Posted in coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, Emotional Health, Empowerment

The Constants In Our Lives

Do you remember taking algebra and having the constant in the equation?  Constants are important because they create stability.  When we have constants in our lives we have a sense of safety and security.  They say, “The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know.”  I started thinking about what’s constant in my life because I work all over the country and it feels like things are constantly changing.  Knowing someone at home loves me even if I’m not there is critical to continuing my work away from home.  Experiencing support in the form of life updates keeps me in the loop even when I step out of the circle physically (but never emotionally or spiritually).

I was listening to an interview with Buddhist nun, Pema Chodron where she shared, “The sun is always there-sometime clouds are disguising it, but it never leaves.”  That’s the simplest way to describe object constancy, knowing something still exists even if we can’t see it.  How is that possible?  We experience the world through multiple senses and on top of that we have our innate sense of intuition.  When we pair all these sensory and experiential aspects we build a spiritual nest where in our hearts we know we’re protected.

I’m not sure why, but many equate constant with boredom.  You here things like same s**t different day.  If we’re coming up against the same challenges repeatedly and you think that’s a constant there’s a problem.  Incurring the same obstacles over and over is insanity.  It’s in that moment that changing your strategy is critical to moving forward.  The constant experiences in your life should be the things that support you, encourage you, provide you with a sense of security and allow you to take some risks to hopefully improve your pilgrimage to health and healing.

Remember, the sun really is there even if you can’t see it and so your humanity!  The world needs you!

Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, living with chronic illness, overcoming adversity

Life’s Barnacles

I’m love the water but I’m not a sailor in any way, shape, or form. I do love to be on a cruise ship but I don’t think the captain is going to let me steer the ship. In order for boats of any shape to sail smoothly they need constant maintenance. One of the things that boats have to contend with are barnacles; those little creatures can create major problems for any floating vessel.

Many years ago I was spending time with my oldest niece (who is currently 21). A friend of mine allowed us to use her pool and we went for a swim. My niece was about three at the time and was taking swimming lessons. If you’ve ever had kids in swim lessons you know the levels are differentiated by names like tadpole and shark. My niece was in the water traveling the edge of the pool and she called to me, “Uncle Greg….I’m a barnacle!” It brings back very fond memories, but it also makes me think about what we think are the barnacles in our conscious walking lives.

I want you to think about those things in life that grab on to you and won’t let go. Consider the amount of drag on your life as a result of these “barnacles” or life interruptions. When you are saddled with life’s barnacles you expend energy just trying to stay afloat. It impedes any progress on your health and healing journey.

You never know when something will attach to you until it begins to cause problems. It requires you to seek within your heart and soul what’s dragging you down. Once you find the barnacles, like a boat, the goal is to remove it to resume smooth sailing. How you rid yourself of the barnacle may vary. Read Dan Harris’ book 10% Happier and try meditation to remove emotional barnacles. Have a creative streak then Julia Cameron’s The Artist Way will take you through a process that has been holding you back in your artistic endeavors. Perhaps you need to read Pema Chodren’s The Places that Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times, addressing the spiritual barnacles that impede your journey to wellness.

It’s cute to be a symbolic barnacle in the pool as you’re learning to swim, but those real life barnacles will slow you down, even derail your journey to health and healing. Promote smooth sailing by checking for life’s barnacles and removing them to create a sense of wholeness body, mind, and spirit!

Want to remove life’s barnacles?  Visit

Learn to use your creativity to remove life’s barnacles at

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Posted in art and healing, creativity and health

Lessons Learned and Wisdom

Is there a difference between learning and wisdom?  Just because you know something do you use it?  What if it gets in the way of holding on tight to beliefs that aren’t serving you in a particular moment?  What if you’d rather be right than better?  It’s something we all have to face because we’re human and change is a difficult process for us all, especially when it involves a health challenge.  Wisdom is a tricky thing because it is a comprehensive and cumulative experience in our lives.  We aren’t born with wisdom; it’s something we acquire or earn throughout our lives.  Wisdom for many comes a huge cost, but it doesn’t have to if we keep ourselves open to possibility.

If you’ve ever read Pema Chodron you’ve read or know about wisdom.  Pema is a Buddhist nun whose writing isn’t filled with filler, but full of substance.  She cuts to the chase and if we all that in all areas of our lives we’d save a lot of time, effort and energy.  Yesterday I was reading her book “The Places That Scare You”, something we all can relate to, and found the following passage:

         “In vajrayana Buddhism it is said that wisdom is inherent in emotions.  When we struggle against our energy we reject the source of wisdom.  Anger without the fixation against our energy is none other than clear-seeing wisdom.  Pride without fixation is experienced as equanimity.  The energy of passion when it’s free of grasping is wisdom that sees all the angles.” p. 29

I wanted to share that passage with you because many facing health challenges try and keep the emotions at  bay.  Some believe that delving into the emotional realm is like opening Pandora’s Box.  The truth is that we need to open Pandora’s Box, but our own version.  The version that allows our truth to emerge through our emotions.  The emotions aren’t going away because you suppress them.   As humans containment of our emotions is very difficult.  Most of us leak our emotions without even knowing and it comes out in negative ways.  We don’t look at our emotions as wisdom when in fact the are the fountain of wisdom.  They are the lessons learned and taking a cue from them can save you a lot of time and turmoil.

We live in a culture that sings songs like “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” or attach negative emotions by claiming someone is “wearng their heart on their sleeve”.  We imprisoned by how we look to others and don’t honor the truth in our emotions.  It’s our emotions that make us multi-dimensional.  It’s one of the reasons that artists are so important in our culture; they speak, quite vividly, about their emotions through the language of creativity.  They refuse to squelch the wisdom that lies in their experience. 

How will you honor your wisdom?  What will it take to experience the wisdom gained from your emotions?  How wise are you?