stick. I had an interesting ah-ha moment recently. Someone had seen a picture of me in an intense pose and commented that they hoped that they looked like me when they are older. When I first read the comment I remember thinking, “What older woman?” “Who are they looking at?” Well, ME! I was the older woman. Yet it can’t be me. I feel the same as I did at 29 years of age. I missed the entire beautiful compliment from that person because of the sting of the label. But the fact is that I am an older woman.

I remember my parents at my age and thinking they are so old. And when I get very real and look deep into the mirror I can do nothing but realize that the outside is older than the inside. The face I see has lines and sags and age creeping in on it. Don’t get me wrong. I work hard to turn back the hands of time through nutrition and exercise, but the fact still remains I am aging.

In the society in which we live it is almost criminal to get old. With all the injections, surgeries, pills and powders, we are taught to fight aging as if it was a matter of life and death. We are taught that beauty is wrinkle-less, no expression, puffed up faces that have no movement or character. We are taught to do whatever it takes at all costs to look young. Now I’m not entirely against these things. I have tried some of them and researched others and ultimately I believe a woman has the right to do whatever she wants with her body and face without any judgement, shame or guilt. But the examples I see before me are tortured women that have become manic in the race against time. They have become obsessive about staying young to the point of looking plastic and feeling value less because of chronology.

I refuse to become that. I love a face that moves. I love a face that laughs and crinkles and turns up or down. I also love when I see an older woman that is aging gracefully walk into a room and light it up because of her smile, posture, grace and inner light. Yes, there are days when I peer into my face and struggle with the changes that are taking place, but I have to let go and surrender to the way things are supposed to be. The natural progression of life and the natural changes in the body. I have to surrender to other things changing as well. This is not giving in but instead accepting the fact that there are some things that no matter what are inevitable. Having an inner peace and love for yourself is true beauty to me. I hope that I can continue to embrace these beliefs and embrace myself no matter what age I turn, no matter what society insists and no matter what I see in the mirror.

 BECAUSE THIS IS ME – by Kim Salisbury

My forehead wrinkles. I have lines and creases going against the grain.
Do I no longer SMILE?

My thighs wobble and giggle each time I take a stride.
Do I no longer WALK or RUN?

My skin is sagging. I have ripples around my knees and lumps and bumps that I have never seen.
Do I no longer WEAR shorts?

I look awkward and stiff. I don’t know the latest moves.
Do I no longer DANCE?

My shoulders begin to round. My spine is not as straight.
Do I no longer STAND tall?

My ears are less precise. I ask “What?” a few too many times.
Do I no longer LISTEN?

My eyes have to strain. I adjust back and forth to be able to see.
Do I no longer SEEK?

I am fearful and anxious and filled with concern for what is to come.
Do I no longer LIVE?

I am broken and changed and bruised and beat.
Do I no longer LOVE?

NO!

I will continue to SMILE, WALK & RUN, WEAR short shorts, DANCE, STAND tall, LISTEN, SEEK, LIVE & LOvE.

Because this is ME!

No matter how much I am reminded of my mortality. I will continue to find JOY & PURPOSE & AUTHENTICITY & INDIVIDUALITY & LAUGHTER & PASSION & HUMILITY.

Because this is ME!

About Kim:

I remember seeing Kim for the first time as a freshman in high school years ago.  To me, she always had an angelic face and and a glowing smile that still is contagious.  Today, she inspires me with her bright, colorful photos of healthy food and amazing yoga poses.  I hope she inspires you as well.

Since being a teenager Kim Salisbury has always been drawn to all things physical. Moving her body in all different sports and activities has always brought her immense satisfaction. Kim understood from a young age the benefits of keeping active, connecting the mind and the body and the release that was brought on by physical activity. It was no surprise that she would choose a career that would carry out her passion and share her beliefs with others.  Kim believes in the power and science of yoga with the tools of breath work, meditation, asanas or poses, mantras, bandhas and more. Her philosophy with working with clients is not just about getting fit, losing a few pounds or inches or fitting into a smaller size, but more so working towards helping them find and live a healthy, centered and joyful way of life that is found on the mat. With an addition of a certification of Psychotherapeutic yoga, Kim is passionate about working with special populations, injuries and sickness, specifically focusing on stress, anxiety and depression. Yoga therapy for the wellness and strengthening of the brain and nervous system.

You can visit Kim at http://www.ksalisbury.com.

Kim Salisbury

“Watch for inspirational stories starting on Monday.

In 2017, I launched Vida Life Coaching with the intention of helping women through their life challenges. I am pleased that I have motivated clients who have entrusted me with their trials and feelings. Together we are working together on career changes, relationships, and inner peace goals. We are making progress one step at a time.

I have posted a few blogs about gratitude and reflection and as well I have posted Facebook and Instagram photos about positivity. Soon, I will be sharing blogs written by amazing women I have met throughout my personal journey. Some I have known for many years and others just in the last few years. I feel they have so much to give and contribute to you. I want to gather all this wealth of information and be able to share it with all of you, my readers.

Over the next year, please enjoy some articles written by these well-respected women from all over the world and whom I am grateful to call my friends. I hope you will enjoy their inspirational wisdom and stories. Please look for my blog post on Monday morning introducing Kim Salisbury and her article titled, Brave Confessions From an Older Woman.

And when you’re ready to move forward with your personal challenge and growth, please contact me to set up a consultation.

May your weekend be filled with the fresh air of spring.
-Donna

Reflection through Exercise

Ten years ago, I was facing the worst part of an extremely difficult time in my life. Being married to my husband had deteriorated my health and well-being; and when both were at an all-time low, I finally decided to leave.
I started the divorce process, moved out of my home, and left everything, including my precious dogs behind. Thankfully, I had another place to go and stayed with family members. But I had no car and as I was nowhere near public transportation, getting to and from in the city for work was difficult. I had to plan for hours of commute time.
I spent much of this time walking. And it was during this time, I reflected. I discussed with myself the past, the present, and the future. It was helpful for1910061_114375034910_3921763_n me as it provided awareness of who I was and what I had become. It also helped me plan for the difficult days ahead.
A few friends reminded me to be careful about my mental health. They, too, had gone through extremely difficult divorces and unfortunately, developed an autoimmune disease. They believed it was due to the stress they endured. This is when I started practicing yoga. I started with 3 days a week after work and then turned it into 5 days. I went because I felt it was a necessity. It brought awareness of my balance whether physical or mental.
Once I left Northern California and returned home to Denver, I realized I had lost about 25 lbs. and was in better shape than I ever had been. I needed new clothes and my shoe size had gone down one full size. I was certainly happy with the change and it was important because it kept me going in a positive way.
In my next phase of life, as a divorcee, I focused on fitness. I had a personal trainer, I took Chi-running lessons and started to run 5Ks. A few years later, I did my first half-marathon. I also realized that during my running routines, I would think quite a bit and continued to reflex on the past, the present and the future. This reflection was “me time.”132222_482295774910_1604990_o
This last summer, I finally completed an item on my bucket list. My partner and I walked several routes of the Camino de Santiago in Spain. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I wondered how our entire eight hours of walking a day would be spent. Would we talk the entire time? Would I listen to my music? Would we meet others and talk to them? I didn’t know. Soon I would know, as the 3rd day of our walk, my iPhone got wet in a rainstorm and music was no longer an option. In addition, it was impossible to have a conversation as most of our hikes were up and down mountains, through muddy or rocky trails that required concentration on the placement of our feet. So, my time was spent focusing on the hiking and reflecting. I thought a lot and about everything. For example, how things in my past made impacts on my life today, and where I was years ago.18582606_10155327166944911_1457266115703116945_n
One of my biggest takeaways from the Camino was how reflection had worked for me throughout the last ten years.
Overall, by walking, hiking, practicing yoga and running – my awareness of me and how it shaped my present life and how it encourages my future has been priceless.

Aside

What am I grateful for?

When searching for “gratitude” or “being grateful”, my search engine came up with 233,000,000 results.  You might find a story about someone putting a stone in a pocket as a reminder of gratitude, someone logging gratitude in an Excel spreadsheet, or someone writing a daily gratitude journal.

I attached a piece of notebook paper on my bathroom mirror with “What are you grateful for?”. gratefulNothing fancy, but it reminded me of being grateful.  And I continue to remember to be grateful as much as I can.

Our family reunion was no exception. For as long as I can remember, our family has been getting together to celebrate Chilefest. This is our annual tradition of roasting and peeling green chiles from New Mexico, catching up with family members and enjoying fresh margaritas.Chilefest2017collage

I’m grateful that my parents are still alive and healthy and that we are all able to continue to share the stories of our past.

I’m grateful for my sister who continues to inspire me as she works hard as a mother, wife, professor, writer, and world traveler.

I’m grateful for my other family members who share varying views of politics, passions and pastimes because it fosters understanding, provides different perspectives and stimulates my worldly thinking.

And I’m grateful for my partner, who is my driving force and challenges me every day by playing devil’s advocate and motivating me with ideas.

233,000,001 results. My first blog and I am grateful.

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