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Leukemia Survivor Improves her Life

Jan is a Leukemia Survivor

Jan’s Challenges

I was diagnosed with leukemia in May of 2008 and not given very high odds to continue to live. After many chemo treatments, many transfusions, surgery, radiation and a stem cell transplant, I was mentally and physically exhausted. Medications that I had taken caused my muscles to be weak and my bones to be stiff. Before all of this happened to me, I considered myself to be physically fit. Now, I couldn't even touch my toes.

What Jan Tried

At that time I was still taking medication to suppress my immune system. This meant I could not be in a class, or go to public places. I called Custom Calm and began private basic yoga lessons with Ellen. During these lessons I learned moves that I could later do on my own. I was so excited because at the time I started the classes I had already been very isolated for 2 years.

What Worked for Jan

The yoga made me feel stronger and I immediately noticed that I started sleeping better at night. The practices helped me with my right shoulder stiffness. The yoga was a wonderful practice to do before preparing to center myself and pray. I love the stretches that yoga gives my war torn body. Finally, the yoga is known for strengthening the immune system and that is important to keep me alive.

I especially like the warrior pose because it brings to mind past, present and future. It gives me hope that I have come this far, focusing on the present moment, and hoping for better times in the future.

I wish I had tried yoga before I got sick. It is a wonderful way to center and calm myself down. I could have used it so much as a de-stressor before.  I definitely plan to use it to de-stress myself in the future. 🙂

The "Loving Kindness Meditation" that Ellen also taught me seemed to open the gates of tears that I had held back over the course of my treatments.

What you can learn from Jan’s Experiences

Even in very challenging circumstances, there are always practices you can do to help yourself.  Custom Calm tools for the mind are as  important to our overall well-being as tools for the body.  Jan embraced the practices and has empowered herself to live in the moment, feeling better and with hope for the future.

*Last name has been left off for anonymity

Posted in: This Stuff Works

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Sigh, Swing and De-Stress


 

Today’s technique relieves stress in nearly any situation and can be used at any time.

Sit in a comfortable position, somewhere that your spine can sit upright.

Take a moment and check in on how you are feeling.

You are going to sigh – a total of three times.  You want to start by inhaling and exhaling the first breath with an audible sound.  After the first sigh, momentarily stay with the pause at the end.

You are not holding your breath; you are simply noticing the space at the end of the sigh.

Think of a swing. After it goes up, there is a moment of stillness before it comes back down. That is your breath – and you observing it.

Do this a total of three times, each time staying with the pause a few moments longer, without straining.  Check in on your state and let me know what you noticed.

You can use this simple tool anytime you feel stressed.

After doing so, please report back and let me know how it went in the comments below. Did it help with your stress level in the moment? If not, why do you think that was? If you have any questions, please ask.

 

Posted in: Technique of the Week

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Showered in Simple Pleasure

The morning or evening shower.  Some days we rush thorough it and on other days we enjoy it.  We shower to get clean, but there is more to it than that.

Have you ever taken a shower and forgot how many times you have shampooed?  Maybe you have showered and you were thinking about an upcoming meeting, or reviewing the list of things you had to do for the family.

Whatever it was you were thinking about, it has kept you from enjoying the feeling of the water on your body, or the warmth when you rinse the lather of shampoo out of your hair, or even belting out a tune.

You were showering alone, but there was entire committee there with you!

Allow yourself to enjoy the simple pleasures in your routine and you will be amazed with how you feel.  Your shower will refresh you in a whole new way.

What do you think about when you shower?

Posted in: A Calm Perspective

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Goldie’s Chronic Back Pain Alleviated

Goldie  is a Senior with back pain.

Goldie’s Challenges

While I was undergoing treatment for breast cancer, I also suffered from sciatica and back pain. I was diagnosed with spinal stenosis and instability in my back. Surgery was suggested. I was determined not to have surgery only as a last resort.

I was often incapacitated, unable to sit or walk for long distances. I was constantly in a great deal of pain and my life seemed to stop. This affected me both physically and emotionally.

What Goldie Tried

I constantly carried an ice pack with me. I tried acupuncture and massage. I also had spinal epidurals.

What Worked

After months and months of suffering, I started taking Custom Calm Yoga with Ellen and eventually I found that the gentle yoga, stretching and supported poses were very beneficial to my back.

I still have spinal stenosis but I can function well enough to go about daily living with a minimal amount of pain.  I know I can’t overdo.

I have learned many poses that I can do on my own, but I enjoy the classes where I have benefit of total mind-body connection and a sense of camaraderie with others. I have come a long way and I hope to stay that way and avoid surgery.  Thank you, Ellen, for all you have taught me.

What you can learn from Goldie’s Experiences

When we are looking for ways to help ourselves when facing pain, we try may avenues.  Custom Calm techniques are most appealing because they are non-evasive, empowering and cost effective.  Goldie experienced a reduction in pain and an increase in her strength as she worked with Custom Calm, which made a huge difference in her day to day living.


*Last name has been left off for anonymity

Posted in: This Stuff Works

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Overwhelmed? This Will Help Keep it Simple

When you are overwhelmed and stressed, you are stuck in the problem and are unable to see a way out.  You procrastinate, quit or panic.  This halts any positive momentum, and it is discouraging.

What can you do to shift your mindset?

Action is the key:

The next time you are in overwhelm mode, pick one very simple task that has a beginning, middle and end, and give it your complete focus.

For example, pick a small drawer and clean it. Take one folder and file it.  Make one phone call.

When you finish, congratulate yourself and experience the sense of accomplishment.

Remember, keep it very simple, and the momentum will begin to build.

Try this out and let me know what task worked for you and how you felt.  Did you keep it simple?  If it did not work, what do you think happened?  If you have any questions, please share in the comments below.

Posted in: Technique of the Week

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You Are More Than Your Labels

Visualize an iceberg.  The tip is the only part you are able to see and on it are all the things you see yourself to be: maybe a parent, child, employee, friend, cancer patient, southerner, mother, father and so on… The tip of the iceberg is covered with all of your identities. Consider: What happens when you lose one of your identities?  Maybe you lose your job, or your child gets married, or something else changes the way you identify yourself. When this happens, there is a notable loss, and at times, an emptiness. What we have forgotten is how to take a look beneath the water’s surface. What will we find there? A vast iceberg.  It is massive – unimaginably so. And, if you only focus on the very tip – on identity markers – you will miss out on the enormity of who you are.  You are much more than your body, your mind and your identities. When we can quiet our minds, even for a moment, we can see that we are so much more than we ever imagined. What do you consider yourself to be beyond the tip of the iceberg?  Please share in the comments below.

Posted in: A Calm Perspective

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