I’ve been looking for work for some time now, and have been very focused on how I am presenting myself in cover letters and in job interviews. With that in mind, I have been watching the vari…

Source: The Most Important Job Interview in the World

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Death at the doorstep

September 16, 2015

6089640228_eda339dcd1_zToday and several days prior to this day, our family has been waiting with abated breath the passing of my sister.  We have all dreaded this moment in hopes it would never happen, but here we are in the midst of it.  Her grown children are keeping vigil by her side, watching her every breath, not knowing when it will be the last.  Even though I am halfway across the country, it feels as if I’m breathing with them with shared anguish.  My thoughts have never been far from any of them and my chest feels as if I am suffocating.  As a grief therapist and having experienced death before, this experiences stands apart due to the severed nature of my relationship with my only sibling.

crying eye

The Journey of Anguish

September 11, 2015

young woman cryingI have experienced extreme grief before but never like what I am going through at the moment.  This has occurred because of my sister’s courageous fight with pancreatic cancer and the fact that she is my last living relative in my family of origin.  This may not make sense to some of you but I wasn’t expecting the level of sorrow I feel.

My sister and I have had a rocky relationship ever since I can remember and I don’t know why.  It could very well be the difference in our philosophy of living and the type of lifestyles we have chosen to live.  They are as different as night and day.  I know that this bothers her and she is not accepting of alternative beliefs or lifestyles.  One is not wrong or right but most definitely is a paradigm shift that affects everything in one’s relationship with the world.

My anguish centers around the loss of communication between us that has been nonexistent for the past 19 months due to a falling out.   I have reached out and now it is all up to her.

My Own Life

September 8, 2015

The Opinion Pages New York Times Op-Ed Contributor
My Own Life
Oliver Sacks on Learning He Has Terminal Cancer
By OLIVER SACKS on FEB. 19, 2015
A MONTH ago, I felt that I was in good health, even robust health. At 81, I still swim a mile a day. But my luck has run out — a few weeks ago I learned that I have multiple metastases in the liver. Nine years ago it was discovered that I had a rare tumor of the eye, an ocular melanoma. The radiation and layering to remove the tumor ultimately left me blind in that eye. But though ocular melanomas metastasize in perhaps 50 percent of cases, given the particulars of my own case, the likelihood was much smaller. I am among the unlucky ones.
I feel grateful that I have been granted nine years of good health and productivity since the original diagnosis, but now I am face to face with dying. The cancer occupies a third of my liver, and though its advance may be slowed, this particular sort of cancer cannot be halted.
It is up to me now to choose how to live out the months that remain to me. I have to live in the richest, deepest, most productive way I can. In this I am encouraged by the words of one of my favorite philosophers, David Hume, who, upon learning that he was mortally ill at age 65, wrote a short autobiography in a single day in April of 1776. He titled it “My Own Life.”
“I now reckon upon a speedy dissolution,” he wrote. “I have suffered very little pain from my disorder; and what is more strange, have, notwithstanding the great decline of my person, never suffered a moment’s abatement of my spirits. I possess the same ardor as ever in study, and the same gaiety in company.”
I have been lucky enough to live past 80, and the 15 years allotted to me beyond Hume’s three score and five have been equally rich in work and love. In that time, I have published five books and completed an autobiography (rather longer than Hume’s few pages) to be published this spring; I have several other books nearly finished.
Hume continued, “I am … a man of mild dispositions, of command of temper, of an open, social, and cheerful humor, capable of attachment, but little susceptible of enmity, and of great moderation in all my passions.”
Here I depart from Hume. While I have enjoyed loving relationships and friendships and have no real enmities, I cannot say (nor would anyone who knows me say) that I am a man of mild dispositions. On the contrary, I am a man of vehement disposition, with violent enthusiasms, and extreme immoderation in all my passions.
And yet, one line from Hume’s essay strikes me as especially true: “It is difficult,” he wrote, “to be more detached from life than I am at present.”
Over the last few days, I have been able to see my life as from a great altitude, as a sort of landscape, and with a deepening sense of the connection of all its parts. This does not mean I am finished with life.
On the contrary, I feel intensely alive, and I want and hope in the time that remains to deepen my friendships, to say farewell to those I love, to write more, to travel if I have the strength, to achieve new levels of understanding and insight.
This will involve audacity, clarity and plain speaking; trying to straighten my accounts with the world. But there will be time, too, for some fun (and even some silliness, as well).
I feel a sudden clear focus and perspective. There is no time for anything inessential. I must focus on myself, my work and my friends. I shall no longer look at “NewsHour” every night. I shall no longer pay any attention to politics or arguments about global warming.
This is not indifference but detachment — I still care deeply about the Middle East, about global warming, about growing inequality, but these are no longer my business; they belong to the future. I rejoice when I meet gifted young people — even the one who biopsied and diagnosed my metastases. I feel the future is in good hands.
I have been increasingly conscious, for the last 10 years or so, of deaths among my contemporaries. My generation is on the way out, and each death I have felt as an abruption, a tearing away of part of myself. There will be no one like us when we are gone, but then there is no one like anyone else, ever. When people die, they cannot be replaced. They leave holes that cannot be filled, for it is the fate — the genetic and neural fate — of every human being to be a unique individual, to find his own path, to live his own life, to die his own death.
I cannot pretend I am without fear. But my predominant feeling is one of gratitude. I have loved and been loved; I have been given much and I have given something in return; I have read and traveled and thought and written. I have had an intercourse with the world, the special intercourse of writers and readers.
Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure.
Because of an editing error, Oliver Sacks’s Op-Ed essay last Thursday misstated the proportion of cases in which the rare eye cancer he has — ocular melanoma — metastasizes. It is around 50 percent, not 2 percent, or “only in very rare cases.” When Dr. Sacks wrote, “I am among the unlucky 2 percent,” he was referring to the particulars of his case. (The likelihood of the cancer’s metastasizing is based on factors like the size and molecular features of the tumor, the patient’s age and the amount of time since the original diagnosis.)
Oliver Sacks, a professor of neurology at the New York University School of Medicine, is the author of many books, including “Awakenings” and “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat.”
Oliver Sacks passed away on Aug. 30, 2015.
important

Grieving for the Living?

September 7, 2015

crying face
Here I sit… how do I start? I have spent so many years trying to be a loving and understanding sister who cares but apparently have not been successful… I’m sure because she and I are so different in who we are, our thinking and lifestyle… I am who I am and can’t and won’t change who I am because I need to be real and not pretentious… So here goes: my only sister, younger than me by less than a year, is dying of pancreatic cancer and I can’t do anything about it except pray. I don’t want her to die but it’s all God’s will. All I know is that I’m drinking a heavy tequila margarita to help me write and express my inner feelings. It’s so tough to consider her death and really unbearable to me; because it’s imminent and incomprehensible to me. She seems to not understand how much I really care for her, and always have. She seems to not accept me for who I am… whatever that means to her… but to me it is from God… I cannot be any different than I am but live my life truly real and only real… a true authentic person and not a phony… Am I strange or unusual? If I am than what am I?

September 1, 2015

question

They say …..

September 1, 2015

You know life is full of opinions and choices without substance. I put opinions on the same level as personal choices and this is why. Our believe system is based, many times, on the premise “You know what people say blah blah blah…” Well, my question is “WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE WHO SAY:…..” Not one person can identify those people. So, this is my question, “Why do you even believe any of this because not one person can define the roots of this remark. I define this remark as ignorant and an excuse for not thinking for yourself or courage to say “I believe blah, blah…” which allows for a give and take conversation that leads to a discussion that can diverge the truth, understanding and perhaps a shift in paradigm thinking. Without this, there is no substance to this remark nor independent reflecting or thinking. So remember, the next time you say, “People say that blah, blah, blah” everyone knows that you are obviously ignorant and have not done any research and self reflection to come to that conclusion and guess what? Everyone knows it but you!

black cat

Writer Site

After my oldest cat Mac died, there was no question of “replacing” him with another cat. He had a large and impressive personality and nobody will ever take his place. But I’ve been volunteering at a local no kill shelter for six months now, and since the first night I’ve wanted to make 8-year-old all-black Nakana part of our family.

The moment we “locked eyes,” it was love at first sight—at least on my part. Soon after I began to work with the cats in the cat roaming room, Nakana developed ringworm and had to be isolated. I don’t work with the cats in isolation because I don’t want to risk bringing home an illness to my elderly cats. For months she stayed in that room because she just couldn’t shake the ringworm. Apparently, stress makes the ringworm more difficult to eradicate.

After she recovered, she was taken to PetSmart…

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happy faceDo you put on your public face everyday that shows the world that you are happy, strong and doing well? After all, isn’t everyone doing well? Who wants to hear that I’m not doing well?

Ask yourself these questions.

Do you wake up most days without energy and go through the motions of everyday life because you have to have a paycheck to survive? Do you seek out negative emotional releasing behaviors that aren’t working such as drinking, consuming foods that aren’t healthy or sexual behaviors that you regret to name a few? Have you ever asked yourself what is driving these behaviors and why am I feeling this way? What’s wrong with me and is this how life works?

Well guess what? Most people aren’t doing well. Most people have a secret. They have a hidden wound that is invisible to others. They have a hurt that won’t go away deep inside that has been hiding for a long time….maybe since childhood and they live with it everyday.

What can you do? Is just thinking about it helping? It hasn’t helped me. The only way to feel better is to actually take action. By action, I mean small steps that lead to changes that eventually create a paradigm shift in thinking about how you feel about yourself and your life. Maybe it’s time to take a look at mindfulness and what it can do for you.

Before we talk about mindfulness, let’s look at mindlessness. So often in our lives, we act as though there were only one set of rules. The problem is that it keeps us entrapped in negative cycles that are automatic behaviors or habits we form, maybe since childhood. What I mean is that we have the tendency to keep on with behaviors and thinking that have been repeated over time. It is mindless behavior and thinking that can arise instantaneously by repetition. Mindlessness sets in when we rely too rigidly on categories and distinctions created in the past (masculine/feminine, old/young, success/failure). Once distinctions are created, they take on a life of their own.

Now let’s look at mindfulness. Mindfulness is openness, not only to new information, but to different points of view is also an important feature of mindfulness. Once we become mindfully aware of views other than our own, we start to realize that there are as many different views as there are different observers. Such awareness is potentially liberating.

The process of openness can lead to a number of diverse consequences, including (1) a greater sensitivity to one’s environment, (2) more openness to new information, (3) the creation of new categories for structuring perception, and (4) enhanced awareness of multiple perspectives in problem solving. Mindfulness is a heightened state of
involvement and wakefulness or being in the present. This is the inherent common thread that ties all of us together as humans. Langer & Moldoveanu, 2000a