Welcome to Day 1 of the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour! #RRBC #RWISA #RWISAWRW

The Journey

 

Dear self,

 

Oh, the journey we have had…

Its ups and downs and sideway twists,

The moments of exhilaration,

The quickened pulse and caught breath,

The scenes that left lingering loops of trauma,

The journey we have had.

 

And the journey we are on…

Getting to know you

With no boundaries or judgment,

With love and kindness,

Living one new moment at a time,

The journey we are on.

 

Ah, the journey before us…

Awareness and acceptance all around,

Gratitude grounding us,

Pausing to make peace with whatever may come,

Living to learn from experience,

Trusting where I am is

Where I need to be,

Embracing curiosity and a zest for life,

Sharing loving- kindness with each path crossing mine,

The journey before us.

 

The journey we have had built our resiliency.

The journey we are on builds our strength.

The journey before us will make us whole.

 

I wish you well, my friend.

 

Yvette M Calleiro

 

 

 

For the 2020 Watch “RWISA” Write Showcase Tour, I decided to write this poem. This year has been difficult for many of us, but it’s especially challenging for those with anxiety and other mental disorders. As a person who lives with an anxiety disorder, I have spent many years finding ways to manage my anxiety. I have found that a combination of neurofeedback, therapy sessions, meditation, and mindfulness have worked well for me.

Neurofeedback is a therapeutic intervention where a computer program helps retrain the brain to stay within a normal parameter for response to stimuli. Imagine two horizontal bars with a space between them. A “normal” brain would show brainwaves that stay within the high and low bar with few outliers. A brain with certain conditions would show brainwaves that jump higher or lower than the horizontal bars. Neurofeedback retrains the brain to stay within those bars.

 

In my case, my neurofeedback takes place while I watch a movie at my psychologist’s office. The staff connects electrodes to various spots on my head. Those electrodes connect to a computer that monitors my brain waves. That computer is connected to a program that links to whatever movie I am watching. As I watch the movie, it registers my brain waves. So long as my brain waves stay within the normal parameter, I can see and hear the movie. When my waves jump outside the normal parameter, the volume will lower and/or the screen with get smaller or fade out. Once my brain waves return with the normal limits, the picture and volume return. In this manner, my brain learns it is rewarded when it stays within the normal limits.

 

It sounds like crazy sci-fi stuff, and I’ll admit I didn’t really believe it would work. It took me getting to the point where my health was suffering to get me to finally try it. At first, I went every week for a few months. It wasn’t a miracle overnight fix, but one day I realized I was sleeping better and not freaking out as much. My energy was returning to me. My sessions were reduced to every other week, and now, I go once a month just for a tune-up. I am not a fan of man-made medicines, so this has been a wonderful alternative to taking pills to reduce my anxiety.

 

Another thing that has helped me has been therapy sessions. I meet with a psychologist once or twice a month either in person (pre-COVID) or via teleconference. I am a strong believer that every person should meet with a therapist at some point in his/her life. Some days, we just review my days and see what comes up. Other days, I bring something I want to speak about to the “table.” She helps me restructure how I perceive information and process it. It has helped me to understand and accept events in my past and to have more compassion for experiences I have now.

 

I started meditating as a way to silence my mind. I have a very loud inner voice. For many years, that inner voice was absolutely toxic. I had all the love in the world for everyone around me, but my inner voice made it clear there was no love left for me. It took me a long time to realize that this inner voice was not me, and I could silence her toxicity. Meditation helped me to do that.

 

It also showed me how to embrace a loving-kindness mentality toward myself. Those who know me casually will find this information a bit shocking because I always present myself as calm and kind and relaxed, but a cover doesn’t always reveal the inner layers within the book. It took me years to be kind to myself, and it is a journey I am still experiencing.

 

My meditation journey led me to mindfulness. I think of meditation and mindfulness as sisters in the same family. They are similar but distinct. Meditation is a practice where one uses a technique to train himself to become more aware or improve his attention. Mindfulness is the quality of awareness that one attains simply by purposefully paying attention without judgement. This is a great article to better understand them: https://positivepsychology.com/differences-between-mindfulness-meditation/.

Meditation helped me to silence the toxicity of my inner voice. Mindfulness helped me to become more aware of the patterns in my thoughts, see them, accept them, and let them pass through without permanence or judgment. I treasure the layer of peace it has brought me.

When I think back to the person I was six years ago, I can share loving-kindness with her and embrace the trials and tribulations she/I went through. Had I known then what I know now, I wouldn’t have suffered for so many years without seeking help. I now focus on today’s journey, knowing time is fluid and the only moment that exists is this one. I practice focusing on the here and now. It isn’t always easy, but this journey is about practice and awareness. We, as humans, will never reach perfection, and I find a certain beauty in that. We are, and always will be, a living work of heart. 😊

Enemies of the Writer

“As I sit back and I observe I have come to understand that doubt and fear is a major contributor and enemy of the writer. It creeps into the mind, seeps into the soul and gnaws the bone. It gets down so deep inside the author that it bleeds through the pen and taints the words. Next thing you know every time you look up that writer is not a writer anymore. That writer is a shadow of his former self, wallowing in self-pity and doubt. That writer has allowed fear to creep in and to steal his gift.”

~ Yecheilyah Ysrayl

Yecheilyah Ysrayl is a blogger, author, poet, and book reviewer who lives and writes in Louisiana. These words were in a post I received this week as a subscriber to her newsletter. Apparently, these words resonated deeply with me. Continue reading “Enemies of the Writer”

Who Owns You?

“Close the door. Write with no one looking over your shoulder. Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.”

~ Barbara Kingsolver

Barbara Kingsolver (1955 – present) is an American novelist, poet and essayist. Each of her books published since 1993 have been on the New York Times Bestsellers List and the topics focused upon range from social justice to human interaction with our environment. She is an award-winning author many times over, and has even established and funded her own $25,000 award: The Bellwether Prize to support “literature for social change” to authors of unpublished works. This award is given out every two years on even years. Continue reading “Who Owns You?”

Work Earnestly, And You’ll Avoid The Crowds!

“Do your work with your whole heart, and you will succeed – there’s so little competition.”

~ Elbert Hubbard

Elbert Hubbard (1856-1915) was an American writer, publisher, artist and philosopher. He was the initiator of the Roycroft artisan community in East Aurora, New York, and died tragically in 1915 aboard the British passenger liner, RMS Lusitania, torpedoed by a German U-Boat off the coast of Ireland. Continue reading “Work Earnestly, And You’ll Avoid The Crowds!”

Can You Write In The Dark?

“Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”

~ E.L. Doctorow

Edgar Lawrence Doctorow has enjoyed working in various roles in the literary world in the United States. As an author, he is known internationally for his works in the genre of historical fiction. I remember that as a high school student, I was totally engrossed in historical fiction and my favourite author was Leon Uris. Doctorow read scripts for a movie company, edited books and served as editor-in-chief. He left the publishing world in 1969 and began his own writing career spanning over thirty years. Continue reading “Can You Write In The Dark?”

And What Did Writing Teach You?

“And what, you ask, does writing teach us? First and foremost, it reminds us that we are alive and that it is a gift and a privilege, not a right.”

~ Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury was a highly celebrated American fiction writer who published many works in the genres of fantasy, science fiction, horror and mystery. He began his writing career while still in high school, in Los Angeles, during the Great Depression. As a young man, he could not afford a college or university education, so he spent countless hours in the public library reading authors such as Edgar Allen Poe, Edgar Rice Burroughs, H.G. Wells, and Jules Verne. Continue reading “And What Did Writing Teach You?”

Hey! Look What’s Inside Of You!

“What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.”

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Emerson, a prominent 19th Century American essayist, lecturer, and poet was known for his promotion of the concept of individualism. I don’t know the context in which he wrote or spoke these words, so I will speak to them as they impacted me. Continue reading “Hey! Look What’s Inside Of You!”

Use Your Head For More Than A Hat Rack!

“A brain is useless unless it is in constant think and learn mode.  God didn’t give you a brain for you to sit and ‘wish’ for things to happen, so use it for what it was intended, and get off your tush and make things happen.”

~ Nonnie Jules

Tune in to the RAVE WAVES BlogTalkRadio show, ASPIRE TO INSPIRE where this post is the topic of a lively discussion. This is a production of Rave Reviews Book Club.

RW - Aspire to Inspire

Of all her original quotes I have found on Nonnie’s blog site, this is one of my favourites! I have worked closely with Nonnie for about six months now, and these are words that she lives by. Nonnie Jules doesn’t abide laziness of any kind, but someone operating in a mindless way irks her the most. Continue reading “Use Your Head For More Than A Hat Rack!”

Detours Often Unplanned

road sign says detour below a winding snakey arrow.
Some are planned… some are not…

 

“Are Your Students Better Off?”

While browsing a LinkedIn group for educators, the National Education Association, I came upon a provocative discussion that began with the question I just quoted above.

Herm Allen posted the discussion question to challenge teachers to reflect on the benefits students may have gained in their classrooms this year.

As I read through the short article, Mr. Allen was putting emphasis on the experiential component of a teacher’s classroom.

He linked the reader to another of his coaching articles, Experience Counts, where he spoke of his days as a student.

The thing that resonated with him the most was how a teacher made him feel as a student. That struck a chord with me, because there were a few teachers I had who made me feel worthwhile and inspired great admiration within me.

These were the folks who, quite unknowingly, helped me decide to dedicate thirty-five years of my life to educating students. Continue reading “Detours Often Unplanned”

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