Writing and Spiritual Journeys

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“Be faithful to that which exists within yourself.”  ~ Andre Gide

Yesterday’s blog posting led me to much deeper thoughts about the value of writing about health issues.

There are many men, women, and couples, who have found help and spiritual healing by writing about their own experiences of dealing with health issues of all kinds. If it weren’t for independent publishing, many of these stories would not be available for others to read. Important that these stories be told to help others who are going through difficult diagnoses and treatment, independent publishing serves as a valuable avenue in getting these books out to the public. Unique books, with personal stories, are often sold and marketed through e-commerce (sold on the internet).

There are many books available on cancer but there are three independently published books that I would like to mention in honor National Breast Cancer Month. To read more about these publications or to order them, please visit the links beside each title.

Fine Black Lines: Reflections on Facing Cancer, Fear and Loneliness by Lois Tschetter Hjelmstad  Click here for info & ordering

The Heroics of Falling Apart: One Couple’s Breast Cancer Journey, Julie and Dan Gordon http://bit.ly/SYjX7xClick here for info & ordering

The Cancer Odyssey Author: Margaret Brennan Brumel http://bit.ly/RAPOrHClick here for info & ordering

As a member of the Colorado Independent Publishers Association www.cipabooks.com , I have the opportunity to meet many authors who have published award-winning stories that help others. Although I do not know Julie and Dan Gordon or Margaret Bermel, I do know Lois Tschetter Hjelmstad. She is an amazing woman for many reasons, not just because she is a cancer survivor. She also has written other books about personal relationships. Each time I see her at a publishing event, we enjoy speaking with boeach other. I have observed something that she writes about – a very, very long lasting, successful marriage. She has been married 64 years, as have my parents. Her musings on what it means to have a fulfilling marriage are thoughtful and inciteful.

Although you may think your own story would not be of interest to others, I encourage people to find creative ways of telling them. It may just benefit someone else or at least yourself. It is very the reason, I told my story of childhood illness, (unrelated to cancer). For more information click on this link. Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.

This blog brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard andwww.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com.

Images, Words and White Space

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We’ve arranged a civilization in which most crucial elements profoundly depend on science and technology.” ~ Carl Sagan

On Monday, our local paper Steamboat Today was printed on pink paper in honor of National Breast Cancer Month. It seems that no one is immune from knowing someone who has been touched by this cancer. The month of October is dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of early detection. 

The color of the newspaper was more than just a blush of pink, bolder than that, yet not as dark as fuchsia either. That edition made me realize something – the importance of white space. Although, as always,  I read the paper from cover to cover, I found reading from pink paper difficult and in fact, it slowed down my progress because my eyes were straining. As I struggled to read the article on raising money at the local level through events such as The Bust of Steamboat http://thebustofsteamboat.org/, I couldn’t help but think of what white space means to publishing. 

Digital reading devices, such as Kindles, have now gone through a few generations of development, improvements have come with each new model. The Kindle Paperwhite is purported to give the reader the clearest text, the best reading experience, due to its bright white screen. Yet not everyone can afford this top model. Many people do not have the luxury of buying a digital reader at all. 

I thought about how this relates to funding for breast cancer. Over the years, there have been advancements in detection through technology, yet people still slip through the cracks and find out about their case too late. Not every woman is able to afford mammograms and treatments either, which means not every woman has a chance of survival. Thank goodness for non-profit organizations such as the Susan G Komen Foundation http://bit.ly/TqInTF at the national and local level that work hard at trying to provide the means for everyone through their fundraising efforts. 

I don’t mean to trivialize the devastating disease of breast cancer by comparing technology of Kindle readers to a very personal medical issue. Digital reading devices are luxuries, and having medical technology and treatment for cancer is a necessity for survival; two very different issues. 

 These are just a few independent thoughts that came to my mind regarding white space as I read the news of the day on pink paper. That’s all….

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Things that Sparkle

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It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself. “

 ~Ralph Waldo Emerson 

Tis the season for illumination. Today, on All Things Fulfilling I am going to focus on all things that shine. 

  • A clear star lit night
  • Tinsel on the tree
  • New parents and child experiencing their first Xmas together.
  • Icicles hanging from the eave of a roof
  • Lives spared by a Kiwanis and UNICEF Maternal and Neo-natal Tetanus vaccine
  • Polished silverware
  • Rudolph’s red rose
  • A gemstone given as a surprise gift
  • Glitter on a holiday card or an ornament
  • Candles on a tree, a mantel or on a festive holiday table
  • Snowflakes as they fall from the sky
  • A child’s face when they discover a book that draws them in
  • A beautiful painting, surrounded by golden frame
  • Crystal stemware
  • Someone who is passionate about the Art they create
  • Sequins on festive holiday clothing
  • Love discovered, love renewed in the spirit of Christmas
  • The face of the elderly or a veteran knowing and feeling that others really care
  • Twinkling white lights decorating a house
  • A lit lamp post standing sentinel for the arrival of holiday guests 

If you really want light up your own spirit this year, adopt a holiday family. Make some one else’s holiday shine by giving some gifts or fixing’s for a big holiday meal.Holiday buying this Christmas,  was especially fulfilling for me. I bought a few items for a set of twins who otherwise may not have had Christmas at all. More fun than the gifts given inside of the box, I created wrapping that really showed that I cared. When all is said and done, I think the packaging will be as treasured as much as the gifts inside! 

This year, buy one less gift for your own family, and give it to a family less fortunate and in need.  Here is a website that lists the top five Christmas charity projects. http://bit.ly/8ZBCef

Make your heart merry and illuminate the spirit of someone else this holiday season!

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Interweavings of Faith

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I am sensitive to the value of faith and religion and spirituality in people’s lives because I’m a journalist.”  ~ Peter Jennings

Last weekend, I attended my third annual United Methodist Women’s (UMW) Retreat. http://bit.ly/9W2ac2. It was a great deal of fun! As in the past years, what made the experience so rich and rewarding was the broad mix of women in many stages of life. There were mothers with younger children, women with college-aged children, empty nesters, grandmothers and retirees. Everyone contributed valuably to the conversations regarding their own spirituality and the paths in life they have traveled to arrive at their thoughts. 

We took several topics throughout the day and broke into random small groups to discuss our feelings and opinions of how the subject matter related to our own lives. Lo and behold, several of those gathered in my group are interested in independently publishing their beautiful and fulfilling stories of their walk with faith.  

Of course, a discussion ensued about how in this day and age anyone can publish and sell their independent stories through e-commerce and e-marketing (selling and marketing publications on the world-wide-web).  

By the end of the day-long retreat, we had all found friendship and fellowship with many women we had never known before. The common threads of places we have traveled, experiences we have had and the spiritual beliefs we share, are often the ties that bind. 

Thank you to all who made the day a great success. The location in Steamboat had an awe inspiring landscape. I enjoyed the art and music, ate a lot of good food and gained a better understanding of what this thing called “yoga” is all about too!

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Narratives in Medical Curriculum

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There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ~ Maya Angelou 

Writing medical histories through the narrative form is currently being incorporated into curriculums in medical schools in many parts of the country. Medical students are learning how to better assess medical conditions through more intensive listening to the patient, and recording what they hear into narrative forms. The goal is to make healthcare decisions for the patient based not only on statistics and tests but by also “reading” a patient’s unique personal story of how they are feeling and their own symptoms. 

Why is the addition of the narrative form being incorporated into the way medical schools have traditionally taught students to diagnose illness? Empathy for the patient has been missing in this age of highly developed technical medical testing. Listening to a patient’s story leads to a better understanding of the whole picture of a person’s medical situation. A person’s emotions and spirit about the way they are feeling is part of the overall report, too. 

Daniel Pink’s book, A Whole New Mind, http://www.danpink.com/whole-new-mind explains how our society is on the brink of a whole new age of thinking. We have gone from an agricultural age (farmers) through the factory age (industrial), to the information age (business based on knowledge workers) to the emergence of right thinking business people, who are creators and empathizers. Surprisingly, we are moving into an age where more Americans are beginning to work in fields such as arts, entertainment and design than those working left brain fields (accountants, lawyers, insurance adjustors). In order to be accomplished in these growing fields of work, right brained thinking skills must be used and developed. 

Prosperity and abundance has brought a whole new need for fulfilling emotional, aesthetic and spiritual needs. Jobs in the “caring professions” counseling, nursing, healing are surging, too.  They are not jobs that can be decimated by workers overseas who can work faster and cheaper.

To read more about this movement toward the new conceptual age and right brain thinking that Pink claims will change the world, pick up A Whole New Mind.  Many libraries have it and it is a Business Week best selling book. It’s a fascinating read.

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Clearly, Worth it!

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I’m touched  by the idea that when we do things that are useful and helpful…that we may be helping to bring about a healing.” ~Leonard Nemoy

Discovery is a wonderful thing! Yesterday I experienced THE best way to get relief from mental clog (aka writer’s cramp) induced by writing blog after blog after blog. I decided to take advantage of a complimentary hot oil scalp massage treatment that I had won in a raffle at a WIN Steamboat http://bit.ly/jSsNQF (Women in Networking) event. After all, I had hit my goal of reaching 10,000 readers through All Things Fulfilling. It was time to celebrate!

I arrived at the doors of Kneading Hands Massage not knowing quite what to anticipate, but I felt I would be in good hands. Ali, the therapist, was voted as one of the top three massage therapists in the “Best of the Boat.” www.kneadinghandstherapy.gmail.com.

Within a very few minutes I knew that the hot oil scalp massage would be beneficial for treating my dry scalp and hair and it would be a panacea for other things too. As Ali began to work her magic on my neck, I could feel the tension begin to melt away – crack, went my neck! As she began to apply the hot oil and massage it deep into my scalp, I could feel the warm liquid begin to ooze and penetrate. The gentle stroke of her hands and the balm (the essential oils) began to facilitate an awakening of energy in my head. The oils began to reach into the deeper recesses of my being and I could sense my brain matter becoming more pliable. The tension began to ease and the mental block began to give way to clarity.

Once out of my position of repose, I had a very lucid thought. I had reached a lofty blogging goal I had set for myself and now it is time to put into place a new set of goals. Clearly, I had proven to myself that “what you think about, you bring about.”  All my efforts at blogging have indeed been worthwhile. For tips on blogging success, please visit http://bit.ly/gDGQN8.

Before I conclude this blog writing, I owe a thank you to Ali at Kneading Hands Massage. She is clearly a master in her trade of the healing arts and has been well schooled in this field. If my writer’s block returns once again, I know exactly where to seek help.

As to what my next goal in life is – that is for me to know and for you to find out! And you will. Discovery is a wonderful thing!

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It is a LunaFest Film Friday!

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It is Film Friday! And it is going to be a fulfilling evening for film-lovers in Steamboat Springs, CO. Tonight the Luna Fest® will be at the Bud Werner Library. This film festival will benefit the Breast Cancer Fund and the Yampa Valley Breast Cancer Awareness Project/Bust of Steamboat. 

LunaFest® films are short films which highlight women’s issues such as aging, motherhood, women’s health and cultural diversity. The ten short films being shown will range from documentary to animation to fictional drama. Celebrating women, their stories and their talents through the power of film is the mission of the Luna Fest®. 

All of the films are produced by women filmmakers, some of whom are independent filmmakers, and have won industry awards for their ability to start dialogues and bring understanding to the women’s issues that they involve. 

For more information on the event, please visit: www.steamboatlibrary.org 

For more information on how to host a LunaFest® in your community: http://bit.ly/8u4QrA 

To learn more about the fund-raising cause that the LunaFest® will support: http://thebustofsteamboat.org/ 

This film festival, The LunaFest® is a great representation of how the power of film brings education, awareness and important story-telling to communities of people.

We look forward to sharing with you on All Things Fulfilling, more information on our favorite films of the LunaFest® evening, at a later date!

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See you tonight!