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Guest Post: Mel Scott

The Time Between Time: Liminal Space

Image of a flip day calendar starting at Dec 21 ending at Dec 31 the words Liminal space floating out of the calendar pages.Originally Published on BlindAlive by Mel Scott

The last ten days of December is a favorite time of year for me. Not for religious reasons or for the anticipation of gifts, decadent food and drink, but because it is my designated time of reflection and imagining. I call this liminal space. The transitional time between the old and the new; the time between time when I allow myself to gather what I learned from the past year and time to imagine the New Year. It is that quiet time or still point between inhaling and exhaling. For me, it is marked from Winter Solstice to January 1st.

The prospect of a clean new year has always excited me. I love the thought of getting to start again or better yet, to build another layer onto the foundation that I have created slowly over the years.

My practice is, on December 21st to acknowledge the year gone by with curiosity and with gratitude. I write about it, think about it, and laugh and even cry over it. I want to make sure that I didn’t miss anything and at the same time, forgive myself for what was surely missed. There is no way that I am so conscious that I captured all that was there for me to learn. This is also the time when I let myself off the hook.

This time of transition, the liminal space – is the time between December 21st and January 1st. During this time I celebrate, eat, drink, laugh, cry, and stay in my pajamas. I even eat cinnamon rolls. I sing songs just because I like the tunes. I buy myself, and others, things we don’t even need just because I feel like it. I catch up with old friends and most important, I rest my mind. This is my time for mind clearing, for house clearing and for making space for all that is creative and new.

When December 31st comes around, I am more than ready get grounded in a routine again. Usually on New Year’s Eve I force myself to read my journal from the past year and sum it up. Sometimes I resist this practice, but I do it anyway. I close out the old files and start new ones the next day. On New Year’s Day or the day after, I declare my intention for the New Year. I do not make all kinds of resolutions. I set one goal for myself. It usually involves learning something new.

One year I proclaimed it “the year of the computer.” I was determined to learn it so that it became a tool, not an enemy. One year, I vowed to feed my family better and learn to cook. The last few years have been centered on making my little company something that I can be proud of. Next year I intend to build on the foundation I have created. I have not solidified it in my mind yet, but December 21st is not here yet. My hope is that 2017 will be a year of a gentle evolution. I am imagining a purposeful, prosperous year, full of health and generosity.

This will be my last blog for 2016, I will not be writing again this year. So, my wish for you is that you allow yourself some “liminal” space for reflection and imagining.

I am so incredibly grateful for all of you. May your upcoming days be peaceful.

Good health to you,

Mel

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Guest Post: Lisa Salinger

Reach! 3 Invaluable Tips To Endure The Holidays

Originally published on BlindAlive

If I said I’m here to tell you about three unbeatable moves for the entire holiday season, what would your reaction be?

Maybe your heart does a little happy dance because you love the holidays in any way, shape or form. Maybe you feel almost nothing, and you wonder if it’s worth your time to keep reading. After all, retailers have been pushing “The most wonderful time of the year” since before Halloween.

Or maybe you passionately hate it all. Maybe you’re dealing with a job loss, a break-up, a life-changing diagnosis, or the death of someone you love.

I’d like to suggest that whatever your state of mind, you’ll love these three moves. In fact, I find them unbeatable all year-long.

First, let’s talk about the equipment you’ll need. You might want to wear comfortable walking shoes, but slippers, party shoes, or bare feet will also do nicely. You can sit, stand, or lie down.

The most important skill you will need for each of these moves is to reach! Here they are:

  1. Reach In!
    While this sounds like an anatomically impossible stretch to do with your body, it’s vital to do with your mind. Reach inside yourself. Are you incredibly sad, but are doing your best to put on a brave face? Or maybe you are keeping up the facade of acting coolly disinterested or hassled by the entire scene when you can barely contain your excitement and enthusiasm? You may not feel like you can let your feelings show, and even though it would be ideal if you could, you owe it to yourself to be honest inside your own head.
  2. Reach Out!
    Are you depleted? Reach out. Chances are, there are family and friends who’d love to lend a listening ear. Do you have energy and excitement to spare? Reach out. It’s important to be flexible and patient with yourself. Some days, some moments, you may be giving. Others, you may be receiving. Just do your best to keep reaching out and connecting meaningfully with others, both for their sake and yours.
  3. Reach Up!
    Have you ever listened to a workout where the instructor abandons particular steps and says something like, “Just move! Just do what feels best to you?” This third move is one that leaves room for lots of interpretation. For some, reaching up means taking time to connect with God and think about the significance of the season. For others, it might mean reaching higher — putting on that last burst of speed to complete goals first begun in January. It might mean reaching higher within yourself, to emerge victorious from struggles that seem impossible.

Whatever you do this holiday season, Keep On Reaching In, Reaching Out, Reaching Up!

If you’d like to share your story, we’d love to hear from you at Support@BlindAlive.com.

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Guest Post: Lisa Salinger

Creative Thinking … It Tastes Just Like Chicken

Originally Published June 05, 2016 on BlindAlive by Lisa Salinger

Veggie topped pizza with broccoli, tomatoes, yellow and red peppers, and cheeseHave you noticed how many things are said to taste “just like chicken?” From frog legs to tofu turkey, to alligator meat, the refrain is the same: “It tastes just like chicken.” I doubt that anyone is actually gullible enough to believe this. After all, nothing tastes exactly like chicken except for, well, chicken. So why do we say it? My unproven theory is that we want to compare something that’s new and unfamiliar to something we know and like, or even love. It’s why parents tell children that their liquid medicine tastes just like candy. The parents know it’s not true, but to them, the health benefits of taking the medicine are preferable to the consequences.

I’ll never forget my first taste of whole wheat pizza with vegan cheese. A delivery order to my office had been confused, and we ended up with four of these pizzas, and only one traditional one. Some of my coworkers were not pleased, but they were hungry, so they dug in. Comments followed quickly. “This doesn’t taste like pizza. It’s awful!”

A friend of mine sometimes refers to me as Polly the Peacemaker. Polly is for Pollyanna, who always looks on the bright side, and peacemaker comes from the fact that I’m happiest when everyone in my world is getting along. So you can see why I couldn’t just let the negativity continue.
“That’s because it’s not really pizza,” I said. Only something that sounded so offbeat would stop the conversation in its tracks.

“I don’t really think of it as pizza. If I did, I’d be really disappointed. I think of it as Vegan flatbread, and it’s pretty good. The crust is different, but it’s kind of nutty, and it has texture, and the cheese doesn’t taste like standard Mozzarella, but it’s a nice mix with the veggies that are on top.”

If you feel like you’re just eating a healthier version of pizza, and you don’t really like it, you’ll just feel cheated, or at least I have. But set that notion aside, and maybe substitute a mental script like, “I am making healthy choices and am enjoying Vegan flatbread.” It may just sound like a game of semantics, but why not recognize the unique differences of each food you try? After all, not everything tastes like chicken, and that is as it should be.

If you’ve found a helpful food substitution or a mental trick that works for you, please let us know. You can always respond via social media or on our Facebook group.

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Guest Post: Mel Scott

My Claws are Out

Originally Published May 22, 2016 on BlindAlive by Mel Scott

Editor’s Note: It is not my intention to offend anyone in sharing the following post it is one person’s opinion on an issue she has dealt with personally. Since Mel has the first-hand experience in dealing with this dreadful disease she has an understanding of the treatments and their effects on the body. Deciding whether or not to go through treatment is an individual choice and I would suspect many people when given the choice would do almost anything to extend their lives however there are people who choose not to as well.

IV stand with several bags of IV medicationsHi all, I wrote the below post a few weeks ago. I was, and still am, angry after witnessing a dear friend experience chemo-induced trauma. I have thought a great deal about whether or not to post it.

Obviously, I decided to send it out because this is part of my journey as well, and I wanted to share it here. Thank you for allowing me to share my mind on a subject that is so important to me.

Cancer – Sugar Coats, Smiley Faces, Silly Pink Ribbons, and Fight, Fight, Fight!

Cancer is not the enemy. Pink ribbons are not the guns. Chemotherapy is not a therapy. It is a gladiator sport. Radiation is just plain bizarre. I really don’t get it.

Stethoscope, eyeglasses, packet of pills, loose pills and capsules, laying atop a EKG reportSomething is wrong somewhere. Something happened to the medical profession and the pharmaceutical industry, and they took the wrong path. I don’t think anybody meant harm, but something just went wrong.

Women and men are being tortured by their own choosing because they think that they have no other choice. The odd thing is that the doctors think they are doing the right things by prescribing and performing the tortures. Nobody is evil; something just went wrong.

Surviving cancer is a competitive sport. It isn’t the cancer that is being survived; it is the treatment. The treatment is not much better than bloodletting was long ago. I expect that I am being too harsh, but maybe I’m not; who really knows?

Assorted vials of medication.I do not want to be a fighter. I am not interested in fighting battles. My body is not a war zone. If I want to be a war hero, I will join the military.

I admit that I sound angry, and I am angry. It feels bizarre to feel perfectly healthy and then one day, an image on a screen shows something odd. The next thing you know is that you have a diagnosis and you become deathly ill.

It feels surreal. My brain, my mind, my heart, my body does not understand why they must be hacked, stabbed, burned inside and out. It doesn’t make good sense to treat our most precious possession in this way. The strange thing is we submit to it. We allow it to happen. We beg for it in some cases. I am having a very difficult time wrapping my head around why we do this; do we really know these “treatments” are actually doing any good over the long term?

Assorted chemistry beakers and tubesSomething is terribly wrong with this picture, and it is pretty clear that nobody knows what it is. I believe cancer is a symptom of a very sick planet. Cancer needs to be prevented, not cured.

When we come to understand that we are indiscriminately hacking at the planet and draining it of its life-giving resources, then we might understand the huge mistake we have been making by tearing our bodies down. We need to allow the planet to recover. We need to help the planet to heal. Our bodies will heal as the planet heals and refuels. In the meantime, we sit by and watch all of the hair on our bodies fall out. We get so sick that we wish we were dead. Our fingernails fall off and our brains can’t think.

Our bodies are scarred not only by the cancer, but also the treatment. Subsequent cancers may be caused by the treatment itself. There must be a better way. I know there is a better way, but it is yet to be revealed.

Image of a globe with a hypodermic needle puncturing it.It feels to me that we are looking in all the wrong places and for all the wrong reasons. I do not have the answer, but I know there is one; there will be one. We can find it if we can stop fighting long enough; when we stop sugar coating the trauma and damage being done to our bodies and our planet.

The Earth has cancer and it is showing up in our bodies, our oceans, rivers, lakes, mountains, and air. When we face the fact that humans are the carcinogens, then we will know that the true treatment is walking gently, speaking softly, and being conscious that each one of us can choose to be a malignant cell or one that is vibrant and whose purpose is to create beauty not destroy it. We are the cancer, and we are the treatment.