Author: Julie

Girl behind leafOne afternoon in late November, my husband and I were sitting in an exam room waiting for the neurologist to return. Fred had already had an extensive neurological exam and, sitting there in silence, I could see the worry and fear on my husband’s face.

Eighteen months earlier he had started having muscle twitches in his arms and chest, but the neurologist at the time couldn’t find anything else wrong and diagnosed him with “benign muscle fasciculations.” Likely temporary, minor muscle twitches—nothing to worry about.

Now Fred was having problems enunciating words. Whatever was wrong must be serious. As I watched the neurological exam, I could tell that my formerly strong husband was having significant problems with his arms, hands, and tongue. What could be going on?

It took about 15 minutes before the neurologist returned, this time with another neurologist who started doing more neurological testing. After about 10 minutes they both sat down and the first neurologist started talking.

“Based on all the tests we have run, we are sorry to say that you have ALS.” His words echoed in my head.

Meet my German Shepherd, Echo. He’s loyal and bonded to me. He is also protective and shows good judgment about other people. His favorite activity is to catch or fetch balls I throw for him. He does it like it’s his job—with intensity and passion....

IMG_3117Ever have one of those mornings? I'm still laughing about this one! I was experimenting with Bulletproof Coffee. I don't like coffee as a general rule. I've acquired a taste for lattés, but plain coffee is NOT for me. I like to try new things, though, and so I began. You never know until you try, right? I'd made the coffee and added butter and coconut oil. I don't have the fancy ingredients that Dave Asprey recommends. I just wanted to see if the fat improved my experience of coffee. I didn't like it and I was texting Erin my thoughts. She suggested that blending it might help, so I pulled out the immersion blender. I should have known better! Note to self, don't use the immersion blender in a coffee cup. This photo is a great illustration of two consequences of trying new things. 1. When you try something new, you will probably learn things you didn't expect to learn. I learned that the immersion blender prefers a large(r) container.

These past four weeks have been a bit of a rollercoaster for me. Before starting the Red Zone, everything was humming along pretty well. I’d had stressors and dealt with them easier than usual. I was focusing on important stuff and getting things done. I was happy. And, then I wasn’t, but I didn’t know what was going on. It didn’t feel like TLP was responsible because what I felt I’d felt before. I was low energy, fuzzy headed, irritable, and in the grip of fear. It was one of those times I only understood what was happening when I came out of it.

I was bingeing on “The Good Wife” and a scene between Alicia Florrick and Rose, Peter Florrick’s campaign manager, struck me. Hard. Alicia asked Rose if she ever wondered what would have happened if she made a different choice. Rose said it wouldn’t have mattered; Alicia would have ended up in the same place or in a place much like the one she is in now. Alicia wondered what life was all about. Rose answered that when you get to a place where you wonder what life is about, you have stumbled upon a Truth. And right there, in the middle of bingeing on a television drama, watching an inconsequential dialog, I realized that the thing I’ve been searching for, even when I didn’t realize what I was searching for, was not what I need. What have I been searching for? Good question. I always wanted to be right because feeling right felt smart and that felt good; I got approval. I always wanted to have money, because having money made life easier and that felt good; it’s a different kind of approval. I always wanted to help people feel better because it feels really good when other people feel better and you helped them feel that way; yet, again, more approval. So, was I seeking approval? Maybe. But, that’s not quite right.

The Listening Program has been one of those experiences that snuck up on me. First, it's a little hard to believe that I've finished 6 weeks of training! Then, as I look back, I see big changes. Energy: As I look back over the past 6...

If you have read my previous posts, you know I've had a tough year. A couple of months ago, I decided to focus on taking care of myself more intentionally. In addition to traditional advice, such as eat better and exercise more, I started The Listening Program. As of this weekend, I've completed 4 weeks of the program. Here is a summary of what has happened: Week 1 (Blue Zone): I was so excited to unpack my headset and get started. I started with Level I in the Blue Zone, listening for 30-minutes a session. My first session was Monday night, November 30th. I listened for 5 days in a row, Monday through Friday. After my first session, I was relaxed and not feeling bothered by things around me. This included not being bothered by my normal, end-of-day sugar cravings. However, by Thursday, I was having difficulty sleeping and was feeling more anxious and agitated. I decided to break up my training into two 15-minute segments. During each session I colored. Coloring felt like quite a treat. I hadn't colored since I was a child.

As I work on my new venture, I consistently run into my Fear. It always surprises me because I try hard to believe she isn't there. I know I can do this, but do I believe it? I know I'm a good person with something valuable to say, but do I believe it? What if it isn't true? "This is silly!" and "Why is this so hard?" run through my mind. "Can I do this?" is another one. When you run the same track repeatedly, the ground becomes scored with an easy-to-travel path. It works that way in the brain, too. If you have the same thoughts repeatedly, those thoughts become much easier to have until they are the first thoughts you have. You see I had been having those negative, self-critical thoughts for over a year. Even before I started my new venture. For over a year, those kinds of thoughts had been dogging me, and I had been putting one foot in front of another, doing my routine, hoping it would all just get better.