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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Beautiful Aunt Bonnie

12488_10152613160828833_5857682271535379778_nToday my Aunt Bonnie passed over.  She was one of my favorite people.  Why?  Because she was one of those people would had “it all” but was always able to “keep it real”.  She would share her experiences about all the countries she’d visited as if she was talking about going to a movie.  She had no false sense of self.  She put on no airs.  And she was a great grounding agent for anyone who did.  She knew what was important was how we love and serve each other.   She lived a great life and had already shared with her family that she was ready to let go.

I had this vision of her this morning.  She was surrounded by her family here on earth as her soul ascended.  She was greeted by her Spirit family as she arrived in the Spiritual realm.  I saw her parents, her sister, my father, and all her beloved Boston Terriers who have been her companions for all the years I’ve known her.  They were all there to greet her and she was so happy and felt such immense love and peace.  As she looked back at her family, she knew they would be fine as they continue on without her presence on earth.  I was awed at her sense of peace and joy at being back in her Spiritual home.  It was a beautiful vision and it allowed me to stop grieving and instead be filled with joy for her.

I have spent a lot of time today reflecting on the many years I’ve known Aunt Bonnie and Uncle George and the many stories we have of our families sharing events and celebrations. There are so many stories.  All of them make me smile as I remember.  I’ve also reflected on the memories of my father and how I miss his presence.  He and Aunt Bonnie shared a special fondness for each other.  They got along  very well and considered themselves a part of a special clan known as “MTB’s” aka, Married to Bogumills (my mother’s siblings).  They, along with the other MTB”s, were a hoot when gathered together.  It was as if they had an understanding like no other because of their connection to the Bogumill family.

My Dad had a very difficult childhood.  He and his siblings have shared some childhood stories that made me weepy.  However, for as many years as I can remember,  Dad would say, “If I died today, I’d die a happy man”.  It always made me smile.  It usually came after a special event, or a family discussion, or just a quiet evening with his grandchildren.  He seemed to purposefully want to point out that he was pleased.  Dad’s statement confirmed for us that he was happy with his life and how it was progressing.  He seldom ever looked back at his childhood.  He stayed present and he was grateful for his life.   Later, when he became ill, he reminded us that each of us will die from this lifetime and be returned back to Spirit.  One day, while just he and I were chatting, he reminded me of how often he had said, “If I died today, I’d die a happy man.”  He wanted to make sure I knew he still meant it.  I believe Aunt Bonnie would have shared the same sentiment about her life.  She seemed so happy and grateful and thankful.  And I believe she died a happy human.

If you died today, would you die a happy human?  Take just a moment to reflect upon your life and life purpose.  Have you yet made a positive impact on this planet?  Did you participate in something helpful or healing to others? Do you know your life purpose?  Can you truly say this has been a life well lived?  If not, what are you going to change…..  and when?

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Been Squeezed Lately

 

Squeeze_Orange-When an orange is squeezed, it’s juice comes out. Regardless of what squeezed it – the juice is based on the fruit itself. If it’s sour, the juice is sour. If it’s sweet, the juice is sweet. And if it’s rotten, the juice is rotten. Regardless of what squeezed it!   

People are the same. What comes out when squeezed is what’s waiting inside. The difference is, people blame what squeezed them for how they respond. They justify their reaction to the squeeze by saying it is because of the squeeze.
Several years ago, Survivor participant Jerri Manthey, spoke about her time on Survivor.  She remarked that no one could truly be themselves in the stress of that situation.  I remember commenting to her through the TV, ” Actually, Jerri, It is your truest, deepest self that is exposed under pressure!”
In my nursing career, I have had the pleasure of working over 20 years in ER, ICU, home care and Hospice.  I have witnessed thousands, of people in very stressful situations.  I’ve seen many people explode after very little provocation.  And I’ve seen hundreds of people gracefully walk through what seems like insurmountable stresses.   What makes the difference?  It’s not what stressed them.  Nope!  It’s what’s inside them that comes out under pressure.  It’s not what squeezed them that produced the reaction.  It’s that they got squeezed.
Driving is a perfect example.  An incident occurs, i.e. someone cuts in front of you.  You know nothing about them.  You haven’t a clue what their day/week/life is like.  They know nothing about you. Yet, suddenly you are engaged in a battle where both of you are determined to win. There is shouting and cursing and….  Ahhh…. there it is… the anger built up inside from something far greater than today’s driving experience comes boiling up, and WOW.  And both sides will blame the other for their own reaction.
Simply put, it’s never about what squeezed you that causes your reaction.  Remember how Nelson Mandela spoke about his years in prison.  Or what John McCain shared about his years as a POW?  They are amazing examples of being squeezed beyond what most humans could endure.  Yet, they responded with grace and courage, peace and encouragement.
It’s what is already inside you that comes out when squeezed.  How do you respond when squeezed?  Maybe it’s time to explore those reactions.

 

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Boycott Coke?

boycott coke

Really?

Drinking Coke is something I don’t and WON’t do.  Not now and not ever!  It has nothing to do with their new Superbowl commercial.  Drinking soda is a topic I have covered in an earlier post and will most certainly discuss again later.  Today, I want to discuss the “Boycott Coke” signs I’ve seen floating around on social media. 

 Today, our country is divided, nearly equally, on politics, equality, and immigration.  Each side believing they are the correct side and that the other side is just plain wrong.  As horribly divided as our country was 50-70 years ago, I’m not sure we have improved much.  So why would Coke take such a hotly charged topic and bring it to America in such a compelling “in-your-face” style?   Certainly they knew there would be those who would smile and beam with pride at how dynamic the commercial was and how beautiful our patriotic song sounded in so many different languages.  Certainly they also knew there would be those who would stare at the TV, jaw hanging open in stunned amazement that our beautiful patriotic song was butchered because it wasn’t in English.  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I have heard both sides of this debate and it isn’t pretty.    

 Years ago, Coca-Cola made a huge hit when they released the commercial I have attached to the blog post.  Anyone over 50 most certainly can sing every word of the song, “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing”.  We loved the song regardless if we like Coke.  The commercial showed the diversity of nationalities which make us America!  And, yes, it was all harmonized in English.  Every time I think of how I want the world to really be – I hear that song and smile.  I would love to see every human look at another and realize that skin color or country of origin doesn’t matter.  I’d love for every one of us to reach out to another and offer peace and compassion. Ahhh… just imagine….

As I re-visit their most recent commercial and compare it to the 1971 version posted above… I am struck by several points.  The images in the 2014 commercial are absolutely beautiful.  Turn the volume down and just look at the images.  You smile.  The images are what America is all about.  Happy people.  People helping people. Our countryside.  Our people!   It’s beautiful.  I watched the video of the new commercial with the song from the 1971 version and I had tears of happy!  

 Regardless of your like or dislike of the commercial itself, I will certainly give credit to the marketing team at Coca-Cola for stepping out of the politically correct comfort zone and offering up an attempt to bring America together – just as they did in 1971.   But mostly, I wonder…. how would the commercial have been received if the song was done in English – with accents and all?  Would it have made a difference?

What do you think about the commercial and the message Coke was sending?

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Drinking cows milk? Why?

My family was raised on a small 30 acre farm in Ohio.  We milked cows, made our own butter, had a HUGE garden, baled our own hay, butchered our own pigs, cows and chickens and we canned the vegetables we grew.  We drank milk every day.  It was fresh, raw, organic, grass fed, hormone free and healthy!  

     dairy_cow_with_calves  Back then, all cows were grass fed.  That’s what they are supposed to eat – GRASS.  They have a complicated digestive system designed to eat grass.  NOT CORN or grain!  So, feed a cow mostly corn and guess what?  You have a sick cow.  Sick cows don’t grow well.  So guess what?  They receive antibiotics to keep them fighting off the infections AND hormones to make them grow despite their illnesses.  ICK!  And then….  milk the cow and serve up that antibiotic and hormone laden stuff and call it healthy.  Well, it’s not! 

       After the cow has released its milk, the milk is now pasteurized.  That process alone changes the proteins in the milk and makes them non digestible for humans.  Did I mention yet that cow’s milk is made for baby cows.  Consider this… Feed a baby cow the milk sold to humans and they won’t live long enough to reach the age of butchering.  Moreover, calf’s fed pasteurized milk will be underweight, low energy, and have poor quality skin and fur, which cannot be used for leather.   

       Furthermore, if you are drinking milk because it’s “does a body good” or “builds strong bones” consider this:  The calcium that WAS in cows milk is attached to those proteins which were denatured in the pasteurization process and guess what?  We don’t get the calcium from the milk! 

       If you are drinking cows milk, organic or not, if it’s pasteurized (and you have to work really hard to find a farm willing to sell it to you raw), you have to ask yourself   WHY?   Like the taste and have no expectations of health?  Think moderation  < 1 glass/day.  If you are looking for calcium – get it where the cows used to….   Green Leafy Veggies!

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WHATS SO WRONG WITH SODA POP?

Diet Drinks

June 2013

WHATS SO WRONG WITH SODA POP? 

Recently, while teaching a workshop, one of the students asked, “what is so wrong with drinking soda”.  I paused and asked her “what is so right about drinking soda”.  She was silent.  I allowed her a long pause to process the question.  When she broke the silence she said quietly, “I don’t know.”

We all know there is nothing healthy about drinking soda pop.  The “regular” soda has high amounts of sugar which has been proven over and over again to be extremely taxing on the human body.  From internal and vascular inflammation to insulin resistance – just the alarming amount of sugar is enough to say STOP!  But when you think about the ingredients – most of which we cannot pronounce let alone identify what chemical it is – that’s when we realize that soda is full of stuff and none of it is natural or healthy!.

Diet soda is even worse.  YES, even worse than the sugared stuff.  The body believes the sweetness is caused by sugar thus it responds by releasing insulin.  But guess what??  NO sugar.  So what happens to all the insulin?  The body has to figure out what to do with it. And that’s a damaging task.   In the mean time, there is an artificial sweetener running through the blood stream and now the liver has to figure out what to do with that!

How much toxic chemicals (called soda pop) do we have to consume before we realize the body is not designed to digest or assimilate it?  How do we expect our body to rise up to the challenges of all we want/need to do when we fuel it with chemicals the body can’t utilize but must also find a way to cleanse those same chemicals out.   And when will we stop serving soda to our children?

Schools districts who have removed the soda from their vending machines and filled them with water instead, found the students and staff had more consistent energy levels, more focus and less disciplinary issues.   Hummm….  Still want to drink that soda?

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