The Wednesday Word is: HUG

A common phrase often heard at Haven Hypnosis was: “Are you a hugger?” Sometimes by me, sometimes by clients. If it warranted, hugs were accepted and given at Haven Hypnosis. Truth be told, sometimes people just stop by, hoping my door is open, because they need a hug. It is the one free service Haven Hypnosis offered. My, how times have changed. I miss those hugs most.

Some people, who I might surmise are NOT huggers, have said things like: ‘so you can’t hug…what’s the big deal?… Well, my friend, for huggers, not hugging is a pretty big deal. Not only is there this amazing transfer of energy in the reciprocity of a hug from someone mutually engaged in a hug, but a hug is the most basic form of communication. A hug says things you don’t have words for. Did you know hugging has health benefits, too?

It is said that you actually NEED hugs for adequate survival. As it goes, you need four hugs a day for survival, eight for maintenance and twelve for growth. I don’t know who came up with those statistics, but I have received less than four hugs a day before the pandemic and am doing ok. Hugs do have their benefits. Perhaps if I received more hugs I’d be even better.

Hugging releases a hormone, oxytocin. When released, this powerful neuropeptide hormone goes into action. Oxytocin is the hormone which affects our social bonding, and more intimate bonding, like that of a loved one or close friend. Oxytocin is released during and after childbirth, which greatly influences mother/child bonding. The reciprocal energy in a hug causes a reaction, which causes a reduction in blood pressure and a reduction in the stress hormones cortisol and norepinephrine. Just a 20 second hug is so very therapeutic. Within that 20 second hug and release of oxytocin is not only a feeling of love, admiration and appreciation, also an eating of stress, anxiety and fear. There is a reason oxytocin is called nature’s antidepressant. This reaction allows your body to feel more relaxed, feel more connected and allows your nervous system to find balance.

There is a wonderful article on the Mindful website that discusses a study from 2014 about oxytocin and healing, and another study I read by UCLA in 2011, showed raised levels of oxytocin promote optimism and self esteem, and hugging increases our ability to control our feelings and generates happiness.

You see, hugging is a very powerful tool. So the next time you say, ‘what’s the big deal’ re: hugging, it is a HUGE deal, and you, I might assume, have not been hugged enough.

Hugging is different now. I have no idea when or if I will be able to hug my friends and clients again. Just know I want to as much as you do, and it hurts me within, the same as you. We will find other ways to heal and be well. Huggers are sensitive, yet resilient people. As you can see in the second picture in this article, huggers are finding safe ways to hug again. Stay well, stay strong. Together, huggers, we will get through this.

The Wednesday Word is: CHASTISE

Not often when I meditate on Wednesday mornings, do I receive a word I don’t want to work with. However, today was one of those days. At first, when the word began to slide into my awareness, I thought I was getting the word chastity, and I laughed. Immediately I asked, “Why chastity?” Then, I recognized the word was actually chastise and laughed again. Not only at my misunderstanding the message being delivered, also at my immediate chastising of perceived message. Then I asked myself why I was so quick to push back. The answers surprised me, at first. Since I know my heart and so does God, I was quickly assured the negative warning in my head was just in my head. Yet, my heart told me differently. The push back was no one wants to be told they are wrong. I am known for my positive, upbeat messages. I had to be reminded I am also known for truth, authenticity and transparency. So here we go…

When I meditate on Wednesday mornings, sometimes I have to ask for a word. Even when I ask, I don’t always get one. Sometimes, if I am stumped about what to write, I’ll ask my husband for a word. Just a word, no insight. I need it strike a chord within me. Before I take the task of writing the blog I design the art. It usually helps me with needed imagery to form my thoughts. As I perused the royalty-free stock photos for something to go with chastise, I realized I could fill up 1000 or more blocks and not cover the sum of the word. I also am quite mindful, or purposefully attempt to make my imagery diverse. And, while searching for imagery it dawned on me I could be chastised if I use an image of a Black person and the word chastise, before anyone read a word. Then, when I continued to search, I thought, I could as easily be chastised for not using a Black person’s image, and the same could be said regardless of race of the person in the imagery I choose. Though God and myself know my heart to be anything but racist, in these moments this morning, while searching stock photos, I began to question how I might be viewed. I chastised myself before anyone else could, or even might.

This made me realize, as society, we tend to chastise what we know nothing about. I had no idea what would happen, but perception gave me pause. We let fear and ego lead our perception, which distorts reality. There are a lot of opinions about how people feel other people should live. They chastise them, not just cowardly, behind a keyboard, but blatantly, and outwardly, in the general public, when they know NOTHING about said person or their circumstances. Yet, hatred, bigotry and violence reign in a world where I work to cultivate peace.

Now, I feel strongly about a lot of things. I, too, have opinions about how life should look. I feel I am mature enough and experienced enough of life to have rational discussions about tough subjects and agree to disagree. Not everyone can. I look at myself as an optimistic realist. However, in my life, I have been shamed and chastised by a former supervisor for being “too positive” – and told, “The difference between a positive person and a realist is the realist has life experience.” The audacity of this person to pass judgment on my good mood! Sadly, it happens. Some people like misery or get delight watching people they perceive as underlings, squirm.

I don’t always maintain compassion over composure. I am passionate about my stance, at times and I will fight for the best outcome for the majority of the people. That being said, as a business owner, I understand the need to open America. But I have said it before; not one dollar is worth one life. No one should be considered expendable.

People I consider very good friends chastise me. We have had discussions and agree to disagree their opposition to me wearing a mask to protect myself or at least feel like I am doing all I can to help myself be well. Somehow, in a matter of two months, we have a slew of medical mask experts with no medical background. I have medical professionals in my family who have varying degrees of opinions on wearing a mask, how long, etc. Everyone has an opinion about how everyone should live. It is no more anyone’s business today than it was in 2019. Do you. Wear a mask. Don’t wear a mask. I will until I feel I don’t need nor want to. But do not go into establishments where they have a mask protocol and demand your face be naked because it is your constitutional right. Go home. Actually read the constitution, then perhaps, stay home. I choose to do what I feel is best for me, and I do so with my doctor’s advice. Did I just chastise? Yes, yes I did.

Chastising people for something you know nothing about is how fights begin. Wars have started over chastising another based on perception and ego, rather than facts. If you THINK something MIGHT be true. Stop. You’re more likely to be wrong. If you persist to argue, if you’re looking for a fight, how many heart attacks will it take for you to realize THAT is a grave waste of your time?

Society chastised and condemned far before COVID-19 began. We will likely find something else to chastise and condemn after this, too. The majority of the population has never experienced a global pandemic. How is it we all know so much in such a short time about something we never experienced before? Don’t waste your time fighting over who is more wrong. Do what is best for you, for your family. You know those needs better than anyone. Rest assured, when you need more professional input there are professionals out there who have only read about this in text books. Just because they are doctors or nurses, they too have never experienced a global pandemic before. They too are doing their best to provide you with the best care they know how. And at the end of the day, when they return to their families, they are human beings under their masks. Just like you. Remember that before you chastise them for following a protocol and work under circumstances they have never experienced.

At the end of the day, was it worth it? Was your need to be right worth more than someone else’s self-worth? Does your opinion have merit or is it just an opinion? Know this: just because you do not understand something, are afraid of something or perceive something to be true, doesn’t mean it is. Before you chastise or apprise– realize… every finger you point, three more point back at you. You perfect yet? No? Me neither.

Be well.

The Wednesday Word is: TIME

You ever hear of, or think of a word and it sends you into song, where you pick up and finish lyrics to the song of which the word reminded you? For example, if I write: STOP – some of you might automatically think: “collaborate and listen…” – and some of you just sang that to yourselves or aloud. The word TIME has that affect on me. It sends me right into singing one of my favorite karaoke songs: “In The End” by Linkin Park. As the lyrics go: “Time is a valuable thing –
Watch it fly by as the pendulum swings – Watch it count down to the end of the day -The clock ticks life away – It’s so unreal – Didn’t look out below – Watch the time go right out the window – Trying to hold on…”

Trying to hold on… that’s all we have been doing for months; trying to hold on. To uncertainty, to slowing down, to it fleeting by, to the very last sound of breath within in. Just. Hold. On.

Time IS a valuable thing! Yet we often squander it. As I type I wonder if this blog is some times a waste of time. Does anyone read it? Is it helping anyone? Does it help me? I am certain I am not the only one who evaluates how they spend their time. I often feel I would love to spend far less time on the internet, and as of late, I do. I am using my downtime to discover more of what I love about life. I feel, as the clock continues to tick seconds away from my life, I might as well embrace as many of those ticks as I have left. No one is guaranteed the next tick. So we should find value in each one we do have.

As a parent, I have watched that pendulum swing through sleepless nights when babies were inconsolable, to sleepless nights I had because my youngest baby slept too soundly. It was unnerving, to me. To the toddler years where I prayed for time to hurry up and let them grow up so they’d be easier to manage…to the teenage years when I prayed they could slow down and be toddlers again, so they’d be easier to manage… to adulthood, where I watch their next chapters unfold and time tick another second away from time with children in my home. It’s heartwarming and heartbreaking, all at the same time. I can only hope I gave them enough of my time, or hope they will still visit and bless me with theirs.

As a new chapter opens at the Knople Kastle (as we call it), I wonder what time going forward looks like for my husband and me. Having already been married once, I have what are probably normal questions about if time will favor us or ruin us. Will we continue to grow together or eventually grow apart? Only time will tell. I believe it the former. This is the longest time either of is have spent in a relationship (17 years). Time has not always been on our side, but we always try to make the most of it.

What is time to you? One day I really pondered time. I wrote an entire journal entry about how it is a man-made construct of which to measure a day. When I think about those words I wrote that day, I realize we really, truly define time and how we measure it. It can be in each tick of the clock, but it’s also in blocks of milestones of the past and the future. However, we never consider the block of NOW. How often do you stop and allow yourselves to be mindfully aware of just being? No expectations. No judgment. Just. Be. I’ve found it naturally slows time. I’ve found it helps eeek out the tick of the clock, to the point you do not notice it at all, and you just experience this time, right now. Try it. It’s a beautiful thing.

Time is an interesting construct. When I practice living mindfully, in the now, I am reminded that every now was once the future and will soon be the past. So, if we think about time in those terms, we understand nothing lasts forever. Embrace the beauty and surrender to the heartache. This too shall pass. Time will march on. The pendulum will continue to swing, now and always.

However you choose to spend your time, enjoy as much of it as you can. Each of us are stamped with an expiration date. Only the Divine knows when that is, so breath into each tick and relax in the space between each tick and take not one single moment of time for granted. In doing so, you’ll always have time on your side.

Home Sweet Home

My husband and I received news today that our youngest child was approved for her first apartment. If the coronavirus did not already present itself, and all of us, with a host of emotions, now we are sorting emotions which come with this milestone and right of passage.

People keep asking: How do you feel about it? Honestly, I have no idea. I kept asking myself the same thing. Do I feel sad? Sort of. Partly, because I will miss her presence in our home, obviously, as I do all of our kids. Part of me questions if it is sadness I feel. I think society expects me to feel sadness, but I am questioning how I actually feel, maybe for the first time in my life. If I really think about it, honestly, I am indifferent. It is not because I wont miss her, but because my husband and I have earned this place in our lives as much as she has. We raised self-sufficient women and now it’s time for my husband and I to enjoy being a couple. We’ll always be parents, and this will always be home.

Tonight, we celebrate. Not our FINALLY being empty nesters, but we celebrate our achievements as parents, the love and support we’ve created in this family and the role models we hope we are to our daughters and grandchildren.

The Wednesday Word is: EARTH

The Wednesday Word is: EARTH

Later today, I will be hosting my first Earth Day meditation online. I am happy for the opportunity to share with my followers, but a little saddened because I was supposed to be hanging out with my friend, Shannon Ditz, of Huron County Master Gardeners this week and hosting a meditation there. While I will miss that interaction, my commitment to making Earth healthy remains.

Earth Day began in 1970 as an idea by Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson. He saw the need to make people aware of the environmental ignorance people possessed. Said ignorance was not always born of stupidity, but of not knowing best practices to keep Earth clean and healthy. He saw a lot of pollution across the globe and wanted to do something more to help. He asked people to gather and invited them to unite and clean up Earth. Some did clean, some protested for better environmental protection laws. On that first gathering, more than 20 million Americans participated!

So, as the header picture asks, what has changed since April 22, 1970? While it might feel to some progress has slowed, it has not. Every day people make positive changes and choices which affect the environment for the better. And, on that day, 50 years ago, Earth Day was born of this event, which has grown into Earth Week, Earth Month and movements to care for the Earth and celebrate Earth every day. People across the globe celebrate Earth Day and have amassed a global cleanup.

Also, since 1970, Senator Nelson’s efforts lead to the passage of environmentally conscious laws such as, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act.. Since 1970, environmentalists such as myself and my friend Green Laura Jean, Greta Thunberg, Alex Bellini and Boyan Slat, have been taking charge of making all people aware of the global responsibility to Earth, in small or big ways, every positive effort matters.

So whether you write letters or call your local EPA to insist upon change and report flagrant offenders, or you challenge county commissioners not to build a dump, or you vow to educate people on eco-conscious living or educate on environmental travesties, or live on an iceberg for a year studying the effects of greenhouse gases on the planet or you invent a mechanism to clean the oceans of pollution, or you pick up beer cans in your local park, or plant a tree… you AND your efforts matter.

Each year Earth Day celebrations have a theme. This year’s theme is: climate action. While this seems like a big challenge, it is also a big opportunity to take action on how your actions affect the climate and your environment. What can you do to help Earth and yourself today?

The Wednesday Word is: THANK YOU

Each week before I begin to write this post, I meditate. People assume that because I meditate I am always even keeled, mellow and calm. While that is true, most of the time, I get fired up when I hear of people being treated inhumanely, unjustly or if people are being manipulated and tarnished by others. As I meditated today, calm and resolve did not come. I, like many of you who meditate, allowed the images, words, voices and thoughts to flow. What came at first troubled me. Images from news stories I permitted myself to read over the last few days and details, which I will never understand. Then, there are stories which read differently. Like the stories my friend, Erin sponsors on our local radio station, “feel good news.” I started to think about that, instead.

With a the protests, disgusting death threats and vile things said to and about people on the front lines trying to do their jobs, trying to help people live their best lives possible, there are moments of grand humanity. If you dare to peak through the filter, you will see those moments. For those moments, I say: THANK YOU! For it is in those moments I regain hope for humanity. There are things I will never understand and these moments of heart amidst chaos are ones I choose to embrace.

Before Day 1 of the pandemic, the people who are givers showed up for their communities anyway, because it is just what they do. Thank you — for caring enough to give the best of you especially in the worst of circumstances. Thank you to the leaders in our communities who put others first. Thank you to the doctors, nurses, police, fire, EMS and other staff deemed essential, for staying with us in these unprecedented times. Thank you to leaders looking out for small businesses and all businesses. Thank you to all business leaders and non-profit leaders. Thank you to my friends, Erin, Chip, Marlane, Heather B., Heather T., Stacy, Shaunda, Lanny, Rob, Courtney, Heather W., Krista, Mickey, Patty, Lorainne and others, for giving of your time, talent and treasure to help others who need it most — for joining in the true sense of community. Thank you to area pastors bringing church to the people, and attempting to restore faith and hope.

If you made rules and laws to protect us, even if some of us didn’t deem it necessary…thank you. If you made meals, activity kits for homeschooled kids, bought and raffled gift cards from local businesses, held food drives, sewed masks, donated services or meals, or offered prayers…thank you. If you worked your job and kept America going…thank you. If you were laid off, stayed home and kept me and others from getting ill, or helped deliver food, groceries or other necessities to neighbors. .. thank you. If I did not mention you or a category you fit into, know you make a difference by being you.

We may never agree on how to best handle this pandemic problem, but we can agree to be respectful, kind and compassionate to one another, especially when we disagree. And for those of you doing so, thank you.

Look Into My Eyes…

Maybe it was the title of the book that pierced my 12-year-old attention span to grab this book from the library shelf, or maybe it was vivid colors, who knows. What I do know is I never imagine how that book might affect me 30 plus years later. The book was about odd careers, or weird jobs, something like that. It intrigued me. Maybe because I have always identified as weird. That adjective used to bother me. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I learned to embrace it. Weird means I am not boring. Weird means there are other weirdos like me. Somehow, that feeling left me feeling less alone.

I remember vividly turning the page of that library book and reading “hypnotist” – and I knew what hypnotize was. I’d watched enough sci-fi movies by age 12 to hear and have a loose understanding of what it does. It would be apx. 14 years later before I would experience hypnosis first hand, by Rev. Retha J. Martin, who would become my hypnosis teacher and mentor. I remember reading that book entry and NOT thinking: ‘how cool it would be to get people to do what I want them to do’ — I remember thinking: ‘I wonder how that works.’ It was that book that planted the seed which would later lead to this fulfilling career.

In fact, I learned how it worked and how I could use it to help people, thus – Haven Hypnosis was born. I later developed my motto: Start living the life you deserve. I am privileged to help people do just that. I do not take lightly the responsibility I hold to steer people back onto their natural paths. Part of what I do is educating people about the myths and misconceptions of hypnosis. Still today, to the general public, hypnosis is an enigma of witchcraft and Devil’s play. I can assure you, I practice neither. I have met people who are self-proclaimed witches. Of those I have met, I came to understand they too had many misconceptions thrust upon them.

Though I am trained in clinical hypnosis and not stage hypnosis, I find myself explaining the differences to people who are inquiring about what I do. If it were not for stage hypnosis, some people may not engage me in conversation to learn about my part in the world of hypnosis. Stage hypnosis is where most people formulate their idea of what hypnosis involves. Still, even when I come at them with kindness, science and facts, many well-educated people, I might add, jokingly throw their hands upward to their face and proclaim ‘Don’t look into my eyes!’ I laugh. It makes me laugh when it happens. Of the people who do this, about half will stop and listen and have a real conversation about hypnosis. The other half will listen, but not look at me, at all. I also find this humorous. While hypnosis can be that easy, for some, I would never engage in an unethical practice of entrancing someone with my eyes, nor without explicit consent. I did it once. We got married two years later and fifteen years later he is still here, working in our home office as I type this blog. To date: I’ve never made a person cluck like a chicken, quack like a duck or bark like a dog. I’m still working on that… (I joke…)

I love to talk to people about what I do. I do not mind the sneers and jeers, but at Haven Hypnosis & Wellness, we practice kindness.

I understand I am not for everybody. I know I am not the best hypnotist on the planet, either. Every day I am learning, even 20 years later. But that is the beauty of it all. I don’t have to be THE BEST, just have to be the best for you. I am pretty darn good, if I say so, myself. Perhaps I am the best hypnotist for you.

Do you want to know more about what I do and what services I offer, or maybe you want to make hypnosis a career, or learn more about training to be a hypnotist or hypnotherapist, or maybe you want to be a part of the largest hypnosis conference in the world (you don’t have to be a hypnotist to go!)? Message me or call the office. You won’t even have to LOOK INTO MY EYES… I’m happy to chat.

Be well. <3