Healing through Meaning

In the last blog entry I referred to logotherapy a modality that focuses on healing through meaning.

In any internet search you’ll hit on the quote: “You’re possessed with a power bigger than the pain.”

In my life I fix 36 as the magic number. It’s the year I decided to become a mental health activist.

My goal was to turn my pain into a thing of beauty for other people. To spread the gospel that people could recover.

Healing through meaning sums up how exactly a person can recover.

Everyone deserves to live a life of meaning and purpose no matter how great their challenge is or whether their illness is chronic or not.

Amidst the struggle finding meaning in what’s going on might be hard.

Decades later I know I’m a better person today for having gone through what I did when I was younger.

How to find meaning and purpose in your life:

It comes down to engaging in rituals often termed self-care that make you feel good.

In being who you are not who others want you to be.

In looking in the mirror and shouting: “Hello, Beautiful!”

Who knows why you and I have to bear whatever burden we’re going through.

The holiday season is here. A time when a lot of us feel sad not cheerful.

What’s powering me through this time is going easier on myself. I changed the dining table decor to the winter tablescape.

In December out comes the holiday dinnerware I bought in Crate and Barrel. Hot cocoa is my go-to drink.

I’ve begun wearing eyeshadow every day. Applying moisturizer at night as well as in the morning.

Little things like these are what I call taking “bite-size chunks.”

Now is not the time to bite off more than you can chew. Not when you’re going through a hard time.

Healing through finding things that give your life meaning and purpose can make all the difference.

As hard as it can be to find the time to take care of yourself I say:

Just Do It. Set the table with the holiday dinnerware. Cook a meal for yourself on the days that you’re able.

Do what gives you joy. Always.

Taking Control

Whether you are experiencing a form of trauma or an ordinary struggle you can feel overwhelmed.

It can feel like you have no control over what’s happening. Only you have control over how you respond.

Getting help is the first order of the day. A true-blue friend I can always count on to give me the right advice.

Differentiating what things are your responsibility and what aren’t yours to take on is imperative.

One: just to be kind and gentle toward yourself will go a long way in helping you feel better when you’re going through a setback.

Two: it could help to break things into what I call “bite-size chunks.”

Three: That is to do only what you need to do in any given moment.

Making it as convenient as possible to have a healthy routine is the key difference in helping me feel like I’m in control.

From FreshDirect online I buy single-serving packages of Gaea olives for a snack.

Instead of having cereal for dinner when I can’t cook I heat up a can of Amy’s Organic soup like Lentil or Chunky Tomato Bisque or Split Pea.

On nights when I have no energy at all to cook I order from a restaurant that has salad and vegetables and seafood on the menu along with organic chicken.

As hard as it can be to see a way out of what’s going on this is precisely when I think that setting a realistic goal or two can help.

Key word in that sentence: realistic.

In coming blog entries I’ll talk about setting goals again.

Having a goal to set your sights on can make the struggle bearable.

As Viktor Frankel wrote in his book Man’s Search for Meaning:

He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.

Frankel was the founder of logotherapy that focuses on healing through meaning.

He was a holocaust survivor.

Whatever you’re going through I’m confident that each of us can persevere and get to the other side victorious.

It’s not going to take a couple of days or weeks. It might take longer. It might take a year or longer.

Yet remembering that you have something to look forward to can keep you going.

In a coming blog entry I’d like to touch on the concept of healing through meaning as well.

Surviving a Setback

I’m going to write about making changes after a setback like the COVID-19 outbreak or any other struggle.

Often we experience a setback that causes us to change our behavior or our routine.

I’ve started today to do things differently. On short notice I might have to act as the caregiver for my mother.

It’s the classic dilemma: How to care for yourself as well as you care for others?

I’d like to talk in future blog entries about how to overcome setbacks.

In the coming blog entry I’m going to talk about how to feel like you’re in control when things are collapsing in front of your eyes.

The COVID-19 outbreak is no joke. It has tested everyone’s ability to be resilient.

So what I’m writing I hope can help others as we move into 2021.

Giving Thanks

November is Native American Heritage Month.

We should remember the Indigenous forefathers of our country.

They risked their lives to continue to live here. Thousands were killed in the worst genocide in American history along the Trail of Tears.

We should honor their peaceable worship of nature and the natural world and the Spirit.

It’s why I prefer to celebrate the Giving Thanks part of Thanksgiving.

Not the shop-till-you-drop Black Friday frenzy.

I recommend keeping a grateful journal and writing in it 5 things you’re grateful for as often as possible.

I’m grateful my family is here to celebrate with me.

A Happy Season to You!

Living Out of the Blue

The year ends soon.

The advent of January brings out the focus on New Year’s resolutions.

You can click on my goal-setting Category to read blog entries about the Changeology book 5 Steps to Realizing Your Goals and Resolutions.

I’ve used this 90-day action plan to set and carry out numerous goals in the last 3 years.

I would like to talk about goals and resolutions in this blog again.

How sometimes you reach a point where you shout: “Enough!” or basta as Italians would say.

What I know with confidence:

A change that happens out of the blue is not always sudden or quick. Your discontent with an aspect of your life was most likely percolating in your mind.

This subconscious brewing leads to the day when the water in the coffeepot whistles because it’s reached boiling.

This is how you’ve come to do something different after months–or even years– stuck in an old familiar behavior.

The day comes where you shout: “Enough!”

The point is that any serendipitous change should not be discounted or questioned. In fact I’m not so quick to abandon one change I’ve decided to make.

Waking up one day and deciding: “Today is the day” is the beauty of self-change. It can happen at any time in a person’s life.

Having lived through the pandemic for 9 months it’s possible that you and I are giving birth now to an idea a plan a Self that has been growing inside of us.

Should you find yourself suddenly faced with the desire to make a change or two I say: go with this and go for it.

The time is now. And for goal-setting I will once again recommend Changeology: 5 Steps for Realizing Your Goals and Resolutions.

2021 can only be better. I firmly believe this. Cheers.

Fall Lower Body Routine 2

Dumbbell squat (Holding dumbbells by your side – feet shoulder width – back straight – chest up)

Single leg dead lift (Dumbbell is on opposite side of working leg – back leg rises as upper body lowers)

Single-side hip bridge (Push off of heel on the working side to raise hips as high as possible)

Side lying hip / leg raises (Similar to side plank – can add dumbbell to thigh)

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Side-to-side medicine ball slam (20 throws each side)

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Alternating V-ups (10-15 each side)

High knees (30 seconds +)

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Alternating knee tuck (with hands behind for support – 15 tucks each side)

Fall Upper Body Routine 2

Single-arm kettlebell chest press – 10 pound x 15 reps

Resistance band row (resistance is created by distance between feet – hips back – back straight – pull handles to bring shoulder blades together) – 15 reps

Resistance band curls (one curl at a time – focus on squeezing bicep at the top of each curl – finish each curl before you stand the next) – 15 reps

Lying down dumbbell tricep extension (holding dumbbell at the base – lying flat – bend elbows back behind head – extend forearms / elbow back towards ceiling) – 8 pound x 15 reps

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Jumping rope jumps – 30 seconds or 30 jumps

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Flutter kick (lying flat legs up alternate kicks) – 30 seconds

Fast-paced step ups on platform – 30 seconds

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Russian twists (using body bar with kayaking motion – I have 10 pound bar) – 15 twists each side

Well

It’s Autumn again in New York City.

The time when I scout around for produce at the Greenmarket.

This fall I intend to focus on eating well and breaking a sweat.

In a couple of weeks I should be able to post a new workout routine.

I ordinarily do the Upper Body and Lower Body workouts for 12 sessions each.

For over one year I have done something unusual. Not that it is uncommon for me to do something unusual:

I’ve been exercising on the hardwood floor in my living room. Every 12 weeks I meet my personal trainer at the gym to be given a new workout routine to do. This routine I do at home as I’ve talked about before.

As I got older I could no longer exercise at the gym ferociously like I used to.

The year ends in just over 2 months. I think everyone could benefit from revising and reviewing their routine while Mercury is retrograde this month and through early November.

This is my plan: to eat well and break a sweat. To not get hung up over the times when I don’t do what you’re supposed to do.

A reappearance of COVID-19 is expected in November.

This is why now is the time to take care of our mental and physical health.

I expect in 2 or 3 weeks to post another workout routine.

Stay tuned.

World Mental Health Day

October 10 is World Mental Health Day.

To my loyal band of followers I say thank you gracias merci grazie thanks a million for joining me in championing mental and physical health.

I prize having fitness of body and mind.

World Mental Health Day should be the day we commit to doing things to nourish our own mental health and to help others flourish too.

The truth is people can recover. Those of us doing well owe a debt to society to help others less fortunate. People who will always have a harder time of it throughout their lives cannot be forgotten or abandoned.

All of us are human beings doing the best we can with what we were given.

To remember is to understand. I have told my story to give others hope.

Keeping things hidden only serves to reinforce feelings of guilt and shame surrounding having an illness of any kind.

Why the secrecy when we’re not monsters?

In speaking out my aim is to give others permission to tell their stories.

Every day should be a mental health day.

Every day it should be a common occurrence that love for ourselves and others rules.

Fall Lower Body Routine

Kettlebell Squat with Upright Row 3×15 10 pounds

Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift 2 10 pound dumbbells 3×12-15

Farmers Walks 15 pound dumbbells walk 15 steps back and forth 5 to 6 times

Kettlebell Swings 15 pounds 3×15

30 second Jumping Jacks

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Leg Tucks / Crunch combo 15-20 reps

Jump Rope Jumps

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Planks (hold as long as possible)