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Blindness, Self-Confidence, and Being Enough

Blindness, Self-Confidence, and Being Enough Featured Image Description is in the body of the post.

Today’s Guest Post was originally published on BlindAlive February 05, 2017 by Mel Scott

Being Enough What Does It Mean?

What does it mean to “be enough?” How does it feel? How will we know when we have reached that blissful state of “enoughness?”

These questions have been churning in my brain consciously for years, and probably subconsciously all my life. Well, I have been pondering on it long enough. I have some ideas that might help sort it out.

To say, “I am enough” is a very different statement than, “I have enough.” We can quantify “having enough:” there is enough food, shelter, or whatever it is that is required. “Being enough” is a bit more elusive. It is a state of mind. To be willing to say, “I am enough” and truly believe it, even for an instant, allows for a feeling of inner spaciousness; a peaceful expansion of consciousness.

I could easily tell you at this point to do twenty affirmations every day saying, “I am enough,” and eventually you will feel better. This absolutely can be an effective practice. I use it myself but I want to introduce another idea.

Are We Being Realistic In Our Expectations?

A few weeks ago, I had a conversation and the person said to me, “I am sad because I am not enough.” Usually, I might have said something like, “Of course you are, look at all the people you have helped and influenced over your lifetime.” There are a lot of dismissive remarks I could have made. This time, however, what shot out of my mouth was, “You are right! You are not enough and you never will be, so get over it!” I felt kind of shocked when it spilled out of me, but I realized the truth of the statement immediately.

How can any of us ever be “enough” when the To Do List is infinite? How can we be enough when we feel “less than” due to blindness, deafness, or a thousand other physical conditions, or when the size of our pants aren’t the size we have decided is the perfect one? How can we ever be enough when we measure ourselves by a superhero we have conjured up in our own minds? How can we be enough when the mark moves up as soon as we reach it?

We can’t! There is no way! Therefore, to be sad about not being enough means you will be sad about it the rest of your life. That does not work for me.

A Proposed Solution

The way I see it is I can either drop the thought, “I am not enough” and even drop the thought “I am enough.” They really are not useful because a measurement is inherent in both statements. I propose we drop them both. Can you imagine that? You never have to be enough again and you never will feel sad again because you are not enough. “Being enough” is no longer a measurement that applies to us.

How does that feel?

For me, a whole world of guilt-free possibilities just opened up. So much inner space can be created if we get over “being enough.” Let it go and observe how you feel. Take it in and you might breathe easier.

BlindAlive would love to hear your reactions to this post. You can comment on their Facebook page, follow them on Twitter, or subscribe to their informative chat list.

Featured Image Description:

In the photo are 6 flat stones atop one another decreasing in size to convey balance. The stones are sitting on a rocky beach in the foreground. In the background is the ocean and the pastel colored sky is on the horizon. The color palette is a calm, soothing one in softly muted grays, blues, pinks, and whites.

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Mel Scott On Eyes-Free Fitness®

Image is BlindAlive's logo a red/orange circle with the word BlindAlive. The "A" in Alive is a symbol of a person with legs stretched out in an "A" formation as they reach up with outstretched arms.

How To Start Exercising With Eyes-Free Fitness®

Originally published on BlindAlive by Mel Scott. Mel is a regular featured guest and Woman On The Move.

Recently I attended The American Council of the Blind conference. I met so many people, and the same question came up over and over. They would ask, “I don’t exercise, but I know I should. Where should I start, and what should I do?”

This is a common problem in our community, mainly because the choices for well-described programs have been almost non-existent. I have made it my mission over the last two years to create choices for people at all fitness levels. It is crucial that we move our bodies regularly so we feel healthy.

Today I am going to discuss the absolute beginner. You should consult your medical team before you start any exercise program. With that said, the best places to start with the Eyes-Free Fitness® programs are as follows:

Eyes-Free Fitness® Starter Recommendations

  1. The Gentle Workout Set is the first of three options I recommend. The set has four short workouts and you can do them standing or in a chair. There is a section that requires standing next to a chair. These workouts introduce you to basic cardio and strength training moves. You can do a different one every day. A detailed description can be found at our site.
  2. Pilates Chair With Ring is another great place to start with. You use a chair for the entire workout and it works your whole body. It makes use of a Pilates ring, which is a springy ring with foam handles. The ring can be found at sporting goods stores or through this website, and you can learn more about the workout by visiting our site.
  3. Gentle Yoga For Beginners is where you want to start if yoga is your interest, and being on the floor is okay for you. The entire sequence is on the floor, so there are no standing poses. Once you are on the floor, you can stay there until the end. This flow is great for warming joints and talking you through basic breathing and foundation poses. This link will give you all the information you need to get started.

I think these three options are good places to start for those who have never exercised or who need to ease back into activity with Eyes-Free Fitness®. I suggest that you try these and then you can move to the Level One workouts. We will discuss these more in an upcoming post.

We want to support you in every way we can to feel better than you do now. You may contact us through our Facebook page, on Twitter, or on our BlindAlive Community on Facebook.

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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: Mel Scott

When I Must Have Chocolate

Originally Published June 12, 2016, by Mel Scott on BlindAlive

Full disclosure: I am addicted to chocolate.

Of all the common vices in the world, chocolate addiction isn’t really so bad if it is done right. I am not saying, “in moderation.” I strive toward moderation in most things, but I do not achieve perfection when it comes to eating chocolate.

My chocolate habit has been refined over the years and so has my language around it. Now, I say it is “my daily dose of chocolate.” I make it more of a ritual instead of an all-out binge. There are days though when all rules go flying out the window. I like to say, “The defenestration of moderation has occurred.” The big word makes it feel more palatable — pun intended.

Sometimes I must have chocolate pudding; I absolutely adore it. I monitor everything that goes into my body carefully, and there is absolutely nothing in this recipe that is bad for you. Of course, I do not share it with my husband. In fact, I eat all of it before he gets home, or I might hide it in the back of the refrigerator.

In my favorite chocolate pudding recipe, there is plenty of room for substituting ingredients. I like to add chia seeds, which will require more liquid. I add nuts too. This is really a base you can modify in all kinds of ways. You can change the milk or delete the vanilla. Just play around with various combinations of ingredients.

Here is the recipe:

Chocolate Avocado Pudding with Coconut Milk

Total Time: 10 min

Prep Time: 10 min

Cook Time: n/a

A creamy delicious pudding that is chock-full of nutritious ingredients. The creamy texture of this snack/dessert is largely attributable to the gorgeous avocado!

Ingredients

Serving Size: 2
1 + 1/2 ripe California Avocado, peeled and flesh removed from pit
1/3 cup quality cocoa powder (100% pure cacao)
1/3 cup pure maple syrup or honey
1/4 cup coconut milk
2 tsp vanilla essence

Instructions

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.

Of course, I love making this in my Blendtec Blender. Also, did you know you can use avocados in place of mayonnaise? I do it all the time. You can find this, and any number of creative uses for avocados at the California Avocado Site.

Check it out and tell us what you think on our Facebook page, Twitter, or via our BlindAlive Community on Facebook.

Enjoy yourself!

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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.

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Guest Post: Mel Scott

Food or Foodoid??

Originally Published on BlindAlive January 24, 2016 / Mel Scott

Have you heard of the word “foodoid”? You probably haven’t, because I just made it up — or at least I think I did. I rather like the word.

Definition – A foodoid is a substance eaten by people and is often fed to animals that may resemble actual food or smell like what is commonly called food. It is likely to have little or no nutritional value.

Examples of foodoids are beverages such as Coke, diet drinks, Cheetos, Pop-Tarts, doughnuts, highly processed white bread, sugary breakfast cereals, highly processed meats, and of course candy. These foodoids do not look like anything found in nature — unless it is an animal cracker — and that is a loose resemblance.

Foodoids are crafted to appeal to our desires for crunchy, salty, creamy, or sweet tastes. They taste good to us, and we even find them comforting. We can develop strong cravings for them, even though they do nothing to actually feed the tissues in our bodies.

I think it is time to take an honest look at this. Why do we buy something that has no nutritional value? Why do we eat stuff that obviously is making us sick? The evidence is everywhere! Why do we believe without question the commercials that promote this junk as good for us? I don’t get it! I feel like humans are willingly self-destructing. It is absolutely senseless!

Food needs to be eaten and enjoyed for the energy and nourishment it provides for our bodies. Real food provides real joy. If we begin to gradually add real food to our diet, the desire for foodoids will begin to fall away. We become aware that real food feels good, and foodoids make us feel heavy and unmotivated… We have the power to take charge of ourselves! Let’s stop eating foodoids!

What do you think? Whether you agree or not, we’d love to hear from you. Just send a comment by using the contact form on www.BlindAlive.com.

Thank you!

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A Lil’ Inspiration #23

Deeper Insight

Mel is seated with her arms around her beautiful Golden retriever“Blindness has made it much easier to be silent which is my nature. I do not have all the distractions sighted people have forced upon them. I could easily create distractions for myself with the radio or television but then the opportunity for introspection would be missed.” ~Mel Scott, Founder, www.blindalive.com

Blind Alive is the Eyes-Free Fitness, well-described audio workouts designed for the blind and low vision community. “Our goal is to eliminate the obstacles that stand between you and good health.”

Image: Mel is seated with her arms around her beautiful Golden retriever

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Guest Post: Mel Scott

What, When, Where, and How to Eat

fruits-1761031_1280Eating well is actually quite simple. I don’t know about you but my brain can get quickly overloaded with diet plans, recipes, and all the talk about whatever the fad food of the moment happens to be. I am going to make it super easy for you.

What To Eat?

Eat what the Earth provides us. The Earth grows beautiful vegetables, flowers, fruits, nuts, seeds, and protein sources for us. Eat things that feel like food, smell fresh, and look like it came out of the ground or ocean and/or  was produced by an animal that ate the food natural to its system.

salmon-518032_1280

When To Eat?

Eat when you are truly hungry, not before or after.

Where To Eat?

Here is where I will get into trouble. I say, eat where you are happy. I eat breakfast in bed if I can. Lunch and dinner is outside if possible. I have been known to eat right out of the pot, over the stove, or over the kitchen sink. My favorite is to eat while having a fabulous conversation. I love to eat alone too. Eat where you are relaxed and attentive to your food.

cereal-898073_1280

How To Eat?

Chew, chew, chew your food. The more you chew the more nutrients you will receive. Chewing is where digestion begins. Chew every bite with intention and gratitude. You will eat less and enjoy it more. When you don’t feel like chewing anymore, then consider your meal is finished no matter how much is left on your plate.

The secret is to keep it simple. There is no need to over think. Trust the smartest voice in your head; this is the one that has your best interest at heart. Listen and obey it when it says, “Put that Coke down and pick up your water bottle.” Listen to it when it says, “Eat eggs and oatmeal instead of doughnuts and muffins.” You and your body know all of this already. Be conscious and pay attention; you will feel satisfied and powerful.

Just in time for the holidays, Blind Alive is running a special for anyone who places an order between now and January 6, 2017. Enter promo code 20off to receive a 20 percent discount off your entire order.

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Guest Post: Creating Your Home Fitness Area

Originally published on BlindAlive April 12, 2015, by Mel Scott

hand weights, scale, exercise ball and sneakersGetting and staying fit in your own home is easy. Home fitness is all the rage these days with hundreds of different exercise workouts for sale in athletic stores and online. Working out in your own space has many benefits and is certainly less stressful for many of us. My home fitness area is my favorite place in my house other than under my warm covers.

The exercise area in my house takes up a corner of a room. There is a stationary bike which I recommend instead of a treadmill. A bike can be used if you have foot or other joint issues and still get a good cardio workout. Treadmills are great, but I can duplicate that movement closely with running, walking, or dancing in place. I don’t need an expensive piece of equipment for that. If you want to buy a larger fitness machine, a good bike is what I prefer.

My bike is the largest piece of equipment and I use it to hold on to when I need help with balance. I also have fitness bands tied to my bike for foot and arm exercises. My bike is heavy so it is stable. It is important that you have a sturdy chair or other piece of furniture that you can use for balance or as a point of orientation.

sneakers & water bottle

My next favorite thing is my yoga mat. I am going to talk extensively about the exercise mat in a later blog; but for now, I will say that a good mat is essential. Cheap mats are not a good idea. My mat is mine and mine alone. I exercise, do yoga, Pilates, and meditate there. It is for safety and orientation.

Free weights are very useful for working out at home. I have a variety of hand weights, wrist, and ankle weights lined up along the wall. I have also kept them in a basket so they are out of the way. Tripping over weights is not fun. I will often use the wrist or ankle weights to add just a little extra weight for any kind of workout.

exercise ball

Next is my stability ball. I actually have two of them. They are different sizes. These exercise balls are a great tool. I use mine to sit on, to bounce my depression away, as a way to increase or decrease the intensity of an exercise, and just for fun.

The last tool is a Pilates ring. This tool can be used in place of weights and resistance bands, and there are specific exercises that are unique to the ring. There will be more about the Pilates ring in upcoming posts.

The last thing you need is a player of some kind for your workouts. I have my workouts on my computer and I have an old CD player. You can use your phone or iPod as well.

That’s my whole home workout area. I like to change it up occasionally so I stay motivated. Once the initial investment is made, it doesn’t cost much to keep it up. It is best to buy high quality equipment – it will last longer and there is less of a chance of injuring yourself.

So get your equipment and make a spot for yourself. You deserve it and it is the best health insurance you can buy. Have fun and take care of your body.

Find Mel on Twitter

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A Lil’ Inspiration #10 Mel

A Matter Of Choice

Facebook Mel 2.3.16Today’s quote is an important reminder on perspective. I have a friend who’s endured one critical issue after another since the beginning of the year.

With the loss of two pets, several medical procedures, constant pain, family illnesses, adverse reactions to medications, and two heart-rending diagnoses within the last week, my friend has had her share of tough times. If all of this weren’t enough—having lost her eyesight several years ago due to life-saving cancer treatments—she holds on with two toddlers in tow and all while working.

There is no doubt that being blind has huge challenges but we do have control over how we choose to think about our circumstances. ~Mel Scott | BlindAlive

Image: Black & white chessboard with quoted text superimposed on top.

I know if she had her choice my friend would opt for a much-needed break because she said as much in a recent Facebook post. While my heart breaks for her I see someone who has refused to let these tough life’s situations defeat her and she has done so with honesty, grace, strength, and a remarkable sense of humor.

While it’s true that things are easier said that done I want my friend to remember that she is a fighter, she’s not alone and she is still STANDING! I love you girl!

 

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A Lil’ Inspiration #2

Quoted text is teal against a grayscale scenic background of a roadway with mountains.Hi Everyone,

I want to apologize for being MIA over the past week. I’ve been building out my online store and it’s taken a wee bit more time than I had anticipated but I’m hopeful that it will go live this week. In the interim I wanted to share with you a snippet from Mel Scott, a monthly contributor and one of the women I’ve featured on Women on the Move.

The image is a scenic roadway with mountains & low-hanging clouds. The quote is “We can choose to take responsibility for our thoughts and our words. We are in control. When we stop thinking of ourselves as “poor, unhealthy, tired, or depressed…” we can take small manageable steps in the direction we want to go.” ~Mel Scott

Have a Happy Monday and I hope to visit you soon!! ~Steph

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Guest Post: Scary Business

Written by Mel Scott Originally Published January 11, 2015 on BlindAlive

silhouette of a woman running at sunset in a wide open areaHave you ever wanted something so much that you could feel it in every cell in your body? Maybe you wanted a certain toy, car, house, or the coolest game of all. For me, it was a horse. I had fantasies of having a horse on my front yard on Christmas morning. I never got the horse on the front lawn but the desire for running free without boundaries never left me.

Years have passed and I have everything I need to live a comfortable life and for that I am grateful. My desires have shifted. I still want that wild feeling of running without boundaries but now I can come close to the feeling by using my imagination. I can create that feeling through sinking into my body while exercising , doing yoga, or meditating. My imagination is my most important survival tool. It rarely fails me.

row of dumbbells on a rack

Tonight, I am imagining blind people everywhere sinking into their bodies and using their own imaginations to run free, to feel strong, confident, and wild while running in place in their own home. I want more than anything to create more accessible choices for people so they can access that feeling of no boundaries. I want that feeling for all of us.

This past year I have poured my heart, soul, and resources into creating choices for all of us. I don’t want to stop. The desire to create has got me in its grip. This is important work and to put it simply and honestly, I need your help to spread the word that health choices now exists. I am hitting the start up business wall and I need your help.

We must get strong, stay strong, and support each other. I am asking you to use your imagination to help get these workouts into the hands of the people who need them most.

Let’s manifest fitness choices together.