BarbetteSpitler.com

Holistic Health & Wellness Coach

Brittany Maynard and Lauren Hill. Same direction… two very different paths… Live it or Leave it?

Lauren Hill, 19.  Also diagnosed with terminal brain cancer

Lauren Hill, 19. Also diagnosed with terminal brain cancer

Brittany Maynard, 29 diagnosed with terminal brain cancer

Brittany Maynard, 29 diagnosed with terminal brain cancer

By now you’ve heard about Brittany Maynard.  She is the 29 year old woman who was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.  She moved to a state that allows for Death with Dignity, a legal form of assisted suicide.  She created a bucket list of wishes and scheduled her departure date.  She was determined to end the journey before a possible massive stroke or other complications could erupt.  Although there was no promise of these complications, she didn’t want to experience them or have her family witness them. She checked off the items on her bucket list and did so with gusto and dignity!   She completed her death this past weekend.   She chose to leave it when the timing was right for her.  She prepared herself and her family.  She planned for it.  She chose when and how and did it on her terms.

Have you also heard about Lauren Hill?  She is a 19 year old Cincinnati woman who was also diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.  She is progressing such that her dream of playing college basketball (she is on the team with first game only weeks away) was literally disappearing with each passing week.  Her coordination is affected such that she can no longer dribble the ball well.  Her right arm doesn’t always follow her commands making it more difficult to shoot baskets.  It is expected she will be unable to play basketball by the time the season officially starts.
Lauren chose to live it.  To make the best of life every day she has yet to live.  A few weeks ago the NCAA granted special permission to allow an early game so Lauren could live her dream and play college basketball before she dies.  A death she knows is soon.  A death she knows could be clouded with complications. A death she knows could be painful.  Complications or no, the journey will still be short.  She isn’t focused on what difficulties could await her.  She chose instead to focus on the here and now and enjoy every moment as if it could be her last.  There are times when Lauren is so weak she cannot stand, let alone run.  Yet, she is present and engaged in the process of living.
I have been at the beside of many people as they lay dying.  Death and dying is the focus for a hospice nurse.  And during my years as an emergency room nurse, I saw death experiences from car accidents and shootings to overdoses and massive heart attacks.  Dying is something every single one of us must look forward to.  It will happen…there is no way around it!  Yet, so many of us don’t want to think about it.  Or worse, we don’t plan for it.
Both of these young women were delivered a diagnosis none of us ever want to hear, terminal, inoperable, unfixable, brain cancer.  Both of them chose how they wanted to live out their remaining days on earth.  Both of them brought their journey public and both of them allowed us to experience a wee bit of their journey with them. Isn’t it interesting their journeys paralleled in many ways yet they chose opposite endings for their life’s song.   Do you know which you would choose if this became the next chapter in your book of life?
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Ohh… To be a plumber…

fixing-a-leaky-shower-faucet_87807702.s300x300   If I was a plumber and knew my friends, family, and neighbors had leaky faucets, I would be willing to help them.  I would shake my head in bewilderment if they didn’t ask me to help.  And I would be disappointed for them to have leaky faucets.  Why?  Because leaky faucets mean they have water to clean up or possibly water damage.  An undetected leak would also include mold growth and damage.  Leaky faucets also result in a higher cost in water bills.  And it means a waste of a precious resource.

I am not a plumber.  I am a health, life and performance coach.  My passion is health promotion and disease prevention.  I teach people how to build a strong immune system.  I encourage people to healthier food and lifestyle choices for better well-being and longevity.  I help people heal themselves from illness or chronic disease.  And I guide people to discover the connection between their mind, body and spirit.  Like a plumber, I am willing to help others to repair their issues and improve their circumstances.  Like a plumber, I am bewildered when people are suffering  (physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually) and don’t ask for help.  Why?  Because whether we are in a health crisis or just looking for better ways to promote our health and wellness, we can waste precious time and energy seeking information and answers.  We look for a quick fix for the symptoms rather than a long term resolution to the initiating problem.  It’s like wrapping a towel around the leaky faucet.  The towel will absorb the water for awhile but the leak remains.  Eventually, the wet towel becomes part of the problem, too

Symptom suppression is the same.  While suppressing the symptoms, we are not resolving the problem.  This means longer healing times, IF healing occurs at all.  It means possible further damage caused by the side effects of the symptom suppression medications.   And,  it means the initial problem continues to produce the same or similar symptoms because it is not resolved. Symptoms are actually messages to the brain/body that a problem exits.  The body will continue to send the messages as long as the problem exists. That means the symptoms continue or increase in intensity or duration, which means more medication is needed to suppress them.  It’s an interesting and complex cycle which often becomes a cyclone of symptoms which leads to more and different medications to address or suppress the symptoms.

Sadly, I shake my head in bewilderment wondering why anyone would want to continue on that path, especially when other options exist. Yet, I witness the journey for many,  If I was a plumber, their continued leaky faucets would be disappointing for me to witness .  As a health and life coach, their suffering is painful for me to witness.   Yes… there are times I wish I was a plumber.

 

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Do you Hear Through Your History?

 Kids-upset-at-each-otherRecently, while working with a teenage client, she shared a text conversation that was pertinent to the event she was processing.  As she read her part of the text conversation aloud, she used a calm, soft voice and displayed a sincere demeanor.  While reading the other person’s texts in the conversation, her voice was filled with attitude and her demeanor was condescending and rude.  I found it intriguing how she was using voice inflections and intonations as well as other non-verbals to communicate in a conversation that clearly has none of those as options.  When I questioned her about it, she was startled.  She didn’t realize she was doing it at first.  As we discussed it, she stated, “But that’s how she talks to me when she’s mad”.  The text conversation did not indicate that the other was annoyed or angry.  In further exploration, we discovered she was assuming how the other would be speaking.

     In my practice I always recommend conversations around deep or serious topics occur in person or by phone (if you cannot do it in person).  In person, you can see, sense and experience the conversation and leave nothing to interpretation.  You can ask clarifying questions.  You have the full focus and attention of the person you are communicating with (yes….insist on it!)  And it makes it more difficult for you, the listener, to hear the other through your own history.
     Hearing through your history limits the brilliance of the other’s message to you.  It means you are filtering their words through what you surmise they mean.  When we “think” we know what they mean we are guessing which means we are hearing through our history and not hearing clearly.  The brilliance (and yes I mean, the excellence of or the magnificence of their message) is lost on you.  You miss it because you are hearing from your own experiences and beliefs.
     The text conversation my client shared was a fabulous example.   Because she was hearing through her history, she was missing that her friend was actually sharing her desire to return to the friendship they once shared.  Her friend was literally opening herself up, being vulnerable, and hoping to reconnect.  My young client was wishing for the same.  However, her past hurts had accumulated to such a degree she was hearing only complaints and attacks.  She couldn’t hear the vulnerability and hope her friend was expressing.  I asked her if I could read the messages out loud to her with a different perspective.  She allowed me.  When I was finished… she cried.  We read the same words…. one was heard through her history.  The other was heard from an open heart.
     Hear with an open heart and you will hear love and compassion.  Hear through your history and you will hear…… your history!
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Passion or Politics

political yin yang
As each election year approaches, I am fascinated to witness the changes in personality of so many people.  Some people seem kind and thoughtful and even generous until someone with different political views joins the discussion.  Some people with differing political views go out of their way to make fun of or put down the other side.  Half of the country has hateful names for Republicans and half of the country has hateful names for Democrats.  And often, those same people, when not talking politics, say they want peace, hamony and all good things.  But if you truly want peace and harmony, how do you get there by bashing another for their political preferences?  How is it okay to demean, dehumanize and demoralize another human being in one breath and then talk about how peace and harmony should reign in another. There is no commonality between the two.
We can’t get to “good” when we keep focusing on the negative the politicians do and forget that WE – the people – are the ones who can make the difference.  Not by pointing fingers but by coming together with a positive focus and then, we the people, make it happen.  We have become a nation that tolerates it’s ignorance, indifference, insensitivity and it’s inertia!  We spend our time pointing fingers at who is responsible for what.  We have lost our focus and what is best for us as a nation.  We’ve let the politicians decide our best interests as fed by the many lobbyists who wine and dine them.
We have the opportunity to join forces as the people of our nation have in the past.  We can turn off the reality shows, and the celebrity news, and turn on our passion for what’s right for our great nation.  We can join together and focus our energy to improve our food supply; improve the health of our people; and restore our faith in our country.  But we will never get there wasting our time, energy and efforts, bashing the other political party, pointing fingers and placing blame.  I believe, we can best move forward by stepping past the political differences and looking beyond how we got here.  And bring our nation together to create a better future for ourselves, our children and our grandchildren.
What great things about our country and it’s people are you passionate about?  What are you willing to speak up for?  What are you willing to do to improve our great nation?  And let’s get to it!
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Is Your “Vehicle” in balance?

Lions chasing car with flat tireMost Americans take better care of their cars than they do of their physical body.  We fuel our car with the right fuel.  We monitor the fluid levels and perform regular oil changes.  We keep the tires inflated within the limits suggested.  We know we must do these things in order to keep the car performing / functioning properly.

Now, think of your body as a vehicle.  The four tires represent our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being.  When our tires are out of balance, we feel unsafe, out of control, and unable to maintain our own direction.  Over inflated or under inflated, the imbalance is noticed and our ability to maintain our path is compromised.  It is the same when the four aspects of self are out of balance.  If we are physically fit but block our emotions, we are out of balance.  If we are overworking our mental aspects as well as overtaxing our physical body, we are so out of balance we are headed for an illness which forces us to rest.  Those who are focused on vanity and material things are typically out of balance with their spirituality.  Each aspect of our well-being is necessary for us to maintain balance and forward momentum.  Each tire is critical to the balance of the vehicle.  The loss of one tire, or the loss of energy in one aspect, may leave us sitting on the side of the road.
In my practice I see the lessons of balance as being the most common life lesson.  Balancing between work and play; seriousness and fun; hoarding and squandering; generosity and greed; compassion and indifference.  When we seek to find balance, like a vehicle,  we are more stable and we move forward with ease of flow.  We operate more consistently.  We find compassion more easily.  And we give and receive love more freely and openly.
How are you keeping your life in balance?  Do you recognize the four aspects of well-being (physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual) as being equally important?  Or do you spend more time and energy focused on one aspect and ignore the others.  What activities do you perform to keep your vehicle running easily, effortlessly, and in balance?  I’d like to hear your thoughts…..
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