My journey in a new direction

Archive for the ‘New Directions’ Category

The Time Has Come!

Posted by BarbaraZ on November 9, 2013

December 23, 2011 at 6:45 am

A New Day  ~~  A New Journey

Well. the ship has come in, or at least it is trying to. The start of a new beginning is on it way. The rest is up to me.

So why do I feel like a child facing its first day at school?  Why is my mind racing in circles?  Barb, time to take those deep breaths you have written about. You know, the ones you say to do in order to bring your mind to rest?  That’s right… breathe in now… hold it… now exhale slowly. Don’t forget to feel for that hint of a smile on your lips. My mind cannot feel rushed and scared when I am smiling, no matter how small the smile    Try it!

I am excited, I am nervous and yes, scared.  Me!!  Now to make a “Do Not Disturb, Genius at Work” sign to put on my ‘office’ door.  I finally made the decision to retire from teaching. It has been so much more than a job, it has been my passion. I have been a part of a team of teachers in an open classroom where students of all ages, all backgrounds, come to learn. Some need to learn how to enter the computer age. Others need to upgrade their Microsoft Office Program skills. We offer certificate programs for Office Administration, Medical and Legal Office programs also.

I am not retiring totally, but starting a whole new career. Freelance writing has been a part of my life for a few years, but in a low key sort of way. Now I need to approach it in a more determined way. I have met some great individuals in my freelance writing learning quest and also am writing articles in two areas. I have mentioned both BlogMutt and Catch My Pain before. They were mentioned in my Emerging post. That hiatus I mentioned for BlogMutt has to come to an end. This is where I need to post that “Do Not Disturb” sign on my door!

I also need to do a major over haul to this blog and get it back to the original purpose and that is posting articles that can help you find that inner peace, balance in your lift. I also will include articles on alternative options for pain and other health issues. Chemotherapy saved my life, but it made me hypersensitive to most medications.

I cannot leave without a quote from my favorite book, Readings from the Hurricane Island Outward Bound School: 

The rung of a ladder was never meant to rest upon, but only to hold a man’s foot long enough to enable him to put the other somewhat higher.        Aldous Huxley

Now for a closing photo of one of my favorite birds, the Blue Heron. I enhanced this in Corel Painter.

Blue Heron

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Emerging thoughts, creativity and discoveries

Posted by BarbaraZ on September 2, 2013

Emerging from within

Emerging from within

Life goes on. It often does not turn out the way we plan, but how we adapt to the surprises and the detours that are put in our path, makes all the difference.  We will succeed or overcome these events if we are able to react positively. For some reason, I pulled this board of redwood out of hiding and started to finish a project I had started over 10 years ago. Not quite sure what I had in mind for the finished carving back then and even now… I am ‘playing it by ear,’ deciding on the next move only after seeing how it progresses.  Ah, a mystery is emerging!

It has been so long since I last added a post, I have had to relearn the steps!  Not good. This blog has been on my mind quite a bit. It too, has been altered its journey. I moved away from the original “restoring your inner self” to basically a sharing format of blog. This will be changing. I have work to do, learning to take place and I am looking forward to each step as it happens.

blogmutt logo

Right now I am on a self-imposed hiatus from another emerging journey that I have enjoyed so much. I discovered a wonderful site to write for, BlogMutt. There is no stress such as deadlines, except those that are self-imposed. Sure the edits can rub the wrong way, but if you have a positive attitude, that is not a problem. Questions? Just ask… The camaraderie that is found on the forum is super. You move up within BlogMutt by earning points for each post you write and also the rating given each post. For an incentive, writers are able to set as a goal, the number of posts that they say they will write each month. This is totally voluntary. Considering the number of writers they have onboard, it is hard to believe that BlogMutt is also an emerging force in the world of freelance content writing.

I just made Level 6 and I am so excited about that accomplishment. I was not even aware that I would enjoy writing! When all is lined up again, I will start writing once more. It is a great place. Maybe you cannot make a living income from it, but it is one way stay-at-home moms can add to the household income. Freelance writers who write full-time, find BlogMutt to be great for filling in the cracks of their often uncertain income. Here is a link to their blog. They also have a Facebook Page. Explore the links and who knows, it may become an emerging journey for you too!


I came across an app called Catch My Pain. It has given me a tool for dealing with my neuropathy. It is an app that is also emerging as the team develops new features. More are going to be added on a regular basis. Below is a synopsis from their site.

Pain can be very complex: Over time, it can move or expand to different locations of your body, the intensity may vary, or there might be various influences which increase or ease your pain. Keeping a diary helps you to get to know your pain and you might notice a pattern which will help you to adapt your lifestyle accordingly. Keeping a pain diary also helps you to explain and describe your pain to any care provider or a family member: By using CatchMyPain you can finally make your pain visible to others and you won’t forget the course of your pain or any other important information.

In a small way, I have been able to be apart of this, by writing some articles for use with the app. Two have been #1.published and #2.published. The individuals involved, out of Switzerland, are a super group with some major emerging ideas. Eventually it will be possible to be linked up with others and able to share experiences and survival tips. The information gathered through the responses by those using the app, will be studied by experts in the field of pain management. This app is not only for those with intense debilitating pain, but it helps anyone who has to deal with chronic pain that interrupts their daily life, their goals and dreams.

I use the app before and after certain activities, at the end of my work day, and it helps me to become aware of what brings on the severe pain that knocks my feet out from under me. It is my awareness tool. I use it to become more aware of my actions and how they affect my body. This practice of review helps me to have a sense of control over what is happening with my body and what I feel. I believe that now a more positive outlook is emerging in this area of my life.

Blue Heron

Another form of help that I have discovered is John F. Barnes Myofascial Release. I was getting all tied up in knots as the result of various habits and injuries from the past and was always needing therapy. I found therapists who used Barnes’ form of treatment and decided to splurge on the DVD as it would end up being cheaper than having to go for therapy on a regular basis. By constantly exploring new ways, listening to my body, new methods of survival are emerging and allowing me to move into a better way of life.

By following the stretching routines that are on the second DVD, I am now able to undo that unbelievable neck spasm that activates when I am not careful. Do not ever, under any circumstances, get in the habit of holding the phone, cell phone between your neck and shoulder, on a regular basis. I did that for 10 years when I worked as a unit secretary in the ER and I have paid for it over and over. This tender spot can be activated by poor posture, stress, and the list goes on. I can control this!  That is what is so great about all I have learned.

I am also able to loosen up from head to toe by using the unwinding routine found at the end of the second DVD. I have a sensitive lumbar area (thanks to an L1 compression fracture). My posture during sleep is an ongoing project of various pillow placements!  The first DVD is aimed at practitioners. The price may seem a bit high, but after looking at my co-pay for therapy, I have paid it off several times already.

Side by Side We Can Change the World

One thing I discovered yesterday, is that standing does not have to be a major pain source. My carving set-up requires that I stand next to my home-made bench and carving vise. I thought, as I was getting ready, “What can I try to prevent what I know usually happens when I stand without walking?” I mentally reviewed stretches that have been given to me by podiatrists, physical therapists and more. First, I did bilateral heel stretches several times while carving. Another stretch was to put one foot up on a brick and drop from the waist downward between my legs. With each breath my torso dropped further, keeping my lumbar area flexible. I did this bilaterally. Then I did another stretch, known in yoga as Uttanasana I. Now, I am not in any way able to do it as it shows it done in my yoga book, but I can almost touch my toes and that is quite a bit better than it was a number of years ago.

Life is definitely a journey of constant emerging. If you let your life become stagnant, there is no room for growth, for adventure. Find your own form for emerging at what ever stage of life you find yourself now. Explore new skills, seek out new knowledge. With the technology of today, the options are amazing!

Posted in Challenges, Health, Mindfulness, New Directions | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

Surprises life can bring: the emergence of a different me!

Posted by BarbaraZ on February 21, 2013

It is absolutely amazing the surprises that life can bring, both good and bad. The one thing that I have learned over time is how to roll with the punches.

In an effort to regain control of my house and home, I attacked the many boxes and bags of ‘stuff’ that have been lurking in the various corners and back shelves of my house. I grew up in a home that was always immaculate and then in my teen years I embarked on a rebellion of such to not follow that example. Well, a person can accumulate only so much ‘stuff’!  My domestic genes decided that it was time for them to emerge and I started to attack the ‘stuff’.

The problem that emerged was that my body was not happy when it came to the explosion of dust that arose from this attack and responded with a ‘delightful’ and strong reaction of my sinuses!  Mega antibiotics and Prednisone have been required to settle my sinuses down. I had to investigate the various masks to wear during my future actions in removing the rest of the ‘stuff’. as the whole transformation is not complete. The salesman and I both become claustrophobic when wearing these masks and he showed me the one he uses that has the small vent!  Of course it was the one with the highest price tag!  So be it!

During this whole process of organization, elimination and sorting, I have found among the many items discovered some treasures that were long forgotten. I am going to share two photos. The left is of my bedroom with all my boxes that have been pulled out along with my abundant sleep apnea apparatus. The image on the right, is an almost finished living room. The stuffed tiger on the couch was not quite up to the job when burglars paid us a visit several years ago, but he is a good conversation starter! There is also a very large green frog around, who was my companion when I underwent Chemo.

Many changes were made.

Many changes were made.

When I look at all that has taken place, I find there is hope for that long forgotten organized person who has waited so long to emerge from within. This can be something that we all have… a part of us that has been lost, forgotten, and just wondering when it may have the chance to explore life as a reality. I doubt that I will ever equal my dear Mom in my neatness, but I have definitely taken a big step forward. “Thanks Mom”

Posted in Challenges, New Directions | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Let Us All Try Something New… Peace

Posted by BarbaraZ on December 18, 2012

Let Us All Give Peace a Chance

Let Us All Give Peace a Chance

For how many centuries has the world tried war, hatred, dominance and more to gain or prove superiority.

Now it is becoming acceptable to show the extent of our inner demons.

When it comes to the first,  just is not working! Those who end up on the bottom layer of oppression will always seek their freedom from those holding them down. This has been going on for centuries, between religions, cultures and races. In my own country there are those who are still fighting the Civil War. We were once called a melting pot… no more.

Now, if you are upset, angry at another, or feel threatened it seems to be acceptable to grab a gun and ‘take out’ the source of your problem. Why are assault weapons needed by individuals within the regular population? I am not against guns… but the type of guns that are available.

There is also the need for help to be given to those who need mental counseling. In a country as wealthy as ours, programs that give this help are being shut down. There is also a stigma involved. It is no different then when the mentally ill were locked away… now we do it to ourselves rather then admit that we, ourselves, or our child needs help.

First we have to believe that Peace is a real option! It does not have to be perfect as nothing in life is perfect. It will take real effort by all involved. Much will require each individual looking at life, events, feelings with a new perception or outlook. Sometimes when we look at a feeling or event from the opposite viewpoint or a different angle, our own perception changes. Most importantly we need to learn to listen and get to know each other… as individuals not as generalizations.

Next, we need to be persistence in this quest for Peace. It will not come overnight.

I will hand my belief and love of Peace to you… now it is your turn to believe and hand your belief to another. This needs to be done over and over, until it reaches all areas of the world. It does not have to start with just me!  You can start handing off your love of Peace wherever you are and maybe we will accomplish our goal quicker.    As my signature says, “Peace begins with each of us, as individuals”  Pass it on!

Posted in Challenges, Helping our youth, New Directions | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

New Technology in My Life

Posted by BarbaraZ on November 18, 2012

Here it is… with many new skills to learn

This is the new tool I have in my life. It is a joint birthday/Christmas present from both myself and my partner, Elliot. I had been interested in the iPad mini, till the price ended up higher than first anticipated  When the new iPad mini was introduced, I learned that there were some bargains to be found within the ranks of the older models. I found on CNet, a good review about the iPad, 3rd generation (refurbished). The price was right and I was ready. Since I have not experienced the technology of the iPhone, iPod or any other iPad, I am most happy with what I have ended up with.

I am learning about Instagram. Lost one and discovered it ended up on Facebook!  I was trying to enhance it and sent it instead. Tried a few apps in different categories, mainly art and photography. The ones I liked, I have kept. A few I got rid of. Luckily an app is not the price of computer software.  So many are free!  I downloaded Art Studio for iPad. It is a keeper. It reminds me of Corel Painter which I have always enjoyed working in. I also downloaded Camera+. It lets me do some enhancing before sending and or saving for later use.

While I was not going to use it for reading, I found that it works very well for that, especially when it comes to more serious reading. I can highlight multiple ways and most importantly… create a comment. While I often highlight hardback books I have never written comments in the margins. The reader program for Sony, now has an app for the iPad. I can re-read all the books I have purchased (no-thinking books) for my Sony reader on the iPad. When I read a no-thinking book, I do not read them word for word and therefore do not remember the whole plot etc. Going back and reading them again several months later is fine with me!  I keep hardback favorites for the same reasons.

What this marvel of technology is supposed to be for me, is a roving digital sketch pad. I cannot say that it was reached that level of use, but it will. I can draw from nature directly or take a photo and open it within Art Studio and work on it from there.

The effect of technology on our lives is being observed and studied in detail. Many negative and some positive aspects are being pointed out. A very humorous yet sad outlook can be found on Our Lighter Side. One of the serious books I am reading on my iPad is Spontaneous Happiness by Andrew Weil. He writes about the nature deficit disorder: the loss of nature in our daily lives and its affect on us, especially in the lives of children. Dr. Weil states:

 We simply are not meant to live as many of us do today: sedentary, alone, staring at glowing screens that keep us on perpetual information overload, eating processed food, and sleep-deprived as artificial light extends the natural day well into the night. Living this way undermines physical and mental health in profound ways.

He does not believe we have to withdraw from the modern world, but we do have to be aware of what is happening and take the means needed to counteract the negative aspects of this overwhelming use of modern technology. One of the strongest medical problems that has developed is depression. People are no longer interactive individuals, but are becoming isolated within their world of technology.

No. For most of us, that’s unrealistic. Instead, we need to realize that we must consciously follow behaviors in the modern world that reflect what our bodies and minds are meant to be doing. We need to move our bodies more; be truly (as opposed to electronically) social; eat whole, unprocessed food; and align our sleep more closely with the sun’s cycles. I also think that ancient spiritual traditions – particularly those that advocate various forms of meditation – can offer valuable opportunities for achieving emotional well-being. So can newer schools of psychotherapy such as “positive psychology,” which provides a wealth of specific techniques to boost emotional health.

As I have become absorbed in the use of my iPad, I can see how this might happen and I only have this one form of modern technology. It is enough for me. My cell phone is for basic communication and emergencies. It is not my main source for communicating. I have never been a big phone talker, ask my children. I prefer to talk face to face. Now that they are not close, I have had to learn to talk longer via the phone, any form of phone.

I have a long way to go before I really know all the iPad can do and will continue do pursue it. I am going to learn chess and play tennis with Roger Federer’s tennis app! No other games. I do play Mahjong on my laptop. That is enough!

Posted in Challenges, Health, New Directions, New Technology | Tagged: , , , , | 8 Comments »

Seeking Motivation

Posted by BarbaraZ on September 29, 2012

These waves illustrate the power of the thoughts and physical reactions  I experienced within during my past week, strong and almost overwhelming.

Been one of those weeks when all seems to be on an uphill slant. Need some motivation to keep myself on track. This is when I head to the Readings from the Hurricane Island Outward Bound School.


Whether adversity be a stumbling block, or discipline, or blessing depends on the use made of it.

The trick is what one emphasizes.
We either make ourselves miserable
or we make ourselves strong.
The amount of work is the same…
Carlos Castaneda

I love this quote… Makes me think of the words not spoken…

Remember this advice: It is easy to keep your head above water. Empty things float.
Tillie Olsen

I bought two books from Amazon for further reading. I am learning that there are several different approaches to freelance writing and blogging. My job will be to put together the combination that works best for me.

I am enjoying my journey with the A-List Blogging bootcamp. It shows only too well how much there is to learn. While I missed the workshop (still trying to figure that out) I am going full speed ahead with the rest of the program.The amount of experience as well as the joy of learning expressed by all in the program is catching.  Ah.. that is what I need right now, a visit to the site and to let all that enthusiasm flow over me!  Off I go!!

A good day to you all!

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Taking a Detour in Life

Posted by BarbaraZ on June 10, 2012

New Growth Amid the Old

Life does not stop when obstacles get thrown in our path. Somehow we have to find a way to keep on moving forward. As I look at the old growth of this mangrove above. I see two images. One is the tangled web of my life that has developed over time. Now I am trying to start a new journey and that is the green sprout… the new skills, the new dreams and growth that is happening in my life at this time. I find it absolutely amazing. The second image (I love anatomy) is that of the neurons in my brain… with that spark of new development.

Our brains do not stop in their growth at a certain age. They do slow down and under certain circumstances some growth is lost or damaged by trauma, illness and substance abuse. There are new studies out there, that say to keep a brain young… exercise it! Exercising the brain can help hold off the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease. Brains that have been damaged because of stroke or trauma can relearn skills that were lost.

Well, I have not suffered trauma, stroke or any other such condition. I have just had obstacles tossed in my path. I am having to learn new skills and make decisions. Just where do I want to go with this blog. It has been wandering around in blogsville now for quite a while. Because my mind loves to be distracted, I am making a renewed effort to practice mindful meditation via Jon Kabat-Zinn as well as through the book written by “the Jolly Fellow” from Google, Chade-Meng Tan.

Now if you want to get a totally different take on meditation, then this is the book for you. ‘Meng’ is an engineer that started with Google in its early years. He was not too happy with the changes in his life and sought means to change it. He discovered Jon Kabat-Zinn, Daniel Goleman, among others, whom he invited to lecture at Google. His approach to meditation is not a ‘high in the clouds’ approach, but backed by science.

The Calming Motion of Waves….

I sleep with the sounds of waves to bring a sense of calmness. It also disguises the ringing that is present (tinnitus) I love to go to the beach to watch the waves. I decided long ago, I would have a problem if I did not have access to the ocean. I remember climbing to the tree top in Aruba so I could see the ocean in the distance. There is a gentle rhythm to the waves… most of the time.

These waves are gentle compared to those produced by a hurricane or any other strong storm… but then, those are the times I stay away from the beach!

Those of you who just happen to stop by… explore and leave a comment or two. Some of you know what is going on in my life. I am not daunted, but just finding my way. Life is good, it is definitely a challenge. It would be most boring if it were any other way. I want to share with you the website of a nature photographer who has had to overcome obstacles that would probably have made me stop in my tracks long ago. Her work is amazing. She is also an authority on moths. I never knew they were such beautiful creatures. Here are her sites. and within this one you will find Moth Magic. Thank you, Cindy… in more ways than one!

Posted in Challenges, Life & Nature, Mindfulness, New Directions | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

An Oft Used quote from Shakespeare: To Thine Own Self be True.

Posted by BarbaraZ on March 21, 2012

We Must Walk Side by Side With our Youth

Today’s world bombards us from all sides, showing us the way to dress—to do our hair—what music we should listen to. If you do not go along with what is considered appropriate for your age group, you appear to be an outsider, a misfit.

It starts right out of the crib with parents being aware of specific expectations for their child. They read of methods to improve their child’s intellect, their learning ability. Some start to groom their child to be the person they wished they had become instead of who they ended up being. When any individual is forced, whether with good intentions or not, to be someone other than whom they really are, that child misses out learning what their own special skills and abilities are.

This pressure continues through elementary school, on up to high school and beyond.  There seems to be a need in the world today, to become an overachiever. To be the best athlete, have the top grades are expectations and goals that bring a feeling of being over-whelmed. It does not matter if these goals are self-imposed or through another.

When the individual falls short, even if they had given their all, it damages their self-esteem. Their image in the eyes of the one who had the expectations is tarnished… this is even if it was their own. It is seen as a ‘failure.’  What is forgotten here, is the effort and what difficulties might have needed to be overcome. Effort must count, it must be included in the final judgment.

A personal experience will be added here. I went to a school with high standards. I tried my best, but there were certain subjects that I found difficult, one was Latin.  When grades were given out, we were all assembled in the cafeteria and one or two individuals were called to stand and their grades were read aloud. One fateful time, I was chosen. Thankfully we were graded not only by the subject, but also for our effort. I did quite poorly in Latin, but it was noted that I got a high grade for my effort. That helped me somewhat, but it was still a most unnerving experience to have ones grades read out loud in front of the whole assembly.

This is harder on the pre-teen and teenagers than for others. What is happening is that these youngsters are looking for ways to deal with this pressure. They start to turn to alcohol or drugs. If they are an athlete, they try enhancements to help them achieve more. It does not stop here, it follows individuals into college and beyond. Those top students, when they enter the workforce, they often find circumstances that are totally different from what they expected. The competition is fierce. Again, they seek to block it out, one way or another.

How to change this? Our whole society would have to get a complete makeover. It can be done, though parents and teachers, accepting each child for who they are. To help them discover their talents and find their own direction. This is easy to say, but not very easy to make happen. Schools and teachers are now graded themselves, by the grades of the students on tests. Their jobs depend on the success of the students and the students are being taught to pass these tests.

Now what?  I wish I knew. I would love to hear from teachers and even those who were made to follow a path that did not fit them as individuals. We have to guide our youth, walk with them, side by side. We must help them learn who they really are as individuals, so they can be true to themselves.

Article first published as An Oft Used quote from Shakespeare: “To Thine Own Self be True” on Technorati.

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Sharing with Technorati

Posted by BarbaraZ on March 4, 2012


My verification code for Technorati NYVWMHQEHCCE

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It always amazes me…

Posted by BarbaraZ on March 3, 2012

Closed, forgotten... now I must reopen it...

Here I am, wondering how to get myself in gear. I have started on this new journey and I am faltering… in several ways. It is like I closed the door or ‘gate’ when it comes to forward movement. I opened my email this morning and guess what I found… three emails with wisdom that should help me, if I put it all to work.

First Leo Babauta talks about the need to “Build the Muscle of Change.” He compares changing the ‘muscle’ of mental change with actual building up of real muscle… it takes time and persistence! He has some great pointers to follow. Check them out.

I started training my change muscle in 2005, when it was weak and I could never make any lasting changes. I felt helpless, and didn’t know what to do. I felt like I couldn’t ever make changes.

But I’ve learned in the years since that the change muscle is like other muscles: you might be weak at first, but you get stronger with regular training.

Then the next email up is from Linda Hewett. She is sharing her post about Starting your Confidence Transformation. I definitely need this as mine is dragging a bit. So much at work, stress involved there and facing the unknown within my new direction. Again, it is all spelled out in simple steps, just like Leo’s advice.

Step 1.  Start your Confidence Journal.

Nothing fancy, just a notebook to record your ideas about confidence as we go along.

You know you want to be confident, but what exactly do you mean?

What does confidence mean to you?

Think about this, and then write down…

‘If I was more confident I’d be able to…’

Write down as many answers as you can, building a picture of how you’d like to be.  Think of as many as you can!

As I am in the process of reading Linda’s link… another drops in my mailbox. This one is from Galen Pearl. While she talks about finding Happiness despite the Obstacles, she includes points that fit me… at this moment when I am dealing with self-doubt.

The problem, of course, is that self-doubt often leads to immobility. We stop and hesitate and stutter in our steps toward the life we dream of.

But we can give ourselves permission to act in the face of our doubts. We can grant ourselves the right to be human. We can grant ourselves permission to doubt, and then rise above those doubts, letting doubt have its say, then ignoring its plea to remain in the spot we’ve stayed in for too long.

And yet self-doubt seems to keep finding its way back home despite the actions we take and the growth we experience.

I learned from Galen that this was a guest post by Ken Wert… who has a great blog Meant to be Happy

OK… that is it, Barb. You have lots to do and some great advice to follow. Get to it!!  Thanks everyone!!

Posted in Challenges, New Directions | Tagged: , , , , | 8 Comments »


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